Showing posts with label article. Show all posts
Showing posts with label article. Show all posts

Be A Trendsetter with Small, frequent Shops

An interesting study was conducted by Nielson that correlated the number of trips to the store with the economic woes. They categorized shopping into 4 types
  • Immediate: low-value, instant -need driven baskets with an average basket ring of $15 per trip
  • Fill-In: slightly higher value baskets averaging $51 per trip
  • Routine: weekly, high-value shopping trips averaging $98 per trip
  • Stock-up: large trips averaging $242 per trip
Not surprisingly, 82% of trips are the short "fillup" or "immediate needs" trips. I guess I'm part of the trend because I can tell you before couponing you would not catch me in the grocery more than once a week. I hated shopping, in part because of the large totals at the register. Anyway, the trends say more people are making more frequent smaller trips so they have more cash on hand and just get what they need to get by. 
I checked my receipt log and discovered that I made 253 trips to stores in 2010. Thats pretty frequent. I averaged my cost for each visit and its $5.53 per trip average since I spent about $1400 last year. But, my small trips were made for entirely different reasons than most people, and they were not due to economic trends. Maybe the studies got it wrong.
My small, frequent trips were calculated to maximize my coupon savings. Since I almost always have a $5 off $25 or $30 store coupon, I try to keep my trips before coupons close to that amount. If I made trips closer to $100 which fall into the "routine" category, I probably wouldn't be allowed to use 4 of the $5 off coupons since they are competitor coupons. But by splitting my $100 order into 4 smaller ones, I can save at least $5 on each transaction using the $5 off $25 coupon. Duh. Thats why I wonder sometimes when I see couponers in the store with their binders spread out across the baby seat area and their cart is overflowing and also filled on the bottom rack. They probably don't have tons of the $ off $$ coupons for that large order, so they are essentially wasting money. 
I also like to just get reasonable quantities of the items, to leave some product behind for the next shopper. Another reason for my small trips is that we tend go shopping on our motorcycles to far away stores in the country on the weekends. We are limited in what is shelf stable and what we can carry in saddlebags, so heavy things like soda and ice cream are off the list on weekend trips. Plus small orders allow for easier calculating in the aisle - you know, counting your coupons, counting your items, and then adding up the value of the cart vs adding up the value of the coupons. These 4 little calculations have saved me from big boo boos at the checkout with overage. I like to keep my totals between about $2 and $4, this gives me wiggle room for errors doing all that high math in my head.
 
Anyway, if you're using coupons and make frequent small trips, consider yourself a trendsetter!
 Graphic via Nielson

This is a repost from 2011.

Ideas for Frugal Family Time

According to a recent CNN Money article, many people have embraced a frugal lifestyle over the past few years, tightening their money belts, as a result of the economic downturn that has affected us all. While frugality certainly entails sacrifice, one benefit of living within ones means is that, instead of spending so much time spending money, we return to the more important things in life—spending quality time with friends and family. If you are relatively new to the frugal life, you may be wondering what fun activities you can do with your children that doesn't involve going on expensive shopping trips or eating out. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1.      Board game night
Although it may sound old-fashioned, most children love the thrill of playing games with parents and siblings. Board games are an incredibly inexpensive way to spend hours together. Even better, most games require building important life skills like strategic thinking, planning, and more. Some challenging classics that are appropriate for all ages include Monopoly, Risk, Scrabble, and Clue.
2.      Picnic in the park
With the rising popularity of tech gadgets among this generation's youth, many children are not exposed to the outdoors as frequently as in years before. Considering that playing outside costs nothing, planning outdoor activities with your family is a great, and inexpensive, way to spend quality time together. Organizing a picnic at a local park, feeding ducks, or playing simple games like Frisbee are some great options with minimal associated costs.
3.      Matinees and college performances
Kids love going to the movies and seeing shows, but think about the last time you went to the cinema. Add up the cost of tickets, food, and parking, and you soon realize that the price is simply not worth the fun. There is, however, an alternative—most local universities put on plays, concerts, most of which are free or very cheap. If your kids are in school, they'll likely get a student discount. Most movie theaters offer large discounts on morning or early afternoon shows, called matinees, that'll give your kids the fun of going to the movies without the cost. Having a filling meal before going to the movies will help you save on movie treats as well.
4.      Cooking and baking
Aside from being an essential life skill that will serve kids well later in life, especially when they first head out to college or are otherwise on their own, cooking and baking make for fun and in expensive family activities. Concerned that cooking will be too complicated for your kids? Check out these kid-friendly recipes, courtesy of FamilyFun.com.
These are just a few ideas for a fun time with the whole family. The most important thing to remember is that spending quality time with your loved ones is usually more meaningful if you take money out of the picture.
This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99 @gmail.com. 
 

