You’ve seen the commercials, now you can find it on DollarDays. The Shark bagless vacuum is being made available at the incredible price of only $49 per unit, just in time for Spring.
For today and tomorrow ONLY, consider making cleaning a lot more fun. With Shark’s bagless Vacuum cleaner, you will save you lots of time and oodles of energy. No more bags to replace! This lightweight vacuum will be a cleaning dynamo in your household. So why wait? Get your bagless Shark brand vacuum cleaner today!
April 13, 2010 No Comments
People today are of the mindset that if you don’t have a store bought bottle of all-purpose spray cleaner, furniture polish, or glass cleaner, you just can’t clean. If you’re trying to live the frugal life and save money in every way possible, your cleaning products are a great way to get started. Almost everything you buy at the store for cleaning can be easily made at home out of ingredients you most likely already have in your cupboard. An added bonus is that not only do these homemade products clean well, they are also chemical-free. If you look up the ingredients of your nearest bottle of Pledge or 409, there is a good chance you won’t be able to pronounce most of them. These expensive chemical cleaners are full of harmful chemicals.
Do it Yourself All-Purpose Cleaner
To make a bottle of basic all-purpose cleaner to use in your kitchen and bathroom, all you need is distilled white vinegar, lemon juice, water, and an empty spray bottle. Mix together one part vinegar, three parts water, and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Shake it up, and you’re ready to clean. This little mixture will clean just as well as the chemical filled stuff you’ve been using, and it probably didn’t cost you anything. The acidity of the lemon juice kills germs and bacteria, and it helps to negate the unpleasant vinegar odor. Any lingering vinegar odor will disappear as soon as the mixture dries.
Do it Yourself Furniture Polish
To make your very own all-natural furniture polish, you only need olive oil and lemon juice. If you don’t have olive oil, vegetable and canola oil are acceptable substitutes. Mix two parts oil and one part lemon juice together in a bowl, dip your cleaning cloth into it, and go over all areas of the wood. Use a dry cloth to go over the wood again. Your furniture should gleam and shine just as well as it does when you use store bought furniture polish. This mixture can also be poured into a spray bottle for easier application.
Do it Yourself Window Cleaner
Making window cleaner is pretty much the same recipe as the all-purpose cleaner, but the lemon juice can be left out unless you just want to use it to help with the smell. Essential oils are also fine to use in place of lemon juice for fragrance. To make the cleaner, put one part distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle and fill the rest up with water. It’s best to use old newspapers to wipe the windows clean rather than paper towels. Newspapers are better at preventing streaking, and it will save you money on buying paper towels.
In addition to the above items, you can also make your own laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent, and soap. However, the ones listed above are the easiest to mix. Do you have any homemade products you use for cleaning, and if so, how do you make it?
April 9, 2010 No Comments
If you haven’t read already, Internet Retailer has published an article featuring DollarDays.
DollarDays similarly tries to automate its service in order to cut out the traditional retailer-wholesaler negotiation and contain costs, says Joseph.
“We want to make everything as electronically sound as possible so there is as little involvement with people as possible,” he says. “Everything is done through the Internet. Retailers place the orders they want, in a week to 10 days it shows up. It’s like buying on Amazon. If everything runs smoothly nobody needs to touch it.”
The process works, he says, because DollarDays tries to keep its prices consistent with its competition.
April 7, 2010 No Comments
Insurance premiums are not all alike. The truth is, premiums vary widely between companies and even on similar policies within a company. Here are some tips for finding hidden money in your insurance policies:
First, check out the competition. As Progressive and Geico note in their ads, it pays to shop around. Coverage levels and payouts for claims differ and prices for the same coverage vary depending on factors like your age, where you live, the distance of your commute and even your credit score. It can be tough to compare apples to apples with insurance and it pays to get quotes from a number of insurance companies.
Bankrate.com is an independent company providing comparisons of rates on insurance policies and other financial services. You enter information about your home and car(s) and get insurance quotes for either or both together. Remember that many companies offer discounts if you have both insurance policies with them. Bankrate also has informative articles to help you make wise financial decisions and save money.
