Archive for January, 2012

Growing your Business Staff

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

As 2012 gets well under way, business owners will be looking at their growth plans for the new year. Often, this means making new hires and investing in new staff. But how do you know if now is a good time to grow your team?

Here are a few signs that your business needs more people:

-       A shortage of human resources – your current staff will likely always complain that they’re overworked – but you will want to assess the legitimacy of these complaints. If the grumblings are indicative of a lack of resources and your business’s performance supports their complaints, it might be time to start hiring.

-       Changes in the industry – as your industry develops, new opportunities may arise or new skillsets may be required to keep up.

-       Future proofing and investment – there are a number of ways to invest your profits back into the business and staff is an obvious area to expand. Look out for areas of growth that you can expand into and get the people you need into the right roles.

If you’ll be looking at expanding your team, ensure you’re making the right investment in your human resources with these considerations:

-       Managing – managing staff is a big responsibility and a good manager must have the ability to get the most from their team. Often businesses will promote the most senior person to a management position, but just because they’re experts doesn’t mean they’ll be the most effective managers. If you’ll be hiring new staff, consider carefully who you put in charge of them, even if it’s yourself.

-       Training & Development outside of managing your staff, you’ll need to consider ongoing training and development. This means making sure any licenses are kept up to date and new skills are learned to keep up with new developments. Remember that your staff will likely have their own plans and career goals; a good professional development plan will help you retain good staff for the long term.

-       Equipment you’ll need to ensure you have the equipment to support your new hires. That means work stations and desks, computers and any machinery or equipment that they’ll need to do their job. Remember to think about safety requirements and Occupational Health and Safety standards. Business owners can look into equipment finance options to get the assets they need.

Remember that investing in new staff involves much more than just adding on an extra set of wages. Think carefully about the requirements and hire with care – the future of your business depends on it.

Author Bio: Paige writes about operating a small business including equipment finance options.

Money Management Made Simple

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Money management is not rocket science, although it can seem that way to a person that has no experience in money management.  Ineffective money management can result in wasted money, the accumulation of debt, and significant stress for the person as they try to figure out the best way of controlling their finances.  Fortunately, there are many simple tips for managing your money effectively and following these tips makes money management much simpler.

Automate Deposits And Savings

One of the best banking innovations of the last decade is the ability to automate your deposits into your checking and savings account, making saving virtually effortless.  Many people choose to have their paycheck deposited into two separate accounts for spending and saving, filling out one form from their company’s Human Resources department to set up the deposits.  The amounts deposited into each account can be changed at any time by simply filing an updated form with the HR department.

Review Your Credit History

Reviewing your credit history on a regular basis is important for a number of reasons.  A cursory review of your credit history will show you if your identity has been compromised or if fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name.  You will also be able to see if any company or creditor has reported incorrect negative information about you.  Being able to identify these issues quickly will help you get the issues resolved with a minimum of hassle.

Track Spending And Income

It is very difficult to make educated decisions on spending when you really do not know what you are spending your money on.  It is important to track your spending and how much you are earning to decide how much spending is too much before your spending begins to create financial difficulties.  Many people that have high debt levels today got into that situation because they were spending freely and not tracking what they were spending their money for.

Take A Great Vacation Without Breaking The Bank

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Planning a vacation can be a complex process, especially if you are planning on sticking to a budget.  One of the best ways to save money on your vacation is to find a inexpensive travel deal so that you are not spending most of your money on travel and lodging on your vacation and can spend more money on entertainment and dining if you wish.  Finding a great inexpensive travel deal can be done quickly and efficiently if you know where to look and finding a great deal can save you as much as 50% off the price of the vacation.

Travel Deal Websites

There are many different websites that focus on inexpensive travel packages for people that would like to save money on their vacation.  These websites will have offerings for many different types of vacations to provide plenty of options for people on all types of budgets.  Some of the websites will allow the person looking for a deal to choose the type of vacation they would like and will only show the results for vacations that match the chosen criteria.

