When house guests are on their way, there’s always a last minute flurry of cleaning and preparing. Don’t forget to stock up on the necessary items to make your guests feel pampered and right at home. Whether the holidays are approaching, you’ve got a family reunion coming up, or the old college gang is in town and wants to crash at your place, make sure you have these 10 things on hand to keep your house running smoothly!
1. Tissues: Putting extra people in the house means more chance of spreading the current cold or flu. Having tissues ready and waiting means your guests will keep their germs where they belong, instead of passing them on to your furniture and you.
2. Snacks: People from different households tend to have different eating habits. To ensure that no one’s getting grumpy waiting for meal time, keep a few sure to please snacks around like granola bars these snacks are no muss, no fuss, and easy to pack along for a day trip.
3. Travel Toiletries: If you really want your guests to feel special, stock up the bathroom with a variety of individual size toiletries. It’s 4 star hotel treatment, and it keeps your personal toiletries off limits!
4. Batteries: It seems random, but more people means basic things like the remote control are going to be used more often. It never hurts to have a few extra batteries in your drawer so you don’t have to run out while your company’s around.
5. Paper towels: This one is a no-brainer. The easiest way to clean up spills and keep your home tidy is a roll of paper towels. For casual guests, you might even use them for serving up pizza instead of washing the extra plates!
6. Blankets: You never know how different people will prefer their climate. One guest is comfortable at 70 degrees while another is shivering on the couch. Having a few comfortable blankets draped on the sofa or rocking chair will help your guests feel at ease, so they don’t need to go looking.
7. Toilet paper: Does this really need explanation? Better to have some leftover after your guests leave than to run out mid-stay.
8. Towels: Some people can get away with one towel when they’re on the road. Others need a towel for their hair, one for their body, a washcloth, and a separate face towel. Don’t go in to take your shower and find out there are no towels left for you. Get a second set to spare for your guests.
9. Magazines: No, it’s not like the doctor’s waiting room, but it never hurts to have something available for your guests to entertain themselves. You might be cooking dinner or running a quick errand. Keep your guests out of trouble with something to read while you’re otherwise occupied.
10. Chocolate: It’s hard to argue with chocolate. You may want to put it out to share with your guests, or just keep it for yourself to de-stress once they’ve left!
January 4, 2012 No Comments
Living large does not have to mean having the fanciest house and car in the neighborhood or out doing all your friends in lavish decor within the home. Insecurities about having enough money and showing the world you do by using credit cards or digging yourself deep into debt will only result in having nothing to show for it. Live large with less by living within your means.
First time home buyers may expect to start out with a lavish home, much like their parent’s have now. What they do not understand is most likely their parents started out in a home much smaller when they bought their first home. Starting out with a smaller home, then trading up later as you build equity, helps you afford that 3 or 4 bedroom house with the spacious kitchen and large lot. Don’t feel like you are settling for less by starting out with a small cottage; envision your dream, but use logical steps to reach it.
Everyone likes to have a sleek-looking car to drive in, but when first starting out, you may want to forego that little sports car or giant SUV for a more affordable vehicle. Flashy cars not only cost more, the insurance rates are higher and SUVs take more gas to run. Living in the city you may be able to get by with mass transportation which saves you money on the upkeep and insurance for a car. If you live outside the city, purchase a good used car that has ample room for a growing family. Research the best used cars and avoid purchasing new as the depreciation rate is high for a new car.
Look for used furniture instead of buying new when starting out. Used furniture may look new, especially if people used it for living rooms or dens that were barely sat in. Some people just want to change the style of their furniture and sell perfect pieces for half what they paid for them. Look in your local paper, at garage sales or an online community bulletin board for furniture purchases.
Visit your local dollar store for cheap items for a new home or apartment. When you move into your own place there are many items you need, but you don’t necessarily need the expensive dishes or decor to make your new home special. Trash cans, clothes hampers, eating utensils, drinking glasses, wall decor and lamps are just a few of the things you can purchase cheaply that do not have to be top of the line. While skimping on some pieces you can perhaps spend a little more on a fancy bowl that catches your eye or better than average pots and pans for cooking.
Live frugally but live large at the beginning of your life’s adventures. You will thank yourself later in life.
December 14, 2011 No Comments
Social Media marketing is a great platform for marketing because it’s absolutely free. It doesn’t cost you anything except for your time. Channels, such as Digg, Facebook, and Twitter have millions of users every day. This provides you with a virtually unlimited audience to promote to. It is a powerful and economical tool for increasing your business.
