Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Extra Coupons!!!

If you have a Kroger card, you can go online to P&G eSaver and find coupons to load onto your card.  I've heard of this before, but today is the first time I've used it, so I can verify that it works.  If you login to the website, you pick out coupons that you want saved on your card.  Then when you check out at Kroger, it automatically takes the coupon off.  PLUS, you can still use your manufacturer coupons.  So today I bought Iams cat food for 13.99, had loaded a 3.00 off coupon onto my card which was automatically taken off.  Then handed over my 3.00 off manufacturer coupon.  7.99 for $14 cat food.  

The website is 
http://www.pgesaver.com/Sites/PG_eSAVER/Page/HomePage/
All you have to do is create an online account and enter your Kroger card number.  Then pick out the coupons you want to use.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Olay Rebate

Well, I bought my two Olay Regenerist items today using gift cards, so no out of pocket expense.  I already put everything together and made copies and put the form in the mail too.  It's best to do all of the work right away so you don't forget or miss a deadline.  I also use a spreadsheet to track what is outstanding, how much it is for, and when the expected date to receive it is.  If I don't receive it by that time, I'll look at my copies for a customer service number.  The products I bought today also came with free samples of another product, so I made out pretty good.  Also, Walgreens leftover Christmas stuff is 75% off now.  Not much left, but still worth looking if you care about leftover Christmas stuff.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Oil of Olay Promotions

There are some really good rebate promotions on Oil of Olay products right now.  With the first one, you have to buy 2 regnerist  products and you can get a $15 rebate.  Here's the link.   http://www.olay.com/Club_Olay/dec2008/images/OLAY820_giftcard_form.pdf

There's another one for Olay Definity products.  Same deal, buy 2, get a $15 rebate.  http://www.olay.com/Club_Olay/dec2008/images/OLAY820_Def_giftcard_form.pdf

Sorry, haven't figured out how to copy them as urls yet.  You'll have to copy and paste it yourself.  Also, pay close attention to the dates.  These are relatively short term offers.

Meijer Trip


Here's how I did at my Meijer shopping trip today.  I admit, I cheated a little bit since I had a $15 off coupon from filling a new prescription.  And then the pudding and whipped cream generated another $5 off coupon which I used in a second transaction.  But here's the rundown.  4 packs of pudding, 6 cans of Cool Whip, 3 boxes of Texas Toast garlic bread, 4 packages of ground Italian sausage, and a box of garbage bags.  It wasn't a great sales week, but we really need the meat and the garbage bags, so all in all, it's a good complement to what I already have in my stockpile.  Total out of pocket after all coupons was . . .  $14.14

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Shopping Week of 12/29

Well, I'm pretty excited about my shopping trips this week.  Meijer has some great deals when combined with coupons.  I still need to do my exact planning and wait for the Grocery Game list to come out to make sure I'm not missing anything.  I'll give you the run down after I've done it.  Walgreens had a couple deals too, but didn't look like anything special.  I'll look closer once I've received my rebates from last month.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Holiday Tip

My aunt actually did this, and I think it's an excellent idea and will be following it forever now.  She used the Sunday paper comic section to wrap presents!  Colorful, cute, and FREE!!!  Especially since we're already buying the Sunday papers for the coupons.  I'll probably still buy bows to stick to it, but still, buying wrapping paper is such a waste, so this is a great way to recycle in a cool and useful way.

Upromise

Well, as you can see, I didn't uphold my no computer use on Christmas Day promise to myself.  But what can I say, I enjoy doing the computer stuff.  And after all the company left, my hubby and baby were ready for naps, so here I was.

I added another link.  I've just started using this one, but I've heard very good things about it.  You just sign up your CVS card, and other cards you use regularly, and you earn free money for college just for spending on things you already buy.  You can also get family members to sign up their cards to contribute.  It's an excellent program and doesn't cost anything to join or to get the rewards.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Big Dog Clothing

Again, not a money saving place, but I like their clothes.  Mostly t-shirts and stuff.  But I think they're hilarious.  Plus, I have a St. Bernard, so I'm slightly biased.  My husband loves to shop there.  They're usually only in outlet mall kind of places, but there is a 20% off coupon in the Entertainment Book.  They always have sale prices too.  It's a store that isn't for everyone, and it doesn't really fit in with the theme of this site, but I like them, so neener.  