Next, the biggest insurance saving tip of all: raise your deductibles. You always save money by raising your risk and reducing the risk to the insurance company. Take a hard look at how much you could afford to pay in case of an accident and adjust accordingly.
Finally, check your coverage levels. You may save money by scrutinizing the coverage for your home and car. Many people carry more insurance than they need and are paying more than they should.
For your home:
- Check replacement coverage. If property values in your area have declined dramatically, the cost to replace your home in case of fire, for instance, may be lower than it once was. This certainly is not true everywhere, but it doesn’t hurt to check.
- If you have added deadbolt locks or a home security system, installed smoke detectors, installed a locked fence, improved drainage on your property, or if the city/county has located a fire department closer to your home, you may qualify for discounts. Be sure to keep your agent informed about improvements to the safety of your property. Check out more tips at MSN Money.
For your car:
- Check the coverage levels for accidents. With a safe driving record and few accidents, you may not need as much coverage as you have. If your car has no lien against it, you can probably drop collision. Do you want to extra pay in case someone hits your eight-year-old minivan? Weigh what you would do if the vehicle were totaled to see if collision makes sense. Check more tips at Forbes’ Investopedia.
- Keep your agent informed of job changes. If you have been laid off, changed jobs, stopped driving for work or started working from home, your premiums could be reduced based on your reduced commute. Less time driving means less exposure to risk.
Have you lowered your insurance costs? Share your insurance saving tips in the Comments.
April 2, 2010 No Comments
1. Tell us about your company and why you started it.
The Hippo Free Press is an unnewspaper. We publish weekly and are a more news magazine format with a large calendar and food section. We answer the vexing question of what to do and where to go in southern New Hampshire as well as address quality of life issues in the region, from traffic to the environment in an accessible fun way. From a very basic P&L standpoint, Hippo was started to provide advertising options for small businesses in the southern New Hampshire market. Looking over the market in 2000 we saw daily newspapers catering to national advertisers and large retail and auto customers. Similarly radio too focused on the national market. Many of the independent restaurants, retail and service businesses either didn’t advertise or felt their advertising was ineffective and expensive.
2. Describe the kinds of articles you publish, and who your target audiences are.
We tend toward quality of life type stories. We want readers to use our publication to get the most out of living in southern New Hampshire. We write about interesting political figures, new restaurant openings, and trends in live music. A recent issue explored the unusual life of birds in urban areas of southern New Hampshire. Our target audience is affluence, educated and active between the ages of 25 and 65. Most of our readers own homes and are married. This reflects the suburban nature of our market.
3. Describe the growth you’ve experienced over the years. Why do you think your publication caught on?
We started as a shoe-string operation with no employees, a few thousand weekly copies and 16 pages. Today we average 72 pages per week have the second largest circulation of any newspaper or magazine in the state and have 25 employees and 30 plus contributors. We have purchased a few other publications recently that are different from Hippo, but utilize our backend.
4. Most print newspapers that rely on paid subscriptions are dying out. What role is there for a free print newspaper in the digital age? What is your niche?
I’m not so sure I agree that paid papers are dying out. Clearly they face some daunting challenges in the classified arena, but many hold strong advertising positions in their areas of influence. And that I think is the key. It’s not as important what distribution model a paper uses, as finding a clearly defined advertising base. In the previous years daily newspapers tended to have a large base of classified advertising customers. Those customers have been moving toward more database driven models, such as craigslist or Monster. This has upended the paid daily business model. As for the role of free newspapers’ role in the digital age, I see free newspaper struggling with finding digital revenue streams just as much as the paid papers have struggled. The bottom line is you can’t earn enough revenue of a local audience online though banner ads. However, I do think that free and paid papers can use their digital platforms to create more value for current customers and maybe even use digital to break into new markets. Our niche from a customer perspective is small independently owned businesses with a touch of community banks and education.
5. In general, what are your thoughts on the death of the traditional news media? Why is it happening and how is this creating new opportunities for entrepreneurial journalists?
The term death is overused. People still watch the 6 o’clock news, they still listen to talk radio and, yes surprisingly, they even buy daily newspapers. True, some of the largest daily newspaper companies in the country have declared bankruptcy, but those bankruptcies are related to highly leveraged buyouts. In reality, large metropolitan dailies have created business models around a book of business that either doesn’t exist or that is moving to database driven avenues. If dailies are to survive they need to re-learn how to serve a local advertising base. That said, any business model upending creates plenty of business opportunities for entrepreneurs. People’s easy access to the Internet allows journalists to go after large affinity groups and create online communities that advertisers will pay to reach. I also see an opportunity for a one-person site to reach a large enough audience for that journalist to support themselves. The Internet lowers the cost of entering publishing but doesn’t mean it’s easier to be successful. Compelling content still needs to be created and an audience still needs to be reached. Both of these things are tough to do.
6. Who are your competitors and how have you succeeded where they failed?
We complete against several paid dailies, a few radio stations, cable, google and some glossy magazines. We’ve been able to pull a substantial number of advertisers out of the dailies’ weekly entertainment tabs. Most of those tabs offer very limited local content. We’ve also been successful against radio, which has seen a dramatic loss of audience and advertisers. Overall, on the business conversion side, we’ve been successful because we focus on small local businesses. More than 400 local businesses place display ads with us each month more than any of our competitors. On the audience side of the business we’ve been successful because we create compelling local content that isn’t available anywhere else. We keep standards high and keep advertising and editorial completely separate.
7. Do you have plans to expand?
We do, but not in a geographic sense. Last year we expanded our offerings to included commercial printing. We now sell most of our customers business cards, post cards and brochures. We can design, print and deliver those products very inexpensively with our current infrastructure. We also started a fan club to identify our most ardent readers.
8. How are you different than or similar to other free papers in other cities?
We’re not as youth oriented. Our market is more mature so we are too. We offer a large children calendar section and events for kids. We don’t have personals and don’t permit sex ads.
9. How has the recession affected your company and your competitors?
In some ways, the recession helped. We’ve seen many businesses that were once satisfied with their level of business start advertising to bring in new customers. Many unemployed or under-employed folks have decided it’s a good time to open a business. In the last year more than a dozen new restaurants have opened in our area. Almost all of them have some on board with us. This recession has really hurt those media outlets that rely on national advertising. Specifically radio and television stations have seen a steep decline in ad revenue. They have responded by trying to focus on the local market with lower rates to limited success. The dailies too have tried to attract more local customers by lowering rates. Both of these groups fail to realize it’s not the price of the advertising that’s the problem, it’s the value to the customers.
10. What lessons do you think your company’s story holds for small businesses in other industries?
Quality and focus. You just produce a good quality product and you need to have a customer base in mind that is large enough to support your business. We spend a lot of time and money creating compelling content so people will pick up our paper. This translates into a large audience with specific demographic traits that a certain group of local businesses need to reach. The key is “need.” If we didn’t exist how would the local cafe reach people? That’s how you know you have a solid place in the market that will survive recessions and changes in how people use technology.
April 1, 2010 1 Comment
Dropshipping is a rather contentious topic amongst the legions of online sellers. There are those who love it and swear it’s the panacea for anyone interested in starting their own ecommerce business and then there are others who don’t believe in it as a distribution channel. Our opinion on the matter is slightly more moderate: dropshipping is a great way for small and medium sized companies to source products to sell online for a profit, however you can’t just slap a bunch of products on a website and expect the dough to start rolling in. Like any successful business, an online store requires a sound business plan, a well thought out marketing strategy, excellent customer service and some good old-fashioned hard work (and this holds true regardless of whether or not you support dropshipping).
So is using a dropshipper the right choice for you? Well, to ensure that everyone is on the same page, let’s define dropshipping first. In a nutshell, dropshipping is a supply chain management technique where when a customer purchases a product from an online store, the retailer passes the order information to a wholesale supplier and then the supplier processes and ships the order to the end-customer – hence the term dropship supplier.
For many new businesses, partnering with a reputable dropship supplier offers a way to sell a wide variety of products without the cost of carrying that inventory. Also because the supplier isn’t paid until after a product sells (and you’ve been paid), it’s a low risk way to test new products or to just start an online store.
