With the end of summer approaching quickly, many families are looking to squeeze in one more family vacation before the school year begins. After all, there’s only one time of year when our demanding schedules are kept at bay and the weather is willing to cooperate with our whims. The summer months are the perfect time to make some lasting memories, so it’s wise to squeeze as much quality time as possible out of their final days.

But with the bills from the kids’ summer camp rolling in and back-to-school expenses looming, it’s a good idea to plan your last trip as frugally as possible. Take a look at the seven tips below to make sure that your family’s last hoorah for the summer is fun and cost-effective:

Fly mid-week

Flying with family can get expensive fast, so take advantage of one of the easiest money-saving tips out there: flying mid-week. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are the most costly days to travel, so take advantage of the kids’ time off from school and book your flights for one of the other four days of the week when it’s less pricey.

Be flexible with travel dates

It might sound strange, but moving your family’s flights just one or two days from your intended travel dates could make a big difference in how much they cost. When you’re sketching out the days you’d like to fly, be a little flexible with which exact days you plan to be in transit on; doing so could save you big bucks.

Research free attractions and events ahead of your trip

No matter which city you plan to travel to, there are bound to be free attractions and events to keep you and your family busy while you’re on vacation. Do some Internet research ahead of your trip to find concerts, museums, festivals, and other free entertainment you and your clan will enjoy. Not only will you end up having a great time, but you’ll be capitalizing on all the freebies summer has to offer.

Use public transit

Renting a car or taking cabs are both expensive ways to get around your vacation destination, and unfortunately, a lot of people don’t investigate more frugal options. Look into the public transit system in the city you’re traveling to – buses, subways, light rail, trolleys, etc. Again, this serves a dual purpose: you’ll see more of the city you’re visiting and save some money to boot!

Consider renting an apartment or condo

Hotels are convenient, but their ease of use comes at a serious price. A much less costly option is to rent an apartment or condo from a local who’s out of town, especially if you have a large family. Another bonus to renting a residence is that you’ll have access to a full kitchen, which will come in handy with our next tip:

Prepare your family’s meals and snacks at home

One of the biggest budget busters, when you’re traveling, is restaurant meals, so to minimize this expense, try to prepare as many meals and snacks at home as you can. If you’re worried that this strategy will detract from your relaxation time, make a plan ahead of time to eat out just a few times. This way, the experience will still be special, but you won’t be spending an arm and a leg. Many hostels and guesthouses even offer a shared kitchen, which you can stock with local groceries and use to prepare simple meals – major savings.

Befriend a local

Searching for frugal meals and entertainment on your own is always good fun, but it’s the locals who know where to snag the best steals and deals. Shortly upon arrival, try chatting up a full-time resident to get some insider information about what’s cheap – and fun! – to do and see in the area.

The takeaway: booking an enjoyable getaway for your family doesn’t have to be expensive. With a little-advanced planning, creativity, and the tips above, you can enjoy a relaxing end-of-summer fling with the people you love most. Don’t wait until it’s too late!


A lot of people made a great deal of money on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in 2017. With values skyrocketing throughout the year, those who might have invested years ago (or even early in 2017 for that matter) had the opportunity to cash out and make large or even massive gains. Now, there is such a thing as a “bitcoin millionaire” or “cryptocurrency investor,” and some of them are starting to give advice about how much ought to be invested in bitcoin moving forward.

It’s a good idea generally to read some of that advice before making a decision to invest. Remember that bitcoin is a brand new commodity and there’s really no such thing as an expert at this point. It’s a difficult asset to predict, and even those who have traded successfully can’t be sure of what’s next – which is to say no one voice is fully trustworthy. But as with any other investment it’s vital to educate yourself on the different possibilities and the key factors involved.

Strategy aside however it’s also important to learn how to invest in bitcoin, since it isn’t exactly an ordinary asset or commodity. Buying bitcoin isn’t like buying a stock, or even trading in gold or oil. The buying and storing processes work differently, and require a little bit of education.

There are actually different ways to buy bitcoin, and one of the most comprehensive overviews actually comes from a gaming site (because bitcoin has become a preferred method for a lot of online gamers to pay for play). This overview is worth a read, but points out that there are several ways of acquiring bitcoin, including purchasing from friends or family, using a direct bank transfer, or perhaps most commonly, by registering with an exchange. You can also mine for your own bitcoin, meaning you’re acquiring it as soon as it goes into circulation, but this is a complex process that demands expensive, high-end computing equipment. The easiest way to buy bitcoin if you want to so it right away is to register with a popular exchange like Coinbase, which allows you to use bank transfers, credit cards, or deposited cash to purchase cryptocurrency directly.

