Saturday, February 26, 2011

Malinda Winkle - Your "Should I" Expert for Money Questions

Over the last few months, I have written a long list of financial decision topics for eHow Money. They ask "Should I..." questions. So, rather than being your "Go To" Person, just call me your "Should I" person for money topics. I write every day about business and personal finance issues.

Having graduated with honors with two degrees, Business Administration and Economics, from Rollins College and as a former financial counselor, I feel confident that my articles help you establish a baseline for decision-making and point you in the right direction if you need further resources.

Malinda Zellman-Winkle
Freelance Writer/Photographer
Should I Borrow Money to Invest?

Should I Pay the Minimum Payment on My Credit Card?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Budgeting Ideas for a Family Evening at Home

A game board of alfapet.
Planning a family evening at home may cost a little or cost a lot depending on what your family fun involves. Explore your options as you work through decisions about the frequency of your evenings at home, your family's proposed activities, the associated costs and the ways to make this happen within your budget.

Set the Budget Requirement
Plan your family evening either weekly or monthly, depending on your goals. Designate the dollar amount you feel you need for an adequately-funded
evening. Consider what fun activities would keep your clan happy. Now you should have a relatively good idea how much money you need for your family-evening-at-home budget item. Finally, find your money source. Hint: You either increase your income or decrease an existing expense.
Increase Your Income to Balance the Budget
If you don't have an existing budget item that can be slashed from your budget, find way to earn more money. Let's say you decided on $25 per week for a family evening at home every week. Arrange for appropriate budget adjustments so you can afford your $25 weekly evening together. Working a little overtime or one of the spouses taking a part time job will usually fund this family night.

Spend Less to Balance the Budget

Not willing to get that second job? You can still budget your family evening at home by finding something in your existing budget that you can eliminate. It may be spending less on home decor, groceries, clothing or maybe you can nix your existing date night with your spouse. It doesn't really matter what you cut from your existing budget. Just cut something you can live without in favor of your new goal -- a family evening at home.

Family watching television, c. 1958Image via Wikipedia                                   1958--When family nights were the norm.No Budget Required

The possibilities for entertaining yourselves at home never cease. But if your budget has no breathing space at all, choose entertainment options with no budget required. Consider board games, TV, movies you check out from the public library or simply exercising together. Jog down to the park and play a round of tennis or basketball. Swim in the community or home swimming pool. Come home for homemade cookies and ice cream. Arm wrestle on the floor. Read a book aloud. Video games coupled with a special meal you family loves suit some families. Maybe your clan loves spaghetti or pizza or steak. Make this your traditional supper on family night or you can plan four favorite dinners in rotation each month.


• Help Me To Create a Budget, Save Money

•Families In Zion: Movies That Teach

•CNN: Ten Creative Ways to Earn Extra Money

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Startup America Partners with the White House to Start and Grow Small Businesses

This article explains a new initiative by a coalition of big businesses such as Intel, IBM and Hewlett Packard. They offer assistance for entrepreneurs as they attempt to engineer and grow their startup businesses. Check it out to see if these helps suit any of your business needs. The attached link takes you to an article on

Technology cos. commit funds to Obama program
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Virtual Trade Shows: Are They for Your Business?

Computers MonitorImage by yum9me via Flickr
Trade shows have gone virtual. Virtual trade shows eliminate the travel expenses and gruelling, long hours standing in a booth. How? Your virtual booth can be monitored from the desktop computer in your office.
Attendees of a virtual trade show click on your business icon. Your office is sent a message so you can make your staff available for online or video chats. Visit with prospects and collect customer leads without leaving your desk. Setting up your virtual booth takes about an hour as you load your logo, video presentations, white papers and brochures into the trade show's software setup.

Your staff can multitask as they interact with virtual trade show prospects throughout the day. No travel, hotel or taxi bills, no setup and takedown - just lots of new leads in the comfort of your own office. Many small businesses and virtual attendees can be reached virtually that would not have participated in a traditional trade show event.

Following is a list of virtual trade show opportunities as well as additional resources to help you determine whether a virtual trade should would boost your business. If you know of other opportunities, feel free to add them via a comment to this blog post so we can keep this list updated.

Visit the following sites for their upcoming events list or details on hosting your own virtual trade shows:

Business Global
Go Exhibit Corporation
Special Graphics Imaging Association Virtual Trade Show
Advertising Specialty Institute Virtual Trade Shows

Resources: "How to Plan and Execute a Virtual Trade Show Event", Dennis Shiao

USA Today: "Companies Turn to Virtual Trade Shows to Save Money, Roger Yu, January 2010

Virtual Trade Fair Shows: "Virtual Trade Fair Shows vs In-person Trade Shows", January 2010

Forbes Magazine: "How to Tackle a Virtual Tradeshow", Melanie Lindner, July 2009

The LOdown: "Virtual Tradeshows: Closing the Gap on Traditional Tradeshows, Natalie Beneviat, March 2009

Bloomberg BusinessWeek: "Virtual Conferences' Home Advantage", Rachel King, May 2008


Inc Magazine: "Nice Meeting Your Avatar: Trade Shows Go Virtual", April Joyner, May 2009
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