Gaurang's Blogs

Are Credit Cards an Asset or a Liability?

Credit Cards are shamed by many, are pointed out as the trouble magnet. They surely have ability to destroy one's financial resources / wealth only if the possessor is not careful and thoughtful about one's expenses.

Credit cards are just like liquid cash waiting to be used whenever the possessor desires to be used "thoughtfully". For credit card companies there are two types of customers - 1) Someone who pays on time 2) Someone who doesn't pays on time ( delays the payment / pays only the minimum amount due ).

While the former class of customers are sort of liabilities for the lender as they aren't earning much from them ( except the annual fees and the commission on the sales which vendor pays to the lender ) but latter class of customers is their cash cow.

The more the customer delays / defaults on credit cards payments - the more the lender earns ( 30-50% per annum ) which is massive interest along with the late fine, destroyed credit history reports and the annual fees of the credit cards are just bonus for the lenders.

Indeed it can be a shocking situation for the customers who belongs to the class of "urban poor" - they are the not-so rich people trying to purchase luxurious services / latest gizmos and gadgets  the moment they are introduced to markets. But they don't pay from their pockets but gets them converted into EMIs which are billed at 13-19% interest annually and furthermore to keep up with other EMIs and other misc. expenses, they just pay the minimum amount due of the Credit Cards to pass the time and destroy the little wealth they may have.

So are Credit Cards really that bad or they can be turned into an asset as well?

Well, in my case - I have been using Credit Cards for over 4 years now and I have never defaulted on any Credit Card Payment ever ( surely Credit Card Companies treat me as a liability as they aren't earning much from me ).

It turns out that Credit Cards can be seen as the asset as well for following reasons:

  • Improved Credit Score ( CIBIL ) - If you have taken any loan / credit card in the past and you have been consistent in paying back the interest and principle amount then your credit score will keep on increasing and that basically shows that you are financially stable and you are less likely to default on future finances. Banks consider this as one of the major criterias while approving any sort of finance.
  • Extra Savings on the purchases - Credit Cards offer you Payback / loyalty / reward points which can be converted into gift items / cash for making the payment of credit cards. Usually credit cards gives you points equivalent to .5 - 3% of whatever amount you spent. Treat it like extra discount you are getting for the purchases which are not offered any sort of discount. Every penny saved is penny earned.
  • Leverage every single benefit Credit Card offers - Credit Card companies partner with restaurants, clubs, movie theatres and every segment of retail space so that consumers spends more ( no wonder we are in a consumers market and everyone is madly spending money these days in a hope to chase better lives ). Some of the common benefits include:
    • Free movie tickets / buy one get another one free - These kinds of offer saves you 50% money which is good.
    • Using their shopping portal earns you 10x reward points which means 2-3% additional savings.
    • Free Airport Lounge Access - Every good lounge charges you INR 700 - INR 1500 for taking their services ( which includes a beautiful place where you can rest and wait for your flight, get unlimited food and soft drinks there ). Good credit cards gives you 2-6 free lounge access annually.
    • Golf Club memberships - You can access some golf clubs for 1-4 times annually for free ( only available with good credit cards ).
    • Convert reward points into airmiles - Some credit cards lets you convert the points into airmiles which basically means that you can fly to your desired location by just redeeming the airmiles and pay the tax amount.
  • Use Credit Cards for medical emergency - while there are mediclaim insurances to take care of that, in any eventuality, the credit cards can serve as emergency cash when there is huge requirement of debt for some critical transactions. In many instances, you have to pay medical costs upfront and after approval only , mediclaim companies will reimburse the amount spent.
  • Special Offers on many e-commerce platforms like Amazon - different websites partner with different credit card companies and they offer you interest free EMIs and instant 10-20% discount which leads to amazing savings. Use them whenever you plan your shopping. Waiting for discount seasons like Amazon Prime Day / Autumn, Winter, Summer Sales is a good idea and saves you a lot of money.

