money

cross stitch kit by chez sucre chez

Top 10 Crafts That You Can Turn Into a Money-Making Hobby

If there’s a craft that you enjoy, have you thought about selling your creations to make money?  Sell your handmade creations online at Ebay, Etsy, Poppy Talk Handmade, Made It Myself, DaWanda, Art Fire, Buy Handmade and more.  Consider these ten crafts which can help you earn the extra money:

cross stitch kit by chez sucre chez

1. Knitting. With two knitting needles and a thread or yarn, you can make clothing or accessories with your own chosen colors, texture and designs. This can be done by hand or using a knitting machine.

2. Cross stitching. A craft I used to do myself. Cross-stitching uses a counted-thread embroidery, needle and thread in creating designs or patterns. All you have to do is form x’s on your fabric while following a design or pattern.

3. Crocheting. Instead of a needle, a hook is used to make loops connected to each other. There are different styles of loops used in a crochet to form different designs and shapes. Crocheting can be used to make table cloths, mittens, mufflers, bonnets, sweaters and clothes.

4. Scrapbooking. This craft is so popular today. It’s like making your personal diary using photos, souvenirs, letters, and decorative materials that are put together to make one ensemble in the form of a book or an album.

5. Candle Making. Making candles out of candle wax can also be an enjoyable craft. Today candles come in all shapes, sizes, colors and designs. Scents and aromatic oils can also be used to make them extra special.

6. Jewelry Making. Jewelry making and beading is enjoying huge popularity today. All you need are pliers to cut and bend your wires. Swarovski crystals, beads, ceramic, silver, and metal are commonly used in place of the more expensive gold.

7. Quilting. Quilting is stitching together pieces of cloth either by hand or a sewing machine to create a bigger piece of fabric. Traditionally, quilts are made out of three layers of fabric, which usually differ in colors and designs giving the finished cloth a decorative and unique patched design. Quilts can be used as blanket, bed or seat covers.

8. Woodworking. Any method done to give a piece of wood design and function can be considered as woodworking craft such as carving or sculpting. Woodworking can be done to create boxes or storage, furniture, figurines and other art pieces.

9. Sewing. The art of sewing involves needle, thread and fabric to make bed sheets, table tops, rugs, upholstery, pillow cases, curtains and clothing. Sewing can either be done by hand or with a sewing machine.

10. Basket weaving.   This involves the use of natural materials from plant or vegetable fibers that are woven together to create baskets or bins. People who live in the countryside or rural places, where plant fibers are abundant are often into this craft. Woven baskets are classic pieces that are not only decorative but functional as well.

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1. Cross Stitch Kit by Chez Sucre Chez

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Checklist for Payday Loan Borrowers

When times get tough, most consumers think about getting a payday loan to get through. In many US States, payday loans are legal so you can find legitimate lending companies that offer quick cash advances for those in need. But before you do, here are some questions you should seriously consider:

Do you have other options? Is it possible for you to borrow money from a friend or a relative instead of getting a payday loan? Does the situation really require you to take out an immediate cash advance? Is it really an emergency?

Never take out more than one payday loan at a time. Payday loans are fast and easy to acquire but they carry very steep interest rates (100% – 300%). Taking out cash advances from different payday loan lenders could mean trouble later on when you find yourself struggling to catch up with repayment.

Know all the fees before signing up.The Federal Law mandates all lenders to disclose the interest rate, fees and possible penalties associated with the payday loan. Borrowers have every right to know their payment obligations.

Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Make sure that the loan company is registered with the BBB and that there are no unresolved complaints filed by past and present borrowers.

Prepare your pay check.Be prepared to pay the full amount you borrowed by your next payday to avoid hefty fees.

Use the money wisely. If you really need a payday loan to survive a financial crisis, make sure that every cent will be wisely spent. Furthermore, borrow only the amount you need and don’t try to take more than what the situation calls for.

vegetarian pasta grilled pasta and olives

Top 10 Tips to Stretch Your Budget

On a limited budget? You’re not alone. Here are practical tips on how you can stretch that budget to the fullest:

vegetarian pasta grilled eggplant and olives1. Cook your meals. You can save a great deal of money by cooking your meals and preparing packed lunches or snacks you and your family can bring to work or school. Not only will it save you money, you can also assure that the meals are healthy and clean.  (Try this: Vegetarian Pasta: Grilled Eggplant and Olives)

You can also prepare dishes that can last for a week so you can cook a whole pot in advance and save the other half for the succeeding days. When it’s time to serve it, take it out a few hours before meal time to allow it to defrost and then reheat it.

Just make sure that you store them in a sealed container and place it in a freezer. Put a label on the container with a “Best Before” date so you can be sure to serve it at its best. Post a meal plan on your refrigerator door so you’ll know which dishes to serve each day.

