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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rising cost of living in Australia


Despite the fact Australia managed to escape the global financial crisis unscathed, the cost of being an Aussie has shot up in recent years. If you’re feeling the pinch, rest assured that surveys show you’re not the only one. But there are ways of staying informed about rising costs and saving yourself money. Read on for some suggestions and advice:

Food 

Australians throw away over two millions tonnes of food per year, wasting vast amounts of money and resources. Make sure you’re not contributing to this! Buy food that’s well within its use-by date and store it according to the packaging. Refrigerate leftovers, freeze bread you’re not using so you can eat it later, and use the handy food calculator to make sure you’re not cooking more food than you need.You’ll be amazed how much money this saves you in the long run!
When it comes to feeding your kids, you may face different challenges. Sadly, junk food is always going to be cheaper and more readily available than healthy produce - that’s just the way it is. Have your children grow some vegetables in a garden or allotment – this will help teach them a valuable lesson about where food comes from and get them interested in the process. Educate them the best you can about good eating habits – and don’t give in when they want expensive junk food.

Education 

The average Australian parent will spend about fifty thousand dollars on their child’s education, and much more if they choose to go private. The Schoolkids Bonus previously existed to help out families with the cost of education, but it has been discontinued. Nonetheless, you can find out what help you’re eligible for here.
Meanwhile, for adults, Australia is one of the most expensive places in the world to study. In May 2014, the government announced possible changes to university fees in 2016. It seems like a long way off, but it’s worth learning more about it.

Insurance

Obviously making sure you have the right insurance is massively important when it comes to saving money. The rules on insurance vary according to state, so look at your official state website for more information.
Car insurance, especially if you use your car for your work, is vital. A small accident could set your savings back years if you haven’t got the right insurance, or haven’t kept the insurance company up-to-date with changes to your vehicle. Make sure you get it right!
As you get older, you will want to consider life insurance. Even though this is something you might not want to think about, there is a chance that you might get ill or come to a life threatening situation in your later years. Thinking about your family is the key point of view here. Knowing that at all times, no matter what happens to you, they will be safe. When it comes to life insurance, it's all about getting a good deal in a good company. Try and find something specialised for your needs, and have in mind that you always, always need to read the fine print.

Commuting

Having access to transport is vital in this day and age, but keeping a car up and running is expensive. If possible, plan out trips in advance to find out whether you really need to take the car or not – if you walk to work once a week, for example, you could save a huge amount of money.
Inevitably, you’ll need your car for long journeys, and petrol prices are soaring. So - find out the best ways not to waste your fuel and shop accordingly. The tyres, oil and air conditioning of your car can affect the amount of fuel it consumes. On the other hand, adjusting or cutting down on your use of these can save you plenty of money.
HOW MUCH GAS ARE YOU WASTING?
HOW MUCH FUEL ARE YOU WASTING?
If you have a teenager looking to buy their first car, take some time to talk to them about saving money on it. (Don’t help them deck it out with unnecessary spoilers and lights, for example.) And again, make absolutely sure you have the right insurance!

Renting a home

All over the world, young people are finding themselves locked out of the housing market, and Australia is no exception. In past times, working for a living wage would ensure you were able to settle down in a house after some time, but sadly there is no such guarantee any more. The argument continues to rage over buying vs renting: some companies claim that buying a house is cheaper in the long run. People looking for a place to live have to take few things into consideration: interest rates, location, distance from work or family or schools – there is no real correct option, it’s ultimately down to the individual.
A few things to bear in mind when renting, you will have to pay a high deposit, usually equal to four week’s rent on the property. And whatever your rent is, it may not include amenities like water and electricity – make sure you check first! You may have to consider going without things like internet for a while in order to afford the rent.
To save on costs, many people choose to share a flat with other people. Obviously, this involves carefully checking them (as well as the building) out, and if possible getting as many commitments as you can in writing. But if you know (and REALLY know!) that you’ll get along with your potential flatmates, this could be worth doing money wise.

Saving money is always a good habit to get into, whether the costs of living are rising or falling. Times will change, but you’ll be the happiest when you know you have savings to see you through them!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Carzoos - Safety Features 101.



Safety is and should be a huge priority for any car purchase. However, it can be hard to determine between what you 'need' & what you 'want'. We here at Carzoos HQ have put together a little article of what’s important, what’s significant and what’s a bonus, when it comes to the safety features on your next car. 

What's Important?

Stability Control - This tech is required on most new cars since 2012. Stability control will engage your engine to help combat loss of traction - invaluable on wet and slippery roads. This tech is arguably the biggest safety feature since seat belts. 

Airbags + Side Airbags - Now, almost every car has a standard airbag these days. But these days having side airbag’s can be very important. T-bone accidents are quite common, and without a side-air bag there isn't too much between you and the front of the colliding vehicle. 

What's Significant?

Reverse Camera - More and more modern cars (especially bigger utilities/SUV's) are coming with this feature as standard. Reverse cameras are more then just making sure you don't hit the letterbox as you reverse out. Many lives can be saved if you have clear vision of what's behind your wheels.

Blind spot detection - Your 'blind spot' becomes just a regular 'spot' with this feature. When your cursing at 100km/h on the motorway it's handy to know you have all blind spots covered. Not essential, but very handy. 

What's A Bonus Feature?

Tyre pressure monitor - Unfortunately many drivers neglect to routinely check their tyre pressure. Low tyre pressure will significantly reduce the life of your tyres and worn tyres can affect your driving (especially in wet conditions). Simply routinely checking your tyres can negate the need for this feature, but if it's part of the package - all the better.

Advanced airbags - Advanced airbags have the ability to judge the weight and size of the person in the seat and ill then adjust its deployment accordingly. This feature can help determine if children are in the front seat etc. Not essential but a nice feature to have. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Obama & the BEAST.

