saving money en-US Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What is Your Favorite Way to Save Money? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-is-your-favorite-way-to-save-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="piggy bank" title="piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Congratulations to Karen L for winning a $100 Skype gift card and to Susan S and Karen G for winning $50 Visa gift cards!</em></p> <p>Chances are if you are a Wise Bread reader, you are interested in saving money and have learned many ways to cut your costs. There are many blogs out there that can help you keep your expenses low using money-saving tactics. From couponing to apps to thrift shops and more, everyone has their favorite ways to save money!</p> <p><strong>What is your favorite way to save money?</strong> Do you love couponing? Using money-saving apps? Doing DIY projects?</p> <p>Tell us about your favorite way to save money and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $100 Skype Gift Card or one of two $50 Visa Gift Cards!</p> <h2><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman Bold&quot;"><b>Win a $100 Skype gift card or one of two $50 Visa Gift Cards</b></span></h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways via Rafflecopter &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman Bold&quot;"><b>Mandatory Entry:</b></span></h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comment section below, then enter the name and email address you used to post your comment into the Rafflecopter widget to confirm your entry. (Your email is kept private, other entrants will not be able to see it! We just use this information to confirm your entry.)</li> </ul> <h3><b>For an extra entry:</b></h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. After you tweet, use our Rafflecopter widget to confirm your entry:</li> </ul> <p><a rel="nofollow" href="" class="rafl" id="rc-79857d86">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> <script src="//"></script></p> <p>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</p> <p><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman Bold&quot;"><b>Giveaway Rules:</b></span></p> <ul> <li>Contest starts Tuesday April 1<sup>st</sup>, 2014 and ends Monday, April 7<sup>th</sup>, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after April 7<sup>th</sup>, 2014 on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all the drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment and once by tweeting then confirming your entry through Rafflecopter.</li> <li>NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.</li> <li>Open only to permanent legal U.S. residents 18 years or older physically residing in the fifty (50) United States of America and the District of Columbia, excluding the state of Rhode Island.</li> <li>Prizes are delivered by Wise Bread. Wise Bread is the host and administrator of this contest.</li> <li>Additional terms and conditions apply. Click <a href="">here</a> for more details.</li> </ul> <h3><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman Bold&quot;"><b>Here is a message from our sponsor:</b></span><span style="color:#1f497d;background:yellow"><br /> </span></h3> <blockquote> <p><a href="">Sponsored by Skype</a> - Use Skype Credit to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" /></p> </blockquote> <p class="MsoNormal">Good Luck!</p><a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What is Your Favorite Way to Save Money?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> What is Your Favorite Way to Save Money? Enter for a chance to win $200 in prizes! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living Ask the Readers saving saving money Skype Credit Tue, 01 Apr 2014 09:36:23 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1131422 at Best Money Tips: Unconventional Ways to Save on Your Wedding <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-unconventional-ways-to-save-on-your-wedding" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="wedding" title="wedding" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on unconventional ways to save on your wedding, furniture buying tips, and giving yourself a pay raise every year.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">Unconventional Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding</a> &mdash; Save money on your wedding by not being afraid to think outside the box and enlisting the help of everyone who can help you. [And Then We Saved]</p> <p><a href="">Furniture Buying Tips</a> &mdash; When buying furniture, ask for a 15% discount when shopping at a local retailer to save. []</p> <p><a href=""> How to Give Yourself a Pay Raise Every Year</a> &mdash; To give yourself a pay raise every year, consider building a portfolio of blue chip dividend stocks. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="">Ask Yourself These 4 Questions Before Doing Your Own Taxes</a> &mdash; Before you do your own taxes, ask yourself how much time you are willing to invest in the process. [MoneyNing]</p> <p><a href="">Are You Prepared for an Emergency?</a> &mdash; If you were to end up snowed in, would you have enough food and water to get by for at least a week or two? [Money Smart Life]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">5 Ways to Increase Your Portfolio's Growth</a> &mdash; To increase your portfolio's growth, think small for big gains. [Thousandaire]</p> <p><a href="">Where Can I Get IRS Tax Forms (or Where Can I File Free)?</a> &mdash; You can get free tax forms at local IRS offices or at <a href="" title=""></a>. [Free From Broke]</p> <p><a href="">11 Signs You Have Hoarding Tendencies</a> &mdash; You may have hoarding tendencies if you take free things, such a toiletries, and never end up using them. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">Keeping Seasonality In Mind When Selling Your Home</a> &mdash; Did you know that spring time tends to be a hotter time to sell your home than other seasons? [Finance Fox]</p> <p><a href="">How to Throw a Kid-Friendly, Grown-Up Party</a> &mdash; When throwing a kid-friendly, grown-up party, have a designated kid zone. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Unconventional Ways to Save on Your Wedding " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living best money tips saving money wedding Tue, 11 Feb 2014 11:00:29 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1125121 at Best Money Tips: Tips to Save Money Daily <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-tips-to-save-money-daily" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="piggy bank" title="piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some stellar articles on tips to save money daily, the biggest problem with early retirement, and job benefits you can negotiate.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">Even More Tips To Save Money - Daily</a> &mdash; To save money daily, get a reusable coffee mug and buy second hand. [Girls Just Wanna Have Funds]</p> <p><a href="">The Biggest Problem With Early Retirement</a> &mdash; One of the biggest problems with early retirement is a lack of long term goals. [Retire By 40]</p> <p><a href="">After the Diploma: The Top New-Job Benefits You Can Negotiate</a> &mdash; Did you know 22% of employers are willing to negotiate flexible scheduling with their employees? [MainStreet]</p> <p><a href="">The 7 Best Apps for Shopping On a Budget</a> &mdash; Google Offers and Red Laser are two awesome apps for shopping on a budget. [MintLife]</p> <p><a href="">5 Tips for Working with Job Recruiters</a> &mdash; When working with job recruiters, remember to follow up with the recruiter. [Money Smart Life]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">Try Before You Buy</a> &mdash; If you want to try something before you commit to buying it at full price, take advantage of product samples or coupons. [Generation X Finance]</p> <p><a href="">Tax Deductions for Having a Baby</a> &mdash; The child tax credit is just one of the tax deductions you can take when you have a baby. [20's Finances]</p> <p><a href="">Finding a Job When Relocating</a> &mdash; If you are trying to find a job while relocating, start by identifying what kind of job you are looking for. