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Back To Basics At Home

We are all looking for new places to save money. After cutting back on the extras, we start looking at the money we spend on the necessities. One area we can not escape spending money on is our home. Taking care of our home may not be an option, but how much it costs can be. A few simple steps and a few key ingredients can help you to clean and maintain your house and save you money!

Humans are messy
They always have been, and they always will be. That messiness has not changed, but everyday there seems to be a new product on the shelves to clean it up. Our grandparents did not need all these choices. And we do not need them either. Stock up on baking soda, vinegar, soap, borax, washing soda and lemon juice and you will have the solution to anything from dirty floors to grimy windows. Each of these costs pennies per use and none of them are toxic, making them earth friendly, too. Some even serve double duty in the kitchen as part of many recipes. Just combine lemon juice or vinegar with baking soda and you will see a simple, nontoxic chemical reaction that will clean everything from a clogged garbage disposal to the grout on tile floors.

Cleaning up goes beyond floors and windows
For most of us, laundry is an ongoing battle. The piles never seem to end, making laundry detergent a necessary expense. But there is a way to wash a years worth of clothes for the cost of two bottles of detergent! These recipes have been around for years and show how simple saving money can be.

Being frugal is not only for the indoors
It is just as simple and inexpensive to take care of your yard. You can save a lot of money by making your own pesticides and insecticides. Mix soap and water in a spray bottle and regularly spray your plants. This will keep aphids and other bugs from eating their leaves. You can add garlic to add an additional deterrent. The never ending problem of ants can be fixed by pouring boiling water over the mound or by treating them with a mixture made of equal parts of borax and sugar. You already have what you need to enjoy being outside without the frustration and pain of unwanted guests!

We all want to care for our homes and gardens and protect the environment. Special organic products are very expensive and make going green seem out of reach. But many natural ingredients make it possible to go green and frugal at the same time. Nothing could be easier!

We are all looking to save money and time. Thinking out of the box and getting back to basics are the way to do it! What ways do you save money around the house?

June 3, 2010   No Comments

5 Fun Crafts With Shaped Rubber Bands

Wholesale silly bandsWholesale silly bandz come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making them perfect for creating fun arts and craft projects. Fun-shaped rubber bands come in many forms including cars, animals, dinosaurs, fish, and much more. What’s more is that they come in a wide variety of colors. Wholesale silly bandz are a perfect medium for creative craft projects. Here are five quick and fun craft projects that you and your kids can make at home out of fun shaped rubber bands.

1. Customized Belts

Kids can easily create a rubber band belt accentuated by fun-shaped rubber bands. For the base of the belt, you will need approximately 20 2 1/2 by 1/16 inch, regular rubber bands and 5-6 wholesale silly bandz. To create the belt, take two normal rubber bands and tie them together with a knot. Make sure not to tie too tightly or the rubber bands will break. Once you have a link of two rubber bands, attach a fun-shaped rubber band of your choosing to either side of the chain with a knot. Make sure that the rubber band used to tie the knot is the normal rubber band so that the shape of the fun-shaped rubber band is not distorted. Once that is done, continue making chain links of 2 normal bands and attaching them between one wholesale silly bandz, till the belt is the desired length. To fasten the belt, a small safety pin can be used to link the ends together.

2. Fashion Accessories

Adding wholesale silly bandz to clothing items can turn an old shirt or hat into something entirely new and stylish. Select an old shirt or hat and have the kids lay out a colorful design on the piece of apparel. Once the fun-shaped rubber bands are in position, use a hot glue gun to carefully glue the rubber bands into place. Only adults should handle the glue gun.

3. Works of Art

Wholesale silly bandz are a great addition to any piece of art. For children who can’t draw very well, they can offer outlets for their creative juices, letting them make art without the frustration. Kids can glue rubber bands into place on pieces of paper and color around them, making wonderful pieces of art that can be displayed proudly on the refrigerator door. Also, the fun-shaped rubber bands can be placed on pieces of art that have already been created to augment their beauty.

4. Create a Book

Creating a book is fun project that can exercise a child’s reading and writing skills as well as their creative abilities. Have a child think of a story and write it down. It can be about anything. Take sheets of colorful construction paper and have them write the story on the lower third of the page in magic marker. After the story has been written, allow the kids to glue fun-shaped rubber bands onto the top halves of the pages to illustrate their story. After the rubber bands are in place, they can add more color to the pages with crayons and colorful markers.