In some cases, the travel website will be able to find a very inexpensive travel deal for the traveler because they have a special relationship with the vacation destination.  In these cases, the executives at the destination will enter into an agreement with the website to offer special deals on travel to the area or on lodging at the destination.  In many cases, the travel deal is exclusive to a particular website.

Some websites send messages to their email subscribers detailing any inexpensive travel deals that they are featuring for the month.  The number of deals offered and the destinations will change from month to month depending on what is available at that time.  Many people that like to travel subscribe to these websites and choose where to take their vacations based on which of their desired vacation destinations are offering a inexpensive deal during the time that they would like to travel.

What Does Your Internet Cost You?

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Over the last decade, many new innovations in internet technology have occurred, including the rising popularity of using high speed internet and signing up for extra services on cable internet contracts.  This has substantially increased the amount of money that some individuals are paying for their internet on a monthly or annual basis.  There are a number of different services that could cost you more money than you realize and trimming these cost can help you save hundreds of dollars each year.

Additional Services

Additional services on your internet contract can make the cost of your internet  connection substantially higher, even if you rarely use the services.  Many of the people that sign up for additional internet services use these services rarely but often pay $10 or more per month for each service that is added to their internet contract.  If these services will not be used on a regular basis, you can save a large amount of money by sticking to a basic internet package.

Games

High speed internet allows the user to download games that the owner can use at will.  Although these games may have a minimal initial cost, these costs quickly add up for people that purchase game upgrades frequently or sign up for monthly game subscriptions.  It is much cheaper to play the basic games available on the internet online and refrain from signing up for any games that require a monthly subscription.

Excessive Internet Plans

If you constantly go over the data limit for your internet plan each month, you are paying a steep price for those additional bytes of data.  On the other hand, if you have the fastest internet package available and do not do anything that requires that fast of a connection, you could be wasting a large amount of money.  The best course of action is to determine how much you actually use your internet each month, choose a plan accordingly, and monitor your usage online so that you do not go over the data amount included in your plan.

Save Money By Tracking Your Spending

Friday, January 27th, 2012

A simple way to take control of your finances is to track your spending so that you can see what you are spending money on and where spending can be cut to produce more savings.  Many individuals are surprised to see the amount of money they have been wasting on unnecessary items once they do begin to track what they are spending their money on.  Identifying and eliminating this unnecessary spending can save you thousands of dollars over the course of a year.

Write Down All Transactions

In order to obtain an accurate picture of your financial situation, you should write down all of your transactions for any purchases and spending in a notebook or ledger.  This should include large transactions, like housing payments and utility bills, as well as small purchases such as vending machine spending and cigarette purchases.  By tracking all of your transactions, you can see how much you are spending in specific categories and create a plan to reduce spending without impacting your lifestyle too greatly.

Calculate Your Spending

Each month, add up the spending in each category to see how much you have spent for each class of items.  This way you can truly see how much you spend on the little things like specialty coffees, weekday lunches, and movie tickets.  By adding up the costs of these categories, you can make an informed decision about where to cut spending to increase your savings.

Choose Areas To Trim Spending

Once you have discovered where you are spending your money and how much you are spending for items, you can choose the areas of your life where spending can be trimmed without creating significant hardship.  In many cases, the individual will find multiple areas where they can save money by making small modifications, such as packing your lunch instead of eating out at restaurants during work lunches or brewing coffee at home instead of purchasing it from a specialty coffee shop.  The money saved can be added to your savings account or used to pay down your debts.

A Discount Website Can Help You Save Money

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Many different types of products now have inexpensive alternatives available today.  Even popular designer products have cheaper alternatives that are similar in appearance.  As budgets get tighter, more and more people are deciding that discounted products are the way to go.  So how does a person decide what type of inexpensive product is right for them?

