Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bali Tips #2: TimeShare Deals 

Each of us were accosted on the street to enter a free prize draw. Reality is that everyone wins a free lunch at a fancy resort. And it's true, we were picked up in a bus and delivered to a nice resort near Kuta. Although not far, it was your typical chaotic ride and took 45 mins each way. The resort and beach were beautiful, although none of the guests seemed particularly cheerful. Maybe they were using their timeshare deal!

Lunch was crap. The restaurant seemed to have nice meals, but our meals came from a special menu that they produced for the freebie crowd. Sandwiches and fries and soft drinks... Then a tour of the place, and then we get sat down in an office and given the hard sell. The sales pitch took more than 30 minutes. But you had to sit it out, because they gave you lunch, and they are in charge of your ride home.

After the pitch, the sales lady called over her manager who basically expected us to sign up for their bargain timeshare deal. I shared my thoughts on the deal, and the fat wanker didn't even respond! He just stood up and walked off, knowing he couldn't convert me. Here's the gist of what I said:

The $4000 they want me to invest will earn me $200/year in interest (and I still keep my money!). The $200 they want in annual fees + that $200 equals $400. With $400 I can find all sorts of 1 week accommodations around the world - and I still keep my $4000!

That's the way to look at it. Same with holiday homes. What is the up front cost. What is the ongoing cost. What if I put that money in the bank and received interest. How much could I achieve from the interest + ongoings?

Example: holiday home that costs $200K. Your mortgage / loss of earnings from interest is going to be at least $10K per year. How much holiday can you get for $1OK?? $10K could almost be a month in a 5 star hotel... Plus you have complete freedom to stay wherever you want.

Do the math!

Note: I do accept that having a holiday home means you get to stay at the same place every year, and become a "local". And a timeshare is essentially prepaid, so it forces you to take a vacation when otherwise you may have decided you couldn't afford it.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Place to Stay Between Auckland & Hamilton 

My immediate family all live in the zone that is between Auckland airport and Hamilton. I don't really like staying in downtown Auckland, nor does Hamilton interest me.

For a nice, real Kiwi break, I stay in Pokeno. There's nothing there except for farms, a shop to buy basic groceries, and two shops that both sell exactly the same things - fast food and ice-cream that comes in dozens of flavours and is dirt cheap. Good for one day of budget non-dieting.

Anywhere in South Auckland / North Waikato is close. We choose to stay at the Pokeno Motel. It is new, clean, and they do food and beer. The staff are relaxed as (I say "see you next year", she says "yeah, if we're still open"). Stay there and chill out.

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