Stay Hungry

The world is chattering about how Steve Jobs changed everything and how he brought us such great products and innovation. I have used my Apple product today, have you? People feel the loss of Steve Jobs because they love his innovative products. If you have an iPhone I'm sure you would say you absolutely love it. Anyone born after 1984 has never know the world to lack Apple products.
 
But what I don't like about Apple products is that they don't play well with others. This is by design. They have designed their own proprietary operating system on Mac computers, the iPod, the iPad and the iPhone. If you want to use their products you have to pay their high prices because there is no competition. They have snuffed out the competitors with lawsuits and strict partnering agreements.
 
This means we need to get other products to meet the needs that these products don't meet. If you want to listen to the radio, guess what  - your ipod is useless. If you don't have a PC to download itunes, its also useless. I only use my ipod to listen to music on my bicycle rides – other than that it is of no use to me. There are other products – like my Android smartphone that can provide all sorts of services other than just listening to music, and it can do that too.
 
My point is that I try not to patronize products and manufacturers that aren't compatible with other products. Granted I do have several ipods – but I've never paid money for them. I got them as gifts for signing up for a checking account, for test riding a motorcycle and for clicking ads to get points online. I use my ipods but I would never buy an Apple product because I don't like the business plan they have. I don't want to be hostage to their system and unrealistic prices.
 
There are a lot of other huge companies out there that don't play well with others but they are changing their ways. Amazon and Facebook have realized that if they don't make their products open to collaboration with other marketers, someone else will. I have embraced the Android smart phones because Google has purposely made their products and services link together with all sorts of other products and services. I'm not sure Google+ will ever catch up to Facebook, but they give us an alternative. And when all the sheep out there get sick of the privacy invasion and the constant changes on FB, maybe they'll look at their choices.
 
Anyway, the world has lost a genius. If you haven't read this already you should. HERE is the text to Steve Jobs commencement address to Stanford on June 12, 2005. It is riveting.
 
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

How You Can Help Bicyclists & Walkers

Federal funding for bicycling and walking is in jeopardyWe need you to send a short email today to your members of Congress.
Today, Congressman John Mica of Florida, Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, outlined his plans for the new transportation bill and called for the elimination of dedicated funding for biking and walking programs, which he suggested, "do not serve a federal purpose."
In the Senate, James Inhofe of Oklahoma is leading a similar attack. Inhofe, a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said that one of his top-three priorities for the next multi-year federal transportation bill is to eliminate "frivolous spending for bike trails."
If Representative Mica and Senator Inhofe get their way, dedicated funding for three crucial programs — Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements, and Recreational Trails — will be eliminated. The cost-effective federal investment in bicycling that is making our nation better will shrink dramatically. We can't allow this to happen.
That's why we are asking you to reach out to the two U.S. Senators and the U.S. Representative who represent you in Congress. Ask them to support ongoing, dedicated funding for biking and walking in the next transportation bill. (You can find your representatives and send your note directly from the website. Click here to review clear, basic, suggested text for your email. Feel free to customize it and/or add a personal story.)
Your simple messages will make a difference. You can help refute Representative Mica's and Senator Inhofe's unreasonable, counterproductive cuts. You can help assure that progress will continue in all 50 states to make bicycling safer and better for people of all ages.

