Enhancing Shipping Options by Tape

Custom Packing Tape

Businesses that send out packages to their customers need to find ways to set themselves apart from the competition. Of course, one way to do this is by having box designs that are custom-made. However, another great up and coming option is the use of custom packing tape, which can come in a variety of designs, sizes and colors to match any business’s personality. The result is that a business can have exactly what it needs in order to thrive.

Design Options

A great way to get started is to consider packing tape that can be designed. Fortunately, there are plenty of designs for management, companies and individuals to consider. Remember that a design can inform a customer the goods or services that are available from a particular business. A design can feature a company brand or logo. In fact, packing tape that highlights a design can be a wonderful way to get a brand out to consumers. Some companies may prefer a contemporary design that will appeal to a younger demographic. Other companies prefer a traditional look that resonates with customers.

Color Options

People may assume that packing tape only comes in a clear look. That is not reality. Instead, there are a number of colors that can be included or featured on packing tape. Some companies like to have packing tape that highlights a particular color that is associated with a company brand. A color, such as brown or black, can be a way for a company to do some clever advertising. The unique color can be associated only with one company, and people can recognize that particular tape when it is on other boxes that have been shipped to other customers from around the area. After all, many boxes that are shipped usually are quite plain. What usually highlights a box is the tape that is being used. Therefore, it makes sense that a company would spend time and effort using tape that stands out from competitors.

Although the world of business continues to be competitive, a company can set itself apart by using packing tape that can be customized. People from all over the world can identify a company or brand due to the tape that is on a box. Whatever route an individual or company chooses to do with packing tape, it can be a wonderful way to highlight itself.

Do It Yourself Make Up

There are a few things in life that most women cannot go without. Yes, men of the world, only a few things. Aside from the reckless splurging on the 75% off Coach clutch or the home décor that is on major sale and completely necessary to pull the room together, women spend on their appearance, especially make up. The problem though is that, unlike the handbags and curtains, make up and beauty products rarely go on sale. What’s a girl to do? A girlfriend recently introduced me to a brilliant (and economical) plan – make your own!

Now I know what women think when they see a DIY (do it yourself); it looks like a great money saving idea, but we don’t like putting the effort forth to go out and buy the materials and make it. But the good thing about DIY make up and other beauty products is that most women have the necessary materials in their homes. If not, the ingredients are no farther away than a short trip to a drug store.

I have found a few websites that give recipes for home beauty products including DIY body scrub, perfume, shave oil, and facial masks, as well as lip/cheek color, eyeliner, and even bronzer! What I love about all of these home concoctions is that they isolate the necessary materials to make the beauty product, but leave out all the unnatural preservatives. So with these products, you will know exactly what’s going on your body, and you’ll be making both a healthy and inexpensive choice.

Now trust me when I say that these are easy to do. Nothing took me more than 15 minutes to make; some were even as simple as buying one natural oil and putting it on. As far as money goes, you could buy a bottle of activated charcoal for DIY eyeliner for $5 and that would make enough eyeliner to last nearly two years. But, as I said before, the majority of the ingredients are basic items found in any kitchen.

So ladies, go out and explore the possibilities of DIY beauty products. The best way to find these websites is a simple Google search. Check out “How to make your own beauty products from scratch”. That will give some general products, but the more specific your search is, the more specific your results will be. Make sure to experiment and share with others – that’s the beauty of it all.

Benefits of Carrying Cash

So today I was talking to a couple of friends, and we were talking about focusing on finances this semester and some ways to stretch our tiny college budget just a bit farther. One of the guys (a business major, of course) came up with the idea of carrying more cash and less plastic, which was something I had never really considered! So I went home and did some research, and would like to share with my fellow smart-shoppers what I found and the conclusions I have come to on the benefits of carrying cash.

