31 December 2006 

Happy New Year!


New Year's Eve Times SquareWell, it's only hours away from a New Year which means New Year resolutions are about to go into effect. I looked at a lot of Top Ten New Year Resolution lists and I found that money related items were almost always on that list.

It turns out that a lot of people decide that they're going to try to save more money or pay off debt. Both of them seem like very good ideas. In fact, the saving more money resolution sounds like a good one. I'm not one to make a New Year resolution, but maybe I'll give that one a try. There's always ways to cut back and save more money. What are your New Year resolutions?
26 December 2006 

Unused Gift Cards Generate Millions In Profit


Gift CardsHow are some of the nation's top retailers getting rich?? They profit from unused gift cards. Best Buy reported a $43 Million dollar gain in fiscal year 2006 because of gift cards that were expired and weren't used within the 2 year limit. Most companies say that you have to use the card within 2 years. If you don't, the value of the card either decreases or isn't worth anything at all!!

A lot of companies now days sell gift cards, and when you look at the facts it's actually foolish for a company to not sell them. Think about this...you own a company and you sell a $25 gift card. The person who receives the gift card may or may not be familiar with your store. If it's the latter, you have a new customer. If not, you have a person who has $25 to spend in your store. That person comes to your store and buys something for $30 using their $25 gift card. That's $5 extra that they need to spend that they probably wouldn't have spent if they didn't have the gift card.

Now, think about the flipside. A person receives the $25 gift card but only spends $23 of it on something that they wanted. That leaves $2 for the balance of the card. Now, say that person never goes back to the store or forgets to use the card within the 2 year limit. That's $2 in the store's pocket as profit!

More and more companies are starting to realize this and are making huge profits because of it. I'm actually guilty of not using the entire balance on one of my gift cards that I was given 2 or 3 years ago. I left 70 some odd cents on the balance. Now if 10 million do that, that's profit for the company. A HUGE profit.

One other interesting note. Supermarkets and Gas Stations have close to a 100 percent redemption rate for gift cards. Those stores aren't profiting nearly as much as the others. The 100% rate is due to the fact that people HAVE to go to the supermarket and fill up their vehicles with gas. They DON'T have to go to Best Buy to pick up a DVD. Interesting.

If you received any gift cards for Christmas this year or last year, get out there and spend them. Don't put them in a drawer and forget about them. Don't let those big companies profit on something as easy as expired gift cards.
24 December 2006 

Merry Christmas!


Christmas TreeI just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I'll be back around Tuesday with regular new content. Until then, enjoy the holiday weekend and may all your "getting rich" dreams come true.
19 December 2006 

Goldman Sachs Dishing Out Record Bonues for Employees


Goldman SachsGoldman Sachs announced the other week that they'll be giving their employees an astonishing record amount in bonus money. That record amount?? $16.5 BILLION DOLLARS!! And the great thing about Goldman Sachs is that everyone benefits from the bonus, not just the executives and top performers.

The average salary, including the bonus, is said to be around $622,000 this year. They're also shelling out big bucks in the form of a cool $25 MIL for their "Golden 25," a group of bankers, traders, etc. that brought in the most money for the year. Talk about motivation and an incentive to work hard!

The company can do this because they had an excellent year. Their profits climbed over 70% with their stock up over 50%. Man, do I work for the wrong company or what?!?
10 December 2006 

How to Save Money when Shopping Online


Save MoneyEvery year the percentage of people who shop online rises dramatically. This year is no different. With that said, I wanted to give a couple of ways that you can save big bucks by shopping online.

1. Coupons
A lot of sites have online coupons that can be used for anything from a percentage off of your total purchase to a free item. All you need to know if how to find these coupons, and you could save a bundle. The best way that I've found to find the coupons is by going to Google and typing in the name of the store plus the word "coupon." For example, if you were shopping at Overstock you would go to Google and type in "overstock.com + coupon." Usually the first couple of results contain codes that you can type in during the checkout process.

