Saving for a rainy day? 4 ways you can look after your money and save it

We’d all like a little more money each month. But in today’s financial climate it’s certainly not easy to save for a rainy day and it’s only going to get harder. If you’re isolating at home, you may be feeling a little uncertain about your job security and your future, which is why saving as much money as possible has never been more important.

Whether you’re in between jobs, waiting for your benefits to kick in, how long does it take to get SSDI back pay? (Click the link to find out) if you’re wondering if you’ll have a job to go back to when all this is over, here you’ll find some useful saving tips that will help you make the most out of your current financial situation.

Do you really need new clothes?

We all have our vices and for some of us, spending money on clothes that we don’t need is certainly a habit that needs kicking. Whether you want a new outfit every time you head out with friends, or you like to have several pairs of gym leggings to choose from each day, clothes spending can quickly spiral out of control. Instead of spending money on new clothes, take better care of the ones you have! Consider the following:

  • Having damaged clothing repaired
  • Following the care instructions so they last longer
  • Shop second hand or swap for other items

Food, glorious food

Food takes up a huge chunk of our monthly budget. Saving money on food is easy, but believe it or not, you don’t have to stop eating the things you love to save money. Consider the following ideas:

  • Always shop with a list and a specific budget
  • Never food shop when you’re hungry
  • Create a meal plan for the week
  • Buy ingredients like rice, pasta, chopped tomatoes and sauces in bulk
  • Make freezer friendly meals

Go through your bills

We can all make savings here and there on our utilities and other expenses. Price comparison websites are your friends here. But don’t forget to compare the following:

  • Your broadband
  • Phone package
  • Water, electricity and gas
  • The items on your food bill
  • Your home, contents and car insurance

Sell, sell, sell!

Old clothes, toys, books, games, DVDs and other household items. If you don’t want them, someone else might. So, place these unloved items online and see how much money you could earn.

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Reaching Financial Freedom Through a Side Hustle: Things You Can Do to Change Your Life

Reaching financial independence is something many of us dream of, and people often fantasise about the luxury of being able to never worry about money. However, this is only practical if you’re motivated and have the time to do something on the side. Side hustles have been something certain individuals do without even thinking, while others simply stick to their day job. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not wanting to earn more money and spending time with your family at home rather than taking on another work commitment. Still, one of the best ways to create financial stability for yourself and your family is to do something else that can help towards special occasions and luxuries. 

Certain side hustles will cost nothing other than a get-up and go mindset, whereas others require the initial start-up capital in order to make it successful. Regardless, you should think about the side hustle you’re starting before you decide on what will work best for you. Only do a side hustle you’re passionate about and know will bring you financial stability in the long-term to keep you going.

  1. Start a Business

There are difficulties and complexities when it comes to starting a business, but if you’re determined enough to make it succeed, you will! Start a business with an idea you feel will benefit others and something that you’re passionate about at the same time. It’s not difficult to think of ideas either, especially with the availability of the internet and countless opportunities on there. Ensure you officially set up your business with HMRC if you’re serious about making some good money from it, as it’s a legal requirement to do so. 

Whether you want to sell some custom made jewellery or you think a recruitment business is the best way to go, get started and set up a business plan. After you’ve done it, get going with your plans and ensure you put all your efforts into it. Bear in mind, if you’re starting a business as well as having a full-time job, you will be busy at times, but that’s why this is ideal for people who love to keep active and motivated!

  1. Invest in Property or Stocks and Shares

Investment has long been considered one of the top ways to make money and reach financial independence. It is, for this reason, we have added both property and stocks and shares investment into this side hustles list. With property investment, you can take a hands-off approach, which means you’ll effectively make money passively and won’t have to worry about tenant demands and issues. However, with investing, despite what you’re investing in, you will need some initial money to use. Property company RWinvest have a range of guides, blogs and podcasts to help you with any initial research you will do before investing. Their website is full of interesting and innovative ideas for you to make use of. As an investor, you need to be sure you’ve got a good company and team behind you in order to succeed, which is why conducting due diligence is vital before handing any money!