As to how you actually store bitcoins, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the idea of crypto wallets, because they’re really the only way to do it. It’s important to recognize as you get into the process that bitcoin isn’t a tangible asset, and you never actually possess it in the traditional sense. It exists online, and what you buy is access to it, in the form of digital codes. Wallets store these codes in different ways. Bitcoin wallets can either live on your computer and/or mobile device, on a physical gadget, or on a piece of paper. Put more simply, there are software wallets (computer and/or mobile device), hardware wallets (gadgets like USB sticks) and paper wallets (literal pieces of paper that contain your digital keys). There are pros and cons to each option concerning security and ease of use. Some might argue that hardware storage is best for long-term investment because it store
s bitcoin offline and free of hacking concerns – but this opinion is subjective.

That explains the basics, regardless of actual strategy for whether or not it’s wise to buy in. It’s a different sort of investing practice, but one that’s actually reasonably easy to get the hang of once you understand the core concepts.

After reading that miserable article, I was IM’ing with a friend of mine at Complex Diagrams. (He’s a UI designer I know.) It struck me that what I really wanted to write was an article about the skills that have served me most in life, not just school, but the actual office.

1. Being able to read a lot, and fast.

It will get you through college and through a lot of stuff at work when you’re on a deadline. I took a speed reading course during freshman orientation week in college. I was already a fast reader, but it did help me learn a few new tricks I still use today. Along with reading a lot and fast, is having a good vocabulary so you don’t have to drag out a dictionary all the time. (But if you need an online one, I recommend Merriam-Webster’s site. It’s my go-to site when I need help.) I don’t know how to help you if you have dyslexia. I have several friends with this problem and I just don’t get it. But all of them have extremely powerful memories.

2. Think critically.

Be a skeptic. Not necessarily a nay-sayer, but a devil’s advocate. You want to be able to decide what ideas are meritorious and not just say no or be negative just to be a jerk. You can build something up by tearing it down in a constructive way. Knowing how to evaluate ideas, concepts, people, everything is really important. By doing this well, you will become the office resource for quality discussions.

3. Argue effectively.

Understand what’s really at stake during people’s conversations at the office so you can know how to argue for the right things. I debated in high school and in college. I also wrote a lot of essay and research papers in high school. And though I was a very bad writer in high school, I got to college and was well-practiced at documenting an argument. I still use those skills at work for emails, proposals, design and requirement documents.

4. Write grammatically, if not concisely.

I will admit, I don’t know how to use a semi-colon very well, so I cover it up by using a period wisely. Knowing what an Oxford comma is not necessary, but spelling properly, using antecedents and subordinating clauses well goes a long way in communicating at the office. Do not underestimate it. Emails get forwarded and people who don’t know you will form an impression of you in text. In general, I am not a concise writer, nor speaker. But I know how to edit in text, which helps overcome my problem.

5. Focus and sustain effort.

Being able to focus your energy and effort for 2 hours or more is really important. As I age, I realize what a short attention span I have at work. Judicious application of focusing myself has saved me, my team, and my project many times in life. Learn how to self-discipline yourself to focus.

6. Listen actively, and listen ‘through’ people for what they are not saying and understand their motives and agendas.

Hearing and listening are two different things. I register aural stimulation when I hear, but I understand when I listen. Plus people like it when you listen to them. It makes them feel good, which segues into my next point.

7. Be generally friendly and nice at the office.

Sounds weird, but just saying hello to people helps. I often have to talk to total strangers and if you at least give the appearance of being nice, when you do have to speak to someone out of the blue, they will be positive and helpful.

Ok, these are certainly not the only life success tips out there. It’s just the seven concrete life skills I think make a difference. My evidence is my life. When I am lacking in one skill or another, I can tell. I continually fall back on some of these skills at work no matter where I’ve worked or what I am doing. My job reviews, assessments, peer reviews, recommendations, etc, all mention variations on these themes. I am sure that there are quite a few other things I could have put, like self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses, but I think that comes later, after you build a foundation with these seven things.

What are your key life skills that have added to your personal success?

As you are reading this article I believe that you have recognized the value of life insurance and are in a process of evaluating your insurance needs or looking for a Life Insurance Calculator and I hope you will be signing up for an insurance contract with the best term life insurance company very soon. First things first, let me congratulate you for realizing the value of Insurance and let me take a chance to remind (read warn) you once again that your journey for buying life insurance shouldn’t stop here and I really hope that you will turn your wish to reality and fulfill the commitment of buying term life insurance which is the corner step for securing the future of your family.