2. Buy what’s in season. Fruits and vegetables in season are cheaper so you would want to take advantage of it. Look for different recipes that use what’s abundant in your local market so you don’t have to spend more on produce that are hard to find.

garden.It’s a great idea to grow herbs and vegetables that you often use in your cooking. You can grow them even in pots. Examples are tomatoes, lemon grass, basil, parsley, rosemary, mint, oregano, etc. Growing a garden is not just cost effective, it is also an enjoyable and relaxing hobby.

4. Put it in a jar.You don’t have to spend big bucks on bread spreads as you can make your own sweet preserves like jams and marmalade. Check your local market for fruits that are in season so you can buy in bulk for a low price. Making preserves is easy as you only need to cook the fruits in sugar in a very low heat until reduced. Afterwards, store them in sterilized jars and seal the lids tightly. Put the jars in a cool, dry place. These preserves can last for months and are delicious bread spreads and desert toppings.

5. Go with the basics. When it comes to your wardrobe, you don’t have to spend huge bucks just to stay fashionable. You can go a long way if you have the basic items of clothing. Invest on a good pair of shoes – flats, heels and boots. You can use your flats for casual events, the pair with heels for business or formal functions. A stylish pair of boots is a must for winter and fall.  You’ll also want to invest on a pair of comfortable sneakers for exercising and running errands.

For clothing, basic pieces that you want to start with are: a classic cut of slacks, a pair of jeans, a knee-length skirt, blazer and a little black dress. Go for plain and neutral colors so you can match them with anything and you can wear them frequently without being obvious.

Add colors and spice up your look with the right accessories such as bags, belts, neck tie or scarves in prints and bright hues.

6. Unsubscribe from unnecessary expenses.Check your subscriptions. Do you really need to all those magazines or do they pile up in a corner without being read?  If you need information, you can easily search the internet and print as you need it.

Are you subscribed to a more expensive cable plan when the only time you get to watch television is when you get home in the evenings? Maybe you can cancel out or subscribe to a lower plan.  Or may you’ve just been subscribed to a service for a long time that you never bothered to cancel.

7. Buy in bulk.This is obvious as wholesalers sell goods at a lesser price. Just be wise when you purchase items in bulk. Make sure the products will not expire for at least within the year. You’ll also want to keep stock only items that are important and that you use frequently. Otherwise, you may only be spending more on unnecessary things. Items such as detergents, soap bars, dish washers, dish sponges, toothbrush, toothpaste, and the like are great wholesale buys.

8. Use coupons. Don’t underestimate the value of coupons. You can find them from magazines or from online coupon sites.  Choose from a list of merchants and print out the ones you need. Coupons.com is a site that offers free printable coupons for  grocery items and other products and services.

*Tip: Double your savings by using coupons on items that are already on sale.
Warning: Don’t sacrifice quality for savings. Make sure that it’s something worth buying. Don’t forget to check the expiration date before you bring it home.

9. Learn DIY skills. Stretch your budget even more by learning basic skills so you don’t need to hire a handyman all the time. For instance, learning basic PC troubleshooting, sewing, or painting can cost you hundreds of dollars in a year.
10. Turn it off. Don’t take for granted what you can save from your electricity bills. Turn off lights and electrical devices when not in use. Unplug your TV and computer from the power source if you’re not going to use it for long hours.   The few cents you save from your energy consumption each day can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in a year.
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Cut Back Expenditures and Save Your Business Budget

Recession has indeed affected both big and small businesses in the industry.  If you are a small biz or a home business owner, you need to be creative in finding ways to cut your costs without compromising your tasks at hand.

Below are some practical suggestions to reduce your expenditures and stretch your business budget.

Conserve energy. Do your share in saving the environment while cutting your bills at the same time.   Make sure that your office is well-ventilated.  Use energy-saving lighting devices in your office or store.  Unplug electrical devices at night.

Share marketing costs with other businesses.  Offer to help out another company in marketing in exchange for a free or a lower cost of service.  For instance, you may promote a printing company as you enjoy discounted price for printing services.

Hire freelancers. You may not need to hire a lot of in-house employees, especially if you are managing a start up the business.   During peak seasons, you may hire freelancers to temporarily lend a hand.

Take advantage of free online tools. Maximize email capability and use it to send messages whenever possible.  Make the most of free internet marketing tools to promote your business such as blogs, social networking sites, forums, press release sites, and many others.

Monitor office supplies. Buying office supplies in bulk is obviously cheaper but you also need to pay attention to how these materials are used.

Lease office equipment. Purchasing new or used equipment could eat up a huge percentage of your budget.  Consider leasing as an alternative.  Leasing allows you to pay in installments as you get to use the devices and you can be entitled to tax benefits.

Switch to VoIP (Voice-Over Internet Protocol). Through VoIP, you can make calls anywhere in the world through the Internet at a much cheaper cost.

Make payments on time.  Pay your business credit cards, business loans, leases, utility bills, suppliers and other creditors before your due date to avoid penalties and debt build-up.

Shop around before making any purchase. Just as wise consumers shop around and compare, business owners need to be diligent in doing comparisons before purchasing a product or service.