New York & Company

Ok, not really a money saving link.  But I put in the ad because this is my favorite place to shop for clothes.  You can get nice and trendy things for good prices, and they always have sales going on.  Look for the $50 off $150 purchase coupons in the Entertainment Book.  For a hundred bucks, you can practically get an entire wardrobe.  And although I've kind of gotten off track from this premise, I think it's important to dress nicely when you're representing your own business.

Vista Print

I love this company!!!  I just put in the ad.  I use them to buy my business cards.  It's cheaper than making them myself because of the cost of the special paper, and using the ink and everything.  Plus, the cards are much nicer than I could do on my printer.  And they have everything.  Car door magnets, yard signs.  Vinyl window clingys.  I'm hoping to get t-shirts soon.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Inbox Dollars

Ok, so I lied.  One more post.  But it isn't Christmas Day yet, so I'm officially not breaking my rule.  I included another ad in my sidebar.  This one I use to get paid to read emails.  It's a very small amount, and you don't really have to read them.  Just click and wait for the page to load.  Easy enough.  There are other things you can do on the site to earn money.  I've done a survey.  Unfortunately my computer is a mac and can't do the games section, but I will be looking into that soon.  Either way, free money, small time commitment. 

Merry Christmas!

I'm going to try very hard to ban myself from the computer tomorrow, so I'm going to get my fix today.  

If you have any holiday plans after tomorrow, for the weekend or anything, you may want to wait until Friday morning to buy gifts.  One special I'm going to try to pick up on is the 50% off perfume and cologne gift sets at Walgreens.  I'll also be looking into buying half price containers to use to create gift sets for my business so I'll be ready for the holidays next year.  I love using the cute little tins.  And what can I say?  I'm a container nut in general.  Don't know why.  I just like little things that hold little things.  Maybe it's a girl thing.  Maybe it's an OCD thing.  Either way, it's a sale I won't miss!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Yay! My First Ad!

OK.  Swag Bucks.  This is a site that I've been using for about a month.  I switched it to my home page so that whenever I open my web browser, it's the first thing I see.  All you do is use it to search.  They randomly award you "swag bucks" which you save up to redeem for prizes.  Yeah, it takes a while to save up enough for anything, but you do internet searches anyway right?  Might as well get something for it.

Want a Massage?

For those of us on such a tight budget that we are counting our pennies with the coupon thing, and doing everything possible to save and make money, the thought of a nice relaxing day at the spa is probably the last thing on our minds.  However, if you are reading this and in the Cincinnati area, we're in luck!!!  I have not personally been yet.  Maybe I'll go if I get any Christmas money.  There is a massage school in Blue Ash where you can get an hour long massage for only $35.  Yes, the massage is done by a student.  But come on.  If anyone is going to spend a whole hour to rub my back, I don't care if a monkey is doing it.  Their contact number is 513-469-9550.  They are located at 11256 Cornell Park Drive, Suite 508 in Blue Ash.  It's a good way to indulge in a spa treatment without paying the spa price.

Advertising on Blog

I have made reference to this before.  I will soon be adding some banners on my site.  I am trying very hard to only include banners for companies that I use and find to be very good.  I have to wait for approval on a few companies that I've tried to sign up with.  If you have interest in the service, please follow the link through my website so I can get credit for it.  I do not intend to include any advertisements that I would not use myself.  I may include ads that I have not had direct experience with, but I will research the site myself before posting it to make sure that their product and pricing looks good to me.  Please feel free to contact me directly if you ever use any link on my site that you have problems with or aren't happy with.  I will attempt to assist with getting your problem corrected, and we are not satisfied, then I'll remove the link from my site.