Many people choose to use a discount website found online to learn about the different types of products available and read descriptions of the items that they are interested in.  Choosing a discount website to use can be difficult because there are dozens of different websites to choose from and each of them may have different information about the products that you are interested in.

Information Found On A Discount Website

A discount website can focus on any type of product or provide multiple types of product categories.  If you are looking for a specific type of product, searching for that particular item can bring up any website that includes that product.  This makes it much easier to find a relevant discount website that sells the product you are interested in purchasing.

One of the most important things to look for on a discount website is whether the website prominently displays the price of the product.  Having this information readily available allows you to determine which products are within your price range.  Although discount websites can cover a wide range of prices, they can also indicate when a lower price means significantly lower quality.

The appearance of a discount website can be designed in a number of different ways to appeal to different consumers.  Some websites contain limited information, such as a star rating system and a short sentence describing the product while other websites will have a lot of information about the product sold on the website.  The type of websites that you choose to use will depend on how you prefer to receive your information.

Save Money By Avoiding These Sneaky Charges

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

When a business tries to implement a significant price increase, people notice and often protest against the increases.  To prevent this, many businesses have begun using a sneaky way to increase their profits – by using hidden charges to increase the amount paid for their products.  There are hidden charges everywhere, but you can avoid paying them if you are a perceptive consumer and take the time to think about your purchases before making them.

Convenience Charges

One of the most notorious hidden charges is the convenience charge.  Convenience charges appear in every industry, from purchasing entertainment tickets online to paying for products over the phone.  Many convenience charges are a small percentage of the total price so few people complain about them.  The simplest method of avoiding a convenience charge is determining the actions that trigger the charge and avoiding those actions.

Service Charges

Another popular trend is for businesses to charge for a live person, not a machine, to assist you when you do business with their company.  Many banks have a limit on the number of times you can use their tellers in a specific time period, charging you if the teller window is used more often.  Some government departments charge an additional amount if the service desired is conducted in person instead of by mail or over the phone.

It is hard to predict what services will incur an additional charge as each business makes its own decisions on the preferred method of operation and will limit its service charges to other methods that are not as favored.  Some businesses charge for making payments over the phone while others charge for transactions conducted online.  It is important to review the terms and conditions for any account or service agreement to see what may trigger a service charge.

Simple Ways To Save When Obtaining A Mortgage

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Everyone wants to save money when they buy something, whether scoring a deal on a new outfit,  saving when obtaining a mortgage or looking for business purchases like oil field tools  The process of obtaining a mortgage can be hard enough without worrying about whether you are getting the most savings or if you should look for a better deal for the mortgage.  By following some simple tips, you will increase your chances of obtaining a great deal when you apply for the mortgage.

Have Some Flexibility

The first thing that you should do to save when obtaining a mortgage is be flexible.  In many cases, items like the amount of the mortgage or the length of time given to repay the mortgage are items that the borrower does not need to be flexible about.  Being flexible on other items, such as the name of the mortgage lender or the number of points  on the mortgage, will allow the borrower to explore a greater pool of mortgage options, increasing the chance that they will get a good bargain for the mortgage.

Review Quotes From Several Different Lenders

Another way that an individual can increase their chances of saving money on their mortgage loan is to shop several different lenders before deciding which lender to use.  Different lenders can have different interest rates for the same loan, even when looking at the same credit report and credit score.  Saving a couple of percentage points on an interest rate for a mortgage can save you thousands of dollars over the length of the loan.  It is important to carefully review the information provided by the lender to ensure that there are no hidden charges or confusing issues in the mortgage agreement.

Put As Much Down As You Can

Having a significant down payment will decrease the amount of money you need to borrow through the mortgage loan.  A large down payment will also lessen the amount that you will be paying in interest over the life of the mortgage loan and provide you with home equity much more quickly.  If you intend to stay in your home for a significant period of time, you can save a lot of money by putting as much as you can down for a down payment on the home.

