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Monday, 21 September 2009

13 Ways to Earn Money Fast

Everybody needs a quick infusion of cash from time to time. These ideas bring in money fast, and many can also be done at flexible times, so it's easier to arrange child care with a friend or family member for free. 

1. Have a garage sale. By using a few easy tricks, like posting fliers at grocery stores and Laundromats, making signs that can be seen from nearby busy streets and displaying your items in a department-store style, you can increase the amount your sale brings in.

2. Sell on eBay. Books, CDs, unused sports or exercise equipment, clothing, novelty items -- people buy all kinds of things. Even if you're selling several small items, the money can add up. Just make sure the buyer, not you, pays the cost of shipping.

3. Put clothes on consignment. This is an especially good way to get rid of clothing like fancy dresses (think old prom gowns and cocktail dresses you'll never wear again), but anything in good condition can be put on consignment. You share the money from the sale with the consignment shop, but it's an easy way to squeeze some money out of clothes that would otherwise just take up closet space. 

4. Perform household services. You can earn some money informally by letting friends, family, church members and others in your community know that you're available to clean their houses or apartments, or to take in ironing. If you find you have a knack and stamina for cleaning quickly and thoroughly, you can turn this into a regular, reliable way to earn extra money every month. 

5. Have a bake sale. Do you make killera chocolate chip cookies? chocolate chip cookies? Are yummy breakfast burritos your specialty? If so, why not bring in your items once a week to your job and sell them to coworkers and other businesspeople in the vicinity? If you don't have a job, what about a friend's workplace, a community center or a nursing home? Put the word out beforehand and gauge the response as you go, so you don't end up with a lot of leftover food. By talking up your home-baked goodies and arriving at the same time every day or every week, you may find that people start to anticipate your arrival. You can start a cottage industry along the lines of Mary's Monday Cookie Break when you come around to hawk your wares. 

6. Sell homegrown fruits and vegetables. You don't have to have a farm to produce delicious, organic produce. By presenting your goods in an appealing way (save the plastic or cardboard produce containers from the grocery store and tie them with a distinctive ribbon or desktop-printed label), you give them niche appeal, and you can sell them much the same way as baked items, listed above.

7. Have a family car wash. Enlist your spouse, your kids and their friends on a Saturday to hold a car wash. Talk to local merchants who have parking lots and ask them to donate the space, or set up an assembly line on your street. By naming the event ("The Annual Jones Family Car Wash") and highlighting an upbeat family goal ("We use this car wash to pay for the kids' extracurricular school activities"), you give people a reason to join your cause. 

8. Do gardening services. Mowing lawns is a perennial summer job for kids. If you have a mower, encourage your children to launch a business—or do it yourself. In addition, you can also weed or haul gardening rubbish to the dump (often garbage services won't remove it). 

9. Provide man-with-van services. Or, in this case, woman with van (or truck). This service is great for people who need to move a single piece of furniture or for young people who don't have a lot of stuff. If you're able to do moves on your own or with a helper like a friend or spouse, you can position yourself as a mother's helper (a woman living alone might feel more comfortable having another woman moving something into or out of her home). If you don't have a lot of physical strength, your husband and a cousin, uncle or son can do the heavy lifting and you can take care of scheduling and follow-up. A small classified ad in the local paper is an economical way to advertise. 

10. Get a paper route. While we often think of paper delivery as a job for a boy on a bike, all kinds of people pick up extra cash this way. Because papers are delivered in the morning, it's possible to complete a route before the regular workday starts, or before your kids are up. (Just make sure you catch up on your sleep by going to bed early at night!)

11. Dog walk and pet sit. Owners are always looking for reliable pet-care services. Plus, if you stay home with your kids during the day, a regular dog-walking gig is a great way to get everyone out of the house for some fresh air and earn extra money. Put the word out at pounds, the ASPCA, the local veterinarian's and dog runs. Be prepared to provide references from anyone you've ever sat for before. Learn how you can also turn pet sitting into a home business. 

12. Babysit. To provide regular child care in your home, you'll often need to be accredited and registered with the state. But occasional babysitting in your home or someone else's is more straightforward. You might already babysit for friends for free, but by reaching out in your community you can find parents whom you would feel comfortable charging a reasonable fee -- such as those belonging to common churches, PTAs or playgroups. Depending on your schedule, you can position yourself as a last-minute resource, a Saturday sitter while Mom does errands, a date-night sitter and so on. 

13. Rent out a room. This option might take longer than some of the others listed here, but it can provide steady income for a set period of time, or even indefinitely. It might require that your kids share a bedroom or that you give up a family room in the house, so everyone in the family should be prepared for the changes. And of course care should be taken to pick carefully to ensure you get a trustworthy boarder. This is an especially good option if you live near a university or technical college. Eighteen- to 22-year-olds will more likely be fine renting a room with kitchen privileges than older people, and you'll be able to rent on a semester basis.

