Financing Cash Flow Peaks And Valleys

For many businesses, financing cash flow for their business can be like riding a continuous roller coaster.

Sales are up, then they do down. Margins are good, then they flatten out. Cash flow can swing back and forth like an EKG graph of a heart attack.

So how do you go about financing cash flow for these types of businesses?

First, you need to accurately know and manage your monthly fixed costs. Regardless of what happens during the year, you need to be on top of what amount of funds will be required to cover off the recurring and scheduled operating costs that will occur whether you make a sale or not. Doing this monthly for a full twelve month cycle provides a basis for cash flow decision making.

Second, from where you are at right now, determine the amount of funds available in cash, owners outside capital that could be invested in the business, and other outside sources currently in place.

Third, project out your cash flow so that fixed costs, existing accounts payable and accounts receivable are realistically entered into the future weeks and months. If cash is always tight, make sure you do your cash flow on a weekly basis. There is too much variability over the course of a single month to project out only on a monthly basis.

Now you have a basis to assess financing your cash flow.

Financing cash flow is always going to be somewhat unique to each business due to industry, sector, business model, stage of business, business size, owner resources, and so on.

Each business must self assess its sources of financing cash flow, including but not limited to owner investment, trade or payable financing, government remittances, receivable discounts for early payment, deposits on sale, third party financing (line of credit, term loan, factoring, purchase order financing, inventory financing, asset based lending, or whatever else is relevant to you).

Ok, so now you have a cash flow bearing and a thorough understanding of your options available for financing cash flow in your specific business model.

Now what?

Now you are in a position to entertain future sales opportunities that fit into your cash flow.

Three points to clarify before we go further.

First, financing is not strictly about getting a loan from someone when your cash flow needs more money. Its a process of keeping your cash flow continuously positive at the lowest possible cost.

Second, you should only market and sell what you can cash flow. Marketers will measure the ROI of a marketing initiative. But if you can’t cash flow the business to complete the sale and collect the proceeds, there is no ROI to measure. If you have a business with fluctuating sales and margins, you can only enter into transactions that you can finance.

Third, marketing needs to focus on customers that you can sell to over and over again in order to maximize your marketing efforts and reduce the unpredictability of the annual sales cycle through regular repeat orders and sales.

Marketing works under the premise that if you are providing what the customer wants that the money side of the equation will take care of itself. In many businesses this indeed proves to be true. But in a business with fluctuating sales and margins, financing cash flow has to be another criteria built into sales and marketing activities.

Overtime, virtually any business has the potential to smooth out the peaks and valleys through a more robust marketing plan that better lines up with customer needs and the business’s financing limitations or parameters.

In addition to linking financing cash flow more closely to marketing and sales, the next most impactful action you can take is expanding your sources of financing.

Here are some potential strategies for expanding your sources for financing cash flow.

Strategy # 1: Develop strategic relationships with key suppliers that have the ability to extend greater financing in certain situations to take advantage of sales opportunities. This is accomplished with larger suppliers that 1) have the financial means to extend financing, 2) view you as a key customer and value your business, 3) have confidence in the business’s ability to forecast and manage cash flow.

Strategy # 2: Make sure where possible that your annual financial statements show a profit capable of servicing debt financing. Accountants may be good at saving you income tax dollars, but if they drive business profitability down to or close to zero through tax planning, they may also effectively destroying your ability to borrow money.

Strategy # 3: If possible, only transact with credit worthy customers. Credit worthy customers allow both the business and potential lenders to finance receivables which can increase the amount of external financing available to you.

Strategy # 4: Develop a liquidation pathway for your tangible assets. Equipment and inventory are easier to finance if lenders clearly understand how to liquidate the assets in the event of default. In some cases, businesses can get resale option agreements on certain equipment or inventory from prospective buyers assignable to a lender to be used as recourse against a lending facility for financing cash flow.

Strategy # 5: Joint venture a sales opportunity with another business to share the risk of a large sales opportunity that may be too risky for you to take on yourself.

Summary

The primary long term objective of a business with fluctuating cash flow and margins is to smooth out the peaks and valleys and create a scalable business with more of a predictable sales cycle.