Save Money On Gas With These Easy Tips

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Gasoline for our cars is a considerable expense for many households across the nation.  In every state, the cost of gasoline has risen by a significant amount and the trend shows no sign of stopping.  The high prices are causing many average individuals to look for ways that they can use to save money at the pump.

Saving money on gas is not difficult if you know the tips that save you money and allow you to go further between each fill up.  Over time, the methods will become routine and the savings will add up.  Saving money on gasoline will leave you with more money for other needs, like paying down debts or saving for emergencies.

Fill Up In The City

People that live in upscale neighborhoods are less likely to complain about high gas prices because they can afford to pay the increased price.  Gas stations in those neighborhoods often have higher advertised gas prices to increase their profits and pay for the upscale amenities that their regular customers have come to expect.  Branded gas stations will have the same quality of gas regardless of whether they are located in the city or in the suburbs, so purchasing your gas in less affluent neighborhoods will not harm your vehicle.

Avoid Highway Gas Stations

Gas stations located near to highway exit and entrance ramps generally have the highest gas prices because many travelers stop to get gas there when they are running low and do not want to go far from the highway.  Because of their proximity to the highway, these gas stations have less incentive to be competitive with their pricing   Gas stations located more than a mile away from the highway will have prices that are lower, allowing you to save more on your fill-up.

Shop Around

The price of gas can vary greatly from station to station, so finding the station with the lowest price in your area could save you a significant amount of money.  There are many  different tools available for finding the lowest priced gas in a specific area and the one chosen will depend on how you prefer to view the information.  Many people choose to use websites that display the current prices for the gas stations in the area or text message alerts that are sent to their cell phone displaying prices for the surrounding area.

Stooze Your Way To Great Savings

Monday, January 16th, 2012

In today’s tough economy, many people are looking for ways to make a little extra cash without a lot of work. One option that you can consider is called stoozing. Stoozing is a process of taking advantage of balance transfer credit cards or credit cards with low promotional interest rates. The premise is that you take money as a balance transfer from a credit card, or money you save using a low-interest card and deposit that money in a high interest savings account. Essentially, you are borrowing money and investing it in a 100 percent risk free way.

Types of Stoozing

There are two main ways to get started with stoozing. One method involves using a balance transfer credit card that allows you to deposit the money that the creditor lends to you in a bank account. You will need to find a card that offers you either 0 percent interest or a very low interest rate for a period of time. Most cards will offer you this special interest rate for around six months or one year. You can find a card by taking a look at credit cards at Moneysupermarket to get started.

Once you have taken the balance transfer, the money that you transfer should be deposited into a high interest savings account, so you can start to make interest on the deposited cash each month. Pay the minimum balance only on the credit card until the promotional period ends and continue to earn interest on the rest of the borrowed cash. At the end of the repayment term, you will pay back the amount of money that you borrowed in the balance transfer and you’ll get to keep all of the interest you made off the creditor’s money.

In order to make sure that this is indeed profitable for you, you need to find out what fees, if any, are associated with taking the balance transfer. It is common for credit card companies to charge up to 3 percent of the total balance transferred, so find out if this is the case and make sure you’ll make enough in interest to cover the fees and still turn a profit.

Slow Stoozing

The other method of stoozing involves finding a credit card that offers you a low promotional rate on purchases. For instance, you can find a card that offers you zero percent interest for a period of time. Then, simply use the credit card to pay for the normal expenses you would otherwise be paying for. Deposit the money into a savings account that you would normally be using to pay those expenses and start earning interest on that cash. As your credit card bill comes in, you’ll pay the minimum on it, only until the promotional period ends.

With this method, it is important to be sure that you are not spending more than you normally would on your routine expenses. Otherwise, this method may not end up making you any money at all.

Ensuring Success

Success with stoozing involves choosing the right card, which you can do with the help of credit cards at moneysupermarket. You also need to be sure to make all payments on time, so you don’t lose your low interest rate and to ensure you understand all fees and costs to actually come out ahead.