What to Shop for in April and May

by Scott Sery on April 23, 2014

What to Buy in AprilI am always on the lookout for when I should shop in order to get the best deals.  Over the years I have found that shopping sales does not mean you are actually getting a great deal on the goods.  In fact, most stores never expect to sell items at full price, instead they mark the item up drastically so they can sell it “on sale” for the price they originally wanted to get (check out this excellent article on The Wall Street Journal website for insights into sale psychology).  That said, there are certain times of the year when products will drop in price and actually be worth buying.

April and May Goods to Buy

There are a few different areas to shop during these two spring months.  While some are obvious as to why the items are on sale, others take a little research.

Now is the time to buy those winter boots, scarves, hats and mittens that you have had your eye on.  The warm weather is here, and the “sales” ended a month or two ago.  Now the prices are slashed in order to clear out the merchandise.  If you have not picked up what you wanted, waiting longer may result in the items not being around when you finally get to the store to buy them.  Just keep in mind, since items are clearance marked (75%+ off), there is a chance your size is no longer available.

Shopping for clearance marked goods due to the end of the year is a relatively easy approach.  You know when the season is over, and you can watch the sales.  Some other goods are a little harder to know when to buy them.  And a lot of it has to do with where those items are manufactured.

[click to continue…]


Inc and Fast Company Magazine Bundle for $8.99

by Sean Bryant on April 22, 2014

Inc Fast Company MagazineToday only you can get up to a four year subscription to both Inc and Fast Company Magazines for just $8.99 per year.  Use coupon code OneSmartDollar at checkout.  This deal is good for both new and renewal subscriptions and can also be given as a gift.

Subscribe to Inc and Fast Company Magazines

This deal will expire at 11:59 EST on April 22, 2014

About INC

INC helps you run your small business. Each issue features in-depth articles on getting financial backing, managing your money, important laws that affect you, how-to deal with taxes, and tips on managing people.
About Fast Company
Fast Company Magazine is known as the hip guide to the business revolution, featuring the latest business news and trends, cutting-edge entrepreneurs and the very fastest growing companies.
Not interested in either of these magazines?  You can use coupon code OneSmartDollar and save 20% off other magazine titles.


10 Best Red Wines for Under $20

by Katelyn Michaud on April 21, 2014

Best Red WinesWine has been associated with food for thousands of years. But, it’s not until recently people have begun to really pay attention to the quality of our foods and wines. A common mantra of yesteryears has been “red wine with meat, white wine with chicken and fish.” Today, we know that is not true and the art of pairing wine with food can be quite complex and expensive. It is commonly believed that the older and more expensive a bottle of wine is the better it will be. That is not true! There are a plethora of good quality wines for under $20.

When purchasing a bottle of wine you want to consider the three “S’s” of wine tasting. The swirl, the smell, and the sip. Swirling allows you to see the wine’s texture and color. Young red wines will be a bluish red, whereas, an older red wine will warm to a ruby, then garnet, and finally brick red. As you swirl the wine, an older wine and those high in alcohol will descend in sheets or “legs” on the inside of the glass. Swirling also opens up the wine to oxygen to release its’ aromatics. All wines should exhibit strong fruit aromas, but many other aromas may be present as well, such as spice, herbs, and earth.

Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeast produce different types of wine. Some of the most common red wines found at the dinner table are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel.


Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is the result of an unintended cross between Cabernet Franc (red) and Sauvignon Blanc (white). Cabernet Sauvignon has a high ratio of grape skin to pulp, which gives the wine its deep red color, large seeds that provide a higher level of tannin that gives the wine its long longevity, and a good tolerance for different growing climates. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are grown in regions varying from Russia to southern France to Argentina.

The Menage a Trois Cabernet Sauvignon has bold, dark fruit flavors with silky tannins. The grapes come from three regions in California’s North Coast region and are aged in French and American oak barrels. For about $14 a bottle, this wine is a steal.

The Root: 1 Cabernet Sauvignon has a deep garnet color with ripe berries, cassis, plum and dark cherry aromas. It is a full-bodied wine with hints of red berry and mocha. It pairs well with red meat, roasted vegetables, and spicy soups. It can usually be found for $10-15 a bottle.

