February 24, 2011

What Can Brown Do for You? Save you Money! [Quick Tips]

Ever think about the complex logistical tools that big delivery firms use to find the quickest route from A to B?  For these guys, time is money, so you can count on them taking the quickest route they can find.  What's that mean for you?  Try following a delivery truck on your way home from work or to the grocery store.  I've done this a few times and discovered that UPS knows my neighborhood better than I do! Since, they've saved me 5 minutes on my trip to work each day. Not only can you save time on your commute, but if you find a quicker route, you'll save money on gas!
(Photo Credit: Zyphbear)

February 3, 2011

Out of Site, Out of Mind

Anybody who's anybody gets junk mail...either digital spam or the traditional coupon packages that come in the mail what seems like every day. So, why do all of these companies spend a lot of time and money to keep you inbox stuffed to the brim? Because they make tons of money! Your money! Here are some tips to keep you from falling into the junk mail trap.

February 1, 2011

How Big's your Pizza?

It seems there's a growing effort by the big pizza chains to sell the affordability of the large pizza. I probably have 10 coupons on my kitchen table for a $10 large pizza, not to mention the web ads, news paper ads...it's everywhere! So, what's the catch?  There is none!  If you want pizza, you can get a large for $10...sometimes even a little cheaper.  Good deal?  Maybe not.  Whether you're trying to get the best value for your up-coming Super Bowl party or whether you're trying to have the most leftovers available for your lunch, know the true cost of that pizza you're bringing home...

January 31, 2011

Simple Small in January

We've had an exciting first month of the new year!  Take a look at some of our top posts:

That's for your support! If you haven't already, join the rapidly growing Simple Small community and subscribe today or get Simple Small delivered directly to your inbox.

January 27, 2011

Make Sure Your Promotion Makes Cents

Got an opportunity to make big bucks in another city?  Good for you, but be careful before signing the dotted line.  More money does not always mean more purchasing power.  Do your research--you might be surprised!

January 26, 2011

Stock Your New Computer...Free!

Buying a computer these days is like an a la carte menu...click a button get a wireless keyboard, new software suite, headset, etc. You came into get a new computer and you leave with $2,000+ worth of hardware and software bundles that you're probably never going to use.  Fortunately, there are lots of high-quality software alternatives available out there. Check out some of these before your next computer purchase:

Google Docs is free software as a service alternative to the traditional Microsoft Office Suite.  Currently it offers a word processor, spreadsheet/databases, web forms, presentations, and drawings.  The features are not quite as robust as the Office Suite just yet, but they are rapidly growing.  One of the great things about software as a service is everybody gets all updates, and in this case they're free! No more buying the newest edition every 6 months!  Google Docs also offers unique tools that integrate content from the web into your documents (ie YouTube videos, stocks/stats, data security, etc).  Open Office also provides a free option for folks who still want to download and install something on their machine.  This won't set you back any money and does a pretty darn good job, all things considered.

Pixlr is an extremely powerful web-based photo/graphics editor that competes pretty strongly against the likes of PhotoShop and Paint Shop Pro.  You can make quick edits in seconds without leaving the comfort of your browser.  You don't even need to log-in to use it, so if you haven't tried it check it out.  If you need to download something to put on the desktop, GIMP is an imagine manipulation platform that will give you most of the comfort of PhotoShop. Again, this should cover most of the average Joe's needs, so try it before forking over the big bucks.

Look at that! We just saved $400.  I could go on for pages about all of the different free software there is out there, but usually a Google search of "Free alternative to _______" will help you find a few options.  

What free software tools can you not live without?

January 25, 2011

Make Your Credit Cards Pay You

If you are a responsible user of credit cards, your credit cards can make you money. Just remember to pay off balances every month. Then find a credit card that has a cash rebate program. You can see your options at BankRate.com or other similar sites. I like the Chase Freedom and the American Express Blue Card, but there are several similar cards, like Discover and Capital One. Once you've got the plastic, use your cash back card for as many purchases as you can. The drawback to these cards is the high interest rate you have to pay if you carry a balance. The Bank is betting that you will slip up, so DON'T. Play by their rules and beat them at their own game. You must pay your balances in full each month!

Another way to make money from your credit cards is to take advantage of the 0% interest balance transfer programs offered by some banks. You must be selective and choose only those offers that have a reasonable upfront charge. If you pay 3% or 4% of your cash withdrawal as an upfront fee, you can't win. So look for offers that have a maximum fee of $50 or $75. These offers are not as widespread as they once were, but they are still available. How do you make money? Look for offers that have an interest free period of at least six months (one year is better) and will let you advance $10,000. Then if you have a Home Equity Line of Credit, pay down that balance and save interest costs there. At the end of the interest free period, withdraw the funds from your HELOC (or another balance transfer program) to pay off the credit card. If you have the funds for a one year period, but don't have a HELOC, invest the money in a  high-yield investment account. Currently, you  invest $10,000 in a 5 year CD at 2.4%. At the end of 12 months, cash in that 5 year CD and pay off the credit card with the proceeds. You will pay a 2 month penalty for cashing the CD early, but you will still earn $200 interest on the bank's money. These numbers will get better as interest rates rise. Even if you paid a $75 fee for the balance transfer, you still have enough profit for 300 pizzas! All you have invested is a few keystrokes.

Thanks, Mr. S for the tip!