5. Stencils

Fun-shaped rubber bands are great to use as stencils for people who don’t draw very well. The shapes are preformed, so all you have to do is lightly grip the rubber band and then trace around the outside or inside of the shape with a pencil. After that, the shape can be filled with colors. These can be used to decorate cards or any other art project.

June 2, 2010   2 Comments

Small Business Website on a Shoe String Budget

More people every day are turning to the web for shopping. Sooner or later every small business entrepreneur will hear the question: “Do you have a website?” and a yes answer is becoming a real necessity. This situation has a variety of problems.

  1. Mom and Pop have always done business by word of mouth, have no idea how to get started on the web, and aren’t even sure it’s necessary.
  2. All the jargon is complicated and can be really scary for the novice.
  3. Traditional do-it-yourself websites require computer skills and expensive software.
  4. The alternative of hiring a professional designer is even more expensive.

For Joe’s Shoe Repair, the situation can be overwhelming. He doesn’t want to promote his service on the global market. He doesn’t intend to sell online at all. His only requirement is to extend his word of mouth advertising onto the web for his town. Joe’s Shoe Repair just needs a web presence, so that when people in his local community search online for a place to get a heel repaired, they will find him.

If you fall into Joe’s category, there are solutions to the problems. There are many reasonably priced hosting companies that provide online software for building a website yourself as part of the package. Companies such as GoDaddy have packages starting at less than $5 per month. Most of them also have customer support teams to help with setup.

However, the quickest, most straight forward way to get a website is to register with a blogging service. You don’t have to have any software except your browser. Several organizations provide free space if you are willing to include their name in your web address. There is a slight learning curve to get things operational, but anyone who is capable of running a business can learn to use a blogging dashboard.

Take your time, no one but you has to know it is there until you have it fixed the way you want. The software for most blogs is very user friendly and they all have good help pages. WordPress, the most widely used blogging tool, even lets you set up a static homepage and turn off comments so that you can leave it alone until you need to let your customers know about new developments. Then you simply sign in to access the dashboard and make changes.

<b>Do you have a website? Where do you host it? Who built it?</b>

May 31, 2010   No Comments

Frugal Gardening Tips and Tricks

One of the latest trends that has come to the forefront in the past year is thriftiness. Saving a few bucks here and there adds up over the long haul. Many have taken to home gardening to shave their grocery bills down and that’s a positive step in the right direction. There are a couple of things you can do to maximize the effectiveness of a home garden.

Homemade Fertilizer
Supplies like mulch, fertilizer and other equipment from the garden supply store can be really pricey and negate a lot of the cost saving effects of growing your own vegetables. The big number one tip is composting. Almost every bit of organic scraps and leftovers from your kitchen can go into a compost pile in the backyard. Whether it’s old coffee grounds, peanut shells or grapefruit rinds, all will make for productive and nutrient-rich soil for your personal garden.

DIY Supplies
You can use old cardboard egg containers as seed starting pods for seedlings. For trellising and other structures, lumber yards are a great place to find surplus wood. Many local businesses will gladly let you rummage through their refuse heap and take away old pallets and other unneeded wood that you can use for fencing or supports. If you’d really like to take the whole concept to the next level, some relatively cheap sheet plastic and scrap lumber can be used for a no-frills, do-it-yourself greenhouse so you can get started earlier without the risk of losing plants to frost.

Seeds, Odds and Ends
While Home Depot and other mega-stores will usually have a decent selection of seeds and starter plants in the spring for you to buy, consider shopping for bulk seeds online to save some extra cash. Amazon can ship you seeds for every type of produce imaginable for free, so if you’re a regular customer and order from them frequently you may as well pick up some of your gardening supplies from them. They also ship tools like trowels, spades and the like.

These are just a few ways to start up a great low-cost, organic garden on a budget. For more helpful information, Garden Guides offers plenty of advice on the choice of vegetables and plants you can grow, as well as tips and advice to get the most out of them. Fellow gardeners in your area are also a terrific sounding board for advice and ideas, so make sure to hit up message boards and forums as well as the local farmers’ market. If you plan it out right, you can get a superb home garden going for next to nothing, allowing you to eat better and save on fresh vegetables in the long run. So, what are some other good ideas for the perfect money-saving home garden?

