Archive for Lifestyle

Best Peer to Peer Travel Platforms to Save Money

travel platform

Do you want to travel the world at one-fourth of the price that regular travelers pay?

Peer to peer travel is a new way to travel without having to pay full price on hotels, food, travel, and experiences. Peer to peer travel has literally opened the door for millions of backpackers to new countries that they could never afford to visit. It’s time you checked out some of these apps and websites that will let you travel for cheap as well.

Following are the best peer to peer travel platforms to save money.

1. EatWith

EatWith lets you dine out without having to pay hundreds of dollars for overpriced restaurant food. With EatWith, people can invite foodies in their home and share a home-cooked meal for a nominal price. EatWith is a peer to peer travel platform that takes 15 percent of every transaction but lets you have a fun and exciting meal for one-fourth of its actual price.

2. MeetnGreetMe

This is the best peer to peer travel platform that allows you to find a personal concierge anywhere in the world. Now you can find a travel partner or a personal guide who will take care of your basic needs when you travel. The personal concierge can be anyone from a local guide to a personal bodyguard. There are countries in South America where this service is extensively used as it is dangerous to roam around solo.

3. BlaBlaCar

Blablacar

BlaBlaCar is a peer to peer travel app that connects you with drivers who have empty seats in their car. All you have to do is type in the destination and the app recommends several cars heading that way. You get to share your ride with other locals and also get to have interesting conversations with them. Before booking a BlaBlaCar you can read reviews written by previous passengers and choose the car that suits your needs. BlaBlaCar is great when you have to travel from one city to another. For instance, Madrid to Barcelona or Paris to Sceaux.

4. Airbnb

Airbnb is also known as the Uber of the accommodation industry.  Like Uber, you can book houses or rooms from local owners for nominal prices. You can find everything from expensive castles to cheap dorm rooms on their app. To book a room, you have to contact the owner a few days prior to your trip and your room will be ready when you arrive. The fact that you can save truckloads of money in accommodation is the reason why Airbnb is on my best peer to peer travel platforms list.

5. Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is the best accommodation option for frugal travelers who want to stay for free of cost. This is probably the only app that lets you spend days or even weeks at a locals house for totally free. It connects you to the locals wherever you go. You can stay at a locals house and invite them to yours the next time they are in your city. This is how you can get good reviews and continue to travel for free, indefinitely.

Conclusion

The apps and websites mentioned above will allow you to travel around the globe even if you are broke or have very less money. Keep in mind that there are some downsides to using these apps and you should always keep safety and security your number one priority.

5 Online Stores That Let You Try Before You Buy

Online store

You must be pretty acquainted with the try before you buy model of clothing stores and street-side outlets. Every store has a trial room where you can try out the item and make sure it fits right. This saves you time and energy as you don’t have to come back to the store to return the item– in case it doesn?t fit well.

Online store

Likewise, some popular brands are also providing the try before you buy service on their online stores. You can order a few items or free samples at your home, use them for a week and make an informed decision to buy them or not.??

Here are 5 online stores that let you try before you buy their products/items.

1) Amazon Prime Wardrobe

Similar to Prime Samples for Prime Members, Amazon Prime Wardrobe also lets you try before you buy. Amazon is the most trusted e-commerce company in the world and the try before you buy option is only going to add to its reputation. Only products with the prime wardrobe logo are eligible for this. To get started, you can fill your box with items like shoes, clothes, and accessories and order them home. Once they arrive, you can try them out for a few days before you make your final decision.

2) Trunk Club by Nordstrom

Now you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollar on stylists and fashion designers. Nordstrom provides you access to a top stylist at a fee of mere $25 dollars. Trunk Club is try before you buy model that allows your stylist to choose a few items based on your profile. You can try them out at home and choose any of the items from the box. Once you make your final decision Nordstrom will charge you for the items subtracting the $25 initial fee. So, basically, you get advice from a top stylist for free.