  1. Start Freelancing

Do you have a skill or talent you could offer out as services to people who may need your help? Freelancing has become somewhat popular in the last few years as people need more money for luxuries and wish to save for other aspects of their life. Freelancing may not get you to the point of financial independence in the short-term, but if you’re persistent and make the most of all the opportunities that come your way, you can save up your income and eventually have a pot of savings to use if any emergencies occur. The best freelancing websites such as Upwork and Freelancer are great for starting your career as they offer a start-up platform for people who may never have freelanced before and don’t know where to begin. 

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How Did Online Forex Trading Become So Popular?

Using different styles of financial trading has long been something that people have done as a way to invest or generate a secondary income. However, one of the most popular forms of online and mobile trading in the modern world was actually relatively unheard of until fairly recently. While almost anybody with an interest in financial markets, economics, or current affairs these days is familiar with forex, it wasn’t so long ago that currency trading simply wasn’t accessible to normal people. Rather, it was something only done by banks.

Today, advances in the internet have made forex a part of modern trading for everybody who wanted to try it.

Currency Trading Before Mainstream Internet

Louis Hernandez Jr highlights that there have been mechanisms in place to change money between currencies for about as long as organized currency has existed. However, up until the mainstream internet really took hold, it wasn’t possible for ordinary people to get prices on international currencies and make instant transactions in a way that could really leverage currency pair fluctuations. Banks were able to work with different currencies thanks to their infrastructures, but for the average person, the only time they were really concerned with changing money was to obtain currency when they traveled abroad, usually from a bureau de change or, later, by using cards at foreign ATMs and letting their bank handle the prices.

There was certainly no way to trade currency in any meaningful or profitable way.

The Biggest Advances to Help Forex Gain Traction

Forex trading online became possible because the internet made it possible for people to access trading platforms, hold online accounts, and make transactions. This was possible even in the late 1990s, however, it still wasn’t really something people found reliable. With slow dial-up internet speeds and problems with connectivity, it was hard to trust that your transactions would go through at the price you were seeing. Equally, there just wasn’t the knowledge and technology in terms of online security that there is now. Essentially, it wasn’t until broadband internet became widely accessible that forex trading online began to really ‘work’ as most people wanted – and to be trusted.

The Mobile Revolution

The second big change after broadband was the smartphone revolution. With apps that can connect people to trading platforms and forex resources, the 24-hour nature of forex became more accessible. Traders were no longer tied to their computers for a session and could be notified when conditions they have set up as triggers for them to act are met, allowing them to be available to trade and to avoid missing out on profitable transactions. Between mobile and fast internet speeds, people can now get the most out of forex trading and can also use a lot of analysis and news tools on their mobile devices to help them become more effective as traders.

As you can see, forex has come a very long way in just two decades and it will be interesting to see how its popularity continues to grow moving forward.

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Do You have Money-Anxiety Disorder? Ask Yourself These 7 Questions

Ever think twice about reaching for your wallet in an overpriced cafe? Feel a momentary rush when you go to check out of a retail store? Experience decision paralysis when shopping for everyday purchases?

None of these are all that uncommon in our society. However, they all indicate some level of anxiety associated with money. What’s worse, “money-anxiety disorder” doesn’t merely concern our financial lives. It can also affect our relationships, living conditions, personal character, and of course, mental health.

Many people struggling with money-anxiety disorder don’t even know they’re suffering from it. Here are seven questions to gauge whether your money is giving you anxiety.

Do You Engage in Retail Therapy to Calm Yourself?

According to a Credit Karma survey, 52 percent of U.S. consumers admitted to impulsively shopping to relieve feelings of stress, anxiety or depression at least once. This doesn’t have to mean going to a high-scale department store and purchasing shoes in every color. Retail therapy could be as innocuous as going to the thrift store and buying things you don’t need. Pay attention to how you feel as you’re shopping, especially as you approach the checkout line to pay. A spark of excitement, a feeling of joy, an adrenaline rush—any mood-boosting emotions could mean shopping gives you an unhealthy relief.

Do the Holidays Heighten Thoughts About Money?

