Being frugal (that’s French for cheapskate), I am always looking to squeeze the most out of every penny.

For example, I have discovered the following:

  • Netflix – For $8 each month, we have been able to disconnect cable, choose which shows our kids watch (lots of PBS), and skip commercials.
  • Aldi produce – Speaking of the kiddos, they have begun eating fruits and veggies.  Lots of them.  And you know what’s expensive?  Fruits and veggies.  Aldi has them for much less than most grocery stores and they have the stuff we eat.
  • TVA energy audit – After living in our new house for a few months we noticed the energy bill was a little higher than expected.  We decided to use the In-Home Energy Evaluation Program from TVA.  They gave us a cash rebate for installing home energy improvements. In our case that was sealing a leaky duct system and we saw our electricity bill drop significantly.

You know who else likes being frugal?  Business owners!  Let’s hear what two very successful and local business owners had to say about what their “biggest bang for their buck” has been.

Quick tip; they’re both people related.

Julie Yant, owner of P.E.S.T. Inc. – My advice as to the best bang for your buck is to do as many processes “in house” for as long as you can.  For example, we knew enough about most business processes that we did all accounting, software, HR, web, and even quarterly taxes & payroll in house, before we outsourced.  Now, if you’re not competent in something, then don’t screw something up by trying this, but my advice is to take as many hands on small business classes and workshops that you can to save overhead costs.  Don’t get a nice, fancy office – use that spare bedroom if you can until you can afford to hang out your own shingle – again, if that suits your business.  Grow, slow and controlled.  Rapid growth often leads to too many problems to overcome and the demise of many small businesses.

Jason Duncan, owner of Future Vision Energy – Our best bang for the buck has been hiring good employees. Last year was a pivotal year for us. We were growing and I was getting overwhelmed with tasks that another person could easily handle without much training. Hiring a good assistant–even though we didn’t know for sure if we could afford it–was worth every penny. As it turned out we couldn’t afford NOT to. She was our first hire and we quickly moved her to full time status with a nice raise.

As she freed me up to do more tasks that directly created revenue, I turned my focus to hiring more people. We’ve since hired two full-time sales consultants, an operations manager, a technology director, and a full-time project manager. With each hire, our overall revenue increases because it frees us up to focus on sales and marketing-related activities. Hiring the right people at the right time has been our biggest “bang for the buck”.