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Hi all, Happy New Year to all and best wishes for 2017.  Thanks for being part of the journey so far.  This year I am going to Jazz th...

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Book of the Month: The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape

The year I have become really interested in business, finance and money management. At school it was not my favourite subject but it just goes to show that even if you don't like something in school that your interest later in life can grow.

What I like about this book is its not boring. I like the style its written in its fun and lighthearted. Scott's approach to finance is also fun for example a date night with your partner to sort out your finances. Granted while I can think of more fun dinner conversations why not mix business with pleasure sometimes. Also, he says open an account where you allocate 10% of your take home pay for fun and splurging. He also doesn't advocate ruler budgeting which I think is healthy as well. He states its possible to be financially savvy without being boring and stingy.

Scott's story is also inspirational because a few years ago he lost his home and everything in a bush fire. He was left with his wife and a new baby to pick up the pieces and because of his financial knowledge he was in a position to turn the situation around. The focus of the book is to teach people how to be financially bulletproof. Who doesn't want that? Its one less stress.

The book is basically a reference document because depending on where you are financially you are going to dip into it at different stages for example, getting out of debt, buying a house, saving for your children's education and retirement. I really do feel there is something for everyone to take from it.

What I don't like about this book- the steps sound a little like Dave Ramseys baby steps. Scott has modified some of them but basically there is alot of overlap between them. Scott seems to be a looser and less regimented version of the baby steps. There are some other takeaways addressed like not paying through the hills for bank fees too

Overall recommended : a good all round text for managing your day to day finances and as a plan to becoming financially free. With work of course:)

For More Information
Barefoot Investor

Google Play link to the book - you can read a sample for free here 

Hope you enjoyed reading. You can follow me and my adventures on instagram at catmc07 Facebook: @catmc Twitter: @forrealllemail Email: forrealllemail@gmail.com TripHappy: https://triphappy.com/u/cmc If you like you can subscribe in side bar on main site. Feel free to share. :) Link to shop https://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/Forrealll?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Amserdam, Netherlands

Watch the video 

 Why: It was on the bucket list and so I finally did it.
What: Capital city of the Netherlands Amsterdam is known for its canals, canal houses, Anne Frank, Red Light District, Cheese, windmills, cycling, brown cafes and art.
Whats there : Do not be fooled into thinking Amsterdam is only about the cafes and the Red Light District there is so much more on offer.
 How: I booked by flight and hotel through Ebookers . I like that you can book both on this site and also they have a Bonus programme which is like Boots. You can earn points every time you book and redeem the points against future bookings.
 How much : I booked one week hotel and flights for around 500 euros. I also like Viator for booking tours and things to do in advance.
 Experience: I booked the 48 hour hop on and off cruise.4 This was one of the best bits. There is two lines the blue and the orange and you can of course just choose to do both tours without getting off. The choice of stops is good they stop at the Heineken Experience and also the Museums,Anne Franks House and Amsterdam Lookout and Amsterdam Central. The boats give a commentary as well so you learn a little about the history. I loved just cruising along the canals looking at the boat houses and canal houses.

The second excellent part was the Heineken Experience. They do a great job and its an excellent tour. They really take care of you. When I was there I got a keyring, a Christmas bubble they also give you 3 glasses of Heineken. I don't actually like it in Ireland but for some reason it tastes much better there. There is also a number of fun items from photo booths to karaoke that you would not expect as well as talks and exhibitions on how Heineken is made.

The third was the Amsterdam Hop on and Off bus.  I loved the Gasson Diamond Factory tour which is free and included in the price of the tour. Its really interesting and if you like jewellery then this is a must see. They explain all about the diamond processing as well as the importance of clarity, colour, cut and carats. You can see the diamond cutters at work as well.I went to the Diamond Museum as well but for me the Gasson tour was much better.

The fourth for me was Artis Zoo ( note you can buy discounted tickets on the hop on and hop off bus tour). This is just the most cute and amazing place. Ideal for families they have everything from lions to an aquarium. Its not a massive zoo either and there are plenty of spots to stop off for a rest, snacks etc too. Recommended.

The fifth for me was wandering around the streets. For me the best way to get to know a city is on foot. You can truly take the time to appreciate it all. Amsterdam seems to have surprises on every corner and I love that. There is something for everyone. 

The sixth was the Portugese Synagogue. Its priced at 15 euros and includes access to four places namely the Jewish Historical Museum, Children’s Museum, Synagogue and National Holocaust Memorial and Museum. I only did the the Synagogue and the Historical Museum. It was my very first time to visit a Synagogue and I found the tour really interesting. 