This is best achieved with an approach that including the following steps.

Step #1. Micro Manage your fixed costs and cash flow and accurately project out the cash flow requirements of the business on a weekly basis.

Step #2. Take a detailed inventory of all the sources you have for financing cash flow.

Step #3. Incorporate your financing constraints into your marketing approach.

Step #4. If possible, only transact with credit worthy customers to reduce risk and increase financing options.

Step #5. Work towards expanding both your financing sources and available source limits for financing cash flow.

Business cycle stability and cash flow predictability is an evolutionary step for every business. The industries with longer sales cycles will tend to be the more difficult to tame due to a larger number of variables to manage.

A continuous focus on the process for improvement outlined will help create the desired results over time.

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Commercial Truck Financing – How is the System Structured?

First there are the captive finance companies. Think of them as the financing arms of all the major manufactures. They exist solely to provide financing to the public in an effort to sell their trucks. In the past they have been somewhat liberal in their underwriting criteria and like the mortgage industry perhaps too liberal. This relaxed underwriting of the past has caused serious defaults today. This has resulted in a subsequent tightening of credit. The end result is the selling of less trucks and trailers; customers have a harder time getting financing. Nonetheless, the captive financing company will always be part of the commercial truck financing game.

Second are the independent financing companies. They are not tied to the manufactures in any way. They exist to make a profit from financing commercial trucks and other equipment. They can be a welcome alternatives for several reasons. First they can be someone to turn to if a good credit customer is “tapped out” with the captives. This means they have already financed trucks with the captive financing companies and they don’t want to do anymore for the customer (at least for now). These “A” credit sources are competitive on rate with the captives and, using different independent sources, a customer can finance an unlimited number of trucks. Independents are great for other reasons too. Say a customer wants a TRAC lease with different parameters than what the captives are offering. They can search for an independent that can tailor a TRAC lease for that customer. This is invaluable for the more sophisticated customer that has tax structure as their main objective. Here’s another one, we have customers calling us all the time that may only work nine months out of the year. They need financing that can offer skip payments. This way the customer can make nine payments a year instead of twelve; taking three months off of making their payments. One last one that hits home with us, the customer with bad credit. A captive financing company generally works only with people with good credit. For the customer with bad credit, their choices are limited. Thanks to independent financing companies (like ours) that specialize in customer with bad credit; these customers can get the financing they need to start or grow their business. Think of independent financing companies as offering financing products that can accommodate almost any need.

The third financing arm for commercial truck financing is the in-house financing program. Usually offered by the smaller vendor, in-house financing offers benefits for both dealer and customer. By offering financing in-house the dealer is able to move more inventory than if he didn’t. This is important because a smaller dealer doesn’t always have a captive finance program. And with credit tightening up the independent financing companies are becoming less important. The dealer can act like an independent financing company by offering all the same products while keeping the benefits of earning interest on the trucks they sell. The bad side, of course, is they also suffer in the case of defaults where the customer stops making payments. The benefits to the customer is they have a one stop shop where they can finance a truck at the same place they are purchasing it from. Downside is they are limited to their inventory.

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Small Business Finance – Finding the Right Mix of Debt and Equity

Financing a small business can be most time consuming activity for a business owner. It can be the most important part of growing a business, but one must be careful not to allow it to consume the business. Finance is the relationship between cash, risk and value. Manage each well and you will have healthy finance mix for your business.

Develop a business plan and loan package that has a well developed strategic plan, which in turn relates to realistic and believable financials. Before you can finance a business, a project, an expansion or an acquisition, you must develop precisely what your finance needs are.

Finance your business from a position of strength. As a business owner you show your confidence in the business by investing up to ten percent of your finance needs from your own coffers. The remaining twenty to thirty percent of your cash needs can come from private investors or venture capital. Remember, sweat equity is expected, but it is not a replacement for cash.

Depending on the valuation of your business and the risk involved, the private equity component will want on average a thirty to forty percent equity stake in your company for three to five years. Giving up this equity position in your company, yet maintaining clear majority ownership, will give you leverage in the remaining sixty percent of your finance needs.