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="">11 Ways to Love Yourself More</a> &mdash; To love yourself more, get plenty of sleep and set small, realistic goals. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">Traveling With Kids as a Single Parent</a> &mdash; When traveling with kids as a single parent, preparation is absolutely vital! [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Tips to Save Money Daily" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living best money tips saving saving money Tue, 07 May 2013 09:48:34 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 973916 at Best Money Tips: Saving Money on Coffee <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-saving-money-on-coffee" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="coffee" title="coffee" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some stellar articles on saving money on coffee, ways to use your tax refund, and tips for decorating rentals without losing your security deposit.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money on Coffee</a> &mdash; Save money on coffee by getting a coffee maker and remembering that expensive doesn't always mean good. [PT Money]</p> <p><a href="">6 Ways to Use Your Tax Refund (and 2 Ways Not to)</a> &mdash; Consider using your tax refund to beef up your emergency fund. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="">Tips For Decorating Rentals That Won't Cost You Your Security Deposit</a> &mdash; To decorate your rental without losing your security deposit, use adhesive hooks instead of putting holes in your wall to hang things. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">5 Very Good Reasons to Become a Cheapskate</a> &mdash; Becoming a cheapskate enables you to eliminate your debts for good! [And Then We Saved]</p> <p><a href="">Smart Places to Keep Cash</a> &mdash; It's a good idea to keep $50 in your wallet and some extra cash at home in case of an emergency. [Money Smart Life]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">Have Huge Medical Bills? Get Crafty with Your Payments</a> &mdash; If you have a medical procedure you need done, consider looking at Groupon to see if there are any businesses offering it at a discount. [MoneyNing]</p> <p><a href="">Kissing The w2 LIfe Goodbye - 4 Things You Need To Know About the 1099 Life (Working For Yourself)</a> &mdash; When working for yourself, remember to budget and pay your bills as you go. [Girls Just Wanna Have Funds]</p> <p><a href="">Few Ways to have More Spring break Fun with Less Budget</a> &mdash; Plan ahead to have more fun this spring break without breaking the bank! [Once Cent at a Time]</p> <p><a href="">Should You have a Safe Deposit Box?</a> &mdash; A safe deposit box is a great place for you to keep copies of legal documents or your social security card. [NarrowBridge Finance]</p> <p><a href="">Cell Phone Insurance - Valuable Purchase, or Ripoff?</a> &mdash; Cell phone insurance may not be a ripoff, but it isn't the best deal either. [Cash Money Life]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Saving Money on Coffee" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink best money tips coffee saving money Tue, 02 Apr 2013 09:48:31 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 971635 at Best Money Tips: Controversial Moves That Will Save You Money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-controversial-moves-that-will-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Controversial Moves That Will Save You Money " title="Controversial Moves That Will Save You Money " class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on controversial moves that will save you money, saving on your grocery bill, and creating a budget.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">6 Controversial Moves That Will Save You Money</a> &mdash; Dumpster diving and not attending college will save you money. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="">14 Ways to Save on Your Grocery Bill</a> &mdash; Save money on your grocery bill by skipping convenience items and using your freezer. [My Dollar Plan]</p> <p><a href="">How to Create a Budget in under 10 Minutes a Day</a> &mdash; To create a budget in under 10 minutes a day, first get your finances organized. [Money Smart Life]</p> <p><a href="">25 Tips For Safe Shopping Online Or At Brick And Morter Stores</a> &mdash; Shop safely online by reviewing internet services and sites before you use them. [The Digerati Life]</p> <p><a href="">How to Prepare for Disaster Without Going Broke</a> &mdash; Be ready for disaster by putting together a first aid kit and stocking up on canned food. [Moolanomy]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">Top 5 Ways to Write For Online Income</a> &mdash; To make money writing online, try writing reviews! [Financially Poor]</p> <p><a href="">What To Do While You're Unemployed</a> &mdash; While you are unemployed, consider freelancing or being a temp. [Money Ning]</p> <p><a href=";utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fmoney_pf+%28Personal+Finance%29">Push your health care insurer to pay more</a> &mdash; Convince your insurer to pay for physical therapy by getting a note from your doctor saying physical therapy will prevent the need for surgery. [CNNMoney]</p> <p><a href="">The Living Food Budget</a> &mdash; If you live by yourself, make your own pre-packaged meals. [Bucksome Boomer]</p> <p><a href="">Get Grilling With Kids</a> &mdash; Get your kids involved in grilling by making kabobs. [Parenting Squad]</p> <h2>News &amp; Events</h2> <p><a href="">Free Webinar - How to Manage Risk and Reward When Investing</a> &mdash; Don't miss Invest in the Market's free webinar on managing risk and reward when investing. You could win a $25 Amazon gift card.</p> <p>Be sure to check out our <a href="">News &amp; Events Calendar</a> to see all the awesome upcoming events in the personal finance world!</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Controversial Moves That Will Save You Money " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living best money tips controversial saving money Tue, 22 May 2012 09:48:14 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 929293 at How to Allocate Your Cash When You Are Broke <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-allocate-your-cash-when-you-are-broke" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Broken piggy bank" title="Broken piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are many reasons why you might have a serious lack of cash, and it can seem impossible to budget the little bit of money you have on hand. Of course, the obvious question is &quot;How did I get in this mess in the first place?&quot; and the answer is usually due to a lack of smart budgeting. But since we can&rsquo;t go back and change the past, all we can do is look towards the future and try to do better with our money management.</p> <p>Here are some tips for surviving life when you are cash-strapped or flat broke. (See also: <a href="">Emergency&nbsp;Belt-Tightening</a>)</p> <h2>Don&rsquo;t Stay Silent</h2> <p>It won&rsquo;t take long until your <a href="">creditors come calling</a>. The worst thing you can do is ignore those calls, and the best thing you can do is take control of the situation, no matter how out of control you feel. Ask your creditors upfront for a payment extension or an alternative payment plan on a temporarily basis until you can recover from your financial hardship.</p> <h2>Prioritize the Money You Do Have</h2> <p>If you find you are falling a few hundred dollars short of your monthly financial obligations, sit down and prioritize the bills you need to pay such as your mortgage, electricity, and insurance payments. The other bills can wait until you free up more cash. You want to make sure you keep your home and have the basic utilities you need to survive. Again, speaking to your individual creditors can also help you extend payments without serious consequences and assure your creditors you are doing your best to get back on track.</p> <h2>Interrupt Your Savings Plan...for Now</h2> <p>If you have been contributing to a <a href="">savings account</a>, it would be wise to put that money to better use. Otherwise you will find that in order to save your typical $50 a week, you will need to pay a few hundred dollars in overdraft bank fees, credit card interest rates, and other fees for making late payments or missing them entirely.