Combat the crash with alternative finance

BOOM! What was that sound you just heard? That was the faint echo of the financial meltdown of 2008. With one profound and sudden explosion, chaos erupted in the finance sector.

At least, that’s what it seemed like to the casual bystander. You flicked on the news and, all of a sudden, there it was – recession.

The reality is, as you might expect, quite different. The economy had been booming for too long, with too many finance professionals taking advantage of the situation, for the wheels to not fall off the carriage at some point.

Naturally, the meltdown hasn’t just led to the general public losing trust in banks, but banks losing trust in potentially risky businesses. Trying to secure a loan has become like trying to get blood from a bank-shaped stone, and it’s led to various other avenues opening up to try to help you in your financial woes.

As the banks have shut their doors, so too have alternative finance branches opened theirs, creating a multi-billion dollar market over the past decade.

Essentially, alternative funding is an umbrella term joining together a ton of different funding options, from invoice discounting to government grants to crowdfunding and many more.

The unstoppable rise of crowdfunding

Crowdfunding, in particular, has captured the public’s imagination, generating a slew of headlines and global success stories.

Actor and director Zach Braff, for instance, managed to rake in more than $3milion to make his film Wish I Was Here, citing a need for full directorial control. Even more recently, singer-songwriter Neil Young raised more than $6million for the production of a new MP3 player, entitled the Pono Player.

While these fall into the realms of A-list success stories, that doesn’t mean that smaller fare hasn’t received more attention – crowdfunding platforms have helped businesses start-up, first-time filmmakers get projects off the ground and ordinary people endeavour on personal projects.

Indeed, the phenomenon of crowdfunding has even been reported to be threatening the “big six” energy companies, with community energy projects receiving boosts from websites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Gofundme.

Indeed, increasingly these alternative finance outlets are providing the general public a freedom from the chains of banking institutions. It’s something that, unless they were already well off, most people didn’t contemplate even a decade ago.

As consumer choice widens, you can only hope that banks might see customers flocking elsewhere and attempt to win them back with better deals, easier-to-obtain loans and improved customer service.

After all, in a state of financial downturn, the best way to boost the economy is through competition. So, let’s hope the banks can keep up with alternative finance to give that recession a run for its money.

Stop Wasting Money On Your Lawn

Do you currently own a home? Do you have yard that requires constant upkeep? I’d say the majority of us would answer ‘yes’ to these questions, and with spring upon us and summer approaching, lawn care might be creeping into your thoughts.

Spreading seed, laying fertilizer, cutting the grass, sprinkling: these are all things that just need to be done each year in order to have a respectable lawn. While many of these things are essential, there are a large number of dollars that could be saved each year if they are just done a little differently. Plus, these methods are also more eco-friendly.

Watering Your Grass

 When do you typically water your grass? If you’re like most of the world, you don’t think about watering your lawn until you come home from work one day and notice that it’s getting brown! In order to save your grass from becoming a dirt mound, you quickly get out the sprinkler and water it for the next couple of hours.

While this seems to be effective, it is certainly not the best way to take care of your grass. By watering in the afternoon/evening, you are actually wasting a large majority of the water that you’re sprinkling because much of it is evaporating before it seeps into the earth. The most optimal time to water is in the morning before you head off to work. You’ll waste less water, which means that you’ll save more money, and your lawn will be nice and green.

Your Mower

 What do you currently use to mow your yard? A gas powered walking mower? Or maybe you have a riding lawn tractor? Based on the size of your yard, are these items truly necessary? I have a friend that owns less than a 1/3 of an acre in the city. His house takes up half of it, but for some reason he thinks that he needs a riding lawn tractor to mow the grass. I watch him mow and I think two things: (1) Wow, now that’s lazy, and (2) That’s just terrible for the environment.

Summer is a great time for us northerners to get out and get some exercise. If you own less than a 1/3 of an acre, I would suggest that you buy one of those clipper blade mowers that cuts the grass with your own momentum. By cutting your lawn with this method, you could get your cardio in for the day and you wouldn’t emit any harmful gases into the air! It’s a win-win!

Have Less Lawn

 If you are scoffing at the idea of mowing your entire yard with a self-propelled push mower, perhaps you just need less yard. After all, do you really need all that space? What do you do with it other than look at it. On the outside of your property, it might be wise for you to lay down some bark or maybe even plant some dune grass. This way, you wouldn’t have to mow it, which saves some of your time and it’s better for the environment.

Why not stop wasting money on your lawn?