The remaining finance can come in the form of long term debt, short term working capital, equipment finance and inventory finance. By having a strong cash position in your company, a variety of lenders will be available to you. It is advisable to hire an experienced commercial loan broker to do the finance “shopping” for you and present you with a variety of options. It is important at this juncture that you obtain finance that fits your business needs and structures, instead of trying to force your structure into a financial instrument not ideally suited for your operations.

Having a strong cash position in your company, the additional debt financing will not put an undue strain on your cash flow. Sixty percent debt is a healthy. Debt finance can come in the form of unsecured finance, such as short-term debt, line of credit financing and long term debt. Unsecured debt is typically called cash flow finance and requires credit worthiness. Debt finance can also come in the form of secured or asset based finance, which can include accounts receivable, inventory, equipment, real estate, personal assets, letter of credit, and government guaranteed finance. A customized mix of unsecured and secured debt, designed specifically around your company’s financial needs, is the advantage of having a strong cash position.

The cash flow statement is an important financial in tracking the effects of certain types of finance. It is critical to have a firm handle on your monthly cash flow, along with the control and planning structure of a financial budget, to successfully plan and monitor your company’s finance.

Your finance plan is a result and part of your strategic planning process. You need to be careful in matching your cash needs with your cash goals. Using short term capital for long term growth and vice versa is a no-no. Violating the matching rule can bring about high risk levels in the interest rate, re-finance possibilities and operational independence. Some deviation from this age old rule is permissible. For instance, if you have a long term need for working capital, then a permanent capital need may be warranted. Another good finance strategy is having contingency capital on hand for freeing up your working capital needs and providing maximum flexibility. For example, you can use a line of credit to get into an opportunity that quickly arises and then arrange for cheaper, better suited, long term finance subsequently, planning all of this upfront with a lender.

Unfortunately finance is not typically addressed until a company is in crisis. Plan ahead with an effective business plan and loan package. Equity finance does not stress cash flow as debt can and gives lenders confidence to do business with your company. Good financial structuring reduces the costs of capital and the finance risks. Consider using a business consultant, finance professional or loan broker to help you with your finance plan.

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The New Rule For Buying a Home – Using Owner Financing

The American Dream; what does it mean to you? People have different jobs or hobbies or passions in life, but one constant remains the same among all of us, and this common thread that unites our dreams is that of Home Ownership! Unfortunately, in this current economy, achieving the dream of home ownership is becoming more difficult than any time in recent history. Too many Americans are following the unwritten rule of home ownership that tells us to ‘Find a Realtor and Get a Bank Loan’. In past economies, with thriving job markets, lower inflation, and less credit restraint, that ‘rule’ may have made sense to follow.

But our current economic system is making it difficult for the average person to achieve the American Dream of Home Ownership. In times of unstable job markets, with double digit unemployment forcing people to become self-employed to make a living, the banks are requiring a W-2 stable job history in order to issue loans. In times of a great credit crisis, the banks are requiring stricter credit scores than most people are able to achieve. Fewer and fewer honest, hard working Americans who are used to following the ‘traditional rules’ for owning a home are having the opportunity to own their own homes.

What if you could achieve the American Dream of Home Ownership without the assistance of a bank?

The purpose of this document is to allow motivated home seekers an opportunity to write a New Rule of Home Ownership that allows you to declare your freedom from the services of a Bank in order to partake in your piece of the American Dream of Home Ownership!

In order to understand the New Rule of Home Ownership, let’s take a closer look at the existing rules of purchasing a house with Traditional Bank Financing.

The first part of the Traditional Bank Financing focuses on Qualifying for a Loan. While many different loan packages exist, the most common loan written in today’s market is an FHA Loan, and therefore, we shall use their guidelines as an example. The following are guidelines for an FHA Loan:

o FHA Loans require a minimum credit score of 620 to be eligible for a loan
o FHA will require 3.5% down on the home. This down payment MUST come from your account. You are not allowed to borrow from friends, family or anyone else. You must document where the funds for the down payment came from. Specifically, the source of the down payment must be from your personal checking, savings or retirement account and CAN NOT be borrowed!