For instance, if you need a wireless phone for business use, explore your options first by using cell phone comparison tools online.  Cell phone plans vary depending on the carrier so take the extra time to study your choices.  Also, check out the BBB’s (Better Business Bureau) guide on choosing a cell phone service.

vintage car

3 Best Tips to Improve Your Gas Mileage

Did you know that following these three steps can greatly improve your gas mileage?

vintage carDo regular car maintenance.  Keep your engine properly tuned and increase your gas mileage from 4% to as much as 40%.  Properly inflated tires can boost mileage by about 3% and prolongs the tire’s lifespan.  Use only your manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil and replace clogged air filters and water pump right away.

Watch your driving.  Check the speed limit.  Be more attentive on the road.  Anticipate traffic stops to avoid sudden breaks.  If you are going to be on a stop for a while, turn off the engine.  Use overdrive gears and cruise control when applicable.  Free your trunk from unnecessary load.

Buy an energy-saver car.  If you are going to buy a new car, consider a hybrid electric car or an alternative fuel vehicle.  Check out  www.fueleconomy.gov to see a list of fuel efficient vehicle models.  The website is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Maintenance and money saving tips are also provided along with other useful tools for car owners.

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vintage car

Do’s and Dont’s of Regifting

In response to the recent economic slump, people are finding more creative ways (buying online, debt consolidation, credit counseling) to save money, stretch their budget, and avoid bad credit.  What about re-gifting?

Have you thought of “re-gifting” a gift that was given to you?  Maybe it’s something that does not really suit your style or something that you already received twice, will you “regift” if you were tight on the budget?

I haven’t tried re-gifting but I wouldn’t mind being given a “regift” as long as the person giving it to me gave it lots of thoughts to make sure that I will like it, and has given the extra effort to wrap it nicely and with love.

Consider these do’s and don’ts of re-gifting:

Don’t mention it.  The other person does not need to know it.

Don’t re-gift a used item.  It doesn’t matter if you have only used it or worn it once.  If you want to give someone something that you already used, then don’t disguise it as a gift.

Don’t make it obvious.  Some things must never be re-gifted – items that are undeniably unwanted, cheap, old (has been in your closet for a  year) or obsolete.

Remember who gave it.  Make sure that you are not giving it to the person who gave it to you.  Also, make sure that you will not give it to someone who KNOWS the person who gave it to you.

Wrap it nice.  Please don’t use the old box or wrapping paper even if it still looks new.

Re-gift something of value.  A bottle of champagne for instance will always be a welcome gift even though it has been sitting on someone else’s bar for years.

Make sure that the next person will like it.  If you want to regift, see to it that the person you will give it to will sincerely like it, if not love it.

Ten Tips for First Time Student Credit Cardholders

Thinking about getting a credit card for college? Check out these ten tips:

1. Don’t sign up to get the freebie. Offers like free shirt, free cap, or free lunch may entice some young people to sign up. Before you know it, you could be stuck with a student credit card that does not match your needs.

2. Opt Out. Credit card companies may solicit names and contact information from campuses. If your mail box or inbox is flooded with marketing offers from various credit card issuers, you can minimize the number of offers you receive by calling (888) 5-OPT-OUT, or (888) 567-8688.

3. Shop around. You want to compare the rates, fees and the terms that each card offers. Use credit card comparison sites for easier evaluation. Choose a student credit card that will report your payments to the three major credit bureaus. See to it that it complements your lifestyle.

4. Watch out for misleading teaser rates. The interest rate may start out low or you may be offered 0% APR for the first few months, but what happens after that? How much will the regular interest rate cost you? Are there hidden charges? What’s the catch?

5. Study the fine print. Many people are lured to sign up for the “wrong” credit card because they do not take time to examine the Terms & Conditions. The small font and the length of the Agreement may be discouraging but it’s the only way you can know for sure if you made the right choice.

6. Keep it low. Going over your credit limit is bad. But if you want to stay out of bad debt and maintain good credit history, you need to keep your credit usage minimal. Do not charge more than 30%  to your credit.

7. Avoid the extra fees.You can avoid additional costs such as over-the-limit fees, late penalty fees and interest rates by being a responsible payer. Submit your payments on time. Make it a goal to pay off your charges in full each month or each billing period.

8. Pay more than the minimum. There may be times when you can’t pay off your full balance. In such instances, be sure to submit your payment on time. Instead of paying only the minimum due required, try to pay more so you can complete the rest of your payments more easily next time.

9. Think thrice. Before using your student credit card for any purchase, ask yourself, “Do I really need to buy this item now?”, “Can I afford to pay it back on my due date?” If you have any hesitations, it’s best to put off the purchase.

10. Look out for changes. Credit card issuers can change their rules and increase their fees  as long as they provide notice 45 days in advance. You need to be alert about the billing statements or notices sent to your mail. Review the fine print regularly. If you noticed some changes, call your issuer right away. Most companies will lower their rate or adjust their terms if you make the request, especially if you’re one of their best customers.