The seventh is food. The Netherlands is famous for its cheese and its delicious. You can find plenty of cheese shops around Amsterdam. Most will allow you to sample a few before trying too. I would urge you to try Pancakes cafe franchise there are a few in Amsterdam and one right beside Anne Franks House. They serve sweet and savoury pancakes. Remember your dutch chips will come with mayo and try local foods such as my favourite Bitterballen. These are tasty crispy meatballs which are served with a mustard sauce. Street food can vary from raw herring ( I didn't try it) to croquettes from a vending machine. Finally, for dessert the Dutch waffle. There is something for everyone I think. 

Pros: I felt really safe in Amsterdam and transport is excellent. The flight is around 1 hour and 15 minutes from Dublin. Everything is in euro and I can say I find the city much more relaxed then London and some of the other cities I visited.
 Cons: The only con really was its an expensive city I found especially for eating out. So make sure you budget and bring enough money to cover everything. I had to exclude somethings because I just didn't have money to do it! My biggest regret is not getting the I am Amsterdam Card  This card includes free access into a number of museum as well as free transport so its ideal. Get it before you go and then just worry about buying food and also presents. Disappointing visits for me included the Diamond Museum and also the Botanical Gardens.
 More information
I AM Amsterdam its a one stop shop on everything you need to know. 

 Hope you enjoyed reading. You can follow me and my adventures on instagram at catmc07 Facebook: @catmc Twitter: @forrealllemail Email: forrealllemail@gmail.com TripHappy: https://triphappy.com/u/cmc If you like you can subscribe in side bar on main site. Feel free to share. :) Link to shop https://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/Forrealll?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Thursday, 19 October 2017

100 euro project update and money management

This year I have been doing my best to educate myself on money and money management.
So to a quick recap, I decided to set up a share portfolio.

  • I opened my portfolio with Degiro. (ad). 
  • I decided to save parcels of 100 euros based on the 1000 dollar project by the youtuber Sugarmamma. 
  • I saved by bringing my lunch to work, coffee and any other way I could think. 
  • I researched stocks on Morningstar.com
  • I brought my stocks . 
  • You can ready my story here 
  • So far I have managed to build my portfolio of over 1000 euros. My target for this year was 1000 euros so I am delighted I managed to exceed this. I am going to continue my portfolio moving forward so the next target is 2000 euros.
  • Any dividends I earn from my stocks are being re-invested for now. 
My other finance find as been Dave Ramseys baby steps. 
  • Baby Step 1 – 1,000 euro to start an Emergency Fund.
  • Baby Step 2 – Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball. This means basically looking at all of your debt and then starting with the smallest one, use all available cash to pay it off and then going to the next debt. 
  • Baby Step 3 – 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings- top off your emergency fund. 
  • Baby Step 3a - (Rachel Cruze his daughter) say saving for a house should go here. 
  • Baby Step 4 – Invest 15% of household income into your pension in Ireland. 
  • Baby Step 5 – College funding for children
  • Baby Step 6 – Pay off home early
Baby Step 7 – Build wealth and give!

I really like how its set out and step 7 has the ethos of giving. The one criticism I have is it does not take into account saving for a house. I'm at the age and stage where this is on my mind but those of you in Ireland will also know the prices are rising rapidly. However, it is a good model to follow to make you financially stable.

You can follow me and my adventures on instagram at catmc07
Facebook: @catmc
Twitter: @forrealllemail
Email: forrealllemail@gmail.com
TripHappy: https://triphappy.com/u/cmc
If you like you can subscribe in side bar on main site. Feel free to share. :)

Monday, 16 October 2017

Howth, Dublin, Ireland

Where: Howth, Dublin, Ireland

Why: When I lived in Dublin I often went to Howth as a kind of date day. I had not been in years and so as I was in Dublin for a few days I thought why not! 
What: Pretty seaside town with lovely walks in Dublin. 
Whats there: nice little shops, walks, sea views and you can go out to Irelands eye on occassion. 
How : I took the Dart which is the local train service in Dublin which runs all along the East coast of Dublin. You can also get the bus from the city centre. 
How much : I went to the local Insomnia Coffee place. For anyone outside Ireland its like a Starbucks and got some coffee and a sandwich for about 5 euros. The train ticket for the Dart I got a return ticket which was not more then 6 euros. Look at the link below for transport options. 

