Know the Smartest Way to Use Your Credit Card

Credit cards we all use; but how many of us know the smartest way to use a credit card. Smartest way! Is this a new concept? Don’t worry, it’s nothing surprising. In today’s fast running life, hectic schedules and in the race to be ahead of our friends and colleagues; we hardly have time to spare on these minute points.

Credit Card

Credit cards or plastic money have become an integral part of our life today; providing us the luxury of purchasing things, paying bills, booking tickets without necessarily having cash in hands. No doubt this exemption on the requirement of hard cash has made our lives simpler and helps us maintain our expenses. At the same time this luxury leads us to overspending and we finally land in a situation where it becomes difficult to manage things later.

Using a credit card, we simply see the bright side; getting happy thinking that instead of paying the whole amount of payment/purchase in cash (which we may be short of); we used our credit card and will later pay the amount in various small installments over coming months. Doing so, most of us stay ignorant to the black side of this overspending and huge credit card bills. While paying small amounts month after month and keeping the credit card bill always in five digits or so, actually hits our savings and indirectly our other affordability.

So while knowing how to use a credit card, it is important to learn how we can make the best and effective use of our credit cards.

Here are few tips to make the smartest use of a credit card:-

1. Know the credit card before accepting it. Read the whole agreement and ask the agent to explain all the details like interest charges, service charges, benefits, rewards, etc.
2. Prefer to keep only one credit card. It’s true that they help us in crunch situation, but having too many of them can more likely lead to overspending and in huge bill amounts. Keep one credit card and earn reward point on that which you can later encash.
3. Avoid using credit card to make all purchases, even on the regular items like clothes, food, rashan, etc. It is advisable to use debit card or cash wherever possible, especially for smaller or regular expenses.
4. It is advisable to clear all dues on time. Paying minimum amount increases the interest and it will further take time to clear all your debt. Interest rates are usually very high which makes us pay more than what we have expected.
5. Know the billing cycle of card and spend in such a way that you can enjoy maximum interest free period before payment time.
6. Don’t miss your payment date. Pay off your credit card bills on time and get out of the credit debt on your card(s). Banks put a lot of charges on the bill amount and this may increase your expense. In case you are aware that you may miss the date inform the bank in advance about this.
7. Understand the star mark details of credit card statement. It is important to understand the statement and charges mentioned in that .This will help you in better utilization of your card and falling prey to the extra charges.
8. Stock your purchase receipts, so that you can match them with the statement and in case of any discrepancy you can refer to them and get the corrections done.
9. Mark a limit of expense for yourself, say 30-35% of your credit card limit with regard to the amount you can comfortably pay next month. If you spend more than that, it could be difficult for you to pay the amount at once. Then you will have to consequently keep paying further to clear the amount.
10. Banks provide cash withdrawal facility with the use of credit card, but try to avoid withdrawal using your card and live your life within your limitations.
11. Be active and know about the offers on your card, floating in the market. You should have full idea of which type of card you are using, which brands offers discount on them and what other benefits you have by using it smartly.
12. Don’t offer your credit card to friends or use your card for others’ shopping, even if they promise to pay the amount as you would be unnecessarily adding to your interest amount.
13. Try to save more and in case of emergency use that fund instead of using your card.

Effective Email Writing-Etiquettes and Tips

email1Simple and minor the point may sound, but e-mail writing etiquette surprisingly could play a pivotal role in your good or bad reviews. Incomplete message, cluttered message, email without a subject, email sent to wrong persons, delayed replies, these are some cases which you may take casually but are a direct reflection of professionalism and management skills. How hard you may work at preparing the excel reports or meeting the deadlines; if you are bad at prompt email writing and communication, you overall score will drop down. Why? Managers can’t be standing over your head all day long, sitting inside their cabins; they evaluate your work, your promptness and dedication to your job on how effective you are in completing your work and keeping your manager informed.

Here are few most effective rules to follow for effective email writing Etiquette:

1. Always use a subject line that is both relevant to the topic and precise; which is meaningful, relevant and referred to in mail content.
2. Use a greeting to start you mail.
3. Address a single topic in a single mail, as a mail talking about five different issues and topics may lose its impact.
4. Be precise and don’t write stories to convey your message. Keep your mails short.
5. Be to the point and don’t mislead the message.
6. If doubtful, just write precisely what you know and end you mail with a thanks.
7. Use capital letters only at the beginning of a sentence or to highlight important points.
8. Use a professional signature at the end of the mail with some space like:
a. XYZ
b. Senior Excutive – Customer Care
c. email – XYZ@abc.com
d. Mob. – +91 xxxxxxxxxx
e. Landline – 044 xxxxxxx
f. Fax No. – 044 xxxxxxxx
9. Check the spelling, grammar and punctuation before you send the mail.
10. If you are answering a mail, be sure that you answered to all the questions and pre-empt queries.
11. Keep your mails personal, writing the full name of the receiver or if not sure than you can use general salutation.
12. Be prompt at answering mail and make sure you reply all important mail by end of the day or within a preferred time frame of hours or days.
13. Attach only necessary files. If possible you can share the files or data sheet on common drives and inform the same in your mail.
14. Use a proper mail layout or prescribed format.
15. Don’t over use highlight or high priority icons, etc.
16. Follow the message thread, if any, as answering a thread message as an independent message with new subject may cause confusion.
17. Use disclaimers promptly. Be careful in using copyright messages, which need permission for copying or usage of the content.
18. Give a final look at the mail before you send it, to make sure you have written all important point and that there are no errors.
19. Use options like ‘Reply to All’, ’CC’ and ‘BCC’ only when required.
20. Keep archiving your important mails.
21. Know the difference between ‘To’ and ‘CC’, and use them accordingly. ‘To’ is used for the person to whom a message is directed at, while ‘CC’ is to keep the person in loop/informed.
22. Do not overuse a delivery or read receipt, as sending one to your boss or manager can get you in good trouble.
23. Carefully use abbreviations, jargon’s, shortened terms, technical words and emotions.
24. Use HTML messages when required or else prefer a text mail.
25. Avoid forwarding useless chain mails.
26. Do not discuss confidential information on emails, as emails can be on scan.
27. Use tags like urgent or important only when it is relevant.
28. Use active instead of passive tense in emails.
29. Use short sentences instead of long sentences.
30. Don’t use your official email id for sending personal mails or greeting cards unless important.
31. Don’t send controversial, offensive, racist or obscene remarks or mails.
32. Keep yourself updated with anti-viruses and check a mail or files for viruses, before sending to others.
33. Keep your language neutral and polite. Don’t get ironical or harsh unnecessarily.
34. Sign off the message at the end, writing ‘With Regards’ or ‘Thank You & Regards’ or Yours Faithfully’, etc.
35. Use exclamations only when required.
36. When you receive a message and it will take you time to get the required information, just let the person know that you received the email and will get back soon.
37. Resize or compress files before attaching them in email or zip them.
38. You can ask the receiver in advance before sending a large email or email with a large attachment.
39. Don’t add your name in the receiver’s box.

Must to Have Gadgets for Trains Journey!!!

20130815_091225Train journey, quite a scary word for our generation which is used to of race and speed both in life and traveling. Getting heavy headed and cursing the long distance and urgency of the journey gives us no relief.

Last month we had to take a 36 hours’ train from Delhi to Bangalore. Trust me we were both quite anxious thinking how these long hours will pass. We are though accustomed to overnight trains whenever required, but a continuous night-day-night 36 hours on train was something more than tolerable. But then we were also excited about the destinations in turn we will get to visit (Bangalore, Coorg and more). So enchanted with the charm of the destinations, we sidelined the tension of our boring and tiresome journey.

