Keep Our Service Free-Donate

Saturday, July 18, 2009

BillMyParents, Entrepreneurial Brilliance, More

June Retail Sales Show a Continued Slump

--Consumers show off their maverick entrepreneur skills to make money
--Our usual resources you can use
--Living Better on Less Expo Being Planned

Current Economic Picture…
Discount chains suffered, with Target's sales dropping 6.2 percent. Wal-Mart? Well, we don't know because the company stopped reporting its monthly same-store sales as of June.

Unemployment Is Surging, Credit Is Running Out,
Consumers Are Worried, and They're Spending Less!
As we pointed out previously — consumer credit defaults are hitting historic highs.
Meanwhile, credit card companies and other financial institutions are chopping available limits, cancelling dormant lines of credit, and denying new loan applications from even well-qualified candidates.
And of course unemployment is still surging!
… the latest Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey — released last Friday — showed the lowest reading of consumer confidence since March (when stocks were hitting new lows).
Survey respondents said they were very worried about an extended economic downturn, job security, and evaporating wealth.
The national saving rate surged to 6.9 percent in May, the highest level in 15 years!
This trend is likely to continue…
· In a Wednesday story called "Restaurants Burned By Deep Discounts," The Wall Street Journal noted that several fast-food and casual dining chains are slashing prices and offering all kinds of come-ons. Yet consumers aren't biting. They're spending less time and money eating out regardless of the deals. In the Journal's words:

"Despite heavy discounts across the retail industry — prices have been slashed on everything from food to clothing — consumers have been stubbornly reluctant to open their wallets."
· The same thing is happening at the nation's shopping malls. While overall retail spending rose 0.6 percent in June, the gains were largely driven by higher fuel prices. Core sales in discretionary categories like furniture (down 0.2 percent), general merchandise (down 0.4 percent), and clothing (unchanged) were weak. The National Retail Federation just forecast a 7.7 percent drop in back-to-school shopping this year ... something not seen in years.

This year, the survey showed that wealthy Americans are saving more too… 16 percent more of their income. They're raising their retirement plan contributions by 6 percent, and most (77 percent) are purchasing fewer big-ticket items.
"It's time to ratchet back our wild and crazy grasshopper side and get in touch with our inner ant, to be more artisan-enterpriser and less prospector-speculator, more heroic Greatest Generation and less self-indulgent baby boomer, to return from Oz to Kansas, to become fully reality-based again."
--Time Magazine
The New Entrepreneurs-Ways to Make Extra Money!
Providing 'premium obscure' or just plain dirt-cheap

Consumers now provide other consumers with 'premium obscure'
products and services and experiences—different, hard-to-find,
special, vintage, quirky, and/or personalized. Equally important in
recession times: unburdened by massive cost structures, some offerings are dirt-cheap.

Plenty of (novel) ways for consumers to capitalize on anything they already possess,
from unused parking spaces to excess energy. So what's
being done besides firmly established marketplaces
like eBay?

Parking spots | connects those who
have parking spots to rent out with those who need
them on a monthly basis. The Toronto-based company
lets spot-holders in the US and Canada list their offstreet
parking spots, along with the price they want to

A similar service is offered by ParkAtMyHouse, operating
in the UK, Ireland, Canada, US, Australia, New Zealand
and The Netherlands. Fun detail: car owners can
pre-book a spot daily, but can also make one-off bookings
for a football match or a day of shopping in the city.

In the UK, Ecotricity pays customers who want to sell
back to the grid 12 pence per kWh, while Green Energy
offers a Home Green Generator plan for those producing
less than 6 kWh.

Three more good wiki links for consumers who are
interested in going green: Eco-metering, Smart Grid
and Micro-generation.

Gift cards | GiftCardRescue is a service that allows
users to exchange their unwanted gift cards. Consumers
create an account and provide details of the card they
have and GiftCardRescue will indicate the redemption
value it's willing to pay. Consumers can then elect either
to receive cash via PayPal, or they can select a new gift
card from the site, up to the redemption value of their
original card.

Jewelry | Red Swan offers money in exchange for unwanted
jewelry. Once a user has sold jewelry to the site,
they can become a ‘lead’, encouraging friends to participate
in the service and earning commission on their

For similar concepts, check out Ex-Boyfriend Jewelry
and My Gold Party. The latter facilitates Tupperwarestyle
parties that help guests sell excess baubles. The
company sells the equipment that SELLSUMERS need
to host gold-selling parties, including a scale, a karat
tester and an instruction manual.

• Gardening | Based around the concept of cooperative
gardening, Veggie Trader is an online marketplace offering
the opportunity to buy, sell or trade homegrown produce.

While countless creative folks are already making
money from their designs, software, sculpting, knitting, manufacturing
and so on, we've only seen the tip of the iceberg.

Expect a skilled, handy and brainy 'workforce' to
genuinely blossom when the youngest generation takes over.
They'll not only be the first generation to be fully 'wired', but also
the first generation to be completely comfortable with taking on
the roles of both consumer and producer.
In the meantime, check out these random sources for inspiration

-Posterchild Etsy now boasts 200,000
members and over 3 million products. In 2008, the
value of products sold was USD 87.5 million, and the
first two months of 2009 have already produced sales of
USD 20.2 million.

• Much publicized Ponoko allows people to make
and sell everything from jewelry to furniture. In addition,
the PonokoID feature invites shoppers to post requests,
which professional and 'amateur' designers then bid to

Ads | While Google AdWords still brings in the money
for bloggers, Magpie now inserts adverts into your
Twitter feeds.

North Carolina-based Spoonflower lets users design and
print their own fabrics for USD 18 per yard with no minimum
order. When Spoonflower comes out of beta, it plans
to allow fabric designers to sell their fabrics on the site.

Finance | BillMyParents allows parents to monitor their
children’s online spending by forwarding any attempted
purchases to the parent for them to deny or authorize
with a credit card number. The San Diego-based service
currently only targets US consumers.

• And no, we’re not forgetting offline consumer retail/
marketplace concepts: in Troy, Michigan, Oakland Mall
has placed 12 kiosks throughout the mall, which can be
leased for as little as USD 300 for a weekend. The flexible
leasing terms are part of an ongoing program that
aims to help SELLSUMERS sell seasonal offerings.

Perhaps this announcement is slightly premature…but we’re in the planning stages
To host our Live Better on Less expo in Lapeer County, MI and possibly Toledo, OH in the spring of 2010. These will either be a half-day workshop or a full-day exposition with speakers and exhibitors. I’m flying there at the end of next month to work on co-sponsors and other details. If you’re interested in attending, co-sponsoring or exhibiting,
Send me an email and we’ll keep you updated…there will be no charge to attend!
As the title implies, we’ll focus on strategies for long term financial survival.

Be sure to check out our newest resource – Creating your own Grass Roots Currency
Now live at our site (you’ll get a kick out of the artwork)!

Do you have suggestions relevant to this post? Let
Me know – send an email to

No comments: