7 Ways to Make Extra Money for the Holidays

VarageSale App Makes eCommerce Local

We’ve all bought things online at some point but selling them can often be a hassle.

While on leave during a pregnancy in 2012, VarageSale founder Tami Zuckerman noticed there was no existing family-friendly solution to buying and selling items online. Rather than buying from strangers online, why not reach out to those in your community that you already know and trust?

Tami was able to experiment with several different online buying/selling platforms during her time on leave and found the experience seemed broken. She felt like there needed to be a way to make the process easier and personable.

As she mentions in an interview with Small Business Trends, While I was pregnant with my son, I was spending a lot of time at home, so I started clearing out the house to make room for the baby. I was also looking for an affordable way to collect baby gear for the new arrival. I found my experience on Craigslist to be creepy, while social networks felt clunky.

That’s when I asked my husband Carl, VarageSale’s CEO and co-founder, to build me something better, something that people in our neighborhood could also use to buy and sell their items locally.

The couple worked together with close friends and family to come up with a simple, easy-to-use interface, complete with live feed. It wasnt long before they had created the VarageSale app that the idea caught on and began gaining momentum quickly.

News of he app spread by word of mouth. And today, the Toronto based business is expanding into the US and already has a presence in many communities. Recently the company raised $34 million from Silicon Valley investors who saw and realized just how popular the app has become.

The VarageSale app works a bit like a simplified eBay, with a bit of Pinterest tossed in. Users can follow categories and people in order to get alerts when items they may be interested in are posted. You can also ‘watch’ items and come back to them later if the price happens to drop.

One user named Pamela Betsill uses the app for her small business, an interior design group called PTB Design Company, and noted that using the app was so easy that she’s never gone back to the Facebook group method.

She told Small Business Trends, VarageSale is like shopping locally without the physical storefront. You can and do become familiar with other sellers and buyers. It becomes more of a community to work safely in, unlike eBay or other sites, where your security can feel threatened.

Community seems to be the recurring theme here. The VarageSale blog mentions in its ‘about our story’ post that users appreciate the safer community feel and all the great people that they meet while shopping and selling.

Betsill uses the app to buy and sell antiques and old furniture and loves it. Most of the products that pass through her hands have history, and having a tool that gives a direct link to the people that know that history makes the process much more personable and smooth.

Furniture isn’t the only option, of course. You can find anything from baby clothing to real estate on the app. For the most part, however, it’s mostly just like the name suggests: garage sale items, mostly gently-used or antique.

What began as an idea during a work leave has quickly evolved into a whole business in itself. Zuckerman and her husband saw a need in their community and filled it, only to find that other communities also needed that niche covered. When it comes to starting your own business, Zuckerman has this advice:

Start your online business based on your passion. Whether its jewelry, sharing education tips, or refurbishing furniture, turning your passion into a successful business not only allows you to be profitable doing what you love, but sets you up for lasting success. Passion is a huge motivator!

Image: Varage Sale

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Don’t Increase Your Spending When You Have Extra Money

Living Beneath Your Means. Thats a phrase that gets thrown around a lot when personal finance blogs talk about frugality. But it applies equally to people who have attained relative financial comfort. The fact is, there are often very few life circumstances that separate the well-off person from poverty. For people with somewhat little to fall back on, its important to prepare for the worst in savings and spending. This might seem like common sense. So why is it so hard to follow for most of us?

Well, money has an interesting effect on the way we think. This is especially true if were not used to having it. A sudden or steady increase in income is often accompanied by an increase in confidence. We feel like were on top of the world, and that there are surely bigger and better things to come. A bright future may well be on its way. But there could just as easily be challenging times on the horizon. The only thing you can be sure of is that things will change. To prepare, its best to allow your lifestyle to stay the same, even as your income rises.

This provides real insulation against various worst-case scenarios. Its important to remember that these scenarios arent really that unlikely. Its entirely possible that you or a partner might lose a job, that you might have a child, that a partner or family member might unexpectedly pass away. Those are big challenges, but even comparatively minor inconveniences can take their toll on your wallet: having a car break down, watching the furnace go up in smoke, having a large veterinary bill.

So what is to be done instead? Well, there are some pretty simple steps which youve heard all about before. But they are always worth repeating in order to make sure youre keeping up with your own financial life. Heres what I recommend as preparation for the worst:

  1. Budgethellip;and Dont Change your Budget -Create a budget that covers the basics of your life. Eat well, but modestly, enjoy your life, but with few extravagances. Try to reserve 15% to be left over after you pay for your life and bills. If you dont have a budget already, take a close look at what you spend in a single month. The amount will likely surprise you. By taking every dollar into account, you can start to get control of what you spend.

