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Basic Steps to Opening a Retail Store

If you have a great product, or a line of products, you may want to consider opening a retail store to sell your product. Or maybe you’ve been selling products online for a long time and you’re ready to take it to the next level. Well, here are the basic steps you need to take for opening a retail store.

Selecting the Location

The first challenge is selecting the location for your shop. You need to do a lot of research and find a location that is conducive to your potential clients. You also need to figure out pricing for the lease, and negotiate as much as possible. Your lease will probably be one of your biggest expenses, so make sure you really look at the financials of the location.

Building the Store

After you find the location and sign the lease, you need to build your actual store. This will involve a lot of work, and could be expensive. You should make sure that your storefront conveys the brand of your product or company, so that your customers understand it. You will also need to buy signing and fixturing to outfit the store.

Setting Up the Infrastructure 

After you get the store built, you need to setup the infrastructure for your business. This means getting point of sales systems setup (cash registers), and integrating your accounting system into it. You also need to make sure that you are setup to do business. This means getting the permits you need to operate a business in your town, and getting the proper liability insurance so that you are protected should anything happen to your store. When you have the public coming into your shop, you never know what can happen, so it is essential that you’re prepared.

Hire and Open Up Shop

Finally, you just need to hire some people to work in your shop, and train them appropriately. Once you’re ready, open the doors and start selling your product to the public. Consider having some special promotion surrounding your store opening to drive traffic and get off to a good start.

Article publié pour la première fois le 01/10/2012


It’s Birthday Season!

A few years ago, I recounted the tragic tale of how I “accidentally” spent almost $450 on my daughter’s birthday party – an event that was held in my backyard – to celebrate her turning 2. At the time, I vowed how I’d never go overboard with a child’s birthday party again.

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

My daughter’s birthday happens to fall right at the beginning of the school year, and as we were new to town last year, I decided to invite every little girl my daughter had come across during her first two months in our new city. I figured half of them wouldn’t come, so our initial guest list of 14 would be more like 7.

Wrong again.

Instead, every single little girl my daughter invited RSVP’d “yes,” and as a result the party at a local beauty salon (geared for kids) that was supposed to cost $200 ended up costing twice that much. Once again, I’d gone overboard without ever intending to.

But this year, I’m finally going to make good on my promise not to overspend on my children’s birthday parties. Here’s how:

My son will turn 3 in a few weeks, and has been begging me for months to throw him a party at a local “bounce house” type of venue. Unfortunately, the price tag for those pre-packaged parties runs upwards of $300 – definitely not in our budget this year! So instead, I’m throwing him a party at a local park. Turns out, shelter rental is free to city residents, so right off the bat I saved $75. I’m only inviting family and three of his friends and their families; in lieu of gifts, each family will bring one kid-friendly dish to share, potluck style. All we’ll be paying for are the hot dogs & hamburgers, drinks, and cake – around $100. I know the kids will have a blast on the newly-refurbished playground at the park, as well as enjoying the nearby lake.

My daughter’s birthday party plans were a little trickier to solidify, mostly because I’d upped the ante over the past few years. But not to fear! A few weekends ago, we were at a silent auction for our church’s fundraiser when – lo and behold! – I spotted the perfect item up for grabs: a birthday party for 8 at a local jewelry store for kids. The package came with:

  • Pizza and drinks for up to 8 kids
  • $10 for EACH child to spend in store
  • Each child would get to make her own bracelet as a craft
  • Each child would get to decorate her own wooden doll as a craft
  • 2 hours of karaoke/dancing in the store after hours

I hovered near the item all  night, finally swooping in minutes before the silent auction closed with my winning bid of $100. I’ll still have to provide the cake, but with just 8 girls in attendance, I anticipate I won’t spend more than $20 tops at the local bakery. Score!

What are some creative, cost-effective ways you’ve come up with to celebrate your children’s birthdays, all while staying on budget?

Article publié pour la première fois le 06/10/2014


10 Websites For Savin’

I will concede that I am not the only, nor the most knowledgeable saver/personal-finance-lover on the block.

But if I know anything, I know a useful website when I see/use one.  Since I cannot justify  writing an entire post about any of these sites individually (nor do I want to), I’ve been saving them for the time when I had 10 exactly. 

Why?  Because I like multiples of 10 and I’d forget half of them by the time I got to 20.

So here they are, with a little something for everybody.   


For eBay-ers:

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It’s just like eBay.  But cheaper.

Yes, you will find some of the junk that you find in stores, perhaps even some of the junk that you yourself donated.  However, you will find some excellent deals sans the too-high price tags that people place on their, ahem, “heirlooms.” 

If you think Antique Roadshow is exciting, then you’ll love this. 


For Parentals:

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I’ve always wondered how children’s clothes could be so expensive when they require so much less raw materials than real people clothes.  Someone figure this out, it’s gonna drive me nuts. 

Here’s how they sum up the process

1. Pick – Pick a great new box of clothes for your child – just $5 + shipping.

2. List – Post a box of gently-worn clothes your child no longer wears.

3. Send – When another member picks your box, send it 100% free of charge. 


For Book Readers:

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It’s just like thredUP, but instead of pants and shirts, you trade books. There are no fees on this one, you just pay shipping for the books that you mail. 

Great idea for people who are running out of shelf space; which is basically everyone I know. 

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Article publié pour la première fois le 10/11/2010


Buying Quality: Wood Furniture

Anyone who’s been to a Pottery Barn outlet can tell you that that’s where chipped pieces of particle board go to die.  That bedroom set sure didn’t look like that in the catalog.

