Thursday, February 17, 2011

Providing Food For Your Family

Photo Source: Library Of Congress

Saving money is a big thing on everyone's minds lately. Though I guess it has always been on everyone's minds. It just seems to be on my mind more than usual lately. Everything has gone up so much that I want to scream, "That is enough! The Social Security administration said that the cost of living has not gone up in two years now. So must be it hasn't if they said so." Right???????????

Photo Source: Library Of Congress

I know I talk about this all the time but it is important for everyone to start a garden this year. If you have even a tiny patio, you can grow some plants. Skip the flowers and house plants and plant some food. And something you like. Visit your local farms and get produce there. It should be cheaper right from the farm.

Photo Source: National Archives

Buy in bulk and get good deals on meats, produce, whatever you use. Can as much as you can. That way it is not using electricity while it is stored. Tastes better and is quicker to prepare.  Think about food and fuel. Two areas of our lives that we have been totally dependent on the system. Time to find ways to wean ourselves off that system in case it is not there or able to provide for everyone.

Do you have some ideas besides providing your many streams of income? Even taking a job on a farm or at a farmer's market can be a big help if you can get some produce in exchange for work. Let me know your ideas or ways you find to save money on food. I am really interested in how others do this too.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Now I Have Two - Yes, Two Bonanza Booths!

I am really excited about my Bonanza booths! The last few days I have been so busy listing products there that I can't seem to get anything else done. Everything in my house is definitely in danger of being sold on Bonanza. And now that I have added a second booth, called String Baby for my guitar strings, well that has doubled my work. But I don't care. I love it!

So I figure people like Free Shipping. That is why in my booth for used books and CDs I am selling them with the price included for shipping. Now you don't think people expect me to pay their shipping cost out of the few bucks I make on the book or CD do you? I hope not. My Paypal fee is usually about .50 and the fee for Bonanza is about the same. Then add the $3.00+ for the shipping, the ink and paper for printing and the bubble mailer that I send them much profit does that give me? Not enough to get rich on. Not enough to pay for groceries.

If I can make more sales though, and add up all those little profits, then maybe I will make some bigger profits in the long run. Another thing I am really excited about is that some of my blogging friends have opened booths on Bonanza too! Here are two of my very good friends who have opened booths there:

Teresa's Odds And Ends - Here is an absolutely gorgeous Antique Flue Cover that she is selling.

Deb's Booth - She has a good selection of books. And also has some books about Scrapbooking. The Ultimate Guide To Scrapbooking looks pretty good for anyone learning or already into it. Deb knows about these things!

If you decide to open a booth there, one of the first things you need to do is to write a profile. You need to let people know who you are and that you are a real person. Let them know your shipping rates. Nobody will buy from you unless you are upfront with your shipping fees. That is a fact. Then get to know the other sellers by visiting the message boards. They are the people who are your potential buyers. Good luck! And if you do open a booth, let me know and I will include it in a future post.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Comes And Goes

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! What do you think of when you think of Valentine's Day? Do have a special someone who takes you out to dinner? Or maybe cooks you a special dinner? Gives you flowers or candy? At least a card? Yes, Valentine's Day has become a big day for the restaurants and stores.

Buying a box of candy for someone used to be about five bucks. Now it is more like twenty bucks.When a trend catches on like that it becomes something that is expected of you. Now what would your spouse or partner think if you just ignored Valentine's Day all together? You might end up in the dog house.

What if everyone stopped buying all the commercial Valentine Day gifts, food and cards? Instead put that money in an envelope and the money went into your savings account? What if you did the same for all the holidays and birthdays? If someone gives you gift cards, you are out of luck because it is not cash. Cash is the way to go.

I know. I know. Gifts are wonderful little ways to show someone you appreciate them. But if you are both  trying to save money, then what would be a better way to show appreciation than to say, "honey, we have over $500. in our emergency fund now."  I know for me, I would rather that type of gift. Then again, I have always been different than most people. I just can't stand wasting money that I work so hard to get on gifts that are gone in a few days. Maybe a package of seeds or a garden hoe would be a better gift than candy or flowers. At least for me it would. What about you?

Have a Happy Valentine's Day and enjoy it!

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tasks That Need To Be Done

Photo Source: Free Clip Art Now

Sometimes you have to just make yourself do something. If it is something you have been putting off, you just get up one morning and say, "this is the day!" And get to work. That is how I get many things done. So I write a small list on wordpad every morning and try to follow it the best I can. If I have one or two things off it at the end of the day, then I am content. What about you? What do you do to try to organize your day of tasks?

All of my tasks or chores do not have anything to do with my business. Many of my daily chores on my "to do" list are household related. They have to be done too. Especially if you are working at home! There is no excuse then for you are able to do both business related and household related all day long. Makes for a busy day, but no time wasted.

If you don't get anything on your list done.............well then, something is really distracting you! You have to make an effort because if you don't do it, who will? If it is something you really don't want to do or like to do, then re-evaluate it and see if you can have someone else do it. Or can you eliminate it completely?

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, February 11, 2011

Do You Have A Blog?

Photo Source: Free Clip Art Now

If you have a business, you really need to have a blog. Even the White House has a blog. I recently put an ad up on Craigslist to set up blogs for people or businesses who don't know how. I know if you are not a writer then it is not an easy thing to do. I have been writing one of my blogs since 2005 and even before that I had one on Yahoo360. That was a whole new concept to me and I loved it. I still do. I hope it continues to grow and evolve.

After you have your blog, you have to develop it. That means writing a post at least weekly. I have been trying to make an effort to write a post on mine every day. I write four so that is not real easy, but I am doing better.

Next you really need to network on Twitter and Facebook. That means having it set up so when you write a post it automatically is posted on those sites. That makes a BIG difference, believe me! And make sure you are signed up to the Networked Blogs on Facebook! That is instrumental in getting your blog read and seen by lots of different people.