Experience: I really like Howth its really pretty seaside town. There  was some seals in the harbour which was amazing as well. I loved watching them they literally look for the fishermen to feed them! But its really nice to see them. It was a lovely day and so I did alot of walking around the area and I really enjoyed it. Its a really nice get away spot from the hustle and bustle of Dublin city centre. 
Pros: I love it here and I fully intend to go back again and again! I also think its lovely for a day date. 
Cons: None really, I would say it can be a bit crowded in summer, the DART and Dublin bus run less frequently on Sundays and so its worth checking out the timetables. 
History: Howth has a alot of items for those interested in history. Irelands Eye is a bird sanctuary and also has the ruins of the Martello tower and an 8th century church. Howth Castle and its grounds upon which you can find the Transport Museum. There is Howth Lighthouse and the Bailey Lighthouse on Howth Peninsula. St Marys Abbey which has its origins back to Viking times when Sitric, King of Dublin built a church on the site in 1042.

Local attractions: 
From local seafood restaurants and pubs to walks along Howth Head and trips to Irelands eye. There is alot to do in Howth. Its a great place for a Sunday trip a walk along the pier and Sunday dinner in a local restaurant or pub. Irelands Eye is a bird santuary as well. Howth Market is also located in the town where you can find local arts and crafts as well as cheese and olives. Its also a popular dating spot where people go for a walk on the pier and share a bag of chips from Besoffs! While I was there I even caught some seals trying to get some fish from the fishermen.If your into fishing I believe you can do sea angling but I have not been able to find a contact. 

More information 
Irish Rail ( ticket information) Note if visiting Ireland especially Dublin look into the Leap card as well. 
Howth Head Loop Map - you need a rainjacket, strong boots, phone and water for this one!
Hope you enjoyed reading. You can follow me and my adventures on instagram at catmc07

 Facebook: @catmc
 Twitter: @forrealllemail 
Email: forrealllemail@gmail.com 
TripHappy: https://triphappy.com/u/cmc 
If you like you can subscribe in side bar on main site. Feel free to share. :) 

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Dunmore East , Co Waterford

Where: Dunmore East Coast Waterford
Why: I had been before many moons ago with my parents but sadly it was a rainy day. Have heard some really good things and so set off on an adventure.
Pros: the beach is awesome so sandy. The tide was out when I visited. It's also a super cute little village. There are lots of walks as well that are lovely. I did a little bit of the coastal walk along the cliffs.
Cons: Nothing for me. The cliff walk could be dangerous in bad weather and is not a place to bring young children. Parking was a bit of an issue close to the beach.
Experience: I parked close to the beach and took a stroll onto the beach. The first thing that struck me was the beautiful view over Hook Head . I strolled along the beach and then took a walk over to the harbour. Finally I made my way back to the beach and went to The Strand Seafood Bar. I ordered the catch of the day and salad. Portion was huge and the food tasty. It was a scorching day during the Easter holidays and so the pub was busy. You can eat outside and its literally overlooking the strand itself so the perfect place to watch the sun go down, take in the view and just be happy!
How: I drove from Waterford to Dunmore East . You go past Ardkeen Hospital and it's about 20minutes outside the city.

History: Dunmore East is a fishing village just outside of Waterford city. It is still an active fishing village and has the second highest figure for landing fish in Ireland outside Killybegs.  Hence, the area is renowned for its seafood.  There are two principal hotels in Dunmore namely The Strand and The Haven The Strand Inn and The Haven which was once home to  The Malcolmson family of Portroe a noted wealthy family. More recently the area has hit the news as the BBC drama Redwater is set in and around the area. The area is also noted for its watersports. 

For more information: 
Lonely Planet: Dunmore East 
The Strand Inn - recommend for food or drink 
The Haven Hotel - have not stayed but good reviews online 

Friday, 9 June 2017

Finance Savvy : Investing -12 Things I have Learned.

