Today’s Cold Shipping Technology Involves Far More Than Dry Ice

Shipping of goods worldwide is an enormous business and companies compete for our business with catch words and phrases like “if it fits…” or “let Brown…” or “…it’s logistics” to grab and hold our attention. Within this shipping world is a very specialized kind of service, one that can literally be life-saving. Cold shipping is a specialized shipping service in which sensitive products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, foods, healthcare products, biomaterials, human organs and even animals that need to be kept temperature-controlled may be sent and delivered safely.

Insulated shipping supplies are needed to properly package items that must be temperature controlled during shipping. These vary from vacuum flasks, similar to a thermos, to molded expanded polystyrene foam (EPS — similar to coolers) to sheets of foamed plastics.  There are fabricated thermal liners and blankets as well as molded foams known as polyurethane polyethylene. There are metalized film reflective materials, gel packs and cold bricks, insulated box liners and moisture shields. Some products are designed to be used once and discarded while others are made to be reused.  For frozen and very cold foods, there is still dry ice.

Thermal protection solutions for cold shipping are often part of a cold chain, by which the shippers maintain a record of the temperature of the product and its freshness through every step in the shipping process.  In order to accomplish this, a digital thermometer or some sort of device to indicate temperature and time is often packaged with the product to monitor its temperature inside the packaging for the entire trip.  In this manner the quality and freshness of the product is assured. This is crucial for all shipments, but a matter of life or death when shipping organs for transplants or someone’s pet amphibian or reptile.

Two primary characteristics of insulated shipping containers that are of major importance are the insulation properties or value of their materials (known as the “K value”) and their thicknesses.  These form most of the functional ability of the container. There are a variety of different temperature control packaging products from which to choose. Your choice will depend upon your specific shipping need and the item to be shipped.  There are box and gel pack combination systems, molded EPS insulated containers, panel box containers with 1.0 EPS foam panels included, and Polyurethane (PUR) molded “Super K” containers.  There are also containers build specifically for transporting amphibians and reptiles safely in any climate at any time of the year.

Dry ice used to be the go-to material for frozen shipping but it is classified as a dangerous material. Today’s temperature-sensitive biomaterials and biogenetics benefit from a deep frozen shipping option from the technology of liquid nitrogen dry vapor.  Using this form of nitrogen eliminates the need to ship under a dangerous goods classification. This and many new technological advances have been of great benefit to the cold shipping industry.

Five Ways for Parents to Save on Tutoring

Now that it’s a couple months into the academic year, you’re probably starting to notice your child’s strengths and weaknesses in school, as far as grades go. Maybe they’re acing language arts and struggling in math. Maybe foreign language classes are causing some headache and they could use some help keeping up with the rest of the class. Regardless of which class your child needs help in, there is a solution: tutoring.

Unfortunately, tutoring can be very pricy, with some experienced tutors charging in upwards of $20-30 per hour, depending on their educational background and whether or not they work for an established tutoring company. If you want to help your child improve their academic record without breaking the bank in the process, the following five alternatives to overpriced tutoring services might alleviate some of the financial burden:

Volunteer Organizations

Many high schools require a certain number of volunteering hours as a prerequisite for graduation and, given the relative lack of on-the-job skills high schoolers have, many gravitate towards tutoring or coaching younger students. As a parent, contact a high school or other volunteer organizations in your area such as YMCA or perhaps your local church has educators or students willing to donate a little of their time to help a fellow student. Although this is unpaid help, it’s generally recommended that you buy a little gift or something for the tutor when your child no longer requires the assistance of one.

Hire a Student

If there aren’t any volunteers, then hiring a student is the next best thing. Not only are they already immersed in an academic environment—and the ones offering tutoring services tend to be at the top of their class—but they won’t charge you an arm and a leg for elite tutoring services like a full-service tutoring center would. The unemployment rate is quite high among those in high school (even college students aren’t doing so great, employment-wise), so many would be grateful to have some source of regular income. Many students set their own rates (generally a little above minimum wage or even as high as $20+ per hour, depending on the demand for tutors in their specialty), and although they’re not high school or college grads yet, independent student-tutors are fantastic alternatives to paying exorbitant prices for tutoring elsewhere.

**Note: be sure to check their qualifications thoroughly prior to hiring (maybe even ask your child’s teachers or fellow parents for recommendations).

