Monday, April 25, 2016

brilliant people use brilliant tools...

Karen Kelly
President and Problem Solver
ITEX in Chicagoland

bartering is your best friend!

Stop paying CASH for your vacation!

Barter Article
How to Pay for Your Vacation.
You don't have to beg, borrow, or steal to indulge your wanderlust. Armed with these practical suggestions, your dream vacation may be more affordable than you think.
I'm short on cash. Should I put my vacation on a credit card?
Unless the trip is someone's dying wish, charging travel expenses that you can't immediately pay back is not the way to go. "You end up paying much more than the cost of the trip," warns Mackey McNeill, a Kentucky-based CPA and author of "The Intersection of Joy and Money."
"When you factor in double-digit interest rates and the monthsor yearsit may take you to pay it off, you can end up spending 50 percent or even 100 percent more.
That goes for other kinds of borrowing as well. Don't let an excuse like "We deserve it" prompt you into a home equity loan.
Financial expert Grant Cardone, star of the television series "Turnaround King," offers a simple rule of thumb: "If you're too ashamed to ask Mom and Dad for travel money, don't ask a bank or a credit card company."
That said, Cardone notes that if you are able to pay off credit card charges before interest or fees kick in, it's an efficient way to keep track of your expenses and can often nab you bonus points for future discounts or upgrades with a hotel chain, rental car agency or airline. McNeill suggests that if you use a card, ask for an introductory, no-interest period beyond the usual 30 days and make sure you understand exactly what your deadline is.
Does it make sense to set up a vacation savings account?
Yes, and the best way to make it work is to have money automatically deducted from your paycheck or checking account each month and tucked away in an account that you pretty much forget about until you need it.
"Don't worry about how much interest it earns," says McNeill. "It won't be much, but the point is that it's more effective than stuffing bills in a cookie jar."
The first thing to do is determine how much you can afford to stash away each month, and don't be stingy. Try a little creative visualizationwould the $4 you'd spend on a latte this afternoon and the $20 you blew on pizza last night be better spent, say, at next year's Mardi Gras? Those kinds of sacrifices can quickly add up, often netting you an extra $100 a week in travel savings.
Budget Travel reader Vickey Allen upped the out-of-sight-out-of-mind factor by setting up her vacation savings account at a bank 30 miles from her home and opting out of e-banking. "I just withdrew enough to pay for a Mediterranean cruise on the new Carnival Breeze!" she says.
How do I know what I can afford to pay for a vacation?
The old rule of thumb is that a once-a-year vacation should cost about one week's salary, but there's really no algorithm that's right for everyone. It's a personal decision that depends on your fixed expenses (housing, cars, student loans, insurance) and lifestyle choices.
"For some people, travel is important enough that they choose to live in a smaller house and keep a lot of their discretionary expenses down so they can see the world," says McNeill.
But Cardone warns that the most common mistake in vacation budgeting is underestimating costs. As you research your trip, remember to include not just airfare and hotels but also meals, cabs, shuttles, dry cleaning, souvenirs, tips and a cushion for those greator awfulOMG moments. (Cardone suggests setting aside an extra 25 percent for the unexpected.) Then figure out when you want to go and set up a monthly savings schedule.
For retirees on a fixed income, budgeting for bucket-list vacations can seem daunting. McNeill suggests that you put them on the calendar as part of your long-term financial plan and be as specific as possible. She helps her retiree clients to identify which years will require extra money for dream trips and which trips will be more affordable, so a walk on the Great Wall of China can become just one of many predictable expenses instead of a calamitous hiccup.
Is there such a thing as vacation layaway?
You may associate the word layaway with refrigerators and sofas, but prepaid travel plans are on the rise. Similar to socking money away in a vacation savings account, the big difference here is that you make regular payments to a tour operator or financial services company prior to your trip. Think of it as adding another layer of forced discipline.
The thought of sending money to strangers may give you the willies, so it's vital to choose a layaway operator that isn't going to fold or skip town. Happily, that venerable institution, Sears, just entered the vacation layaway business earlier this year. lets you make reservations with major hotel chains, cruise lines, car rental agencies and airlines, and offers 100 vacation packages for under $399 through International Cruise & Excursions.
In many cases Sears can offer savingssuch as 40 percent off family packagesand there's no fee for paying in installments. But you should make sure you understand when payments are due and whether there are late- payment fees. The major advantage to a layaway plan like this is that it essentially forces you to save by paying in advancebut if late payment fees add up, it's just as bad an idea as using a high-interest credit card.
In many cases Sears can offer savingssuch as 40 percent off family packagesand there's no fee for paying in installments. But you should make sure you understand when payments are due and whether there are late- payment fees. The major advantage to a layaway plan like this is that it essentially forces you to save by paying in advancebut if late payment fees add up, it's just as bad an idea as using a high-interest credit card.
Another reputable plan is It will automatically deduct money from your bank account each month toward the purchase of a gift certificate from select hotel chains (Hyatt, Marriott and Best Western), car rental agencies (Avis and Budget), airlines (American and Southwest) and websites (Travelocity and You'll pay a processing fee of 1.9 percent of the gift certificate. (You basically pay a hefty premium to impose a savings plan on yourself.)
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Gate 1 Travel lets you reserve a spot on one of its 400+ packages for as little as a $100 deposit per person as soon as the package is released (which is usually 12 to 18 months in advance), then pay off your trip in as many advance payments as you like. The catch is that your vacation must be completely paid for at least 45 days prior to your departure or you will forfeit your reservation and deposit.
What if I'm never going to have the cash for the trip I want?
You may be able to secure lodgings without going completely broke. For $10 a month, you can list your home on for a swap. (Basically it gives you the opportunity to find someone in your dream destination who's hankering to visit your neck of the woods.) The more detailed your home description (including photos and house rules), the more likely you are to attract a swapper. Similar sites include and
Another cash-free option is to trade your services for lodgings. This won't work on a major chain hotelgo for a B&B or small hotel where you can speak directly with the owner, and consider in advance whether you can offer the kinds of services they might be interested in bartering for. (If you're an accountant, landscaper, or IT pro, you're on solid ground; a poet, investment banker, or nuclear physicist, not so much.) It's also possible to "bank" bartering services with a barter exchange, such as ITEX, where small businesses can register for a fee and perform services for other members of the exchange, accumulating dollars that are yours to spend as you please. 
Karen Kelly

