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Archive for April 2009

 

Swine Flu: It’s impact on the Market

James of Texas asked this question and wanted to know if he should hold the stocks or sell off to minimize his losses if the market is impacted further due to Swine Flu situation. First of all thank you James for this question and like every one else, I am watching the situation closely if this can be avoided as a pandemic. Unfortunately I don’t have the crystall ball but I want to share my perspective with you.

The most important impact of swine flu is when people die. When more and more people are impacted due to this, there will be less number of people traveling. If this is going to be mild epidemic, then the impact will be limited but if it spreads to larger area, then the impact could be very significant.

If the outbreak does get worse, economists point to a range of possible effects including schools and public transportation systems closing; restrictions on travel and trade; severe strains on healthcare systems; and a drop in shopping.  If the current swine flu epidemic ends up infecting millions of people, then global GDP could be adversely affected at a time when the global economy is already in its worst recession in decades.

If I recall the impact of the SARS in 2003, it had impacted Asian countries but the impact was temporary due to overall economic boom. This time the overal situation is different due to economic recession and the impact on the economy is already huge due to job losses.

There are many reputed newspapers presenting detailed analysis on this and I am sharing some of these links here for your reference:

As in any crisis, there will be some companies benefitting from this situation. So some of the pharmaceutical companies will benefit from this crisis a lot. But some of the stocks in the airlines sector, food sector, travel industry, mexican stocks, amusement parks, and many other similar sectors should be on your watch-out list now.

Hope the above helps you in understanding the impact of the swine flu on the market,

Jay Author

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Get the Facebook Tool Resources here!

When I wrote about the twitter application and it’s tools, I got the request from Jim of US and Raj of India to write about the Facebook tool resources too.

Instead of talking about the Facebook and why should you use the Facebook for the marketing purpose, I recommend you to read the following blog post:

Read the rest of this entry »

Get all the URL Shortening Resources Here!

This is a very interesting question I got from Roger of Indiana, US. I think there are many others who might be looking for this information especially the affiliate marketers. So rather than providing just few options, I am going to provide you plenty of choices for the URL Shortening service.

  • Beam.To – Create customized Beam.to URLs of your long URLs. You can add passwords to your URLs as well.
  • Bit.ly – I do use this for the twitter service and I find this very easy to use and you can get the stats also.
  • BudURL – BudURL is easy to use! Just paste in a large, unruly web address in the box above and click the “Shrink It!” button. You’ll get a unique BudURL™ that you can use anywhere you’d like such as social networks, instant messages, emails, ad campaigns, electronic newsletters, etc.
  • CanURL – Canurl.com is a service that turns long URL’s into easy to share links. This is a free service and this company use advertisements for revenue.
  • C-O.in – C-O.IN is a cost free and Ad free URL redirection service (also known as URL forwarding) allowing anyone with a website to register a free subdomain and redirect it to their real URL!
  • Decent URL – You can convert any ugly long URL into a friendly title URL here.
  • DigBig – You can shorten any web address or URL into a short one here.
  • DoIop – Some web addresses (URL) are very long and complicated. doiop creates for you a short URL with a keyword you choose, making it easy to remember or give away. This link will not break in emails and never expire.
  • Durl.us – Use this 100% free tool to shorten any valid url. just enter it in the field above and click ‘shorten,’ you’ll be rewarded with shorter url.
  • DwarfURL – You can shrink your ugly URL into a friendly one here. You can even enter in a password and see the statistics (how many clicks and where from) for your dwarfURL.
  • Easy URL – Take those messy, way too long to remember, complicated URLs (or web addresses) and shorten them to something someone could easily remember (or type in). Simply paste in that long URL into the Long URL field box and click on shorten URL and you’re done!
  • ezURL.eu – Paste your URL which you want to shorten, choose an identifier name and remember the name is case sensitive and then shorten your URL.
  • Faceto.us – This service is available only for the facebook URLs to be shortened here.
  • Fhurl.com – This provides a free redirect to your site.
  • Fly2.ws – Convert your long annoying URL into a short URL.
  • HotRedirect – Most webmasters have their webpages hosted on free webhosts. These are great but they usually give you a long and hard-to-remember URL such as http://www.yourhost.com/user/~yourdir/yourdir.htm. Now with HotRedirect you can have your own cool, easy-to-remember subdomain for free, yes, FREE! This subdomain will redirect your visitors to your actual website. This way your visitors will easily remember your web address and are more likely to return to your site.
  • is.gd – Compress the long URLs here. You can also use the firefox plugin available for this application here.
  • Link.in – You need to sign up here before using their link redirect service. But sign up is free.
  • MemURL – A very simple user interface to shorten your long URLs into a short one.
  • MyURL.in – Cut down your long & hard to remember URLs to small, unique, anonymous & easy to remember ones. All MyURL.in links remain active and valid forever!
  • Ne1.net – This site offers free domains in the form of you.ne1.net or you.r8.org. They offer two types redirection modes: direct redirection and cloaked redirection where the target/true URL is hidden. All new accounts start as normal accounts with cloaked redirection with a small warning/ad frame at the top of the page.
  • NotLong – Notlong allows you to create a personalized subdomain on the short URL you want to create. You can also view the statistics of your URL views.
  • RubyURL – Add RubyURL to your favorite browser by dragging the bookmarklet (the link in the red area) to the bookmark toolbar of your browser and create RubyURLs on the fly!
  • TinyURL – A URL Shortening Service that offers a browser bookmark button that will provide a TinyURL of the page you are on. TinyURL also provides a Preview feature for your browser that will allow you to preview where a TinyURL will go to, before you click on that link.
  • WebAlias – This is a domain forwarding service to convert your long ULRs into shorten URLs with subdomains of your choice.

