Frugal living means making the most of the resources available to you. Some people are frugal because their resources are limited, others because they have a parsimonious character, but being frugal is smart. It saves you money, it can help the envirotnment, and best of all you don’t necessarily have to always meditate on money to be frugal. A little planning and forethought can go a long way to avoid waste and save money.
When the home needs repairs, people call the repair man. Whether it is a plumber, electrician, carpenter or more specialized technician for air conditioning, heating or appliances, it is usually expensive. After all, these technicians have trained and need to be paid for their services. There is another option for someone who can take the time and make the effort. Find a do-it-yourself class, for example in plumbing, and learn how to do the minor repairs yourself. This will save you a lot and, if you want, let you help your friends and family. If you are not in an area where a class is easy to attend, try the internet.
Plumbing is the most important function in a home. When the toilet or drains don’t work, the house is almost inhabitable. You can make sure that your septic system works, your drains are unclogged, your pipes don’t leak, your taps function properly and your toilets flush correctly. These are relatively simple things to do that will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Once you have an idea of how to deal with clogged sinks, dripping faucets, leaky pipes and plugged-up toilets, you will not have to call a plumber again. In some cases, you can fix the problem yourself even before the plumber calls back to make an appointment. Duct tape, a coat hanger and a kitchen knife will not get the job done. You may need to make an initial investment in a few tools, fortunately they are not expensive:
Two sizes of tongue-and-groove pliers
Two sizes of tubing cutter
Hand auger (plumbers snake)
Closet auger especially for toilets
You will not only save money, but you will get a great feeling that you are keeping your home running smoothly. You may even decide to branch out and start other types of repairs. Some other tools you may want on hand are a hammer, screwdrivers, utility knife, safety goggles, work gloves, drill driver and a toolbox to keep them clean and handy. Do you have any other DIY suggestions to help make the most of frugal living?
September 2, 2010 No Comments
There are a whole host of fun and frightening things available wholesale. Whether stocking your shop for the big Halloween sale or trying to snag a discount on the perfect gifts for the prankster in your life, these items are sure to start people screaming.
10) Spiders on Strings
A classic for scaring skittish friends and little sisters. Having a bunch of these critters around makes for a truly creepy-crawly experience. Dangle one over the bathtub for an bigger fright!
9) Motion-Activated Decorations
Depending on the theme, a good motion-sensor decoration can scare the pants off unsuspecting trick-or-treaters, unwelcome guests, and overeager salesmen. Nothing says “boo” like a cackling skull or a spider that shouts “Happy Halloween!” when someone opens the door.
8) Eyeball Candies
Be they hard candy, chocolate, or flavored gummies, eating things shaped like eyes is off-putting. Sprinkling a few of these treats into a candy dish is a great way to catch party guests off-guard.
7) Rubber Hands
Fake body parts are always a fun shocker. A caseload of rubber hands could keep a prankster going well beyond Halloween. Wary trick-or-treaters will be wondering if it’s safe to reach for candy with one of these laying in the dish.
6) Vampire Costumes
Vampires are scary. But are Twilight vampires? After your living room is invaded by a dozen gaggles of teenagers dusted in glitter and wearing Edward Cullen wigs, the answer could very well be yes.
5) Hazardous Material Labels
Fun for sticking on your lunch container on Halloween, April Fool’s day, or any time you don’t want your co-workers stealing your dessert. The truly scary thing about these is that they’re available in bulk in the first place!
4) Inappropriate Adult Halloween Costumes
Halloween costumes are one thing, but it’s truly scary when it’s possible to buy an entire case of French maid outfits.
3) Inappropriate Kids Halloween Costumes
Scarier than Mom and Dad dressed as a Sexy Pirates is the idea of the kids dressed as belly dancers, pop stars, or fictitious serial killers, or a guy who is about to chop someone’s head off.
2) Fake Blood
The possible uses for a bulk order of fake blood outside of a TV crime drama are best left to the imagination. If that imagination is yours, the neighbors had better watch out.
1) Swords & Knives
There are legitimate reasons for individuals to want to purchase swords and knives. But there’s something disconcerting about the idea of a bulk order of machetes.
September 1, 2010 No Comments
It probably won’t come as a surprise that managing cash flow is perhaps the biggest concern small businesses and entrepreneurs face daily. Regardless of the size of the company, or where it is along its stage of life, every business owner is burdened by the time consuming issue of cash flow management.