  2. Save and Invest -Saving and investment should become a part of your everyday life. Save when you have money, and work to save up an emergency fund that would cover your living expenses for at least six months in the event that a major financial problem strikes. Start investing if you have not already begun. Regular contributions to your IRA and/or 401(k) will have a big impact on your financial security farther down the road.

  3. Splurge, but Not Often -Its psychologically important to give oneself an occasional reward for working hard and making money. But its easy for this kind of luxury spending to add up. Commit to a steady lifestyle, one not often punctuated with large, impressive purchases.

  4. Stick to the Plan -As you increase your income, increase you saving and investment, not your spending or lifestyle. Eventually, youll probably have built a truly resolute financial situation, one which can support an increase in lifestyle. Until then, stick to the plan and live beneath your means.

In the end, its pretty simple. But a lot of people mess this up by getting too excited at a pay raise or an inheritance. Just because you have more money today, doesnt mean youll keep it. So keep your expectations low and your plan steady. One day, youll be able to afford the lifestyle you want, without the risk of overextending yourself.

Government will have to provide extra money for HSE tax bill

The Government is expected to have to provide additional funding to the HSE to meet the cost of a EUR22.4 million settlement with the Revenue Commissioners in relation to unpaid taxes.

The HSE is expected to tell the Dáil Public Accounts Committee on Thursday this payment will not impact on patient services.

It is understood that money for the settlement with the Revenue will have to come from an an additional EUR600 million supplementary estimates for the HSE which the Government will propose to the Dáil in the weeks ahead.

Catella – Corporate Finance: Catella: Use of Big Data in the Real Estate …

STOCKHOLM–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The trend of increased use of big data in the real estate sector is
creating opportunities for innovation leaps and will lead to changes in
forecasting methods, new and more transparent pricing methods and
personalised property marketing.

In its new report, BIG DATA in the real estate sector – opportunity or
threat to the industry? Catella Research examined the status quo and the
future viability of the European real estate sector against the backdrop
of digitalisation. The survey covers 468 European real estate firms.

“Big data is seen as relevant and revolutionary for the future
development of the real estate sector. But although all the firms
included in the survey produce masses of data, only a small proportion
of them integrate it comprehensively as a process element in service
provision, forecasting, or strategic planning”, says Dr Thomas Beyerle,
Head of Research at Catella.

The majority of firms (60.4%) currently make decisions based on past
experience; only a quarter (23.4%) indicated that they make decisions
based on data. A further 11.7% reported using a combination of data and
experience. The largest transparency deficits in real estate markets
were identified as Data/survey methods not standardised (34.2%), No
central data source (21.1%) and No data available at sub-market level

Asked about the greatest sectoral changes resulting from ongoing
digitalisation, 30.5% expect structural changes in the area of property
investment, followed by 23.8% in transaction consulting. Only 5.7%
expect any noticeable change in the area of property finance. This will
lead to changes in forecasting methods; issues of outsourcing or
make-or-buy decisions in the real estate industry will top the
decision-making agenda.

“We anticipate major structural changes for the industry, especially in
the area of customer-based specialisation and transparent pricing. But
answers will also have to be found to the issue of ownership structures
of the data. There is a latent risk that data oligopolies will emerge in
the industry”, says Dr Beyerle.

But Catella is confident that the increased use of data will provide
opportunities for innovation leaps, especially in the real estate
industry. A prerequisite is that the development is driven not only by
mundane concerns such as data availability, consistent standards or
simply transparency, but by the realisation that data is the key to
long-term financial success. We can already see that the new, digitally
focused real estate firms are creating a novel environment of
competition with established industry players.

For more detailed information please see the attached report.

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Thomas Beyerle
of Group Research
+49 69 310 19 30 220

Press contact:
Ann Charlotte Svensson
Head of Group
+46 8 463 32 55, +46 72 510 11 61

About Catella: Catella is a financial advisor and asset manager with
in-depth knowledge of property, fixed income and equities. Catella is a
leader in the property sector, with a strong local presence in Europe,
and employs some 500 professionals in 12 countries. Catella is listed on
First North Premier on Nasdaq Stockholm. Read more at catella.com (http://www.catella.com/).

This information was brought to you by Cision http://news.cision.com

The Los Feliz Convent Katy Perry Wants To Buy Housed Abusive Priests

You know that massive convent in Los Feliz Katy Perry wants to buy? Apparently it was used by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as a refuge for molester priests.

According to an in-depth report by Billboard, Archbishop Mahony (who would later be at the center of the areas Catholic church sex-abuse scandal) had been using the gorgeous Immaculate Heart of Mary convent as a place to shelter priests accused of molestation, without informing the sisters who lived there. One of these priests was the Rev. Richard Allen Henry, who was first taken into police custody at the convent in 1991, before he was later sentenced to eight years in state prison for the sexual abuse of four boys.