</p> <h2>Don&rsquo;t Live on Credit</h2> <p>A big mistake people make when they are short on cash is to use their credit cards like they would their paycheck. They are quick to spend on credit because it is available, but they fail to see the long term impact these purchases will have on their financial life. The golden rule of credit card use is that you should only spend on credit what you have in cash reserves. Since you have no cash, you're likely to end up racking up even more <a href="">debts you can&rsquo;t afford</a>.</p> <h2>Add to Your Income</h2> <p>If you do not foresee an end to your budget crisis in the immediate future, you should start to take action now to find ways to boost your income. Depending on the reason for your financial hardship, you may need to <a href="">find a second job</a> and bring in another paycheck. You may also want to consider working overtime when you can or offloading some of the stuff around your home through a yard sale or online auction. The faster you can regain your financial ground, the less expensive this period will be for you in the long run.</p> <h2>Get Cracking on a New Budget</h2> <p>While the last thing you may want to do is deal with your money issues, now is the time to construct a better, more viable budget to prevent this from happening again. Even if this current financial hardship was due to unforeseen circumstances (such as a <a href="">medical emergency</a> or job loss) you should make a plan to be better prepared for such instances in the future. Boost your income and your savings goals, and learn new tricks to start living below your means.</p> <p>It will take some sacrifices to survive a period of being broke, but the only way to assure you will get ahead of the game is if you commit to better money management and work as hard as you can to get back into the black. If you fall into despair and just avoid the situation altogether, you must know that things will only get worse. The longer you take to act, the longer it will take you to recover financially.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Allocate Your Cash When You Are Broke" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Tisha Tolar</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Debt Management cash flow problems Creditors saving money Mon, 09 Apr 2012 09:48:12 +0000 Tisha Tolar 916317 at 5 Daily Deal Sites for Small Business <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="" target="_blank"></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-daily-deal-sites-for-small-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Daily Deal Sites for Small Business" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>If you thought the daily deals sites were only for those interested in restaurants, gifts, or spa services, you may be surprised and delighted to learn that small business owners <a href="" target="_blank">can also find applicable discounts</a> through these types of retailers. Here is a list of sites that offer exclusive bargains perfect for your home office or entrepreneurial dream.</p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p>If saving up to 90 percent on a hot web app is your thing, then <a href="" target="_blank"></a> may be for you. Each deal is tested prior to being advertised, and the offerings have quite a variety. Past deals include apps for gaining more Twitter followers, organizing tips for your cloud-based documentation, professional translating tools, and web-based hosting. offers a 30 day money back guarantee for all purchases, as well is a $10 refer-a-friend program.</p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p>For those looking for more tangible savings, <a href="" target="_blank"></a> can help you out. By using the power of group discounting, the site can offer significant savings on items like telephones, video cameras, and tradeshow printing services. The majority of the deals still seem to be service-based (web design, for example), but there but are definitely deals here that aren&rsquo;t posted elsewhere. [<i>Note: Like all deal sites, do some research before committing to a purchase. Some of the bargains we found here were widely available to anyone and weren&rsquo;t always the best price.</i>] There are usually no more than two deals running at a time on this site.</p> <p><strong>AppSumo</strong></p> <p>The new love of my life is <a href="" target="_blank">AppSumo</a>, a highly addictive shopping site with everything from e-books to virtual seminars to design services. Perhaps the most valuable deals listed here are those that promise to educate. Techies will love the tutorials designed to up your programming skills or social media strategy. You don&rsquo;t have to be a hard-core IT buff to enjoy the deals, however. Some of the most popular bargains would be useful to anyone; a recent deal involved a deep discount on test prep software for the SAT, ACT, GRE, and more! AppSumo has a 100 percent money back guarantee and gives $10 credit per each referred sale.</p> <p><strong>GroupPrice</strong></p> <p>When you&rsquo;ve found yourself with a shrinking budget, but need some of the more traditional marketing and promotional services to fulfill your business plan, <a href="" target="_blank">GroupPrice</a> may be able to help. This site offers quite a few deals at a time, and the offerings range wildly. Some of the more notable deals include items that mid-sized businesses would likely buy anyway: automated calling services, remote staffing, and even online video spokespeople! If you&rsquo;re still in the homegrown stages, however, you may find their venture capital pitch review or stock video footage services to be more your speed.</p> <p><strong>RapidBuyr</strong></p> <p>Looking for a decent price on a laptop, printer, or full-color ad in a major magazine? <a href="" target="_blank">RapidBuyr</a> strives to provide high-end goods and services to business owners with their competitive deals. Like more generalized deal sites, RapidBuyr offers a credit equal to the unused portion of a deal you purchase and are unable to redeem, and most deals run from 1-5 days (provided they don&rsquo;t sell out first!) One handy feature of the site is an embedded price comparison chart that shows major competitor&rsquo;s pricing and what they call &ldquo;street pricing.&rdquo; Our own searches found that they were, indeed, at least 10 percent lower than all outlets on the deals that were active at the time.</p> <p>Finding more deal sites can be dangerous (especially if you like to shop.) As a small business owner or purchasing manager, however, they can also provide the potential to stretch that buck in some hard economic times.</p> <p><em>Have you used a business deal site? Is there one you love that we missed?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Small Business Resource Center business costs cost cutting costs daily deals online discounts saving money small business Thu, 01 Dec 2011 00:43:09 +0000 Linsey Knerl 789073 at 5 Ways You May Be Wasting Money in Your Business <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="" target="_blank"></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-ways-you-may-be-wasting-money-in-your-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="177" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Ways You May Be Wasting Money in Your Business" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>When it comes to small business and money management, are you wasting money or using your resources wisely?</p> <p>You might be wasting money if you have...</p> <ul> <li>A stellar website with no conversion funnel.</li> <li>A star sales guy who's bogged down with meetings and red tape.</li> <li>An outdated product line you won't give up on.</li> <li>A leadership style that makes trying a new idea impossible.</li> <li>A bloated system that makes routine tasks far too complex.</li> </ul> <p>All of these issues are costing you money, either in charges you could avoid or in profits you could be making.