Archive for October, 2014

Shark Tank Wisdom

Shark Tank is the one reality show I really like to watch. As hopeful entrepreneurs make their presentations to potential investors, the creativity of ordinary people is inspiring. Many of them have some great ideas. Even the ones whose ideas are rejected have the advantage of having thousands of people who have watched the show become aware of their idea or product. That could only be a good thing.

One of my favorite investors on Shark Tank is Lori Greiner and now I know why. As the  “Queen of QVC”, she can afford to buy anything she wants, but she is exceedingly frugal! She said, “In the beginning I was really, really lean,” she says. “For the longest time I did it all. I played every hat. I was in the factory, doing the graphic design, the photography, the selling — literally everything. I saved money doing what I could myself. It was hard but I learned. I learned that nobody’s better than you to get your business off the ground. The experience you get is priceless.”

You and I may not have a business or patent inventions or be able to invest in others’ business ideas, but following Lori’s pattern of frugalness can save you money every day. When you do things yourself, you learn how to do it better and you save the money you would have spent to have someone else do it. It may be hard, but if you need to stretch your money, it is worth it.

Here are just a few things you could pay someone else to do, but you can stretch your money when you dolossy-page1-800px-No_original_caption._(Woman_cooking_in_a_kitchen.)_-_NARA_-_513406.tif it yourself.

  • Do your own yard work. Hiring someone to do your yard work often requires you to allow them to do it on a weekly schedule. The large companies contract to do yard work and may do it more often than needed. If you really can’t do it yourself, hiring a reliable young person may be the way to go.
  • Do your own ironing. Recently I heard someone say, “I could have bought a new pair of pants this month for the cost of having mine cleaned and pressed every week.” The $3 or more that it costs for sending a pair of pants to the cleaners adds up if you do it often.
  • Create your own website. There are now so many resources available for you to develop your own website free that I wonder if web design companies are going to be able to stay in business much longer.
  • Wash your car yourself. You will save the trip to the car wash and time wasted sitting in their waiting room.657px-Scene_at_car_wash_in_Summit_NJ
  • Cook your own meals. It is not only cheaper to cook than to purchase meals at even the fast food restaurants, it is much healthier.
  • Color and cut your own hair. This is where some of my friends tell me I have gone to meddling, but you can buy many packages of hair color for the cost of having your hair colored just once. If you learn to cut your own hair, that savings multiplies.
  • Do your own repairs. My husband is a handyman and has saved us many thousands of dollars over the years because he can do repairs himself – on the house, on vehicles, on tools, etc.

You can think of many more because Lori Greiner is right. You can definitely save money doing what you can do yourself.

Holiday Fun

easter-eggclipart-tn-3 Practically everyone loves to have special decorations around holidays. If you look at the calendar and anticipate New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day in America (July 4), Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, you can see just a few of the reasons why you could easily go broke purchasing special decorations for each holiday.

There is no reason to spend much extra money on decorations, however, as there are often deep, deep discounts right after the holiday on decorations. All you have to do is remember where you store those bargain decorations from year to year. The easier and cheaper thing to do, though, is to just add something extra to decorations you already have around the house.

For instance, in many countries they decorate just as much for Easter as they do for Christmas. Willow branches which a4th-of-july-clipart-tn-2re blooming at that time of year are placed in large vases or umbrella stands or any other tall container you have and colored ribbons are weaved throughout the branches. Or …decorated blown eggs are hung from branches of trees put in those same types of containers. You can spend tons of money on beautiful eggs or you can make them yourself. Or better still, include your children in the process.

I usfree-thanksgiving-pictures-6-tned to dress up my sons’ large Raggedy Andy dolls and place them on chairs outside the door at Halloween time. No expense – but it was an invitation to trick-or-treaters.

I have a friend who used to cover every one of her pictures hung throughout her house with Christmas wrap at Christmas time. She tied a ribbon around them and the entire house was decorated. Small expenditure – big impact.

I love to collect acorns, pinecones, etc. when I walk and place them in baskets I already have for use in the fall and through the Christmas season. No expense – just planning.

Magazines often have lots of hints in how to decorate for an upcoming holiday. You don’t need to subscribe to the magazine. Check out their website online and search for the holiday you’re interested in.

As usual, you can save lots of money by doing things yourself and have lots of fun in the process.

It’s Not Money That Makes Me Happy

DSC06583If I were to write a song about my favorite things, they would include spending time with my husband and my family, fresh vegetables cooked in sugar and bacon drippings, sunshine and roses, a walk in the woods, setting a table with pretty dishes, great Southern fried chicken and watching something like “Little House on the Prairie.”

If I were 19, my favorite things might include a smart phone, video games and food you eat on the run to the next appointment. I’m not 19.

The older I get, the more I know how blessed I am. Recently, I was asked, “On a scale from 1 to 10, how blessed do you feel?” My answer, “15.”

My favorite things don’t have to involve money. It costs me to visit my sons’ families because we don’t live close, but I would rather live down the street. The walk to their house would cost me nothing. I wish I had a garden, but I don’t (yet); however, sometimes someone with a garden gives me some surplus and those are usually the best tasting vegetables I eat all year. It doesn’t cost me anything to go out and enjoy the sunshine and my rose bushes were Kuykenhof and Delft, Holland May 2004 028already here when we moved into our house. I love a walk in the woods or the local park. Again, that costs me nothing. Setting a table with pretty dishes is such fun to me. Of course I have purchased dishes, but I have several sets that were either given to me or inherited. It may not be good for me but I love to eat fried chicken. Sometimes I fix it myself. Sometimes I pick it up, but it is not expensive either way. The episodes of “Little House on the Prairie” I have watched lately have been on the internet. I pay for internet service, of course, but nothing extra to watch my favorite show.

I do think a lot about money. Everyone does, but I am usually trying to come up with new ways to stretch it. I figure it is only good stewardship for the resources God has given me. When I find a quarter in the bottom of my purse, realize I can save $25 on a needed item because that store just sent me a coupon, or find I have just the right ingredients for a meal, I know God has given me another way to stretch my money. I am more excited about a bargain God has arranged for me than I am about having the money to buy the item at bargain prices.

It’s that God cares about the little things that means so much to me. If it matters to me, it matters to Him. I am His daughter.

…whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he (Proverbs 16:20b).