All major Credit Card companies ties up with e-commerce platforms which gives Credit Card Companies exclusive rights during the offer period to give cashbacks. This is indeed a great opportunity to leverage your credit cards and get upfront discounts which really leads to additional savings and pays for your credit card's annual fees.

Precautions one must take while using Credit Cards -

  • As a rule of thumb, whenever you receive your salary, payback the entire amount due on your Credit Card(s).
  • Never spend more than the amount you receive as your salary / total savings ( which you really want to exhaust ).
  • Use Credit Cards as a tool to create a trail of expenses you do so that you can segment the categories where your money is actually going.
  • Ask your banker to give you less Credit Limit. The more you get, the more you would be tempted to spend.
  • Never be dependant on your credit card for fueling your lifestyle.
  • Carry Cash when going out for parties as when you are drunk, you are more likely to spend money irrationally than when you are sane ( even then people commit financial blunder ).
  • While opting for Bundled / Co-branded Credit Cards - always see if you have actual usage of the offers they are giving out to you. For example - only if you are a frequent flier then go for a Jetmiles credit card or about the BookMyShow cards - Opt them only if you are a movie buff and you buy a lot of movie tickets. ( Credit goes to Meruna for this )

When you are getting rid of your credit card because of any reasons - get a No Objection Certication / Closure letter so that there won't be any disputes in future due to CIBIL or any unforeseen circumstances.

PS:

  • You are not saving much by spending more in order to avail discounts as you are actually spending more than you wanted to.
  • You can negotiate with your credit card provider to forgo the annual fees. They can do that if you will negotiate or opt for the ones who are giving it to you for free.

Credit of this blog post goes to my NMIMS batchmates who discussed with me about pros and cons of having credit card. They are just brilliant.

Quotes by Gaurang: To be the best, read more than the rest! - Gaurang

To be the best, read more than the rest! - Gaurang


How to lead a paper less life?

So if you are like me, you must be having 100 to 1000 of pages full of notes - which can be your poems, your secret plans and what not. So if maintaining several copies of diaries are becoming pain for you ( which shouldn’t as there is a charm in having diaries and journals ), if you still want to reduce the number of loose sheets then here is what you can do:

1. Click photographs of all the loose papers and pages you want to have in the digital format.
    1. Click in such a way that orientation and sequence remains the same of all the images or else it would be frustrating for you to keep on getting the right orientation of your images.
2. Transfer it to your computer.
3. Install jpegoptim on your system - it basically reduces the sizes of the images ( just in case you are not very particular about the quality  of the pages - this is a brilliant approach ).
    1. Ideally you should reduce the size to 80% of the original size.
4. Now install pdftk - which converts and merges all your images to pdf file with just a single command : pdftk ./*.jpg newfile.pdf and you will have a pdf file with all images converted into a pdf.

If you have more than 50 images - it will take a lot of RAM ( 4-10 GB ) to complete the operation so you won’t be able to do other tasks simultaneously for 5-15 minutes.

Try this and if you like the process, do leave a comment or a suggestion.

 

Feature request for YouTube Audio Library ( inside YouTube Studio )

YouTubers like me use Auto Library (https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music) inside the YouTube Studio frequently. Since there are hundreds of amazing audio files to explore, it is really hard to keep a track on which ones we have played already or we haven't.

For now, I play some of them and then Star them so that I know which of them are played.

The ones I like, I download right away ( specially the ones which doesn't require any attribution ) - makes things easier for me.

So besides having single star for tagging, having one more star to let us keep track of our choices.
 

What if tomorrow I have to check out more audios, how am I going to know which ones I have played so far.

Then perhaps, instead of having 2 stars, just mark the already played ones with “PLAYED” or something that helps us distinguish between the Played and Unplayed in the Auto Library.

Above are the pending audio files which are yet to be played. There is no way to know which ones I have played so it wastes a lot of time.

