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I just read this sitting on the toilet dropping a deuce.

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(Here's goes my 1st post!) I found the zbre2b9's strategies really helpful as the 2 of us are laid off right now! We're thinking differently & smarter now. Staying on task when we're rehired will be crucial to our financial success. Absolutely THERE IS something to be said about knowing the VALUE of your time & what/when to delegate/hire out. A "virtual assistant" can be quite helpful, but so can the 15 yr old neighbor's kid down the street (or your own) Here's some of my ideas...happy reading & best of luck!

1) Use www.Stamps.com - You can print your own stamps, weigh your packages & print your own postage for shipments (including Return Receipt, Insurance, Email Notification, etc. There's NOTHING better than being able to walk into the USPS & drop-off your box into their carousel & walk out. No standing in line! No 30% mark-up from my UPS Store (even though I have a mailbox there)! Avg price is $15/month. A 30-day FREE Trial is available & gets you $25 postage, free 5lb scale & a $5 supplies kit.

2) If you'd rather NOT use your cc's for purchases, use your bank's debit card (some act like cc's too). Sign up for your bank's Rewards Program. (ex: Wells Fargo has a good program called Wells Fargo Rewards.)

3) If you're buying from a retailer (B&M or Online), make sure you have signed up for their Rewards Program. Another way to save Reward Points & still allows you to earn Reward Points through your cc, debit card or otherwise.

4) Go online & visit retailers' websites of those B&M stores you frequent. Sign-up for the retailers' eNewsletter. Receive a $10 credit or say 30% discount (both are examples)on your next purchase. Retailer eNewsletters often notify you of Member Only Discounts & upcoming Promotions as well.

5) When making a purchase, ask if there are any other discounts to be had (such as AAA). I got a AAA discount at a restaurant recently! I had no clue that was available, but I saw it on their website. I usually only use AAA when booking hotels; now I ask if there are other discounts available.

6) Join AARP if you're eligible. Like AAA, AARP offers many more promotions that most people know. I saw one on FW the other day with Home Depot. Surprised the heck out of me! Go to www.aarp.com.

7) Purchase an Entertainment Coupon Book & leave it in your car. You'll always have it if needed. Or buy their Online Subscription. Books are 35% off right now. Online Subscription is 50% off; a 30-day Trial is available. Go to http://www.fatwallet.com/cash-back-coupons/Entertainment-Books/.

8) If you have student loan federal debt, that you have consolidated once (that's all you can do), call the US Dept. of Education. They can consolidate student loan federal debt, even if the one-time consolidation has already taken place. Their rates may be more favorable. Go to http://www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov/.

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The less stuff you own, the less time required to take care of it.

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delete

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ColbyS said: happygirlninja said: 1) Use www.Stamps.com - You can print your own stamps, weigh your packages & print your own postage for shipments (including Return Receipt, Insurance, Email Notification, etc. There's NOTHING better than being able to walk into the USPS & drop-off your box into their carousel & walk out. No standing in line! No 30% mark-up from my UPS Store (even though I have a mailbox there)! Avg price is $15/month. A 30-day FREE Trial is available & gets you $25 postage, free 5lb scale & a $5 supplies kit.

www.usps.com is free and you actually get a discount when you print a label online. Plus you can do international packages online which last time I checked was a feature Stamps.com lacks.

I used to use Stamps.com, fwiw.
agreed, I've also used both Stamps.com and usps click-n-ship. I prefer the usps service because it is free, has discounted postage, and offers a wider range of international postage options; however, it cannot print first-class or media mail postage whereas Stamps.com. The best option depends on your particular mailing requirements, but in my case I think Stamps.com is a waste of money for the few things it can do better. Also, as some others have noted, many post offices have machines that will let you weigh and print postage without waiting in line; these can be helpful for the letters/packages that you cannot prepay with click-n-ship.

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I'm not old enough for this yet -- but one day, I'll walk around with this hat and shirt reminding vendors not to forget the senior discount.

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mttatkns said: ColbyS said: happygirlninja said: 1) Use www.Stamps.com - You can print your own stamps, weigh your packages & print your own postage for shipments (including Return Receipt, Insurance, Email Notification, etc. There's NOTHING better than being able to walk into the USPS & drop-off your box into their carousel & walk out. No standing in line! No 30% mark-up from my UPS Store (even though I have a mailbox there)! Avg price is $15/month. A 30-day FREE Trial is available & gets you $25 postage, free 5lb scale & a $5 supplies kit.

www.usps.com is free and you actually get a discount when you print a label online. Plus you can do international packages online which last time I checked was a feature Stamps.com lacks.

