Browsing Category



New Debit Card vs. Credit Card_ Which Should I Use

When you’re debating between getting a new debit card or switching to a credit card, it’s important to look at the ways they’re used, how they can benefit you, and which would be more helpful in simplifying your financial life. 

Credit and debit cards look essentially the same. They both have 16-digit numbers, expiration dates, and security codes. The differences are perhaps most notable in how they function, where the payments come from, and how they’re involved in your financial well-being. Let’s take a closer look.

What’s the Difference?

Debit cards are set up so that they draw funds from a related checking account. That means, when you order a new debit card, it automatically links back to the account you want it tied to, and each time you use it, the charge subtracts the cost of the purchase directly from your checking account.

Debit cards are usually tied to checking accounts. A savings account is normally opened in order to save money, and although some financial institutions will allocate an ATM card on a savings account, they support your savings goals by not providing the means to electronically draw on the account.

Benefits of Credit Cards

Debit cards certainly have their perks, but they may not be able to offer a comparable level of protection on your account. Unlike being connected to your checking account, credit cards are tied to a line of credit that’s usually based on factors such as your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and solvency. A line of credit often has a maximum amount “made available” for use via the credit union or financial institution. That amount is based on the account holder’s projected ability to repay the costs of their purchases on a monthly schedule.

Because of the service of extending credit, a financial institution can usually charge a fee or have a set series of requirements in order to be a cardholder. While this may sound more complicated, one of the benefits is that, based on expectation and trust that the money can be paid back, cardholders can spend more money than they have available in cash at the moment. This might be helpful, for example, if there’s a large, unexpected expense, such as the sudden need for a new washing machine or an emergency medical procedure.

Credit cards also offer better consumer protection should the card ever be stolen or hacked. There are often better warranties and fraud protection in place.

Types of Credit Cards

There are four primary types of credit card products that financial institutions offer. These categories sum up the sort of electronic lines of credit available to the everyday consumer.

Standard Credit Card

A standard credit card is just that: a standard line of credit. It’s available to you on the basis of approval and can be used for in-person or online purchases. There’s nothing frilly or fancy about it, but it does make life a lot easier, particularly for digital or over-the-phone purchases. There can be an annual fee with credit cards, and you should both check what the current prime rate is and see what your credit union can do for you with regard to the interest rates.

Rewards Cards

If you do a lot of shopping for your business, travel often, or like to dine out, there are specialty rewards cards that can build awards, travel points, or even cash back. The interest rates on these can vary, as can the annual fees, though, if you’re searching for a new credit card at the right time of year, sometimes financial institutions are able to waive the first year’s fee.

Secured Credit Card

The secured credit card is different from the two above because it actually requires a deposit (usually due upon opening) that will act as collateral for the purchases charged to the card. The issuer will hold this collateral during the use of a secured credit card.

Corporate Card

A corporate card is a type of credit card that is especially handy for businesses that need their employees to be able to operate and make purchases without running it through the company each time. These cards will normally be paid in full each month and either don’t allow balances to be carried over or simply will not carry a balance over to subsequent months because the balance is paid completely each month.

Just like any line-of-credit financial product, a credit card application will be run in conjunction with a current credit report.

Opportunities and Benefits of Debit Card Use

A primary benefit of using a debit card over a credit card is the lower cost to keep it in your wallet. Debit cards tend to have low or no fees. Cardholders also don’t have to worry about paying a bill at the end of the month, so there’s no risk of late-payment fees. Plus, because the spending capacity is limited by an account balance, debit card users can’t spend more money than they have. This completely avoids the potential for interest charges for unpaid balances. You could be charged NSF fees, though, if you use your debit card on a purchase above the amount you have in your account.

Debit cards are generally easier to obtain than credit cards. A standard debit card draws on the attached checking account. This means there are usually few, if any, extra hoops to jump through in order to get a new debit card. For example, generally speaking, when requesting a new debit card, a credit check won’t be required unless the issuing financial institution stipulates it as a prerequisite.

Prepaid debit cards are an option for customers without checking accounts or credit cards. They allow consumers to access services that call for credit or debit card use, such as paying for gasoline at the pump. All they have to do is “fill up” the card, and then they can use it to make purchases. And once again, cardholders can’t spend more money than they have.

To find out more about getting a new debit card or applying for a new credit card, ask the local experts at Rivermark Community Credit Union.