Online Tutoring

Online tutoring services, whether they’re conducted over email, chat, or live video chat, are becoming increasingly popular in this digital age. Thanks to today’s technologies, even students in rural areas can get top-notch help from tutors and the wide variety of tutors available all over the world means you can do a little price-comparing before selecting a tutor that’s right for your child’s needs. This is especially great for foreign language students who want a tutor whose native language is the one they’re learning.

Local Offers/Coupons

If hiring an online tutor isn’t right for you or your child’s needs, then check around for local coupons and coupon codes to see if tutoring centers or private tutors have any specials or coupons for first-time customers.

Request a Discount

If you can’t find coupons readily available, you could always just ask. The worst they can say is no, but many places are willing to offer group discounts for multiple students utilizing their tutoring services. Others offer package deals (e.g., sign up for three months and get the fourth month free). The problem with signing up for several months is that you don’t know how long your child will need help in the subject they’re having trouble with, so as a general rule, avoid signing up for several months of tutoring in advance.

Obtaining an Offshore Bank Account

Have you ever thought about getting an offshore bank account? If not, allow me to give you some reasons why they are an important financial tool for your portfolio. I also want to provide some insight into how you go about obtaining an offshore online banking account.

Diversification is typically thought of as having a mix of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds within an investment portfolio. However, diversification can be a lot more than that. Having part of your wealth outside of your home country allows you to avoid the risk of a government freezing all of your assets, or the effects of currency fluctuation throughout the year.  Also, there are jurisdictions with low taxes that may be available to you. Next, you have to consider that some countries have more stable, or even thriving, economies than others.

It used to be that you need to show up in person to apply for an out-of-state bank account, let alone an international bank account, but these days you can visit a local branch of an international bank and get it done from there. While there are quite a few documentation requirements, it’s virtually pain free, and the account can be fully managed online from the comfort of your own home.

The globalization of large corporations has actually contributed quite a bit to the popularity of offshore bank accounts. Expats that are transferred to foreign countries for work like the ability of having a bank account in both their home country as well as the one they reside in for work. The assignments are usually temporary but the bank accounts stay open long past their departure from the foreign country.

Beware that the minimum balances for these types of accounts tends to be higher than that of domestic accounts. Also, there can tend to be varying fees depending on the services utilized with these accounts.

Hopefully you can see the benefits of holding an offshore bank account, and give some thought to diversifying and obtaining one of your own.

How to Choose the Right Gas Credit Card

One of the biggest expenses for most working adults is the cost of gas for their cars. With gas at a national average of $3.60 most people are looking for any way possible to save a few bucks when they fill up. With that in mind we put together a blog about some of the best gas credit cards that are available today, a bit about how they work and some advice about which ones to use. Enjoy.

First, having the correct gas rewards credit card can definitely decrease your gasoline costs. There are basically two types; cards that are tied to a particular gas station only  and cards that give you cash back, points or rebates no matter which gas station you decide to use. Unless you are going to exclusively use a specific station and never any other kind, the latter is definitely the best.

Cash-back cards, the kind that give you a specific percentage of your total back every time you get your monthly statement, are the most straightforward and usually offer the most value. Whatever card you choose however, focusing on getting the card that gives you the best rewards for your lifestyle is most important.

One of the most essential things to consider before getting any gas rewards card is that you should have at least above-average credit and have the financial means to pay off your bill in full at the end of every single month. If you don’t, a gas card that comes with no annual fee or a 0% interest offer might actually be better for you.

The card that you pick depends on your personal preference more than any other factor since most of them will offer rewards that are relatively attractive. For example, a Costco gas reward card (True Earnings Card) offers a combination of convenience and value if you are already a Costco shopper while the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express might be more preferable to you if you want a card that not only gives you rewards for gas but also on other everyday purchases. If you’re simply looking for gas rewards and nothing else the PenFed Card (Pentagon Federal Credit Union) is probably your best choice.

For a lot of people the idea of using a credit card for only one specific type of expense might not seem financially astute but, if you use the “island approach” strategy, you’ll find that it actually does make sense. The idea behind this approach is that you get the best possible collection of terms and rewards by using different cards for specific different expenses as if they are individual “islands”. This might entail, for example, using one card for gas, another for airline miles and a 0% credit card to save on interest for other purchases. If you’re the type of person that values simplicity in their financial plans the “island approach” is probably not for you but, if you can handle a little bit of extra paperwork, it will definitely help you to get better rewards, better rates and save more money than using a single card to purchase everything.

