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3 weeks ago

Tax Advantage

38 ways to make more money in 2020

Does boosting your bank account feel like an impossible dream? It’s not…as long as you know these smart and savvy tips.

By Bobbi Dempsey

I will keep giving you 10 ways for next three weeks and 8 ways in the last week. Watch the space

Boost your bank account in the new year

The start of a new year is a great time to evaluate your money habits and identify places where you can boost your income or decrease your spending. While the process can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re drowning in bills, you’ve got this – and we’ve got your back. We rounded up a wide assortment of great tips for all aspects of your financial life so that you can turn your dream of saving money into a reality. Believe it or not, just a few simple tweaks can help you get (and keep) more money in your pocket in 2020.

Ask for a raise

But first, be prepared to make a strong case. “Keep track of your professional achievements and how your work positively contributes to your organisation,” says Stefanie O’Connell Rodriguez, a personal finance expert and the author of The Broke and Beautiful Life. “The more specific you are and the more metrics, examples and anecdotes you can bring to the negotiation table, the easier it will be to build your confidence and support your ask.” It may also help to research how much your coworkers are making.

Buy gift cards at a discount, and sell ones you don’t want

Most of us have at least a few old, unwanted gift cards stashed away in a drawer. Leaving them unused is like throwing away money. Instead, turn them into cash by selling them online. Many of the sites that buy gift cards also sell those cards at a discounted price. This is a great way to save money on gift cards for yourself or others.

Shop through sites that offer cashback rewards

Meghan Fox, a savings expert, suggests users maximise their savings by buying discounted gift cards and then using those cards at a site that pays cash back. Check out sites such as Cashrewards and PricePal which offer cashback rewards for purchases at a variety of retailers and websites.

Use social media for positive motivation

“Follow financially savvy young professionals instead of, say, travellers,” says Brian Walsh, a certified financial planner at SoFi. “They will inspire you to stick to your goals rather than keeping up with the Joneses.”

Declutter and make money on Facebook Marketplace

Go through your closet, apartment, garage or storage unit, and sell things you no longer wear or need on Facebook Marketplace. “I have sold several thousand dollars worth of stuff to declutter our house!” says Deb Liu, Vice President of Marketplace and Commerce at Facebook. “I [also] get the kids involved. We’ve sold some of their games and toys. It’s a win-win: They think they’re earning money for even more toys, and I get to teach them about math and budgeting!”

Cash in on special-event items you won’t use again

Lindsey Nickel, a wedding planner at Lovely Day Events, suggests newlyweds help recoup some of their wedding expenses by selling items they used at their event. “These items are very wedding-specific and probably won’t be used again,” she says. “So instead of taking up storage, I tell them to sell them on sites like Facebook Marketplace and help out the next bride instead. Ask your professional photographer for the big day to take high-quality pics of the items.”

Take advantage of price matching

This can help you avoid a lot of driving around or wasting time shopping at a bunch of different sites. But be sure to read the store policies carefully. Some will only price-match the items at brick-and-mortar stores (not websites) or stores
within a certain geographic location.

Become a preferred shopper

Sign up for retailers’ email promotions and follow them on social media. You will often get access to special coupons, sales and discount promotions. That said, it’s a good idea to create a special email address for these promotional emails to keep them from swamping your primary inbox.


Carpooling can save you thousands of dollars each year on petrol and vehicle expenses, in addition to helping you decrease the stress and anxiety of commuting.

For planning and saving tax will definitely boost your bank balance. Call us now and find out how you can achieve this

Baptist Lobo

For your Accounting, Taxation and Business Advisory please contact us

Phone # : +64 21 815040
+64 9 8287877

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3 weeks ago

Tax Advantage

10 things most people forget to check when viewing a home for sale

You’re on the hunt for your next home. You know what you’re looking for – a large kitchen, a modern bathroom and a two-car garage. But are there things you may be overlooking? Here are 10 things people often forget to check for when looking for a home to buy.

The neighbourhood

If the home that’s for sale is in a neighbourhood you don’t know well, it’s worth a few trips to the neighbourhood during different times of the day. Check out the neighbourhood at night – is it a place where you’d feel safe once the sun goes down? Is the home in a university neighbourhood where late-night parties may keep you up at night?

