Smartphones: can you imagine life without them now? I know I can’t! Whether it’s to check Facebook, twitter or my email or to use instagram, I would definitely be LOST without my iPhone! It honestly is like a life companion that is always at your side! The marvels of the iPhone and the Ipad have really set the bar for the whole current generation of smartphones! Dedicated apps, news channels, online shopping, even diet plans all at the click of a button!
A few years back we started realising that these phones could also save us money! Skype and then Face time and Viber got rid of the distance and dodgy phone-lines as well as the expense involved in international phone calls, allowing us to even see our loved ones in other continents for free!
Now, however, the advantages and money saving potential of these powerful little handheld, pocket and handbag dwelling gadgets has extended even into the spheres of general cost saving and energy efficiency!
In 2013 Smartphones are already helping many people and businesses save money and reduce their carbon footprint!
Well the proof is in the pudding, but YES; this really is the case, iPhones and ipads should really come in green! So, how does it work? Well the following are some examples of some particularly helpful apps.
Using inefficient light bulbs year wastes up to 80% of energy use per year and could cost the average person around 55 pounds per year = Fact. Welcome: Light Bulb Finder, a free smartphone app designed to make it easy to identify the best and most efficient light bulbs for any fixture. Light Bulb Finder was voted best overall app in the US Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘Apps for the Environment’ Challenge.
The expense of owning and running a car, can also, believe it or not be addressed by an ipad and iphone app! Irrespective the brand of car, Hunter Research and Technology’s green meter app helps motorists increase their driving efficiency, whatever type of car they have. Since its release in 2008 this app has helped users cut their fuel consumption by approximately 2 million gallons.
When it comes to the home, we have all heard of the obvious ways that we can be greener and save money in the process; solar panels, switching of the lights when you’re not using them, blab la bla … But what about the lights themselves, and the rest of our home gadgets, how do we know that they’re not leaving us short changed in terms of their energy efficiency? Launched in 2009, Key Lime’s Green Outlet’s app, calculates the energy consumption of home appliances, and based on their usage habits, allowing users to predict their monthly electricity bills.
As regards your wider local area, should you be interested in its carbon footprint: AllertMe Energy Map on iTunes is a free app that allows you to pull up the average energy expenditure per household, per year in your vicinity. This is broken down into electricity and gas usage and gives you the resulting carbon emission. Energy Map also shows your area’s ranking as opposed to others in the UK as regards energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
The British Gas App is a free iTunes (Free) that enables you to easily fill in your gas and electricity meter readings whenever you want, allowing British Gas to put together a more accurate bill. Everyone can make use of it and it is especially great for small businesses. You can then access your account summary featuring your last bill and payment details and you’re your current tariff and last registered meter reading. A new feature now lets you view your energy usage in graph format so as to be able to form a usage comparison spanning your usage over the last year. This British Gas application also comes with a handy guide on how to take an energy meter reading and emergency gas and electricity telephone numbers. What is more, should you have any questions or issues the App has an easy-to-use email feature allowing you to email British Gas who endeavour to respond to all emails in 24 hours.
People resources or manpower resources is one of the key elements of successful businesses. Employees and workers are the ones who perform the tasks necessary for the company’s operations. It is therefore important for business owners to ensure that their workers are poised for optimum productivity. Most people tend to overlook the effects of physical working conditions on productivity. The physical environment of the workers has to be body smart for the employees to work smart. Having ergonomic furniture at the office has a lot of benefits that result in enhanced employee comfort and improved productivity.
The most obvious benefit of ergonomic furniture is the comfort of employees. These furniture are designed with the human body in mind. Posture is improved and the body’s structural framework is adequately supported in all the employees’ tasks. Common movements are made more convenient with proper positioning of office equipment. It goes without saying that the employee is able to do more tasks when he is more comfortable.