President and Problem Solver
ITEX in Chicagoland

Equador Earthquake Update

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Use Barter Dollars, NOT CASH!

Tools of the Trade
Businesses to help you succeed
(pictured at the bottom of this page)
Tuesday, April 5,  2016
ITEX Ideas
There are lots of ITEX options for a weekend away - take the family or use as an employee perk!

ITEX Exclusives
ITEX Referral Bonus
Stop paying Association fees! Simply refer us to another business owner! 

ITEX Advertising Coop
When advertising with ITEX, get HALF of your purchase back through our Co-op program. 

ITEX Mobile App
The ITEX mobile app is here! When you're on the go, check your balance, see statements, search members near you and much more!  
ITEX Contacts
555 Butterfield
Suite 201
Lombard, IL, 60148

Douglas Dagenais
Jackie Billings:
Mary Drews:  
Jamie Billings
Karen Kelly
General # 630-261-7040
Fax #  630-261-7001
National Marketplace

Today's Best Deal

Surprise Someone - At All Occasions, we know that beautiful balloon decorations can add color and excitement to your party or function.  We can help you make your special occasion a very memorable one.  Let us help you decorate for your next family or corporate event!  
 Call today!  See Call 630-690-1144
Let us do your direct mail

The Envelope Connection -  Specialists in direct mail advertising. Laser printing on envelopes, postage discounting, full data processing, mailing lists and much more. 

Call Andy at 773-774-4600 
Some summer fun in Indiana

NEW! Zeg-e's Funland - St. John, Indiana -
Go karts, arcade, lazer tag, miniature golf, batting cages, and more.

Contact your Trade Director for gift cards
Awnings add to your business presence. 

Aurora Tent & Awning - Commercial Awnings and Canopies. Canvas awnings custom made to your specifications. 