Meijer Trip


Well, I had a good shopping trip at Meijer last night.  I had to break it up into several transactions to make sure all of my coupons would be doubled, but the total was $20.25 for everything.  I got 4 packs of Hillshire Farms Lil Smokies, 14 boxes of Betty Crocker potatoes, 6 boxes of Act II popcorn, 3 boxes of Pillsbury Quick Bread, 1 bag of Doritos and a toaster.  The smokies were on sale 2 for $5 and I had a dollar off coupon.  The potatoes were on sale for $1 a box and I had a ton of 35 cent coupons for each box that were doubled, and some 25 cent coupons that were doubled.  The popcorn was 1.24 a box and my coupons were for 40 cents off, doubled.  Doritos on sale for 1.99.  Quick bread was on sale 3 for $5 and I had a dollar off of 3 coupon.  And the toaster was 11.24, and I had a $10.00 off any small appliance coupon that printed from the catalina a few weeks ago when I took advantage of their Thanksgiving turkey deal.  Here's a picture.  I'm quite proud of it.  Especially since it included some meat.  Oh, I almost forgot.  With buying 2 packs of Lil Smokies, the catalina printed 75 cents off your next order coupons, which I also used in my transactions.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sales

Free hair dryer Monday only at Walgreens.  While supplies last.  You pay ten bucks.  You get back ten bucks in register rewards.

At Meijer, now other blogs say this will work, but I won't believe it until I see it.  Covergirl foundation products are on sale buy one get one.  There is also a coupon for buy one get one.  Supposedly that means you get both items free.  I'm going there in the morning.  I'll let you know if it works.

Everyone pretty much has soda on sale.  My family goes through soda like crazy, so that's what I'm stocking up on this week.  I've got to find a better way to manage my stockpile.  But I've only been doing this for about a month, and already, if I absolutely had to and didn't have any money to spend, I could get by on my weekly grocery trip only including a couple gallons of milk.  And that would be because we would mostly be eating cereal, and cookies!  No, we have plenty of frozen veggies and spam too.  So if we have a blizzard or a nuclear fall out or something, we may not be eating tasty meals, but at least we won't starve!  

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Woohoo for Meijer!!!

I just got back from grocery shopping.  I had to pick up a new prescription so I had a $15 off my order coupon.  I got like a dozen bags of veggies (which resulted in an overage, 76 cents a bag, but a dollar off coupon, sometimes they let you get away with it, other times not, I think it depends on how much the cashier cares, this one didn't care, so yay me.)  I got five containers of frosting, four packs of cookie mix, six boxes of egos, 6 bottles of Downy fabric softener, 2 2 liters of pepsi, and a gallon of milk.  The total of all of that was about $20.  And on the way out I was feeling pretty good about myself, so I stuck a dollar in the lotto machine, and won $10.  So, $10 for a super shopping trip.  Oh, and I got carded when I cashed the lotto ticket.  Skill, luck, and lookin' good!  Doesn't get much better than that!

Dealing with Stress

The other small business thing that is difficult is worrying about money.  When you're getting started, it's difficult to predict sales, and lack of experience results in mistakes, often with a financial implication.  I've spent A LOT of money on signing up for shows that I either wasn't ready for, wasn't my niche, or just weren't any good.  They all ended up being good learning experiences.  It let me know that I needed to take more criteria into consideration than what I had been.  I still don't have that down to a science.  But now that I'm unemployed and have time to make appointments with people that can help me, in addition to doing more research and planning, hopefully those things will be minimized.

One important thing to think about when you start stressing about money . . . remember that a profit in your pocket is often still a loss on paper.  So that's a huge benefit.  I use the internet almost exclusively for business purposes.  So I will be deducting probably 90% of my internet bill as a business expense when it's tax time.  Would I still have the internet if I didn't have a small business?  Absolutely.  Same thing with cell phone service.  Also, all of these craft shows and festivals that I do are usually long drives.  So is the place that I buy some of my supplies from.  At the end of the year, if you have good enough record keeping to be able to track it, you can deduct mileage on your taxes.  These are things that make a big difference.