The "Beast"

When it comes to protective vehicles there is reportedly nothing more enduring then President Obama's wheels.

The most recent vehicle to be customised as the presidential car is a Chevrolet Kodiak-based, Cadillac-badged limousine often referred to as Cadillac One. (A reference to the presidential aircraft - Air Force One)


It's armour plating is said to be 8+ inches thick with it's doors weighing as much as those on a Boeing 757. The windows are a staggering 5 inches think, enough to repel some seriously heavy gunfire. The tyres are Kevlar reinforced run flats. Pop the boot and you will find firefighting equipment, oxygen tanks and even a cache of the Presidents bloody type - for transfusions on the run.
When you're as influential and powerful as the President of the United States, a vehicle this excessive is justified.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Trucking Into 2025

Is this the future of trucking? Late last month Mercedes-Benz released their vision for trucking in 2025. 

Dubbed the "Future Truck 2025" - this concept was showcased at the International Commercial Vehicles Show in Germany. It's high tech and it's sleek. The LED lighting seen in the grill illuminates white when the truck is underway but will then turn blue when the truck is in autopilot.

That's the distinguishing feature - An array of radar sensors (in addition to the latest blind-spot system) scan the road and traffic around the truck to move down the highway free and easy and clear of other vehicles.

This technology is not that far away, so, by the time 2025 rolls around, this tech should have had the kinks worked out. With an interior as groovy as this, and the ability to go autopilot, we predict many folks will be putting up their hands to jump into the trucking industry.





Tuesday, September 16, 2014

From The Military To The Masses.

From saving lives to your car.

Creativity and innovation are often shackled by the lack of funds, fundamentally it's expensive to create and experiment. Where the budget never seems to be lacking, especially in the US, is in the military sphere. There is no great surprise to know that many innovations we use on the roads today were initially conceived to help take and save lives.

The military can be thanked for many great innovations which have be adapted to the mass consumers. Let's take a look at a few we use on todays roads.

GPS.
The Global Positioning System, was originally developed for American Air Force and Navy use. Between 1973 and 1978, Dr. Bradford Parkinson worked with both military branches to develop the Navstar GPS system. The system uses multiple satellites to triangulate users’ location and help navigate. Today, almost every car, truck, plane & phone has a GPS system as standard with American, Chinese and European networks in use.

The JEEP.
If you know what a car is, you know what a Jeep is. 4WD technology has actually been around since the turn of the 20th century. By the 1930s, the military needed a scout car that could have speed and versatility in addition to hauling power and all-terrain capacity. The problem was that these two features were mutually exclusive from an engineering standpoint. The first Jeep that made it to battle, the Willys-Overland MB, provided the answer as the perfect army scout vehicle. Its performance in the war was so outstanding that Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “America could not have won World War II without it.”

From fighter pilots to your car.
HUD.
or 'Heads Up Display" is that floating readout graphic you see in front of fighter pilots helmets. HUD's evolved from weapons sites during 1940s, utilising reflections. It wasn't until the 1960s when the first modern version of the HUD was used by a french test-pilot Gilbert Klopfstein. In the 1970s HUD was introduced into commercial aviation and now it is a standard extra in most modern makes of cars. 

Aviators.
The classic Tom Cruise Aviators from the movie Top Gun were in fact originally designed for fighter pilots. A design that prevented as much sunlight as possible from reaching the eye led to Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses, which became standard gear for men enlisted in the military during World War II. 



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Run Flats vs. Regular Tyres.


Picture this.. You're on the side of the road, your tyre is blown out. You have 2 options, either call for roadside assistance or you can roll up your sleeves and change the tyre yourself. What if there was a 3rd option? Well there is, and this is where 'run flats' come into their own.

'Run flats' give you the ability to continue to drive your vehicle for an additional 80km's* following a puncture or blowout. This gives the driver the ability to exit the road safely and drive (a considerable distance) to the nearest repair shop.

Even though changing a tyre is an important skill, the idea of 'run flat' tyres sounds pretty handy. The added benefit of losing the weight of a spare tire and tools could help with fuel efficiency too.

There are two main types of 'run flat' tyres: Self-Supporting, and Auxiliary Supported. Self-Supporting tyres have stiffer and tougher rubber, which can temporarily carry the weight of the vehicle under lower tyre pressure. Auxiliary supported tyres don’t have stiffer and tougher rubber, but are attached to a special rim which has a steel support ring that is attached to the wheel and can support the weight of the vehicle.

So whats the catch? You probably guess it  - price. On average 'run flats' are one third more expensive then regular tyres, and can be dramatically more then that.

Performance. As you can imagine driving on a tyre with next to no pressure will affect your vehicles performance and handling. It has been documented some users have expressed concern whereas others felt the car responded fine, considering it had no pressure.

If changing a tyre is an uncomfortable or intimidating process, then 'run flats' are ideal for you. You will be paying for convenience. If you're on a budget or you can't justify the effort vs cost then your standard tyre is more then adequate for the job.

*Distances can vary - always check with the manufacturer for the specifics of the tyre you are using.


Check below for all the technical details.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Weirdly Functional Designs

Is this the greatest "Surfer" vehicle ever created? Road tripping is a big part of any committed surfers passion and if you had these wheels and this level of comfort - no wave would be too far away. Construction artist Jay Nelson, from San Francisco has created an 'Ewok' inspired custom camper truck.

Nelson, a respected surfer and fine artist from San Francisco, is who you call when you need a tree house or bicycle camper. His weirdly functional designs are all totally unique and are made to order. 


If you're a surfer or a natural explorer, these are the rides you want. If Carzoos ever get their hands on one of these rides we will be a bunch of very happy 'campers'.