No matter which approach you take, using an app on your smart phone like “Gas Buddy” to find the lowest gas prices in your city or town is a must. Knowing which of the supermarket chains in your town have partnerships with gas stations to offer rewards is also key and can help you save money on both gas and groceries.

The fact is that the cost of the gallon of gas isn’t going to go down anytime soon and, more than likely, will rise (and rise, and rise). If you drive a lot you definitely should take the time to research all of the available cash rewards credit cards that are out there on the market, compare what their rewards, interest and other rates are and pick the one that seems best to you. It won’t do anything to lower the cost per gallon but, if used correctly, it will help you to save money overall on gasoline.

If You Link to it, They Will Come #1

Hello All, this week I want to highlight some especially well written blog posts, and some generous people linked to my blog.  You will find below a list of blog carnivals that my blog was included in.

 

This weeks post by The Blue Collar Workman was especially inspiring, as I have a relative myself who has gone through a similar experience.

Ive written about the benefits of discounted gift cards for awhile, but the Might Bargain Hunter really hits it home with this post.

Thinking about trying out a new investment…check out this post by Reaching Financial Independence.

 

Carnival of MoneyPros hosted by Rather Be Shopping
Yakezie Carnival hosted by Frugal Rules
Finance Carnival For Young Adults hosted by Mom And Dad Money
Festival of Frugality hosted by Start Freelancing Now

Saving on Fuel

As summer approaches and gas prices climb you may be considering ditching your car for your bicycle but we all know that there are some things that the bike just can’t do like getting you to your early morning meeting in the rain and still looking like the professional you are. It can’t store your groceries two car seats and pick your mom up at the airport. So even if you choose to drive less there are still times when driving really is the only option. In those cases you want to do all you can to make sure you are using your gas as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Make sure you are giving your care the love and attention it needs. A car with a well turned engine burns less fuel. Take it to get its regular scheduled turn ups and not only your car will think you but your wallet as well. Tire care is also important in protecting your gas mileage. Keeping your tire pressure at the correct level and also getting your tires rotated and aligned will help increase the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Check your gas cap each time you fill up. If the cap doesn’t fit tightly you may be losing gas to evaporation.

Does your trunk still contain the ice chest you dragged to the beach last summer and the workout weights you bought at that garage sale last month? Well it’s time to clean it out. Extra weight in your vehicle can have a significant effect on the cars fuel performance. If you have extra items just laying around in your car or in the trunk that aren’t needed then make sure you get them out as soon as possible this will help you to stretch that tank of gas just a little further.

Tips for Switching Your Car Insurance Provider in 2013

Whether you’re a motorist in the US or an expat in the UAE, you need car insurance. It’s the law.

Many consumers, though, simply renew their insurance policy with the same provider once they’ve taken it out.

That’s because it’s easier. However, it’s smarter to shop around for a new provider. Switching to a new provider can save you money. You’ll find that in certain circumstances, the rates between providers vary a lot. The savings come to those who wait, or in this case who shop around.

Here are some of the reasons you may change your insurance provider.

  • An increase in the insurance premium
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • The addition of a new, younger driver to the policy
  • Buying a new car or planning to buy a new car.

How do you shop around for insurance?

Providing information at your fingertips, the Internet is an easy way to find out more about insurance. Visit comparison websites to find out the best insurance deals.

Contact various providers for the best quote. Go to their website and check insurance policy terms and conditions for hidden extras.

Alternatively, you can visit one of the insurance provider’s branches and do this in person.

How do you change your provider?

When you’ve decided which provider to take out your insurance policy with, contact them and pay for the policy. Once you’ve done this, contact your existing insurance policy to inform them you wish to cancel the policy — doing things the other way round could land you in trouble with the law. You can contact them by mail, phone or by visiting one of the insurance provider’s business branches.

Normally, you’ll need to sign something to officially confirm that you wish to cancel the policy. Send any forms you need to send by special delivery to ensure they arrive. Whatever you do, don’t let your policy expire without requesting your wish to cancel it. This can incur extra charges, not to mention blemish on your credit history.

How can you lower your premium?