Having this feature will definitely help a lot of users.
 

DrupalCamp Goa - An Adventurous Saga

Around the globe, organisations and individuals take the initiative and organise the DrupalCamps. To make the DrupalCamp happen, they invest their resources in terms of financial capital, human resources and everything else which is required to deliver a good camp!

Goa is a destination city in India, popular for its beaches, parties, scenic views. Every year millions of foreigners and Indians visit the city for their vacation and for the leisure.

Goa is a home of millions and has some 100 odd IT Companies offering digital solutions. Since Srijan had one of its development centers in Goa, Srijan volunteered to spearhead the project by organising the camp and allocating bandwidth of its developers for volunteering to the camp.

Being the community manager there at Srijan - my full bandwidth was donated to the DrupalCamp and I project managed the DrupalCamp Goa.

So, the first step we took was to decide the format of the DrupalCamp Goa - which we finalised as the 2 days camp with 20 Sessions spread across 6 session Tracks namely Coding and Development, Community & Business, Site Building, User Interface & User Experience Designs, Symphony/ PHP, Beyond Drupal.

While doing that we were facing chicken egg problem - what will come first ( Sponsors or the Venue / Venue or the Registrations / Registrations or the Speakers and all other combinations ) and wondered what would be the scale of event - considering the fact that for more than 2-3 years there haven’t been any Drupal Meetups and there didn’t exist any formal Drupal Community.

It was a risky proposition to brand the event as a large one as then failing it would lead to disappointment among the organisers, sponsors and the budding community.

With the goal to fostering the Drupal Community in Goa, we went ahead with the graphics work which was the central piece of all the marketing and web related tasks and Suhail Lone managed it exceptionally well. Suhail Lone worked hard day and night for 2 months to deliver the best possible designs which resonates with beach and fun theme of DrupalCamp Goa. Thereafter we started with the development of Website and the crew ( Manjit Singh, Yogendra Prasad, Udit Verma ) worked day and night to make it happen.

Daily catch up call used to take place without fail and our volunteers and crew members - Shreyal Mandot, Gaurang Agrawal, Manjit Singh, Yogendra Prasad, Surabhi Gokte, Udit Verma, Vaibhav Jain, Parth Gohil, Ashish Dalvi used to be available for brainstorming.

To make any DrupalCamp happen, besides the human capital and creativity, capital is required to make necessary arrangements.  

Parth Gohil from Axelerant, Vaibhav Jain from Acquia, Ashish Dalvi from Iksula, Piyush Jain came forward and helped me with the different strategies of outreaching to prospective sponsors for the event.
We approached Drupal Association for their support and in a matter of days they supported us with the grant which we needed badly.

First three weeks of chasing our Sponsors was of great struggle and we reached out to a dozen Goan companies as well as some of the renowned Drupal Shops.

Srijan, Drupalize.me, Persistent Systems and UCM Foundation of India came forward and became our Gold Sponsors, Axelerant, QED42, Drupal Partners became our Silver Sponsors. Indeed, they were our community’s heroes as they kept faith in us and supported us.

Marketing initiatives were managed by me directly and I approached all the universities and IT Companies located at Goa and I perpetually outreached to spread the awareness and invite them to our DrupalCamp Goa. The goal was to get as many as session proposals, attendees as well as volunteers.

In parallel, we ( Gaurang, Chetan Parker, Sayali Prabhudesai ) were negotiating with Goa University to get the venue where we can host our attendees. Mr. Ramdas Karmali ( Professor - DSCT ) was extremely supported and he negotiated with the management and ensured that we get the best Auditorium for our camp.

We received over 115 session proposals and 20 out of them got selected.

 And there was astounding excitement among the chosen speakers:

Drupalers from all over India ( New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and nearby cities ) were traveling to attend the DrupalCamp Goa which was going to help us in achieving the goal of making it a DrupalCamp full of diversity.

