Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

As the year comes to a close, and friends and families gather, the team at Our Susu thanks you for building our circle. Though the site is relatively new, your kind words and support make us hopeful and determined to expand our community in the upcoming year.

In 2010, we'll have new offerings including:

* Pooled Susus -- Instead of one person being paid out each week/month, all members save toward one date or common goal. Pooled Susus are great for families saving for vacations, reunions, or real estate.
* Opportunities for partnerships with local organizations -- Our Susu belongs to you. In the coming year, members will be able to integrate OurSusu.com into their local communities.

Anything new you'd like to see from Our Susu in 2010? If so, let me know.


Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!



Carlton Langley
Founder, Our Susu

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dashing to the Mall? Survive the Shopping Scramble

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, with stockings filled with goodies and gifts under the tree. For last-minute shoppers the scramble to get gifts can leave you feeling stressed out instead of enjoying the Christmas spirit!

Here are some tips to make sure you’re not busting your budget or channeling Scrooge this year:

Don’t panic

The way consumers act from Black Friday to Christmas Eve, you’d think the mall is scheduled for demolition on Dec. 26. There’s no need to panic. You may not get Black Friday deals, but most stores have deep discounts throughout the month to lure shoppers. If you’re shopping online, most stores offer guaranteed delivery by Christmas if you order by Dec. 20. And many of them even offer gift wrapping!

Weeknight warriors

Trying to find a parking space at the mall on a Saturday in December is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Instead, hit the mall on your way home from work. It will be less crowded, the salesclerks will be less harried and with less hustle and bustle, you won’t be as likely to grab the first thing on display just to get the heck out of there.

Make it manageable

Make a list of the gifts you are getting so that you have a plan of action when you head to the stores. Stick to the list and you’ll stick to your budget. And break your list up into manageable chunks. If you have a bunch of toys to buy for your kids, nieces and nephews, get those one day. Focus on gifts for the women in your life the next day. And so on.

Give gift cards

Gift cards get a bad rap. They may seem impersonal but they are incredibly useful. Many supermarkets have kiosks that offer gift cards ranging from stores like the Home Depot and Toys R Us and even iTunes. If you want to make the gift cards more personal, pair them with an ornament in a gift bag. This is quick and easy, but still has a special touch.

No cash, no carry

Most importantly, don’t let the last-minute scramble force you to put gifts on credit. Christmas is about spending time with your loved ones, not spending money. If you stick to your cash budget, you won’t go overboard and you can enjoy the holidays without the stress of worrying about the bills to come.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How An Interest-bearing Susu Works

If you are participating in a Susu to help out a friend or family member who needs money right away, you’ll probably elect to be at the back end of the Susu. An interest-bearing Susu rewards your patience with a few extra dollars. The interest is paid for by the participants who received their payments earlier in the Susu.

For example, let’s say you are in a five-week Susu with five friends with a $500 payout (you each save $100 a week for five weeks for a $500 payout).

Participant 1 receives $495 because he/she paid $5 in interest for being the first person paid
Participant 2 receives $497.50 because he/she paid $2.50 in interest for being near the front
Participant 3 receives $500 because he/she just happened to be in the middle
Participant 4 receives $502.50 because he/she gained $2.50 in interest for being near the end
Participant 5 receives $505 because he/she gained $5 in interest for being the last person

As you can see from the payments, the overall value ($2500 for the total Susu) doesn't change one bit compared to non-interest Susus. Those in the front are just repaying those at the end for the help they received.

Our Susu gains nothing from the interest – our revenues come from the small administrative fees charged to run the accounts. The interest gained or paid is between the participants and only if your group elects to participate in an interest-bearing Susu. Also note, the interest is calculated prior to any administrative fees.

With or without interest, Our Susu is a great way to save. The interest-bearing accounts add an extra incentive for participants that are near the end of the savings circle and can be compared handsomely to bank rates.

Check out http://www.bankrate.com to get information on interest-bearing accounts and compare rates.