</p> <p><strong>1. A Bait with No Hook</strong></p> <p>That great website you have, for example: you paid a professional design team to build it. You pay to host it. You pay for somebody to put new content on it (you are putting fresh content on it, right?). Maybe you're paying to get an SEO professional to tweak your website, or you're buying stacks of Google ads to get the traffic to your home page.</p> <p>But do your visitors know where to go once they get there?</p> <p>A stellar website with no conversion funnel is like bait with no hook. You aren't going to catch any fish.</p> <p><strong>2. Stuck Employees and Weak Teams</strong></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">What about your employees</a>? These people are the backbone of your business, but if you squelch their natural talents, ignore their strengths, and manage them poorly, they will lose all desire to help you succeed.</p> <p>Who do you have on your team? Do you have a guy who's a little out there, or a gal who's rather hard to manage? Maybe he has great people skills but stinks at time management. Maybe she excels at managing herself but doesn't like being told what to do.</p> <p>What can you do to put these people in a place where their strengths matter and their weaknesses don't?</p> <p>Play to Their Strengths</p> <p>Put your employees in places where their strengths matter and their weaknesses don't. Give your star sales guy the support he needs to stay on schedule, or give him the freedom to do things on his own time line by providing money-oriented goals rather than time-oriented tasks.</p> <p>An employee working in areas of strength will bring in more profit than an employee struggling daily to conquer weaknesses.</p> <p><strong>3. Outdated Products or Poor Marketing</strong></p> <p>Your products need the same analysis. Are they selling? If not, why not? Is the problem in the marketing or in the product itself? Do they need to be repackaged, or is the whole product line simply outdated?</p> <p>Don't be afraid to let go of what isn't working; that's the only way you'll find out what will work.</p> <p><strong>4. Resistance to New Ideas</strong></p> <p>A fear of <a target="_blank" href="">new ideas</a>&mdash;and a leadership style that squelches them automatically&mdash;will cost you in terms of innovation that could improve your products, services, company image, processes, systems, and customer service.</p> <p>5. Consider the System</p> <p>So, next time you're faced with a new idea, take your time and consider it. And next time you find yourself spending twenty minutes to do a task that should take two, consider the system; is it time to make a change?</p> <p>The value of simplifying systems is that it allows you to focus on what is important. Detail work shouldn't be part of a complex process, but should be streamlined into a simple routine you can get through quickly.</p> <p>If you're wasting money stupidly, it's not because you're stupid; it's because you're busy in the work of running your business, too busy to stop and consider what you might be losing. But take a moment. Step back, look around, make some changes, and start making money instead of wasting it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Annie Mueller</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Small Business Resource Center costs efficiency employee management innovation saving money small business waste wasting money Thu, 29 Sep 2011 20:34:01 +0000 Annie Mueller 705935 at Zen and the Art of Hiding Money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/zen-and-the-art-of-hiding-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Women in zen poses" title="Women in zen poses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently, I emailed a Zen Buddhist priest to ask for some advice about work, money, life &mdash; the usual. I used a quote from her book, <a href="">hand wash cold</a>, in a blog post and wanted to share the piece with her, since it reflected my spiritual and emotional connection to money and work.</p> <p>After a short note about where I'm at in my career and where I'd like to be, I attached a link to my post. Her <a href="">response</a> was not what I had expected. But then, I'm not sure if I had any expectations about what a Zen Buddhist priest might write in response to my search for monetary enlightenment.</p> <p>Part of what she wrote to me was about doing things the &quot;hard way,&quot; which is not something I wanted to hear, to be honest, but I took it in and sat with it. One particular passage stood out for me:</p> <blockquote><p>I don&rsquo;t know the alchemy that turns fiction into fact or pain into pleasure. If I did know how to do that, I would be doing things the easy way. But I&rsquo;m not. I am doing things the hard way. We are all doing things the hard way, as best as we can.</p> </blockquote> <p>This sentiment echoes Meg's advice to &quot;nut up&quot; in a recent post about <a href="">frugal living tips</a>, though her advice was coming from a slightly different place. However, the conclusion is the same and what I want to emphasize &mdash; change is not easy. And it becomes increasingly difficult to change your saving habits in a tough economy.</p> <p>But there are some small steps you can take to help you feel less overwhelmed by your financial situation and take control again. For many people, the hardest part about saving money is not spending all of your expendable income. If you have difficulty controlling your spending, hiding or finding ways you can't touch your money is one way you can make sure that there's cash leftover at the end of the month to save, even if it is a small amount. (See also: <a href="">37 Savings Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <p>As you read these suggestions for hiding money, keep in mind that even if you are living on a shoestring budget, you can always find ways to curb spending with a little extra effort. Although it won't be easy at first, you might find that by making a few small changes, saving will become a part of your everyday life, or, as a Zen priest might suggest, as ordinary as doing the laundry.</p> <h3>Hide Cash in a Safe Place</h3> <p>If you are careful about where you hide cash, and don't hide large amounts of it, this is a simple way to put something away for those times when you want to order a pizza or go out for drinks but don't have enough left in your budget at the end of the month. When I get a little unexpected cash, I like to squirrel away some of it and then try to forget it is there until I need it.</p> <p>The trick is remembering where you hid it. I can't tell you how many times I've pulled almost every book off the shelf and thumbed through each one at least twice to search for twenty bucks that I <em>thought </em>I hid in that book of Frost poems, or was it the one on multiculturalism? Wherever you choose to hide it, write yourself a note or send yourself an email with some sort of code. Recently, I hid some cash in a CD case for the Arcade Fire's album &quot;The Suburbs,&quot; and I emailed myself a note that said, &quot;There's money in the suburbs.&quot; To anyone else, that could be anything &mdash; a random quote or a wish to live in the suburbs. But I knew what it meant, and it came in handy a few months later when I was short on funds.</p> <p>I also put spare change in a jar that I have deliberately put in a closet, out of plain sight. My bank has a machine that turns coins into paper money, and I've managed to save as much as thirty dollars in change. You may have to get a little creative when thinking of different ways to hide cash, but you will be glad you did it when you are in a pinch.</p> <h3>Use a Short-Term Investment</h3> <p>For larger amounts of money, look into your options for short-term investments. The best place to start is your bank, since they may have additional rewards for certain types of checking accounts or limited offers. Whether it's a CD, short-term IRA, or a Money Market account, you have lots of options regarding the amount of time you want to save the money and the minimum amount you have to put in (usually around $500 for most banks). Investing your money in one of these accounts guarantees that you won't touch it, since most banks charge a penalty for taking out the money early. Just make sure you will not need that money for the duration of the investment.