Sunday, November 19, 2006

How Can You Improve Your Cash Flow Position
(By: W. Milo)

Most people subscribe to the fact that cash flow position can only be improved by a pay increment or changing to a better paying job, despite longer working hours and more responsibilities. If this sounds familiar, what you probably failed to see is how you can use your time and make some minor adjustments in habits and lifestyles to change your life. Here are some useful tips that you can consider:

  1. Convert your junks into cash - In every home, there are bound to be stuffs that are considered "old" or "out-dated". There may also be some gifts that you do not like or are unlikely to use, such as CDs, VCDs, watches, golf clubs, musical instruments or some electrical appliances. Why not bring it down to a second hand shop to convert them into cash? In Singapore, one of the popular and established second hand shops would be the Cash Converter.
  2. Participate in a flea market or second hand bazaar - If you believe you are a born entrepreneur with great marketing skills, and think you can get a better price for your stuffs, why not consider a flea market. But before you rush into that, do consider whether you have enough items to sell, at what price and of course, whether these items will appeal to others so much so that they are willing to pay for them at your desired price. These are necessary considerations as there is always a registration or rental fees involved in getting a stall or a lot. The common and popular flea market locations in Singapore are those organized by Tanglin Mall, Far East Square, Clarke Quay Sunday Flea Market, Holland Village and Turf City Flea Market.
  3. Sell valuables through the internet - If you are the internet-savvy type and hate the chore of lugging stuff to the flea market, you can bring them online and sell via an auction or classified ad. Prior to posting your items up for sale, understand the demand and supply of the items you are considering to sell. Thereafter, take a good quality digital photograph of the item to be uploaded into the net. This is the key factor to attract a sale, as "A picture speaks a thousand words". Finally, make a realistic but reasonable offer price. The highly competitive Singapore sites are eBay and Yahoo.
  4. Reduce your petrol cost and parking charges - By planning the shortest route to reach your destination and deciding on the most affordable place to park, you will be surprised how much difference it can make to reduce your petrol and parking expenditure.
  5. Patronize shops or food places without Goods & Services Taxes (GST) - Do you know that whenever you purchase an item or food from places that do not charge GST, you will instantly save 5% (or any amount taxed) from your bill? Some may think that the 5% (which is expected to increase to 7% in 2007) savings will not make a substantial difference. Consider this: If you spend $50 per day dining at a restaurant, at the end of the month, you could have paid $70 or more for GST. This effectively translates to S$840 per annum, or a 2% tax on your income (assuming your annual income is about $30,000).
  6. Use your credit cards to your advantage - Credit cards have always been considered as the "root of all evils" with the surge in the number of bankruptcy cases in recent years. However, these "evils" issued by banks do offer loads of benefits when used wisely. Many would probably ask what sort of benefits credit cards offer, apart from charging the card users annual fee, exorbitant interests and late charges. In fact, credit cards generally offer attractive discounts with many participating merchants and some even offer discounts on top of the existing discounts offered by the merchants. To benefit from these card tie-ups, be sure to pay your card bills promptly and always ask the bank to consider waiving the annual fee. If they are unable to waive the fee, consider cancelling that card and apply for another card with another bank that offers annual fee waiver. Another advantage of using credit cards are the rebates in the form of reward or dollars that the banks offer to their customers. Between the two systems, the cash rebate is a better option since you are not restricted to the participating merchants you need to spend with, as these are indeed real cash. In other words, your cash rebate becomes "additional discounts" on your purchases (assuming, of course, if you pay your card bills on time). The 2 cards that offer the dollars reward programs are Citibank's Dividend Card and POSB's Everyday Card.

There are many more approaches that you can take to improve your cash flow and the above are just a few to consider. The ultimate question remains whether most people would bother to make some adjustments to their lifestyle or habits to their advantage. In short, the avenues are available but only YOU can help improve your own cash flow position.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information contained above is the personal view of the author and does not constitute any legal, tax or other advice offered by the author. Nothing provided above shall be construed as advice or encouragement from the author to you regarding the making of any commercial, business or investment decision. You are put on notice to obtain independent professional or financial advice before making any decision or taking any action in relation to any of the information raised above.