Call Norm at 630-420-2000
Get your spring ads in place.

Chicago News Media Group - Two versions English and Russian! Please visit

Journal and Topics Newspapers-
Northwest Suburban Newspaper Advertising. Advertise in this award winning newspaper-serving the northwest suburbs.. With a circulation of over 88,000,; Arl Hts., Buffalo & Elk Grove, Des Plaines,Glenview, Mt. Pros.,Niles, Palatine ,Pk. Ridge,Prosp Hts.,Wheeling,Rolling Meadows and Rosemont.
CR Publications-Bi-monthly community newspaper delivered on the 1st and the 15th of every month to over 400 drops in the Hammond area with a circulation of over 80,000;  Servicing northwest Indiana; Hammond, Whiting, East Chicago, Griffith, Highland and Munster.
Family Flyer Magazine-- IndianaDirect mailed monthly magazine since 2000. Porter County Edition only. 45,000 direct mailed magazines monthly to Porter County Indiana the first Thursday of the month. Circulation includes, Valparaiso, Chesterton, Hebron, Boone Grove, Kouts and

Panorama Now- Indiana
Expand your business into the Northwest Indiana market and reach over 35,000 readers in the Northwest Indiana and Illinois border. .

The Enterprise Media Group - we represent 3 newspapers, The Enterprise, The Shorewood Sentinel and The Bugle.  Award winning weekly community newspapers serving 13 communities and 3 Chicagoland counties including Cook, DuPage and Will.
*Enterprise; Plainfield *The Bugle Newspaper-North; Park Ridge, Niles, Morton Grove, Des Plaines *The Bugle-South; Downers, Woodridge, Romeoville, Bolingbrook, Crest Hill,  Lockport, Joliet
Senior Connection-A monthly publication geared toward the 50+ age group published for delivery to Catholic Churches throughout the dioceses of Chicago, Joliet and Rockford as well as to individual subscribers. Circulation to over 700 Catholic Churches, over 190,000 readers.
Russell Publications-A weekly community newspaper that reaches eastern Will and Northern Kankakee County. Each week papers go into almost 16,000 homes, reaching 32,000 readers. Beecher, Crete, Frankfort, Grant Park, Manhattan, Monteno, Monee, Steger, New Lennox and Peotone.
Put some music into your kids.

Allegro Academy - LockportOffering a range of music lessons, summer camps and dance classes.  Please view for a list of classes with pricing and enrollment dates.  We teach Piano, Guitar, Voice, Drums, Violin, Flute, Trumpet, Banjo, Saxophone, Ukulele, and more to children and adults. Our Professional instructors make learning music fun and productive at the same time. Allegro is a great studio for music, dance & fitness! You feel welcomed & at home with Allegro! 

Please contact Tim for more information or to secure your spot today. Call 815-838-2301
When was the last time you updated your website?

Whether you are replacing a tired design for your existing business, or creating a new entity, DataMine knows what it takes to build an attractive design solution.  
Our website design services include:
Multimedia design 
Audio/and video integration 
GUI and whole site revamp 
RSS Feed integration
Banner Design
Organic SEO
Mobile design for Iphone, Android & Tablet
Mobile responsiveness
ADA Compliant
DataMine designs with function so we can fully integrate our own suite of  web  applications, apply a complete industry solution, or work with you to create a custom fit program. 

Make your site smart and attractive! Call DataMine today - 219-939-9987
Get ready for the summer sun.

Wheaton Window Tinters
Window film is the clear choice... for going green and reducing electricity consumption. It also protects your furnishings from excessive sun damage, reduces solar heat gain and lowers air conditioning bills. Window film will not darken your windows or change the visible light from outside. When applied, it becomes an invisible shield of protection for your furnishings. NOTE: no vehicles.  
Call 630.853.8468 for a free estimate.
Here's a hide out.