Note: This is a collaborative post

Matt Redhawk – some tips from an entrepreneur

The world currently feels like a very strange place. Life as we know has effectively been turned on its head.  Many of us are now working from home, kids are out of school. We are missing friendly and family. Covid has made us stop and think, stop and evaluate. Who knows what the new norm we will have will look like. However a business lecturer once said to us many moons ago, in fact about 20 years ago….that in times of crisis comes opportunity. And you know something, its something we are seeing on a daily basis.  Shops moving to online only, business stocking new ranges of products. How many of us have seen the face mask/ face covering online shops popping up. I see even well known designers doing it too. It really does prove that point that by adapting you can still keep innovating and progressing your business.  Most of us at this stage have probably seen the Dutch Glasshouse solution  for a restaurant, a very novel idea.

It reminds me of a quote that hung in the library in the university I attended: “Instead of freaking out about these constraints, embrace them. Let them guide you. Constraints drive innovation and force focus. Instead of trying to remove them, use them to your advantage“.  How true and apt is that for the current circumstances.

Matt Redhawk

Matt Redhawk  a well know author and artist set out in an interview a wonderful quote which im going to share “Even when I’m doing nothing, I’m still learning, which has gained me immense knowledge in life and business.” I love this, simple and effective.  In terms of tips for entrepreneurs he speaks from the heart when giving advice – being passionate and having courage is what fuels him to keep following his dreams. I see he has written a book “Droughts and Dreams: Stories of Self-Reliance During America’s Darkest Times”  which provides powerful insight into families enduring the Great Depression. Definitely going to look into getting that book.

He refers to a successful entrepreneur as a continuous learner.  I can really see why that would be so important being adaptable is never more apparent than in the current situation where businesses must adapt to survive.  Some will even thrive.

A good entrepreneur…..

Having spent many years in working in the area of business if I was to think about the qualities that make a good entrepreneur in my own opinion, a couple of things do spring to mind.

  • being a risk taker, can certainly help
  • somebody with persistence – it is likely you will get knock backs but its dusting yourself off and getting back to work is so important.
  • being disciplined and methodological in how you approach the development and route to market
  • Research and then research some more, as Matt Redhawk said above keep learning and researching
  • Probably more of a business term but being an early adopter – not being afraid to use the latest technology. The world is moving at an increasingly fast pace and it is important to be able to keep up with that pace otherwise the risk is you fall behind and somebody comes in and takes the place you worked hard to carve out for yourself.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t for everybody but for those risk takers who love it, it can pay dividends.

Note: This is a collaborative post

Using the time wisely – Study help

The world feels like a very strange place at the moment. Everything we took as the norm has been turned on its head.  Covid 19 has posed many challenges and at times for people great sadness however with all this change has come some new experiences, new opportunities and inevitably new ways of working.  One of the things that I have noticed as an educator myself is the speed at which the education world has adapted and evolved to meet the changing world. Students now can have ready access to online tutors, online articles, resources, have their work corrected online. For other students that can even take the class when it suits them. It is opening up a whole new world in terms of how we see education.  The historical rigidness of the system appears to be softening.

One such example I have come across is I am really impressed with this resource.  They have an extensive library of exam study guides, lecture notes and video tutorials created by top students which you can quickly find on their website. They state their ultimate goal on their website as to “ to deliver study resources that are immediately useful and relevant to any knowledge seeker on our platform”.  This can prove particularly useful for students close to exam times where they are feeling under pressure or stressed about a particular topic. Being able to locate additional reading or guidance can add such a huge amount of value and not to mention the fact that it can do wonders to calm the nerves.

Live streaming 

One of the things that really caught my eye was the live streaming function.  Oneclass tutors are teaching live  for high school, college, and university math and chemistry, 7 days a week. This is a serious impressive product offering.  They have set live stream classes at specific times on their webpage, for example SAT, geometry etc and also the function to book one-on-one help again through their site. I note you can book a slot on line with Janine the tutor at a mutually suitable time, they are generously giving away 100,000 hours of free one-on-one tutoring during the Covid closures. Its is very impressive and a fantastic gesture at a time of stress for students with colleges closed. Previous live streams are also stored on their site if you do wish to revisit them at your leisure.

Its really such a testament to how fast the world is moving and how we are adapting all the time, Oneclass are really at the forefront of this and I can see why it is so popular.


Note: This is a collaborative post



Living Arrows 18/52 – spreading kindness

Kahlil Gibran, “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Its so hard to believe we are another week into this most unusual situation.  I have to say my kids are teaching me what resilience is.  They may be only 7 and 5 but they have impressed me so much with how well they have adapted to this very strange new world.

My youngest was living for his birthday and a big party with his pals. However with it falling during the strictest of lockdown measures meant is was only a family party, despite having spent 3 months building it up. I felt so sad for him. I was silly, he totally embraced it. Loving every minute. For the party and given the most usual of circumstance, the very lovely people at Swizzels  kindly sent us a pretty mega sized bag of their favourite sweets.