In order to work with most Realtors, you must first get pre-approved for a bank. Many Realtors won’t even show you a house unless you can prove that you are able to afford and receive financing for the property. This painful process of pre-approval from a bank can take 2-3 days and involve the following steps:

o Proof of Creditworthiness
o You must provide 2-4 years worth of tax returns!
o You must provide your last 4 pay check stubs if you are an employee or an updated Profit and Loss statement if you are self-employed, a business owner, an independent contractor or entrepreneur. However, if you cannot show a consistent pay stub as proof of income, then you may want to skip ahead to the part of this document where ‘Owner Financing’ is discussed, as you will find it increasingly difficult to qualify for a mortgage.
o Your bank may require you pay off other debit to help improve your credit score to qualify for the loan
o And the worst part… this proof of creditworthiness is done throughout the entire home buying process! Even once you qualify and pick out the home of your dreams; underwriters at the bank will have you go through the same process to make sure you still qualify.

Now that you are pre-qualified for the home of your dreams, you may finally begin the process of working with a Realtor to find your new home.

Once you’ve found your home, the Traditional Banks will want an inspection performed on the home and may require the seller to fix EVERYTHING for the bank to finance your loan. Some people just want a small discount on the house and they will do their own repairs however, many times a traditional bank will not allow you to do this! These small fixes may add to the total price of the house.

Also, expect to pay Realtor fees, bank fees, filling fees, “point buy down” fees, loan origination fees, closing costs, title fees, surveys, appraisal fees, and anything else imaginable for which to be charged. Though many of these fees can be rolled into your loan, over the long term, you may be paying an extra 10% in unnecessary Financing Fees that are loaded into your loan!

What if there was a quicker, easier, and less intrusive way to take your share of the American Dream? What if you could look at homes without having to pay a Realtor fee, pre-qualify for a loan, and go through a 3 month home buying process? After all, we ARE in a BUYER’S market in Real Estate, so why shouldn’t we be able to buy?

Consider the possibility of declaring a New Rule. Instead of working with (and paying for) a Realtor, why not work with the Seller directly? Especially if that seller is a Professional Real Estate Investor who is not only willing to sell the house in a quick and simple matter, but is also will to FINANCE the sale of the house on a short-term basis!

Earlier in this eBook, we went over the process of the Tradition Bank Financing. Now, we shall detail the 7 Easy Steps of Purchasing Your Home with Owner Financing:
* Contact the Seller of the Home without having to pre-qualify for a loan and look at the home to decide if you want to purchase.
* Settle on a price
* Agree to a down-payment and interest rate
* Once you’ve agreed to a price, down payment, and interest rate, complete a Deposit to Hold form and pay this 1% fee applicable to the sales price of the property. This fee will take the property off the market while you are closing on the home.
* Fill out credit application; provide 2 most recent paycheck stubs and bank statements as proof that you can afford the monthly payment.
* (Optional) If you chose, you can order your own home inspection to review the condition of the home
* Close in 2-5 business days

Buying a home from a Professional Real Estate Investor is quick and easy. Once you have settled on the price and monthly payments, you have minimal paperwork to complete and can close on the transaction within one week! The following is a summary of some of the benefits of Owner Financing compared with Traditional Bank Financing:
* In many cases, there is no minimum credit score required
* Instead of 10% Traditional Bank Finance Fees / Closing Costs, your Owner Finance Fee averages to 5% of the transaction.
* Unlike Traditional Bank Financing, your down payment for Owner Financing may come from almost anywhere (as long as it is a legal way to raise the funds). You can borrow the money from family, friends, others. There are also some tax incentives for you to use part of your retirement savings. Either way, with Owner Financing, you are allowed to raise your own down payment as you see fit!
* You and the Owner Finance Seller will agree on a time to “close” on the home and may close within 5 business days!
* Your Owner Finance loan is dependent on your down payment and ability to pay the monthly payment and NOT on your credit or having a W-2 Job. Therefore, Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, Independent Contractors, and the Self-Employed may qualify for Owner Financed Homes!
* You are not required to provide extensive documentation to obtain your loan

Due to the efficiency, simplicity, and cost effectiveness, you can see why buying directly from an investor with Owner Financing is the New Rule for Buying Homes. Owner Financing interest rates may be a little higher than market price when you initially purchase your home, however, this higher rate, along with a sizeable down payment, will actually help you obtain conventional financing at a lower rate down the road when you decide to refinance!