Statistically, about 60% of active credit cards are NOT paid off monthly. Americans rely constantly on their credit cards, and while they can be useful, they can also lead to impulse buying and overspending. Even debit cards don’t require you to LOOK at a price before swiping – you can spend a hundred dollars without hardly thinking about it. It seems that the best way to put the overspending to a stop is using cold, hard cash.

Cash has been disappearing from many American wallets as the plastic cards take over. But, by using cash only, it puts a set limit on spending. Example: weekly grocery shopping. Before you go out, take time to make a list of the things you need for the week and their approximate prices. Then, take out the necessary cash to buy the groceries and the groceries only. This way, when you’re walking down the snack aisle and those Twinkies are staring you down, you know there’s only $50 in the wallet and an extra box of Twinkies would put you over the spending limit. So you graciously back away from the Hostess aisle and continue shopping from the list. Crisis averted.

Luckily, using cash helps most on a weekly basis. When a person is limited to a certain amount of spending each week, it is known that they are more likely to be cautious about daily spending habits. Unlike a hypothetical limit that is set with using credit cards, cash actually limits spending. The only thing is sticking to the plan. It’s the easy way out to run out of cash and reach for that card. But, trust me, if you can stick with it, the money savings will be worth every penny.

I’ll be the first to admit, this savings plan won’t be easy, especially if the card has become a splurging habit. Try starting out small by keeping a set amount of cash in your wallet every week. Soon, you’ll find that there might even be a few extra bucks at the end of the week as you’ve become more and more cautious about your spending habits.

Try A “Live Cheap For A Year” Challenge

With the economy as it is, we’re all probably thinking “I’m living as cheap as I can”, however here are a few things to consider that could add up to big bucks by the end of the year! Before I begin, let me suggest this —- find a LARGE container (bank, coffee can with a lid, etc) to put your savings into!

1. Save all your pocket (purse) change.

At the end of each day empty your pockets or purse of all your change and put it into your “savings” container. How often do you pull out quarters, dimes and other change to pay for things that you might not have bought if you’d had to “break a $20” or dig into your dollar bills.

2. Cut your own hair.

While you may or may not be able to do this for yourself, depending on your hair style, how about cutting your kids hair? A friend of mine purchased an inexpensive hair cutting set and routinely cuts her husband and 3 son’s hair. At $10 – $12 (or more) for each hair cut, she’s saving close to $50 a month on hair cuts. Put THAT into your “savings” container and see the dollars add up.

3. One weekend a month stay home and buy NOTHING.

This means no “order in” pizza and no purchased movies on TV. Make it a weekend with the kids – playing their favorite games or if you don’t have kids, you can invite some friends over for a card game. If “fun” isn’t your main goal, try using the weekend to clean up the yard, clean out a closet or two or shampoo the carpets.

4. Don’t throw anything away.

Remember the old saying – “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”? Find an area in the garage or a spare room to accumulate things you won’t be using anymore then every few weeks or every couple of months, either hold a yard sale, put your items on CraigsList or on Ebay or find a community yard sale activity that you can participate in.

5. Buy cheap.

Whether you’re looking for car parts, home decor items, childrens toys, books or whatever it is — before heading out to the super centers to buy retail, check CraigsList, Ebay or even some of the Goodwill stores near you to see if you can stretch the dollars that you have to spend.

6. Decide What You Want

Last but not least — at the beginning of the year decide what you want to use those savings for — perhaps you can save up enough to cover the cost of all your Christmas gifts at the end of the year without going into debt, or perhaps you can save up for a family vacation, or at least determine to save enough to make an extra house payment or two or put some extra chunks of money on a current credit card. If you don’t have something in mind to use the money for, you’ll find yourself dipping into that “savings” container throughout the year for stuff you really didn’t have to have anyway.

Let us know if you think of other areas that can be added or what you might want to do with your “savings” when December comes around.

Frugal Claus – Gifts Under $50 For Everyone On Your List

Gifts under $50 for everyone on your list

By Andrea Pyros

Want to give a great gift but not break the bank? We’ve got you covered with a variety of affordable ideas. Read on, and share your own gift ideas, too.

