5 Benefits of Using Reusable Bags to Promote Your Business

Reusable bags have taken the grocery business by storm right now, and for a variety of reasons. People are more environmentally conscious nowadays, and they’re asking the same from the companies they do business with. This is why there is such a huge trend towards eco friendliness, and you can’t afford to fall behind. Here are some of the benefits of using reusable bags to promote your business.

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Effective Promotion Tool

Branded reusable bags work for promotion on so many levels. First of all, they are a prime tool in increasing your brand’s recognition and building brand awareness. Not only that, but every time someone decides to use one of your bags for any reason, they will be reminded of your brand. Your bag will work as a sort of portable billboard that will advertise your brand wherever your clients go. And not only that, it will work as a sort of endorsement; your friends and family will see this bag as a personal vote for the brand, and might form a more positive image of that brand as a result.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Since you’ll be using sustainable materials, you will be reducing your carbon footprint on the planet. Many reusable bags come from recycled materials, such as old bottles for instance, reducing our reliance on natural resources. And once the bag has served its purpose, it can be easily recycled and repurposed, or even composted in some cases.

Show Your Commitment to Going Green

Using reusable bags shows to your clients that you are actually willing to walk the walk and really do your part in protecting the environment. While this may work on a superficial level, you also have to follow through with actual measures if you want to be consistent. But this alone will do a lot to improve your image among your environmentally conscious clientele.

Allows You to Stretch Your Marketing Dollar

One of the great things about reusable bags is that they are a fairly cost-effective marketing tool. You could buy reusable bags wholesale and have them printed with your company’s logo for pennies. Not to mention that you’ll often charge clients for the bags themselves. So in a clever way, your clients will be paying to advertise your business on your behalf.

They Have Various Uses

Reusable bags are by far the star of the promotional item world. As a matter of fact, they are some of the most sought-after items at trade shows and people will literally make lines for them in some cases. So much so that they’ve become genuine items now, with Ikea’s iconic aqua reusable bag which has become sort of a pop culture cult. Because of their usefulness, people tend to hold on to them for many years, allowing your brand to gain even more visibility over time.

 

Recycled reusable bags have tons of benefits every business owner should consider. They’re cheap, convenient and are one of the most powerful and understated marketing methods you can use to build awareness for your brand.

Saving the Environment While Driving When You Can’t Afford a Hybrid

While you might love the idea of cutting back on the number of emissions your car churns out into the atmosphere, you might not be able to afford a hybrid vehicle. While you may not have any problem covering a hybrid with quality Austin insurance, it could be the monthly car payments that give you fits. Thankfully, there are other ways to do your part to save the environment without going broke as a hybrid vehicle owner.

Remove Your Junk

Before you head out again, clean out everything that you don’t need from the trunk, backseat and passenger seat. All that extra weight is negatively impacting your overall gas mileage, which sends you back to the pump faster. There’s also the fact that your engine is working harder to handle the stress of the extra weight, which certainly isn’t doing the air any favors.

Take It Easy When Stopping and Starting

There’s no need to gun the engine as soon as the light turns green. Not only does jackrabbiting chew up your gas and release more emissions, it can also lead to accidents should you collide with drivers trying to make lights just a second after they turn red. Easing to a gradual stop rather than stomping on the brakes is better on your brakes as well as your engine. This means you should make sure you’re going the posted speed limit and pay attention to cars and traffic lights ahead of you so you have time to respond accordingly.

Keep Your Car Tuned Up

Be sure to take your car in for regular oil and air filter changes. It’s understandable to want to put off an oil change for a while, but doing so can cost you more in the long run by eating away at your fuel efficiency and belching harmful fumes into the air. The same applies to tune-ups, which allow your engine to operate more efficiently and let you get as many miles as possible out of your vehicle. Something else about regular tune-ups even when your car seems to be running fine is that mechanics can let you know if there are any minor issues with your car that should be addressed in the near future, giving you time to start saving up for those needed repairs rather than learn of them when they’re more expensive.