(Source: home.ivillage.com)

Monday, 14 September 2009

Save Money Tips

This is a short list of ways you can save money and begin to acquire wealth. It's really not about how much money you make, it's about how much you save.

1) Sock some money away. Okay this one seems obvious, and it is. But if it is so obvious, why do most people ignore it? 
Well, the truth is that life is expensive and problems or emergency situations arise that drain our bank accounts. 
It doesn't matter how little you decide to put away for the future. For young people, the biggest factor on your side is time.
Small amounts of money add up over time, and if you factor in compound interest, the twenty bucks a paycheck you put away can turn into a nice chunk of money. 
A smart and easy thing to do, if you have direct deposit through your work, is to have some money automatically diverted from your paycheck into a savings account. 

2) Pay off your credit card debt. The interest rate on credit cards can be up to 22%. That means if you carry $100.00 on a bill over into the next month, you will now owe the credit card company $122.00. In that situation, you would have lost yourself $22.00. 
No matter how much those credit card commercials claim they can improve your life and make it more enjoyable, the credit card company is not your friend. They want your money. So pay down your debt as soon as you can and before you put money in savings. 
If you are paying 15 percent interest on a bill to a credit card company and at the same time are only earning a 3 percent return on money in your savings account, it makes sense to pay off your debt first. The amount you owe will easily eclipse what you are earning. 
If whatever interest you earn is less than the 15 percent I use as an example, then whatever you are earning is not really earnings. Your net profit will still be negative. Get rid of credit card debt so you can start really saving money. 

3) Use your credit card wisely. A credit card is essentially a card that allows you to take a loan out of a fixed amount of money, your credit limit. Credit cards are also a good way to build up your credit. If you have a record of paying off your credit card bill in full and on time every month, then your credit score should get better. 
Another advantage of paying off the bill in full and on time is that you will be able to avoid paying any interest on the money you borrowed. If you pay attention and are careful with how you use your credit card, then it can be a good tool to help improve your credit. 
Try putting one purchase a month on a credit card and paying the bill on time consistently. Some credit card companies even offer incentive programs like airline miles or cash back on certain purchases. 
The credit card I use credits me a certain percent of all the money I spend at certain gas stations each month. Getting money back is even better than saving money.

4) Okay, here's another obvious one. Control your spending. Live below your means. Do not spend more than you make. Smaller expenses like going out to eat or to the movies can add up quickly when put on a credit card. 
Try making your own coffee in the morning instead of going to Starbucks to get your buzz. Or make your own coffee several days a week and reward yourself with that Latte on Friday. Maybe carpool to work a couple days a week to save money on gas. 

I am not claiming that eliminating these minor costs will make you rich, but it is important to understand how all the smaller expenses add up. And they do add up. It is important to think about what you do with your money and make choices on how you spend it. 

People often feel burdened by their lack of money and feel that they spend it before they have it. Most of us spend everything we have. Just when we've managed to save a little bit of money, we want to buy new clothes, or take a trip somewhere. 

It is not easy to save money, but is well worth it. Thinking about where your money is going and making a few minor adjustments can help you save.

(Source: www.content4reprint.com)

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Investment Tips for Beginners

Ever wanted to start investing your money, but didn't know how to go about it? Did you try to do some research, but found the information hard to understand? Here are some simple tips in plain English to help the beginner investor get started:

1. Pay Yourself First. The biggest mistake Americans make is not paying themselves before they pay their bills. If you don't pay yourself first, you probably won't at all. Start saving 10% of your paycheck each week so you can  
have some money to invest. It may not seem like much at first, but you have to start some where.

2. Be Divested. In other words, diversify. Make sure you have some money that you can get your hands on quickly in case of emergency. This is called short term investing. You also want some money in long term stocks. Stocks have the chance of making the highest interest. With stocks you always have the chance of losing your money. That is why you need to be balanced. So place some of your money in short term investments and some in long term investments.

3. Don't ever invest money you can't afford to lose. Stocks are risky business. It's better that you go in to investing with this knowledge so you are not disappointed if things go sour. This is especially important in the beginning, while you are still learning.

4. Start learning online. It is much easier to buy and sell at home now then it use to be twenty years ago. You can also save yourself a lot of money. You may pay $7.00 online to trade verses the $40.00 you'd pay a broker. Be smart about it. Start taking online courses and follow them. There are even online games so you can see what would happen first before you actually spend your hard earned money. It's kind of like a virtual game if you will.