Thoughts On Employment

This article was published about a month ago, and I've also read various other sources about the same problem, finding a job when you're unemployed and older. The chances of finding another job in your field is slim to none, and you may be involuntarily unemployed the rest of your life. If this happens, are you ready for it? It's a long time until you qualify for social security, or your pension if you're lucky enough to have one, and there are penalties for withdrawing your retirement savings for many more years.
 
Its scary to think that perhaps the scoundrel Rick Scott actually has believers and may get voted in as new Governor of Florida. Life will suck if that happens, especially since I'm a civil servant of the State of Florida - the very group of employees that Rick Scott would love to minimize and eliminate from the world. If the wrong person gets in office and the legislature cuts government staffing, I may lose my job. And as an older worker approaching mid century vintage this is not cool. If I were one of the unemployed, would I get rehired? A growing trend is that companies only will consider employed people as candidates for their openings. I think I have a pretty good chance compared to other candidates even if my competition is younger. Here are a few ideas on how to keep yourself competitive in the job industry.
  • Stay Healthy - I mentioned how to stay healthy earlier and I believe that a healthy body and a healthy mind go hand in hand. If you keep yourself healthy and you "look" healthy, you'll be more attractive to employers. They may assume you are healthy if you look and act healthy. This means less medical expenses for insurance and less sick time and lack of productivity. If you smoke, don't let your employers know - don't waste time at work out by the smoking area.
  • Keep Up Technologically - one sure difference in our society with age groups is the use of technology. The younger crowd uses it. Most older people shy away from technology because they don't understand it. This is a key factor in your hiring potential - do you know how to operate a computer, can you figure out all the features on your cell phone, can you figure out how to scan and send a document on the copier at the office? Do you know how to use a lot of the features and programs on your computer - like all the Microsoft applications and email and the Internet? If you don't, you're not going to get the job because there are a ton of people who know that stuff.
  • Be Interesting - It seems to me a lot of younger people prefer to text or email rather than talk to friends. Social skills are lacking and this will hurt them in the workplace, this is where you can have the advantage. If you have manners, know etiquette, are polite and yet interesting to talk to, you will succeed in the interview. A person who "fits" and doesn't seem to have outward hangups or is opinionated and set in their ways will succeed at work and be easier to train. You can always be taught the job skills needed, but you can't expect to learn people skills on a job. Interviewers look for people skills.
  • Use Your Brain - I mean outside of work. Keep your critical thinking skills sharp by reading and writing, not just the newspaper either. Write a Blog. Do crossword puzzles or cryptoquips, or for me I calculate my coupon grocery shopping trips and organize my coupons. This is no easy feat as most of you know. Anyway, it helps to think on your feet, and do math in your head when you're shopping.
  • Face Reality and Change What's Wrong - If you are obese or ugly or stupid, you can change. You can lose weight, or use makeup and change your hairstyle, or start learning (or pretend you know what you don't) if you are stupid. No matter what your problem is, you can work on it. You may not want to face the fact that you're a bitch to get along with and that you hate minorities - but you need to. Reality is perception. If others perceive you to be offensive in some way they won't want you around. You may have no clue why you don't get any jobs after you've had interviews - and there is a reason. You need to find out what your problem is and deal with it.
  • Act Younger - if you do the things you liked to do when you were younger, you'll feel younger. One thing I do is ride my bicycle almost everyday. Its carefree and there's that sense of danger and riskiness being out on the road with all the crazy drivers. Its like being on a roller coaster ride at Busch Gardens - but its real life. Its fun and I love how it makes me feel high when I ride really hard and get all pumped up. You could also try wearing some clothing you liked when you were younger, some shoes or a new hairstyle. All these things will help you act younger and seem younger. It will make you smile.
So, that's my take on it. I hope any of you out there who are unemployed take all this thought with a grain of salt, I know every situation is different and we all have circumstances that are beyond our control. But, there is probably something you can do to improve your chances of getting a job. Just figure it out and do it.