There's another thing that makes a big difference in how you define "profit."  If you've already spent the money on your inventory and supplies, that's known in the accounting world as a "sunk cost."  You've already spent it.  It's already been taken out of your account.  You no longer have that money.  So being able to sell it feels like profit because it's increasing your cash on hand.  It doesn't sound like much, but believe me, when I've stocked up on after holiday discounts one year, then get to sell those things in season the following year, I'm not even thinking about the money I originally spent on it.  So it feels a hell of a lot like profit.  I'm turning a box that was sitting in the basement for a year into a hundred bucks that I can use.  It definitely feels like profit.  

I hope this helps a little.  One thing in particular if you're thinking about claiming business expenses on your taxes for the first time, really look at the rules between determining if it's a business or a hobby.  Realize that business losses make you more likely to be picked for an audit, but if you have good records and err on the side of caution, then you don't have anything to worry about.  That tidbit probably didn't help for controlling stress.  But it might later on.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Schedule and Organization

These are both things that I'm terrible at.  I've been working on getting organized, and it's slow going.  But so long as I'm making improvements, I can't really complain.  Especially with my primary goal right now being to save money.  Even that requires a level of organization that I haven't quite reached yet.  That will be my New Year's Resolution.  Get the house, my business, and my finances organized in order to remove a lot of the stress in my life.

Another thing that is difficult for me is to create a schedule that I actually stick to.  I think this is one of those things that is very important if I'm going to be self employed and mostly working from home.  It's easy to get caught up in other things and let the business stuff slide.  One thing that I'm doing to make that easier is that any appointment that comes up, doctor, business, or anything else, I try to schedule for early in the morning.  Not only is my mom baby sitting for me at that time, it also allows me to get my butt out of bed and in motion much earlier than I might have on my own.

Organizing and keeping track of the grocery stockpile is another challenge I'm facing now.  There are tips on the other websites that I have links to, but I've still not figured out my own way.  I have a feeling that will take some time.  

But my point is, I think these are things that are necessary to keep things in order for running a small business.  It may come more easily for others than it does for me.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

U.S. Small Business Administration

There is a lot of information on this website.  I've not explored the website yet, but I took a free class they offered over at Butler Tech.  FYI: I do NOT recommend taking the class until you have your feet wet a little bit in the small business world.  I found it overly pessimistic and complex for people just getting started.  I could follow all the information because I was familiar with it in general from college and from my work experience.  But I think unless you already have had some success, even minor, the class is scary.

But the SBA is supposedly a very useful resource for small businesses.  There is a center in Hamilton (east side, right by the river, across the street from the fort.)  They give free advice and counseling to help people out.  I think the only requirement is that you have to have a business plan put together first.  But their website looks like it will walk you through how to do all of that.  And I suspect anyone starting a small craft business would probably have a very thin business plan.  But I think they require it so that they can review something in writing to be able to help you expand on your idea and put you in contact with resources that are available.  I personally will be working with this website and the organization in the coming weeks and months.  It's a free service.  Take advantage of it as much as possible.  I'll update everyone after having my first meeting which I'm going to try to get scheduled for January.

Free Toilet Paper at Kroger!

Cottenelle on sale for $1 for a 4 roll pack.  You should have a 50 cents off coupon from this past Sunday's paper.  Coupon doubles to free.  I bought five packs.  Awesome deal.  I also stocked up on pop tarts.  There's two flavors they're discontinuing so they're marked down, and you should have 55 cent off coupons from a few weeks ago, which again doubles to a dollar off.  I think the pop tarts ended up being 39 cents a pack.  I actually bought a couple more than coupons I had because even 1.39 for the name brand pop tarts is a deal.