May 27, 2010   No Comments

Maintain Your Car and Save

Tackling your own auto maintenance may sound like a daunting prospect, but with a little research, some basic tools and determination, you can save a lot of cash. The average consumer has no idea how tremendous the markup is on easy-to-perform automotive services. By investing some time in learning basic car maintenance, you can gain both savings and the personal satisfaction of knowing that you did the job yourself. Three money-saving services that you can perform yourself are changing your oil, monitoring your tire pressure and detailing your car.

Change Your Oil Yourself
Keeping your car’s oil changed protects its engine life. The owner’s manual contains the recommended service schedule. Most auto manufacturers recommend oil changes every 3,000 miles, but check the owner’s manual to be sure. According to Edmunds, car owners save around $100 yearly by changing their oil themselves. Combined with other frugal living tips, this really adds up. Edmunds lists on its site step-by-step instructions for changing your car’s oil.

Maintain the Correct Tire Pressure
Maintaining your car’s tire pressure is key to fuel efficiency and savings. Under-inflated tires are not only dangerous but cause your car to use more gas. The owner’s manual lists the optimum tire pressure for safety and fuel efficiency. An inexpensive tire pressure gauge helps you determine whether the tires need inflating. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that gas mileage improves 3.3% with properly inflated tires. If gas is $3 per gallon, that translates to savings of ten cents per gallon. This saves $78 yearly for a car with a 15-gallon tank filled once weekly.

Detail Your Car Yourself
Contrary to what many believe, car detailing is a frugal do-it-yourself project. Keeping your car looking good maintains the car’s value. If you decide later to sell it or trade it in, you receive more money for it. According to Cost Helper, the average cost for car detailing in the United States is $58 for a basic detail job. In some areas, the cost is as high as $300 for a premium detail job. Invest in a few basic supplies and reap the savings. Popular Mechanics describes the detailing process on its site.

Do you have tried and true money-saving auto maintenance tips? Share them.

May 20, 2010   No Comments

10 Tips for Buying Business Cards Cost Effectively

  • Stick to simple business card designs – they usually cost less than premium designs.
  • Use a smaller format, plain rectangular card if you can. Often a card that is smaller will remain in a wallet for longer anyway, so are less likely to be discarded.
  • Consider using recycled card stock. It can have triple benefits! It can often save business owners money, help save the planet, and customers may get an improved perception of one’s business, as it shows care and attention to the environment. Some businesses have won new business or received sales leads, simply because they made an ecologically friendly choice.
  • Don’t buy into “bundled” solutions – these are often top-heavy, in both price and unwanted extras. If one has the type of business that does not led well to being openly promoted by the consumer (such as a sanitary product), those extra refrigerator door business card holders will likely end up in the trash can!
  • Order embossed print on plain cardstock. This is just as eye-catching as a gloss finish card, which is, in fact, harder to read. Embossed print against plain white or colored cardstock lends a classy look, and can save considerable printing costs.
  • Make sure that any information one intends to print on the card is going to stay valid for an extended period of time. Changing a cell phone number the month after cards have been printed is going to be either require a costly re-print, or the business owner will suffer the indignity of correcting them all by hand!
  • Choose a business card supplier carefully. High volume printers charge a lot for small runs. Match the printing batch size to a mid-range card supplier/printer.
  • Order in sensible batches. Having 1000 unused business cards in a desk drawer is the same as putting un-spendable dollar bills there. Figure out roughly what might be used in a six to twelve month period and order accordingly.
  • Shop around on the internet – as usual, a little time spent studying the market can pay dividends in real savings!
  • Check out promotional freebies at sites such as Vistaprint.com. They offer 250 free cards and a host of ready-made designs. Other, similar competitors can easily be found through Google by typing in the following search phrase, “cheap business cards”. The ad sponsors found at the top and the right of the search results page should provide numerous leads for low-priced business cards.

Where do you get your business cards? And if you’ve got a picture of what they look like, post a link.