Given the state of today’s economy, with customers extending credit terms and taking longer and longer to pay, this is likely the most pressing concern for small business owners everywhere. However, there are solutions to managing cash flow. There are ways to mitigate its impact and free up valuable time so that small business owners can get back to concentrating on what they do best. These approaches are simple, straightforward and can be used in both good and bad times. In fact, they become one of the most important aspects of growing a business and increasing gross profit. Interested in knowing what these approaches are?
Pursue Prepaid Customer Accounts with Bad Credit
Every day an invoice goes unpaid is a direct cost to the business owner. Since most businesses use business credit lines or loans to finance their day to day operations, they must pay a yearly interest rate to borrow that money.
When customers take too long to pay, not only is it difficult on cash flow, but there’s a cost to it as well. One of the best ways to alleviate that cost is to get paid faster. The easiest way to accomplish this is by selling product to bad credit accounts who must prepay before receiving product. Prepaid customer accounts are excellent sources to alleviate cash flow as they are rarely pursued by the competition.
Incentivize Early Payments with Discounts
Don’t just go after those customers who must prepay, use incentives with the best customers to get them to pay sooner. Provide discounts and prompt payment incentives across all customer accounts. This will incentivize these customers to pay sooner and help in managing cash flow.
Negotiate Discounts for Early Payments with Vendors
Be sure to secure discounts for prompt payments on your own invoices. When cash flow isn’t a concern, make sure to benefit from the savings accrued by paying your vendors sooner. It will help over time and keep more money inside your business. Managing cash flow is really about saving money when possible and this is an excellent way to keep more of your company’s money.
Managing a company’s cash flow can not only be frustrating, but a drain on resources as well. However, these simple approaches not only reduce its impact, but point the way to additional savings. They are used by a number of companies who view them as best business practices.
August 30, 2010 No Comments
Our current economy seems to be forcing us to be frugal. Save money where you can and try to curb your impulse buying. A good exercise is to write down every penny you spend for an entire week, you’ll be amazed where you can cut back a little.
So how we can cut back on our current expenses?
Take a look at car pooling to work whenever possible. Some companies actually pay you to use alternative transportation or car pools. This can really cut back on fuel costs plus put a little extra in your pocket.
Some banks have an automatic savings plan where they take your ‘change’ and put it in a savings account. Others will give you one dollar every time you use your bank card for a transaction. This is a great, painless way to set a little aside and it adds up pretty quickly. Although you aren’t spending less, you do have a little stash ‘just in case’. And if you don’t bank at one of these institutions, throw your change in a coffee can and leave it until it’s full. You will be amazed how much money a coffee can holds!
How about all those errands you run? If you make a trip every day or two, think about waiting and doing all of your driving around on one day of the week. Map out your trip so you are not backtracking. Start at the farthest destination and work your way back home. Try to make appointments for same day too. Haircuts, doctors, servicing the car. These all add up to extra cash!
Now let’s look at freebies, deep discounts and some retailer secrets!
For example, January and July are the best times to buy furniture and prices will be rock bottom. If you can plan around those times of year for your purchase, you will save a considerable amount of money. Buy furniture in packages if you can. You will get more for your money. Sometimes retailers will ‘throw in’ an additional matching piece.
If you are planning to replace your stove and can hold off purchasing it right away, try to plan around annual sales. Major appliances are often a good deal in September and October. You can get last year’s models at a bargain price so stores can make space for the new model year. Look for rebates on these items as well.
Don’t be afraid to buy floor samples or scratch and dent items. Most times there is very little visible damage to any of the pieces. If the damage is visible, there are ways to hide or camouflage it. In any case, you may save up to 50% on a refrigerator or washing machine.
If you do your homework and plan ahead you can really save a bundle.
August 26, 2010 No Comments
Click on the image above, and start saving today.
August 25, 2010 No Comments
Often times small businesses battle with finding cheap marketing ideas. Small businesses need to gain more profit, but need to be able to put out money for marketing. How do you find marketing money when you’re barely clearing the bills? Here are 3 ideas to turn pennies into large profits.
Flyers can be created for just pennies a piece. While people don’t always like to find flyers under their windshield wipers, they do like meeting business owners. Face-to-face time with customers is a great way to draw in business. If feasible, get out door to door in neighborhoods around your business. Once you have a chance to meet the people, leave them with a flyer. They will remember meeting you and have information to look over long after you have left.