So recently I started to get my finances in order. I did the grown up thing and started a pension . I also started a little investment portfolio. I have been massively inspired by Sugar Mamma and her 1000  dollar project. So I implemented my own version the 100 euro project. So far I have proudly managed to set aside 500 euros since the start of 2017. I have invested all of this and in the process of my investment journey I have learned the following things.
1) Research research research it pays to look into fees for stocks,bonds,mutual funds or EFTS. Watch the  percentage or you may well find your hard earned cash being gobbled up on fees.
2) How do you want to invest ? Stock broker or are you and online do it yourself trader. Both charge fees and therefore you need to decide what your comfortable with. I use Degiro. It charges very low fees and there are other online do it yourself trading options so do your homework.
3) What to invest in? Bonds are traditionally believed to be safer but not always. Shares and if so who is it the Apples or Microsoft's of this world. There are websites such as Justetf which will build a portfolio for you. I would recommend double checking and researching the stocks which these sites recommend for you to make sure you are comfortable with them.
4) Risk - this is such an important aspect. If you are the kind to lie wake at night worrying if you loose 100 euros then your cautious and there is no point investing in high risk shares. Shares and stocks are not a get rich scheme and you need to know what you are doing and unfortunately be prepared to loose money if you gamble. Sorry but it's true. I recommend Morningstar for research. I recommend you complete the Irish Life questionnaire to see what kind of investor you are.
5) Strategy -what kind of investor are you are you a day trader or a long term investor. Both are very different and require a different strategy.
6) Research again because the value of bonds and shares can go up and down in the matter of minutes. Before you buy decide how much you are prepared to buy for. If the stock is high maybe leave it until it falls to a price you are happy to pay etc.
7) Be prepared to make mistakes and learn - but do not gamble recklessly. I have saw stocks dipped and sold as I was afraid but I should have held on. I did not have a clear strategy when I started and so I chose some stocks that were not suitable for what I wanted out of my investments. It happens and its ok. Live and learn but don't invest lots until you are sure on a stock.
8)Tax man -you must pay stamp duty on shares when you buy them. Equally, you are taxed at 20-40% pending on your income bracket for any dividends you may earn and when you sell shares yes, the tax man needs to be paid again. This is in Ireland in other countries such as the UK, investing in ISA's I believe are charged lower tax. Look into your investing and in Ireland the most tax efficient way to invest is in a pension. 
9) Make sure you have built an emergency fund, paid off debt and do not put all your eggs into one basket with investing. Have a savings account and diversify your assets e.g. some in property, FTSE, S & P, manufacturing, technology. 
10) Most men have investments but not alot of women invest. Why is this? For me it took ages to get me head around it. I think consumerism is geared more towards women in terms of clothes, hair, make up etc. But it makes me worry about my fellow pink sistas because we should be owning our finances and looking after our future and being #girlboss.  
11) Its going to take time. Investing is like saving one step forward and 3 steps back so invest little and often. 
12) Do not keep up with the Jones in investing. Gold may be the hottest thing since sliced bread for John Jones next door but it might not suit your strategy. There is alot of different factor from age, investment profile, attitude to risk , disposable income, strategy etc. If someone gives you tips on investing and starts telling you Copper is the next sure thing listen but always, always do your homework. 

If in doubt seek the advise of a trusted financial adviser these are just some steps to get you started and some tips that I found. I am not a financial adviser and so these are based on my opinion and experience. 
Best of luck with it.

If you would like me to do an ABC of investing and explain some of the terms please let me know.

I would also love to hear others investing lessons and stories. Thanks :) 

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Update 100 euro project

Hello all,

So my posts have been irregular as I am back in college part time and also working full time. So its a hard balancing act. I am going to post some of my videos online so link for one is here

So this post is on my 100 euro project. Progress has been as follows:

1) 40 euros from my change savings jar could not believe so much in it.
2) I have moved over money from from my account where I saved money by bringing in coffee or bringing my lunch to work.
3) High interest rate saver. I am using AIB Online Saver Account which earns 2%. Its not setting the world on fire but its a start. To compare other savings accounts for lump or regular savings I love Bonkers.ie and also found ConsumerHelp. ie. really useful.
4) I am a fan of Pigsback and also Living social, Groupon and if you keep an eye out there can be really good deals on days out, meals and even a night away. Then put what you would have paid into the savings account result.
5) Cashback Ireland something new I found basically if you buy something online with Livingsocial, Easons or other companies theres loads from Fields Jewellers to Hotels.com you can earn back a percentage of the cost. Whats not to love about more money in your pocket?
6) Being minimalist. I am in Dublin and my god those shops. I find it so hard in Dublin to keep money in my pocket and so I have come to the idea of buying only what I need. Right now its a few jumpers and leave the crazy sparkly things and handbags where they are even though it makes me sad sometimes! :)
7) Budget- oh my god its so boring but so necessary. I have found pinterest useful they have a pie chart where you should save x amount, live off y amount and then bills etc z amount.
8) Have a vision. This is important because you can feel like you are depriving yourself but if its for a car, holiday etc then think of that when it gets hard.
9) Look at those statements where is your money going and cancel anything you do not want to be paying for e.g gym if you don't go do not pay for it.
10) Bank charges I am with AIB and I recently was gobsmacked with how much I pay them. I found this really useful. 
11) Financial review you can do this with your bank or else with an independent financial adviser. Its up to you but its on my list of to do.
12) Check and see if you are entitled to any tax back on rent, bin charges, medical, tuition etc.

So my 100 euro project is now 140 euros and counting.
Would love to hear of anyone elses ideas as my target is to grow this little nest egg into 500 euros and onwards. I am saving for a house and so I know I am not alone in the savings struggle.

Have you any tips? Would love to hear them and put them in the comments.