Without even thinking my little man asked could we drop sweets to the gardens of his friends and if they were allowed by their parents they could have them. I did shed a tear. I just love his empathy and kindness. You cant teach somebody that it is inherent.

So off we went, him on his scooter and me running to keep up with a bag full of treat bags for his friends. So many of the mammies text me thanking me for giving their kids such a boost. We had done the same at Easter making Easter cards and dropping them to some of our relatives gardens. Its not the same as a hug but its the thought that’s most important.

I just thought it was so lovely and some of the 3kg mixed bag of Swizzzels favourites found some really good homes! Its an ideal size for a party and it contains a good mix of the usual favourites. I’m still very partial to the refreshers!! A throwback to my childhood.

Keep safe everybody….



Living Arrows

Tips for moving to a plant based diet

I have written about this before on the blog. My youngest son due to allergies has had to move to a plant based diet and we decided as a family to all do the same. We are by no means totally strict nor do we fit into categories of vegan or vegetarian but we aim as much as possible to live by these principals for our own health benefits. I thought I would share some insights into how we managed the move to a more plant based diet.

Without doubt the science around this indicates changing the nutritional value of your diet can have benefits from improving your overall health, to living longer as well as being over all better for the environment.

One of the first tips I would say is to understand what exactly is meant by “plant – based diet“, Wikipedia defines it as  is a diet consisting mostly or entirely of foods derived from plants, including vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, and with few or no animal products.  I describe it for us as a move towards it rather than a strict interpretation of it.  Like most things in life knowledge is power so take the time to do your research and get to grips with what is meat by a plant based diet.

I take a two pronged approach to how I view the foods:

  • Whole foods in other words foods that have little or no processing done to them. Foods that are as close as possible to their original form.
  • Plant foods –  As it says – food that is derived from plants. 

The core tenant of the plant based diet is little or no processing of your foods to maintain the nutritional content. If in doubt there are resources available to take for example a vegan test for possible nutrient deficiencies that vegans may encounter if their plant-based diet is off-balance.  Using good quality supplements can play a huge part here.

I cant stress enough how important it is to do your research and nutritional testing can play an important role too helping you determine where you may be lacking in a key nutrient.

Another tip from my experience is to see its a a movement rather than a flick of switch. We are 3 years into this journey and im still “moving” towards plant based, learning as im going.

One thing that helped me a lot was finding my online tribe, there are lots of social media groups and resources where you can ask questions, seek advice and learn from the information shared. A lot of the advice I read at the outset suggested starting with one meal a day and gradually swaping meals that way, which from experience I think this is great advice.

If I could give one overriding piece of advice I think it would be not to loose heart or sweat the small stuff, if you slip up, you crave something not associated with plant based eating – start over. Its a gradual movement and each small change can have a huge impact on our own health and the wider environment.




Special ways to celebrate the birth of your child

The birth of your child should be one of the most special days in your life. It is unlikely that you would need any help to remember this time, but you will want to mark the occasion. There are many ways you can celebrate the birth, from whetting the baby’s head to a full naming ceremony. Here we offer a guide to some of the unique ways to celebrate this birth.

Some personalised jewellery 

The point of any item you buy at this special time is to remember the arrival of a new individual into the world. One of the best ways to personalise this is with a fingerprint. The universe provided us with our unique mark on the world, and this mark can be engraved into gold or silver.

Laser engraving can forever capture the newborn baby’s fingerprint on baby fingerprint jewellery, and you can wear it around your neck, on your wrist or on your finger. When you start leaving the baby with others for the first time, this piece of beautiful jewellery can keep you connected with your little one. The necklace, ring or bracelet can also become a family keepsake that you can pass down to your grandchildren. Imagine giving them a little something of their parent to help link the family generations.

If you want something similar but without the cost, you can opt for baby castings instead. You can buy kits from the high street, which will allow you to create small imprints of your baby’s hands and feet. These unique models can be mounted in a frame and displayed and will be a forever marker for how small your child was – even when they come home from school as a teenager and grunt at you.

Add to nature

As the future of the environment is such a hot topic, doing something to mark a better future for your new child seems appropriate. A favourite way to do this is to plant a tree. A tree symbolises roots and the connection with the place we are born. It will also transcend generations, living beyond your life and that of your child.

As your child grows, so will the tree. It can be somewhere where you could hang a swing in the future or sit under it and have picnics. Your baby’s tree will become part of the family and its history.

