It's patriotic to be frugal!

It’s patriotic to be frugal!

Happy 4th of July! While I’m shooting fireworks and doing some DIY projects this weekend, Melissa Schraiber of FatWallet.com is pitching in to help. And of course I was in no way compensated for this article–that would be against Google’s terms and agreements and my commitment to you

Stay safe my friends!

What’s More Patriotic Than Saving a Dollar? How Not to Overspend this Fourth of July 

If you’re like most people, you’ve got big plans for the July 4th holiday. Research from the National Retail Federation says nearly 90 percent of Americans will celebrate in some way – barbecues, fireworks, camping and travel are some of the more popular ways to recognize the holiday.

It’s easy to go overboard and blow your budget when you’re looking forward to blowing off some steam and relaxing while you’ve got several days off work. Rest assured, you can have fun, celebrate our nation’s independence and still have some money in the bank if you use these tips.

Food and Drink

Cookouts and barbecues are one of the most popular ways to celebrate Independence Day. And food gets pricey. Check out these statistics from the National Retail Federation that show how much Americans will spend during the July 4th holiday:

  • $92 million on chips
  • $60 million on dip
  • $194 million on hamburger patties
  • $70 million on buns
  • $86 million on cheese
  • $341 million on beer

While your spending will account for only a fraction of the total, hosting your family and friends for a cookout can get pricey. Instead of providing all the food and beverages, ask your guests to pitch in. You provide the meats, buns and toppings and ask your guests to bring side dishes and desserts.

For beverages, set up a small, inflatable pool in the yard or on the patio. Ask your guests to bring a six-pack of their favorite beer or soft drink. Dump the drinks in the pool and cover with them ice. Everyone gets to share in the wealth and try some new varieties. Plus, you’ll save on the overall cost.

Fireworks

According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, Americans spent $645 million on fireworks in 2012. But don’t break the bank by shelling out hundreds of dollars on fireworks that you might not even get to use. Go in with a few neighbors and split the cost so you can have a brief display on your street. Practice fire safety while putting on your show too. It’s certainly not cheap to go to the emergency room!

Camping

Getting back to nature is a fantastic way to enjoy the July 4th holiday. Save money on camping supplies by looking for deals online and using Kohls coupons for tents, canopies, sleeping bags, grills and other necessities to make your outdoor adventure memorable.

Travel

According to AAA, 40.8 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more over the holiday weekend. That’s slightly down from last year, probably due to July 4th falling on a Thursday. More people tend to travel when the holiday falls on a Wednesday and they have more time off from work.

Despite high gas prices, most people will travel by car. To reduce your gas usage, make sure your vehicle is in top working order. Change the oil and check the air in the tires. Using cruise control will also help you save gas on longer trips. And obey the speed limit, as this will also help you cut down on the amount of gas you use.

Don’t shell out too much cash over the long weekend. Using our tips, you can enjoy the traditional July 4th festivities and activities without burning a hole in your wallet.

How will you be frugal on the 4th of July? 

Melissa Schraiber tries her best to be as frugal as possible and helps others to do the same. With big life changes in her near future, it is more important now more than ever to save money.

Hipster Cable

What is Hipster cable? Photo Credit: chantel beam photography via Compfight cc

Do you still own a TV? I haven’t owned one in a while and it seems like the trend to owning a T.V. and paying for traditional cable are going the way of the gas powered car.

There is a new breed of media watchers who consume their media through Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Mobile ???.

Many of them don’t even pay for it. It’s called Hipster Cable.

What is Hipster Cable?

The term hipster is now used for any young urban person who dresses cool and thinks differently (doesn’t every generation do that?)

Hipster cable is way to consume media without paying for it directly–yet you might exchange an intangible currency.

An example of hipster cable:

If you give me your Hulu plus password, I’ll share my NetFlix longin with you.

Bam!

Now, multiply that scenario across a whole hipster generation and you’ve got hundreds of thousands, if not millions of free loading Arrested Development binge watchers.

Hipster Cable: Ethically Wrong or Savvy Consumers?

So this begs the question, is sharing your password to these online services ethically wrong or does it just show a smart frugalness by the consumer?

Have you ever shared your Hulu Plus login or borrowed your brother in law’s HBO account to catch up on an episode of Thrones?

What constitutes “family” in family plan? Does a “household” include your roommate’s friend sleeping on the couch?