86-year-old Sister Catherine Rose Holzman, a representative of sorts from the order that had lived at the convent for 40 years, told Billboard, I did see Henry arrested and then realized what was going on. At the time, I didnt know. None of us did. He stayed at the convent for many months before that. There wasnt much we could do about it. The archdiocese told us he could stay there, and we do what we are told.

But that was just the beginning. In September 2004, Rev. Fernando Lopez was arrested at the convent, and was convicted on four counts of molestation. In 2008, 64-year-old Brother David Joseph Nickerson was arrested and later convicted of third-degree sexual assault; hed been working there for years.

According to Billboard, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles reportedly settled for $660 million with more than 500 alleged clergy-abuse victims; not counting additional hundreds of millions in other damages and legal fees. Thats why they want to sell to Katy Perry, Holzman said. They want the money for you know what…We wont see a dime of it.

In addition to exploring the convents unfortunate ties to sex abuse scandals, the article also has some anecdotes that detail meetings between Perry and the nuns; they were skeptical about selling their holy grounds to a woman who didnt quite seem to share their values, per se.

Then Holzman researched Perry online and found a video interview in which the former gospel singer joked that she had found success as a secular artist because I sold my soul to the devil. This was alarming. Even mentioning that she would sell her soul to Satan is against our principles and beliefs, Holzman says now. In an email to then-Rev. Monsignor Joseph V. Brennan, she wrote, In selling to Katy Perry, we feel we are being forced to violate our canonical vows to the Catholic Church.

But Perry said she was just kidding about that whole selling-her-soul-to-the-devil thing! Really! Shes got a Jesus tattoo to prove it, and wanted the nuns to know it.

On May 26, at the archbishops urging, the five nuns met with Perry at nearby convalescent home Nazareth House, where two IHM sisters lived. As Holzman recalls, the pop star arrived late. Holzman mentioned the devil video shed seen online. Perry said her comment was just for entertainment and showed them her left-wrist tattoo: the word Jesus, inked when she was 18.

As if the ink wasnt enough, Perry also proved her Christian devotion to the nuns by singing for them:

At the request of Dunne, who sang along, Perry belted out the gospel song Oh Happy Day, reading the lyrics off her iPhone. She planned to turn the estate into a private residence for her family and employees, she told the women. She wanted to sip green tea and meditate in the gardens. She was nice, says Holzman. She told us why she wanted the property and then sang a song and left.

The legal processes of buying and selling the convent have been convoluted, and its impossible to say what will ultimately happen with the property. But restaurant owner Dana Hollister, another player in the story, wants to transform the convent into a boutique hotel, and threw some shade at Perry. She told Billboard, Its interesting she has all this girl power and shes running over a woman and five nuns.

Buying or Selling Hot NHL Starts to the 2015-16 Season

The Usual Suspects.

If you havent seen the movie, its a spectacular crime drama full of twists and turns. If youve seen the early list of NHL scoring leaders, youll notice the same title doesnt necessarily apply through two weeks of action.

Jamie Benn, last years scoring champion, is near the top again. So is his partner in crime, Tyler Seguin. Other familiar names include John Tavares and Vladimir Tarasenko. But there are plenty of others you may not expect to see leading the points-per-game race.

The following slides focus on some of the hot starts you may not have expected and offer thoughts on whether they will continue.

Well leave out some of the highly touted rookies lighting it up early and assume none of them are quite set to become the first 100-point freshmen since Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby in 2006.

What youll see are names of players you may have thought were past their prime or clicking at a pace well above their career averages. There are those who are in new roles, with new teams or even in a new league.

Click ahead to see whose hot starts were buying and selling for the 2015-16 season.

Stats are courtesy of NHL.com unless otherwise noted.

Monthly flea market draws in vendors selling handmade goods

Ella Ambulo quit her day job as a traffic manager five years ago to sell hanging geometric planters at flea markets in Los Angeles.

Ambulo, the creator and artist of Urban Geometry, pairs air plants with handmade geometric brass pieces, inspired by the concept of a himmeli, a type of ornament originally from Finland.

She sold her planters at Artists amp; Fleas flea market this weekend in the downtown Los Angeles Arts District. Tucked away in a small lot between graffitied warehouses and trendy restaurants, the flea market offers crafts, clothing, books, jewelry, artwork, bags and keepsakes among other handmade products. Artists amp; Fleas came to Los Angeles in the summer of 2014 and continues every third weekend of the month.

SPECTRUM GALLERY: Flea market fun

Ambulo said the flea market scene has grown in the recent years, especially with the unique vendors that come to Artists amp; Fleas.

Instead of buying at big retailers, (people) tend to go to artists or artisan markets because (they) can see the artists who made it and see their process, which is cool, Ambulo said.

A few booths down, Shahrzad Ghadjar, creator of Spooksvilla, sold handmade greeting cards, lighters, pocket mirrors and coloring books. She puts her designs and illustrations on different objects, which she said are inspired by naked women, vintage porn, violence and good cartooning.