If a tree is too big for your garden, you might want to consider a rose instead. You will need to nurture the rose, as you will your child, but both will offer immense beauty into the future.

The professional photographer

A lot of people wait a few weeks or even months before they have a professional photoshoot.  Yet, your baby will change so much of this time, and there will be memories missed. Hiring a specialist in newborn photography is essential, as getting the little one to pose is something of an art form. Also, although we don’t like to admit it too much, the newborn is not the most aesthetically pleasing stage. The baby will be red and wrinkled and there might be some battle scars from birth. Therefore, a photographer will work magic with props, lighting and angle to present the cutest, most beautiful image of your little person.

Photographs of your closest relatives with your baby will also form an essential part of the record of this time. Rather than have people come when they choose, leaving you swamped with lots of visitors, why not organised a welcome to the family gathering. This small and informal celebration can then be done on your terms, and you could encourage people to bring food too – amazingly handy when you have a newborn in the house. This could present the perfect opportunity to pose people with the baby as they say hello – creating a precious album of images for the future.

Time alone

When you look back on the first moments with your child, you might view it through a fog of chaos. You will have yet to get your routines in place, people will show up whether you want them to or not, and you will be exhausted. Consequently, you need to make a special effort to spend some alone time with your new loved one. Set aside a special moment where you sit alone in a room together and feel skin on skin. Sit quietly, not doing anything other than sitting in each other’s company and affirming that special bond that came with love at first sight.


Note: This is a collaborative post

Living Arrows 16/52 – Music

Kahlil Gibran, “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

I really love joining in this linkie,  which is inspired by the above quote. it gives me the opportunity to look back on our week. Slowly, little by little we are adjusting to this very strange norm. We are all well which will always be the overriding objective but this was a tough week in out house. My 7 year old is really missing his school mates and grandparents but interestingly has found solace in his music.

He has been learning piano with the most amazing teacher for a year now but this week something clicked. I didn’t nag him to practice, he played away himself.  I can’t explain how this makes my heart happy. To see him take comfort and loose himself in his music is magical.

Hopefully next week is a step closer to normality.

Stay safe and follow the advice.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” – Plato


Living Arrows

How To Advise Your Children About Media Literacy In The Digital Space

Technology is really at the forefront of everything we do and never has this been more apparent than in the current circumstances where we are relying on it more than ever. I work in the finance sector and due to technological advances in recent times I have been able to work from home almost exactly as I would have in the office. In addition, my kids Spanish and piano lesson have moved to fully online. The pace at which we have all adapted is impressive. However something I am very aware of it that this come with increased exposure to screen time and as my own kids are very young it is very important at this age to build a solid foundation in media literacy as this will certainly stand to them in a world that is becoming increasingly digital. I received the below this morning and thought it would be an opportune time to share it. The handbook in link below is also a useful resource for parents as our kids begin to explore the vast digital world that is out there.

#ThinkBeforeClicking: How To Advise Your Children About Media Literacy In The Digital Space

child on ipad

Pic Credit: Pixabay

We are living in a time where people are relying on online sources and social media to stay in touch, find accurate information and get news updates. With parents currently home schooling and an increase in screen time for teenagers, what are the top tips we should know and what should we be doing to ensure our younger generations are critically engaging with the information they see online?

Twitter has been working with partners around the world to advance the conversation around media and information literacy. In partnership with UNESCO, it has produced Teaching and Learning with Twitter, a resource for educators to equip younger generations with skills to navigate today’s media environment. Download the handbook here.

“As an open platform for public conversation, Twitter has always championed free expression and free flow of information online. These complementary commitments intersect when we discuss media and information literacy,” said Ronan Costello, Senior Public Policy Manager, Twitter. “We hope that this Handbook will help educators and students navigate an increasingly complicated media environment. We look forward to continued collaboration with UNESCO on how media and information literacy can empower people – especially younger generations – to critically engage with content they see online.”

Continue Reading


Could Starting a Business Be the Best Career Path for You and Your Family?

family sitting at a computer

Pic Credit: Pexels

We’re living through some pretty unprecedented times. Just a couple of months ago, few people were aware that we’d end up engulfed by a worldwide pandemic, the kids would be off school, we’d be home from work and that we wouldn’t know when things will return to normal. But along with all the terrible things that are happening at the hands of coronavirus and Covid-19 at the moment, there are small positives that have got many of us rethinking the way we live our lives. Some of us are finally having time to reflect on our usual lifestyles. We don’t want to go back to rising at the crack of dawn, rushing the kids out of the house, commuting and spending the whole day behind our desks at work. We want more freedom. We want more flexibility. We want more of this time we’re getting with our little ones. Following this scenario, there’s a good chance that many of us are going to depart from the nine to five lifestyle and seek something else. Now, this can be daunting. You need to make money to support your family. But why not start a business of your own? This could be a great new lifestyle for you and your family!