Pay Attention to Your Tires

Proper tire pressure is essential not only to how your car maneuvers on the road, but also how much gas it burns. You want your tires to have the optimum amount of contact with the road so there’s just the right amount of friction and resistance to get you where you need to go without your engine or tires having to work harder than necessary. In the colder months of the year, you might have to over-inflate your tires to compensate for the cold air sapping air from your tires. In any case, a tire-pressure gauge or a professional mechanic’s help is essential for making sure your tires have the right amount of pressure.

Don’t Be Afraid to Turn Your Car Off

When you’re stuck in heavy traffic that moves slower than chilled molasses in the winter, go ahead and shut your engine off. Traffic jams can seem more like you’re in a parking lot and less like you’re driving on a road, so you might as well shut the engine off like you would in a parking lot. Imagine the reduction in emissions if every vehicle on the road was turned off during traffic jams. Do your part to start a positive trend all while saving gas.

Know that driving a hybrid only does so much if you don’t practice the basics of being an environmentally-conscious driver. How you drive is much more important than what you drive.

 

Secret Every Entrepreneur Should Know: Be Comfortable being uncomfortable

Each entrepreneur is unique and goes about attaining goals in their own unique fashion. But even in their individuality, entrepreneurs all share a powerful secret recipe that facilitates business success.

Most entrepreneur guides offer the same advice – work hard, don’t give up, be creative, and other similar pearls of wisdom. But most of these guides often fail to point out some harsh truths about attaining success as an entrepreneur. One such truth is becoming a successful entrepreneur is hard and uncomfortable work, and staying a successful entrepreneur is even harder.

But the life of an entrepreneur being an uncomfortable battle with many fresh foes popping out of unexpected corners isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This is because fresh obstacles that block your path to success make you creative as you seek solutions, and can even inspire you to accomplish bigger things that you thought yourself incapable of. So instead of fearing discomfort, here’s how you can spin gold from straw by being comfortable while living the uncomfortable life of an entrepreneur;

  1. Your customer should always be priority.

As uncomfortable as it may sound, your customer should always be your priority. This means sacrificing your time, energy, and much more to ensure the perpetual satisfaction and happiness of your customers. Remember that each customer that is dissatisfied is a potential customer for your competitor. Prioritising your customers all the time with little time and resources for yourself might seem tasking but fortunately there are recommended productivity resources out there you can use to achieve some balance between work and life.

  1. Keep a close eye on your finances

Start-ups think they are only ones who are short on finances. But that’s not true. Even entrepreneurs who have made a name for themselves run into financial issues every now and then, and a lot of entrepreneurs have fallen of the ladder of success due to financial mismanagement at some point in their career. Thus, rather than celebrate your first success by getting comfortable and spending big, keep a close eye on your finances and try to minimise your expenditure.

This might seem harsh especially since most people become entrepreneurs because they want financial independence, but keeping your spending lean is actually a secret to success. You can keep your spending lean by evaluating your business and identifying which costs are necessary and which aren’t. Those that aren’t can be deferred or simply altogether dropped.

  1. Be open to fresh input

With all your qualifications and no matter how high you rise, the fact still stands that you don’t know all it takes to be successful. The day you know it all is the day you stop growing as an entrepreneur. So don’t be close minded. Rather, accept advice, feedback, and other input from all available sources – especially more experienced entrepreneurs as well as your customers.

In conclusion, the life of an entrepreneur is always unpredictable and this can throw your plans and budget out of whack. But rather than break under such pressure, get comfortable with being flexible and adapt to the circumstances. By operating this way, you are more likely to find a silver lining in every circumstance that you can exploit in your favour.

6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Wedding Reception

One of the beautiful advantages of a modern wedding is how you can update it to reflect your beliefs and share them with the attendees. And you can integrate both ethical living and environmentally friendly habits into your reception. Here are 6 tips for an eco-friendly reception. Note that all of this advice is practical for anyone with any budget.

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Pick the Right Location

One of the popular tips for hosting an eco-friendly wedding reception is holding it at an eco-friendly location. Outdoor gardens and especially those that use your funds to save local plants are one option. If you want to host the reception outdoors, hold it in a pavilion with fans instead of a tent with artificial air conditioning. Holding it indoors in local museums or art galleries is another option. Wherever you hold the reception, have it close to the wedding venue, if not part of the wedding venue to minimize travel.