Is Your Phone Number Posted on Facebook? Probably.

In an article by the guardian Uploads from iPhones using the Facebook app will push all your contacts onto Facebook's servers - where they'll be matched against any and everyone. Worried at all?
 
Facebook: contains more phone numbers than meet the eye
If you have a friend on Facebook who has used the iPhone app version to access the site, then it's very possible that your private phone numbers - and those of lots of your and their friends - are on the site.
The reason: Facebook's "Contact Sync" feature, which synchronises your friends' Facebook profile pictures with the contacts in your phone.
Except that it doesn't do that on your phone. Oh no. Because that would be wrong, to pull the photos down from Facebook and put them on your phone. That would breach Facebook's terms of service.
Instead, what Facebook's app does it that it imports all the names and phone numbers you have on your (smart)phone, uploads them to Facebook's Phonebook app (got a Facebook account? Here's your Phonebook).
Pause for a moment and go and look at it. Did you know those numbers? Did you collect them? Despite the reassuring phrase there - "Facebook Phonebook displays contacts you have imported from your phone, as well as your Facebook friends" - it's absolutely not true. I know because there are numbers there which I don't have. OK, perhaps the people who own them added them; but that's not clear either. So how did they get there? Because it only takes one person to upload another person's number, and the implication is that it's going to be shared around everywhere.
The implications are huge, and extremely worrying. All it takes is for someone's Facebook account to be hacked (perhaps via their phone being stolen) and lots of personal details are revealed.
Kurt von Moos, who first wrote about this earlier this year (since when Facebook has revised its privacy statement, but not altered what goes on in this way) says that there are a number of reasons to be concerned. As he puts it:
"1) Facebook doesn't warn users that they are uploading their phone's adress book to Facebook. In fact, because Facebook doesn't sync contact numbers or email addresses TO your phone, most users wrongly assume that Facebook Contact Sync only syncs user pictures. In reality though, they are pumping your address book, without your consent."
Facebook says you can remove your mobile contacts, but it's not clear that that will remove your mobile if someone else uploads it.
von Moos continues:
"2) Phone numbers are private and valuable. Most people who have entrusted you with their phone numbers assume you will keep them private and safe. If you were to ask your friends, family or co-workers if they are ok with you uploading their private phone numbers to be cross-referenced with other Facebook users, how many of them do you think would be ok with it?"
He also points to even more egregious problems: (a) can you be sure how Facebook, or its advertisers or partners or whatever it becomes down the line, will use that data? (b) why is it that Facebook takes all your mobile numbers, rather than matching names of contacts with names of friends? (c) sometimes, it gets the matches wrong - and incorrect (or faked) data that people have given to Facebook as their "contact" details (such as hotels or businesses) gets linked as being a "friend", or the lack of an international dialling prefix messes up the match, and means again that someone who you don't know is identified as a "friend" or contact.
von Moos concludes: "There are some contacts and phone numbers who's privacy I simply refuse to risk on the Web. Facebook has taken and continues to take liberties on behalf of their users. Their perception of privacy and their users perception of privacy is often very different. I don't think this is maliciousness on Facebook's part, but it does show me that Facebook is painfully out of touch with the needs and beliefs of their CORE users, who are still wary of the openness that a Web 2.0 lifestyle entails."
It's not clear whether the official Facebook for Android app does the same. We'd be interested to hear from you if you've noticed this with the app.
So - beware: Facebook quite probably has your details. More of them, in fact, than you might have thought.