Put the Google Friend Connect widget on your blog. That is my favorite widget of all.

Then be sure to join The Blog Frog. If you join and are new, come to The Redhead Riter's Community and say hi to me. That is where I hang out. But you can make your community there. I just don't have time for that presently. I get what I need from Red's Community. She is an awesome lady and shares so much of herself with all of us there. Her blog is The Redhead Riter, so be sure to visit it. She is having a giveaway at the moment if you'd like to win some goat's milk soap.

So these are just a few things to do to get your blog going and trying to get traffic. Another thing you can do is to visit other blogs and leave quality comments on those blogs. Don't ask the writer to follow you. Don't leave your link for them to visit you. Don't tell them all about your blog or business. Just make a comment relevant to the post you are commenting on. That is what will get others to come to your blog. Hope these hints will help you get started.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How To Use Social Media To Promote Your Business

I have opened a second booth on Bonanza for selling my guitar strings. It seems to me that a separate booth focusing on the strings only would be better for those sales. The other booth, katlupe's Booth is for selling used items, mostly books and CDs. 

I am also writing a blog for selling guitar strings called String Baby. The thing about the blog though, I am not a musician myself and any dreams of my husband, who is one, writing a long gone. He just does not have the time available. I found a site some years back that offers free articles written by other authors on different subjects. They let you use their articles for free if you just make sure to link back to them. So I am doing that for my String Baby blog, and it looks quite nice. The articles I am getting for this are all written by musicians. So that takes care of that problem.

On Facebook, I have a page for String Baby. I started it awhile back and need to get working on it in the next day or so. A good week-end project! If you go to that page please, "like" me! I will be working on it soon. I also have a page on myspace but have not been there in months so I won't add that link here.

My husband does String Baby's twitter page, so I am not doing that presently. But you see how all these little things add up to bringing more people to your site? That is what Social Media is all about!

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Saving Extra Money

Photo Source: Free Clip Art Now

Do you wonder how you can save money when there is no extra money? I was wondering that myself at one time. Then I came up with a great idea. I make little bits of money off my blogs at times. Not much. But as an affiliate of Amazon, I make a few bucks when someone clicks my Amazon links and makes a purchase on Amazon. Of course, I have that money accumulating at Amazon until I have $50. in that account. When that happens and they transfer that money to my account, I plan on putting it in my savings account immediately. 

When you shop at the store you can use coupons and the money you save can be taken out of the grocery money and added to the savings account also.

Another thing I have been trying to do, is when I have change I put it in a jar. But I also put all five dollar bills in the jar too. It adds up faster that way. Then that money will be added to the savings account.

If you can manage to take at least $10. out of your pay check and add that to your savings account that is another way to increase it little by little. When you can, you increase that amount until you are saving a nice sum.

I have an idea of what to do to cut expenses and I have been doing that it seems forever. The things I do are:

  1. Cook from scratch. No store bought salad dressings, processed foods, bread, cookies, etc. 
  2. Generate our own electricity. Adding more panels and batteries little by little so we use our generator less. 
  3. Use the winter climate for refrigeration. No cost for running a refrigerator. In summer we have had to buy ice.
  4. Buy meats, cheese, butter and the vegetables I don't grow, in bulk and can them for quick easy meals.
  5. We do not pay for garbage pick up but drive our own garbage to the landfill, which is only 3 miles away.
  6. When I go to town, I try to do many errands at one time. 

Those little bits of savings do add up. It may not seem like it at the time, but in the long run, over time it does.  How do you think those little old ladies who die that had simple low paying jobs, die with millions of dollars stuffed in the mattresses?

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Relocating To Paradise?

Thinking of relocating from a cold climate? I know I would love to leave this snow covered state about now. We have been hit by so much snow this year. It is not unusual for us in New York state to get so much. But some of the southern states are getting snow and extremely cold temperatures too. Makes you wonder if this may become the norm.

Did you ever think of making the move to a state like Hawaii? Hawaii has the perfect climate! It is tropical though the humidity isn't bad due to the trade winds blowing in from the east. Winter temperatures in the 80's but never lower than the 60's. It is one of the top tourist destinations.

Relocating to Hawaii is a move many Americans have made. They have left the mainland US behind for the tropical paradise. Like I said, the winter weather on the east coast seems to be getting worse and dipping down into the southern states as well. It is easy to understand why people might want to pack up and leave. And what could be better than a tropical climate? 

Hawaii isn't all beaches though. It produces coffee, macadamia nuts, pineapple, livestock and sugarcane, as well as some apparel exports. The tourist trade though is the biggest money maker in Hawaii. Tourists contribute to the tax burden of the state through the general excise tax and hotel room tax. Hawaiian residents live in one of the highest taxed states.  

If I was considering a move to Hawaii, I think I would take a vacation there first. Instead of just doing the tourist activities, take a real look around the various islands. Learn about the people, the businesses, the housing market, the jobs and the schools. Dig down under the tropical paradise persona to see the real Hawaii. Then make the decision to relocate to the surfer's paradise. 

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Think Before You Do Something Important

My husband worked at IBM in Endicott, NY. His uncles all worked there too. Thomas Watson was known all over our area. Lots of good stories about him. I took care of a lady once in health related facility and she said her husband worked in IBM too. Their daughter got polio and was crippled. Thomas Watson took them in his car to  New York City to get help for her. He paid for it too. Not many bosses or heads of companies that would do that now.

All over IBM, my husband said they had this sign, Think. I thought it would be a good reminder for people. Think before you do something. Really think about it. My mother always wrote a list of the pros and cons of something before she made a decision. It is something I often do myself. Not saying I have done it every time. Though I wish I had.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole