Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Think One Step Ahead

Tip #200 - Think One Step Ahead. In today’s economy, many people are trying to make more money or cut down on expenses. In this blog I have talked a great deal about ways to cut back on expenses and have given some suggestions on how to earn income. However, our world is changing rapidly. What works today may not be feasible tomorrow. Or it might be passé. In order to continue to keep our expenses low or to earn more income, we need to stay on top of technology, come up with ideas for future earnings, and think one step ahead of where we are today.

Fifteen years ago, who would have thought that making money writing a blog was possible. Yet many people who got in on the ground floor of blog writing are the ones who are making good incomes at it. As new technologies become available, those who become adept at it quickly are the ones who are making money. Being flexible and eager to learn new things are skills that will help put money on the table.

Think of women who take time off when they have children. Many want to go back to work when their children are grown but they find that their skills have gotten rusty or they have failed to keep up new technology, laws or other changes in their field. Those who are thinking ahead and keeping up with skills will have an easier time getting and keeping a job.

What about cutting expenses? Right now, in addition to paper copies, coupons are available on dozens of websites. Drugstores have rebate and cash back programs that many of people take advantage of to save hundreds of dollars each year on household goods. These types of programs could end tomorrow. Where or how will you start to economize in this area in the future? Will cutting back on some of these items be another way you can save money? Or buying larger quantities for less price per unit be the way to go? Or maybe making some of these things yourself will be the best cost saver. Remember the old saying, ‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat’? Well, there’s more than one way to save money. You might need a different method in the future than what you are using today.

Continue to do what you are doing today to earn money or to save money. But take time to read up on new technologies and try them out. Learn a new skill that might save you money in the future or become a potential business for you. Try to do several different things to make money. Then if one area becomes no longer viable, you still have the others to fall back on. Apply the same concept to cutting costs. Consider what you think the world will look like tomorrow and start to implement ideas that may work as income or cost-cutting measures in that world. You will be better off than if you are stagnant and relying on only things you are doing today. They may not be around or may not be money makers tomorrow.

In Real Life (IRL) –
I have been thinking about ways to generate some income, and realize that things that I considered just a decade ago no longer have direct relevance or have changed dramatically. Many years ago I considered doing a business organizing peoples photo albums (not scrapbooking) because I was very good at organizing my pictures and getting them labeled and in books. I had many people ask me if I would do the same with their photos. While I never followed through with that plan, I look at how much has changed in the past 20 years regarding photo albums. Scrapbooking became the rage for a segment of the population with many expert scrapbookers offering their services to organize people’s photos. Then came digital pictures with digital photo albums that seem to be very popular today. Do people still put photos in a sleeve of a photo album anymore? If I had gone into that business, I would have had to adapt, at least for some clients to fancier scrapbooks or digital books like the ones available online. What will be the next wave for photos? People making a living in that industry should know and be on top of that.

Two years ago I was only clipping coupons out of the newspaper inserts. I was unaware that coupons could be had online. I have been able to cut expenses much more dramatically using these coupons that are available on the computer. Will they always be around? Will my stores stop taking them? If so, what will be my next plan to keep my food expenses down? I have been trying to get away from buying so much processed food, not only as another plan to save money but for the health benefits, too. If my supermarkets stop taking Internet coupons, my step up in scratch cooking will help control that area of the budget.

I have been selling on eBay for several years now. I am happy with them and I am comfortable there. But the fee increases have cut into my profits and I am starting to search around for other alternatives to selling. Lots of other sellers have jumped ship and are already selling on other venues. Who knows if eBay will always be the largest online auction site. It makes sense for me to explore other sites as potential selling sites for me.

I am constantly reading about finances and various ways to make money, save money, and invest money. By connecting with other like-minded individuals, I am able to hear about other ideas that people are implementing, which helps me come up with my own ideas. I stay on top of what technologies are out there – even if I am not yet using them, and it makes me think ahead to what will be in the future. No matter where I look to make or save money, keeping on top of what is going on in the financial and business world is the only way to keep up.

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