  • Pay a higher deductible — this is the money you must pay before your insurance provider will pay out any expenses. Pay more at the start and you can lower your premium in the long run.
  • Take a refresher course — some insurance providers are willing to offer you a lower premium if, despite being an experienced driver, you take some driving lessons as a refresher.
  • Keep your mileage low — some insurance providers offer discounts if you only make short journeys in your car, such as to work, the supermarket or to pick the kids up, etc.

Whether you own a car in the US or the UAE, it won’t stop life taking turns that may affect your finances. Car owners should shop around in the run-up to their insurance policy’s expiry date, or even before that. Convenient as it is to leave your policy to run with your current provider, the smart choice is to look into options with other insurance providers — and give yourself the option of saving money.

Aplicor Featured on Business Day TV

Aplicor considers itself the next generation cloud software company.  Aplicor has developed a seamless cloud-based business suite that’s main mission is to dramatically improve the way organizations operate.  By listening to the people on the ground level, Aplicor looked at how their jobs and workflow could be made more efficient.  The result is a true cloud CRM and Financial business suite that streamlines your workflows and enables you to evolve to meet different demands.

Business Day with Terry Bradshaw looks at how Aplicor has transformed the CRM and Financial software business, by not only created a great cloud software solution for companies, but also by making it affordable for organizations of all sizes.

Customer Relations Management (CRM)

The first aspect of Aplicor’s success has been to develop a cloud CRM application for business that is fully integrated with all other workflows as well.  The CRM application has full salesforce automation, marketing automation, a project office, and customer support functions, all in a single solution.

Furthermore, the Aplicor CloudSuite dashboard is fully customizable to meet your unique business needs.

Financial Tools

Business Day TV looks at how the financial tools, like ERP, are also streamlined into the same cloud suite for the entire company.  Aplicor was able to integrate CRM capabilities with basic financial services, including general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, order entry, inventory control, job costing, and handling fixed assets.

By integrating both CRM and financial tools, managers can make more informed decisions about what they need to do going forward.

Streamlines Workflow

By developing a single solution, Aplicor calls it the Single Pane of Glass, anyone can view, edit, and take action in one solution.  No more having different software for different parts of the company and no communication.  Everything you need is automatically unified on a single dashboard depending on your business needs.

Plus, the pricing structure and security structure of Aplicor’s suite of programs allows for a streamlined workflow.  They have a base user, a power user, and an administrator.  Each level has more privileges to make sure that they have the tools they need, but companies also only have to pay for what they need, and nothing extra.

Business Day on Social Media

Beyond the basics of financials and CRM, Aplicor takes it to the next level by letting employees on social media and integrating it with the CRM solution.  Business Day television series has previously highlighted the importance of social media in building connections with customers and vendors, and Aplicor understands that.

The Cloud Suite Central gives employees expanded resources to connect with customers and prospects through social media and other internet resources while remaining within your business software.  This improves the control you have over your customers and clients, while letting your sales force connect with them in modern technology how they want to be interacted with.

Services

Beyond the software itself, Aplicor also offers a wide variety of services to go along with its application suite.  First, it offers great technical support to customers.  They are available 24 hours a day, and will provide an effective solution to any customer challenge.  They also empower users to reach out if they need anything, no matter what time.

Furthermore, they offer training for all their products.  Aplicor understands that customers use their products in many different ways.  By having a professional training team offer training solutions, from a general overview to a detailed plan for your specific needs, you can be sure that you teams are equipped with the tools they need to be successful.

Finally, Aplicor has a full professional services team that are available to plan and implement solutions that match your business requirements.  Their professionals have extensive industry experience, and are ready to help your company come up with an efficient and reliable solution.

Vacationing with a Caravan

Family vacations are a wonderful time regardless of where you go. They are an opportunity for bonding, and a break from the rigors of work, school, and the stresses of everyday life.  This is exactly why you shouldn’t be adding any stress with a vacation, like spending a lot of money and leaving yourself with financial worries. The cost to fly you and your brood across the country can destroy your budget and in some cases even lead into debt.  Then there are those who purchase expensive timeshares, only to be restricted by too many guidelines and left unable to use them.  Lastly, you have the people that play it smart and purchase or rent caravans.  Whether it’s a towing caravan, or a motorhome, this is essentially a home on wheels.  You can save money by avoiding costly airplane tickets, and hotel stays. 