One issue often overlooked when planning the reception is the location of the ceremony. For example, destination weddings where you expect everyone to fly to Hawaii or Bermuda so you don’t have to travel after the ceremony to the hotel are incredibly wasteful. Conversely, holding the wedding reception near your home or a centrally located facility within easy commuting distance of all attendees is the ideal solution.

Select the Right Food and Drink

Select locally sourced wines instead of something that comes from abroad. Choose seasonal foods where possible. You don’t have to go overboard on organic food, since much of it is overpriced for a green-washed label and isn’t really better for people or the environment. Conversely, asking for homemade food gifts in place of appliances you won’t be using anyway is an excellent way to secure food and drink for the wedding. Another factor to consider is food waste. Don’t plan a massive buffet if most of it will be thrown away. If there is food left over, think about how you can donate it at the end of the event before you start placing orders. Composting is a slightly better choice than throwing it all away.

Plan for Hygiene and Health

A common mistake for planning eco-friendly receptions is failing to take hygiene into account. They plan to bring many people into a facility and a few end up going in the bushes instead of using the bathroom. You can solve this problem by renting Satellite restroom trailers. Aside from properly collecting and disposing of waste, you’ll give everyone proper facilities for changing clothes and washing their hands, reducing the risk of illness after the event.

Waste Not, Want Not

Another factor to consider is the waste your event generates. You can reduce this by serving food on small reusable plates instead of paper plates guests throw away. Consider giving out compostable plates and cutlery. An ideal situation is giving away keepsake beverage glasses as gifts to your guests so they don’t have to throw it away. However, hiring a caterer to serve food and drink before taking up dishes they’ll wash and reuse is certainly better than throwing away everything people ate with once.

Think of the Flowers

Consider using artificial flowers that guests can take home instead of living plants. If you want to use flowers, arrange for sustainably grown flowers. Don’t go for the upscale imported Peruvian roses.

Consider Your Vendor Selection

Try to find local service providers who in turn rely on local sourcing. You’ll certainly help the environment if the band is local instead of someone driving in from 300 miles away. This should include caterers in the area if you’re not going to buy items in the area to use for the event yourself.

Having an eco-friendly wedding is all about making the right decisions. You don’t have to rearrange your whole reception in order to do so, just keeping waste at a minimum and having the proper installations in place to manage both human and material waste is already a step in the right direction.

How Much Money Can You Safely Borrow?

Almost everyone carries at least some form of debt. In the first quarter of 2017, consumer debt in America hit an all-time high of $12.73 trillion. Household debt continues to grow every year, alongside federal and corporate debt. In other words, the country is swimming in borrowed capital.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Debt of any kind can actually be beneficial if it’s used responsibly. Borrowed money can help save you time and effort in several situations, from buying a house, getting educated, or starting a new business. A quick loan from Cash Stop can help you meet your monthly expenses, buy that new car, or purchase a new piece of tech. Debt can certainly be useful in moderation.

By borrowing a sustainable amount, you can fund your dreams and complete important projects without messing up your credit score or your personal finances. Here’s how you can figure out how much money you can borrow safely:

Total Net worth

In order to borrow safely, it’s important to estimate your ability to pay back the loan. A crucial factor is your net worth. Your personal net worth is the estimated value of all your assets, minus the estimated value of everything you owe. In other words, it’s the net value of everything you possess.

When total debt is measured as a ratio against your net worth, it provides a clearer structure to your personal finances. As a rule of thumb, the lower the debt-to-net worth ratio, the more sustainable the debt.

While a debt-to-net worth ratio of less than 1x is ideal, any ratio below 2.5x would be considered relatively safe.

Interest Coverage

Another, and more precise, way to calculate debt sustainability is the debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. By measuring gross monthly income against your net debt expenses you can accurately estimate your ability to service the debt load.

Experts disagree on the ideal ratio of debt expenses to income. However, a good place to start is the recommended ratio for qualified mortgages.

Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, lenders, banks, and financial institutions can offer borrowers special protections and terms if the debt expenses or monthly interest payments are less than 43% of monthly gross income. This means a debt expense-to-income ratio of less than 0.43 would be considered safe. For home loans and mortgages, financial planners recommend keeping this ratio below 0.30.