I used to use Stamps.com, fwiw.
agreed, I've also used both Stamps.com and usps click-n-ship. I prefer the usps service because it is free, has discounted postage, and offers a wider range of international postage options; however, it cannot print first-class or media mail postage whereas Stamps.com. The best option depends on your particular mailing requirements, but in my case I think Stamps.com is a waste of money for the few things it can do better. Also, as some others have noted, many post offices have machines that will let you weigh and print postage without waiting in line; these can be helpful for the letters/packages that you cannot prepay with click-n-ship.
Best option is Paypal Shipping. Does Priority, Media Mail, Parcel Post, and even First Class. Delivery confirmation is only 18c. Includes discounted USPS online rates.

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svaish said:
When you go on vacation hire a cook for the week. I know this sounds expensive but we've done it twice for about $80 per day including food (2 people). It takes some work up front but has made the vacation invaluable to us. We tell the cook ahead of time which meals to prepare and don't need to worry about finding a good place to eat. Dinner is ready when we are. No reservations, random locations, or restaurants to deal with either. On top of that, both times that we've done it the cook has given us major insight about the local area and has told us where to go to shop / tour.


Is this in the US? Sounds too cheap for three meals a day for two.

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delete

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well... I never keep money in my Paypal account. You can manually print labels on paypal by typing www.paypal.com/shipnow/ into your browser... of course you have to be logged in. I've shipped many things to many places that were not related to eBay and don't have any problems yet.

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ColbyS said: BrianGa said: Best option is Paypal Shipping. Does Priority, Media Mail, Parcel Post, and even First Class. Delivery confirmation is only 18c. Includes discounted USPS online rates.

Isn't PayPal shipping only available for eBay items?

Not only that, but PayPal can and will freeze your account for any reason -- usually when you're doing well and your account has a lot of funds for PayPal to "borrow".
No, you can use the link that I provided for shipping anything, anywhere.

You don't need to even have a Paypal balance. Paypal will bill the credit card of your choice.

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any males here have experience with laser hair removal on their face? I hate shaving and get razor bumps, but am worried about the risks/downsides/costs/hassles of laser hair removal.

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How do you get them to bill your credit card rather than your bank account with Paypal Shipping?

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johnnyb82 said: How do you get them to bill your credit card rather than your bank account with Paypal Shipping?

Just select it as your payment method.

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czarandy said: johnnyb82 said: How do you get them to bill your credit card rather than your bank account with Paypal Shipping?

Just select it as your payment method.


That's easy for me to see to do when I buy something, but I cannot see how to do it with Multiorder Shipping.

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TrueValue said: any males here have experience with laser hair removal on their face? I hate shaving and get razor bumps, but am worried about the risks/downsides/costs/hassles of laser hair removal.

If any real males actually even considered getting laser hair removal, they would jeopardize their "real male" status.

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For men: Choose one to three styles of socks and buy 6-10 identical pairs of each style all at one time. Throw all your other socks away or donate usable pairs to charity. Then, when it's time to do laundry, no need to pair up socks. Just grab any two of the same style, and they will match. Also, if you get a hole in one sock or lose one sock, it's no big deal. Eventually the number will even back out. When the socks begin looking worn, replace all of the same style simultaneously.

In my case, I have tan Gold Toe socks to wear with khakis and white crew socks to wear with jeans. I do keep a couple of pairs of other socks for wear with certain suits. But in a perfect world...

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VanceWade said: For men: Choose one to three styles of socks and buy 6-10 identical pairs of each style all at one time. Throw all your other socks away or donate usable pairs to charity. Then, when it's time to do laundry, no need to pair up socks. Just grab any two of the same style, and they will match. Also, if you get a hole in one sock or lose one sock, it's no big deal. Eventually the number will even back out. When the socks begin looking worn, replace all of the same style simultaneously.

In my case, I have tan Gold Toe socks to wear with khakis and white crew socks to wear with jeans. I do keep a couple of pairs of other socks for wear with certain suits. But in a perfect world...
Great idea - I do that!

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Xnarg said: VanceWade said: For men: Choose one to three styles of socks and buy 6-10 identical pairs of each style all at one time. Throw all your other socks away or donate usable pairs to charity. Then, when it's time to do laundry, no need to pair up socks. Just grab any two of the same style, and they will match. Also, if you get a hole in one sock or lose one sock, it's no big deal. Eventually the number will even back out. When the socks begin looking worn, replace all of the same style simultaneously.

In my case, I have tan Gold Toe socks to wear with khakis and white crew socks to wear with jeans. I do keep a couple of pairs of other socks for wear with certain suits. But in a perfect world...
Great idea - I do that!