Working with dropshippers offers other advantages to the online store owner. Since you don’t have to place an order with a supplier, wait for the inventory to arrive at your store and then start selling it, you can get the jump on hot products and new trends much quicker than a retailer who does not employ a dropshipper. In fact all you have to do is stick the product on your website, promote it, and wait for the orders to start coming in.
Most importantly, using a dropship supplier allows you to focus on your core competencies. More likely than not you got into online retailing because you enjoy the marketing, the selling, and the customer relations side of owning a webstore. That’s also what you’re good at. Using a dropshipper means you get to focus the majority of your efforts on this piece of the business and let the dropshipper focus on order fulfillment. Ultimately this leaves you more time to make more sales and more money.
These are just a few reasons why you’d want to consider using a dropship supplier. The best advice we can offer is for you to do your research and locate a reputable dropshipper that supplies the products you want to sell. They’ll be able to answer your questions and you can decide whether or not this is a business strategy you wish to pursue.
For more dropship and eCommerce tips visit the Shopster blog
Shopster offers a suite of Dropship and eCommerce solutions for small to medium sized businesses. Thousands of online merchants from around the world rely on Shopster as it simplifies the complexities of online retail, allowing merchants to manage their store, transactions, and supply chain relationships in one easy to use place. Shopster is an official eBay Solutions Partner.
Guest Blogger: Suzanne Lucas – Communication Manager of Shopster eCommerce Inc.
April 1, 2010 1 Comment
As one of the iconic humorists of our time, Tom Lehrer, once wrote “Spring is here, Spring is here. Life is skittles and life is beer. I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring. I do, don’t you? ’course you do.”
Spring is, indeed looming over the horizon, and that means, it’s time to start thinking about putting away that winter gear and bringing out that box of spring and summer clothes that have been lying dormant underneath your bed.
Lucky for you, DollarDays is making it easy. Look for whatever you need at DD, and then head on over and find the wholesale Flip-Flops that DollarDays has made available. For as little as $.95 per piece, flip flops are a great way to bring in the spring.
March 31, 2010 1 Comment
For some reason, many of us tend to overspend on clothing. Perhaps it’s because we tend to associate our clothes with status, confidence, even luxury.
Thankfully, there are ways to look good and be comfortable without breaking the bank. There’s nothing like finding a skirt, a pair of slacks or a designer T-shirt for much less than their original full retail prices. It’s even better when you can find these items in places that make a day out shopping lots of fun!
If you’d like to have fun finding fashions for less, there are many options to choose from. Here are some suggestions that can help you find great clothes for much less than what department stores charge.
Check out your local thrift store.
Thrift stores are experiencing a cultural re-awaking because people are starting to notice that they can find lots of great deals on clothes and other things. As a result, many thrift stores around the country are re-inventing their images to make them more friendly and inviting places to visit.
This is good news for fashion-conscious consumers because they can find great deals on clothes from the Gap, and other top brands while also having fun browsing through merchandise in a fun atmosphere. In fact, many consumers have found such great deals on fashions at thrift stores that they have stopped shopping at department stores for clothes!
However, you can still shop at department stores and save big.
It’s lots of fun to shop at department stores to find deals on fashions because if you plan ahead, you can almost find great deals on clothes that you can actually use.
The best way to plan ahead is to wait to buy fashions until there is weaker demand for them. This can help you save a lot of money on fashions because retailers need to make room for new inventory that’s in higher demand.
A great example of doing this is waiting to purchase swimwear until wintertime. Many fashion-conscious consumers do this because they can usually purchase top name-brand swimsuits for 1/2 or even 1/3 of their original retail prices.
Finally, don’t forget to also check your local clothing stores for great deals on fashions.
Local clothing stores are lots of fun to visit because they each have a unique personality that makes it easy to spend the day looking over their stuff. They can also offer consumers lower prices on fashions because they often have lower overhead costs than national retailers. This makes them a great place to find hard-to-find fashions for much less than what a department or specialty store would charge.
As a result, it’s possible to find great deals on fashions while also supporting their local economies! What more could a shopper want?