Tampa Is The Second Most Frugal City in America

 
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - (Business Wire) A Georgia peach tastes especially sweet when purchased with a coupon, if Atlanta residents have anything to say about it.
The Georgia state capital tops the list of Most Frugal U.S. Cities, according to the 2009 Savings Index1 released today by Coupons.com, the premiere Web destination for coupons and savings. The average Coupons.com user in Atlanta saved over $531 using coupons from the site in 2009. Tampa, Florida follows closely in the number two position.
"The top couponing cities reveal the tremendous savings potential coupons offer nowadays," said Jeanette Pavini, Coupons.com Household Savings Expert. "By spending just minutes each week printing online coupons, anyone can really cut back on their household expenses. I don't need to tell people in Atlanta and Tampa that coupons are essentially found money."
Cities in the Midwest and South account for almost one-half of this year's top couponing locales. Ohio alone is represented three times – Cincinnati (#3), Cleveland (#8) and Columbus (#20) – making it the country's most frugal state. St. Louis (#4), Minneapolis (#5), Kansas City (#10), Indianapolis (#16) and Wichita, Kansas (#19) also add to the Midwest contingent.
The South's strength in couponing is reflected in the fact that more than one-third of the top 20 couponing cities are in the Southern region of the United States. In addition to Atlanta and Tampa, other Southland cities on the list are: Nashville (#6), Charlotte, North Carolina (#7), Raleigh, North Carolina (#11), Oklahoma City (#13), Miami (#14) and Dallas (#18).
Pittsburgh, coming in ninth, is the top-ranking Northeastern city in the Index. That city along with Boston (#12) and Washington, DC (#15) make up the Northeast's only representation.
Just one Western city made this year's top 20 list, according to the Coupons.com Savings Index: Denver, ranking number 17.
"Multiple cities in both Ohio and North Carolina appear on the list," said Pavini. "Shoppers in all parts of the U.S. should look to the Buckeye and Tar Heel states, where consumers are putting money in their pockets every month by using coupons smartly."
Rank     City   State   Savings Index
1.     Atlanta   GA   918
2.     Tampa   FL   522
3.     Cincinnati   OH   511
4.     Saint Louis   MO   468
5.     Minneapolis   MN   351
6.     Nashville   TN   308
7.     Charlotte   NC   306
8.     Cleveland   OH   272
9.     Pittsburgh   PA   254
10.     Kansas City   MO   254
11.     Raleigh   NC   243
12.     Boston   MA   229
13.     Oklahoma City   OK   207
14.     Miami   FL   205
15.     Washington   DC   191
16.     Indianapolis   IN   186
17.     Denver   CO   186
18.     Dallas   TX   186
19.     Wichita   KS   159
20.     Columbus   OH   152
       
About Coupons.com Incorporated
Coupons.com Incorporated is the leader in digital coupons. The company's flagship, Coupons.com, is the premier site on the Web dedicated to coupons and savings. Coupons.com currently has 19.5 million unique monthly visitors, making it the 39th largest Web property in the U.S., according to Nielsen data for October 2009. Coupons.com carries offers from hundreds of top brands, such as Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft Foods and Clorox, and works with hundreds of retailers, including Kroger, Safeway, CVS, Walgreens and Kmart. The company also offers the Coupons.com and Grocery iQ mobile applications for the iPhone and iPod touch. Coupons.com Incorporated was founded in 1998 and is based in Mountain View, California. To learn more or start printing coupons, visit www.coupons.com. To learn more about the company, visit www.couponsinc.com.
1 Savings Index ranks cities (with a population of 300,000 or more) based on each city's total printed coupon savings on Coupons.com and the Coupons.com network in 2009 relative to its population size. With an index of 918, Atlanta residents are nine times more likely to print coupon savings than the average American city dweller.

source: Coupons.com

The Downfall of An Impressive CV

A stunning story in the Toronto Star has me thinking about my choice to commute by bicycle on a daily basis. Apparently, this well provided for gentleman got in a tussle with a cyclist and dragged him down the street like a gangster movie. Now his impressive background is all for naught as he is charged with some pretty serious crimes since the bicyclist died (see picture above of cyclist).
 