</p> <h3>Cut Up Your Credit Cards</h3> <p>Believe it or not, I have never owned a credit card, and while most people will tell you that you have to own a credit card to earn good credit, this is not true. I have excellent credit. There are other ways to earn credit, such as paying bills on time, and &quot;good&quot; debt such as student loans. Credit card debt is, however, a good way to get yourself into a lot of bad debt and ruin your credit. I am a firm believer in not spending money that you don't have.</p> <p>If you already have a credit card, cut it up. I'm serious. Go get a pair of scissors and cut it in half. If you feel that you need a credit card for emergency situations, put it in the freezer or some place you can't get to it easily (the freezer is more symbolic than anything, and it works for some people).</p> <h3>Change Your View on Savings Accounts</h3> <p>I am the first to admit that my savings account is really just a backup checking account, especially since my bank offers more incentives for keeping money in my regular checking account. This is another example of &quot;doing things the hard way.&quot; Whenever you go online to your account, look at your savings account. Focus on that word, &quot;savings,&quot; and challenge yourself not to take money out of it unless you are going to invest it elsewhere or need it for an emergency. Keep in mind that &quot;emergency&quot; does not include sidewalk sales and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see your favorite band live (there will always be more sales and tours). Although this suggestion has more to do with your outlook on money than practical suggestions for investing, it is a small step toward financial stability.</p> <h3>Put Back 10% of Your Earnings</h3> <p>One of my college professors gave all of his students three pieces of advice:</p> <ol> <li>Read a well-respected publication, such as <em>The New York Times</em>, every day.</li> <li>Listen to NPR as much as you can.</li> <li>Put back 10% of your paycheck every month, even if it is ten dollars.</li> </ol> <p>I have followed that advice for the most part, though I don't listen to NPR during member drives and I am less likely to save money when I don't have a lot of income. But I am learning that the things that take the most effort are the things that pay off in the end. So I am challenging myself to start doing this, right now. I urge you to take the same challenge. It doesn't have to be 10%; you can work your way up to that. Start by transferring <a href="">ten dollars</a> from your checking into your savings account, or put ten dollars in a CD jacket somewhere, or 500 in the other kind of CD. No matter what method you try, it might not be easy, but the best that you can do is simply start.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Zen and the Art of Hiding Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Watson</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Banking Budgeting Investment CD hiding place IRA saving money Wed, 03 Aug 2011 10:24:13 +0000 Ashley Watson 647557 at 3 Invisible Savings Tips That Work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-invisible-savings-tips-that-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="bowl of money" title="bowl of money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With money tight these days for so many people, it's worthwhile considering some subtle &quot;invisible&quot; savings tips to ensure you're meeting your financial goals. When money was tight as a fresh college grad, I had devised a few different ways to set aside money without really noticing it. This both removed the temptation to spend it and the deterrent to give up when I was having a tight month, since these methods were virtually invisible! (See also: <a href="" title="5 Ways to Save Money on Everyday Expenses">5 Ways to Save Money on Everyday Expenses</a>)</p> <h3>1. Checkbook Roundup&nbsp;</h3> <p>Before the advent of online banking, I was writing 15-20 checks per month. No matter what the payment amount was, I would always round up to the next full dollar amount and record that in my ledger. When something was $1.20, a $2 entry went in and so on. After a couple years, my checking account balance was several hundred dollars greater than what was showing in my checkbook ledger. This served two purposes: First, I'd be hard pressed to bounce a check with a buffer that large, even if I accidentally forgot to record a check or ATM withdrawal. Second, after a few years of this, it was a nice unplanned couple hundred dollars I could draw down to rebalance and start over again once I had accounted for all recent outstanding checks that hadn't been processed yet. These days, if you write very few checks, the system may not generate much in the way of invisible savings, but I still practice it to this day. I like the idea of the cash buffer in there. With interest rates close to zero, the opportunity cost on a few hundred dollars is inconsequential, and it's reassuring to know that if my wife or I forget to record an entry, it's covered.</p> <h3>2. Save Every $5 Bill</h3> <p>The neat thing about $5 bills is they are somewhat rare, yet not so painful to part with for an invisible saving method. I used to pay for almost everything in cash, and I tended to deal with 20s and singles quite a bit. On the occasions where I was handed a $5 bill for change, it went right in my invisible savings jar that night. See, the $5 bill is small enough and rare enough that I didn't really miss having it, yet after a year or so of a five per week, I'd saved around $250.</p> <h3>3. Never Use Change</h3> <p>Aside from the fact that watching the customer in front of me dig around and count out pennies to pay the cashier drives me batty, I've derived more pleasure from saving and investing my change than carrying it around and counting it out. I've always just dumped all my change in a can and then counted it out and savored the pleasant surprise. I used to do it the hard way with coin rolls, but now many banks have automatic change counters for free.</p> <p>Each of these methods might realistically only yield a few hundred dollars per year, but that's a few hundred dollars you probably wouldn't have saved otherwise. And it's practically invisible!</p> <h3>Important: Have a Strategy for Deployment of Your Invisible Savings</h3> <p>Saving this money is only half the battle.&nbsp; If it's holiday time, you've saved $700, and you go blow it on an impulse purchase, that probably wasn't your initial intent at the beginning of the year. What I used to do with these savings was to deposit the money every quarter or so, even if it was just $100, and write a check for an equivalent amount to a dividend reinvestment program (<a href="">DRIP</a>). Essentially, these programs allow you to buy partial shares of common stock from publicly traded companies at any time, often for free or a very low fee. By forcing myself to divert these funds to a pre-determined objective, over several years, I was able to amass a nice portfolio of large blue-chip companies simply from invisible savings. Perhaps your objective might be a 529 plan contribution for the year (see <a href="">529 pre-paid vs. tuition strategies</a>), Christmas shopping money, next year's travel fund, or simply building up your emergency fund.</p> <p><em>Do you have other &quot;invisible&quot; savings methods to share?</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="3 Invisible Savings Tips That Work" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Darwins Money</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Personal Finance articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance balance a checkbook change money saving tips saving money Thu, 18 Nov 2010 13:00:06 +0000 Darwins Money 311138 at 5 Simple Ways to Cut Your Car Expenses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-simple-ways-to-cut-your-car-expenses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="oil change" title="oil change" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Transportation today can be considered a basic need. We need it for work, gathering resources, and basic improvement of our lives. That being said, it can also be a major cost that has the potential to break budgets. With ever-rising gas prices, it's important to do what we can to cut back vehicle expenses. Here are five simple things you can do to keep that cash in your wallet! (See also: <a href="">How to Save Money Buying a New Car and Be Happy</a>.)