A good way to look at Owner Financing is that is a solution to buying a home with short-term financing. Once you have paid your Owner Financed note on time for say 12-24 months, it’s easier to refinance your existing note with a traditional bank loan at a lower interest. It’s much quicker, easier, and less intrusive to refinance a home into traditional financing then it is to purchase a home with traditional financing!

The following example will detail the process and the costs of owner financing:

o John chooses to purchase a beautiful home for $150,000 with a traditional bank loan. John’s credit score is 590 and the bank will not loan him any money until his credit score is at least 620. John understands the importance of owning a home and wants to buy something now.
o John finds a home that is being offered for $150,000 with Owner Financing. John has $15,000 to put down and wants to close in 5 business days. John’s new loan is at an 8.5% rate for 30 years and the sellers would like John to refinance his loan in 24-36 months. John’s monthly payment is $1,350 and it includes Principle, Interest, Insurance, and HOA fees. John is happy because he can afford $1,350 per month and is able to take his part of the American Dream!
o As John pays on time for, say, 24 months, John has an excellent payment history with his current lender. John will also need to be working on his credit in those 24 months to raise his score to the current minimum of 620.
o When John approaches a traditional bank John will be able to demonstrate the following:
o John’s $15,000 down payment shows that he has ‘skin in the game’ and is not just going to bail on his house payments
o John CAN afford and has been paying $1,350 a month at a 8.5% rate for his loan
o John’s credit score is now above the minimum required 620
o If John can afford $1,350 a month at 8.5% interest, John can easily afford a $1,100 a month payment at 6.5%!

It is much easier to refinance a loan rather than trying to get a loan for the original financing! Since you are already in the house, there is no inspection required, no lengthily closing procedures and there is no longer all that extra red tape that is associated with buying a home with traditional financing!

As you can see, purchasing with Owner Financing can be easily done and quickly closed for those who cannot use a traditional bank loan but deserve to own a home now.

Summary

In today’s market, due to tough economic times, there are many people selling their properties. Yet, despite the fact that this is a ‘buyer’s market’, it is tougher to buy a home with Traditional Bank Financing than ever before. Following the old, unwritten rules will lead you to a long and unhappy life in an apartment complex. Motivated home seekers looking for their piece of the American Dream are unable to achieve this great promise by traditional and conventional means due to stringent lending requirements initiated by the very same financial institutions that gladly took over 1 billion of our tax dollars to bail them out! Banks tightening up on their lending practices is causing a shortage of homebuyers in the market. This is one of the biggest reasons that real estate values continue to free fall because there are not enough people who can qualify for available homes while following the unwritten rules.

Inspired home seekers, looking to break away from the old rules and ready to write his or her own New Rules to Home Ownership will be able to take advantage of this buyer’s market, and with Owner Financing, you will see more and more people purchasing homes. If you are in the market to buy a home however, you cannot qualify for a traditional loan, I strongly recommend you contact a company that specializes in Owner Finance Homes.

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Yahoo! Finance – What Sets This Finance Website Apart?

“What Obama Must Say Tonight,” “10 Tax Moves to Make in 2010,” and “Ailing Banks Favor Salaries Over Shareholders,” are all examples of the dozens of articles that could be found today at Yahoo! Finance. Yahoo! Finance is a finance website that offers lots of free information and tools all related to finance. There are many websites today that offers resources and tools related to personal finance and investing, so what does Yahoo! Finance have to offer?

*Free- Although there are some services available for a fee, accessing the Yahoo! Finance website is free and so is the use of many tools.