I’m sure advertisers don’t mind more eyeballs viewing their ads, yet shareholders could have concerns their product is being viewed for “free”.

Netflix and others could crackdown on sharing, yet at what cost? Do you really want to anger your viewing base–even if they are viewing for free?

Hipster Cable: Final Thoughts

I believe all artists deserve their dues and even those involved in making a production from mixers and composers to those chopping film minutes before the release deadline.

When you engage in hipster cable, you’re not just stealing from Netflix, Amazon Prime, or HBO, you’re also stealing from all those involved in making a production–especially those who earn royalties.

Pony up the money if you want to watch a show, or if you’re cheap–crash your buddies house when it’s time to watch the next Game of Thrones.

Great movies and shows are more fun to watch in community.

What are your thoughts on Hipster Cable?

Also read: Budget Like a Hipster

Winners wake up early. Photo Credit: mag3737 via Compfight cc

Winners wake up early. Photo Credit: mag3737 via Compfight cc

Take a look around at those people you admire who are successful in life and seem to get a mountain of tasks completed. You know their secret?

They wake up earlier than you do.

Shocked?

It’s no secret really. Winners just wake up early and start their day off before you AND work on strategic tasks that help them reach their goals.

I have decided to join their ranks and join the 5 Club. The what?

I’m waking up at 5 am to work on specific tasks that will help me reach my life goals.

Reaching Goals Takes Time

We all have goals, yet who reaches them?

Answer: Those who devote enough time and energy to those goals.

How much time do you actually spend on your goals? Do you carve out time each day to make mico steps towards your life goals?

There is a lot to do, but only a few tasks each day really matter and make an impact on your life goals.

My Motivation for joining the 5 Club

I’ve got a lot on my plate, how about you?

Currently I’m working 40 hours, commuting 15 hours, maintaining a blog, am a husband and dad, helping out around the house, and assisting with a family business.

I can slice my tasks and responsibilities down to a certain level, but there still remains a large mound of important tasks that have to be done.

With my normal schedule, I just can’t seem to get it all done.

That is why I’ve decided to start waking up early during the week to tackle my important goals head on.

I was lagging with this for a long time. My wife claims she’s been telling me for years that winners wake up early, but I’m not a morning person so I always dismissed that idea quickly.

The breaking point has been not being able to exercise and write–both things that give me life and energy.

When I saw that my friend and YouTuber had joined the 5 Club, I had to jump in.

 Wake up Early? (Why Not Stay up Late?)

Why not stay up late and just work on your goals?

I know, I used to feel the same way too. Yet-those tasks and goals that were personally important kept getting pushed lower down the priority list and never materialized into action.

By the end of the day I was tired and unmotivated and just want to watch reruns of Jimmy Fallon on Hulu.

5 AM is Tough: Preparation, Discipline, Planning

This club is not for the faint of heart. It takes preparation the night before to lay out your clothes, pack your lunch, and set your alarm.

When that alarm goes off when its dark and everyone else is sleeping it takes discipline and guts to roll out of bed.

I use an app called the 5 Club for i-Phone. Currently there isn’t a Android version, but I’m sure its in the works.

It takes planning to stay on task and figure out what tasks you should actually do. Currently I am writing 2-3 days and exercising 2 days.

My Experience with the 5 AM Club

I’m in my second week so far and I’ve been able to write a few articles and exercise 3x. This may not seem like a lot, but if I didn’t wake up early those things wouldn’t happen at all.

The 5 Club App only lets you check in at 5:00. If you try at 5:01, you’re late. The app will even send a notification to Facebook and you can see who else is waking up at that time too.

My wife is even getting in on the action and waking up a few days with me.

Can You Wake up at 5 AM?

If you’ve read this far, you must be thinking that waking up early could benefit you. Trust me, it works.

Why not try it? Download the 5 club app if you’ve got an apple on your phone or set your alarm for 5 am for the next morning.

Pick your important task and get to it. Avoid social media, email, TV, and other distractions. Just focus on those personal goals.

Go ahead and decide to be a winner and wake up early. You won’t regret your decision.

See you in the morning.

If you’ve decided to join the 5 AM club let us know in the comments what you’ll be doing with your time. 

too many credit cards

Over reliance on credit is a reason why businesses fail.  Photo Credit Andres Rueda

Sunday beganNational Small Business Week in Washington D.C. sponsored by the Small Business Association. There is full schedule with some great speakers plus awards for the top small businessperson of the year.