Per the above Credit Karma survey, 82 percent of people get stressed about holiday spending, with another 31 percent listing it as “very” or “extremely” stressful. The holidays force us to spend money traveling, cook large meals, and buy gifts, often in a much shorter time frame. This leads to a lot of stress and subsequent spending as evidenced by reviews of Freedom Debt Relief.

Do You Struggle to Make Decisions Involving Money?

We don’t know what the future will hold or what our financial standing will be down the road, and that can cause worry when we need to decide on how to spend our money.

Of course, it’s good to be frugal — to think about how our purchases provide purpose and value to our lives, to exercise moderation in our consumerism. However, it’s not a good thing to “let money run the show” or overthink our every purchase. But that’s what happens when frugality is taken to the extreme. People forego life’s small joys and larger experiences because the thought of spending the money is too uncomfortable to bear.

Do You Have Credit Accounts in Poor Standing?

It’s no secret Americans have a lot of debt. In fact, U.S. household debt increased for the 16th consecutive quarter in 2018 Q2 to reach $13.29 trillion. Not all that debt (and the interest rates) are created equal, though—particularly when it comes to credit card balances.

May 2018 Federal Reserve data shows a staggering $1.04 trillion in revolving credit card balances. A staggering 71 percent of credit card balances revolve each month. Payment lapses and collections calls certainly qualify as poor standing, but treading water paying the minimum and 15–25 percent in interest should be equally discouraging signs.

Do You Think You’re Earning Enough?

After money, work is Americans’ second-biggest source of stress, according to the 2018 Stress in America survey. This is no surprise given how intertwined the two are. And contrary to what some may think, any level of income can lead to money anxiety. The feeling is only exacerbated if we happen to also feel slighted in our pay. Considering we spend the majority of our waking hours either at work or involved in some money-related matter, it’s easy to fall into a vicious cycle of unwanted thoughts.

Do You Have Trouble Letting Go of Possessions?

One of the more subtly frustrating things in life is when you randomly need something that you recently threw away. After all, we never know when we might need one of our belongings. It’s this mindset, paired with a general worry about personal finances, that contributes to hoarding behavior. But it can also stem from the opposite: people make habits out of shopping to relieve anxiety but can’t get rid of the stuff later on, leading to an emotional, and literal, wall.

Has Money Affected Any Personal Relationships?

Have you lied about money to a friend or family member? Do you use money manipulatively in a relationship? Relationships are the third most-common source of people’s stress, and the ways that stress is managed affects the best of relationships. Whether the result is financial infidelity, enablement or controlling behavior, it’s worth reflecting on the role money plays in your personal relationships.

Answering yes to a question doesn’t necessarily mean you have money-anxiety disorder, but if many of the above things resonate, it’s worth working on getting to the root of your emotions about money. After all, if you’re going to work for it, you may as well enjoy having it.

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Wonga compensation claimants may lose money

The behemoth payday loan company, Wonga, went into administration in August, marking the end of the road for the largest payday loan lender in the UK.

This was largely as a result of a deluge of compensation claims the business received regarding loans being sold irresponsibly, as well as payday loan caps that were implemented in 2014, introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority, that saw all interest and fees capped at 0.8% a day on all high-cost short-term credit loans.

However, there are now concerns that are being raised that claimants with compensation claims outstanding with the lender could end up losing money that they are entitled.

These fears have been voiced after a letter in October from the accounting firm, Grant Thornton, which is overseeing the administration process, told creditors that an automated ‘adjudication tool’ may be used.

This automated, computer based tool is being created to cut down on manual processing costs, and to deal with the huge influx of compensation claims Wonga has received. The accounting firm is legally obliged to assess every single one of the claims. With the letter revealing that since Wonga had collapsed, it had been receiving an estimated 200 to 500 compensation claims each and every day.

This is not including the 24,000 customers complaints that were outstanding prior to the payday lender going into administration, nor the 9,500 complaints which had been escalated to the financial body, the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Taking this all into account, why is the automated system attracting criticism? There are fears that the software may not end up fully processing individual factors and circumstances when deciding to give compensation or not. The head of policy at financial campaign group positive Money, David Clarke, spoke in further detail about this matter to The Guardian:

“After having been mis-sold loans by automated software, Wonga customers may now be forced to appeal to a similar automated system,”

“Just as Wonga’s algorithms failed to account for individual circumstances when making loans in the first place, there are risks that this technology will again fail to take all the relevant factors into account when processing claims, leaving many customers out of pocket.”

