Social Shopping

Social Shopping and apps/sites that help you get discounts could come in very handy this holiday season. We no longer have the Bing Cashback program to help us but many sites are taking up the slack.

I recently took a mini vacation to San Antonio Tx, and a business trip to Odessa Tx. I was able to use some of these companies to save money.

First, to take the place of Bing's Cashback program, Ebay has stepped up with their ebay Bucks Program, I have already used this a little and have saved some money with it. So when you need to do that Christmas shopping, click on over to Ebay first and check their prices.

I relied heavenly on Foursquare to start my decision making on places to eat, Twice we went to Chilis because we got free Chips and Salsa with our late night drinks. Foursquare already has 4+ Million users. You can find me on Foursquare at www.FourSquare.com/thomasjowers

Groupon has not made it to my city yet but I have seen the groupon features on ebay. It looks like people can Amazing deals on certain products. Again, I have not used it yet, but am looking forward to it.

Also, you can get amazing one day only deals at Woot.com Woot was recently purchased by Amazon.com, so I am looking for them to really push Woot during the holidays.

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I have recently read the book titled "You Don't Change a Company by Memo" This is a great book if you are in the position to change a company. Are you a manager, team leader, etc.... It helps the person that wants to change their company for the better, it gives them a place to start. The book is a little old, but it still makes valid points that all management, CEO's, etc... need to build upon.

I am am Assistant Manager at an Entertianment Store, I see many things that I can use and implement during the holiday season to make my associates more productive. It will also let me associate know that we are a team, and not just a boss/employee relationship, I read this book over a few weeks, 15 minutes each time during my lunches.

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Needs more Cowbell....MSO..Martha Stewart

Believe it or not but I think Martha Stewart is a genius. The only thing is that I think she is selling her company short. Last quarter MSO lost money....It is mainly a content company...how do you lose money....?

Martha Stewerts Omnimedia currently operates the following divisions:

Magazine Publishing
Book Publishing
Internet Publishing
Broadcasting (TV and radio)
Merchandise

I saw the Martha Pet Line at Petsmart the other day...looks great!

I was very happy to see MSO purchase the media and merchandising company from Emeril Lagasse in 2008.

I personally think Martha has a lot more to offer and needs my help. Here is what I would do to truly expand the company.

First, Marth dear, you are not going to live forever...just like you did with Emeril...lets add a few more faces to the company.. lets diversify. Lets add a new chef to go with Emeril, an interior designer, a financial guru, a landscapist and a green expert...etc....
Each one of the new faces of MSO could have their own magazine, tv show, books, merchandise, and websites..

Lets start with the new chef...they need to be younger than Marth and Emeril...What about Sunny Anderson...? How would adding yet another cook to the franchise help MSO....
1. Younger Demographic
2. She already has a TV Show
3. Different line of Merchandise
4. Possible new cooking magazine (combine Martha, Sunny, and Emeril into a more contemporary magazine)
5. Cookbooks

A New interior designer...I really dont keep up with interior designers but I see another like of furniture that could be marketing and maybe another TV show on HTV or something, and of course, more books.

A financial guru. This would be a great place for MSO to expand. America needs a down to earth person de-mystifying personal finance...How to save money, cut expenses, explain financial terms...etc....
Again...books, tv show...merch...magazine..paid email subscription for stock info...etc...

A Landscapist....hey..most people that have a house care about how their yard looks...how to take care of plants in the house...there use to be a guy on HGTV that had gray hair and a beard...I think his name was Paul...He would be a great addition to the MSO empire..
Mags...TV show...Books...Merch

A green expert...This is a person that helps the everyday person cut back on electric bills, how to recycle around the house...crafts for reusing items...again, books, tv..merch

I know that Martha already has her name on many of the products that these people would be hawking too...but each person could use a different retail outlet to market these products...Emeril and Martha already have Macy's..but who has Nordstroms...? Martha has Home Depot...but what about Lowe's?

Dont get me wrong...Martha could be doing more too....I would like to see Martha (who has 90% of the voting stock) own at least 2 shows on the OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) It would put her brand out there even more!

