Month : July 2015

Coupons

Like Bargains? Us too!

We all want to save money.  For some of us, that means avoiding eating at restaurants.  For others, it means cutting back on designer soaps.  However we do it, the takeaway is the same: times be tight (what the kids are saying; try to keep up).  Because we are so obsessed with finding good deals, we’ve seen organizations like Groupon emerge with multi-billion-dollar valuations.  What does this mean?  Finding bargains is big business, especially if you’re good at it.  But it’s not just finding bargains.  Groupon has revolutionized the way that we view sales, and produced more than one happy consumer in the process.

And they’ve done it again!

Whereas you previously had to purchase a Groupon deal to realize the bargain, their new program requires no such commitment.  With Groupon Coupons, you get real cost savings, up front, without spending a cent.  What’s that you say? That can’t be possible? Most other coupon sites require a subscription?  Well, Groupon Coupons is not like most other sites.  Are we excited about it? Yeah, you could say that.

You’re probably thinking, “Hey, this sounds pretty good.” Then maybe, for just a second, “Wait—did I leave the oven on? Phew, yes, I did.  Where was I?  Oh yeah! But these coupons are probably for out of the way stores that I never shop at.”  Well, this may be true… if you don’t shop at stores like Macy’s or rent a car when you travel.  Groupon Coupons offers over 55,000 completely free, no string attached coupons for over 8,000 stores from Nordstrom to Fox Rent-a-Car; and these numbers are constantly growing.  Our guess: you’ll find something you like.  And hey, at zero cost, there’s no risk.  Maybe with the savings you can get those soaps you like.  Totally up to you; it’s your money!

Business

How To Finance Your Small Startup Business

Starting your own small business could be the first step to financial freedom. You’ll escape from the trappings of your existing job. You’ll become your own boss, pursue your passions, and make the big decisions! It’s a wonderful experience, and it could set you up for life. Unfortunately, it’s no walk-in-the-park. Starting a business is a difficult, stressful pursuit. The most pressing issue for every small business is money. Those financial bills and spreadsheets will often keep you awake at night in the early days. Until you begin making a reliable return on investment, you might struggle.

In this post, we’ll help you conquer that difficult first stage. Finances are the single biggest reason for would-be entrepreneurs giving up on their dream. With sensible budgeting, lots of planning, and intelligent investments, we’ll help you get off the ground. It all starts with strict planning. Diving head-first into the business without a strong direction is a big mistake. As a business, you need to carefully consider your budget. Then, you need a strict plan to lay out where the next bit of income will come from. Follow the advice here, and you could be a millionaire in no time!

Startup

photo source

Calculate your startup costs

The initial costs of a business are the most difficult to raise. Without a big capital investment, it’s tricky to find the early funds. The first step is understanding exactly what you need. Your startup costs are numbers you’ll have to muster to get the company off the ground and start making a little money. Typically, we divide those numbers into two categories:

  1. Business assets

The startup assets are all the physical things you need to start trading. For example, if you’re starting a plumbing business, you’ll need tools and a van. A farmer needs equipment and farm vehicles. A shopkeeper needs stock. List your assets as thoroughly as possible and be realistic. Then, obtain a variety of quotes from suppliers and sellers. If you’re the farmer in this scenario, look at http://plant.autotrader.co.uk/ for secondhand assets. Always look for the budget alternatives here and keep those initial costs down.

  1. Business expenses

The second category is business expenses. These are all the other costs associated with starting a business. It includes the likes of insurance, rental payments and wages. It’s the cost of building a website or listing your services in the local paper. Any marketing, PR, and advertising costs should be calculated and listed here. Again, try to keep this specific and look for the budget options. It’s easy to get carried away in this category. Keep it strictly to the necessary expenses.

Draw up a budget

Now you understand the startup costs, you can begin to draw up a full budget. You can calculate exactly how much cash you need to start. More importantly, you can figure out how to distribute it over the coming months, and where best to invest. Securing any level of funding is contingent on a strict budget. Without a deep breakdown of costs, you’ll struggle to convince any bank or lender that you are worth investing in. It’s often worth seeking the advice of a business or financial consultant here.

Allow an emergency pot

It’s a key piece of advice that many first-time business owners forget. An emergency fund is crucial in the early months. Surprise costs can jump out of nowhere while you’re finding your feet. There’s bound to be something you’ve failed to account for. You’ll learn on the job here, and you can’t predict anything. Keep an emergency fund to one side to deal with this. We’ve seen many small companies crippled in the early days by surprise costs.

Define your income plan

Before any bank or lender will grant you funds, they’ll want to see your income plan. A full business plan should tell the bank what your company hopes to achieve. But, most importantly, it should tell them how you expect to make money. You need to present a viable, realistic plan for recouping their investments. They need to know how soon you expect to repay them. Every business needs to make money, so figure it out early. A lot of modern companies plan to grow now and figure out how to monetise later. This is a dangerous game to play with your business finances! Define it early and set out a timeline for your income.

Forms of funding

There are a few different ways to inject money into your business. The first and obvious choice is putting up the money yourself. If you can’t invest in yourself, how can you expect others to? But, if that’s not an option, here are some other choices:

  1. Bank loan

Most small businesses turn to the bank to get their first venture off the ground. Most banks are willing to offer a small sum, providing you’ve got a strong business plan and reliable credit history. Seek the opinion of a financial advisor first and shape your pitch accordingly.

  1. Government grants

Many startups qualify for a government grant to get off the ground. In the music and arts sector, there is often funding available to cover those pesky startup costs. They’ll also give you advice and direction. It’s well worth approaching your local government and seeing what’s available to you.

  1. Friends and family

Some choose to approach their friends and family before asking the bank for a loan. You can strike a more informal arrangement and a payback system that gives you some breathing room. When there is a bank involved, it can be a little intimidating.

  1. Angel investors

Finally, you can look to angel investors for that cash injection. The only trouble here is that you’ll have to give away a share of your company. In most cases, we suggest that it’s probably too early to start looking for Angel investment. But, it doesn’t hurt to see what’s out there.

Funding your small startup business is no easy job. In fact, it’s the biggest cause of failure in the early days. Don’t let this put you off, however. Follow this advice and you’ll give yourself the best possible shot at creating a successful business.

Money Management

Simple Home Budgeting

So you’re sitting there living paycheck to paycheck and you ask you’re self “What can I do to stop me from being broke?”. The answer is fairly simple, Stop spending more than you make. If you are using credit cards monthly and you don’t pay off the balance every month, or have no credit check personal loans then most likely you are spending more than you make. What you need to do is take an inventory of your expenses and create a simple home budget. This means making a list of your fixed expenses and then subtracting that from your income. Like this:

Budget

Yes, power and water can vary but you can figure out how much you’re probably going to spend next month by looking at previous months. This will show you the money left over, that you can spend on everything from food to going to the movies. The point of this is to get into your mind how much you have to spend every month no matter what. Most of the time people think about all of these items separate like I have rent for $557, and my powers around $75. But when you think of it in total then you can start to comprehend how much money you actually have, that’s what a simple home budget can do for you.

Next, you can start breaking the rest of the money up into other categories like this:

Budget 2

The importance of having a category for saving is so that you pay yourself, just like you pay a bill. I’d recommend, after your simple home budget is made, to put the savings with the fixed expenses so that its a nonnegotiable expense. It should look something like this:

budget 3

What ever money you have left over at the end of the month can be scooped into savings toward your financial goals.

That’s pretty much it. Not too difficult. The hardest part is to actually stick to it. The best thing to do is to create goals that you want to save for, so that you can think of those every time you want to buy something else you probably could live without. So start your simple home budget today.