Friday, September 22, 2017

Compare Term Deposit Rates Calculator now available.

Lately I've been looking at term deposits and with the current rates available, it's not that exciting. When you look at term deposits you're naturally going to compare term deposit rates and the return with the different rates. Often this requires two calculations and noting down each amount and then calculating the difference. Do this a few times and you'll understand why I decided to write the Compare Term Deposit Rates Calculator.

With interest rates being so low you'd think it's not worth worrying about them. However, it's because they're so low that what would be seen normally as not a big difference, can make a large difference in your return.

For example I have some money in a web savings account earning 1.45% at call. Shopping around for a better interest and I can get 3% on a 3 month bonus savings account, or 2.95% at call on an online account subject to meeting certain conditions. Either of these will nearly double the interest earned.

But is it really worth the time and effort chasing a better interest rate. Depending on how much you have and the interest difference, it may or may not be. The only way to know is to do the calculations. You'll be surprised that often it really is worth moving the money around.

Keep in mind when you move money around you may lose a day of interest, and if you need a cheque, there could be a charge. Even a transfer from one bank to another will generally cost a fee. Then there's your time. The banks will sit you down and it does take far more time than you expect to open and close accounts. There is a time and cost involved in moving money around.

Overall however I'm very pleased I made the effort. I tend to stick with the same bank, which I consider to offer good rates, but when I made the move to move the money around I'll be considerably better off with other banks. It's also a good time to ask your bank if they can do better. It's at these times you'll find that as a customer you don't really matter very much and all the marketing hype about how much you're worth to them is just marketing. Even though it may cost a bank perhaps a few hundred to keep you, they're generally happy to lose thousands of dollars income for themselves than to make a real effort for customers. The lesson really is you have to look after your own interests.

Whilst I've called the new calculator Compare Term Deposit Rates Calculator, you can really use the calculator with any type of interest bearing account. I was able to compare term deposit rates and also compare interest rates for other savings accounts.

I hope you find the Compare Term Deposit Rates Calculator to be useful.

Kelvin Eldridge
Compare Term Deposit Rates Calculator
www.comparetermdepositratescalculator.com.au

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Seniors card discount at KFC.

If you have a Seniors card KFC offer a 10% discount. So far I've tested a number of KFC stores (Eltham, Eastland, Thomstown) and KFC has been consistent and easy to deal with when using the Seniors card.

One thing to be aware of, is KFC have an offer where if you provide feedback, they'll provide a free regular chips and drink on your next purchase which is a saving of around $3. If you use the Seniors card to get a discount you don't get the offer to complete the survey. Depending on how much you spend, it may be better value to do the survey.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Melbourne petrol prices starting to hike to 142.9.

I noticed tonight quite a few petrol stations around Melbourne have started to hike their prices to 142.9. It looks like it's that time again when petrol prices hike back up again.

If you're taken advantage of the 7  Eleven fuel app watch the prices around you and lock in a good price for the next week.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au

Thursday, September 14, 2017

ASIC Messaging Service Renewal - Scam email

Today I received an email which appeared to come from ASIC for the renewal of my business name. At first glance it looked legitimate. It had my name in the To field and I do have registered business names which ASIC sends reminders.


I then thought is this a scam email? I checked the headers in the source of the email and the email was from America. That pretty well meant it was a scam. Next I hovered the mouse over the links in the email and they weren't for ASIC. This now meant this was a definite scam.

A short while later I received an email using the domain for a second registered business name. I don't use that email address with ASIC so this too was a scam.

It really is very easy to click on a link from an official looking email but you really shouldn't. In a case like this go to the ASIC site and log on. Don't use the links.

Secondly no matter how tired you feel, pause for a moment. A quick click and you could be in world of pain. Some malicious sites can infect your computer and if that happens it can cost you dearly to remove malware, and if it's encryption malware, you may not be able to recover.

If in doubt set the email aside until later when you have time and patience to check it out. Using a desktop computer and email client hover over the link and see if all links are legitimate. If you're able to, check the IP address the email was sent from. That's usually an excellent indicator of scams.

Scammers are getting better with the presentation of their scams. The emails are often so good because they're a direct copy or variation of a real email and these can easily trick anyone.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Dodo Power and Gas increasing Electricity and Gas charges.