*Personalized Updates- If you choose to set up an account, you can get personalized updates when you log on about stocks or companies that you’re interested in.

*Up to Date- This is one of the best things that sets Yahoo! Finance apart. Market indexes and updates are updated frequently and the “news” is fresh.

*At a Glance- You can see Market index averages for the day including the DOW, NASDAQ, S&P 500 and more, as well as graphs showing the trend in these averages for the most recent working day.

What’s Up at Yahoo! Finance?

In addition to the Yahoo! Finance home page, you can find helpful pages on:

-Investing

-News and Opinion

-Personal Finance

-My Portfolios (if you choose to organize your financial information here)

- A Tech Ticker

On the Investing Pages at Yahoo! Finance:

Find out about “Today’s Markets,” including recent earnings statements, recent stock splits and more.

Mutual Funds, Stocks, ETFs, Options, Industries and Currencies are all explored furher. Find research, converters, calculators, articles and more.

You can also learn more about world stock index levels, world news and exchange rates are under “International.”

“Research and Education” offers a business term glossary, personal tutorials on finance and investing and more.

Of course Yahoo! Finance also offer “Community,” a section where you can chat, ask questions or join groups.

On the Personal Finance Pages at Yahoo! Finance:

Get your personal finances organized at “Banking and Budgeting.” Free trials of online bill pay are available. Frequent offers include free for 6 months and $4.95 thereafter.

More under Personal Finance…

*Insurance

*Taxes

*Loans

*Real estate

* Family and Income

*Retirement

On the News and Opinion Pages at Yahoo! Finance:

Look for articles on…

*Industry news

*New technology

*Top picks by experts

Creating a Yahoo! Finance Account:

Creating an account at Yahoo! Finance is easy and free. Once you’ve created an account, you can personalize your logon so that the information that is important to you will be displayed including stock prices and relevant news pertaining to companies you are interested in.

The Perks of Yahoo! Finance:

Yahoo! Finance visitors and members enjoy that there’s so much financial information in one place and that the articles and financial charts on Yahoo! Finance are kept up to date. They also like that so many of the services available are free. Visitors also applaud Yahoo! for having limited ads.

Popular Tools at Yahoo! Finance:

There are rate charts and calculators for Mortgage, Home Equity, Savings, Auto Loans and Credit Cards for fixed loans and ARMs. You can see rates across the country as well view rates in your area.

What’s not to love about Yahoo! Finance?

While many users like the non-nonsense format at Yahoo! Finance, others find the finance web sites look to be drab, boring and unexciting with little more than two colors, black and blue, a limited photos.

Still, Yahoo! Finance is recommended as a finance website that has a lot of helpful tools and resources that are well organized, up to date and more than not, free.

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Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7
My Dad repaired most of our shoes believe it or not, I can hardly believe it myself now. With 7 pairs of shoes always needing repairs I think he was quite clever to learn how to “Keep us in shoe Leather” to coin a phrase!

He bought several different sizes of cast iron cobbler’s “lasts”. Last, the old English “Laest” meaning footprint. Lasts were holding devices shaped like a human foot. I have no idea where he would have bought the shoe leather. Only that it was a beautiful creamy, shiny colour and the smell was lovely.

But I do remember our shoes turned upside down on and fitted into these lasts, my Dad cutting the leather around the shape of the shoe, and then hammering nails, into the leather shape. Sometimes we’d feel one or 2 of those nails poking through the insides of our shoes, but our dad always fixed it.

Hiking and Swimming Galas
Dad was a very outdoorsy type, unlike my mother, who was probably too busy indoors. She also enjoyed the peace and quiet when he took us off for the day!

Anyway, he often took us hiking in the mountains where we’d have a picnic of sandwiches and flasks of tea. And more often than not we went by steam train.

We loved poking our heads out of the window until our eyes hurt like mad from a blast of soot blowing back from the engine. But sore, bloodshot eyes never dampened our enthusiasm.

Dad was an avid swimmer and water polo player, and he used to take us to swimming galas, as they were called back then. He often took part in these galas. And again we always travelled by steam train.