Events and Open Houses
Through a special event. For example, during Halloween season, you could throw an open house. Rent an inflatable jumper, have things for people to do, refreshments and offer a peek at what you do. If you offer a service, have a demonstration on hand that plays over and over through the evening. Free events draw crowds. Events do not have to be expensive and can be done for less than an ad in the mainstream newspaper.
Mailers for After Hours Sales
Pick a section of town that you feel would be interested in your business. For example, if you have a specialty furniture store, pick a high dollar retirement neighborhood. Then send out exclusive invitations to them for an after hours sale. You can even print up the invitations yourself. Treat the invitations with as much class as a wedding invitation. You can pick up inexpensive gold lined envelopes, black ribbon and gold confetti from any office supply or even some dollar stores. Then have your staff dress the part. Serve punch and cookies on a table with real linens. Your customers will be surprised at any detail you give the party.
Marketing does not have to be expensive, it just has to be personal. Hand made invitations to events make for cheap, one-of-a-kind money-making marketing. Special events draw crowds that may not have been to your shop before. Flyers, when handed out face-to-face are a unique way of getting your face and business out to the public. People like different, personal marketing. There are a number of cheap marketing ideas for small business. The only thing that limits the ideas is your imagination, so get thinking and get creative.
August 23, 2010 No Comments
eBay Sellers: The Basics of Best Match – Tue, Aug 17, 2010
Achieving high ranking in eBay’s “Best Match” listing is not as complicated as it may seem. Furthermore, getting higher in the listings can boost sales significantly. While eBay will not reveal the exact algorithm that they use to rank listings, it is still a good idea to understand and follow the suggestions provided by eBay itself. Some of the features that eBay looks for in good listings are: Competitive Pricing, Superior Customer service as measured by the Top Rated Seller status, Keyword Rich Titles, Use Dropdown Item Specifics, and finally, list in the appropriate category.
Friend and Foe? Combating E-Commerce ‘Friendly Fraud’ – August 17, 2010
Friendly fraud is defined as a situation when a customer purchases goods or services online and then contacts the credit card company to dispute the charge claiming fraud, non delivery of goods, and item not as described as the reason for the dispute. When the bank reverses the charge, it is called a “chargeback”. Friendly fraud is expensive to retailers and difficult to combat. Some tips to decrease the incidents of friendly fraud. One step a business can take is to improve customer service; make it easy for customers to contact the seller before calling the credit card. Another step retailers can take is to evaluate marketing efforts. Are item descriptions misleading or are affiliate sales associated with a larger percentage of chargebacks? Finally, merchants that use Payer Authentication programs such as those offered by Visa and Mastercard shift liability for the chargebacks from the merchant to the credit card issuer.
Great Wholesale Golf Products are Par for the Course -August 18, 2010
Golf is a one of the most popular sports with personalities that are constantly in the news; interest in the sport never seems to wane. Though there are many specialty stores and outlet markets offering consumers great deals on golf equipment and apparel, there are still opportunities for smaller sellers to tap into this multimillion dollar market. Even if you do not play the sport, it might be a good idea for store owners to search to see what wholesale products are available that might complement existing catalogue offerings.
Q2 E-commerce Sales Total $39.7B – August 19, 2010
According to the US Census Bureau, e-commerce sales for the second quarter of 2010 were 39.7 Billion dollars. Adjusted for variations and price change, this represents an increase of 2.6% over the first quarter of 2010 and an annual increase of 14%. Year to year growth of online sales have been less consistent. Compared to the same quarter in 2008, there was a decrease in online sales of 4.8%. Analysis by comScore indicates that retail spending in 20010 is growing at a rate of 9%, the third straight quarterly increase.
August 20, 2010 No Comments
Every week, you probably receive a pile of circulars from the grocery stores in your town. Before you say “junk mail!” and throw them in the trash, consider the ways that you can save money using these ads.
The great deals that you see on the front of the circular are called “loss leaders.” These are extra low prices that actually cause the store to lose money. Why would they offer you products at a price lower than their wholesale cost? The answer is because the stores understand how people spend money. If they offer you, for example, breakfast cereal at $1.50 per box, chances are that you are going to buy marked-up milk to go with it. Even better for the store is if they set up an attractive display of breakfast cereal, toaster pastries, orange juice and breakfast sausage. Now suddenly you are buying all of the things that you don’t need, all for the sake of saving a dollar or two on breakfast cereal.
