A quiet night in: an exercise in frugal saving.

image1As much as any couple, family or group of friends might like going out, it’s never cheap. Whether it’s fine dining or going out to your local bar or restaurant, these are costs that add up all too easily. They may seem cheap once in a while but once you start doing it on a weekly or semi-regular basis, it becomes a larger and larger chunk of your expenses.

In contrast to this, understanding the benefits of a quiet night in can prove useful. More than offering something different and relaxing it can demonstrate a way to stay cheap and cost effective whilst still enjoying the usual perks of life.

Food

If you go out to eat, you should know how much this can cost. Cooking for yourself is usually the cheapest but there are still other options. For instance, if you have the urge for Chinese food, it may be cheaper for everyone to pool money together for chinese takeaways than visit your local restaurant. It’s much cheaper and doesn’t have the added costs of additional drinks and restaurant prices and other service charges that are often forgotten about.

Entertainment

Likewise, if you’re not going out, there is nothing to stop you from being social. Your home can prove entertaining enough with the right company. Cheap entertainment can be anything from a movie rental (if you’re only going to watch it once, don’t buy something you don’t need) to various games, which offer entertainment again and again. These are all cheap, whether you use it once or buy it to use again and again. This is another lesson to be learnt in saving, by understanding the real value of something.

If you come across some movies that you and your friends love, it makes sense to purchase the DVD so you can all watch it whenever you like. Luckily, you can save money by ordering your DVDs online, so you do not have to worry about breaking the bank. To make things more interesting, consider having each person purchase a DVD online and then choosing between your favorites every time you gather.

Additional expenses

Hopefully the two areas above should highlight how easy it is to cut down on those little costs for every social occasion but there are always other areas to look at. Take your appearance, for instance. If you don’t go out to an expensive restaurant you might not need to risk your best shirt or shoes. It can also save on other expenses, such as getting a taxi home late if you’ve been drinking or other travel costs.  So, next time you think you might go out, suggest staying in to the others and see how much can be saved.

Work Less and Earn More

Some of you may be baffled by this title, but it’s definitely not a typo. It is absolutely possible to work less and earn more. Let me give you a hint though, this probably won’t work too well if you try these methods at your full time job.

If you suddenly only show up to work for a half a day on Monday and then don’t show up for the rest of the week, chances are that your boss is going to can you, no matter how much work you did in those four hours.

 

Own Your Own Business

Since you really can’t work less and earn more at your full time job, then where can you do it? You guessed it, you’re going to have to work for yourself to make this happen. But, don’t zone out on me yet. There’s more to it than just that.

Some business owners decide that they don’t want to employ people because it would be a waste of money. Instead, they spend 14 or 15 hours in their store every day to save the money of having an employee. At first glance it makes sense. After all, if you had to hire an employee to work eight hours a day for 20 days out of the month, then you’re going to have to shell out $1,600 when you could have (in theory) gotten that work done yourself.

There is one factor missing from this way of thinking though. There is an opportunity cost to working all of those hours yourself. Think about it. If you didn’t work every single hour on your business, you could brainstorm more, improve the operations of the business, and maybe even start another business with your time! This method could be repeated over and over and suddenly you’re the owner of 10 profitable businesses and not just one.

By developing a system for your business that anyone can learn, you’re able to take yourself out of the equation and earn money while you’re away! This is the ultimate goal of your business and after some time, you’ll be able to work less and actually earn more!

 

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Take the Low-Risk Approach

I’m fairly risk-averse and would never recommend that someone should quit their job to pursue a business. I do like to see people start their own business though. They can get it going by working evenings and on the weekends. If the business continues to grow and has profits that are even greater than your full time job, then maybe it’s time to throw in the towel for the 8-5 job and take your business to the next level.

Of course this option is still risky since you gave up your full-time salary, but by taking the approach of working extra hours in the evenings and weekends, you now have a feel for your business and know whether or not there’s a market for what you’re selling. This is the ultimate low-risk approach, but can have a tremendous upside! And, with a well-defined system, it could lead you to work less and earn more than you ever thought possible!

 

 What about you?

 

Start Your Own Business for Less Than $500

If your friend announces that they’re going to start their own business, what is your immediate thought? If you’re like most, you probably imagine them opening up shop in a building downtown and selling something to customers that walk in the front door.

This is certainly one way to start a business, but in today’s world I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. The building itself would cost $200k or more, and then you would most likely have to buy a bunch of inventory to stock the shelves, and then you would have to hire someone to sell it! It’s an expensive way to do business and it fails more often than it succeeds.

Since the internet has come along, starting a traditional “brick and mortar” store is most often for broke thinkers. It costs way too much to start and the potential for profits is extremely slim.  Self-employment and working online is possible as well.

 

Two Factors For Your Business

If you’re thinking about starting your own business, you must at the very least take into consideration to factors: (1) how much are the start-up costs, and (2) what are the potential earnings?

If you open up a baseball card shop downtown, the initial costs will be astronomical and even if you sold thousands of baseball cards each month, what are the odds that you’ll earn enough profits to stick around for the next 20 years? The odds are incredibly slim. This model has high start-up costs and low earnings potential.

Now, what if you took that same baseball card store idea and decided to make a virtual store instead? The initial cost of your website would be $100 or so and the potential sales wouldn’t just be to one neighborhood, but to the entire world! Your earnings potential is now through the roof!

 

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Start-Ups for $500 or Less

So what businesses can you possibly start for less than $500? I can think of quite a few actually. Pretty much any business online will cost you almost nothing, but in case you’re interested in doing something that doesn’t force you to use your laptop, here are some other ideas:

1)      Lawn Care – All you need is a lawn mower and a weed whacker and you’re in business! If you already own them (which many of us do), then your start-up cost is practically nothing.

2)      Spring Clean-Up – Nobody like to pick up rotten leaves and sticks. You could make a business of this and clean-up! All you really need is a wheelbarrow and a pair of working gloves. Now that’s a cheap start-up.

3)      Detailing Cars – People very rarely clean their cars inside and out and would much rather pay someone else to do it for them. You’ll have to buy a few supplies, but in total, this really shouldn’t cost you more than $100.

4)      Vendor – If you have a lot of parades and events in your area, you might want to try your hand at being a vendor. The cart could get a little pricey, but with a deal, I bet you could keep it under $500.

5)      Build Cabinets – All you need is some lumber and a few tools. If people like your work, this business could really turn into something!

6)      Mechanic – If you know how to repair cars today, you could be in pretty high demand. If you already have the tools, then this start-up will cost you absolutely nothing and it has a tremendous upside!

 

Are you thinking about starting your own business?

 

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