Today I received an email from Dodo Power and Gas letting me know their electricity and gas prices are going up. I decided to do a quick analysis.

Electricity

Daily Supply Charge - increasing 15%
Anytime usage - 15%

Gas

Daily Supply Charge - 20%
Usage - 15%

These increases are actually quite staggering.

We've all heard issues with energy supply in the media recently. Gas being contracted off for overseas sales and electricity infrastructure closing down. Even so the Daily Supply Charge for gas going up 20% when I don't recall reading much about infrastructure changes, doesn't quite make sense.

One of the problems with Dodo putting up their prices now when the rest of the industry puts their prices up around January, is they look bad for a while until the rest put their prices up. That means you have to wait until you see what happens with the other supplies in the new year.

Not good news at all. We're quite frugal with our energy usage now so this increase will be difficult if not impossible to negate in some way with further energy reduction. However it never hurts to look for ways to reduce usage.

I'm a believer that as the prices increase, that one day an alternative will become available because it becomes cost effective. For example as the daily supply charge increases for gas it may mean it becomes viable to consider only using electricity. Perhaps the gas to electricity conversion becomes more cost effective and thus we could get rid of the electricity suppliers. Perhaps with solar, better batteries we may be to get rid of one supplier. Certainly lower energy cost appliances (e.g. lights) and computers have helped reduce energy use, so we really never know what's around the corner.

If you're paying large amounts on electricity bills working what your appliances are costing you so you can make informed decisions is something we did that saved us thousands. I wrote the Energy Cost Calculator (www.justlocal.com.au/clients/energy-cost/) to help me with calculations. Perhaps it might help others.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Update: 14 September 2017
As a result of this nudge I decided to go searching for better prices. As a result I believe I've identified a supplier which would be $60 a year better for electricity and around $240 better for gas. That's a potential saving of around $300 per year. I thought I had shopped around and had good prices, reduced electricity usage, but the one area I've been less thorough, is with gas and this shows with the potential saving. This is a reminder that you should shop around.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Can you thaw and then refreeze meat?

Today I read an article on whether or not you can thaw and refreeze meat which appeared on the new.com.au site.

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/food/eat/can-you-thaw-and-refreeze-meat-6-food-safety-myths-busted/news-story/feac0341b79bed4c58f7b803ba1a8c69

The problem is the first myth in the article didn't quite make sense and didn't really answer the question.

Myth 1: If you thaw meat, you can’t refreeze it.

FALSE. According to the CSIRO, it’s perfectly safe to refreeze defrosted meat or chicken or any frozen food as long as it was defrosted in a fridge running at five degrees C or below. The only thing you may compromise is a bit of taste, as defrosted meat can become slightly watery.

If there’s anything to watch, it’s the pre-freezer ‘steam’. If you cook defrosted meat and refreeze it into a container while hot, you’ll create condensation — which is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. So wait for the steam to subside before packaging.

I thought I'd then look for the source of the material from the CSIRO. The same article on the CSIRO made sense.

https://blog.csiro.au/you-can-thaw-and-refreeze-meat-five-food-safety-myths-busted/

Myth 1: if you’ve defrosted frozen meat or chicken you can’t refreeze it

From a safety point of view, it is fine to refreeze defrosted meat or chicken or any frozen food as long as it was defrosted in a fridge running at 5°C or below. Some quality may be lost by defrosting then refreezing foods as the cells break down a little and the food can become slightly watery.

Another option is to cook the defrosted food and then divide into small portions and refreeze once it has stopped steaming. Steam in a closed container leads to condensation, which can result in pools of water forming. This, combined with the nutrients in the food, creates the perfect environment for microbial growth. So it’s always best to wait about 30 minutes before refrigerating or freezing hot food.

Plan ahead so food can be defrosted in the fridge, especially with large items such as a frozen turkey or roll of meat. If left on the bench, the external surface could be at room temperature and micro-organisms could be growing rapidly while the centre of the piece is still frozen!