PNC Bank

PNC Bank's credit card services ended up not being the right solution for me.  So I will stick with ipayment.  However, I highly recommend using PNC for a business account.  Every time I go there with questions, they are always very willing to help me out.  Today I was inquiring about something specific that I needed help with on my account, and not only did the manager take care of my problem, she talked to me about my business for a while and was full of helpful advice to help me grow.  I was very pleased with the experience, I have other things to look into based on her advice, and she is forwarding my information to some other contacts that she believes will help me out.

Many of things we discussed were specific to my business so I'm not going to go into the details.  Nor can I say that other banks wouldn't have done the same thing.  All I'm saying is that I've had nothing but positive experiences with PNC and want to give them the benefit of letting everyone here know about my good experiences.  I highly recommend them.  The branch on Princeton Rd by the Walmart is the one I go to.  I don't really know if other branches have it quite as together as this one does.  

Monday, December 15, 2008

Google Adsense

This is a new program I'm trying.  There should be "sponsored links" on my blog soon.  I don't know how much control I'll have over what kind of ads show up on my blog.  I want to only include ads for products that I support, but I had to agree to all sorts of terms about how I'm not allowed to say that I get paid for number of clicks, or say that the links are my favorites or anything like that.  I'm not so sure I like that.  I want control over the content on this blog, and I don't want to give you guys any idea of implied support just because a link is showing up on my page.  So we'll see how it works.

Lesson of the day: Don't be afraid to try new things.  It may or may not work out, but it doesn't hurt to try.

Business Links

I added a new section for business links.  I just want to introduce these sites.  

Go Daddy is a great place sign up for a website.  I have very little knowledge of creating websites, so I don't use them to host.  I use an Apple computer which has a very user friendly low tech way of creating websites, so I was able to sign up for a Mobile Me account to host the web page, then use godaddy to redirect.  It's a little complex.  So good luck with that.  You may want to find a different way to create your web page.  But go daddy is great for registering your own url.  The web page for my business is www.lmfcandles.com.  Trust me, without Apple's wonderful software, I wouldn't have been able to create it on my own.

Vista Print is my favorite site for all sorts of things.  I LOVE their products and their pricing.  I compared business card prices at Office Depot once, and I was convinced that I don't really need to do any other shopping around.  I get my business cards from them.  I've also gotten a yard sign that turned out beautifully.  They keep adding new services all the time.  They have some sort of website builder that might be handy, but I don't have experience with it.  They recently added some marketing tools to help you build a mailing list based on demographics that you want to market to.  I've not used that service yet, but I will try it eventually.  I also have plans of ordering t-shirts in the near future.  

Building a Stockpile

This is one thing in particular that I'm working on.  I've not yet researched what kinds of things freeze well, and for how long.  I also think I'm going a bit overboard on shampoo and toothpaste.  But I'm sorry, I'm just not going to pass up a large size tube of Colgate for a quarter a tube.  I may end up supplying my mom and brother and friends too.  

Cereal is one thing that I don't think my family can ever have enough of.  It's nutritious.  It can make for a quick meal when you don't want to take the time to cook.  It's there for when the kids don't want to eat what everyone else is having for dinner.  It's a good snack when you're craving something sweet.  And shredded wheat is a great anytime snack even dry.  

Another thing that I think my family could never have enough of is Hamburger Helper.  When we have the step kids over, we'll probably need to fix three boxes to feed everyone.  

Something I recommend stocking up on this week if you're able is the Zicam swabs at Walgreens.  They're on sale for 9.99, there should be a coupon from a few weeks ago for a dollar off.  And when you buy 2, you'll get a $5 coupon.  These things seem to work great.  And you're supposed to start using them at the first signs of a cold, so it's best to have them on hand.  I've already bought four boxes.  My hubby and I'll will have gone through a whole box this week, so I'm probably going to go ahead and buy two more boxes.  Expensive, yes, but totally worth it if it keeps your family from being miserable with colds.  

I've noticed some "as seen on tv" bags for keeping bread or produce fresh longer.  If anyone has any experience with these, please write in and let us know how well they work.  I'll probably try them out eventually, but for now, I'm sticking to frozen or canned fruit and veggies. 