3)  M.M.LaFleur Bento 

For people who are serious about their appearance, M.M.LaFleur is the best option as they design top-notch clothing items. Moreover, stylist cherry-picks items for you by studying your profile. They deliver the bento box at you home without charging you a dime. You are charged only when you decide to keep an item from the bento box. However, the price range of products from M.M.LaFleur is a bit higher than the other brands on this list.

4) Warby Parker

Warby Parker provides the try before you buy option on eyewear like sunglasses and prescription glasses. They have a wide range of eyeglasses and sunglasses for both Men and Women. Some online stores have the option of trying out an eyeglass on your face with the help of a software. But I find that very dodgy and unreliable. Warby Parkey ships the selected product at your doorstep so that you can try it out by yourself. That too for 5 days.?

5) Sephora

Sephora has a large collection of beauty products for both men and women. You can buy anything from a make-up kit to bathing soap on their online store. As far as their try before you buy feature is concerned, they let you pick up to 2 free samples per order. They also provide free sample in their physical stores. The free samples allow you to test out the product on your skin or hair and make sure that you are not allergic to its ingredients.

Conclusion

The only downside of this way of shopping is you get to try on only two or three samples. The online stores cannot afford to send you plenty of samples to try since it is logistically difficult. But still, it is a good deal considering you also get access to a top stylist for free of cost.

How do I evaluate my Portfolio?s Performance Compared to Averages?

The success of the portfolio cannot be determined based on its returns. There have been ways to evaluate the performance of a collection in the past. None have the design that considers both risks and returns simultaneously. Ever since 1960s investors have either found the risk or the basis has been the returns. There are specific ways one can think to delve deeper and analyze their portfolio’s performance and get a clear and more appropriate insight.

Treynor Measure

The first person to consider risk as a basis was Treynor. He provided the investors with a much more practical approach. Regardless or personal risk preferences, providing a general measure of performance was the main aim of Treynor. According to him, there are two types of risks- The risk associated with the stock market and the risk associated with individual securities. He introduced the idea of a security market line. It is how it looks:

Treynor Measure= (PR-RFR)/beta, where,

 PR stands for portfolio return,

RFR stands for the risk-free rate

The ratio is also termed as a reward to volatility ratio.

The numerator denotes risk premium, whereas the denominator indicates the portfolio risk. A higher value always means a better position.

Sharpe Ratio

Sharpe ration is quite close to the Treynor Measure with only a slight deviation. It is how it looks

Sharpe Ratio= (PR-RFR)/SD where,

PR denotes portfolio return

RFR denotes risk-free-return

SD indicates standard deviation.

The sole difference between Treynor Measure and Sharpe Ratio is that beta is replaced with the standard deviation in this case. The basis, in this case, is the rate of return and diversification. It is considered to be more accurate when compared to Treynor Measure.

Jensen Measure

Jensen measure calculates the surplus return over the anticipated return. This kind of performance is termed as Alpha. It is how it looks like:

Jenson?s Alpha= PR-CAPM

Where PR denotes portfolio return

CAPM indicates risk-free rate+ beta (return of risk-free market rate of return.

The higher the output, the better is the portfolio performance, in this case. The risk for securities and the rate of return differs from time to time. This kind of ratio works best on certain types of investments, such as mutual funds.

The measurement and evaluation of a portfolio performance tell you how your decision related to your investment was. Was it fruitful, or was it not up to the mark? The estimation is essential to be able to proceed further if your decision paid off or improve in case it didn’t. However, it is crucial to note that measuring the portfolio results is only a part of the larger picture. It cannot ascertain the entire investment scenario. The only drawback of these methods is that due to incomplete or half knowledge, one could end up taking clouded financial decisions, which is detrimental to the investor in the long run. Thus, it is essential for the investor to realize that this may be a key factor but not the only factor to rely on.

How to Build your Mutual Fund?