This is an example of how you have to be careful when material is edited and republished on other sites. The news.com.au site didn't make sense as they had removed the paragraph starting with "Another option". The news.com.au article went straight from refreezing thawed meat to talking about steam being a problem. Nothing about cooking and thus the disconnected meant it didn't make sense and wasn't advice I'd follow. The CSIRO article was complete, made sense and gives me confidence I can follow the advice.

So yes, according to the CSIRO you can thaw and refreeze meat, as long as you follow their guidance.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, September 08, 2017

McDonald's monopoly Australia rare pieces 2017.

Just for fun!

It's that time when McDonald's runs their Monopoly competition. In previous years I've posted the rare pieces as they've become known. If you'd like to help, post the McDonald's monopoly pieces you have in a comment below. That way we can determine the rare pieces together.

NOTE: This is for McDonald's monopoly Australia 2017.

Rare pieces.

Park Lane (suspected rare)
Euston Road (suspected rare)
Marlborough Street (suspected rare)
Fenchurch St Station (suspected rare)

Remember, post a comment of all your pieces to help identify the rare pieces.


Thanks and enjoy.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Seniors discount at Red Rooster Doncaster.

I thought I'd start recording where Seniors Card holders can get discount. Yes there's a online site that has a directory, but I've found the business I use aren't listed.

I noticed the Red Rooster on the corner of Manningham Road and High Street (known as Red Rooster Doncaster on the Red Rooster site) has a sign on their drive-through window that they offer a seniors discount. I asked what it was and they said it was 10% off.

As usual you can expect this may not apply with other discounts, but getting 10% your Red Rooster order is a nice bonus for seniors.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

PS. Whilst the Red Rooster according to Red Rooster's site is known as Doncaster, this is a weird section of land in terms of suburb boundaries and the actual location is in Templestowe Lower.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Get your free Coke no sugar.

On TV tonight there was an ad for Coke no sugar. You can get a free sample by visiting the following page.

https://www.coca-cola.com.au/en/new-coke-no-sugar/

On the site you can request a free sample and they'll send you a link for the voucher. I haven't used the voucher but from what I read in the terms and conditions you have 12 minutes in which to show the voucher to the cashier before the voucher expires.

Enjoy.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How many days to Christmas?

I've updated the Days Between Dates web app to have three shortcut links to three popular dates. The dates are:

Christmas
New Year's Day
Days since the start of the year

By clicking on each of these links you'll get the number of days.

Kelvin Eldridge
Days Between Dates
www.DaysBetweenDates.com.au

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator updated with new stamp duty rates for First Home Buyers

From the 1st of July 2017 First Home Buyers now have new discounted stamp duty rates when buying their first home. I contacted the State Revenue Office and they were kind enough to provide the reference to the new formula for the discounted stamp duty.

The Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator has now been updated with the new formula, correctly providing the stamp duty for First Home Buyers purchasing a property up to $750,000.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.victorianstampdutycalculator.com.au

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Dominos 10,001 free pizzas.

Dominos are currently having a special promotion giving away 10,001 free pizzas. The promotion started at 4 pm on Wednesday the 9th of August.


As expected the promotion is proving very popular with the message "This promotion is currently serving the maximum allowed number of concurrent users. Please check back in a minute."

For desktop users you can find the promotion at https://www.facebook.com/DominosAustralia/app/174961479209942/.

For mobile users you may wish to try the link http://bit.ly/2vNQpVv.

Good luck.

Kelvin Eldridge

PS. You do need a Facebook account. I got through but since I don't have a Facebook account I can't connect to the coupon app. Such is life. If it helps I was using the mobile phone with the link above. I just kept pulling the page down to refresh and got through.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Days Between Dates calculator now available.

I decided to create a Days Between Dates calculator for those times you need to work out the number of days between two dates.

For example:

How long until Christmas?
How long until our holiday?
How long until my birthday?

There's lots of times we'd like to know how many days there are between two dates.

One example is when we wish to lose weight by a certain date. Using the BMI Calculator you can work out roughly how much weight you can lose per day. Then you can work out how many days between dates. Multiply the number of days by the daily weight loss and you can work out how much weight you'll be able to lose by the given date. For convenience I've provided a link to the Days Between Dates from the BMI/BMR Calculator.