12/14 Coupons

I hope everyone clipped their coupons yesterday.  On the link for Taylortown, I seen that there were three coupon inserts, Red Plum, Smart Saver, and the P&G Saver.  So I actually bought five newspapers.  I hate wasting all of that paper, but I'll recycle it, and I'll save a ton of money with the coupons, so it should be worth it. 

A few sample sale items that I'll be taking advantage of at Meijer this week per the list at Grocery Game . . . not many right now, but it looks like they'll have another ad out mid week.  Chex cereal is still on sale.  I've still got coupons, so I'll get more.  Ocean Spray cranberry juice is BOGO - Buy one get one free.  Makes it 1.77 each.  Bagel Bites are 5 for $5.  Remember at least at Meijer that means $1.00 each.  You don't have to buy 5 to get the deal.  (Although the Chex cereal deal is that you have to buy three boxes to get the extra discount.)

One thing I found out at my last trip to Meijer, they only double 2 of the same coupons.  So if I'm trying to use all five of my coupons in one transaction, only the first two will double.  So now I know to break up my transactions.  

Friday, December 12, 2008

vocalpoint.com

I'm not listing this in the side bar because I don't know if it works for everyone.  I signed up for it, and have already received two great free samples and great coupons in the mail.  I'm not sure if I just happened to fit their target market, or if they send these things to everyone who signs up.  So give it a try, and please let me know if you have a good experience with them too.  If it turns out that the program just works that well for everyone, then I will put it on the side bar later.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Email

Please note that I have a new email for the purpose of this blog. It's not showing up correctly from my point of view with being signed into my blogging account. Please let me know if you guys are seeing it correctly. My email address is now smartbusinessmommy@gmail.com. Since it's likely just my friends and family following this at this point, you all understand why I'm not exactly wanting to use the "danieb" as part of my professional image. I'm also going to be changing my email at The Grocery Game, which I very highly recommend, so if you decide to sign up, use my new email address as your reference please.

Newspaper Deal

I don't know specifics and am not able to research it today, but I just got home from the Walgreens in Hamilton on Rte 4.  The Hamilton Journal News was there signing up new customers and giving out free $10 gift cards for Walgreens if you do sign up.  

Great chance to reap the benefits of a combination deal.  Sign up for the paper so you get your coupons and ads every Sunday.  Get the free gift card.  Use it to pay for your $25 transaction, then get your $5 off your next Walgreens purchase coupon.  

I actually decided that I should go back a little later and see if they're still there.  If so, I'm also going to sign up for the Dayton Daily News.  But just the Thursday and Sunday editions.  It cost the same as the extra papers I buy at the store.  I'll get the free gift card.  And a lot of the craft shows and festivals that I do are in the Dayton area, so it's probably a good idea for me to stay up to date on their news.  Besides, the cost of my extra Sunday papers alone costs the same, and this way it's delivered to my door, instead of me going out.  I might subscribe to Springfield too if they'll give me the extra gift card.  Again, Dayton area that I do business in.  And more Sunday coupons that I would be buying anyway.  

I don't know how long they'll be there.  I called the Journal News to try to find out for you guys, but they don't publish a schedule.  

I know I said I may not post much this weekend, but I'm committed to reporting special deals as I come across them too, so I may actually end up posting more.  LOL!  

Extra Tidbit

Something else I've noticed as a benefit to this deal shopping . . . weight loss!!!  I used to shop at one store, without coupons, just grabbing whatever I needed to get it over with for the week.  Not working a regular job, and going to the trouble to hunt down the deals has me doing a lot more walking than I ever did sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day.  And without the cost of a gym membership!  I need to start wearing my pedometer to see my number of steps.  

Weekend Hiatus

I'm sure weekends are busy for everyone, and I might do some work here, but it's also possible that I won't get a chance to touch the computer for a few days.  So I want to highlight a plan for anyone following this yet to get you through the weekend.