5. Stick with well traded companies. You don't want to start out with an unknown company that ends up going belly up and leaving you high and dry. You can minimize your risk by sticking with companies that have been around for awhile.

(Source: www.associatedcontent.com)

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Tips to become RICH

No matter which life stage you are in, you have a future ahead of you and you should not leave it to chance- you must plan for it. So what are your financial goals? 

Here's a tip: "making a lot of money fast" is not necessarily a reasonable goal. Look ahead and think of when would you incur major expenditures. 

When you think of your goals, you should think about your hopes and dreams, for yourself and your family. What do you hope to achieve in life? Possibly buy a home and send your children to college? 

Or maybe you'd like to retire early and travel the world? And now compare the future dream with the current reality. Here are a few tips for planning for a secure future:

1. What you earn, what you spend

The first part of allocating your investments is to figure out what's there to allocate. You need to estimate both your net worth and your net income/expenses. Your net worth, what accountants call a balance sheet, compares your assets (what you own) with your liabilities (what you owe). 

This will help you see your monthly disposable income -- the income you have left over after paying all necessary expenses. And that tells you how much you can afford to contribute to your financial goals each month. 

2. Set your goals

Financial professionals often counsel investors to write down their goals. Their intention is not to make you ponder the meaning of life, but to help you create the best plan to reach those goals along the way.  

There's another benefit that comes from identifying your goals. Saving and investing just for the sake of getting rich might work for some people. 

But for most others, though, giving up Rs.5000 every month can put a strain on their wallets - until they look at a photo of their children and remember that the Rs.5000 they're investing now will go toward helping pay their kids' higher education fees later. 

3. Budget for it

After you identify your goals and how much you need to reach them, you should begin setting aside money on a regular basis to invest in your plan. Saving on a regular basis is the key to reaching your goals; no matter how little the amount you start out investing. 

Don't be discouraged if your goal seems large and unreachable - remember that even a leaky faucet can fill your sink with water, drop by drop. Making investments on a regular basis, even if you can only set aside a small amount each month, can eventually build a sizable portfolio.

Many people think that they can't spare any cash to start an investing plan. These people probably have not learned the importance of paying yourself first. Setting aside a small amount for your long-term investing plan each week or each month before you pay any other bills or expenses is all you have to do.

4. Spread your money

It's rarely a good idea to have all your eggs in one basket. Depending on your goals and attitude to risk, you should invest your money over different investment options such as Stocks, Mutual Funds and Bonds. 

You may also want to diversify within each of these categories. With stocks, for example, a mutual fund will invest your money in a variety of companies but you may want to ensure you have a range of industry sectors too.

5. Make sure your money grows

Should you leave it in the savings bank account and earn a meager rate of return? Or should you invest it in the PPF? The fact is that investing your money in the so-called safe fixed income instruments like Fixed Deposits, PPF, NSC, etc. is simply not enough. 

This is due to the low rate of return on such instruments and high inflation rate in the economy. It is your hard earned money and you should invest it in instruments, which will make it grow over time and thereby build capital for your future.

Stocks is known world over for its potential to increase in value over time and provide your portfolio with the growth required to help you meet your long-term goals. Mutual Funds have given investors a whole new avenue for investment as per your risk appetite and expected returns. 

6. Keep track of your track record

After you invest, you'll want to keep track of how your investments do. This doesn't mean you need to watch your returns on a daily basis (doing that can be like weighing yourself every day when you're trying to lose weight -- it won't help you judge long-term results, and you can drive yourself crazy doing it).

Instead, establish a regular timeframe for checking your investments to see if they are matching or beating your goals. For example, you may decide to review your returns investments once every three months, or twice a year.

While benchmarks aren't the only way to judge the strength of your investments, these tools can help you gauge how your investments are doing compared to similar investments. You may use the following benchmarks:

Market indices -- such as Sensex, Nifty. This will help you compare your performance with the overall returns of the market

Mutual fund benchmarks -- AMFI (Association of Mutual fund in India) has certain benchmarks for various categories of mutual funds.

Personal benchmarks -- you can set an overall goal -- for example, for your investments to outpace inflation by 5 percent over a period of five years -- and use it as a benchmark.

Be sure to set a reasonable timeline over which to compare your investments to a benchmark. You want to know how your investments perform through market ups and downs, so a longer timeline is more telling than a shorter one. For example, a five-year comparison will tell you more than a six-month comparison.

If you find one of your investments under-performs over the short term (for example, under-performed its benchmark over the last three months), don't be hasty to sell it earlier than you planned unless you've lost confidence in its long-term potential.

7. Don't lose your balance

You've established a portfolio with an asset allocation that suits you, and are reviewing your investments' performance on a regular basis. Think your work is done? Not quite.

