For those in Perth always looking for a better, faster, cheaper way

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Introductory Bank Rates - don't be fooled

Banks - Introductory specials

Raboplus got me in a few years ago with an introductory $100 added into my bank account if I deposited $1000. Many other banks also offer introductory rates as a higher interest rate - don't be fooled into thinking that is the rate you will be enjoying 1 year down the track. I was happy with that because at the time they were very competitive but that did not last long. Also, with Raboplus, they had a gadget which you need to use in order to authenticate your login, which is great for security purposes but makes it that little bit harder for you to decide to churn to another bank account. This became an issue when Raboplus stopped being as competitive as the other online saver banks and I switched all my Bankwest telenet money to Ubank which was offering a much better rate than Raboplus.

After almost six months of wanting to change from Raboplus, after earning an extra 1%+ with Ubank, I finally remembered to change banks while I was in the vicinity of the Raboplus gadget AND I was able to find the login number. I can imagine people who were less committed would have just let Raboplus keep their money and that's what they want.

Inertia once again is a bank's best friend.

How much difference does the interest rate make? 

Bankwest is offering 5.75% for their telenet saver account, but this is only for the first 12 months after which it drops to 4.25%. After the first year, you will be 1.6% behind Ubank's equivalent Usaver account which pays  5.85%. If you invested $10,000 in both banks, after the second year, you would be around $180 worse off with Bankwest assuming rates remained the same. If my calculations are wrong, please feel free to leave a comment..

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Inertia your Greatest Enemy with Banks

Banks and credit card companies love one thing about consumers... Inertia.

They get you in with an introductory rate or bonus and before you know it, you are earning the lowest interest or paying the most amount in credit card fees. When Term Deposits expire, banks send you a letter telling you that it has expired and if you do not do anything about it, they will reinvest your money... but don't stop reading there!

Banks - Term Deposits
The rate that they reinvest your money is probably not the same rate as you invested with them in the first place. We had a term deposit expire with CBA and if we did not do anything, they would invest the money again for a rate almost half of what we were getting with the first term deposit. To avoid getting ripped off, the letter said that we need to go to the bank to choose a different rate / terms. Just by doing this, we reinvested for about 6% for six more months as opposed to what they offered initially of 3.75% for five months. Intertia, they will love you for it.

We'll talk about Bank introductory specials in the next post

Friday, April 16, 2010

Where to see Red Bull Air Race

If you are wondering where is the best place to see the Red Bull Air Race, it would definitely have to be South Perth foreshore. Note that the roads around South Perth will be closed and so will the Mill Point Rd off-ramp from the freeway. If you would like to see the planes taking off and landing, go to the City foreshore.

The schedule for the air race is as follows:

Saturday 17 April – Qualifying Day
09:30 Red Bull Air Race spectator areas activated
10:00 Air Gates inflated
10:30 Pre-show entertainment commences on screen and on the ground
12:30 First Qualifying round (15 planes in reverse order of 3rd training result)
13:15 Break – screen commentary and interviews and side acts
13:30 Second Qualifying round (15 planes in reverse order of 3rd training result)
14:15 Qualifying round concludes, on-screen interviews
14:45 On-screen highlights and DJ
16:30 Pit Lane Walk at Race Airport (Langley Park)
17:00 Hospitality areas closed, river open
Sunday 18 April – Race Day
09:00 Red Bull Air Race spectator areas activated
09:30 Hospitality areas open
10:30 Pre-show entertainment commences on screen, in the air and on the ground
11:45 Red Bull Air Race commences with a competition for the Wildcard spot between 5 race planes
12:00 Aerial and on-ground side acts and on-screen entertainment
12:40 Red Bull Air Race: Top 12 Race Planes compete
13:15 Break – on screen commentary
13:20 Red Bull Air Race: Super 8 – remaining 8 Race Planes compete
13:40 Break – on screen commentary
13:55 Red Bull Air Race: Final 4 – remaining 4 Race Planes compete
14:05 Racing completed – On-screen commentary, final side acts
14:45 Awards Ceremony and prize giving (South Perth foreshore)
14:55 Highlights on-screen and DJ music
17:00 Hospitality areas close. River re-opens

Friday, April 9, 2010

How to Remove Duplicates in Outlook Calendar

I am sure many have done this before: You ran a sync from Google to Outlook or Outlook to your Mobile Phone or something..  and your Outlook creates a duplicate of EVERY event in your calendar.. here is the script to fix it.

