Minute by minute

my thoughts on making the most out of all of life's minutes…


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25 Tips of Christmas – #14 – Resist the Urge to Meander

#14 – Resist the urge to meander

I am totally guilty of this one – just last night!

I’m not really a shopper.  I don’t really love going to the mall to just walk in and out of stores looking at stuff.

But last night I found myself doing just this.  I had to run to Staples and Kohls and at both places, I was so easily sidetracked, I found myself aimlessly walking the aisles, with no particular purpose.

But my tip for today (really yesterday, I am a day late – probably because I was out shopping), stay on target.  With it being the crazy,hectic time of year, now is not the time to meander through the aisles and “shop”.

Keep your list handy and have a plan of attack whenever you venture out.  This will keep you on budget; both spending and energy.

Happy #14.

~amy

PS – Get this – this is my 100 blog post!  Thanks for reading.

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25 Tips of Christmas – #12 – One Stop Shipping

Tip #12 – One Stop Shipping 

 

 

 

This year, instead of sending individual packages to each household – consider shipping to one location.  Here’s what I’m thinking; I live in the Pacific NW – but all our extended families live in either Texas or North Carolina.   I know that my families back “home” will be getting together at some point over the Holidays – so I only ship to one place (usually my parents’ home) and ask for help in passing around all our gifts.

By shipping to just location – you will cut down on cost and packaging.  Ultimately you’ll save times and energy, because,  instead of packaging a whole bunch of little packages  – all you do is one larger one.  So it’s a green tip as well as a money and time-saving one.

Happy Monday to you all!

~amy

Today’s question – where is the furthest place you ship gifts? 


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25 Tips of Christmas – #8 – Click-n-Ship

Tip # 8 – Click-n-Ship

I love, love, love – Click-n-Ship from the US Postal Service.  Love it!!!

And I also love, love, love – the flat rate shipping boxes from the US Postal Service.

I think you all know me well enough by now to know that I have no affiliation with the Post Office – I’m just writing as I see it- a happy consumer of this service.

Here’s why:

Flat rate boxes come in a variety of sizes – from very small to pretty large – and the rates for each box is a flat rate (hence the name).  This is a huge bonus when budgeting your actual costs of shipping a package.  Not to mention, keeping in mind the size of box you’ll be using – helps when purchasing gifts – and keeps them in appropriate size in order to fit into the box that falls within  your budget.  And because they ship priority mail, many of the packages get to your destination in 2-3 days.  One added perk – you can order flat rate boxes directly from the website to be delivered to your home.  I keep a stash of all sizes ready for any sort of shipping I might need to do.

Click-n-ship is so very easy to use.  You simply login to the website, select “ship a package” and fill in all your information, choose your packaging and then enter your payment type.  After everything goes through, you will be prompted to print your label which you then slap on your package (packing tape not included).

And one final thing I love, love,love – you can arrange for your packages to be picked up at your house!  After your label prints, the website will prompt you to answer whether or not you would like to have your package picked up – you can choose a date and location  (i.e. front porch, at the mailbox, etc.).

One thing I have learned from using this service  – – you can’t put a package that is more than a pound in weight in your mailbox to be picked up.  Anything over a pound needs to be arranged for pick up and/or dropped off at the Post Office directly.

Oh – which leads me to one more bonus – – if you opt to take in your click-n-ship labeled boxes into the Post Office to be dropped off – you don’t have to wait in line.  You can just drop them off with a window attendant and say “click-n-ship” and head out the door.

Today’s question – have you ever used the Post Office’s Flat Rate Boxes or Click-n-Ship?  What are your thoughts?

~Amy

PS – on that last note – be prepared for dirty looks from people schlepping all their boxes, waiting in long lines as you walk in, drop off your packages and leave.  If you’d like, I can send you a stack of my business cards and you can invite them to read this blog so they can learn the inside secrets of fast shipping too.