First off, if you have any plans of buying Christmas candy or supplies, consider Walgreens.  If you spend $25 you'll get a coupon for $5 off your next order.  If you're planning to do multiple transactions, hang onto the coupons until next week.  They may not print another coupon if you're using the coupon in the same transaction.  I'm planning to stock up on some general items that I need but aren't really on sale.  Also, I noticed they have some really pretty blankets for $10 each that would make nice Christmas gifts.  The $5 coupon thing is on through Saturday.

Second of all, deal at Kroger if you need Footlocker gift cards.  If you buy $50 in Footlocker cards, you'll get a $10 off your next purchase coupon.  Not a deal that I need, but they did it with Best Buy cards a few weeks ago, and that worked out wonderfully.

Last and most important . . . clip those coupons on Sunday.  Buy extra papers if you have a big family and could make use of extra coupons.  And once you've accumulated your coupons for several weeks, sign up for the trial on The Grocery Game.  Please use my email address as your referral if you do.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oops! Watch out at the register

Maybe it's just me, but with all the coupons, and keeping track to make sure things ring up right, I tend to get confused.  Especially when I have to split out separate transactions to do all of my coupons.  Yesterday at Meijer I had the cookie deal mixed up in my head and was thinking I had to get two packs for each coupon when I actually could have used a coupon for each pack.  :-(  I also forgot to hand the cashier a coupon for one of my lip glosses.  That one was worth $3, so I'll be going back today with the receipt to take care of that.

Moral of the story is, be better organized than I am!!!  I still ended up getting a great deal on everything.  Even with the mistakes.  

Today will be an organizing day for me.  I have a lot of stuff to get in order, and my coupon box is just a mess.  Being organized is one of the most important things for doing a lot of the money saving techniques, and is also very important if you're going to run a small business.  

Monday, December 8, 2008

Crappy Business Event on Saturday

These things happen.  You get all geared up for whatever you have planned for the next step for your home business, then it just doesn't work out.  My opinion is, give yourself a day or two to mope and accept that it sucked.  But while you do that, focus on trying to figure out exactly WHY it sucked.  I do craft shows and festivals, so it's my opinion that this particular show just wasn't any good.  I won't sign up for it again.  

Although I was really ramped up for it, and expected it to be a good one, and needed it to be a good one, it just didn't happen.  The important thing is to analyze it and move on.  I've already decided on an opinion as to why I think it went badly.  So I also want to focus on some positive things that I got out of it.  Number one, my set up was spectacular.  I was working with friends and able to utilize more space because of that, and I think it was mutually beneficial for us.  And the other important thing that I learned was just about the event itself.  It had the makings to be spectacular, but wasn't very well organized.  Also did not seem to be advertised at all.  So I've also learnt that there are additional criteria that I need to be sticking to when it comes to signing up for an event.  I haven't yet decided precisely what those are, but I definitely need to be asking more questions when I'm calling to inquire.

I was off my game because of an injury earlier in the week, but normally with a bad show, I would take the time to talk to other vendors a bit more.  Find out what shows they have good business at and things like that.  Networking with other vendors can be very important, and it was an opportunity that I missed out on this time.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Weekend Savings Preview

I want to point out that if you go to the Mommy Snacks Blog link, then click on Walgreens, she lists all of the good deals that she sees going on at Walgreens NEXT WEEK.  So if there is something you were planning to buy before Sunday at Walgreens, you may want to compare.  She lists the deals she likes, then also posts a link to the entire ad.  One thing in particular that I had planned to get was a second Entertainment Book for 2009.  (Really great Meijer and GFS coupons.)  This week there is a $5 off coupon for it.  But I noticed that if I wait until Sunday to get it, there's a $10 off coupon.  Can't beat that!