Ghadjar was initially inspired to sell her creations one year ago when she decided she wanted to be her own boss. She decided to test out selling her creations at flea markets and her online store.

While some vendors sell candles, leather bags or jewelry, Lynn Klopfer has sold her books at Artists amp; Fleas from when the market came to Los Angeles. She owns Brown Bag Books and has been buying and selling used books since 2004.

Klopfer decided to become a mobile book seller 11 years ago, when she said most independent bookstores were closing. She has loved books since she was a young girl, Klopfer said. Growing up with her father who was an avid reader and her business-minded mother led her to want to start a business selling the books that she liked; she said she is passionate about stories with a strong female protagonist such as The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner.

Although she sells novels in her various mobile bookstores, Klopfer said her best collection is at Artists amp; Fleas, where she is able to see new and returning customers buy her books.

This might sound snooty, but I don’t want to have books out that you can have in the grocery store, Klopfer said. (I like) the old-fashioned way of walking into a book store and asking the proprietor and being like Do you like this book?”

Artists amp; Fleas also featured vendors selling handmade home goods. Ceramics vendor Robert Turek met partner Marie Perrin-McGraw at graduate school where Turek studied 3D design and Perrin-McGraw studied ceramics. They then decided to collaborate to make ceramics and woodwork for their business, Lustered Walnut.

In fall of 2013, they started selling their handmade ceramic goods with Tureks hand-drawn thin lines of herringbone and basketweave patterns.

Turek said although they sell their products to wholesale boutiques, he favors the interaction at flea markets.

I really love physically coming out to talk to people and get feedback on your design, and hearing from people and seeing people’s reactions directly, Turek said.

The flea market boasts a growing community of artists and vendors, said Melissa Shipley, an attendee who co-created a flea market in Pasadena called Jackalope Arts and Crafts Fair.

Ambulo said people keep buying goods at flea markets because they appreciate the work artists and vendors put into their products.

Usually, they say that artists are starving. I mean I quit my job doing this, Ambulo said. The artists are not starving anymore.

Australian Property Finance moves into advice

Mortgage broking group Australian Property Finance (APF) has moved to create a wealth management arm, hiring former ANZ adviser Jason Fung to help build the business.

Counting Pennies: The Best Ways to Buy & Sell Bitcoin in the UK

Bitcoin buying and selling in the UK has always been something of a paradox. For a major world economy forming such a large potential market, bitcoin purchasing remains more expensive than in neighbouring Europe.

The UK government has cited its desire to aid Bitcoins cause over the past year, but as yet, no tangible changes have been seen, and banks continue to be reluctant to partner with domestic Bitcoin operators.

CoinTelegraph took a look at the best options available for UK consumers in 2015.


The most common way mainstream consumers purchase bitcoin is through an exchange. However, what can prove a cost-effective option in the US, Europe and elsewhere still does not quite hold true for the UK.

Domestic exchanges (such as they are) frequently offer slow service with high fees. A guideline amount is that charged by Coinfloor – pound;5 to deposit BTC and pound;10 per withdrawal far higher than a EUR deposit on another major exchange, for example.

Those exchanges situated offshore, and which have a GBP option, are forced to exact further fees from customers to cover UK banks charges for SEPA transfers to EUR.

Things are slowly improving. US exchange Coinbase announced in August that UK customers could buy BTC direct using certain credit or debit cards, with the transaction subject to a 3% commission fee potentially more cost-effective than a one-off deposit or withdrawal fee.

Smaller operators are also attempting to corner the market in terms of convenience. UK-based Cryptopay is currently facilitating purchasing with a 1% fee, coupling this with its own debit card for spending and a dedicated service for sending funds abroad in both crypto and fiat currencies.

The rest

The banking situation in the UK has led to the curious situation in which exchanges and formal mechanisms of buying and selling BTC are not the most common choice for most people. P2P transacting has become highly successful, notably Localbitcoins, an eBay-style listing service offering sales and purchases from other users in real time.

The rates vary: the least attractive are tied to cash exchange agreements (in person), while bank transfers receive a better rate. Certain users also offer considerably higher rates higher even than the market price of BTC on purchases in return for non-currency such as store loyalty points etc.

Localbitcoins had been known as the Wild West of Bitcoin transactions in the past, but its reputation has improved through its ratings system, and security has been transformed.

Similar operations to Localbitcoins do exist, but their scope and security comparatively leave something to be desired.

The aforementioned Coinfloor set up its own marketplace-style operation in July 2015: featuring preapproved traders, those with a Coinfloor account are offered a faster exchange method than on the conventional exchange platform.

As might be expected, the brick-and-mortar method of acquiring bitcoins is still expensive, and the UK is no exception. Bitcoin ATMs offer notoriously poor value for money, and at current prices are best avoided altogether while the market becomes more competitive.

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