Phone signal

If you rely on a mobile phone for just about everything, check to see if you can get a signal inside the home for sale. If you can’t get phone service, will this be a problem for you?

Your commute

What will your commute be like to and from work? Test your commute from the house that’s for sale. See what rush hour is like in the morning and in the evening.


Noise can be an issue for many home buyers. Is there plane or train traffic noise? Is the home near a freeway? If you’re a light sleeper, noise can be major problem.

Association fees and rules

Is the home that’s for sale in a community where you’ll have to pay homeowner association dues? Will you be able to paint your front door your favourite colour? If the home is in an association, find out what the dues are and read through the bylaws.

Resale value

Even if you plan on staying in the home for several years, consider the resale value. Does the home back up to a busy street? Are there several apartment buildings on the street? Is the neighbourhood undergoing a revitalization or is it struggling? Consider things that may scare off potential future buyers.

Water pressure

Imagine moving into your new home only to find the water pressure is severely lacking. Make sure to test the taps, including the shower and give the toilet a flush. Ignoring these things is one of the most common mistakes you’ll see first-time homebuyers make.

Bedroom-to-bathroom ratio

When it comes to bedrooms and bathrooms, you’ll never regret having more bathrooms. Not having enough bathrooms can make you regret a home purchase.

Is there room to expand?

When looking at a home for sale, consider if there is room to grow. If you don’t have kids now but plan to in the future, will there be enough room? Is there room to add on if needed and would it be affordable? If you work from home, is there a place where you can do so without distractions?

Property accounting and taxation is my forte. Please call me

Baptist Lobo

For your Accounting, Taxation and Business Advisory please contact us

Phone # : +64 21 815040
+64 9 8287877

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1 month ago

Tax Advantage

Top tips on......Saving money on banking and insurance

Bank fees
Fees provide lucrative income for banks. Last year, they earned $2.3 billion from fees and commissions they charged to customers. But some fees you can avoid. Start the hunt for savings by looking at your everyday transaction account. Over a year you could be paying your bank hundreds of dollars in fees, some of which could be avoided. First up, ask your bank if you qualify for any fee exemptions on your transaction account. No joy? Then look at what other banks will offer. If you have a mortgage with your bank, you should be able to haggle to pay no monthly fees. You should also be exempt if you have term deposits or a decent pile of savings. Regular deposits or having a minimum monthly balance can also strengthen your case to get fees scrapped. Banks usually offer exemptions for children, students, new graduates and those aged over 65. However, these sometimes come with provisos, such as having your NZ Super paid into your account. If you don't qualify for an exemption, look at how you're using your account. Add up the number of transactions you do each month. If you have a lot of payments going out, then an account with a flat monthly fee will usually be a better option than one that charges per transaction.

Credit cards
The number one rule with a credit card is to pay off your balance in full each month. Otherwise you'll be paying high interest charges – about 20 per cent – on money owed. Don't be tempted to pay just the minimum – minimum payments are designed to benefit the bank, not you, and mean your debt will take much longer to pay off. The other trap with credit cards is the annual fee. It can be steep, particularly if your card is linked to a rewards scheme. The big lesson with credit card rewards schemes is they only really reward big spenders. Unless you spend more than $25,000 every two years – and pay off your card at the end of each month – most schemes won't be worth it. You can save yourself money by switching to a card with no (or a low) annual fee. If you do end up in the red, switch to a card with a low-interest rate or look at a balance-transfer option. Banks regularly promote balance-transfer offers, which let you move the debt from your existing card to another bank's card and, for a fixed period, you pay reduced or no interest on the amount transferred. To make these offers really work, you need to pay off the debt within the fixed period. Work out a budget to pay off your card debt. There are local budgeting services that can help. Don't use your card until the debt is repaid – any new purchases will usually be charged interest at the standard rate.