Kelvin Eldridge
Days Between Dates calculator

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Applying for a Victorian Seniors Card online

I'm getting close to that point in my life when it's time to apply for a Seniors Card. I've heard a number of people who have turned 60 wonder when they'll get their Seniors Card.

The Seniors Card isn't something that will happen automatically. You have to apply for the Seniors Card. I've read there's forms available at the Post Office, but my preference is to use the online form which is available at https://dhhsseniorsonline.secure.force.com/NewApplication.

You can submit your application three weeks before you turn 60 enabling you to receive your Seniors Card soon after you turn 60.

Now whilst having a Seniors Card isn't a biggie, there are discounts available to Seniors Card holders and it's worth becoming aware of some of the discounts. For example KFC offer 10% discount as do The Good Guys. There's free travel on public transport which isn't that great if your other half isn't also a senior, but it least it's offered.

The savings aren't huge but over the year could add up to a nice little amount.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Update: I received the Seniors card and a free Myki card (which I assume to be a seniors Myki card) today the 18th of August. That's pretty quick and more than a week before I turn 60.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Free Bike Share Melbourne has evolved.

I've now added a bike sharing system to the Free Bike Share Melbourne site. The system will enable my family and friends to find, book, borrow and return bikes, making bike sharing much easier.

The new option is the Bikes option found on the menu at https://www.freebikesharemelbourne.com.au. This section is password protected for registered users only.

My desire is to test the approach and if it is found to assist my family and friends, to then look for ways I can make the same facility available to others.

Kelvin Eldridge
Free Bike Share Melbourne

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Aldi 60"/152cm Ultra HD 4K LCD TV.

Can't justify the cost of a large screen TV, perhaps the 60" TV from Aldi is worth checking out.

OK. I'm not really a big TV fan, or more specifically a big fan of TV, but like most people, do spend time watching it. We've had a smallish 32" TV in the lounge for some time and really it looks too small.

The Aldi range of TVs are very reasonably priced so I thought why not give it a go. I picked up the Aldi 60"/152cm Ultra HD 4K LED LCD TVs on Saturday. If you're thinking about one of these TVs it is big, so make sure you have a car/van that can carry the TV. We have a small people mover and it took up all the back boot and passenger space. The good thing is whilst it's best to have two people to lift it, it is surprisingly light for its size, at about 15kg.

Set up of the TV was pretty easy. Installed the two legs by screwing in three screws in each. I'm always a bit concerned with screws cross threading and one was a bit of a concern, but the rest screwed in fine. Turn the TV on an followed the prompts and it was up and going in a few minutes. The picture quality for my needs is very good. It also fits our large lounge room and doesn't look out of place. I like the thin black frame which means the TV doesn't look like a piece of furniture.

So far really, the only thing I think could be better is the EPG guide. The EPG doesn't show a summary of what's on across all the channels. You have to step through each channel to see what's on the channel. Not a really big issue as I can always check an online TV guide. The EPG does show what's showing currently and later for the channel, so that's good if you want to see what's up next.

Keep in mind this is not a smart TV. I'm not interested in a smart TV as the computing devices, Apple TV and Google Chrome provide all the smarts I need.

In terms of ports, it has all the ports I need. One port that is missing that I've seen on other TVs, is output of video/audio using RCA sockets, but since I've never used them in the past, I don't see that as a problem for the future. There's four HDMI inputs and two USB inputs. One HDMI for the Google Chrome device I have which uses one USB port for power and a second port for a USB device. Again sufficient for my needs.

At $799 the Aldi 60"/152cm Ultra HD 4K LCD TV is a pleasant addition to our entertainment needs. No real problems so far and I'm very happy with the purchase.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Coles receipts are tax invoices, but not a valid tax invoice when Flybuy points are used.

A while ago I created the Australian GST Calculator to make it easier to determine GST, or add GST. Rounding can be an issue with GST.

Today however, I noticed a very unusual situation that I'd never seen, or thought about before. According to the Coles site, Coles receipts, which are clearly marked at tax invoices, also display a disclaimer they are not valid tax invoices, if Flybuy points are used. Coles provides a GST Calculator specifically for calculating the actual GST when you use Flybuy points.

https://www.coles.com.au/customer-service/gst-calculator

Looking at the examples provided, it appears you need to apportion the Flybuy point saving in proportionally to both the tax example and taxed items. In the first example on the link provided the total receipt is for $79.99, the Flybuys discount is $10, the GST on the receipt is $6.40 and the tax free item is $9.55.