My favorite ones are tinyURL, budURL, bit.ly and rubyURL. But I suggest you to explore the above services and see what fits to your preferences.

As you explore the above resources, please do share your experiences here,

Jay Author

Better Budget Management for Students, Part 3

Don’t forget to read the first two posts on this topic:

1. Tip#1 for Students for Budget Management during Recession

2. Tip#2 for Students for Budget Management during Recession

Well I have already covered two main areas i.e. housing and car buying cost reduction tips. Today I am going to share with you another important area i.e. how to optimize on grocery purchase. So here is the third tip my dad shared with me.

Tip#3:  Save on Grocery & Food Bills

Do you go to restaurant daily? Well you can save money by buying pre-cooked or packaged food from your local grocery store and prepare in the microwave during your lunch break. You can also find out some good places in your town where you can get home-cooked meals which normally are more healthy and good for your stomach. When you go to restaurant, you not only buy food but extra items too which adds up your expenses.

If you have habit of picking coffee daily from your favorite shop, try preparing coffee at home. You will save at least $3 every day. You must be saying it’s just $3. Imagine if you follow this routine, you will save $90 every month which becomes $1,080 per annum. Small steps lead to big savings!

You can also buy ‘no-name’ products in place of branded ones. You should also use saving coupons whenever you can. You should also look for special promotions when you can save more money.

There are some internet saving coupons websites available where you can print the saving coupons before you go for your shopping.

 

You can get more about this topic at Use Coupons for Grocery Shopping.

Hope these tips will help you in managing your budget,

Jay Author

Better Budget Management for Students-Part 2

If you have not read the first post, then you can read about the better budget management, Part-1 before reading this post. The next big cost after housing for students as well as for others normally is buying a car. If you can avoid buying a car and manage with the public transportation, then that is ideal. But if you have to buy a car, then please don’t rush and buy a car just like that. You need to do your homework very carefully and put all the options on a piece of a paper. Why I am asking you to write down? Because this will take away all the emotions from your buying decision process. If you can discuss with your buddy your decision criteria, that’s ideal. Here is the watch out for you, don’t put up the decision criteria after you like a car because of goodies or toys. Challenge yourself with ‘why you need those goodies’ question.

Tip#2: Be a Smart Car Buyer

Here are the detailed steps for you:

1. Put up your decision criteria on a piece of paper and then stick to it.

2. Check out for car newspapers, magazines, websites and community news bulletins for deals. Don’t forget to check out at your community and grocery shop bulletin boards.

3. Check out the potential car for thorough inspection. If you have a friend who is more knowledgeable about cars than you, ask for his or her help. If you know a mechanic, ask for his help. You can also check about cars using websites like if the car had any accidents, maintenance history etc. You just need car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) which is the unique 17-character number and you can find it on the car dashboard. All of this information can be very useful in negotiating a better price for the car.

4. Never pay the sticker or asking price. It doesn’t matter if you are buying from a private seller or from a dealer. Do your homework and work out your buying price and then negotiate with the seller for the best possible deal.

5. While shopping for the car, you should remember that you have to pay car insurance too. Car insurance premium varies from brand to brand and make to make. Insurance companies do their research and check out what cars are more prone to be stolen and accordingly they fix the premiums. This information is easily available on the internet for various states. You should check out this before finalizing your deal.

6. You should also shop around for the car insurance. You should also take benefit of car alarms, anti-theft devices, discount for insurance class and many other such options which can reduce your insurance premium.

7. When you put up your car buying budget, you should add at least 15-20% on top of that to be more realistic. As you start looking for cars, you sometime find very good deal which may be little beyond your budget but you really love that car. Even though I have been saying that you should stick to your budget but if you get your dream car with little extra, it’s worth it. You need to love your car so that you can take care of it properly.

You can check out for some valuable Auto Loan resources here: 

You can also check out for some valuable Auto Insurance resources here: 

 Bettter Budget Management for Students – Part-1

I received three questions in the last 2 weeks from Jim, Jones & Mark of US asking almost the same question of how we students should manage our budget during the current economic climate. Since this question is so important, I decided to answer this in a series of three posts. Please make sure that you read all three posts in series to get the full picture.

When I was a student, I always tried to get maximum for my bucks as it’s not easy to make a living and study at the same time. Most of the students do work for limited time only so that they can balance between their classes and job. I had the same situation and I was earning only minimum wages initially for all the jobs. I had good fun doing all these jobs but I always struggled to meet my expenses. One day my dad came to see me and he watched my schedule for couple of days and then asked me to join him for a dinner at a good restaurant. After dinner we went out for a walk and there he shared with me few cost cutting tips. I benefitted a lot and I am sure you too can.

Tip#1: Reduce your Housing Cost

Easier said than done! Right, I had the same feeling when my dad told me about this. We all know that housing is the biggest cost for any one including students. So how can you reduce this cost? Well for extraordinary results, you have to take extraordinary steps.

Here are some options for you:

1. Look for a place which is less expensive but well connected with public transportation so that you can attend your college or university with less hassles. In every city you will find some localities where rents go down a lot and check out these places if it suits you.

2. Do you have students from the same city or town in your school? Check out with them if they would like to share a house with you. You can also check with your buddies and classmates if they would like to share a room with you. Be practical but be fussy at the same time in deciding whom you will be sharing your room with.

3. Challenge yourself to downgrade your current living standards with more affordable ones! If you want to buy furniture, look for garage sales and many other places where you can get deals. Be more creative with your decisions and look for multiple use of your belongings.

The above tips helped me in reducing my housing cost a lot as I decided to move with my buddies. This not only saved me money but also provided me a wider social platform.

Some good blogs for your further reading:

 

I am sure you might have tried many other options. So I am looking forward for your ideas. Please share here with every one so that more people can benefit.

Thanks

Jay Author