Rowing Over To Ireland’s Eye
That’s what we did back then, we had to go by rowboat, the only way to get to Ireland’s eye, which is 15 minutes from mainland Howth. From there we could see Malahide, Lambay Island and Howth Head of course. These days you can take a Round Trip Cruise on a small cruise ship!

But we thoroughly enjoyed rowing and once there we couldn’t wait to climb the rocks, and have a swim. We picnicked and watched the friendly seals doing their thing and showing off.

Not to mention all kinds of birdlife including the Puffin.The Martello Tower was also interesting but a bit dangerous to attempt entering. I’m getting lost in the past as I write, and have to drag myself back to the present.

Fun Outings with The camera Club
Dad was also a very keen amateur photographer, and was a member of a camera Club. There were many Sunday photography outings and along with us came other kids of the members of the club.

And we always had great fun while the adults busied themselves taking photos of everything and anything, it seemed to us. Dad was so serious about his photography that he set up a dark room where he developed and printed his photographs.

All black and white at the time. He and his camera club entered many of their favourites in exhibitions throughout Europe. I’m quite proud to say that many cups and medals were won by Dad. They have been shared amongst all his grandchildren which I find quite special.

He liked taking portraits of us kids too, mostly when we were in a state of untidiness, usually during play. Dad always preferred the natural look of messy hair and clothes in the photos of his children.

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What Are The Greatest Changes In Shopping In Your Lifetime

What are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime? So asked my 9 year old grandson.

As I thought of the question the local Green Grocer came to mind. Because that is what the greatest change in shopping in my lifetime is.

That was the first place to start with the question of what are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime.

Our local green grocer was the most important change in shopping in my lifetime. Beside him was our butcher, a hairdresser and a chemist.

Looking back, we were well catered for as we had quite a few in our suburb. And yes, the greatest changes in shopping in my lifetime were with the small family owned businesses.

Entertainment While Shopping Has Changed
Buying butter was an entertainment in itself.
My sister and I often had to go to a favourite family grocer close by. We were always polite as we asked for a pound or two of butter and other small items.

Out came a big block of wet butter wrapped in grease-proof paper. Brought from the back of the shop, placed on a huge counter top and included two grooved pates.

That was a big change in our shopping in my lifetime… you don’t come across butter bashing nowadays.

Our old friendly Mr. Mahon with the moustache, would cut a square of butter. Lift it to another piece of greaseproof paper with his pates. On it went to the weighing scales, a bit sliced off or added here and there.

Our old grocer would then bash it with gusto, turning it over and over. Upside down and sideways it went, so that it had grooves from the pates, splashes going everywhere, including our faces.

My sister and I thought this was great fun and it always cracked us up. We loved it, as we loved Mahon’s, on the corner, our very favourite grocery shop.

Grocery Shopping
Further afield, we often had to go to another of my mother’s favourite, not so local, green grocer’s. Mr. McKessie, ( spelt phonetically) would take our list, gather the groceries and put them all in a big cardboard box.

And because we were good customers he always delivered them to our house free of charge. But he wasn’t nearly as much fun as old Mr. Mahon. Even so, he was a nice man.

All Things Fresh
So there were very many common services such as home deliveries like:

• Farm eggs

• Fresh vegetables

• Cow’s milk

• Freshly baked bread

• Coal for our open fires

Delivery Services
A man used to come to our house a couple of times a week with farm fresh eggs.

Another used to come every day with fresh vegetables, although my father loved growing his own.

Our milk, topped with beautiful cream, was delivered to our doorstep every single morning.

Unbelievably, come think of it now, our bread came to us in a huge van driven by our “bread-man” named Jerry who became a family friend.

My parents always invited Jerry and his wife to their parties, and there were many during the summer months. Kids and adults all thoroughly enjoyed these times. Alcohol was never included, my parents were teetotallers. Lemonade was a treat, with home made sandwiches and cakes.

The coal-man was another who delivered bags of coal for our open fires. I can still see his sooty face under his tweed cap but I can’t remember his name. We knew them all by name but most of them escape me now.