Reminds me to follow the motto on my new bumper sticker WAG MORE, bark less

Economic Troubles Encourage Coupon Savings Habit

Promotion Marketing Association Coupon Council Reports an Increase in Coupon Activity in 2009, Anticipates Long-term Savings Trend

NEW YORK, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Since the financial crisis deepened a year ago, coupon use has been on the rise. Marketers made substantially more coupons available to encourage consumer purchases, and shoppers responded by increasing their coupon use by approximately 20 percent during the first half of 2009.
That double digit growth in coupon use started during the fourth quarter of 2008 and coupon redemption has continued to rise ever since.
"Coupons are even more influential in consumer purchasing decisions today due to the economic downturn as shoppers realize it's the smart thing to do," says Charles Brown, Co-Chair of the PMA Coupon Council. "Both manufacturers and retailers are promoting at a greater pace to appeal to consumers who are seeking deals to stretch their budget and changing their spending habits in ways that are expected to continue permanently, even when the economy recovers."
PMA Coupon Council Co-Chair Matthew Tilley adds, "Given the new frugality of American households brought on by the current economic hardship, the interest in finding new and additional ways to save is expected to continue. Coupons are a perfect fit as a convenient way to save a good deal of money without a lot of effort. That's something everyone likes to do, in good times and bad."
Coupon Statistics
* $3 billion of savings were achieved by consumers using packaged goods coupons last year.
* More than $400 billion of packaged goods coupons are offered annually.
* The average value offered per coupon is approximately $1.35.
* 94 percent of the overall population report that they have used coupons when shopping (for grocery, household and healthcare items), an increase of 5 share points. 
* 89 percent of the overall population report that they have prepared a shopping list using coupons, up from 78 percent who said they did so a year ago. 
September is National Coupon Month, which is sponsored by the PMA Coupon Council. That makes September a great time for shoppers to refine their coupon saving skills by better organizing the coupons they receive, clip, or download to maximize their share of the $400 billion dollars of discounts available annually in the U.S.
"Once someone creates a coupon habit, they can achieve a lifetime of savings," said Brown. "The typical family can easily save $1,000 annually by spending just 20 minutes a week seeking, clipping and organizing their coupons. If you do that every year for the next 30 or 40 years, that's $30,000 or $40,000 at today's value of money. Imagine how you can stretch your budget over time by routinely using coupons when shopping."
"Organization is key," said Tilley. "Many shoppers sort coupons by category and keep their coupons in a file or envelope. But no matter how you organize your coupons the point is to be sure you take them with you to the store. When it becomes part of your shopping routine, the savings can be enormous."
For more information about coupon usage, coupon clipping tips and more, please visit http://www.nationalcouponmonth.org.
About the PMA Coupon Council
Founded in 1994, the PMA Coupon Council is an advocacy group for coupons within the Promotion Marketing Association. The group focuses on providing education on, and promoting the use of, couponing among manufacturers, retailers and consumers. Coupon research is conducted by Coupon Council member companies, Inmar and NCH Marketing Services.
About the PMA
Established in 1911, the Promotion Marketing Association, Inc (PMA) is the premier not for profit organization and resource for research, education and collaboration for marketing professionals. Representing the over $1 trillion integrated marketing industry, the organization is comprised of Fortune 500 companies, top marketing agencies, law firms, retailers, service suppliers and academia, representing thousands of brands worldwide. Championing the highest standards of excellence and recognition in the promotion and integrated marketing industry globally, PMA's objective is to foster a better understanding of promotion and integrated marketing and its role in the overall marketing process. The PMA is headquartered in New York City with its affiliate, the PMA Educational Foundation, Inc.
SOURCE Promotion Marketing Association Coupon Council