The Perks

Let’s start by looking at the perks. To begin with, you become your own boss. You don’t have to answer to anybody else. You choose your own work schedule. If one of your little ones is unwell, you don’t have to grovel to take time off to care for them. If you want to book a holiday, you don’t have to request annual leave months in advance. You make your work life work for you and your kids. Then there are other benefits. You get to choose what area you specialise in. You can focus on products or services that matter to you or interest you. All in all, there’s a lot more potential for happiness and a good work-life balance here.

Getting Started

Here are just a few pieces of advice that can help you to get your business started off on the right foot.

Brand Yourself

You need a brand if you want to succeed. So, come up with a good company name and trademark it. Come up with a tagline. Trademark it. Come up with an aesthetic – colours, fonts, a general feel and attitude. This needs to appeal to your audience and tie in with what you’re selling.

Opt for Ecommerce

You can open a traditional brick and mortar store, sure. But all in all, Ecommerce is generally better for start ups. There are less costs involved. You don’t get tied into contracts on commercial premises. You can have a wider reach. Your business can operate around the clock. E Commerce is the way to go.

Know the Right Professionals to Collaborate With

You won’t be able to do absolutely everything yourself. So know the right professionals to collaborate with. Web designers and web developers will help to get your website set up properly. A graphic designer can come up with a logo for you. A product photographer can show your products in their best light. A copywriter can create the written content for your web pages and blog. An IT agency can come up with a seamless IT strategy for business growth.

Know Your Market

You can have a great product idea. But you need to make sure that it has potential to sell before bringing it to life and investing a lot of money into it. This is where market research comes into play. Get to know who you’re targeting with your product. Talk to them. Conduct surveys. Hold group chats. Do a little product research with them. This will give you a good idea in regards to whether there’s demand there, how much people will pay for your product and whether there’s room for a profit margin.

Sure, this is a lot to think about and take on board. But when have we ever found ourselves with more time on our hands? Get started with your planning now and by the time this whole situation passes, you could be ready to get started on your new career path. You could be ready and raring to go to break onto the market and generate sales and profit soon enough. You’ll improve your own life and your family’s lives before you know it!


Note: This is a collaborative post

Don’t Test Your Customers Patience In The Fast-Paced Online World

Convenience is one of the key features of buying online. Being able to purchase at a single click from the comfort of their own home, without having to deal with any clerks is very much a modern luxury. However, there are mistakes that a lot of eCommerce sites and online business owners make that can get in the way of that convenience and, thus, get in the way of your sales. Your customers are only so patient, and you need to make sure you don’t test that patience.


Pic Credit: Pixabay

Not using responsive design

When you’re running a business, you need to pay attention to how your customers tend to shop and make the user experience much better suited to their habits. When it comes to online business, often this means ensuring that customers who use tablets and other mobile devices aren’t left behind. Investing in responsive design for your website could be the key to making sure that a significant portion of your customer base has the smooth journey they need.

Don’t let them get lost in the process

Consider every click it takes a customer to make their way from the product page to a successful purchase to be an additional barrier they have to get over. The more clicks, the greater the risk of shopping cart abandonment. In order to stop this from happening, you can cut down some of the steps, such as allowing them to sign out as guests. However, you can also use design tips like breadcrumb navigation so they at least see how close they’re getting to checking out, making them more likely to go the distance.

Make sure they can pay without issue

As mentioned, buying online is all about convenience. However, if the customer gets to the end of their journey and is at the checkout, only to find out you don’t accept their preferred method of payment, you can be assured it’s going to severely test their patience. Check out the credit card terminals and online POS services available here to make sure that you’re giving the customers the means that they need to pay. Otherwise, you could be sending them off to a competitor who will accept their money, instead.

Make sure the delivery process is tight

The shopping experience might go just fine for your customers, but what about what comes after it? You need to ensure that your product deliveries are timely but that, more importantly, you are able to accurately estimate the date of arrival. Outsourcing parts of your sales process to fulfillment companies that offer package tracking could help you gain cost-effective access to that kind of accuracy and transparency, ensuring customers don’t lose patience waiting for their products.

Your customer’s time should be considered a precious commodity. As such, you should try to keep the process of purchasing as quick and simple as possible or watch them go to competitors who will. For all the benefits of online shopping, there’s no doubt it has created a more fickle customer. However, appeasing that side of them is just the cost of the extra profit potential.


Note: This is a collaborative post