</p> <h3>1. Drive Older, Reliable Vehicles</h3> <p>According to <a href=""></a>, a vehicle bought for $25,000 will on average depreciate by $3,750.00 within the first year. Ouch! That's a 15% drop in value in just 12 short months! After five years, the vehicle would have dropped nearly 55% of its value and be worth $11,093. Unless you're a millionaire, it's unwise to take this financial hit. Let someone else buy the car new!</p> <p>With that being said, you want to make sure that you don't buy an unreliable vehicle. Purchase something that will stand the test of time. Read Consumer Reports and find the vehicle that is right for you!</p> <h3>2. Perform Routine Maintenance</h3> <p>Lack of routine maintenance can be the difference between <a href="">low repair costs</a> and outrageous repair charges. It is vital to keep a regular maintenance schedule. Every vehicle is different, so it is best to refer to your owner's manual. However, here is a general service schedule you could follow:</p> <ul> <li>At time of gas fill: Check fluid levels and tire condition and pressure.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Every 3,000 miles or three months: Change oil, check hoses, wipers, tread depth, and battery.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Every 7,500 miles or six months: Service battery, rotate and balance tires, and check brake pad wear.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Every 15,000 miles or one year: Replace transmission fluid and air filters, and have a mechanic do a thorough check on entire vehicle.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Every 60,000 miles or four years: Replace and refill power steering fluid and replace timing belt.</li> </ul> <p>It'll feel like you're spending more money and time, but if regular maintenance prevents an accident or major repair, you'll be glad you put in the extra effort!</p> <h3>3. Get Another Car Insurance Quote</h3> <p>It's easy to buy <a href="">car insurance</a> and just forget about it. However, it's not always the best thing for our billfolds! Here are three strategies you can use to lower your car insurance expenses:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Get a quote</a> from another insurance agency. Unless you are with one of the <a href="">top rated insurance companies</a> and are getting a fantastic deal, you might want to shop the competition occasionally. When I first shopped around, I found that by switching companies I was able to save over $500 a year for the same coverage.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Ask your current insurance company for discounts. Sometimes a simple phone call to your insurance agent will uncover discounts you can use. Look for discounts for students, seniors, cars that have passive restraint systems, anti-lock brakes, and anti-theft devices. Also, by grouping home insurance with auto insurance, many companies offer a bundle discount!<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Raise your deductible if you have a healthy savings account. You'll be amazed at how much money you can save if you simply raise your deductible. If you can write a check for a $1,000 deductible, why not save money on the premium?</li> </ul> <h3>4. Drive Less, Save More</h3> <p>Of course, if you're going to drive less, you'll save money on fuel. But you'll save money at more places than the pump! Think about oil changes, tire wear and tear, and general part replacement. Driving your vehicle lowers its value. Try consolidating your trips. Only drive if absolutely necessary!</p> <p>Consider taking the bus, a bicycle, or other forms of transportation. Owning and operating a vehicle is an expensive endeavor. The more we can utilize low cost or free transportation options, the more money we'll save.</p> <p>Some insurance companies offer a device you can attach to your car that records your speed, time of operation, etc. After a specified amount of time, you plug the device into your computer and upload the information to their website. Progressive is one such company that offers this program. As long as you're not concerned about big brother tracking your every movement, this is a great option to consider!</p> <h3>5. Get the Best Deal on Repairs</h3> <p>When it comes time to make repairs, shop around! Not every mechanic will give you a fair deal. One website to try is <a href=""></a>. There, you find a range of costs for your particular repair. Having pricing information is vital to getting the best deal. Simply select your car make, model, year, and service type. You'll get an estimate by which you can judge the bids of mechanics in your area.</p> <h3>You CAN save money on car expenses!</h3> <p>The key to saving money is research and diligence. Make sure you're keeping up with routine maintenance, obtaining the best car insurance quote, and driving smart. Soon, you'll be saving money without having to think about it. You CAN save money on car expenses, so why not get started?</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Simple Ways to Cut Your Car Expenses" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This guest post is by Bob Lotich of <a href=""></a>, a website that approaches financial topics using timeless Biblical principles. Read more from</p> <ul> <li><a href="">10 free budget spreadsheets</a></li> <li><a href="">Best 13 inch laptops of 2010</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Bob Lotich</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Cars and Transportation articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Cars and Transportation car expenses saving money vehicles Wed, 06 Oct 2010 13:00:12 +0000 Bob Lotich 255954 at Going Green Could Mean More Money In Your Pocket <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/going-green-could-mean-more-money-in-your-pocket" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="208" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With all the environmental disasters we've been facing lately, it's easy to feel helpless about the state of our world. You may feel frustrated and even compelled to protest the big picture issues we've been experiencing. But rather than fall into this mood, I'd like to suggest that we take a look at those things we have a bit more control over.</p> <p>How about we revisit those things that we can actually do in the name of going green? I'm hoping that in some capacity, the small actions may add up. Having control over some things may help assuage some of the frustrations we feel. After all, we've already covered a <a href="">few ideas for going green and saving money</a> at the same time. How about a few more simple moves that we can do around the house?</p> <h3>Watch Those Energy Bills</h3> <p>Let's start with the obvious. Your electricity bill: if there were things you could do to go green that could also bring your utility bill down, wouldn&rsquo;t you want to do them? But of course! So let&rsquo;s get started in that direction right now.</p> <p>First, you need to get in the habit of turning your thermostat down. Even doing this by just a couple of degrees can make a dent in your electricity bill, and you'll hardly notice the difference in your house. But in case you do, you can always throw on a sweater until you become accustomed to it.</p> <p>You can also choose to unplug your electronics, particularly &quot;energy vampires,&quot; or appliances that are heavy energy users. While it's been reported to save only around 30 to 60 kilowatt hours a month in an average house, you may want to do this more for the sake of reducing CO2 emissions. Something as simple as using a power strip may simplify how you're able to control your energy usage.</p> <p>When it comes down to where your energy hogs are at home, don't look further than your home office. It's the perfect place to use an eco-socket (or power strip). There are several versions of these available at hardware stores but the basic idea is that the strip has one switch on it that automatically powers off everything that is plugged into it. You could have ten things plugged into one panel (easy to do in a home office when you think about it) and they will all switch off in one hit.