What is the great thing about small business? Small business embodies the ideals of capitalism and hard work. It is the ability to start a successful business with only $100 and a website.  Small business is America.

Small Business is America

As a small business owner myself, I am a proud part of this group that keeps the economic wheels churning.

A small business is hard to define, but it generally has less than 250 employees and a few sources say up to 499 employes count as a small business.

Each industry has its own standards. The SBA has some technical info if you really want to know what your industry standards are for “small.”

A few facts about small business in the U.S.

  • Created 2/3 jobs in the last 20 years. (1)
  • 98.3% of all businesses have less than 100 people. (2)
  • 70% of small businesses are owned and operated by a single person
  • It takes an average 6 days to start a business in the U.S., but 38 days in China.
  • 1/3 of small business rely on credit.
  • 54% of small businesses are home based .

5 Reasons Why Small Business Fail

  • Underpricing of goods and products.
  • Illness of key personel.
  • Bad relations with vendors and customers.
  • Bad budgeting, over leveraged, reliance on credit.
  • Reluctance to get professional help.

Source: focus.com

This week is all about small business. Let us know if there is anything you want to know about small business or financial business issues. 

Check out these small business articles:

 

superboy in phonebooth

Little Hero in training. Photo Credit: TahoeSunsets via Compfight cc

My red-headed son is 2.5 and fairly advanced in his ability to speak, but of course I’m biased.

While playing outside a few days ago he said, “Let’s play Superheros!”

I almost teared up with emotion at my son’s declaration. We then proceeded to fly around the back yard, jumping over buildings in a single bound. It was a father/son moment I don’t want to forget.

We All Need Superheros

Why did I become emotional when my son asked to play Superheroes? Perhaps it was because I knew he would be lead to aspire to greatness due to these heroes.

Maybe I knew it would be a good connecting point with my son and a way I could teach him about good vs. evil.

I’m sure both are true, but a part of me teared up because I long to believe in Superheros again like a little boy I once knew who thought The Hulk could pick up anything.

I don’t know where my boy learned what a Superhero was or what they do–I’m sure he’s still trying to figure that out.

Good chance he learned from his older cousin who can often be found wearing a Batman or Green Lantern shirt karate chopping bad guys left and right. He believes Superheros are real as he should at his age.

The fact is, we all need Super heros no matter our age. We need someone bigger than ourselves who can do extraordinary things. Someone who will fight against injustice and stand on the side of Truth.

We all need Superheros, yet somewhere along the way we stop believing in them.

Superheros Melt, Role Models Stand Firm

As we grow up, we realize Superheros have their dark sides and ultimately are flawed just like us.

Children search for ways to understand the world and look to others around them as role models: parents, teachers, firemen, older siblings, and yes–even Superheros.

Soon a child’s dream of reality of Superheros melt into a flesh and blood reality of role models.

A child’s world is shaped (good or bad) by these role models and they begin to fight on the side of good or that of evil.

A Superhero’s influence melts away, but a role model’s impact can change the course of a child’s life. Who are the role models today?

I firmly believe that Fathers are the modern day Superheros our generations of children and teenagers need.

Fathers who are interested, invested, and mentoring not only their own children, but also in the generations of youth around them.

A Modern Day Superhero Primer for Fathers

Love Your Spouse- One of the best ways to be a good dad is to be a good husband to your wife. Show your kids what it is to respect women, love well, make decisions together, and fess up when you’re wrong.

Be present- Children need their fathers. The statistical evidence is overwhelming. Being present in your kids life, will make a huge impact on their spiritual, emotional, and general well-being.

Love well- Love in ways that your kids will ‘get it’ that you are loving them. Do you know your kids Love Language? If not, check out The 5 Love Languages of Children.

Ignite passions- Be the gas that lights the passions in your children. Find out what they enjoy and help them excel at it.

Live a Courageous Life- Your children will catch much more than you’ll teach them. Live out your passions and dreams. Stand up to evil and fight for good. You’re kids will see it, respect it, and want to walk in that same path.

Lead well and enjoy your superhero status.

More Resources for Being a Superhero Dad!

AllPro Dad- Great community started by Tony Dungy. 

Books:

Promise Keepers- A community whose vision is: “Men Transforming the World.“