I would also like to see more things been done online...Maybe MSO needs to make a few small acquisitions of internet properties to increase traffic...What could be bought? What about Planting.com...its for sale...Lets see MSO turn this into a blossoming niche site for everything green...when to plant bulbs...tips for getting rid of pests...etc....

I also want to see a line of food products from Martha...Emeril already has this...I want to see Martha Seasonings...Marinades...Frozen Cookie Dough....I want them to be sold at Whole Foods or something...Not Walmart..Lets protect the brand a bit.

Okay...for the naysayers...Martha is about cakes, cookies, and crafts...not personal finance...Hogwash...MSO is about content and licensing deals...MSO would just be leveraging different people they way Martha does Emeril and herself...

What about finding talent in other countries and letting them have their own shows in their respective countries?

Okay...there are my 2 cents....Martha if you are reading this...I am mobile...am looking for a career change...would love to help MSO as an idea/creative guy. Just saying.

I own and am long MSO

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Last week to save some Money!

You have until July 30th to make a % back on your purchases from Bing.com!!!!!! I shopped yesterday and saved an additional 8% over the already cheap prices on ebay!


http://www.discoverbing.com/cashback/programupdate/index.html?fbid=7976P7XkgEe&wom=false



Click the link to visit the cashback program on Bing!

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New Idea.....!?!

Back in 2006 I had a small antique/jewelry/coin store while I was attending college. It was perfect..it was less then 4 blocks away from my university and I opened the doors between classes. I also used the down time as study time. I shopped for items for the store on ebay, at auctions, at flea markets etc.....

One day a guy came in and bought nearly everything in my store.... I could start over trying to refill the store with items or get a job. I decided to get a job. I still have this job and enjoy many of the aspects of it.

My dilemma...I still have the paperwork for my store...the sales tax number...receipts...supplies.... (I occasionally sell items online)

I think I want to start again, but keep my job... How do I do this???

I am thinking that I could rent a small storage unit...fill it with items when I have time to shop..then open the doors once or twice per month on my days off and depending on the weather. I could just put an ad in the paper and be open for like 4 hours on a weekend or something. Gives me something to do, since I cant get a part-time job due to my changing schedule at my current job.

What do you think???? Should I do it????

p.s. I think that I might have enough items in the garage to fill up a storage unit and have a sale already.

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Buy used books

Buying used books not only makes sense but saves Cents!

You can buy like new books at Half.com or Amazon.com...or from book sales in your local community.

I recently purchased $250 worth of books for only $10...read about my adventure at www.MyEarthShare.com

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Nominate Me Please!

Please visit http://tj.mtv.com/open-nomination/ and nominate me for MTV Twitter Jockey just type in @ThomasJowers to nominate me...Thanks

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Eating Out!

You can save money eating at your favorite restaurant. Here are a few things you can do.

  • Order from the appetizer menu as your entree. The portions are usually large enough for a meal and usually $4 or $5 cheaper!
  • If you order an entree and have left overs...get it to go and take it for your lunch the next day! My lunches usually cost about $6. If you take your leftover entree as your lunch....you save $6!
  • Cook your dinner at home and go to your favorite restaurant for Dessert!

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What is an investment?

Investment is the commitment of money or capital to purchase financial instruments or other assets in order to gain profitable returns in form of interest, income, or appreciation of the value of the instrument. It is related to saving or deferring consumption. Investment is involved in many areas of the economy, such as business management and finance no matter for households, firms, or governments. An investment involves the choice by an individual or an organization such as a pension fund, after some analysis or thought, to place or lend money in a vehicle, instrument or asset, such as property, commodity, stock, bond, financial derivatives (e.g. futures or options), or the foreign asset denominated in foreign currency, that has certain level of risk and provides the possibility of generating returns over a period of time.

Investment comes with the risk of the loss of the principal sum. The investment that has not been thoroughly analyzed can be highly risky with respect to the investment owner because the possibility of losing money is not within the owner's control. The difference between speculation and investment can be subtle. It depends on the investment owner's mind whether the purpose is for lending the resource to someone else for economic purpose or not.