The night before the DrupalCamp was eventful. The DrupalCamp Goa's volunteering team spent whole night making necessary arrangements so kudos to Manjit Singh, Prajact Sawant | Registration Booth - Yogendra Prasad, Vikash Choudhray, Aneesh Anand, Prajact Sawant, Udit Verma,Rooms (Includes Hiring + Sessions + workshop), Manjit Singh, Surabhi Gokte, Dinesh KD ,Raam Yadav, Joshua Fernandes & Aman Kanoria | Sponsors Booth - Udit Verma, Parv Jain | Food & Directions - Prajact Sawant, Yogendra Prasad | Goa University's Support Staff - Deepak & Gaurang ( Goa University Staff ).

Parth Gohil, Vaibhav Jain, Ashish Dalvi, Senthil, Suchitra Kumari's support was indispensible for the event as they were the part of advisory team which perpetually guided me and acted as the support group to ensure that their experience with the community can be leveraged for the benefit of community at large.

And finally on the Day 1 of the event, we reached the venue at 6 in the morning, all set to welcoming the Camp Attendees. We received attendees of all age groups ( 11 and above ) and of different professions ( School students, University Students, Architecture Students, Professors, Entrepreneurs, Sales and Marketing Professionals of different IT Organisations, Developers - FrontEnd, Backend, Scrum Masters and Project Managers ).

Every event needs a Keynote Speaker who has got deep industry insights and can inspire the entire community. Special thanks to Parth Gohil who invited Mr. Pankaj Verma as the Keynote Speaker. Mr. Pankaj is the Enterprise Architect at IBM Global Business practice. He has been working in the industry for 22 years & has done his Masters in Systems from IIT Delhi. He worked for last transformation projects for Airtel, SBI digital initiatives, Vodafone Digital Initiatives, Smart City engagements in Lodha. He published his papers on publicly accessible platforms like Quora, LinkedIn & Medium.

Everyone enjoyed the Keynote and Twitter was flooded with the feedback. Followed by the Keynote session, there was tea break post which attendees went to respective rooms for attending sessions of their choice. Audience was delighted with the kind of sessions were selected and the depth to which they got delivered by the speakers. One of the key highlight of DrupalCamp Goa was the Full Day Drupal Workshop which was attended by about 70 attendees.

The youngest attendee was 11 years old. Drupal Developers from Srijan Technologies namely Ashutosh Singh, Love Huria, Panshul Khurana, Shreyal Mandot, Jithin Varghese Jose, Ranjeet Kumar, Vishwa Makarand Chikate, Kaustubh Bhagwat, Shishir mentored during the workshop:

Special thanks to our shutterbugs - the official photography team (Nitin Kumar, Sabbi Kohli, Abhishek Prabhu, Senthil Kumar, Sanjay Salpatre) of DrupalCamp Goa who volunteered and captured hundreds of memorable moments during the 2 days of DrupalCamp.

Some glimpses from DrupalCamp Goa 2017:

Some of the Attendees, Volunteers of DrupalCamp Goa - Photo Credit: Nitin Kumar.

Shreyal Mandot and Love Huria during the Drupal Workshop - Photo Credit: Sabbi Kohli

Session by Sami Ullah - Photo Credit: Abhishek Prabhu.

"Let me walk you through the code" : Swarad - Photo Credit: Senthil Kumar.

Event concluded with 2 bonus workshops: Demystifying Blockchain by Anil Chandana Tableau for Data Visualisation by Sumit Goyal In all, over 150 attendees on Day 1 and 110 attendees on Day 2 attended the DrupalCamp Goa making the first DrupalCamp Goa a success event and it was concluded with the hope that the community will thrive for years to come. Some glimpses from DrupalCamp Goa:

Link to DrupalCamp Goa Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/2Ri0Y5r4zfqT48Lw1

DrupalCamp Goa 2018 Report:

Pages

Moments