Good idea. Also another option for those who tend to have a hard time finding their socks after they have been in the washing machine or dryer may want to consider one of those netted laundry bags that you can throw in either machine. Bed Bath Beyond sells something like this and I am sure other stores do too. I think the one they sell is meant for lingerie, but I use it to keep all my socks together.

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I use the razor my wife uses to shave her legs for my mustache and the little beard that I have. Using it in the shower is much quicker also since soap and water are readily available during the shower.

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skadoo323 said: Xnarg said: VanceWade said: For men: Choose one to three styles of socks and buy 6-10 identical pairs of each style all at one time. Throw all your other socks away or donate usable pairs to charity. Then, when it's time to do laundry, no need to pair up socks. Just grab any two of the same style, and they will match. Also, if you get a hole in one sock or lose one sock, it's no big deal. Eventually the number will even back out. When the socks begin looking worn, replace all of the same style simultaneously.

In my case, I have tan Gold Toe socks to wear with khakis and white crew socks to wear with jeans. I do keep a couple of pairs of other socks for wear with certain suits. But in a perfect world...
Great idea - I do that!


Good idea. Also another option for those who tend to have a hard time finding their socks after they have been in the washing machine or dryer may want to consider one of those netted laundry bags that you can throw in either machine. Bed Bath Beyond sells something like this and I am sure other stores do too. I think the one they sell is meant for lingerie, but I use it to keep all my socks together.


I have four children. Each child has their own one brand/style of sock. The alternative would be unthinkable chaos.

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I like the post, but why is this a sticky?

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umcsom said: I like the post, but why is this a sticky?

To save the time it would take for us to search for it.

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For anyone in the NE, EZ-Pass is a must (or the equivalent in other regions). Waiting in toll lines is a huge worthless waste of time.

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- Get a Rubbermaid pitcher at work for all-day water refills
- Bring 5 forks/spoons/knives/plates etc. to work. Bring home on Fri. and put in dishwasher.
- Use autofilters in Outlook to automatically sort messages to folders
- Get a headset for your work phone
- Get an all-in-one printer/scanner/fax for your desk at work
- Get two monitors
- Get off junk mail/credit card subscription lists
- Eveytime you touch a piece of paper, follow it through to completion, i.e. pay bill, fill-out rebate, throw away, scan, file, etc.
- Subscibe to FW topic alerts and stop lurking

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Back to the whole "Stamps.com"

I have used them for greater then 4 years. They offer speed and efficiency when I print envelopes for invoices that go out since I am a small business owner.

$15.00 a month is the plan I use and I agree with the original poster that mentioned Stamps.com. My envelopes not only look great but they also have the posted stamped right on them which keeps the headache of sending bills out simplified since Stamps.com ties directly into my QuickBooks company file.

I simply print invoices, sort alphabetically and select those same clients in Stamps.com from my QB data file and viola I have professional envelopes with postage printing out of my printer.

It really minimizes the "I didn't get your bill problem" too

I enjoyed reading this thread and I agree about several items:
1) Pay landscaper to do something they enjoy while I bill my clients for work I enjoy doing.

2) Pay maid service monthly to keep home "fresh and clean". Those hours saved allow me to spend time on my business and performing "business related tasks and errands". This also keeps your home healthy and minimizes dust and other airborne garbage. I don't have to deal with harsh chemical cleaners or odors.

3) Pay detailer to wash vehicle(s). A comporate image of your vehicle when arriving onsite can mean alot. I have a 4 + year old vehicle that looks new and I look good showing up in the "higher end" gated communities with a clean and professional work vehicle.

4) Another thing I pay for and the reward is great is that I have a UPS Store Box. They not only give me my mail when I come in they also sign for all my packages so I don't have to chase call tags around for FedEx, UPS, DHL, whomever! It's a great time saver for under $200 a year. I don't have to travel to the different carrier's hubs and I get a SMS Text message when they recieve the package which is a great "alarm" to say hey this package came in feel free to come and pick it up. That by far is the smartest single purchase I renew yearly without hesitation since I started my business.

5) Get an American Express Plum card. You can save 2% if you spend over $5k a month and pay it promptly after tieing your bank account to your AMEX Online account. Let me tell you this beats most reward programs of 1 cent per point conversions that typically exist and if spend a lot more hten $5k a month it's like getting a rebate check for running a "no debt" business if your fortunate to not rollover any credit debt with your business.


Time is money, if you can make more money per hour then you would spend on having someone do other tasks then it's smart to "outsource the work".

