“Second Life is a virtual world developed by Linden Lab that launched on June 23, 2003 and is accessible via the Internet. A free client program called the Second Life Viewer enables its users, called Residents, to interact with each other through avatars. Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade virtual property and services with one another, or travel throughout the world, which residents refer to as the grid” (Wikipedia definition)
Why do I tell you this? Because some people are still scared by the word virtual, but virtual does not mean unreliable, it only refers to another level of perception. And second life and real life are not so far apart , they are deeply linked by the coin: in the virtual world you use real money! Second Life is infact a huge new potential marketplace with its 1.2 million “residents” who spend $500,000 every day, real money! Many of us already use the Internet, which is a virtual world of its own, as a place of business. Perhaps virtual worlds like Second life are the next step.
Second Life is not the only place where you can have a virtual office for a real business. In London you can have one too. In this way you can reduce costs, reach more clients and work comfortably from your own home. You can do everything online: create your account, add to your services, receive your messages, all in just a few clicks!
Bad news for all the French, Italian and Spanish workers in London (who earn in pound and spend in euro): the pound has fallen to a new record low against the euro today. And also for English people this means problems and a growing fear about the strength of the British coin.
“The euro climbed to 87.79p against the pound on the currency markets, building on a previous high of 87.73p,” reports the Timesonline.co.uk. “At the same time, sterling hit $1.4765 against the dollar”.
The British pound has been weakening during the economic downturn: in the past 12 months the sterling has fallen 17.4% against the euro and 27.1% against the dollar. The pound is now almost euro parity… is it time to change and accept the euro?
Now £100 are changed for €114.13; amazing news for tourists in Europe!
As you know the VAT rate has been reduced from 17.5% to 15%. The Change of Rate Order is valid from 1st December 2008 to 31st December 2009. The Chancellor announced this decision in the Pre-Budget Report on 24th November 2008 to cut the prices of any sales and services in an attempt to push the economy.
The proposal of cutting Value Added Tax comes from the European Commission to help the worldwide financial situation and promote the Internal Market (production and use of energy-saving materials and energy-efficient appliances and equipment) and UK government accepted a challenge that should positively impact all of us.
Services relating to many sectors (including housing construction, renovation, repair, maintenance, cultural heritage and historical monuments) will see their rates reduced. Only standard-rated sales are affected, so there are no changes to sales that are zero-rated or reduced-rated for VAT, similarly, there are no changes to the VAT exemptions. The 15% rate will remain until 31st December 2009, and from 1st January 2010 it will revert to 17.5%. Genuine commercial transactions should not be affected. All the details are in the written statement to be made by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury on 25th November 2008.
So enjoy the reduction and think positively and don’t forget to update the prices of your products and services.
Today the Bank of England has said (again) that next year the UK will have to prepare for a recession. The experts have predicted that inflation could fall to 1% in 2010. All the while unemployment soars above 1.8m.
It’s time to save money for the ominous future, because every penny saved is a penny earned. And you can easily save money with a bit of control over your food, at home, going out and finance.
Last week we touched on food, now here are our suggestions to save money at home:
• Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
• Fit energy-saving light bulbs: they’re kind to the environment and they save you money in the long run.
• Take a shower, not a bath: it uses a lot less water and therefore saves on heating.
• Hanging out the washing is free: don’t use the energy-thirsty tumble dryer.
• Turn down the thermostat on your central heating by just one degree when you leave the flat.
• Check always your gas and electricity bills.
• Gently heat rooms you don’t use.
• Ensure that you don’t have leaky windows and doors.
• Fit loft insulation: some councils offer grants.
• Don’t leave electrical equipment, such as TVs and stereos, on standby: it wastes electricity.
Every penny counts, now more so than ever. So what better time for some handy saving tips? Look after the pennies and, well you know the rest…
1. Cheap Deals: Many restaurants have some kind of “early-bird” deal, normally around 4.30 – 6.30. You are obviously choosing from a limited menu but more often than not the selection is just the same as the normal menu with a little less choice.
2. Special Offer: look at toptable.co.uk and you’ll find special offers for every taste.
3. New times: If you simply must eat out then why not try going to a restaurant for lunch instead of dinner, the lunch set menus are normally far better value.
4. Drinks: ask for tap water and save money on pricey drinks. Or even better keep some squash at work and make it last for weeks.
5. DIY: Sick of buying the exact same ciabatta from the exact same Italian sandwich bar? Whether you make your packed lunch in the morning or buy the ingredients and make it at lunchtime, you will save an incremental fortune over the course of the months of your practical planning. How long can you make it last?