In the case of investment, rather than store the good produced or its money equivalent, the investor chooses to use that good either to create a durable consumer or producer good, or to lend the original saved good to another in exchange for either interest or a share of the profits. In the first case, the individual creates durable consumer goods, hoping the services from the good will make his life better. In the second, the individual becomes an entrepreneur using the resource to produce goods and services for others in the hope of a profitable sale. The third case describes a lender, and the fourth describes an investor in a share of the business. In each case, the consumer obtains a durable asset or investment, and accounts for that asset by recording an equivalent liability. As time passes, and both prices and interest rates change, the value of the asset and liability also change.

An asset is usually purchased, or equivalently a deposit is made in a bank, in hopes of getting a future return or interest from it. The word originates in the Latin "vestis", meaning garment, and refers to the act of putting things (money or other claims to resources) into others' pockets. The basic meaning of the term being an asset held to have some recurring or capital gains. It is an asset that is expected to give returns without any work on the asset per se. The term "investment" is used differently in economics and in finance. Economists refer to a real investment (such as a machine or a house), while financial economists refer to a financial asset, such as money that is put into a bank or the market, which may then be used to buy a real asset.

The above information came directly from wikipedia.com Please visit them for more information.

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Going on a money diet?

I am on a diet.....again.

As I try to lose weight (6 pounds in 6 days) I have noticed that I am saving money...!

Here is how...

Lets do this for a typical week for me... I usually eat out twice a day for 5 days (work) and eat at home the other 2. My average ticket at the restaurants is about $7....

2 meals X $7 X 5 days = $70

My new plan cost me $10 per week for shakes, and a small meal with snacks. My snakes cost me $5 per week and my meals average $1.73 each at the store. Plus on my 2 days off I eat at home.

$5 + $10 + ($1.73 X 5 days) = $23.65

So I am saving $46.35 each week on food that I would have normally been spending!
Hopefully I can use that money to buy me a new wardrobe in about 6 weeks!

Read more about my actual diet at www.TheFoodieWithin.com

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Mini Vacation

One way to save a little money is to take shorter vacations. I recently took a mini vacation to San Antonio with 2 friends. We left on a Saturday morning and returned on Sunday afternoon.

Here is how we saved some money. We booked out hotel on priceline.com, we also booked a room close enough to the riverwalk so that we could walk there instead of driving or getting a Taxi. Since there were 3 of us we were able to split the cost of the room 3 ways. We also bought our SeaWorld Tickets online and saved another $10 each. We had free hot breakfast from our hotel, so that saved us even more money.

Before we even went we also decided to take the smallest vehicle between the 3 of us. Since I drive a truck I was out of the running. We saved about 50% in gas since we took a car instead of my big ol truck.


I am not saying that you need to stop going on vacations, I am just saying that you can go have a Great time and ome back rested with a mini vacation. I actually just requested the day off instead of using up my vacation days!

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Rebalance Quarterly

If you manage your own investments then you need to rebalance your portfolio every 3 months. One investment should never be more than 20% of your portfolio.

Example:

Anadarko 8%
Bonds 11%
BP 10%
Cash 12%
GE 15%
Exxon 15%
Microsoft 15%
Yahoo 14%

At first glance this looks somewhat diversified, but upon further inspection you will see the problems that need to be fixed. Anadarko, BP, and Exxon are all Energy plays, this represents 33% of this portfolio, Some of these positions need to be sold off and invested into another sector, maybe retail or food. Also you see Microsoft and Yahoo, these are both tech companies and the point could effectively be argued that they yahoo is more of a media company then a tech company, but it follows the trends of the tech sector more than the trends of the media sector. I would personally pare back my positions in Microsoft or Yahoo to make a combined total of 20%.

This needs to be done every 3 months simply because some investments will lag while others will prosper, eventually your portfolio will be lop-sided and no one wants a lop-sided portfolio.

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Vegas Vacation

Sorry for the delay in posting but I was ...was....was...doing research, yeah, 'doing research.' The purpose of this blog is to help you make more money AND to save you money. I recently took a vacation to Las Vegas and was able to find some great money saving tips.

1) As soon as you check in and get to your room, you will find a coupon book. Look through it. I was able to find coupons for 35% off of merchandise at the stores, $$$ off of meals, and discounts on shows.