In addition to this, Grant Thornton revealed in the same letter that until Wonga’s assets have been sold, it still remains unclear how much compensation will be available for claimants, nor a timeframe in which this money would be provided to customers.

To find trustworthy payday loans companies, consumers are encouraged by the FCA to use price comparison websites, following a recent rule that states every lender should be placed on at least one comparison table. In addition, high cost lenders are moving away from a 30 day product to offer alternatives and longer-term products repaid over 3 to 24 months.

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One in Four Britons to Experience Debt After Holiday Season

Many of us feel the pinch when it comes to Christmas. As wonderful as the festive season is, it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on us to spend a considerable amount of money on creating the ‘perfect Christmas’, whether this be on buying presents for loved ones, food and alcohol for the Christmas festivities, or the amount spending travelling to see family and friends near and far, the costs soon start to add up. Millions of people in the UK are accumulating debt to be able to have Christmas, according to statistics.

A recent poll carried out by comparison site uSwitch which surveyed over 4,000 consumers showed that a staggering one in four of Britons will be starting the next year with a credit debt average just under £500 (£452). The same poll revealed that across the UK, British shoppers end up loading almost £8.5 billion of debt onto credit cards in order to pay for Christmas. Many are also using high cost loans in order to cover the costs of festive season too. (Source: Payday Bad Credit)

With Britons bombarded with adverts on social media, TV and radio, it is no surprise that many feel the pressure to spend more money during the month of December, but the consequences can be dangerous. It can lead people ending up getting into a cycle of debt, or spending the rest of the following year paying all their debts off.

Some suggestions have been made about Black Friday which offers the opportunity to save money on household brands, although also encouraging unnecessary spending.

In the study by uSwitch, over half surveyed believed that it was likely they would still be making repayments on Christmas spending for this year in the following December. Almost half (48%) stated that they were worried about the level of debt they could end up accumulating over Christmas and paying into the New Year.

The Disposable Income Index (DII) for 2017 by Scottish Friendly, an ISA provider revealed some stark findings about Christmas debt too. Over three-quarters of households that had children stated that they had made financial sacrifices in order to buy Christmas presents.

This was most commonly in the form of using their credit card to pay for purchases, or through taking out a high cost loan or unsecured loan. Similarly, millennials were found to really feel the pinch too. Three quarters of those surveyed also said they were making financial sacrifices to buy things for loved ones at Christmas time. It was estimated that around 14% of these millennials intended to take out a payday loan so they could achieve this.

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Could a Flexi-Loan be Right for you?

The use of consumer credit has been on the rise in recent years in South Africa. There is an ongoing squeeze on the middle classes with a heavy tax burden, rising food prices and the cost of avoiding crime all taking their toll, so much so in fact that there’s a real possibility that the current middle class, which accounts for about 9 million or 16 percent of the population, could be shrinking.

In an attempt to maintain their standard of living, an increasing number of householders are turning to consumer finance products. At the moment, credit cards, store cards and overdrafts are the consumer credit of choice, but recently a new product has hit the market which could help South African consumers meet their essential costs without contributing to a debt spiral.

Introducing the flexi-loan

The flexi-loan is the first product of its choice to hit the South African market. The well-known lender Wonga has revolutionised its payday loan offering to give customers more flexibility and choice.

The flexi-loan allows new customers to borrow up R4000 over a maximum period of 6 months, with existing customers potentially allowed to borrow up to R8000. One of the benefits of the flexi-loan over other forms of short-term finance is the level of flexibility it provides. Applicants can choose the amount they borrow and their repayment term, from 4 days and 6 months, so they can spread the repayments over a longer period to allow them to budget more effectively. This also ensures the repayments are at a manageable level to reduce the risk of creating a debt spiral.