[click to continue…]


Dream Big, Think Realistic

by Sean Bryant on April 20, 2014

Coffee MugFor all of our entrepreneurial lives we have been told to dream big and think big if we ever want to be big: A word of caution – That kind of magical thinking can lead to big debt and even bigger failures. Big thinking, and even failing, in itself is not always bad, but our thinking does not need to be big; it needs to be realistic. You do not have to shoot to be Coca Cola or Facebook. You do not need a Super Bowl commercial. What you need are small ideas for the marketing most likely to help your small business hit it big. Here are a few right-sized ideas that just might fit into your budget.

Branded Boxes

If you ship a product that needs a box, you are missing out on one of the great branding opportunities. At the height of their success, Gateway Computer enjoyed a great deal of consumer goodwill just from their big, fun, well-made, highly recognizable boxes. One of the greatest subliminal messages you can send your customer is that you are a solid company with well-made products and services that they can depend on. The way you send that message is with a great package. On of the reasons there is so little buyers remorse with Apple products is that the packaging is so high-quality. Everyone just assumes the contents are as well.

corrugated box manufacturer, like Custom Box Now, that creates custom box work can build boxes to your exact specifications, including your custom logo and artwork. These boxes will make their way across town and around the world. Only your customer knows exactly what is inside the box, but everyone gets to see who sent it. It is a great marketing idea. Perhaps that is what they mean by thinking outside the box.

T-Shirts and Coffee Mugs

You may not wear t-shirts and you may not drink coffee. But the one using these items is not the point. It is the one seeing them that matters. More to the point, it is the people seeing your business name and logo on the items that matters. Display advertising is rather expensive, and out of reach for many small businesses.

A display ad is like a billboard on the freeway. It doen’t say much. It just leaves an impression on the one who briefly glimpses it. In fact, the unit of measurement for a display ad is the number of impressions it generates. Coca Cola does not do display ads to inform you of the caloric and nutritional value of the product. They do it to remind you that they are there. They want you to see their logo more times than you see the competitor’s logo. When they do that, they win.

[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Focus on the Big Things – Part Two

by Scott Sery on April 17, 2014

Focus on the Big thingsRecently we discussed focusing on the big things, and how it is much more worthwhile to spend your time on the items that will save you a lot of money, like refinancing your house or negotiating your car insurance, rather than the things that will save you hardly anything, like making your own soap or skipping your morning coffee.  Today I want to take that one step further and talk about some more of those big things that need your focus.


The concept of insurance is not a new one.  In fact, the basic concept of spreading out the risk can be traced back many thousands of years.  The idea that we know today, the one where we pay premiums in the event that our insured property, health, or life becomes damaged, developed within the past millennium or so.  Primarily due to the fact that this is the time period when cash based systems were replacing trade and barter systems.  An interesting fact that many people don’t know: the term underwriter came about when merchants were shipping their goods across the sea, they would post the shipment and its value in the public houses.  The insurer would assess the risk, and literally write his name underneath the shipment along with a premium that would be needed to insure those goods.

Modern day insurance is focused on the concept of indemnity, a fancy way of saying “to make whole.”  You can see it in every kind of insurance that you purchase today.  For instance, you have a car worth $20,000 and you purchase insurance on that vehicle.  If you wreck it, the insurance company will pay you what the car is worth (minus the deductible).  Granted your idea of what the car is worth may not be completely in line with what they company thinks the car is worth, but the point is you are being made whole, you are not making money on the deal.

[click to continue…]


Home Business Magazine for $5.99 Per Year

April 17, 2014
Home Business Magazine

Have you been thinking about starting a business? If you have then a great place to start might be with a subscription to Home Business Magazine. Today only you can get up to a two year subscription for just $5.99 per year. You will need to use coupon code ONESMARTDOLLAR at checkout. This is good […]

Read the full article →

How to Identify a Potential Real Estate Growth Area

April 15, 2014
Real Estate Investing

Real estate is big business and many people have made their fortunes by investing wisely in the right areas before they shot up in price. There is no time like the present to start investing in your future wealth. Before plunging blindly in to the real estate market, you have to pull back, do some […]

Read the full article →