Mr. Higgins, a service man from the Hoover Company always came to our house to replace our old vacuum cleaner with an updated model.

Our insurance company even sent a man to collect the weekly premium.

People then only paid for their shopping with cash. This in itself has been a huge change in shopping in my lifetime.

In some department stores there was a system whereby the money from the cash registers was transported in a small cylinder on a moving wire track to the central office.

Some Of The Bigger Changes
Some of the bigger changes in shopping were the opening of supermarkets.

• Supermarkets replaced many individual smaller grocery shops. Cash and bank cheques have given way to credit and key cards.

• Internet shopping… the latest trend, but in many minds, doing more harm, to book shops.

• Not many written shopping lists, because mobile phones have taken over.

On a more optimistic note, I hear that book shops are popular again after a decline.

Personal Service Has Most Definitely Changed
So, no one really has to leave home, to purchase almost anything, technology makes it so easy to do online.
And we have a much bigger range of products now, to choose from, and credit cards have given us the greatest ease of payment.

We have longer shopping hours, and weekend shopping. But we have lost the personal service that we oldies had taken for granted and also appreciated.

Because of their frenetic lifestyles, I have heard people say they find shopping very stressful, that is grocery shopping. I’m sure it is when you have to dash home and cook dinner after a days work. I often think there has to be a better, less stressful way.

My mother had the best of both worlds, in the services she had at her disposal. With a full time job looking after 9 people, 7 children plus her and my dad, she was very lucky. Lucky too that she did not have 2 jobs.

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What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The results of this past election proved once again that the Democrats had a golden opportunity to capitalize on the failings of the Trump Presidency but, fell short of a nation wide mandate. A mandate to seize the gauntlet of the progressive movement that Senator Sanders through down a little over four years ago. The opportunities were there from the very beginning even before this pandemic struck. In their failing to educate the public of the consequences of continued Congressional gridlock, conservatism, and what National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation would do led to the results that are playing out today.. More Congressional gridlock, more conservatism and more suffering of millions of Americans are the direct consequences of the Democrats failure to communicate and educate the public. Educate the public that a progressive agenda is necessary to pull the United States out of this Pandemic, and restore this nations health and vitality.

It was the DNC’s intent in this election to only focus on the Trump Administration. They failed to grasp the urgency of the times. They also failed to communicate with the public about the dire conditions millions have been and still are facing even before the Pandemic. The billions of dollars funneled into campaign coffers should have been used to educate the voting public that creating a unified coalition would bring sweeping reforms that are so desperately needed. The reality of what transpired in a year and a half of political campaigning those billions of dollars only created more animosity and division polarizing one extreme over another.

One can remember back in 1992 Ross Perot used his own funds to go on national TV to educate the public on the dire ramifications of not addressing our national debt. That same approach should have been used during this election cycle. By using the medium of television to communicate and educate the public is the most effective way in communicating and educating the public. Had the Biden campaign and the DNC used their resources in this way the results we ae seeing today would have not created the potential for more gridlock in our government. The opportunity was there to educate the public of safety protocols during the siege of this pandemic and how National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation provides the necessary progressive reforms that will propel the United States out of the abyss of debt and restore our economy. Restoring our economy so that every American will have the means and the availability of financial and economic security.

The failure of the Democratic party since 2016 has been recruiting a Presidential Candidate who many felt was questionable and more conservative signals that the results of today has not met with the desired results the Democratic party wanted. Then again? By not fully communicating and not educating the public on the merits of a unified progressive platform has left the United States transfixed in our greatest divides since the Civil War. This writers support of Senator Bernie Sanders is well documented. Since 2015 he has laid the groundwork for progressive reforms. He also has the foundations on which these reforms can deliver the goods as they say. But, what did the DNC do, they purposely went out of their way to engineer a candidate who was more in tune with the status-quo of the DNC. They failed to communicate to the public in educating all of us on the ways our lives would be better served with a progressive agenda that was the benchmark of Senators Sanders Presidential campaign and his Our Revolution movement. And this is way there is still really no progress in creating a less toxic environment in Washington and around the country.

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