Saving money on food

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Let’s not forget about the cost of eating at restaurants each day when you reach your destination.  Some caravans have kitchens inside that allow you to save even more money by cooking your own meals.  Then there are the non-monetary benefits of spending quality time with your family in a comfortable and close knit environment. 

While there are countless financial benefits to owning and vacationing in a caravan they are not free, and they do come with some costs that you should make yourself aware of.

Insurance

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Of course, before heading out on the road, you will want to invest in some RV insurance. Basic insurance will cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle should it be involved in a crash or pay for a replacement if the RV is destroyed. Some coverage packages offer more, however, depending on your individual needs. The Hartford RV insurance coverage, for example, has packages that will pay for your towing, transportation, and even your temporary housing costs, so that you can focus on making your way home without having to worry about these extra expenses. 

Fuel costs

Man Refueling RV

Another cost to consider is caravans don’t run on vegetable oil, but you may wish that they did.  The cost of gasoline to run a caravan depends on many different factors; size, weight, engine type, gear ratios, wind resistance, and the overall driving habits of the person behind the wheel.  A motorhome is just as it sounds, a house with a motor.  These are caravans with their own engine and steering capacity, and the fuel type of these vehicles can vary.  More times than not they take diesel fuel, which depending on your location can be quite costly. Keep an eye on the Petrol Prices website and shop around for fuel. Then there are the towing caravans, which don’t necessarily have an engine but can still put a drain on your fuel consumption regardless.  Due to the heavy nature of these vehicles you need a vehicle large enough and with enough horsepower to tow them along.  Also, their added weight places more stress on the vehicle and thus the usage of more fuel.

 

Depreciated Value for your Vehicle

You might be excited to purchase a new vehicle, but at the same time, question how to handle the sell of your current vehicle. Different options are available, such as trading in the car and selling the vehicle yourself. There are pros and cons to both options. And if you need to act fast, you need to consider what it takes to sell a car.

Some may argue that it’s quicker to trade in a vehicle. This is when a dealership purchases your old vehicle. It’s a straightforward and simple transaction, but not necessarily the best choice. Talk to anyone who has traded in a car and they’ll tell you that dealerships don’t give top dollars for trade-ins. And if the dealership’s offer is less than what you owe on the car, the negative equity is attached to your new car loan.

Selling the car yourself in one way to avoid this hassle. Sure, it’ll take longer and you’ll have to meet with several people. But in the end, this can equal more cash in your pocket. But don’t sell a car without knowing a few tips and tricks. Educate yourself on how to sell a car to increase your chances of a quick sale.

What Is Your Car Worth?

Knowing the actual value of your vehicle is the first step to selling your car. Whether you decide to sell yourself or trade in the car, you’ll sell yourself short if you don’t understand the car’s value. Granted, this isn’t easy to determine. However, several tools can help you acquire an accurate figure.

You might go online and check websites like www.kbb.com and provide basic information about your vehicle. This includes your make, model, year, mileage and condition. This website also provides information on trade-in value – in case you decide to go this route.

Additionally, you can contact dealerships to learn the value of your car. Several dealership websites, such as www.kengarffused.com, feature online forms where you can request a trade-in appraisal. If the resale or trade-in value of your car is less than expected, understand that cars depreciate differently. Certain cars hold their value longer than others. These include Hondas, Toyotas, Cadillacs and Acuras.

Tips to Maintain the Value of Your Car

Your car’s worth determines how much you’ll receive from a sale. The more you profit, the better. You can put this extra money toward the down payment on your new car, or save the cash.

Here are a few tips to help your car hold it’s value.

  • Limit customizations. Make the car your own, but don’t go overboard. A custom interior and exterior might suit your taste, but not others. This not only turns off future buyers, but lowers the value of your vehicle.
  • Fix repairs. Scratches and dings can hurt your car’s value. Make needed body improvements before selling the car, and only use trusted auto body repair shops. Preferably shops that can provide factory parts.
  • Keep it clean. A nice exterior wash and a detailed inside can add value to your car. Besides, people are more likely to purchase a car that’s been well maintained.

The decision to sell yourself or trade in the car also depends on your availability and desire. If your schedule doesn’t allow constant test drives, or if you don’t want to handle the transaction on your own, a trade-in is your best bet.

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