Now coming to the main question of this article, how much insurance do you need is always a tricky question and to be honest there is no straight forward answer to this, as a thumb rule many experts will ask you to take at least 10 to 20 times of your current annual package (CTC) but to practice in life that is not the correct way to address the insurance needs. I agree that the views of no two people can be same and it is ideal to assume that we have different answers or thumb rules for this important question. Today let me take a chance to list my views on calculating life insurance needs based on which I hope you will be able to get a conclusion of how much life insurance do you really need?

Your Earning Capability

Your earning capability to earn can help you in deciding the basic value of life insurance that you should buy and even experts may not be wrong in suggesting 10 to 20 times of your current annual package as life insurance but the thumb rule have its own set of flaws, let me cite an example consider Mr. Chakravarthy aged 30 years earning Rs. 500000 per annul decided to take insurance based on the thumb rule he have to take insurance ranging between Rs. 50 lakhs to Rs. 1 Crore but the flaw here is Mr. Chakravarthy current package is 5 lakhs and he have potential of earning much higher than the current package as years pass by and it will not be outrageous to say that his package could be at least Rs. 7.5 lakhs after 5 years assuming a 10% hike (in simple terms not compounded, even I know that 10% hike every year results the packages after 5 years to Rs. 805255) and after 10 years he will be capable of earning a minimum of 1 million rupees even with moderate hikes. Now returning to the question of insurance required the insurance requirements of Mr. Chakravarthy will be changed after a decade and he should buy insurance again at the age 40 years, thanks to inflation now his family needs much higher corpus in case if something happens to him and they may not be able to keep up their living standard as before with the proceedings from his insurance policy that he took 10 years ago and buying additional insurance again at that age may not practical all the times.

So what is the right figure with respect to the current annual income? For this you should be considering your income after 10 years for people aged between 25 to 35 years or simply (Your Current Annual Income + Minimum of 100%) and for people aged above 35 years the value considered should be the income you are expecting to earn after 5 years or simply (Your Current Annual Income + Minimum of 50%) and multiply the value with the figure that you are comfortable with after considering your life style expenses, bills, education costs, etc. and the way you want your family to lead their lives in your absence (my thumb rule suggestion is to take a 10 multiplier if you are frugal with limited expenses and less discretionary expenses or take a 20 multiplier if your family have high life style expenses with huge discretionary expenses).

Assuming that you don’t have any loans, liabilities to handle and have no plans to avail loans in future you are good to go with above figure and end reading here, for rest continue further.

Consolidate Your Debts & Liabilities


List down all your debts, loans, liabilities (everything is same but mandatory to make a list) and combine that figure and add this figure to the one arrived in above step. Why this? Because your family may not be in a place to pay off your debts and a major chunk of the proceedings from the life insurer may get exhausted for writing off your debts, so it is essential to cover the whole of your debts and get coverage for that amount as well.

Think Future

Sometimes your current requirements may not fulfill your future needs, you may be married with no kids or a single kid today and you need to be ready to handle the expenses of having a kid or two (sometimes things go beyond your control, pun intended), budgeting for these expenses is one part of financial planning but handling the risk of these costs should be considered while buying your life term insurance policy.

Consider Assets You Own

You keep on adding things all the time and adding up all these stuffs will raise the costs and now it’s time to cut the burden, list down all the assets you or your spouse own (please be generous enough while considering the value for real estate assets) or your family will inherit for sure (like building on the name of your father and you are the only son, which is safe to assume that you inherit) add them up all and just deduct the same figure from the life insurance value you need.

Human Life Value

It is always tough to calculate the Human Life Value (HLV) for which we have emotional attachment but for reasons known to us primarily for peace of mind and to cover the uncertainties that life have in its store for us it is your responsibility to cover financial aspects of your life to safeguard the future of your family.

In financial terms Human Life Value (HLV) is the sum of your lifetime earning capabilities which is certain if you live forever and for us that is not enough while calculating the life insurance value to change it HLV could be defined as follows which in my opinion is the right amount of life insurance you should but today.

Considering all these I hope you will make an informed decision, and I hope that you will be able to make your purchase considering this theory as life insurance calculator.

Between Us: What is your view on my definition of life insurance that is required? Please share your views on this. In case if you have already bought life insurance please calculate yourself if you are adequately insured and in case if you are under insured please take the right steps to increase it further.