Consumer credit is never a solution to long-term debt

Although the flexi-loan may become a useful stopgap for some South African consumers and help them meet essential expenses they had not accounted for, consumer credit of any kind should never be used as a solution to debt problems. If you do need to borrow money to cover essential expenses like car or boiler repairs then the flexi-loan could be an option for you. However, you should always explore other potential solutions such as using savings or borrowing money from family and friends first.

If there are no other options then you must carry out careful affordability calculations to make sure you can afford to repay the loan and choose a repayment term that allows you to budget accordingly. Only once you’re sure you can repay the loan should you borrow any money at all.

Always be aware of the extra charges that may apply

One of the benefits of the Wonga flexi-loan is the fact that what you see is what you get. That is, if you meet the agreed repayment dates then the initial calculation is the amount you’ll pay. However, other charges can apply if you cannot make the repayments.

Although you will not be hit by multiple charges, interest and service fees will continue to apply to your account for up to 90 days if the debt has not been repaid. Continued failure to repay a loan will also mean the outstanding payment is recorded by credit bureaus and your credit rating will be affected as a result.

What types of short-term credit do you choose to use? Do you think a flexi-loan could be a viable alternative? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Should You Give up on Gold and Invest through Your Bitcoin Wallet Android App Instead?

Did you think that gold is a dead commodity that you shouldn’t invest in anymore? If so, you would be wrong. In 2013, Germany started to repatriate gold to it, and at least 50% of it is now stored in Frankfurt. Other parts are stored in Paris and in New York and around 13% is stored in London. But what does this have to do with the bitcoin wallet android app?

The Bitcoin Wallet Android App and Other Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies and digital cash services are becoming increasingly popular. What this also means is that gold seems a bit archaic nowadays. However, gold has a status that it will never be able to lose, and it will always be valuable simply because people want to have it. No other fiat currency, not the Euro, not the Dollar, has this type of security.

The Link between Gold and Bitcoin

You cannot get away from bitcoin and cryptocurrency anymore, but gold isn’t going anywhere either. Both also see quite significant price fluctuations, but they are rising overall and rising a lot. Then, there is the fact that other forms of economy, such as stocks and bonds, are problematic, not in the least because they are so strongly affected by geopolitical events. Consider:

  • There has been an overvaluation of stocks. So much so, in fact, that they must come crashing down soon.
  • President Trump is causing major ripples around the world, and no matter how much he would like to call every negative report about him and his policies “fake news”, the reality is that the world is not happy with his administration.
  • Europe is in turmoil. The United Kingdom has voted to leave the EU, a process known as “Brexit”, and other countries are seeing a popular opinion swaying towards the same thing. Meanwhile, there is a serious swing towards right-winged politics in almost every European country.
  • Nobody can keep track of derivatives anymore, which is precisely what the five biggest banks in this country have tied their interests to, making it very dangerous.
  • The Federal Reserve has now agreed to start rising interest rates again, which has a significant impact on people’s disposable income.

Gold isn’t impacted by this, nor is cryptocurrency. That is because both are available in finite amounts. Both are also tied to supply and demand, with demand rising significantly. One of the key things about bitcoin, however, is that it is decentralized. This means it is not owned by a country or a bank, but rather by its users, which is known as “open source”.

All financial experts agree, all investment portfolios have to be diversified in order to retain their value. They also all agree that precious metals should be an integral part of an investment portfolio. So why not double protect yourself, and purchase precious metals like gold by using bitcoin? Could it be possible that the two investment underdogs are actually the strongest of them all?

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Reasons to Avoid Longer Term Auto Loans

Most consumers would have a difficult time purchasing a new or used vehicle without the help of financing from a bank, credit union, or another lender. Vehicle loans allow a prospective car buyer to receive a lump sum specifically for the purchase of the vehicle of their choice, and payments of that total amount plus interest charges are made over the course of months or years. The interest rate applied to a vehicle loan is dependent on the borrower’s credit history and score, but because the car is collateral for the loan, lenders are able to offer relatively low rates. Both the monthly payment and the interest rate are fixed for the life of the loan, offering predictability to the car buyer.