</p> <p>You can also buy various appliances nowadays that save energy all on their own. Even kitchen items and other household objects are now being manufactured with the environment in mind. You can buy kettles which have an eco-switch on them which allows you to boil at slightly lower temperatures. You can use more energy efficient light bulbs or install light dimmers to allow you to use less power altogether.</p> <h3>Go Green Around The Yard</h3> <p>Another way to save is to recycle as much as you can at home. Get a compost bin and start chucking all your garden rubbish in it, as well as some of your compostable kitchen rubbish as well. For those who use compost, making your own can add to your savings.</p> <p>If you've got a garden, then you can also try growing your own fruit trees and vegetables, which can be quite rewarding. One great benefit? It allows you to grow produce that is truly organic and free of pesticides and other additives. Plus, there's the convenience of having them ready to hit your kitchen without a trip to the store.</p> <p>And if you're so inclined, buying things secondhand from yard sales and online sites like Craigslist and eBay is another great way to promote recycling. I personally love shopping for gently used items, as I've found a lot of my favorite treasures this way.</p> <p>So have you got any tips for saving money and the environment that have worked well for you? While the politicians and big companies worry about the big picture, I'm all for doing what I can in my little corner of the world to help with keeping things clean and green.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Going Green Could Mean More Money In Your Pocket" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Silicon Valley Blogger</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Green Living articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Green Living going green saving money Sat, 10 Jul 2010 17:00:05 +0000 Silicon Valley Blogger 165093 at Think the iPad Will Save You Money on Magazines? Think Again! <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/think-the-ipad-will-save-you-money-on-magazines-think-again" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Magazines, to many, are a luxury. For those who can&rsquo;t seem to live without their favorite subscriptions, we&rsquo;ve shared some tried-and-true tips for <a href="">saving money on magazines</a>. Among the many ways to keep costs down are digital subscriptions. They can be purchased for far less than traditional print and ink copies, and they can get you instant access without visiting a newsstand or waiting for your postman.</p> <p>With the introduction of the iPad, many were hoping that the same companies that offered digital subscriptions and online single copies at a drastic discount would be doing the same for iPad viewing. (iPhones, after all are constantly being touted as a solution for shopping and saving money.) Unfortunately, this is just not the case.</p> <p>A recent article in <a href="">Ad Age magazine</a> explains the reasoning behind the iPad&rsquo;s magazine pricing scheme, which will not only NOT be offering a discount on print prices, it will &mdash; in most cases &mdash; be charging more.</p> <p>There are some valid reasons for the shift (which has those of us spoiled by eReaders and discounted digital subscriptions in a bit of sticker shock.)</p> <ul> <li>By charging 2-3 times more per digital issue on the iPad than your typical discounted print price on Amazon, for example, they can afford to compete in a small emerging market. (Keep in mind that compared to millions of traditional magazine subscribers, projected iPad owners for the year 2010 still remains well under 10 million in number &mdash; and not all will subscribe to every magazine.)</li> </ul> <ul> <li>A higher price point leaves publishers free to lower costs later, which is impossible (if not just stupid) to do in reverse.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>More dynamic content may be available via the iPad &mdash; something many enthusiasts may be willing to pay for. Interactive and bonus features have worked well for DVD&rsquo;s (Blu-Ray is by default more expensive), so why not magazine content?</li> </ul> <p>For the truly frugal, an iPad isn&rsquo;t something many of us are even dealing with yet. And when the time comes that it is an affordable household staple on par with the iPhone, we may see prices for magazine offerings come way down. But if they don&rsquo;t, I suppose it&rsquo;s just another market setting a profitable margin from the outset. Only time will tell how many iPad users will pay the price.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Think the iPad Will Save You Money on Magazines? Think Again!" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Technology articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Technology frugality ipad magazine saving money Sun, 06 Jun 2010 17:00:05 +0000 Linsey Knerl 118003 at 6 Smartphone Apps to Help you Save Big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-smartphone-apps-to-help-you-save-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">Some people won&rsquo;t stop to clip a coupon, but dig the idea of downloading an application for their phone that will help them save more than a few bucks on their next purchase.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Are you that person? <span style="">&nbsp;</span>Whether you&rsquo;re most excited about paying less for car repairs, avoiding expensive over-limit fees, or taking your kiddos out to lunch, there&rsquo;s most likely &ldquo;an app for that!&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><p class="MsoNormal"><b style=""><a href="">KidsMealDeals</a><o:p></o:p></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="">Platform: iPhone, Blackberry</b><o:p> <br /> </o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">If the thought of skipping a home-cooked meal and heading out to dinner with the kids appeals to you, then you&rsquo;ll love the genius behind KidsMealDeals. <span style="">&nbsp;</span>You&rsquo;ll get a wide assortment of chain and independent restaurants looking to give you free kid meals with the purchase of an adult dish!<span style="">&nbsp; </span>(And you thought parenting was expensive!)<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> </blockquote> <blockquote><p class="MsoNormal"><b style=""><a href="">CraigsPro</a><o:p></o:p></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="">Platform: iPhone</b><o:p> <br /> </o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">This no-frills, free app brings you just want you want from the mega classified site (including listings, photos, and descriptions) in an easy-to-use format.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>No more waiting until you get home to search out that hard-to-find item.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>iCraig lets you search by many of the same parameters as the website, giving you an advantage against the competitors.<span style="">&nbsp; </span><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> </blockquote> <p class="MsoNormal"><em><a href="">Check out our full Lifescoop article</a> to get the full scoop on all our favorite apps!</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Smartphone Apps to Help you Save Big" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living Technology iPhone lifescoop saving money smartphone apps Fri, 26 Feb 2010 15:00:08 +0000 Linsey Knerl 5428 at Barter Explained: Why It's Wise to Barter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/barter-explained-why-its-wise-to-barter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="handshake" title="handshake" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Barter.&quot; We hear that word a lot these days. Do a Google-search and you'll be deluged with websites on the subject. But what exactly is barter, why is barter seeing a huge resurgence due to the bad economy right now, and how can you get involved with bartering?</p> <h3>So, what is barter and why the excitement?</h3> <p>Barter, simply put, is the &quot;cashless exchange of goods and services between parties.