The benefits of social media marketing are measured in terms of what it can do for your business. A huge advantage is that it provides you with links to your website. This helps increase both primary and secondary traffic, which in turn improves your search engine ranking. Increased traffic leads to greater popularity, which leads to more sales.
Why is social media such a well-liked platform? The principle behind this is simple. Consumers are influenced by the purchasing decisions of their peers. The more “friends” you have on your page, the more that you boost your influence over buying decisions. IModerate Research Technologies (http://www.imoderate.com/) did a study about this and found that consumers are much more likely to buy from brands that they follow on these sites.
Now that you understand what it is and why you should do it, let’s talk about how you should promote a small business using social media. The primary goal is to market your brand, advertise your specials and deals, and to build a solid reputation. If that seems like a tall order, it is. However, it is probably easier than you think.
Promote Your Brand- An advantage to the social media platform is that it makes your small business approachable. Stay in touch with your followers and encourage them to comment on posts. Share important facts, tips, and advice that your customers will relate to.
Advertise- Posting your deals and sales is effective, especially if you include a short informational blurb or link to the product or service you want to sell. You should consider offering coupons that are exclusive to your social media followers to reward them.
Build your Reputation- By demonstrating your knowledge about your product or service, you establish yourself as an expert. This builds credibility in the eyes of your followers. Postings should be informational in nature, and along the lines of helping the consumer solve a problem.
Social media allows you to establish a personal relationship with your customer. When you write, be authentic. Give them content that they will be interested in and use casual language. Never educate them just about what you are selling- outline a story so that you are showing them how it benefits them.
Comment on your followers pages. You may want to lurk for a few day to be sure that you understand what they are talking about, and then offer valuable information. Above all, be responsive to questions and contributions. Check out DollarDays in Facebook.
December 13, 2011 No Comments
As the holiday season approaches, many among the ranks of the newly frugal may be asking themselves, “How can our family enjoy the holidays while sticking to our budget?” Gift giving, holiday meals, entertainment, and travel are a part of the season, and these tips can help keep the holidays festive AND frugal.
Generous Gifts on a Grinchy Budget: Whether it is a gift exchange at the office, or shopping for the family, gift giving can put a large dent in the budget. For those preferring to shop online, holiday promotional codes offering discounts and free shipping are often available. If a discount or promotional offer is not advertised on the site, run a quick search engine inquiry. Consider establishing a designated email account to receive discounts and coupons, then sign up at your favorite retailers for their e-newsletters, special offers or mobile coupons. Have a credit card or travel rewards program membership? Those points or credits can often be converted into gift cards, which then can be gifted or used to purchase gifts without paying out of pocket.
Festively Frugal Feasting: Hosting the holiday meal? Instead of making one large trip to the market, start early, adding a handful of shelf-stable items each week. By late October, grocery displays include holiday items such as cranberry sauce, canned pumpkin, baking staples and gravy. Make sure to clip the coupons from the Sunday paper, and use them to purchase sale items to increase your savings. By spreading out the purchases over several trips, you can avoid the sticker shock of having to stock up all at once!
Economical Entertainment: Take advantage of free local gatherings. Many cities and towns host holiday parades, town
tree lightings, concerts, and cultural performances. For outdoor events, bring your own thermos of hot chocolate and
candy canes and avoid spending on pricier treats. Invite family and friends to a holiday movie marathon, or host an open house and invite guests to bring their favorite holiday comfort foods.
Thrifty Travel: To find the best holiday travel deals, start as early as possible and comparison shop. Does the destination require air travel, or is it feasible to drive or take a train? Avoiding peak travel periods, even by shifting the travel dates by only a day or two, can result in large savings. It may also be less expensive to stay in a central location and take advantage of public transportation, rather than incurring rental car expenses. Save on hotel expenses by staying with family or friends, or perhaps arrange a house swap. Another savings benefit of finding accommodations with kitchen facilities is that it reduces dining expenses.
Reducing holiday spending does not have to be daunting. By following these frugal tips, a budget savvy holiday season is just around the corner!
December 12, 2011 1 Comment
When it comes to finding the perfect gift for your parents, it can often be very hard to determine what to give them. Parent can be try confusing at times and the gift giving process is certainly just as confusing. Parents just seem to always have what they want and most of the time they never really talk about things that they “want.” This is what makes giving them a gift so hard but there is a solution. If you are confused and have no idea what to get your parents, you should think about getting them one of these wholesale products.
