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Suzanne Kearns
Suzanne lives in Texas and has been a full-time freelance writer for 20 years. She’s written for numerous business and financial publications, both online and in traditional print media. She also owns her own small business and has a passion to help others achieve their dreams of financial independence. Her goal is to eventually work from a remote island that is equipped with Wi-Fi.

14 Unique & Inexpensive Host and Hostess Gift Ideas – Etiquette

By Suzanne Kearns

friends dinner partySo you’re invited to a dinner party and are stressing out about a gift for your host or hostess. Maybe you just don’t know what to take or maybe you’re strapped for cash and can’t think of a suitable gift that won’t bust your budget.

Relax. There are plenty of great gifts that will make a favorable impression. But before we talk ideas, let’s review gift etiquette. After all, if you’re going to give a great gift, you should do it in style.

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10 Best Ways to Make Money from Home (Legitimate)

By Suzanne Kearns

woman work homeWith job postings still scarce, job security dissipating, and wages seemingly stagnant at best, many people are trying to establish some security by creating multiple streams of income. It’s a smart strategy, but if you have trouble leaving your home or primary position to get to a second job, you’ll find yourself frustrated and stressed out.

Perhaps you’re raising kids and you’re committed to not using daycare. Maybe you’re a little older and can’t commit to a full-time job. Or you might be injured or disabled, making it difficult for you to leave your home each day. Whatever your reason is, if you’re stuck at home most of the day, you’ve probably thought about the income you could be making by taking a work-from-home job or running your own business.

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How to Start Your Own Side Business While Working Another Job

By Suzanne Kearns

start side businessLet’s face it, times are tough. The unemployment rate is high and the cost of gas and food prices are on the rise. Out of necessity, many people have started to look for ways to supplement their income. Some have succeeded with side business ideas while they continue to work a full-time job. But that’s a big step, and many don’t realize how much time, effort, and money it takes.

If you’re looking for ways to increase your monthly income, and have considered starting a business, take a look at this comprehensive guide to determine whether or not this move is right for you.

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7 Types of Common Craigslist Scams to Watch Out for

By Suzanne Kearns

craigslist scamsIt used to be that when you wanted to find an apartment for rent, buy a used car, or pick up used, secondhand items like furniture or a washer and dryer, you looked in the classified section of the newspaper. But like with most other things these days, the Internet has taken over and made things even easier.

Nowadays, if you’re looking for any of these things, the best place to look is probably Craigslist, an online classified site categorized by city.

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How to Start a Candy or Chocolate Making Business in 7 Steps

By Suzanne Kearns

chocolate candiesYou may be surprised to know that one of your favorite hobbies – eating candy and chocolate, of course – can turn into a huge money making venture.

In fact, according to the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, specialty foods account for $50.3 billion in sales through retail stores and $12.7 billion in sales through restaurants. And a lot of that is candy.

The average American eats almost 24 pounds of candy each year and spends $84 annually to feed their habit.  The market for specialty candy is big and growing. So what does it mean to you? Perhaps you can start a booming candy business for a rather small investment.

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Credit Card Protection Plans – Is This Debt Insurance Worth the Money?

By Suzanne Kearns

credit card lock protectionYou’ve likely heard the horror stories of people who lost their jobs or faced another life-altering event that caused them to fall behind on their credit card payments. This usually results in plummeting credit scores, which can lead to the inability to buy a car, home, or other large-ticket item through financing. In addition, it can substantially increase interest rates on existing credit cards and make getting new ones nearly impossible.

That’s why so many people have signed up for credit debt protection plans, which are offered by all of the major credit card issuers. Another reason people sign up is because they don’t want their families to suffer financially in the event that they die.

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How Middle East Turmoil & Oil Prices Lead to Maxed Out Credit Cards – 8 Degrees of Separation

By Suzanne Kearns

gas prices credit card frownYou don’t have to drive 100 miles a day to notice just how high gas prices have risen. Experts are predicting that we’ll see them continue to climb, especially with summer approaching.

After I pay more at the pump, I go home to watch the news to learn about international struggles and strife in the major oil-producing nations of the Middle East. And it strikes me: The effect that global news has on our wallets and budgets isn’t going away. In fact, the rise in oil will directly impact our credit card balances.