Tips for setting up a flea market stall - By an amateur flea marketeer (Contributed by YY)

  • Brand does not matter - Irregardless of the brand, prices will always be slashed to rock-bottom. Be prepared to let go of the item if your initial intention is to cover cost. Otherwise, make sure you have a reservation price in mind, since you will not be objective at that point in time.
  • Size matters - This is important if you are selling clothing. You need a variety of sizes. One size does not fit all. You can have many people interested in your clothes but if they are not of the right size, the sales cannot be completed.
  • Minimise costs - Keep costs low. This obviously translates to higher profit.
  • Share your setup cost - If you can find a partner who is willing to share half the stall with you, you instantly reduce your rental cost by half. On top of that, if the partner has great marketing skills, your partner may be able to help close a few sales for you. So why not?
  • Start early - As the saying goes, the "early birds get the worms". Set up your stall as early as the terms of the flea market allow. You can make sales before the other vendors come in. You are also likely to sell your items at better prices before competition intensifies. This brings me to my next point.
  • Know your customers - This is rather tricky. You have to learn to read how interested your customer is by their body language. If they seem very interested, quote a slightly higher price (as they will definitely slash prices further, that is what flea market is all about). The rest depends on your negotiation skills and how willing are you to part with your item. Good luck on this one.
  • Customers know you - Some customers are out to make a "killing" especially at the time when you are packing up. So you either sell them the items or be prepared to bring the unsold ones back (unless you are doing another flea market in the near future).
  • One man's junk is another man's treasure - If you think that something looks awful or is not valuable, you will be surprised. There will always be some buyers for some of your items at the right price. That is why it is called a flea market. So instead of letting your items collect dust on your shelves or in the storeroom, why not sell it to others who see more value in them. You can do your part by recycling some of these items and indirectly saving the planet. What more can I say?

Finally the success of your flea market really depends on the crowd for the day, the competition (i.e. other flea marketeers) and whether you have the right stuff to close the sales. Of course, you definitely need a bit of luck and lots of friendly smiles. So all the best to you!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Other Categories

* "Great Wall"
Description : B/W 8R Photograph of Great Wall of China with white frame.
Price : $25.00;
Status : Available.
Item Code : OC-200611-001

* "Walk In The Park"
Description : Sepia 8R Photograph of Tranquil Walk In The Park.
Price : $25.00;
Status : Available.
Item Code : OC-200611-002

* Mondo Ladies Shoes
Description : Mondo 3" White and Printed High-heeled Shoes.
Price : $15.00;
Status : Available.
Item Code : OC-200611-003

* New "Type R" Shoulder Guard
Description : Black & Grey Safety Belts' Shoulder Guards
Price : $10.00 per pair;
Status : Sold.
Item Code : OC-200611-004

* Ties
Description : Assortment of Ties
Price : $3.00 each;
Status : Available.
Item Code : OC-200611-005

*New 2-year old Oshkosh Baseball Team T-shirt
Description: Red & blue t-shirts
Price : $12.00;
Status : Available.
Item Code : CL-200611-001
Consumer Electronics

*New Enzer DVD Player
Description: DVD Player with Progressive Scan.
Price : $50.00.
Status : Sold.
Item Code : CE-200611-001

*New HP Photosmart A516 Photo Printer
Description: Lightweight HP Compact Photo Printer, print 4 x 6-inch (10 x 15 cm) Photos. Complete with HP 110 Tri-Colour Inkjet Print Cartridge, HP Photosmart Software & User's Guide, USB Cable & Warranty.
Price : $180.00.
Status : Available.
Item Code : CE-200611-002

*New Stylux Coffee Maker CM-303
Description: Coffee Maker with 2 Ceramic Mugs & Warranty.
Price : $30.00.
Status : Available.
Item Code : CE-200612-003

Saturday, November 04, 2006


*New Mango Woman Bag
Description: White & Red Mini Bowling Bag
Price : $30.00 ,
Status : Sold.
Item Code : BA-200611-001

* The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (by Stephens R. Covey)
Description: A holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems.
Price : S$ 7.00 ;
Status : Sold
Item Code : BO-200611-001

* The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success
(by Brian Tracy)
Description: Presents a set of principles or "universal laws" that lie behind the success of business people everywhere.
Price : S$ 7.00 ;
Status : Sold
Item Code : BO-200611-002

* Rich Dad Poor Dad (Chinese Version)
Description: Originally written by Robert T. Kiyosaki and translated into Chinese. The book reveals what the Rich teach their kids about money - that the Poor and Middle Class do not.
Price : S$ 6.00 ;
Status : Available
Item Code : BO-200611-003

* The Best Business Stories Of The Year (2002 Edition)
(edited by Andrew Leckey & Ken Auletta)
Description: A year's worth of the most interesting noteworthy, and best-written articles on all aspects of the business world.
Price : S$ 5.00 ;
Status : Available
Item Code : BO-200611-004

* The 21 Success of Self-Made Millonaires (by Brian Tracy)
Description: Provides a practical step-by-step formula to become a millionaire - starting from wherever you really want in life.
Price : S$ 7.00 ;
Status : Available
Item Code : BO-200611-005

* The Greatest Salesman in the World
Description: A year's worth of the most interesting noteworthy, and best-written articles on all aspects of the business world
Price : S$ 5.00 ;
Status : Available
Item Code : BO-200611-006

* What Doctors Don't Tell you (by Lynne Mctaggart)
Description: Discuss the truth about the dangers of modern medicines
Price : S$ 6.00 ;
Status : Sold
Item Code : BO-200611-007