2. Free Shipping
More and more sites are starting to offer free shipping on their items. Sometimes you have to spend a certain amount to get the free shipping, but if you need a couple of things and can get it from the same store it's definitely beneficial. For those sites that require you to spend a certain amount before getting the free shipping, you can just add an item to your cart that doesn't cost much. For example, if you had to spend $50 to get free shipping, but your item only cost $49.95, you'd want to add something small and pay $50.50. Otherwise, you would have to pay for shipping and it would cost $55 (or whatever the shipping rate is). Slickdeals has a portion of their site dedicated to Amazon.com "fillers" which are items that only cost a couple of cents. Check it out at http://slickdeals.net/slickfillers.

3. Compare Prices
Anytime you do shopping, whether it be online or in the store, you obviously want to find the right price. There are web sites out there that do the work for you. Pricegrabber.com tends to be a pretty good one. Just go to the site and type in what you want to buy. Pricegrabber will then tell you where you can find the best price. Keep in mind that shipping or other charges would affect the total price. If Pricegrabber tells you that buy.com has a product for $2 less than Amazon, that doesn't necessarily mean that buy.com is the better deal. You may get free shipping at Amazon and have to buy for shipping at the other site. In the end, you may be better off buying from Amazon.

Those are just a few ways that you can save money when shopping online this holiday season. There are others, but those are the best in my opinion. Also, as a side note, Google is offering $10 off of a $30 purchase or $20 off of a $50 purchase when you use their checkout system. It's definitely worth checking out at http://www.google.com/checkout/m.html.
07 December 2006 

Kushner Companies Acquires Building for $1.8 Billion


Cushner BuildingKushner Companies has recently set a new record in the New York City real estate business. The company closed a deal to buy an office building skyscraper on fifth avenue for a whopping $1.8 BILLION dollars! The sale marks the highest price paid for any single office building.

The Kushner Company is mainly focused in the Northeast region of the United States with the majority of their holdings located in New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

I don't know about you, but paying $1.8 billion dollars for a building sounds pretty crazy. But, if you really think about it, it's not that bad of a deal. To pay that amount for a prominent spot in America's wealthiest city may just end up being a steal. The building will definitely bring more recognition to the company, and may just end up paying for itself in a couple of years. Only time will tell, but a lot of people are already talking about this company when, before this deal, no one had ever really heard of them. For more information, visit their web site at http://www.kushnercompanies.com/
04 December 2006 

Health Insurance


Health InsuranceI was reading some recent articles over at Blogging Away Debt when I ran across one entitled "Woo Hoo! We Officially Have Health Insurance." That got me thinking...how many people out there actually go without health insurance??

I'm lucky enough to have a job where my company offers a health insurance plan, and that's definitely the way to go. Some people, however, don't have that luxary. Either their employer doesn't offer a health insurance plan, or they are simply unemployed. For the unemployed, it's extremely difficult to afford. The cost is simply too high. For those that are employed, there's no reason not to have it.

If you honestly can't afford it, then so be it. But if you have even a little extra money laying around that could go towards health insurance, DO IT. You won't regret it. For one, it's worth it for the peace of mind that you'll get just by knowing that you are covered if something happens. An easy way to get into debt is to have to go to the ER and not be covered. Just to be admitted is some ridiculous amount of money.

I'll use my Father's great words of advice when it comes to insurance. He's always said, "It's expensive when you don't need it, but cheap when you do." If you've ever had the unfortunate luck to experience an ER visit or general hospital visit, then you know that's true.
02 December 2006 

The Past Week's Events


Carnival RideThank you to all that made the Carnival of Investing #49 such a huge success! There were a lot of great articles and a lot of people that visited the Carnival over the past week. I look forward to hosting again in the future.

Also, I received a ton of emails and a couple of comments on my web site complimenting the layout of the page and how well the ads blended in. As a result of that, a lot of you were curious to see if my ad revenue spiked. I can't say much since I'm bound by the Terms of Service, but I will say that my click-through rate jumped about 200% immediately. It's definitely something to think about in the future.

I hope everyone enjoyed the week long carnival. I'll be back on Monday with my regular updates. See you then.