Last year, newlywed Husband and I went to Ashley Furniture to buy an affordable entertainment center.  Knowing a little bit about furniture, I made sure to ask if the piece we were looking at was solid wood.  The salesperson assured me that, yes, it was, “entirely made of wood.”  Technically, she wasn’t lying.  Veneer is wood.  Particle board is wood.   

Many, dare I say most, large furniture companies use a combination of veneers and particle board to make their furniture.  Veneers, or thin sheets of wood, are glued to the surface of particle board, or saw dust and wood chips that are glued together, and voila, you have a cheap, decent looking building material (I got a little comma crazy in this sentence, I apologize).  This type of construction has several downsides. 

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Article publié pour la première fois le 13/07/2010


In our second article in our series about saving time, we look at how to save time grocery shopping.

If you took a survey of the average person, you would find that approximately 100% of people hate grocery shopping. Sure, it’s a good excuse to get out of that house of screaming kids you have, but the act itself is not fun. Here are a few tips to help make grocery shopping a cheaper and less painful experience.

If your grocer doesn’t offer this, look for a competitor that specializes in grocery delivery like Peapod or Tesco.

Order From Your Grocer Online

Throw money at the problem. For many people, their hate of grocery shopping is worth simply throwing money at the problem. Sure, this isn’t the cheapest of ways to solve the problem, but it sure helps. What do I mean by “throwing money at the problem?” You can do anything Online now from learning card counting to buying groceries. To that end, many grocery stores will allow you to order your groceries online and for a small fee, they will deliver those groceries to your house. No, this doesn’t save you money, but it does save you time. Nevertheless, if you have the money to spare and you simply can’t be bothered to drag yourself to the grocery store, look to see if this delivery option is available to you.
Throw money at the problem, lite. This is the diet version of throwing money at the problem. In fact, this might actually save you money.
Buy From Online Retailers
While most people know that Amazon.com is great for buying DVDs and books, what a lot of people don’t know is that you can buy food from Amazon. In fact, pretty much any dry good you need is available to purchase and ship to your house. Like most things on Amazon, you can expect a decent discount on the items as well (although this is not always the case). Couple this with joining Amazon Prime and you can enjoy free shipping on items to your house in as little as two days. Not a bad deal. What’s the downside? Amazon has done a great job lately of expanding their grocery options too so just about anything you buy in a store can be found on Amazano.
Most of these items have to be purchased in bulk, so you’d better REALLY like those Alphabits you are ordering because you are going to have a lot of them. Amazon makes this whole process even easier by offering a subscribe and save option where you schedule regular shipments of food plus get a discount for subscribing. Making a few clicks on your mouse and saving money is a lot better than pushing a cart around the supermarket and getting shocked by the static electricity build up every few seconds. (You know what I’m talking about – don’t pretend you don’t.)
Buy Really Local
Hit up the farmers markets. Farmers markets are great for many reasons. Many laud their environmental benefits or their communal nature. I say enjoy the fact its a way to buy food for cheaper than at a grocery store and away from those soul-sucking florescent lights which apparently are mandatory at every grocery store in existence. While you are generally limited to purchasing produce at farmers markets, you can stock up on some other items such as eggs, meat, and other such wares. Plus you get to enjoy the outdoors while buying your food. Not a bad deal.
What about you reader, any other ideas to help make grocery shopping less like receiving a colonoscopy? Sound off below.

Article publié pour la première fois le 14/11/2013

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In the last ten years the price of gas has more than doubled, and there’s little evidence to suggest that gas prices are going to return to their previously low levels.  Just take a look at historical prices and other than a few isolated dips the price of gas has consistently increased.

Gas is just one expense that most people completely forget about when considering the cost of owning a car, but the costs can add up pretty quickly.  For example, my daily commute to work involves a 42 mile drive each way.  Luckily I only go the office four days per week, but I still have to fill up the tank an average of once a week (and my car is pretty much used for nothing but commuting to work).

Fortunately it is one expense that you have a good deal of control over.  The tips in this article will help you get the most bang for your buck at the gas pump.

Stick to Regular

Premium gas costs a good twenty to thirty cents more per gallon so switching to regular will save you at least a few bucks with every fill up.  Most cars run just fine on regular unleaded gas so unless your owner’s manual specifically states your car needs premium you’re just throwing your money away.

Slow Down

The faster you drive, the faster you’ll burn through your gas.  Slow and steady wins the race for most mileage so ease off the accelerator and pay attention so you’re not making sudden starts and stops.  This will help your brakes last longer too.

Don’t Be Idle

Don’t leave the engine running while you run into the store or hit the ATM for some cash. Even if you think you’ll just be a minute, you’re using gas for nothing.

Take a Load Off

The more weight your engine has to haul around the harder it has to work and the more fuel it will burn through. That means you shouldn’t carry around all your worldly possessions with you.  That means you should empty your trunk of anything not essential.  In other words, take out the 300 pounds in dumbbells and weights, though you should probably leave the spare tire and jack.

Speaking of weight, maybe this is a good excuse to finally drop a few pounds of your own.  And while losing twenty or thirty pounds from your waistline won’t have a huge impact on your car’s mileage, it will help you live a little healthier and happier.

Skip the Gimmicks

It’s amazing how many products promise to boost your mileage to amazing levels and there is no shortage of frugal drivers willing to buy them.  But they’re really just throwing their money away with fuel boosts and gas additives that do little good.

You can even buy a kit that will supposedly convert your car to run on water instead of gas.  If that sounds shady, you’re right.  It probably won’t work at all and you could end up damaging your car and even voiding the warranty.  Buyer beware.

Article publié pour la première fois le 24/11/2014