In short, spending less than one-third of your pre-tax income every month on all your interest payments is financially sustainable.

Final Thoughts

The wealthier you are the more you can borrow. Your total wealth and gross income are important factors to consider when estimating how much money you can borrow. Banks and lenders have specific ratios in mind when they offer to extend a loan. Sticking to these ratios makes it more likely that your debt will help you grow, rather than put you in a detrimental, stressful position.

Other Home Improvements for a Sustainable, Energy-Efficient House

In the previous article, we discussed solar panels and how you can use them to turn your house into a sustainable, self-sufficient property. The prices of solar panels and supporting hardware are becoming more affordable by the day, which is why it is even more appealing to invest in a good solar panel system for your house.

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Solar panels aren’t the only upgrade to add in order to make your property more energy efficient and sustainable. There are other great home improvements to consider, and we are going to look into them in this article.

LED Lights

LED lights are among the best things to pick up if you want to boost your house’s energy efficiency. They consume much less power than conventional bulbs and investing in them will immediately lower your energy bills. LED bulbs are up to 80% more efficient than CFLs and neon lights. The cost of LED lights is also much more affordable than it used to.

This is a home improvement that practically pays for itself. You may have to pay for the LED lights yourself at the beginning, but you can expect to save a lot on your electricity bill that the savings will cover the purchase in just a few months.

Energy Efficient Windows

The cost of heating and cooling the interior of your house is usually the major part of your energy bills. Changing the interior temperature to the right level is even more expensive when you have cracked windows and bad insulation.

Investing in energy efficient windows is the first step towards solving that problem. Once you get the windows installed, you will find cooling or heating your house to be a lot easier and much more affordable. You can also add additional window treatments to boost energy efficiency even further.

Insulation Upgrades

Upgrading your home’s insulation is the next thing to do. Aside from wall insulation, it is also important to look into ducts, especially if you use central heating and cooling. According to the EPA, a fifth of the air forced through ducts in residential properties leaks. This results in poor energy efficiency.

Similar to the previous home upgrades we discussed, insulation for pipes and ducts is much improved and very affordable these days. Skipping this step would be a mistake, especially if the goal is to make your house more energy efficient in the long run.

A Smarter Home

Last but certainly not least, consider turning your property into a smart home. Use a programmable thermostat and install a smart home hub such as Google Home to further improve energy efficiency. These smart devices can be remotely controlled and programmed for maximum efficiency.

With a smart thermostat installed, for instance, you can have the interior of the house kept at a comfortable temperature just 30 minutes before you arrive home after work instead of all day long. Imagine the amount of money you can save from this feature alone.

Paired with solar panels and clean energy, these home improvement options are even more valuable. The next time you want to upgrade your property, consider the improvements we covered in this article to get started.

Investment ideas for beginners

Are you letting your money work for you? If not, you are missing a great opportunity to increase your personal wealth. Keeping money in a low interest account isn’t going to accomplish this. By choosing to invest your money in stocks, bonds or other options, successful investments will generate more cash for your future goals. Consider some of these potential investment alternatives.

Bitcoin

Different than other investments, bitcoin is a currency that can be used in a number of ways to help increase one’s wealth. The most common method is simply to purchase the bitcoin currency, anticipating it will increase in value. The currency is very popular with online websites including online casinos and at mobilecasinocanada.ca, they are considering the use of Bitcoin with other online banking methods.

Certificates of Deposit

CDs permit investors to invest their extra cash. This particular investment can vary in terms. Some CDs are short term with only three months while others can be as long as 5 years. Of course, one’s specific needs will determine the better term option. However, generally the longer the investment, the better your return on investment will be.  Shop around when looking to purchase CDs as banks do vary in regards to their rates.

Peer to Peer Lending

While this is a relatively new idea, peer to peer lending bypasses traditional banks and connects consumers looking to invest with those needing a loan. Notes are purchased by investors from websites. Borrowers must go through a thorough vetting process which helps reassure investors of repayment. Each month lenders will receive a payment consisting of principal repayment along with interest.

You may choose to try one of these investment ideas or perhaps another way to let your money work for you. No matter what you decide, one important thing to remember is that you must be diligent researching any investment prior to making it.