How often do you hear your parents complaining about how they overslept or how they just can’t seem to wake up early. Sleep has always been something that bothers parents and so you should think about getting them an alarm clock. This alarm clock however is unlike any other alarm out there as you will be given the opportunity to play a video or show a picture when the alarm goes off. You can set it so that you parents will wake up to see your face at first and hopefully this will be enough to wake them up. The clock also comes with more features like a radio, calendar, and plenty more.
If your parents just are not yet up to date with the latest gadgets, then you should think about letting them in on the fun. This digital camera will certainly spark the photographer in your mom or dad and allow them to start posting more pictures on their often empty Facebook page. This camera will allow your parents to take pictures easily without the hassle of having to teach them anything. This product will also work as a webcam so they can use it for their computers as well.
Your parents will most likely be the type to always lose things or always organized. Whatever type they are, this fanny pack will surely be able to help them out. This is great for those who seem to always lose things and will certainly be great for those who are organized. Be sure to give your mom and dad their own because it won’t be a good idea to have them share one. The fanny pack comes in camouflage so they can certainly take it outdoors.
Parents are often confused about the date and they certainly always forget what the date is. This monthly planner will help your parents stay organized and to give them a better idea of how to plan ahead. This 2012 planner will also make it easier for them to remember birthdays and other special dates.
Though this might not be the best gift to give, it certainly would be entertaining! These temporary tattoos will certainly entertain the whole family as most parents would like to have that “bad side” that they never had when they were young. If your parents never had the chance to get a tattoo, this might be a great gift to give them.
These are some of the most unique gifts that you can give your parents and you should certainly think about choosing one of these.
December 8, 2011 No Comments
PHOENIX, Dec. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – ”It’s time for us to pull together and stop the bickering and finger pointing and just help people in need,” says Marc Joseph, president and CEO of DollarDays International, a subsidiary of American Suppliers, Inc. (AASL.PK), a premier Internet-based product wholesaler to small businesses and local distributors.
As part of the company’s ongoing corporate philanthropy program, this month DollarDays.com will donate more than 1,000 blankets to homeless shelters around the country. Through the company’s http://www.facebook.com/DollarDays page, customers can enter their local shelter into a sweepstakes. Winners will be selected January 4, 2012.
“The economy is in shambles and our neighbors and fellow human beings need help. The people that help them need assistance and it’s time we stop griping and just do something,” says Joseph. “DollarDays works closely with small business owners who are so economically burdened, but they also are the most philanthropic people and we appeal to them and their customers to help out as well.”
According to Michigan State University, three million Americans, a fourth of which are children, go without shelter every night and during the winter months, the 3,235 homeless shelters and social service outlets in the Unites States are filled to capacity and working at a breaking point.
Every month throughout 2011, DollarDays has donated up to $5,000 in product to small businesses and nonprofit organizations and they plan to continue it throughout 2012.
“There’s so much noise about how to solve economic woes, but at a grass roots level, we just need to help with product, food and financial donations.”
In addition to small businesses, DollarDays services the nonprofit sector which has been the fastest growing segment of its business. Through DollarDays, nonprofit organizations have access to necessary supplies by the case that helps them stretch their donated dollars.
Joseph reports that nonprofits are buying everything from office supplies and health and beauty products to fund-raising items. Other top-selling supplies include batteries, inexpensive clothing, recognition awards and plaques, holiday greeting cards and small electronics. In fact, Occupy Wall Street ordered Army blankets.
In November, Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary (www.blindcatrescue.com) located in St. Pauls, North Carolina won the DollarDays $2,500 grand prize for use toward product. Founded in 2005, Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary provides a safe place for blind cats deemed unadoptable by regular shelters due to blindness or illness.
“Thank you so much to DollarDays.com for their wonderful contest giving us the opportunity to win $2500 of merchandise,” says Alana Miller, director of Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary. ”This wonderful gift allowed us to buy cleaning and office supplies that will last us many months. Freeing up those funds allowed us to provide the cats with new climbers that were not in our current budget. We are so grateful to your company for their kindness!!”
Joseph adds, “Everyone has something that touches them, whether it’s animals, children, homelessness or medical issues. We just need to act on our natural impulse to help and in this hectic world with a scary economy, it’s hard to do. But like DollarDays, even a little every month helps and it’s so rewarding for everyone.”
DollarDays International is a Web-based virtual warehouse, where small business owners and charities can find great deals on small business-sized orders for more than 165,000 consumer products, from toys and household decor to apparel, electronics and seasonal merchandise. Due to its innovative business model, DollarDays prices are not only often far below those which most small business are accustomed to, but the offerings include many name-brand products as well as rock-bottom pricing on overstocked and closeout items. In 2006, DollarDays made its debut at number 158 on Inc. Magazine 500 list of fastest growing private companies and was named one-of-50 second-stage Arizona “Companies to Watch” by the Arizona Small Business Association. DollarDays’ prices are among the lowest available to small businesses. Membership is free and any small business is eligible to shop at www.dollardays.com.