You should still sit down periodically -- such as once a year -- to review your goals, finances and asset allocation. After all, goals can change. Time and circumstances can shift your priorities and your comfort with risk, changing your ideal asset allocation. When this happens, you may need to make changes to your portfolio.

Even if your ideal asset allocation hasn't changed, review your portfolio to make sure your existing asset allocation is still what you planned. Sometimes your asset allocation will change through no action on your part due to market movements. When this happens, your portfolio is out of balance -- which can expose you to more risk than you intended. 

How can you fix it? You might sell investments in one asset class or buy extra shares of investments in another class.

When should you be on the lookout? If you're like most people, once or twice a year is probably often enough to see if the asset allocation in your portfolio is still what you'd planned.

But be sure to also check when you go through a major life change, such as getting married, having children, changing jobs or retiring. When you go through a big change, examine both your existing and your planned allocation to make sure both are right for your new lifestyle and risk tolerance.

Just keep these seven steps in mind and you should be able to achieve all your goals. Happy saving!
(Source: www.rediff.com)

10 Rules for Small Business Success

1. Find a Niche. For small businesses, it is best to find a niche. A small company with limited resources can efficiently serve niche markets. Concentrate your efforts on a fairly narrow market offering. This entails sticking to what you do best, and becoming an expert in that field. Realize that it is not possible to be good at everything. By concentrating on a fairly narrow market niche, you may be able to avoid head-on collision with bigger competitors. If you are a hardware store selling everything from paints to lumber, the entry of giant retailers like Home Depot in your area can spell the end for your business. However, you can try to limit your offering, for example, to construction of porches and decks and be the best retailer for this segment.  

2. Be small, yet think big. The most common question of small business start-ups is “How can I compete with my big competitors?“ Small businesses have inherent advantages over big businesses, including flexibility, ability to respond quickly, able to provide a more personalized service. Make sure that your business takes maximum advantage of those areas that represent the strengths of small companies.  

3. Differentiate your products. Present the benefits of your products and services to your customers, highlighting the unique solutions it offers to their problems. Avoid being a copycat; rarely do imitators succeed in the market. Study, but do not copy your competitors, and package your products distinctly. 

4. First impression counts. Strive for accuracy and quality the first time around. You often do not have a second chance to make a good first impression. This entails a well-laid out store, courteous staff, and personable voice over the phone, etc. However, if you are a one-person business working in a home office, remember that you are the center of your business and marketing efforts. Everyone you come in touch with is potentially a client or a referral to another client because they are either impressed with you as a person, impressed with your skill at providing a certain service or product. Make sure that you are always presentable, professional in your ways and knowledgeable about your business. 

5. Good reputation. Your business hinges on its reputation. It is imperative that you build a good reputation for the quality of your products and support services. Remember that two things guarantee success: high quality goods and superior service. Always aim for quality. If you are a tax consultant, strive to prepare a totally accurate, perfectly done tax returns for your clients. 

6. Constant improvement. Entrepreneurs know that they should not be rigid in their ways of thinking in their quest to improve their best products and services. You risk being left behind by the fast-paced competition if you cling to the “this is how we’ve always done it” kind of thinking. The business environment today demands that you need to come up with new solutions fast! 

7. Listen to your customers. Be market driven: listen and react to your customer’s needs. Customers need to feel that they are important to you because they are! When you focus on your customers and gain their trust, they will not only recommend you but they will also remain loyal to you. Remember, personal recommendation and word-of-mouth are the least costly yet most effective marketing strategy for your business. 

8. Plan for success. An entrepreneur should understand the power of planning. A good plan helps you increase your chances of succeeding and can help you define your business concepts, estimate costs, predict sales and control your risks. It tells you where you are going and how to get there. Going into business without a plan is like driving into a foreign land without a road map. 

9. Be innovative. Innovate your offerings constantly, keeping pace with technological changes. Use change as a springboard to improve your products, procedures or reputation. Innovation should also cover your operations from pricing, promotion, customer service, distribution, etc. Keep your eyes for new ways of doing things, and apply those that can improve the quality of your products and efficiency of your operations. 

10. Work smart. As an entrepreneur, you need to possess self-confidence, plus a never-ending sense of urgency to develop your ideas. Studies have shown that the individuals who succeed in entrepreneurship are far-sighted and can accept things as they are and deal with them accordingly. They know how to manage their time, realizing the importance of leisure in as much as work. These people are oftentimes quick to change directions when they see their plans are not working. More importantly, they recognize their weak points and move on to nurture alliances and acquire the skills they need to put their business on the right track. They realize the importance of working smart, knowing that it is not the quantity of work you do, but what you do and how well you do it.

(Source: www.powerhomebiz.com)