Serenity Springs- La Porte, Indiana
is a unique adult escape that caters to your privacy and relaxation. Nestled amidst 85 acres of magnificent wilderness, groups of cozy bungalows are placed in natural woods settings surrounding the lake to provide maximum privacy and direct access to the waterfront. Each water front Bungalow is complete with a king sized bed, sunken whirlpool for two, gas fireplace, Surround Sound Satellite Entertainment System with FM/AM and DVD. Rate is $265/nite.

Contact Mary at 630-261-7059
You could look this cool. 

Valentino's For Men offers cutting edge European fashions. Our store features merchandise from Italy, France, Spain, and other European countries. Our main focus is on Italian fashions. Trading our selected items of suits, sports coats, dress shirts and ties. Closed Sundays Mondays & Tuesday . Flossmoor 
Contact Tony or Joe for appointment .708. 206.2300
Sell to the affluent theater crowd & Chicago visitors 

Footlights-A complimentary in-theatre magazine for Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago and Rockford area. 4-color, digest-size, professionally produced publication that is distributed to audiences who attend performing arts events such as musicals, plays, and concerts.

Windy City Guide Chicago-The Complete Chicago Area Tourism This publication offers visitors and residents the best visitor and resident information on premier restaurants, dining, shopping etc. 38,000 copies of this magazine are distributed monthly throughout Chicagoland  and are available in hotels, bookstores, office buildings, apartment complexes and various retail businesses. Web banner advertising also available. 

The Real Chicago is a stylish and imaginative entertainment magazine that offers insider information, feature articles, and detailed previews and reviews to both educate and entertain active locals and tourists. The Real Chicago is printed seasonally four times per year, distributed on a weekly basis and conveniently located in hotels, apartment buildings, business complexes and hundreds of local businesses (bars, restaurants, stores, spas, gyms, coffee shops, music venues, etc.) from the South Loop to Andersonville and all parts in between.  

Here's how to attract great new customers.....

Call Jackie at 630-261-7068 
Wiff, wiff?

Mold and Odor Problems?
Create a healthier living environment in your industrial plant, office, retail business, health-fitness club, multi-unit building, in your car, boat or yacht. Whether you have an existing mold or odor problem or you are looking to protect your family from an outbreak, Spore Buster is here to help!  We offer a SAFE BIODEGRADABLE mold and infectious organism remedy that provides lasting protection for the future. We can rid your premises of cat, dog, cigarette smoke and any/all odors you may have. Let Spore Buster determine your problem and solve it for you. Servicing the Northwest and the North shore areas of Chicago land. 20 miles radius of Spring Grove,

Inquire by calling Ron at 815.451.3438.
Plan your party now!

Start Thinking Graduation, Company Picnic, Family Re-Unions? We Provide Total Entertainment For Any Event
Large or small, corporate or private and have been doing so for over seven years.  With a wide variety of entertainment available, there is always something for everyone. Our specialties include; NEW! ZIPLINE, moonwalks wax hands, carnival games, pony rides, petting zoo, clowns and other strolling performers, interactive inflatables, disc jockeys, karaoke, concessions, recreational fun, mobile movie theater, party supplies, trackless trains, dance floors, tents, portable toilets and more. 

Call Gershom at Leaping Lizards Events, (formerly Northstar Party Rentals) , 847.774.1059
Best Travel Deal of the Week
Watershed Resort in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.  
Taking Reservations For April ONLY!!!
 That's Right Gorgeous Weather in the Smoky Mountains for April.
Both Watershed Cabins & Lakeview at Fontana in Bryson City
Both Are 1 hour to Asheville The Country's Craft Brewery Center
Also Enjoy Whitewater Rafting & Zip Lines for Families.
to view the 16 luxury cabins available on ITEX

Contact Mary at 630-261-7059  

Solano Sofa Bed $1599
Ara Chest White Lacquer $3500
Pixel Sideboard $4500
Jet Sideboard $1500
Please contact Karen Kelly for information about this furniture at 847.755.3000 or

ITEX, the "Virtual Currency Community" is the largest marketplace for B2B cashless transactions in the USA and Canada. ITEX processes millions in sales for thousands of member businesses every month.

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Dr.Frank Teaches Mothers How To Relieve Their Childrens Pain, Using Ancient Chinese Healing Methods