December 7, 2011 1 Comment
When it comes to giving gifts, most people tend to not really know what to give. Though giving gifts can be confusing, it surely does not need to be an extravagant gift for it to be meaningful. However, giving gifts to a guy just might be the most difficult thing to do simply because most guys really have no idea what they want. The fact that they tend to be very simple with their needs can often be the problem when trying to find a great gift for them. If you are looking for the best gifts to give a guy, you should definitely think about these five gifts.
There really is nothing like sparking your brother’s or boyfriend’s interest in a sport and you can certainly do this by giving him a basketball. This is a very simple yet still meaningful gift that can go be very special to him. This NCAA Wilson basketball will be a great gift to give those that want to be more active and simply start to play the game more. This inexpensive gift will surely be used for a very long time.
Since most guys do play sports or live a very active style, there is nothing like giving them a massage. This is why this battery operated massaging cushion will be an amazing gift to guys who tend to always be tired or stressed out. This is a great way to really show that you care and to also give a gift that will be used a lot. If you are giving this to a boyfriend or brother, it will also be nice to borrow the gift every now and then. This cushion can be used anytime and will certainly be worth the very affordable price.
Guys are known to be quite unorganized and so it is a great idea to feed off of this problem. Look to give this stylish backpack that will certainly make him want to be more organized. The backpack has many pockets and will certainly be a durable and comfortable backpack. Understand that this is a great gift to give and you will then start to have more organized men in your life.
Not only are men unorganized, but some will actually not smell that nice either. This car air freshener will really help spice up his car and to give him a better smell. This Texas Hold’em themed air freshener will definitely give a beach breeze scent.
If you happen to know a golfer, this is easily the best gift to give. With over 300 assorted golf balls, you will surely be able to really give him what he wants, more golf balls. If he happens to be a bad golfer, you might have to think about getting him 600 to ensure he doesn’t run out.
Giving a guy a gift is certainly not impossible but you just have to really focus on giving him something that he will certainly use.
December 5, 2011 No Comments
Before anyone starts a small business, they must make a list of all goals they have and every way they can reach those goals. Making a long list of goals, concerns, finances, and more is the only way to start on the right track. Starting a business is all about paying attention to detail and researching every aspect of business. Also, many tips that business people should learn are available so they have a better chance at success.
Many entrepreneurs want to succeed so badly that they seek second opinions whenever they can. They decide to use the services of business consultants and research a certain professional’s licenses, experience, references, testimonials, and other details. Businesspeople also look into the consultant’s personality so the interaction will be easier. For some, a consultant that has a long line of diverse networks and can provide referrals is important.
With or without a business coach to lead the way, every prospective business owner must have a sensible and detailed sense of finances. There are a range of expenses that are related to business from investments to profits. Studying sales and revenues allows people to gain a better understanding of the potential earnings for a business in a specific amount of time. This detailed analysis will lead to an optimal outline of goals and budgets. A realistic overview of expenses will show how expensive business can be and how much steady investment is required to keep the business from sinking. It is a good idea for people to look over every level of financing every month. This is the best way to know where to spend and save.
The process of starting a business goes well beyond finances and into areas that are very different but still important. Web design companies are made for the benefit of businesses and provide a long list of services that vary from a simple page layout to complicated search engine optimization (SEO). Web design is a technical process that many businesspeople do not want to deal with, so they must hire web designers. At least, it is important to know the basics of web design for business. Some websites are designed to promote certain products or services and have a great deal of content and visually appealing, flash-based designs. There are ecommerce sites that are designed to sell products. Sites that have more to look at will be more expensive. Knowing what to include on every web page will lead to greater control and success.
Businesses should also know the type of advertising methods that are available for small businesses. One option is to choose advertising that is cost-effective and another is to choose advertising that is targeted to a specific audience. Businesses that serve a local market will want to focus mostly on local advertising that may include passing out flyers, putting up ads on the radio, and more. Another popular option nowadays is to advertise using social media sites. There are plenty of marketing methods that companies use every day to reach a target market or every consumer sector in the world.
Starting a business involves a good amount of risk and pressure. There are many business courses, consultants, and methods that are available to offer help to those who need it most. However, the most important tip is to take a tried-and-tested route and take risks only if the best judgment has been made.