Wear Marc Jacobs courtesy of his Rollerball Trio ($38) at Sephora. The collectible tin holds the gorgeous Daisy, Lola and Daisy Eau So Fresh perfume roll-ons.

Friends who appreciate unique presents—or just like to sip a chilly drink without having iced-up fingers—will be impressed by the Curva Artisan Series Double Wall Beverage Glasses and Tumblers ($29.95) at Amazon. These handmade glasses come in a set of four and are dishwasher-, microwave- and freezer-safe.

We once witnessed a mass stampede when an office mate brought in Votivo candles as presents for her team. They smell amazing, so the madness was understandable. Our favorite is Red Currant ($40), which is featured in gorgeous, handblown glass and burns for 50 to 60 hours.

Give golfers the ProActive Sports Trunk It Golf Gear Organizer ($34.91). The case, available on Amazon, is designed to carry all the putting essentials in one tidy, durable package that is perfect to stash in the trunk of a car.

How about the MoMA Store’s reusable Paper Bag Tote ($14.95)? It’s designed to look like a paper bag and is perfect for your farmers’ market–loving pal. (Get MoMA Store coupons.)

Chefs who wouldn’t dream of making dinner without fresh herbs on hand will enjoy Herb Saver Pods ($29.95 for three). Available at The Spoon Sisters, these storage devices keep parsley, basil and other herbs fresh for up to three weeks. (Get The Spoon Sisters coupons.)

There’s just something unexpected and whimsical about the LEIF Dish Detergent Bottle Vase ($26). Made from trash found in the streets of Holland, these porcelain bottles will look neat on display. (Get LEIF coupons.)

Beauty addicts will thrill to the Snap You’re Fab Lip Gloss Set from Sephora. This great deal ($30 a $96 value) contains two full-size and four travel-size limited- edition shimmering lip glosses from Smashbox. (Get Sephora coupons.)

Cozy, classic and very guy-like: the J.Crew Donegal Wool Scarf ($48). (Get J.Crew coupons.)

Smartphones and tablets, be darned. We’ll never get sick of an old-fashioned hanging calendar, particularly when it’s as cool as The Gashlycrumb Tinies Edward Gorey Calendar ($13.99) at Paper Source. (Get Paper Source coupons.)

All our designer friends went a bit mad when they saw this Perch Spot Bowl ($32). It kind of resembles a cracked-open ceramic egg with a colored inside. The bowl is available in four lovely hues and can hold food, plants or various knickknacks.

Everything about Roz Chast’s exclusive In Crowd collection for Fishs Eddy cracks us up. She even designed an old-school Celery Dish ($14.95).

Just because your hostess is on kitchen duty doesn’t mean she wants to look frumpy. A Hen House Linens Cocktail Apron ($25) allows her to unleash her inner foxy lady.

Serve up tea for two (or more) with the lovely Harney & Sons Chai Tea Gift ($36). It comes with a tin of Indian Spice loose tea, a box of sugar cubes, a tea scoop, a tea filter and a chai tea recipe.

Gadgety types should have a high-quality case to protect their most-beloved device: their phone. OtterBox’s iPhone 4/4S Commuter Series Case ($29.71) has a silicone mid-layer and polycarbonate shell that will protect iPhones from bumps, scratches and shocks. (Get OtterBox coupons.)  Note from Denise – I l.o.v.e my Otterbox case and this is a great price!

Keep a kitchen running smoothly with Grand Openings 3-in-1 (on sale for $13.49) from Black & Decker. This handy tool functions as a can opener, knife sharpener and bottle opener all in one sleek-looking package.

How To Buy A Car At Auction

Buying a car at auction has become popular in recent times as people are looking to score a bargain on a car that will provide reliable transportation over the next few years. While it isn’t impossible to find a great deal at a car auction, you really need to know what you are getting into. You don’t want your ride to be in the shop constantly because you bought a lemon.

Public Vs Government Auctions

If you must buy a car at auction, you should try buying a car at a government auction. The selection will be mostly old police cars, buses or other public vehicles.

The reason why you should try government auctions first is that the information you get is usually more accurate when it comes to condition of the car and mileage. Cars driven by government officials such as police officers are usually driven with more care meaning the car should be working well.

Visual Inspection Only

You cannot test drive a car that you see at an auction. This means that you have to really know what you are looking at when deciding to bid on a car. Look for things like the VIN number matching at each location and other signs of wear and tear on the body.

If you don’t think you could fix the car yourself should anything happen, you should stay away from that car. Look for obvious signs of damage like scored brakes, tires that might need inflation and fluid levels. A car that obviously hasn’t had an oil change in 5 years isn’t worth investing in.

Know How Much To Spend

Know the value of the car and what your own budget is. If the price of the car is driven up in a bidding war, you should just step back and understand that today was not your day. Don’t overpay for a car simply because you like the way it looks. This mistake can cause you to be paying for a car much longer than you need to be.

If anything, you should have multiple cars that you are interested in and let others overpay at the beginning. This could lead to a great deal on a car later on down the line when you are the only one who has any money to bid with.

Bidding at an auction can be a great way to get a good deal on a car, but only if you know what you are looking for. Make sure you have a price in mind and understand that the condition of the car you are buying is deemed as is. This means that you have no recourse if anything should go wrong with the car you bought. Just be smart and don’t put down money on anything you don’t have the utmost confidence in.

About the author:  Nicole Rodgers has been blogging in the automotive, technology, and insurance industries for three years. Last year when Nicole decided to purchase a car, she made sure to check online for auto insurance, this way she knew she saved money and is well covered. This past summer Nicole decided to help her nephew prepare with driving. She also helped him study for the California DMV test

Shopping Strategies for Fitness


Last month, I applied to be the next Mamavation Mom. Mamavation is a program created by Bookie Boo that offers women support & encouragement with their weight loss goals. On Monday, two moms will be selected to lead the way in an eight-week virtual bootcamp, with all the tools they’ll need to be successful. Part of the application process required me to jump in and start living a healthier life. 

I gave up soda. I cut back on snacking. And, I began a fitness routine, led by Fit Mom in Training. I’ve made it to the final round (and could use your vote!), going from total couch potato to muscled mama. Granted, they’re tiny muscles, but I’ve come a long way in just three weeks! Since I prefer to keep it frugal, I’ve mostly gotten started with free workouts at home. I have, however, needed a few things along the way. Here are my favorite strategies for keeping it in the budget: 

  • Consider Alternatives – Before you make a purchase, see if you have something at home that will do the trick. I used canned goods from my grocery stockpile as hand weights for the first week or so. I also walk the house or steps in absence of a treadmill. And, I use one of the girls’ jump ropes instead of buying something for myself.
  • Buy UsedFitness equipment gets donated a lot! People buy it with the best of intentions, only to get rid of it down the road, when it becomes a dust collector. Check Goodwill, Craigslist, yard sales and Play It Again Sports for deals on fitness & sporting goods.
  • Daily Deals – I’m currently enrolled in a Zumba class paid for with a recent Eversave deal! I’ve also seen gym memberships & fitness classes on Groupon, Living Social and other daily deal sites. Subscribe to the email for your area, and wait for a deal near you.
  • Make a List – Start with a wishlist of items you’d like to have for your fitness goals. Then, approach any purchases the same way you would with groceries. Check the ads each week and wait for the next sale.
  • Find Freebies – The best deal is always FREE! Check the library for free fitness DVDs. Ask friends if they have unwanted equipment. And, don’t forget about Freecycle or the free section on Craigslist!

I’ve spent almost nothing on my new fitness regimen so far, but I have lost a few pounds, built some actual muscles and dropped almost a full pants size. I can’t wait to see where it takes me next! 

Will you please support my fitness journey with a quick vote

About the Author:  Heather Sokol is the married mother of three girls. In between carpool, grocery shopping and her new fitness routine, she shares miscellaneous mom secrets and her tricks for living inexpensively

Photo Credit:  iClipart

Aldi vs. Walmart

Why should you prefer Aldi more than Walmart for shopping purposes?

Till now Walmart had been the most popular shopping store. But now, Aldi is gaining in importance. Now, according to most of the people Aldi is the key to low cost shopping as it was seen that the pricing at Aldi is around 20% below than that of Walmart pricing. Aldi is a German store chain and it is said that this discount chain is going to open at least 75 stores in U.S.

Reasons why you may prefer Aldi over Walmart?

Some of the most important characteristics of Aldi that differs from Walmart are:

  1. You will have to bring cash – Aldi stores accept only cash or debit cards or food stamps. You won’t be able to buy things using your credit cards in an Aldi store. So, rather than bringing your credit cards along with your, bring some cash or your debit cards. Walmart however, allows you to shop with credit cards. But, if you are not allowed to use credit cards, you will end up incurring less debt than you usually do with the usage of credit cards.
  2. The prices are comparatively lower – According to most of the people who have already shopped at Aldi have seen the difference in prices among the two shopping chains. That is, the prices at Aldi are much lower in comparison to Walmart. Thus, you are able to save more on your shopping.
  3. Less branded items sold in the store – Most of the items available at Aldi are not branded but in Walmart most of the items are branded ones and so the prices are higher in comparison to Aldi. However, the items without any particular label in the Aldi stores are actually good both in terms of taste and quality.
  4. Offers double back guarantee – As most of the items sold at Aldi are private label brands; they offer a double back guarantee. That is, they will both replace the item and refund you your money. However, Walmart does not offer any such double back guarantee on the items they sell. However, almost all of the customers are so satisfied with the items from Aldi that there have been almost no complaints till now.
  5. Great value for your money – The everyday low prices offered by Aldi are lower than that of Walmart and any other grocery store everyday offers. Aldi stores offer really great prices on staple foods like eggs, cheese, milk, etc. Moreover, the items are fresh and tasty. So, all of these along with the double back guarantee provides you great value for your money.

In addition you should also know that Aldi generally does not offer coupons as they already offer low prices as compared to any other stores. Aldi is able to offer such low prices because they don’t advertise much and they spend money on any other kinds of frills. They are a small store and are less crowded and so shopping at Aldi is much easier and time saving too.

Author’s BioRoxanne Peterson is a regular writer for various finance related Communities including CDFA, ECI and Debt Consolidation Care. She is a PG degree holder from in Marketing and Finance and right now working in a reputed bank as a relationship manager. She is well equipped to write articles on savings, frugality, shopping, debt consolidation, get out of debt, etc.

How to Stress Less & Enjoy the Holidays More

As the countdown to the holidays grows shorter and shorter, the burdens of your to-do list grow larger and larger. There are cookies to bake, gifts to buy, cards to mail, home décor and house cleaning to complete.

Sound familiar?

Sound like too much?

Like every good coach will tell you, you’ve got to have a game plan. The holiday season is no different. Just look upon Christmas day as “game day”– no television required.

The key to de-stressing your holidays is not allowing your holidays to become more of a burden then a joy.

If you’re planning a large family gathering, ask everyone to help out. Each member of the family can bring a covered dish for dinner, leaving you only to prepare the main dish.

Ask family members living nearby to come over a few days early to help clean and decorate the house, and exchange the same for them.

When you know family members are going out shopping, ask them to pick up items for you.

Send your husband and kids out for supper and a movie, while you and your friends have a gift wrapping party. Also, many small shops now offer gift wrapping services, as do local church organizations and children’s clubs like Girl Scouts.

Feel overwhelmed when it comes to baking? Join a cookie exchange where you only have to make one kind of cookie. This way, on Christmas day you’ll have a variety without all the work of changing recipes. Don’t bake? It’s okay to skip the oven sweat and pick up a variety cookie tray at your local bakery.

Do gift exchanges freak you out? You just never know what to buy the family member whose name you got stuck with? Why not suggest a Yankee Swap this year? Old gifts that you got and never used, or new ones you picked up on the fly… your family will have plenty of fun discovering what’s inside while they swap and laugh till the end.

Skip the handwritten addresses this year for your Christmas card list and create one through your word processing software. Print them out on standard mailing labels and save half the time of processing your Christmas cards. Each year, you can pull up the file and update the addresses in just a few minutes.

Is it your wallet pressing the most weight on you this holiday season? Sometimes the most cherished gifts are those that cost very little to nothing to give. Written sentiments, a handmade item, a promise of service (like shoveling the snow from the driveway, or walking the dog), or traveling to see someone can rank as the best gifts of all.

Before you let the holidays stress you, create a plan to lighten the burdens and bask in the joy of the season.

About the Author:  

MRsCHADT is the author of the 2011 Daily Mood Organizer, Mood Journal, and MRsCHADT’s Holiday Planner. She has written over a hundred articles on crafting, self-help, and home organization for both online and print venues. You can find out more about MRsCHADT at http://www.mrschadt.com/.

How to Afford Your Health

We’re all asking ourselves the same question: what am I going to do about my health insurance? Answers are as hard to come by as next week’s paycheck, and easy answers have dwindled away along with our savings accounts. Don’t despair—I’m going to tell you a few things you’ll be glad to hear, a few things you’d rather not hear, and one thing you’ve been waiting a long time to hear.

You can keep costs down

Even as costs go up, you have ways to get the health care you need on the cheap. Walmart and other supermarkets, for example, have generic prescription drugs for as low as $4. With open enrollment periods going on right now, you can take advantage of new plans for you or for family members. Look at last year’s coverage—what worked? What didn’t? Are you kicking yourself for signing a service that you never needed? Now is the time to plan ahead. Tailor your plan to suit your needs, and use this opportunity to look ahead.

It’s homework time…

Now for something you’d rather not hear: you’re going to have to do some good ol’ homework. I know you left research papers behind years ago, but this research project is worth it.

First things first: plan ahead. If you’re planning on fixing your knee that you blew out during basketball or if you and your spouse are counting on a new bundle in 9 months, then you’ll want to figure in all the major medical expenses that you will have. Get rid of any coverage that you didn’t need last year—I know, I’d like to keep it, too, but pinching pennies requires some sacrifices.

Second, look at your options. It’s basic economics—who’s going to give you the most coverage for the smallest price tag? This is where most of that research is going to come in, and you’ll be glad you did it (or mad you didn’t) the next time you need to test out your deductible.

Some companies offer Preferred Provider Insurance (PPO), Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Health Savings Accounts (HSA), or even a combination of the three. I’d love to be able to tell you which one is right for you, but it all depends on your circumstances. Read the pamphlets, check the websites, and make an educated decision. It’s worth every second.

A ray of hope

Good health insurance exists, you can have it, and you can afford it. While I was growing up, I always heard my dad say that insurance is like gambling: it’s like throwing money away if you don’t need it, and it’s like heaven when you do need it. You can take care of your loved ones without feeling like you’re handing your check over to the insurance companies.

Do your homework. Buy generic. Plan ahead. Spend the time to make the right decision so you don’t have to spend the money for making the wrong decision.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jared Heath is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in medicare advantage plans and other ways help people keep a little more money in their pocket. He passionately loves his wife, his job, and his gym membership. For more crazy things that Jared can come up with, email him at jheath.biz@gmail.com.