2) If you plan on doing any gambling, sign up for a Rewards Card. Use your rewards card every time you gamble. You will get free meals, free game play, and free shows. I was to use my card to get 3 free meals, $10 in free Game play, and $30 worth of chips for $20.

3) Once you get your Rewards card, do not pay for your meals, charge them to your room, same with room service. Before you check out visit the Rewards Booth and they may 'comp' some of the items that you would have paid for anyway. *We got this tip directly from a pit boss.

4) If a attraction is within walking distance.....do it! I stayed at the Luxor and it is connected to the Excalibur and Mandalay Bay. I was able to walk to each of them without having to pay for a cab. If you do need to get a cab to go to a different area, get a map and decide if you get a cab to the furthest location, can you walk to the others, then get a cab back instead of getting a cab for each location you go to.

5) Ask for stuff... The pit bosses don't know what you want. If you have been gambling for an hour or two, just ask if you have gambled enough for show tickets or a meal. We went downtown to the Gate Casino and was gambling, we played for about an hour when the pit boss handed us vouchers for a Free Large Shrimp Cocktail. It tasted even better knowing that it was Free!

My favorite part of the trip was when I bought seats for the Criss Angel 'Believe' Show. I bought the cheapest tickets (using a coupon) we started to go to our seats in the balcony, we simply said 'Thank You' to the attendent and she said, in a low voice, "Let me see your tickets" she preceeded to write something on them and handed them back to us and told us to go see another attendent. We had been UPGRADED! We were now in the 4th row right by the stage, Criss Angel came though our aisle during the act, we had to stand up to let him through, he shook our hand as he passed and stepped on my toe! (Criss if you are reading this, an autographed picture would make it feel better!) A very nice guy, best part of my trip, oh and I came home as a Las Vegas WINNER, I played Baccarat and Craps and did very well about 2 hours before I left to get on the plane! Anyway we bought $65 show tickets for less than $50 and we were given seats that cost over $150 each! WIN!

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More than a Hobby.

I finished reading "More Than a Hobby" last week. It is a very easy and interesting read and only took me about 3 hours to read it in its entirety. It is the story of how only $600 turned into the Arts & Crafts Behemoth known as Hobby Lobby.
There are many things that can be taken from this book: 1) move product that is not selling, Hobby Lobby purges its stock twice per year to make room for new merchandise. 2) Treat your employees well, if your employees like working for you, they will be more productive!

Please go grab this book and read it to see how the practices at Hobby Lobby can help you with your own business, help you at your current career, or just to see how they did it!



WHAT IS FOREX?

I think that if you want to start trading in stocks or currencies, you first need to do your research. Today I am including a link to wikipedia so that you read about forex. Even if you dont plan on trading currencies, it is nice to know how world currencies relate to each other. This really helps when a company you are investing in has a large footprint outside of the US. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/forex


3/15/10
Wal-Mart upgraded by Citi

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AT&T Upgrades

AT&T is upgrading their network.

In 2010 they will be spending $19 billion to add more towers and to upgrade existing towers to 3GS standards. Take THAT Verizon. This will help the image of AT&T and could possibly mean that the exclusivity of the iphone will stay with them. AT&T will also be the provider for the iPad from Apple.

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RIMM being purchased?

I think that RIMM (maker of the popular Blackberry) will be purchased this year by a large software company. My reasoning is as follows.

.Google launched their own branded smart phone.

.Microsoft thought about doing it but decided against it because they did not want to compete with phone makers using Windows Mobile. If Google and Android can do, Microsoft believes they can too.

.Microsoft is seeing their portion of the phone market fall to about 16%.

.Microsoft has a huge competitor in this market....Apple. Apple just bought a cell phone advertising company. If Microsoft wants Bing to win the Advertising Wars, it needs to battle on all fronts....including phones.

.Microsoft plans on releasing a mobile device this year and it has already been tested by posting to twitter. It is codenamed Pink and will probably be an extension of the Zune.

Of course I could be totally wrong and we will know soon enough. If they are going to buy RIMM they will most likely announce it in Barcelona Feb 15-18 at the MWC.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below.

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Did you here the chatter?

I heard through the online grapevine that Ask.com may be for sale.... I will post more once I hear or learn more...as for now it is just hear-say.

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