December 2, 2011 No Comments
Times are hard for everyone, and people are looking for ways to save money. Many techniques involve doing things yourself or doing without, but there are many things that a home owner can be done that will not feel to be a sacrifice and will result in a noticeable savings, not just now but for years to come.
Increasing the shade around your house will keep the house cooler in the summer and decrease power use for both the homeowner and the rest of the community. Plant shade trees in the spring in locations where they will eventually provide shade to south facing windows will reduce the amount spent by the homeowner on electricity. To further increase savings, the homeowner should make one or more rain barrels. Fifty-five gallon barrels can be purchased used for a minimal amount of money anywhere and after cutting a hole in the top and attaching a spigot at the base can be placed under drain spouts to catch the water falling off of the roof. One inch of rain will fill a barrel this size and then can be later used to water the trees planted for shade.
Another way to save money by lowering electrical bills is to install a hot water timer. By turning off the power to the hot water heater for up to 18 hours a day, a timer will reduce the electrical use of the most power hungry appliance by 75 percent or more without affecting the service provided by the heater. A timer can be installed using just a screwdriver and pliers and takes less than an hour to complete.
In many parts of the country, governments are tasking people to reduce waste, even going so far as to charge for trash collection by the amount of trash picked up. Recycling is a common way to reduce the amount of trash processed and sent to landfills, but an additional task to consider is composting. Almost 50 percent of all household trash is compostable; plant matter, vegetable matter, fruit, paper towels, toilet paper rolls, dryer lint, and egg shells are all very good compost material although any other animal product, meat, fats, bones, should be avoided as should any bodily waste from any animal that eats meat. The compost bin can be as simple as a basic pile or as complex as a rotating drum, but the end result will be the same: rich organic material ready to add to gardens and plants that will eliminate the need for potting soil and commercial fertilizers.
As the need to cut costs and stretch the household dollar becomes more critical, much can be done that involves changes in attitudes and practices and that have the added benefit of helping the environment. Regardless of why a homeowner makes these changes, they become a win-win scenario for the homeowner, the community, and the environment.
December 1, 2011 No Comments
The holidays can be an expensive time for anyone. With the economy gone so far south, many are wondering if its possible to have as nice a holiday season as in years past. The short answer is that it is possible to be frugal and have a great holiday season, with just some forethought and ingenuity.
First, sit down and think about priorities. This doesn’t just mean reminding yourself of the “reason for the season,” but also deciding what you really want out of the holidays. In all the planning and prepping, would you rather have a fantastic sit-down dinner with family or take a great vacation? What gifts do your recipients <i>really</i> want more than anything else? Keeping your priorities in mind will help make sure your limited resources go where you really want them to.
Next, look at ways to scale down what you already do:
1. Instead of sending a heap of Christmas cards, send e-cards instead. You can also send postcards, which are much cheaper to mail, or hand-deliver cards to people you’ll see in person during the holiday season.
2. Buy gift wrap at dollar stores instead of high-end gift shops, where it’s usually the same quality, or giveifts packaged very simply. A nice bow or gift bag can be just as pretty as lots of paper wrapping.
3. For parties, try having a potluck with friends instead of buying all the food yourself. You’ll usually end up with some great recipes and conversation trays.
4. Instead of buying a bunch of expensive decorations, use nature for inspiration. Collect pine cones to make ornaments or wreaths, along with pine boughs or a brightly-colored poinsettia. If you have kids, sit down one afternoon and make your decorations. Paper snowflakes decorated with glitter look lovely in a nighttime window.
There are other ways to save money and still have a nice holiday season. If you’re exchanging gifts with a large family, consider a “Secret Santa” drawing instead of everyone purchasing gifts for the whole group. If you’re the crafty type, try making a few of your gifts. Even non-crafty people can put together a gift basket with things like popcorn, a DVD, and hot cocoa, or other items. Gift baskets are great for couples, kids, and co-workers.
You can also save money on entertainment and travel by thinking creatively. Instead of paying entrance fees for skiing or ice rinks, go sledding instead, even if you don’t have kids. Adults can have just as much fun as kids when hurtling down a snowy slope together.
If you’re traveling for the holidays, try alternative transportation, like a train ride, rather than paying for airfare or gas. Stay with friends or family instead of in an expensive hotel. Plan ahead as much as possible to avoid paying holiday prices for your trip.
Being frugal doesn’t have to mean having a stringent holiday season. With these tips and your own creativity, have fun this holiday season without breaking the bank.
November 24, 2011 No Comments