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25 Tips of Christmas – #7 – Shop local, big box or online

Tip #7 – Shop Local, Big Box Stores or Online

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My original idea with my 25 Tips of Christmas was to bring you ways to reduce stress during the Holiday Season.  I hope I have given you some ideas to ponder in the last six days and that you’ll continue reading through all 25 tips.

Let me start off today’s post by saying – I love Amazon.com.  I’m a Prime Member, I have the Kindle App on my iPad, I order many things from them throughout the year, I am selling my eBooks on their site.   So there – I said it – I love Amazon.com.

Today, my friend, shared a blog link on her Facebook status about Amazon’s attempt to sway consumers away from shopping local this Saturday by offering people $5 if they scan the bar-code of an item they see in a local store and upload it using their new Price Check App.  If the consumer then goes and buys the item at Amazon instead of the local store, they get $5.

That’s the concept pretty simplified – – Here’s the link to the blog – http://gawker.com/5865612/amazon-launches-christmas-attack-on-local-shops   And here’s a link to a little more information on the topic – http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Amazons-Price-Check-Slams-Retailers-73915.html

Ok – so here is my stance on the topic:  Times are tough and I would hope that most everyone is trying their best to do what is right for their individual conscience and situation.  Truthfully, I really want to buy all organic food and buy all my purchases locally.  But realistically – I can’t afford it!  It’s that simple.  So I pick and choose what works for me, my family’s needs and our budget.  I hate that things are all driven by money – but the truth of the matter is – they are.

But this is where I think Amazon’s actions are tacky.   Hey Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart – – etc. – – we all know who you are and we all know you offer low prices.  Please don’t make us turn on our local businesses and do your investigating for you.  It takes a balance and I truly belive we can all exist in this market.  Speciality, local stores with great customer service – online retailers and large box stores with discounted pricing- I really think we need them all.  Let’s not pin one against the other – please find other ways to let consumers decide.

So I guess my tip for today is – do what is right for you and your situation.  But let it be you that makes the decisions based on your ideals and your individual circumstances.

Thanks for reading!

~amy

PS – if you would like to help me in my personal quest to buy organic and local – please invite your friends to follow my blog and help me build my readership so I can sell more eBooks.  =)

 

 

 


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25 Tips of Christmas – #6 – Shipping or Wrapping – Consider the Size

Tip #6 – Consider the Size

While out shopping for gifts – be sure to keep in mind if you’ll be shipping or wrapping said purchases.  If shipping, it is best to consider the cost of shipping as well as the size of box and other packing materials you will need.

If you will be wrapping and giving a gift in person, it is still important to remember how much wrapping materials you will need.

Taking stock of your shipping and wrapping materials before you head out is important too.  Make a note if you are running low on supplies and purchase them while you are out verses making a 10pm run to the store for more supplies.

Happy Tuesday!

~Amy

PS – I love getting packages from delivery trucks, don’t you?   My office sits right in front of my office window which looks out to our street.  I love it when the UPS or FedEx trucks stops at our house.  I often meet him at the sidewalk!


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25 Tips for Christmas – #3 – Eat

Tip #3 – Eat!

This might seem very obvious – but this is also the time of year when most people over-indulge on everything – including food.  So instead of “grabbing a bite” while you are out – plan ahead.  Eat before you head out and pack a small snack to help keep your energy up.  Or if you are going to be out for a long time and you know you’ll get hungry, pack yourself a sandwich to eat during one of your stops.

Planning ahead will keep your money and calorie budget in check.

Happy Saturday!

~amy

PS – Did you notice it is snowing on my blog?


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Coming Soon! 25 Tips for Christmas

Happy Almost December!

 

I thought I’d jump on the 25 Days band wagon that seems to be popular right now and challenge myself to write 25 Tip for Christmas.  Stay tuned – it’s starting – Thursday, Dec 1st.   Each day I’ll offer a time, energy, money, effort tip to help get through the craziness that is the Holiday season.  Many of  the tips can be used for your small business and your personal life too.

I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts along the way – please feel free to share with your friends too.

~Amy