Something new I learned from reading Mommy Snacks today too.  She references Taylortown Coupon Preview.  I'm putting a link on my page for this because it will be super helpful for me.  It lists all of the coupons that are going to be in the next Sunday paper!  This is especially helpful for me because it will tell me exactly how important it is for me to get my butt out of bed and go get my papers.  If I don't get out early enough, sometimes they're all out.  I'll definitely be getting up early.  Of particular interest to me is the vegetable coupons, and the razor coupons.  I'm pretty much stocked up on razors.  But if I'm able to get them for next to nothing or sometimes nothing, then I give them away or donate them.  

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Business Tidbit

I found out about this yesterday.  I use a service I found out about on the internet to buy my credit card machine so that I am able to accept credit cards.  But they charge me service fees for everything, and I'm not too thrilled about paying five bucks to change the account where my funds are deposited.  I have my business checking account at PNC Bank, so I talked to the person there.  Their fees are MUCH lower, they don't charge for account changes, and the super bonus, when you sign up for the service they give you a free $150 incentive bonus that they just deposit right into your account.  The rep I talked to said that the bonus runs until the end of the year, but that he expects it will be renewed for next year because it's been good for them.  

Web Page Introduction

Right now there are only a few web sites that I have added, but I think it's a good idea for me to write a little blurb about why I'm including them on this site.

Money Saving Methods - Awesome site with tons and tons and tons of information.  I don't think I've seen it all yet, and I've been going there daily for a couple months!!!  I'll be referencing specific things from this site from time to time.  It's a great resource to let you know all the different kinds of things you can do to get great deals.  I recommend starting with the information on how to play the Walgreens game.  She has info on CVS too, but personally, Walgreens has worked better for me so far.

Mommy Snacks - Similar to Money Saving Methods, but with different info.  I like how this one breaks out the deals at different stores.  Like if you click on Walgreens at the lower bottom right, she tells you what the major deals are.  She also puts up links to the ads before they're available to the rest of us.  Several times I've planned to buy something that I thought was a good deal, only to check next weeks ad and realize I could get it a better deal on it if I waited a couple days.

The Grocery Game - I highly, highly, highly recommend using this site.  You may want to clip your coupons for a few weeks first before signing up though.  It's a 99 cent free trial for a month, and you will totally be amazed with how much you save on groceries and necessities.  By the time your trial is up and you have to pay the higher price, you'll be begging this woman to take your money so you can keep your access to this site.

A note about coupons.  I never paid much attention to them before.  I used to buy mostly store brand items, and even with the coupon, store brands had been cheaper.  But that was before finding this information.  Clip every single coupon whether you need it or not.  I've been buying three Sunday papers each week, along with getting the ones from my mom and my aunt.  Even if it's an item you would absolutely have no reason to use ever, you may find out that using the coupon and getting the unneeded item makes it possible to get a super deal on something you do need.  So clip every single coupon.  Every single one.  It takes some time.  But it's worth it if you need to really start saving money.  And if you have a large family or a lot of pets, remember, just one $3.00 off coupon in the paper makes it worth the cost of the entire paper.  If it's something you stock up on before the coupon expires, then buy as many papers as you need.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Getting Started

Hello to anyone who is reading.  Right now that probably includes mostly family and friends.  To those of you reading just to show your support, thank you!  My intent is to create a place that is filled with information for people who want to make the most of their time and money without having to have a regular job, and to offer advice and get feedback from each other on how it is done.

I started my own candle business a few years ago.  I had been keeping it up on the side, mostly working on it on weekends and evenings.  After having my baby a few months ago, working a full time job, being a good mommy, and continuing to work on my personal goals of my business being my only job so I can control my own time . . . everything was just too much.  I was laid off from my regular job yesterday.  It truly came as a relief.  Now I have a period of time to devote to growing my business and maintaining my home and family life without the pressures of other people's deadlines and stress.  And no daily commute!  

So please check back often.  I'm new to this blogging thing, so things will probably be changing constantly for a while.  But sharing ideas and information seems like a good idea.  We can all help each other to become less reliant on the rat race.  I'm going to start out by attempting (fingers crossed) to add some links with information that I've found helpful.