1. Go to Outlook Calendar
2. ALT+F11
3. Insert -> Module
4. Paste the following code in:

Sub RemoveDuplicateEvents()
    Dim olApp As Outlook.Application
    Dim olAppointment1 As Outlook.AppointmentItem
    Dim olAppointment2 As Outlook.AppointmentItem
    Dim olItems As Outlook.Items
    Dim olDeletedItems As Outlook.Items
    Dim olNS As Outlook.NameSpace
    Dim SkipConfirmation As Boolean

    Set olApp = New Outlook.Application
    Set olNS = olApp.GetNamespace("MAPI")
    Set olItems = olNS.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderCalendar).Items
    Set olDeletedItems = olNS.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderDeletedItems).Items

    olItems.Sort ("Subject")
    olItems.Sort ("Start")
    Dim DeleteCount As Integer
    Dim z As Integer
    Dim FreeBusyStatus As Boolean
    DeleteCount = 0

    FreeBusyStatus = MsgBox("Do you want to set the status for all-day events to 'Free'?", vbYesNo, "Set Free Busy Status") = vbYes
    If FreeBusyStatus Then
        SkipConfirmation = Not MsgBox("Do you want to be prompted to set free times for all-day events?", vbYesNo, "Skip Confirmation?") = vbYes
    End If

    For z = olItems.Count To 2 Step -1
        If Not (Len(olItems.Item(z).Subject) = 36 And InStr(1, olItems.Item(z), " ") > 0) And _
            Not (Len(olItems.Item(z - 1).Subject) = 36 And InStr(1, olItems.Item(z - 1), " ") > 0) Then

             Set olAppointment1 = olItems.Item(z)
             Set olAppointment2 = olItems.Item(z - 1)
             Debug.Print olAppointment1.Subject & vbCrLf & olAppointment2.Subject
             With olAppointment1
                 If .Subject = olAppointment2.Subject And _
                         .Start = olAppointment2.Start Then
                     Debug.Print "Calendar item " & Left(olAppointment2.Subject, 25) & "..." & " deleted"
                     DeleteCount = DeleteCount + 1
                 End If
             End With
             With olAppointment2
                 If .AllDayEvent And .BusyStatus <> olFree And FreeBusyStatus Then
                     If Not SkipConfirmation Then
                         If MsgBox("Do you want to set """ & .Subject & """ as free time?", vbYesNo, "Confirm Status Change") = vbYes Then
                             .BusyStatus = olFree
                             Debug.Print .Subject & " updated!"
                         End If
                         .BusyStatus = olFree
                         Debug.Print .Subject & " updated!"
                     End If
                 End If
             End With
        End If
    If MsgBox(DeleteCount & " duplicate Outlook calendar items have been removed." & _
        vbCrLf & "Do you want to clear your deleted items folder?" & vbCrLf & _
        "(This must be done to prevent re-syncing 'deleted' entries)", vbYesNo, "Confirm Deleted Items Removal") = vbYes Then
        ' Clear deleted items folder
        For z = olDeletedItems.Count To 1 Step -1
    End If
    MsgBox "Cleanup Complete!", vbOKOnly, "End of Processing"

End Sub

':::::::::::::::::: Macro Ends Here

Did that work for you? let us know if it did.

If you have the same thing for removing duplicate Outlook emails.. I would love to know.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shop in the UK while the AUD is hot

I am not sure whether you have heard any news about this but at the moment, the Australian Dollar is stronger against the British Pound than it has been for at least the last 5 years! Below is a graph of the AUD versus the GBP over five years from Yahoo's finance website. 

In the past 5 years, the Australian dollar has appreciated by 50% from 0.40GBP to 0.60GBP for every Australian Dollar. We all know how well the dollar has been doing against the US dollar but many have overlooked this, so if you ever thought about heading to the UK or to buy something from there, now is the time :)

We visit the Virgin Lounge in Perth

Only two weeks after the official launch of the Virgin Blue lounge in Perth Domestic Airport, we headed over for an early morning look before a 7am flight to Melbourne.

Entry into the lounge is right after the airport scanners, just before the escalators up to the virgin departure lounge. As many passengers looked forlornly through the double doors, it was at exactly 6am that the doors finally let blurry eyed travellers into the luxurious but homely Virgin Blue lounge. What did we find beyond those sliding doors? Stay tuned.. more on this visit soon.