Came the date of travel and we started picking and packing our luggage. While pacing, my husband very smartly picked some gadgets to take with us. Initially those seemed to me just a part of my husband’s geeking love for gadgets. As the journey went on, those long day hours started getting over us, making me feel irritated and nauseate. In that despair, my husband’s magical pack of gadgets came to our rescue and those long heavy hours turned into a fun retreat. The gadgets we took with us and how they helped us kill those hours happily:

  • Smart Phones: With our smart phones we had internet connect, social media, chat messengers and engaging android games. We were thus, updating our status, chatting with our friends and contesting the game scores.
  • SLR Camera: I am a beginner photographer, having learnt the camera work lately with miles of picturesque beauty I had a great time clicking and just clicking.
  • IPad: Watching movies and playing games on iPad was a great fun, making the best out of the time we had. We watched three movies on our depart journey and three on the return, and no record for the games.
  • IPod: Ahhh…The high quality filtered music of iPod is no less than magic and sere delight for the ears.
  • ThinkPad: We preferred to carry our ThinkPad on journey, because of its handy size as compared to our 15’ laptop. ThinkPad helped us check the pictures we took whole day, watch movies that were not in the VLC format (compatible with iPad), internet access, etc.
  • Batteries: Extra pair of rechargeable camera batteries along with its charger.
  • Gadget Support: Gadget supports and accessories like their data connectors, earplugs, etc. are
  •  Hard-drive: To keep a backup of all the photos and have an additional movie, video and music bank at out dispose we had our hard drive with us and that really turned out to be a rescuer.
  • Data card: Today we all want to be connected to the world, share our updates and experiences. Moreover internet access was most useful in helping us check the reviews of hotels and the spots we were to cover.

Entertaining and enjoying every moment we killed those hours and to an utter surprise we felt that we must do more such journeys.

Monsoon in India – Season of Sales and Shopping

Come the months of monsoon and the shopping fiesta begins. ‘July-August’ is no less than a festival for shoppers in India, when every shopping heart starts rejoicing, hands proceeding to wallets and your feet take the way to markets and malls. Around the malls, markets, streets and metros, etc.; irrespective of the city and locality, you find happy excited faces carrying colorful shopping bags in hands discussing with their friends the smart picks they have made or the fabulous offer they grabbed. There is other group of people travelling alone, holding those shopping bags in hands like a prized attainment. With the fall of monsoon, not only the temperature and weather starts changing, but starts changing your dressing style as well. From cool and light sleeveless and shorts, we start changing to warmer or full cover clothes. From flip-flops and open toe shoes and sandals, we switch to covered shoes and waterproof sandals to protect against rain and mosquitoes.

And with the end of summer season and approaching winter, every brand/shop targets at getting their present stock cleared and make space for the new season’s stocks. Shopkeepers are more concerned about selling the stock in current season only; even at low margins is launch of fresh fashion every season and simultaneous trend cautiousness of today. If the stock thus, goes unsold by the end of season it will never sell as the next summer fashion and trend will get changed and every shopper will be interested in the fresh stocks and arrivals. And thus are offered sales and bumper sales to get the present stock sold out in the current season itself, and that becomes the shoppers’ fiesta.

With brands like Celio, Wrangler, Wills Lifestyle, UCB, Meena Bazzar, W, Reebok, Adidas, etc. coming up with irresistible offers like flat 40-50% off, Buy 1 Get 1, etc.; what else would you call the monsoon season, other than the shopping carnival? There is a long list of reasons to buy at the big monsoon sales. Well the biggest joy of this celebration for shoppers is that these sales offers brings such premium brands like UCB, Wills Lifestyle in the affordable budget of those who otherwise have to sacrifice highly desired designs or loved dresses because of their high price slabs.  Similarly at the cost of one you get 2 and such offers is a delight for anyone and everyone. The quality and collection remains the same, all that happens is that the prices are lowered and the result is we shop and shop and shop.

It’s a blissful sight to witness the joy of people carrying away shopping bags from their favorite brands. It’s nothing less than a carnival watching girls-boys, ladies,-gents, mummies and papas flaunting around showrooms and multi-brand outlets like Lifestyle and Pantaloons checking out every rack and section, carrying 7-8 dresses in hand and still fishing for more and waiting in long line before the trial rooms.