&quot; An example of bartering in business would be a florist exchanging a bouquet of flowers for an oil change at a car repair shop. On an individual basis, it's what kids do when they &quot;swap&quot; or &quot;exchange&quot; trading cards in the school yard, or if you mow your neighbor's lawn in exchange for them cleaning your car. These are all examples of bartering.</p> <h3>Benefits: why barter, and how does it work?</h3> <p>Let's build on the above examples. Children often have a much simpler outlook on life due to their age and inexperience. Trading things they have but don't really want for things they do want just makes simple sense. Likewise, as adults, if you hate mowing grass, but enjoy cleaning, the neighborly example just makes sense too. The outcome is still the same &mdash; it just gets done in a more enjoyable manner. The next time you're faced with a chore you dislike, why not ask around your neighborhood? You're sure to find somebody willing to trade with you.</p> <p>The benefits for a business owner are just the same, but in a slow economy much more important. Almost every business has the constant burden of cash flow. You've heard the expression &quot;Too much month at the end of the money&quot;? Most business owners have double the bills to pay (a personal mortgage and rent for their company, two utility bills, etc.) and are totally responsible for the amount of money that comes in. Therefore, the flow of money is twice as important to them. Let's break down the example above to see how it works.</p> <p>The florist has already bought and paid for the flowers. (They are in her inventory as a perishable item.) What does it really cost her to put together a $35 bunch of flowers? Her cost (cost of goods) is probably about $15. So, if she trades that $35 bunch of flowers for an oil change she would have paid $35 cash for, the benefits are as follows:</p> <ul> <li>She just saved herself $20 in cash.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>She turned over her inventory.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>She potentially made a new customer.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>She has potentially marketed herself to a new area.</li> </ul> <p>How does this benefit the mechanic? It helps him in much the same way. He saves himself the cash outlay for the flowers, she becomes a new customer, she may recommend him to her friends and associates, and he filled some dead or down time he had.</p> <h3>All that just to save $20 cash?</h3> <p>Admittedly, that does seem a laborious way to save $20, so what's the big deal if companies are saving so little? The above scenario was an example of traditional barter or what is called reciprocal trading (just like the old days, two parties trading with each other). Even though it seems a small savings, it's actually almost a 50% cost reduction. What if you could save 50% on other things? Construction work, landscaping, printing, perhaps put on a new roof, take a vacation, do more advertising, or repave your parking lot? If done correctly, from an economical point of view, bartering is actually better than using cash, because it is creating something from nothing. Or to put it another way, bartering takes your surplus (time, inventory, or capacity) and turns it into useful things you would have had to spend money on. Now that makes sense in any economy!</p> <h3>The challenge of traditional barter vs. a barter exchange.</h3> <p>Any smart business owner would love to be able to save 50% on their cash expenses. Some of the problems with traditional barter are:</p> <ol> <li>Finding a match. Example: how do you find a roofer that wants $5000 of flowers?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Timing: if you do find a roofer, do they want the flowers now?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>How do you ensure the trade happens amicably?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Who ensures the trade is fair value?</li> </ol> <p>Let's tackle these points in order.</p> <p><strong>1. Finding a match</strong></p> <p>Even though many business owners have more time on their hands and could spend that time calling around other businesses looking for a trade, most are not hardened sales professionals. Can you really imagine the florist phoning 30 mechanics to see who wanted to swap flowers for an oil change? Now imagine her dilemma trying to find a roofing company! Most business owners can't be bothered, so they usually just spend the cash or go without.</p> <p><strong>2. Timing</strong></p> <p>Let's just say she does find a roofing company that is willing to take on the job. Do they want the flowers right now? Perhaps they want a $150 bouquet for the next 34 weeks, or they need the flowers for an upcoming wedding. That is all extra stuff to keep track of and budget for.</p> <p><strong>3. An amicable trade</strong></p> <p>Since they are both experts in their own fields, they know their own value, but what ensures that they have a good deal happening? This point is so closely linked to the next, I've decided to expand more there.</p> <p><strong>4. Ensuring a fair trade</strong></p> <p>Horror stories abound with people trying to barter with others and not getting a fair deal: either they give their stuff and the other party doesn't reciprocate, or they short them, or it simply doesn't happen as planned. Obviously, there is no benefit to something that doesn't happen correctly, but how do you ensure it is fair for all concerned?</p> <p>Because of the above pitfalls and problems, organizations specializing in bartering emerged in the mid-1950s called barter exchanges. Many early barter companies encountered some challenges, but because of their need, some improvements in the industry have been made. Even using an organized barter company from the last century had its problems (inflated pricing, cash-blends negating the savings benefits, cash business converting to barter, and under the table deals).</p> <p>Not until Merchants Barter Exchange (MBE) came on the scene in 2000, setting a brand new standard for organized bartering did the industry change forever. Since then, every other barter company of any size has been trying to copy the ethics and standards of MBE, which thus far is the only American barter company to be able to do the small trades like every other barter company, but also the large scale bartering transactions (like $100,000 of printing, $70,000 of paving work, $30,000 worth of appliances, all entirely on trade with no cash).</p> <h3>So how do barter exchanges work?</h3> <p>By acting as both the bank and the coordinator between transactions, an exchange is able to control how trades are handled. In simple terms, demand for goods and services comes into the exchange from the members around the US. From there, the barter experts coordinate where that demand goes. Nothing is traded directly, so there are none of the challenges of one party going first, then not getting stuff in return. The exchange brokers keep track of everything via their sophisticated software platform, transferring barter dollars as credits for the equal cash value of trades.</p> <h3>Uncle Sam and the tax implications?</h3> <p>Obviously, any form of commerce has the interest of Uncle Sam. Back in 1982, an act of Congress deemed all barter companies the same as banks and credit card companies (&quot;Third Party Record Keepers&quot;), and therefore, they must issue 1099b forms to members each year and treat transactions the same as cash for reporting needs. See the IRS website for more details on <a href="">bartering income</a>.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Barter Explained: Why It&#039;s Wise to Barter" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Anthony James Donnelly, a barter expert, business consultant, and serial entrepreneur.</p> <p>Links to other articles by Anthony:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">A Barter Expert's Point of View</a></li> <li><a href="">Choosing a Barter Company</a></li> <li><a href="">Just Some Advantages of an MBE License Over a Standard Franchise</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Anthony James Donnelly</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Frugal Living barter saving money trades Thu, 08 Oct 2009 14:00:02 +0000 Anthony James Donnelly 3690 at