March 26, 2010 No Comments
For most of us, summer is the perfect time to get away from it all. As we all work to tighten our belts, vacation doesn’t have to be on the chopping block, at least not entirely. Vacations can be expensive, but remember that hypertension and burn-out are even more so. You don’t have to cut out your vacation entirely, but you can vacation a little smarter and save yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
*First, plan ahead. Winter is the best time to start thinking about your summer getaway. This allows for the best budget decisions and helps ensure that your expectations are realistic. Not only is it wise to be prepared, it can really liven your mood in the mid-winter doldrums to make concrete plans for fun in the sun in the months ahead.
*Take advantage of off-peak times. If you’re planning to fly or stay in a hotel, you’ll find that it can be well worth it to stay away from the holiday weekends and weekends in general. The early weekdays of Monday and Tuesday are great days to fly or book a hotel at the best price.
*Do your homework.The Internet is a great resource for low rates on everything from dining to accommodations, complete with user reviews and precise map locations. Don’t be afraid, however, to get away from the computer. Your family and friends can be excellent resources on good places to go, the best deals, and ways to vacation for less. All you’ve got to do is ask.
*Be fearless in asking for discounts. There are a whole variety of ways to get travel deals for less on every basis imaginable. AAA, AARP, and a whole host of organizations offer a variety of travel discounts. Be sure to ask about any discounts, coupons, or other deals that might apply when you do your booking. Overcoming your pride could save you plenty. After all, the worst thing they can say is “no”.
*Budget for everything, even little things, and stick to it like glue. A great way to do this is to leave the debit card and credit cards at home and bring cash instead. It’s wise to wear a money pouch to evade pickpockets, but having cash helps you keep better track of how much you spend, and on what. Paying cash is so much more fun than using credit because you’re free of worry over the size of your statement the following month, allowing you to fully enjoy yourself.
*Start buying things now. You know you’ll need things like camera batteries, sunscreen, maybe even a new swimsuit. When you plan ahead you can defray the costs over time and be well-prepared when the time comes.
*Avoid the crowds. Try something different than your usual, popular destinations. These are often cheaper options and add an element of adventure to your vacation.
What have you done to save money on your vacation?
March 19, 2010 No Comments
Whether you want to get rich quick, get rich slow, or something else entirely, there’s a simple process that applies to successfully reaching any financial goal. Saving money is great, but that saving should have a purpose.
Wal Mart’s recent I’m saving for ad campaign points this out well. As consumers, we tend to mindlessly chase bargains for the sake of it, not considering why we’re putting ourselves through it. Sure, some of us just love the thrill of the hunt and landing a great deal, but most of us are just trying to be wiser with our resources.
What are you “saving” for?
Declaring your goal is key. Good goals govern your daily choices, all of which add up to big differences in your financial situation and lifestyle over time. Making little choices day by day can get tiring and test your persistence. Just ask anyone who’s ever tried going on a diet. But if you follow a few tried-and-true problem solving principles, reaching for your financial goals can be a rewarding and succesful challenge.
1. Declare a specific goal within a precise time frame. Goals like “get out of debt” aren’t nearly specific enough and may even be counter-productive. A better example might be “cut household expenses 20% by January 1st next year”. You need a goal as specific as possible with a time frame you could practically set your watch by.
2. Observe your current circumstances. Pay attention to what ever might get in the way of meeting your goal: current spending habits, lifestyle, employment , debts, etc.
3. Make a plan. Take into account all the obstacles you can foresee, and try to anticipate things that may come up. Suppose you’re saving to buy a car with cash. What will you do if your current vehicle dies before you have the chance to replace it? Being as prepared as possible will keep frustration and discouragement at bay.
4. Check your progress. Your goal should be specific enough that you can set intermediate goals and check your progress. If you’re not going according to plan, correct yourself. If your plan doesn’t seem to be working, go right to step 5.
5. Observe again. Make a new plan if you must. Did your plan work? If so, great! If not, now is not the time to get down in the dumps. Now is the time to use 20/20 hindsight to your advantage, figuring out just what went wrong and how. Using what you’ve learned, make a new plan. Try again.
One final, unofficial step: have fun! There’s nothing like the feeling of taking charge of your own destiny.
Repeat this process as many times as you have to, but always remember that you are in charge of your financial destiny. What keeps you inspired, moving forward persistently towards your goals?
March 12, 2010 No Comments