Given that the average price of a new car is an impressive $33,000, a vehicle loan is the best way to purchase without having to save up a significant amount of money beforehand. However, each lender provides varied repayment terms which car buyers should understand before signing on the dotted line. Most notably, having a longer repayment term may be appealing on the surface, but extending the payoff of a new or used vehicle is not always a sound financial decision. Here are a few things to consider with longer repayment terms for new or used vehicle loans.

Immediate Depreciation

Selecting a longer repayment term for a new or used vehicle loan exaggerates the problem of depreciation. For new cars, the value of the vehicle is significantly reduced the moment the owner drives off the lot. While less dramatic for used vehicle purchases, depreciation still takes place immediately after changing ownership. When a longer vehicle loan is taken out on a new or used vehicle purchase, owners may be stuck with a loan payment and remaining balance on a car that isn’t worth that much if it were sold.

Negative Equity

Depreciation takes a toll on the equity in a vehicle as well. Equity is the difference between what is owed on the vehicle loan and the market value of the vehicle. When a longer vehicle loan is chosen at the time of purchase, the combination of smaller principal payments and rapid depreciation come together to create negative equity – owing more on the vehicle that its market value. When this takes place, it can be difficult to trade in the vehicle before the loan is paid off, and car owners have no options for using their vehicle as collateral for a short-term loan. Negative equity can become a dangerous cycle of debt, especially when a vehicle is traded in before the loan is paid in full.

Higher Interest Rates

The most common term for a new or used auto loan is 60 months, or five years, but some find that the monthly payment for that repayment agreement does not fit easily into the budget. A longer loan term of 72 or 84 months may be offered by the selected lender to help ease the shock of the monthly payment; however, a lengthier term often results in a higher interest rate for the life of the loan. Again, with lower monthly payments and less of those payments applying to the principal balance, car owners will inevitably face negative equity in the vehicle unless the loan is paid in full before the end of the term.

Borrowing from a reputable lender is a smart way to finance the purchase of a new or used vehicle, but card buyers should steer clear of longer term loans when possible. Consider reducing the purchase price of the vehicle, or selecting a used car over a brand new vehicle to keep monthly payments on a shorter repayment term to avoid depreciation, negative equity, and higher interest rates on the auto loan.

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Do You Know How to Spot a Deal?

Are you someone who can spot a deal a mile away? If not, has the time has come for you to start doing so, yes?

For many consumers, getting a good deal is part and parcel of their life.

When many watch their dollars, finding some good specials can make the difference.

With that being the case, will you sharpen your skills when it comes to spotting a deal moving forward?

Internet is Great Starting Point

One of the best places to begin your quest to find deals is the Internet.

That said too many consumers don’t take advantage of all the worldwide web can offer them. As a result, they miss out on keeping more money in their wallets and purses.

Are you someone who focuses on finding discounted tickets for Universal Studios? If so, you can locate them much easier than you might first think.

With the right online search, you can get deals for Universal Studios and other venues. Once you have your deal, the fun is about to begin.

Keep in mind many companies in the theme park business and similar venues are active online. In fact, their websites are oftentimes tended to on a daily basis.

Among the important areas of interest many of them cover on a regular basis online:

· Blog posts about respective attractions

· Specials and when to collect on them

· Customer testimonials

You should also look for the locations of interest for you and yours on social media.

Sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest are popular with countless business.

Word-of-Mouth

If you have a sizable group of family, friends, and even co-workers that you communicate with, lean on them too.

An example of word-of-mouth marketing is designating people to stay on top of deals for venues.

If you have someone in the group who can’t get enough of amusement parks, let them alert others with a love for such. The same is true for someone who loves sports. Let him or her alert others via text or email about deals on ballgames etc.

Traditional Marketing

Even with the web and word-of-mouth leading the way, traditional marketing is there too.

Do you get your fair share of specials in the regular mail for various activities in and outside of town? If so, do you take advantage of them?

While many such marketing pieces end up in the garbage, others have more shelf life.

Don’t always be so quick to throw those pieces of mail out. You may in fact end up finding some great deals right at your fingertips.

When it comes to spotting the best deal out there, how good is your eyesight?

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