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Advantages & Disadvantages of Outsourcing Jobs to Freelancers

By Suzanne Kearns

outsourcing globeImagine walking into a building where there are no boundaries, no language barriers, and workers with an unlimited amount of skills and talents whose number one goal is to help you with your business.

That’s what is commonly known as “the cloud” – a place (albeit in cyberspace) that allows business owners to tap into talent around the globe and outsource jobs for prices that are reasonable and attainable, even for the small business owner.

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Groupon for Business – Should You Use Groupon Deals to Promote Your Small Business?

By Suzanne Kearns

groupon screenPersonal budgets are tight, but a booming online industry is loosening up some great deals for savvy consumers. In most major cities, you can find local sites that organize promotions at restaurants, spas, and entertainment venues. On some sites, you can get coupons for a set discount, but other group buying sites, like Groupon, have a more complex and impressive model for greater savings.

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6 Best iPhone Apps to Save Money with Cheap Local Gas Prices

By Suzanne Kearns

gas pump nozzlesThe national average price of a gallon of gas is $3.84 – and gas prices are expected to rise even higher.

If you’ve been running on fumes or watching your savings account slowly dwindle thanks to the price at the pump, then it’s time to get out your phone.

No, not to call your local representative (although, you could try that, too), but to download these six apps that can help you save money on gas.

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6 Small Business Time Management Tips to Increase Productivity

By Suzanne Kearns

time is moneyIf you’re in the process of starting your own business, you may feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. To compound matters, for a small-business owner, every minute that ticks on the clock represent dollars – either earned or wasted.

Does that sound extreme? Consider this: In a study conducted by Microsoft, researchers found that workers used only about 60% of their available work time. That means that out of a five-day work week, they were productive only three of those days. Now, apply that to your own business. If time is money, then how would you feel about earning money only 60% of the time that you spend at work?

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10-Step Plan for How to Start a Mobile Food Truck Business

By Suzanne Kearns

kogi food truck businessThe idea of “food trucks” used to conjure images of ugly gray trucks that sold unhealthy greasy food and doled out empty calories. Boy, have times changed. Now, popular chefs, successful restaurateurs, and quirky foodies are all getting in on the act.

What were once known as “roach coaches” have become some of the most sought-out food eateries in major cities. If you’re looking to start your own small business – and you don’t want to go the traditional office or storefront route – then you might consider starting a food cart or food truck.

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Government Small Business Grants for Women – Beware of Scams

By Suzanne Kearns

business woman happyWe’ve all seen the screaming headlines on Internet search engine results pages or late night TV infomercials: Free Money From the Government! Or Government Has Millions of Dollars in Grants for Women-Owned Businesses!

And while these ads are tempting to believe, the reality is that although the government does offer some special assistance with loans and training to women who run their own businesses, they simply don’t provide grants for small businesses. Don’t be duped!

Here are three of the tricks that scam artists use to lure women into thinking they can get free money. Be on alert if you come across any of these.

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12 Cost Cutting Ideas for Your Small Business to Save Money & Reduce Expenses

By Suzanne Kearns

cut costs scissorsAs a small business owner, you’re always looking to bring in more business and increase profits.

However, another way to boost profits is by cutting expenses. Even if you’re having a good quarter full of brisk sales, out-of-control costs will quickly eat up your profits.

Avoid the mistakes that other businesses are making. Keep close track of your expenses (using a small business accounting tool like Ouright) and cut them every chance you get. Your competitors might overlook some of these expenses, but you won’t.

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4 Best Free Educational (and Fun) Apps for Kids to Manage Money

By Suzanne Kearns

parents kids smartphone appsImagine what the world would look like if kids learned at a very early age not only how to handle money, but how to make the most of it. I imagine a diminished U.S. national debt, paid off cars and mortgages, and no such thing as credit card debt.

But that education would have to start early, and since not many of us had the luxury of learning the ins and outs of money while we were still young, that kind of world is still a pipe dream. Today’s kids, however, have the chance to be the generation that builds a more money-smart society. Kids are already learning from educational software programs and kids websites for money management, and fortunately, a few of the best finance apps are designed specifically for kids and their needs. Free and low-cost apps offer great help when you’re teaching your kids about money.

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