Ergonomic furniture also lessens sick days. It effectively prevents spinal injuries and other injuries related to having the wrong posture while working. This translates to efficiency and cost effectiveness for the employer or the business owner as well. He does not have to pay for health or medical benefits due his employees. With more employees at work, the manpower complement is almost always near a hundred percent.
Having ergonomic furniture might cost a little more in terms of overhead expenses. But, this one-time expense can translate to cost savings in terms of paid sick days and medical expense reimbursements. Furthermore, the investment returns more revenues when employees are able to increase their output whether it be in the form of products coming out of the factory assembly line or in the form of services rendered to customers. Investing in ergonomic furniture is a sound move for businesses big or small.
Image credit: www.norbell.in
The age old saying, “Don’t mix business with family,” exists for a reason. Not only can financial relationships strain personal relationships, but having a business arrangement with a family member can severely decrease your bottom line. Selling your home to a family member is a similar arrangement that is not recommended for many. However, if you’re planning on selling your home to family, it is necessary to clear up any expectations between both parties and have all of the agreements put into writing. That aside, depending on the situation, there are numerous ways to expedite a home sale under this circumstance.
An owner financed sale is a simple and cost effective approach that is a popular choice for many homeowners who decide to sell their home to a family member. Rather than requiring your family member to go through a traditional lender to obtain financing, you can have them make payments to you directly. In addition to saving your family member thousands of dollars in interest over the years, this home selling strategy is also very quick and easy to implement.
If you are not financially independent and need the monthly income, then you should tailor the monthly payments to meet your income needs. However, if you choose to take this route, it is important to have it stated in writing that if the family member defaults on their payments, the home will automatically return to you. This gives you the flexibility of being able to sell the home on the open market should they not follow through on their financial commitments.
Another option taken by some is to file a quitclaim. This allows you to add a family member’s name to the title. If they do not have the upfront money to pay for the home, they have the ability to take out a second mortgage on the home and make payments directly to you.
If your family member does not have enough money to purchase the home outright, you can arrange a mortgage for half of the home’s value. They can then sign the money over to you. Similar to a partnership, this approach should be taken with caution. However, it is a unique way of keeping the home in the family and providing you with a financial safety net or the funds to acquire another property and increase your net wealth.
If you’re planning on selling your home to a family member, chances are it isn’t for financial gain. In fact, you may be planning on selling the home to him or her at a discount to help them get established. If this is the case, you should be wary of selling the home at too steep of a discount. A home sale at 25 to 30 percent below the fair market value can be construed as a gift, which may subject you to having to pay a gift tax on the sale. Also, if you sell your home to a family member at a discount and they turn around and sell it for a profit shortly afterwards, they might be subject to a capital gains tax. To avoid this, they need to use the home as their principal residence for at least two years prior to the sale.
To help out your family member and avoid gift-related taxes, you can help minimize their housing expenses and also pay for the closing costs of the sale simply by allotting them the maximum allowed tax-free gift amount. Of course, this approach may only apply to extremely charitable situations and must be used cautiously, but it is an excellent way of transferring property to a family member in need and avoiding any tax implications.
When selling your home to a family member, regardless of the situation, you more than likely would like to expedite the process and reduce any fees associated with the sale and deed transfer. This may entice you to forego the appraisal process, but it is a good idea to perform an appraisal in order to obtain an accurate estimation of your home’s fair market value. A home inspection should also be performed that will make you and your family member aware of any repairs that may need attention. If you and your family member do take the route of acquiring a traditional mortgage for the home sale, lenders will require both of these anyways.
It is also highly recommended that you hire a real estate attorney to overlook and assist in the transaction as well. An experienced real estate attorney can advise you on the best routes to take, the pros and cons of going the gifting route, and any other issues that may arise.
Selling your home to a family member may be a way to help them out and still benefit financially, but you should always remember to protect yourself. A poorly planned and executed sale can potentially jeopardize your financial future, but if done correctly, you and your family can benefit for many years to come.