Maybe in 2009 I can consider investing in an assistant to do some of the other business tasks. Until then, I am going to do what I do best and outsource what I don't do well or don't enjoy doing.

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Got tired of paying $15 + tip for a 10-minute (men's) haircut. Bought clippers for $30 and never paid for a haircut since.

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littleB407, thanks for the info. I think a package of mine mailed to a UPS store has my name misspelled fairly badly. are they not going to give it to me because it doesn't exactly match my driver's license ID?

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I'm not sure if they would give it to you or not. That decision is up to the owner / manager of the store. I can't answer that question.

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littleB407, good idea about using a maid service, however I worry about letting strangers into my home because of possible theft. Do you have a way to alleviate that risk?

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TrueValue said: littleB407, good idea about using a maid service, however I worry about letting strangers into my home because of possible theft. Do you have a way to alleviate that risk?
Have less stuff.

I'm afraid that as a general rule, when you are outsourcing or delegating parts of your life to others, you're going to trade off convenience for risk exposure, whether it's someone stealing (items from your home, or your business bank account), or screwing things up (ruining the TV with the wrong cleaning solution, make a mistake that puts your business liable).

Reducing the risk means doing your due dilligence on who you hire, and setting up the environment so that they're less likely to (intentionally or inadvertently) screw you.

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Use a local maid small business used and trusted by your neighbors for several years. The chains have a lot of turnover and mainly make your house look clean rather than be clean. They'll use the same scrubber on your toilet and then on your faucet.

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Banking

Get a checking account that lets you mail in checks in using pre-paid envelopes, such as Schwab Investor Checking or Fidelity Mysmart Cash. One less errand to run during the day.

Watching sports on TV

Use a DVR/Tivo, not only to skip commercials, but to skip through the boring parts of the game. For instance, in football, skip through the 40 seconds between each play. In baseball, skip through the 15-20 seconds between each pitch. In basketball, skip through the dead time between free throws. In hockey, skip through the 99% of the game when no one's scoring.

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Use a corporate maid service. Not an individual. (Sorry folks) But most individuals are less expensive but don't care the liability insurance. I bet some do but I prefer to stay the protected route.

I don't leave out things that they can steal. Just like the above poster, remove the risk and minimize the possibilities.
(I guess it's easier to do when single).

Word of mouth referrals for individual maids goes a long way however.

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Psycho41 said: Banking

Get a checking account that lets you mail in checks in using pre-paid envelopes, such as Schwab Investor Checking or Fidelity Mysmart Cash. One less errand to run during the day.


Hmm, can I order those envelopes on-line with Fidelity? That's a very nice service (which I didn't even know they had)!

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Psycho41 said: Banking

Get a checking account that lets you mail in checks in using pre-paid envelopes, such as Schwab Investor Checking or Fidelity Mysmart Cash. One less errand to run during the day.


I've always had the ability to mail checks to the branch where my account is. Came in handy when I was away at school and now that I'm 1200 miles away from the branch.

Its not prepaid, but I get an insane amount of features for having no money in the bank.

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I want to thank everyone as these are some great tips. I'm going to price out how much laundry service would be, cause i hate doing that. I also do the sock thing... I have 3 bins in my dresser, 1 for whites, 1 for casual blacks and 1 for dress blacks. Anyways, I wanted to add some travel tips.

Avoid some lines at the airport. Print your boarding pass before hand. Pack light and carry a suitcase onto the plane. Anything that you would need to check... Fedex it to your hotel. If you fly into/out of a busy airport, that can save you a 1/2 hr waiting in the checkin line plus the time waiting for the bags to show.

Also, nonstop and direct flights are your friend. Find them, even if it costs a little more. I take some nonstops from orlando to buffalo that cuts a 5 hr listed trip to 2.5 hrs. Its takes a while for a plane to decend, slow down, and land.

The corollary to that is never connect in NYC. Most airlines build in an extra 1/2 hour flying time to flights in and out of NYC airports for delays.

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palswim said: Psycho41 said: Banking

Get a checking account that lets you mail in checks in using pre-paid envelopes, such as Schwab Investor Checking or Fidelity Mysmart Cash. One less errand to run during the day.


Hmm, can I order those envelopes on-line with Fidelity? That's a very nice service (which I didn't even know they had)!


Yep, go to the link below to order the deposit slips. They will come with an order of postage-paid envelopes if you order them for your Mysmart Cash account (not sure about other types of accounts).

https://scs.fidelity.com/customeronly/checks.shtml

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great thread

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worst sticky ever. See FWF about how to create/maintain a sticky.

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