The good news is that you can beat the stores at their own game. Gather up all of the circulars that are within a few miles of your home. Don’t worry if they’re in opposite directions; chances are, you will be going past them all within a week’s time anyway. You don’t have to do all of your shopping in one day, after all. If you live in an area that is inundated with grocery stores, then pick three stores that you would like to visit this week.
Make a list of which items are a great deal at each store. You might be buying breakfast cereal and chicken at store A, milk, eggs and pork chops at store B, shampoo and apples at store C, etc. Now make a rough menu plan. Can you incorporate all of these great deals into your weekly menu? If they’re non-perishable, can you use them within a month? If not, cross the items off. Buying food that will go bad before you eat is is not going to save you any money. What else do you need for the meals that you have planned to eat? Look through the circulars again, searching for those items. You should now have a list of where you will buy each item that you need.
While this approach takes a bit more time than doing all of your shopping in one place, it will save you money in the short- and long-term. How do you organize your shopping to save the most money?
August 19, 2010 No Comments
Send your kid off to college with enough supplies to last them a full semester. Wholesalers offer the means to do so without taking out a third mortgage. Check out this semester’s top 10 list of ideas to help stretch your dollars.
College life takes it’s toll when it comes to doing laundry at laundromats or dorm rooms. It seems like there are more unmatched socks than ever at college.
Just as quickly as socks disappear, so do underwear. Buying in bulk is a great way to ensure your student has enough to last all semester.
#8 Storage and Disks
Whether it’s thumb-drives, CDs or DVDs, disks are always a welcome addition for any college bound student. It’s always a good thing to have something to back their work up on. With a wholesale pack of them, they might even share with their roommates.
Since their spending the time “hitting the books”, give them the tools to help retain everything their reading. Highlighters are the perfect tool for the job. A bulk order ensures they will have enough for the whole semester.
Many snacks can be bought in large quantities. Things like macaroni and cheese, snack size bags of chips, and other items offer wholesale pricing for large quantities of goodies that won’t go bad quickly.
#5 Bathroom items
Bulk quantities of soap, shampoo, body wash, hairspray and hand soap will be a welcome addition for any college student living away from home.
#4 Toilet Paper
No college student wants to run out of toilet paper. Wholesalers offer packages of toilet paper for cents per roll.
#3 Laundry Detergent
This is a great item to buy in bulk at wholesale rates. Laundry soap is one of those necessities that you can never have enough of. Don’t forget fabric softener or sheets while you are at it.
Batteries are another one of those things that you never have enough of or never have the right size. A bulk orders of batteries in multiple sizes are sure to please every college student.
#1 Phone Cards
Phone cards can be bought through wholesale dealers and can be used on pay phones. Prepaid minutes can be purchased for cell phones, too. Mom and dad will get the pleasure from students having these gems. Phone calls home to the folks and no collect call charges are just added perks.
August 18, 2010 No Comments
There isn’t a single part of American commerce that doesn’t have its inception at some point with a sale. Despite this, the function of sales and sales management is probably one of the most neglected aspects of a business. This is hard to understand for two reasons, first, because sales is the literal public personality of a business, and second, because sales is the driving force behind any growing business.
When a business is small, it’s usually not hard to for the CEO or President of a firm to be the lead (or only) salesperson. After all, he or she is often the one most intimately familiar with the business or product. And for a small startup, that person may even be the only person employed by the firm, making their sales efforts indispensable to success.
As a business grows, however, this personal approach to sales can become impossible, making a sales person or an entire sales force a necessity. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs and managers have little if any experience in a personal selling or sales management role to address this. As a result, they tend not to consider it too carefully when making their marketing plans.
Sales is considered by many to be the “sharp edge” of the business process, and for good reason. Not only is it necessary for the creation of revenue, but it is also one of the largest investments made by a business. A single salesperson or a team of salespersons that have little idea of which products or which groups of customers to concentrate on, have too little knowledge of competitive activity, do not present the business well, or don’t close sales, don’t pay, they cost. Even worse, a situation like this means they are not managed well.
A recent survey on the effectiveness of sales representatives showed that an average of two visits for a salesperson was needed before a sales decision, whether positive or negative, was made by a client. This truth shows how important those communications are, and how much good salespersons can be to the future of a company.
If your company is not gaining the sales revenue you expect, it might be time to not only look at your overall marketing plan, but to look closely at the attention paid to visits by each salesperson to maximize their effectiveness. After determining whether a salesperson is effective or not, a decision can be made as to whether a larger sales team is justified.
August 16, 2010 No Comments