Ahad, 5 Januari 2014

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

How to save money by plugging leaking financial pockets

Posted: 05 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

RECENTLY, I was billed for work done in my house. A quick check revealed a summation error which meant I was billed less than stated.

The mistake was highlighted to the vendor who was very grateful. But I also thought about how many other under-billed invoices she had issued over the years but weren't highlighted to her.

Surely, she must have had a financial leakage in her business due to the mistakes.

In our personal financial lives, we too have "holes in our pockets" which can drain money out of us without us being aware.

Check your pockets and see if you need to have them quickly'patched up'.

* Are you overpaying foryour products and services?

Check if you are overpaying for the products and services that you don't need. Cancel subscriptions to unread magazines that usually end up with the old newspaperman or reduce pay TV channels to only the ones you watch.

Check the bills you pay at restaurants, supermarkets, etc. You cannot assume the totals are right. If you are buying something at a promotional price, take a picture of the promotional materialin case you are charged a higher price at the check-out counter.

* Are underbilling your clients and customers?

Don't be like my vendor who didn't check the grand total. You maynot be as fortunate to have a customer who would highlight an amount lesser than what is actually billed.

Are you also too compassionate in charging a professional fee for your services or too relaxed with credit terms?

* Are you paying unnecessary penalty charges, surcharges and interests?

Late and penalty charges can be small but still they are financial holes which leak money away.

Take action to avoid such charges in future or ask for waivers if you can.

How about surcharges such as booking fees and registration charges?

Can you reduce them bydoing it online orgoing on group discounts?

Avoid paying interests that drain you out. A good guide is to look at your own investment portfolio - are you being charged higher interests than what your current portfolio can return you?

Just like a leaking pipe, we waste hard-earned money when a financial leakage isn't fixed. Do a check on your financial pockets now. Do they have holes?

EU won't seek law to separate banking activities

Posted: 05 Jan 2014 06:41 PM PST

LONDON: The European Union is set to drop financial reforms that would force big banks to ringfence their retail departments from riskier investment operations, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

A draft European Commission paper, seen by the business paper, would no longer make banks automatically split operations and would give national supervisors more leeway in applying the reforms.

But the draft proposal, drawn up by EU Commissioner Michel Barnier, does add a "narrowly defined" ban on 30 big banks using their own money for trading, so-called proprietary trading.

The paper - due to be published in late January or February - will complete EU reforms to make banks safer and easier to wind down following the 2008 crisis.

The proposals follow up on the Liikanen Report into separating banks' riskier activities from the utility-like operations of retail banking. - AFP

Internet-connected toothbrush makes debut

Posted: 05 Jan 2014 06:36 PM PST

LAS VEGAS: Brush smarter. That's the message from the makers of what is billed as the world's first Internet-connected toothbrush.

Unveiled Sunday at a preview event for the Consumer Electronics Show, the device from French-based startup Kolibree aims "to reinvent oral care," according to co-founder Loic Cessot.

"The technology in the industry has not evolved for years," Cessot told AFP.

"The idea is not to brush stronger, but smarter."

The Kolibree toothbrush includes a sensor which detects how much tartar is being removed in a brushing. It also records brushing activity so users can maintain a consistent cleaning each time.

The device conveys the information wirelessly to a smartphone app - a particularly useful aid for parents who want to monitor the teeth cleaning efforts of small children, according to Cessot.

"When you use a normal toothbrush you never really know what you've cleaned. It might be 30 percent. The only person who really knows is the dentist."

But the app can tell users if they have missed hard-to-clean areas or are not getting a thorough brushing.

The app, which is open for developers to add on other programs, aims to increase motivation and make the experience more fun, said Cessot.

The self-funded startup created by Cessot and former Microsoft and Google executive Thomas Serval plans to release the toothbrush worldwide in the third quarter, getting a boost from a crowdsourcing effort.

Orders will be available initially through Kickstarter from $99 to $200, depending on the model and will include a free mobile app. - AFP

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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