The $10 as a proportion of $79.99 is 0.125. Therefore the GST needs to be reduced by 0.125 or $0.80, giving the actual GST as $5.60.

In the case of the second receipt for $154.34, GST $7.74, Flybuy points were used to pay the entire amount. The GST in this case has to be reduced by 100% or 1 * $7.74, meaning no GST has been paid. Put another way, Flybuys is a discount and needs to be applied equally to tax free items and taxed items. Thus the amount of GST paid for the taxed items is reduced.

In this case, the Australian GST Calculator won't assist in this more complex situation. It may be worthwhile when purchasing business related items to either pay entirely using Flybuy points, or not to use Flybuy points at all.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.AustralianGSTCalculator.com.au

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Melbourne petrol prices are now in the price hike phase.

Last night I noticed the Preston Woolworths Petrol station had increased its price to 132.9. This morning I noticed a second in South Preston has increased their price.

Today driving around there were many petrol stations that had restored their prices to 132.9.

It's definitely time to fill up your petrol tanks and soon lock in the 7 Eleven petrol price for the coming week.

The area where you can find the lowest prices appears to be around the Clayton/Springvale/Moorabin area. There's still plenty of areas you can find unleaded petrol under the 110 price, but don't delay, another day or two and the petrol price will have restored to the higher price.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Optus offers extra 50GB on it's $70 a month 50GB SIM only data plan.

I found this interesting. Optus recently offered an extra 50GB on their $70 a month 50GB SIM only data plan, taking the monthly allowance to 100GB. The plan continues at 100GB a month unless you cancel the plan. The offer expired on the 2nd of July 2017.

Today, the 6th of July, I saw this ad appear on the News.com.au site.


 Yes (no pun intended), it is the same offer that had just expired, but now we have a new offer (that's the same) which expires on 6/8/17. The offer like the previous, ends on a Sunday.

Now I do wonder what will happen after the 6th of August. Perhaps another similar offer.

Seeing this type of ad is good as it shows us the technique of using a limited time offer to encourage people to buy now. Once you see such offers only to see the same offer again after the expiry date, it makes you realise you're just being manipulated by the advertising. You're then in a better position to make better decisions, rather than making decisions where they've used psychological tricks to make you buy.

Overall the offer is a good offer. I suspect not too far into the future we'll see 100GB at this price or better, so mobile data hopefully becomes better value over time.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support.

Making an offer on real estate/property.

I think everyone is annoyed the real estate industry regularly advertises properties for sale with a price range and the sale price is nowhere in the range. The reserve price is far above the advertised price range.

The explanation I was given for this type of price advertising by an agent decades ago, is the pool of buyers is like a pyramid. At the actual price wanted there is only a limited number of buyers. However as you go down in price the pool of potential buyers in the market increases. If you can get the interest of a larger pool of buyers, it may be possible to encourage some of those buyers to pay more.

What this means for most buyers is they waste valuable time and resources looking at property that may never have been in their price range.

Recent changes in the law to discourage under quoting (advertised prices lower than the price actually wanted) means there's now a better way to make an offer on real estate/property.

Always make your offer to the agent in writing (this also means email). If the offer is then rejected by the vendor and you get a response in writing (request a written response), the agent can no longer keep advertising below the price that was rejected. That means the advertised price has to be adjusted resulting in a more realistic advertised price.

If the agent continues to advertise the real estate/property below the price of a written offer/written rejection, then the agent can be reported to ASIC for review.

Keep in mind vendors do not have to consider any offer and may wish only to go to auction. It is also conceivable the agent may try to respond with the rejection verbally so it is not in writing, or not respond at all. There may be many ways for the agent to continue to advertise a price lower than the vendor will accept.

At least now by making a written offer and requiring a written response, there's a slim possibility advertised prices may adjust making it easier for buyers to only consider real estate/property within their budget, saving them considerable time and effort.

Kelvin Eldridge