There are some typical monsoon toads who croak at their best with the roving monsoon clouds and to site an example, I don’t need to look any far, as I have a beautiful toad with me, my younger brother. My brother is an eagle at grabbing fabulous discount offers and so he is quiet popular for shopping in this season and so is called off, by friends and me also to help grab good picks. And whenever a marriage, celebration or outing comes forth, his first suggestion is please don’t shop and wait for the July sales (irrespective of what is the importance and urgency of the shopping). Well that’s the story at my home, if similar scene is at your part as well. Share your stories too.

Simple Makeover Tips @ Home – Total or A Little Experimentation with Your Looks

Looks is something, everyone is conscious of. How am I looking? Is my hairs fine, are my shoes tidy, is my dress fine, am I looking fresh; these are questions that bother all of us, every day, every time we are upto something important or just going out or meeting someone. What makes your looks so important? ‘Your Looks’ are your first hand introduction to the world, to your dear ones, to your colleagues, to your acquaintances and to the strangers.

Be it a boy or a girl, everyone has a common habit of getting ready in front of the mirror or running a look on ourselves in mirror just to check they are looking good. On the other hand there are many of us who spends several minutes to a few hours checking out our reflection in the mirror, turning around, moving our heads, getting closer or far; making sure we are looking perfect from all angles and in every aspect. Be it a student or an executive or a business tycoon every one wishes to look perfect and impressive. While out in office or in party or in public we love catching attention and winning compliments.

Hmmmm… So important being looks, why stick to that long seen and known look of yours. Why not try a little makeover and be a rocking head turner, an eye-catcher. Walk down with some more quotients of style, elegance and confidence this time when you go out.

See the mirror and check your looks, your hair and dressing style and decide what amount of makeover you think, you need. The questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Remember what your friends have suggested.
  • What exactly you need to change in yourself and how much, i.e. what exactly you need – a little change or total remake of your look from hairs to shoes to bags to clothes.
  • Whether to visit a saloon and approach a stylist or you would do it on your own.
  • Whom exactly who want to impress with your new look, yourself or someone special or in general.

makeoverOnce you have your answers here are some very simple and basic tips to try, and makeover your old new:

  • Most simple, visit a salon and try a new hair cut.
  • If you don’t want to lose the length of your strands; then go with new experiments.

Girls: Try new hairstyles, styles like puffing the crown hairs, or just do opposite parting, news buns and half updoes, etc. Do it the way you like and suits your personality.

Boys: Try different hair parting or deeper side partings. Change the direction of brushing your hairs and use some hair gel or spray to hold that look.

  • Use can iconize your casual look with trendy scarfs, bandanas, wrist bands or big dial watches, etc.
  • Be cool! Why always carry a clean and tidy look? While girls can try some cool and casual look with carefree hairstyles like messy buns, loose curls, half updoes, etc.; boys can also use messy looks like messy spikes or hair bangs left loose over forehead.
  • Girls: Change your eye make-up; try using thick kajal/eyeliner if you use it mildly, or if you use dark strokes try a thin line and see how it works for you. You can also try different colors and shades of eye-liners. Use a mascara to give more volume to your eyes. For this purpose you can also use a false lash-flare or eye-curlers. Well boys can also try some eye makeup, like getting their eyes-brows done or a little touch of kajal, etc.
  • Go ahead, change your wardrobe.
  • Wear trendy dresses, see what suits your body and gives a totally new avatar, a slim fit dress or big size t-shirts/jeans/dresses, etc. to look slimmer and cool 😉
  • Think about going for a smile makeover for that you can both just change your style of smiling and laughing or going a farther try dental cosmetic services like crown fixation or whitening or dental implants.
  • Girls: Try a change in your lip colors and texture as well as in nail paints.
  • Boys: How about trying a magnet stone-earring to get a new avatar, stylish and cool.

Go with the trend and/or try new things and set your own trend. Win over eyes and admires :).