Insurance is a growing household expense. Over the past decade, the cost of home insurance has risen by 144 per cent and contents cover by 41 per cent. It's easy to "set and forget" your insurance – but that's exactly what you shouldn't do. Our surveys show there are significant price differences between insurers. For example, our latest survey of car insurance found you could save as much as $800 a year by switching companies. If you've got dependents and are paying for life insurance, it's also important you review your cover regularly. At a minimum, life insurance should cover your debts, funeral expenses and your family's immediate living costs if you're no longer around. However, the life cover you need will change over time. When you have a young family and a sizeable mortgage, the amount will differ markedly to what you need when the kids have left home and the mortgage is nearly repaid. When you review your insurance, think about the risks you need to cover. Check your policy to see what you're getting for your money. Pay close attention to the exclusions – the things that aren't covered – to help weigh up whether you're getting a fair deal. In the life insurance market, commission-based selling has led to consumers being oversold cover and you may be paying more than you should for a policy that provides little value. If your insurer isn't delivering good service, look for a company that promises better.

Insurance checklist
• When you get your annual renewal notice, check if you could save by switching companies.
• Shop around for cover – get at least three quotes. Premiums can differ by hundreds of dollars.
• If you're unsure about anything, ask and get the company to explain its advice to you in writing, particularly the exclusions and any restrictions on cover.
• Regularly review how much cover you need, especially after major life changes such as marriage or divorce, having children, or children leaving home and becoming independent.
• If you're changing insurers, don't cancel your old cover until you have been confirmed as a customer of the new insurer.

Baptist Lobo

For your Accounting, Taxation and Business Advisory please contact us

Phone # : +64 21 815040
+64 9 8287877

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1 month ago

Tax Advantage

How scammers get your details - and how to stop them

Scam attempts occurring in this country are happening by the second. With $33 million already lost in New Zealand due to scams last year and the major banks reporting fraudulent activity to have increased by more than 50 per cent this year, it is no surprise government agencies, the telecommunications industry and Netsafe are banding together in an attempt to tackle the ever-increasing issue. Scams today are elaborate and sophisticated, many international crime rings. Some have become so big that they could be considered a business. Most are believed to be teams of 10 or 20 opportunists, and the authorities are said to be dealing with scam networks with connections as far as India. Scams - tricking people into giving away their money - become fraud as soon as a scammer gets hold of a person's personal or financial details to use for their own gain, according to Cert NZ.

Scams come in a variety of forms, ranging phishing, social media and invoice scams, and PC tech support scams which are increasingly on the rise. There is also the 'get rich fast' money scams, investment scams, employment scams, romance scams and the more traditional email scam. The list goes on. Martin Crocker, chief executive of online safety organisation Netsafe, says tens of millions of scam attempts are aimed at Kiwis each year, with phone and PC tech support scams fast becoming among the most common. Arguably the most high-profile scam which sees opportunists pretending to be technicians from telecommunications company Spark, claiming to need to urgently fix issues with internet, is said to be on the radar of various government agencies, including Immigration NZ. Police believe there may be hundreds of victims in the ongoing scam that urges people to post hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash across the country or overseas. Scams and fraud, phishing and credential harvesting, along with unauthorised access, have consistently been the highest reported cyber security incident categories since 2017. Just under 2000 cyber security incidents were reported to Cert NZ in the second quarter of the year, with scams and fraud outlined as the highest reported category, making up 38 per cent of all reports.

How scammers get your information
Email addresses, phone numbers, names, addresses, job titles, online activity and information willing put online, both on social media and on businesses' websites such as when shopping online. Most scammers are getting personal information from data breaches. Crocker says there are "huge databases" of personal information that have been stolen or breached are for sale on the dark web. Other ways are through public sources, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. "We're on social media ... there's lots of information which if scammers want to take the time they can glean and it helps them to personalise scam approaches to individuals."

He warns not to over share on social media and not to save personal details on websites. "[If you] are approached, just because somebody knows details about you it doesn't mean they are legitimate. The main things with scams is at someone point they are going to ask for something valuable, and if somebody is asking you for something valuable that's when you need to be cautious and review."

How to protect yourself
• Stop oversharing on social media. Think before entering your details online
• Don't share personal information online, including through email
• Put privacy restrictions on your social media accounts
• Never give out your passwords. No legitimate company will ever ask your for your passwords or pin number
• Turn on multifactor authentication for online accounts and devices
• Don't click on web links sent by someone you don't know
• Be wary if a company you deal with changes their payment details

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