Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pay Bill Online

Like just about everyone else, I hate to pay my bills. They wind up in a heap on my desk. It is such a chore to sift through the paperwork and it is an unpleasant task to write out check after check. One day I noticed the pay bill online option offered by many of my creditors and I was pleased to know that I did not need to go through the troublesome process of traditional method of paying bills. The pay bill online feature offered by many companies is a great way to assure that your payment will not be late. There have been countless times that I have simply forgotten about a payment that was due. I had the funds in the bank, but I just missed the deadline. With so many things going on in today’s family, bills are often lost in the shuffle. I like that I can quickly access my account and see if I have a payment due. If the payment is due, I simply select the pay bill online option and within a few minutes, my bill is current. Another benefit of the pay bill online feature is also helpful in making sure that you do not over pay a bill as well. Many of the bills we receive get crossed in the mail with payments that are past due. When I get the bill, I always pay the total amount due listed on the account. However, I have found that I already sent a payment that arrived after the bill was written out by the company. It is nice to have a credit on my account, but my husband and I live from paycheck to paycheck many months and every penny counts. My husband and I also find that the pay bill online feature keeps us up to date on what bills have been sent and what bills have not. We both send payments and we find that we both are making payments on the same accounts without knowing that the bill has already been paid. Last year, I delivered a check to pay our car insurance for the quarter. I did this without knowing that my husband already sent a payment in the mail. Our car insurance was paid for six months, and that was great, but in the meantime, we were short hundreds of dollars that could have been applied elsewhere. The pay bill online option is a great way to get the most current information on your account. This pay bill online feature helps me keep track of my bills and it assures that I am not making late payments. I spend a lot of time online and it just takes me a few minutes to select the pay bill online feature. In a few minutes, my bills are up to date and I can move on to other things.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Starting A Business

Starting a Business Starting a business doesn’t have to be complicated and there are many resources out there to help new entrepreneurs from the ground up. After deciding on a type of business or product line, the new business owner needs to analyze the market to see what the level of competition is, and if the business will be able to compete by offering something that the competition does not. If the competition is too much the new business will fail before it even gets started, which is why it is important to do the research before starting a business, and investing time, money, and effort. Everyone wants to be successful in their new business venture, but it is wise to look at a number of resources first, to make sure that all aspects are covered ahead of time so that there are no surprises down the line that could be detrimental and costly for the new business owner. The first place to visit when starting a business is the United States Small Business Administration website at There is lots of essential information that all new business owners need to know before starting a business of their own or purchasing a franchise operation. The first step in applying for any type of business loan is to have a functional business plan in place. There is a step by step guide on the website that will help entrepreneurs understand a business plan, how to write one, and how to use it to their advantage in starting a business. There are also free business planning workshops for new business owners to assist them in understanding all aspects of starting a business, including aspects of business law and regulatory agencies. Most businesses, even those primarily home based, may require a business permit or license by the city in which the business is located, and also a state sales tax license may be needed to purchase inventory and other items at wholesale prices. This is all just a very small part of starting a business. It may seem very huge in the beginning, but as the road opens up ahead, the ride smoothes out as the bumps get fewer and fewer. Being an entrepreneur and new business owner is worth every bit of effort it takes, because it is something that is no one else’s. Starting a business is never going to happen without a few headaches along the way, just expect it, but at the same time look at every small step forward as a great boost for your new business and your entrepreneurial future!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Special Gift

It seems like no matter what the occasion it is often times difficult to find a special gift for the people that you are closest to. I have spent many hours looking for gifts for loved ones. Whether it is for Christmas or birthdays it seems that the quest for the perfect gift is often very time consuming for me. One day I was shopping for myself and came across a special gift for my sister. She is allergic to metal so is very limited in what jewelry she can wear. I found a bracelet that was made of glass beads. It was two strands wide and was stretchy, so there was no metal clasp. I knew this bracelet would make a great gift for my sister because the colors complimented several of her outfits. During another shopping trip I found a special gift for my godchild. She has always liked things in a heart shape. I found glass shaped hearts in a variety of colors and sizes. The store also had a clear glass heart shaped bowl. I purchased several of the hearts and the bowl. This will be a great house warming present. I realized that I had better luck finding a special gift when I wasn’t looking for one. I decided that when ever I am out shopping I am going to look at items that would make a nice present. By doing this the shopping is much more relaxed. It is also a good way of saving money because when you shop year round for a special gift you can often times buy things that are on sale. Even if the item is not on sale, by buying things through the year I do not have such a huge bill around the holiday time. If you are going to try this I will make a couple of suggestions to make purchasing gifts ahead of time easier. One thing is to make a list of the people that you ordinarily buy for. The list should be small enough to carry in your wallet, so that you always have it with you. That way when you find a special gift for someone on your list you can cross their name off. At the holiday or birthday time you can then check how many gifts you still need to purchase. Another tip to help with buying gifts early is to place all of your purchases in a central location. This way you will know where to find the present at the time you need it. I ended up buying more than one special gift for the same person because I could not remember where I stored the first one. If you are organized in the way you make your purchases you can save money and time by shopping for presents throughout the year. This will help the holiday season seem more pleasant, and gift giving more fun.