Before we think of building our mutual funds, it is essential to know what mutual funds are. Having a clear understanding is necessary for a successful investment in mutual funds. A lot of individual stocks together make up mutual funds. The portfolio manager buys and sells your shares on your behalf when you invest in mutual funds. The expenses of the investors are passed on to you in the form of a ratio. It is called the expense ratio. If a mutual fund is bought and sold in a short period, then the load is the highest. For building a mutual fund of your own, the following step you need to follow:

  • Ascertaining risk– Understanding and determining the investor’s risk profile is very important. The portfolio must be able to shoulder more risk that the investor expects from it. There is no point in getting a considerable return and lose sanity and sleep over these matters. One should be able to play safe, and with practice comes perfection when it comes to investing in mutual funds.
  • Note your goals-The goals of the investor need to be kept in mind when creating the portfolio. The risk-taking the ability of the collection must be more than desired by the investor. Choice of the fund is bound to vary from one case to another.
  • Returns- It is essential to note the consistency of the return. One should not fall prey to short-term gains. Long-term gains should be the focus. Also, risk parameters need you need to consider.
  • The number of funds- Some people hold as many as 40 funds, which are unnecessary.  It is not essential to have an enormous amount of funds for success in the stock market. Go for a number that is sensible like 5 to 6 schemes which should be sufficient for you to achieve diversification.
  • Tax- While the portfolio is being designed, one needs to focus on the taxation and loads on the investment. Funds need to be chosen wisely as heavy taxes can have a drastic effect on the returns of the investor.

Building your mutual fund will help you save a lot of money. You can do it at your convenience only with basic but sound knowledge in this domain. It is important to note that every mutual fund available in the market is not at the same level. Avoid loads as that deters you from gaining good returns. Look at the benchmark to judge the performance of the fund that you are willing to choose. It gives a clear picture of the profits or the outcome that you can expect from your investment.

The bottom line is that one needs to be patient and determined as this is a process that takes time.  A successful mutual fund is characterized by a low cost, huge returns, and overall satisfaction, and it also instills a sense of confidence in the investor.

An Introduction to Bitcoin

Bitcoin
Bitcoin

Bitcoin is basically a payment system which is based on the peer to peer mechanism. It is a form of the digital currency which was initially introduced in the financial market as open source software.

Understanding the concept of the bitcoin

The bitcoin first came into vogue in the year 2009. This open source software was initially developed by the pseudonymous developer whose name was Satoshi Nakamoto. Basically, the Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency.? The name has been given so because it takes the help of the cryptography so that it can control both the creation of money and then the flow to it.? Also, the bitcoin are generally obtained by mining. Also another method of obtaining the bitcoin by making an exchange of the products or services or any other currencies.

There is one more important fact that should be noted. This is when the ?Bitcoin? is capitalized, and then it refers to both the technology and the network. But when this term ?bitcoin? is written with ?b? being written in the lowercase, then here it refers to the currency itself.

In general the bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and is an electronic form of the cash. This type of digital currency is usually decentralized and does not have a central bank to regulate and monitor the flow of digital currency. The transactions are verified through a series of the network of the nodes with the help of the cryptography. Generally the data related to it is recorded in the Blockchain which is basically a public distributed ledger.

How does the bitcoin work?

In this the payments are sent by the users via the digitally signed messages to the various networked where they are willing to make the payment.  Here the participants that are involved in the transfer of money through the bitcoins are known as the ?miners?.  Now before making a transaction fort they have to make sure that they have gone through the process of verification. Now when the user verifies oneself as the ?miner? they can process with for the timestamp transaction which will go to the shared public database. Now here these shared public databases are known as the ?block chains?. Now for these Blockchain, the miner is then rewarded with the transaction fees. And along t-with that they also receive the newly minted bitcoin.

The advantages of the bitcoin

  1. It is quite easy to pay the bitcoin though cell phones. Also one has to while making a payment is to scan the pay and then swipe the card and just enter the pin.  And while receiving a payment you just have to display the QR code in the bitcoin wallet app and then the one who is paying can scan the smart phone.
  2. International payments have become fate and cost effective.
  3. It helps in protecting your identity and thus avoids any kind of fraud cases.
  4. Bitcoin are universal so unlike other currencies there are no boundations on it. You can use bitcoin for payment anytime and anywhere.

Conclusion

Thus the bitcoin have revolutionized the world of digital transaction. It has simplified things a lot and on top of it has almost no loopholes for the fraud cases to happen thus making it secure.