May 17, 2010   2 Comments

Budgeting

Many people feel like there is never enough money. After paying bills and necessary expenses, there is often times no money for education, savings or an emergency fund. A budget is a way of tracking what you spend, deciding what needs to be paid and figuring out where you can cut back. As soon as you begin your budget, you will soon be able to find out if your money is being spent on things you truly need or just on things that you want. There are many areas included within a budget that you can but back.

Housing If you are living in a home that is beyond your means, it is time for a change. Options may include refinancing, finding a less expensive place, or finding a roommate.

Utilities Utilities such as gas, electric and water are all necessary, but can be better managed. Other utilities that are elective such as cable, internet and phone can either be disconnected to switched to a less expensive service.

Transportation Make sure you are driving a vehicle you can afford, including the payment, insurance and gas. If the car is too expensive trade it in or sell it for something you can afford. Carpooling is even an often for many people

Food Eating out is not a necessity, but nice sometimes. Eating out less will cut a budget drastically. If you work, take your lunch. Shop grocery stores that offer specials and cut coupons to save money.

Clothing Everyone needs clothing but this does not mean you need the most expensive. There are many second-hand and thrift stores that provide clothing at marked down prices. Clothing can also be passed on from one child to the next.

Healthcare Costs of healthcare continue to rise, but can also be managed. When you are filling prescriptions, ask for generic drugs. Ask a doctor for a discount when you are paying in cash. Always review doctor and hospital bills for accuracy.

Insurance Whether buying car or health insurance, it is important to shop around to get the best possible rates. Ask the agent for all the discounts that you qualify for, including low mileage, multiple car and good driver.

Saving money can be achieved by creating and sticking to a budget. You are able to decide what money needs to be spent and where you can cut back.

May 13, 2010   No Comments

DollarDays now Ships to Canada Eh!

DollarDays is proud to announce that as of today, our friends to the North can now take part in the enormous savings that American wholesalers are able to get when purchasing from DollarDays.

We’re excited about expanding our reach to Canada, and believe this represents an amazing business opportunity for both DollarDays and Canadian businesses alike.

May 11, 2010   No Comments

School is ending, but not forever

School may be nearly out, but why not start thinking about the impending month of August when back-to-school is back-in-style?

Today and tomorrow only, DollarDays is offering $3 wholesale backpacks. So rush on over and make sure to stock up before the summer starts, so that you have the product when the summer ends.



May 11, 2010   No Comments

Charity and Press

Owning a small business and trying to grow and maintain your business can often be a daunting task. You have just a certain amount of dollars each month that you are able to spend on marketing and advertising. The key to successful small business ownership is keeping your business in the forefront of everyone’s minds.

There are several easy win-win suggestions to help you maintain profitability and contribute to the welfare of your community in the interim.

What are the not-for-profits in your area of influence could use a helping hand? Is there a food pantry that serves your local community? Contact them and offer to be a collection point for a particular month. Oftentimes, the local community newspapers will write editorials for the non-profit organizations, even full-length features, and this translates into free media exposure for your small business. This is an endeavor that could save you hundreds of dollars in advertising fees in exchange for your time and talents to benefit the needy in your midst.

This works extremely well for almost any small business type in just about any community. Whether you act on behalf of the local ASPCA to collect blankets, food, toys or dollars for the rescued animals or just collect clothing for the local chapter of the American Red Cross – most of these organizations will even recognize your small business on their own websites as well as the local media attention you will receive.

You can even sponsor a teddy bear drive for the local police force. Collect teddy bears from your customers to give to police officers to place in the trunk of their vehicles. The bears can be given to children who are involved in motor vehicle accidents to help lift their spirits during a traumatic event in their young lives until the situation is resolved. The police will be forever grateful for your contribution and again, another media event as you present the police force with your loving gifts.

Another small business consideration would be to adopt a local school team event or sport. For the investment of a small donation to purchase uniforms or t-shirts, your small business will benefit from the team’s exposure at school events and your business name will be reflected in the school’s programs. A very worthy and smart business investment with a return on investment that is priceless.

Aside from the free media exposure, your small business will be making a huge impact on the community and the community will respond to your business. This is called “Good Will” and it is invaluable to any business to continually provide good will through community efforts. The value-add to your business can never be measured in terms of building relationships and driving the integrity and values of your small business name.

Think outside the box, but give within the community and you will see your business benefit from it.

May 10, 2010   No Comments