Squirreling Gone Wild #36: Saving Money on Movie Theatre Popcorn

save money on movie theatre popcornSo, it’s been a while since the last installment of Squirreling Gone Wild, but I came across another example of borderline extreme behavior when it comes to saving money.  You might call it clever instead.  Let’s see what you think.

The scene was a local movie theatre.  As I’ve written about before, it can be expensive to go see movies, and there are plenty of ways to save money on movies that don’t include going to the theatre.  Though admittedly, I have a renewed interest in seeing movies, and find that my kids really love to see them.

Anyway, one aspect of going to see a movie that can be quite expensive is the cost of concessions.  A recent post from ABC news discussed why popcorn costs a lot at the movies, and it’s really a notion that’s quite common these days.  Get popcorn, or any other concessions at the movies, and you’ll pay quite a bit more than if you bought similar items outside.

Now, with other concessions you might be able to sneak a few things into the movies.  Candies come to mind.  Is this ethical? We discussed it in a post a few weeks ago on ethics and frugality, and sentiment seemed to be that it’s not a huge deal even if borderline.  Do you agree?

Well anyway, one would think that it wouldn’t be possible to game the system when it come to popcorn.  After all, it would be tough to bring a big bag of popcorn into the theatre, much less hot, buttered popcorn.  You might be able to bring in some healthier popcorn, but that’s another topic altogether.

What I saw at the theatre was a family that found a way to squeeze some savings out of their entertainment budget by figuring out a way around the high cost of movie popcorn.  Here is what I think they did, and it’s pretty simple:

  • Buy a large bucket of popcorn for $6.75, which comes with refills (the smaller sizes don’t).
  • Bring into the theatre some brown paper bags, which they hid in their jackets
  • When in the dark theatre, bust out the paper bags and transfer popcorn from the bucket to each of the 4 individual bags.
  • Keep going back for refills as they need more popcorn.

The net result is that for the price of one large popcorn, they could ultimately get the equivalent of 4 large popcorn servings!

One could always point out that if they just used that original bucket and passed it around and shared, they could have gotten the same deal.  However, that seems like it would be quite inconvenient at the movies to pass the popcorn around a group of people.  Getting your own bag that only you are touching seems to be a more convenient, pleasant experience, right?

When I saw that these people were doing, I smiled right away :)  After thinking about it more, I thought that it might have crossed the line.  It seemed analogous to getting one fountain drink at a restaurant, and then pouring drinks into separate cups for the whole family.  Perhaps just because it’s the movies, many turn a blind eye to this behavior.

My Questions for You

What do you think about this movie theatre popcorn workaround?

Do you think we tend to give frugal behavior at the movie theatres a free pass compared to similar actions in other settings?

Dealing With the Unexpected When it Comes to Spending Money

Stuff happens.  That’s just the way it goes with life sometimes, and correspondingly with unexpected expenses.

Now, many people are able to put money away for a “rainy day”, so to speak.  As I write about here, it’s important to:

  • Focus on making money
  • Live within your means, and spend less than you make
  • Invest the difference
  • Manage risks

These four steps also bring about four important money questions, as I wrote about recently.  If we make sure to answer those questions listed in that prior post, and do it periodically, it can help keep us on track to build our nest egg.

That being said, it seems like many of us simply have to start somewhere, and that might mean having very little money or room for error.  This could be when just starting out, or it could be later in life after setbacks.  Whatever the case, it’s not uncommon for people to have very little money in an emergency fund for unplanned expenses.

Actually, this has been shown to be the case.  In one study, a significant percentage of people couldn’t take care of an unplanned $2,000 within a month.  That might not seem like it’s even possible for many people, but there are plenty of folks out there that are clearly in that circumstance.  Everybody has a different life and financial situation.

Clearly, there are times when you need cash now and cannot wait.  In those cases, it just might be worthwhile to try to find alternate sources of money.  After all, when there isn’t much money on hand, unexpected expenses can put people in a bind at times.

Some examples of such unexpected expenses might include:

  • A car accident, with high out of pocket expenses for damages
  • Auto repairs, which might not be due to an accident but still cost a lot and aren’t covered by insurance
  • A medical situation, due to an unexpected illness or long-term problem
  • Emergency dental work, that could cost a significant amount of money to take care of
  • Losing a job, which might put someone in a short-term bind until they at least get unemployment money or – even better, of course – another job
  • Natural disasters.  Yes, that might sound a bit odd at first, but we have seen bad weather cause all kinds of problems for people.

The list could go on and on, regarding why people need money on short notice.  Best not to be surprised, and to plan on expecting the unexpected – no matter how convoluted that might seem.  After all, as we said at the beginning, stuff happens!

My Questions for You

Have you ever been impacted by a totally unplanned yet significant expense?

Do you think that we should simply plan for some level of unexpected, random expenses?

4 Key Personal Finance Questions

personal finance questionsObviously, being a personal finance blogger, I enjoy helping others think about their money.  Sometimes this involves sharing stories, and other times it might involve some analysis.

It can also involve asking questions.  Or, maybe more accurately, suggesting some questions for everyone to ask about their own finances.  Keeping an open mind and really inquiring about one’s own finances could be helpful.  A fresh perspective can be a good thing!

Here are four key personal finance questions to ask:

Are we making the most of our earning potential?

It stands to reason that income is a key part of the foundation of personal finance success.  If we don’t make money, we can’t save any.  Makes sense, right?

So, we want to make sure that we are making full use of our earning potential.  Income is important, and your career is like the engine that drives your finances.  Beyond that, side income seems to be more and more popular, as people try to monetize just about anything.  Money doesn’t grow on trees, so we need to work to bring in cash flow today and in the future (from our savings).

Are we saving enough of our income?

So, let’s say we have the first part covered and are making money.  That’s good! But if we aren’t saving any of it, we’ll be running in the proverbial hamster wheel until we get old.  That’s not good!

The more we can save, the better off our future can be.  When it comes to savings rates, every percentage point matters.  I know it’s often easier said than done for a lot of us, and to some degree it’s easier to save more money the more we make.  But really focusing on saving more of our hard-earned income will allow us to avoid working hard when in our later years.

Are we earning a solid rate of return on investments?

Now, we each have our own risk tolerance, investment timeline, and personal goals.  This impacts how we allocate our assets to different investment classes.

That being said, rate of return can have a big impact on net worth.  So, a portfolio that’s all cash and held for the long-term isn’t likely to outperform one that’s balanced between different investment classes.  There can even be diversification within a given class, such as funds instead of individual stocks, help keep returns from being extreme either way.

Are we managing our risks?

The last point, keeping returns from being extreme either way (especially to the downside), is important.  Just doing the math, it’s clear that rule number one is don’t lose money!  The basic example is that if you have $100 and lose 20%, you now have $80.  If you then want to get back to $100, you have to gain 25%.

Managing risks goes beyond investing of course, and could involve buying the right type of insurance.  This might even mean considering overlooked insurance policies, depending on your situation.  It could also involve preventing job loss, being smart when buying a home, watching our health, and so on.

Bottom Line:  If we stop periodically to ask ourselves these four questions, we can make sure we’re on track to do our best to grow our net worth and achieve financial success.

My Questions for You

Do you ever stop to ask yourself these questions from time to time?

Any other key personal finance questions to add?

Starting a Business: Taking the Right Steps

steps to start a businessFor years you’ve toyed with the idea of starting your own business. You love the idea of being your own boss and setting your own hours. You know that you’d be successful and you’re ready to put your plan into action. The only problem is you don’t know where to start. When it comes to starting a business, there are a number of steps that you have to take before you even open the doors.                       

Laying the Groundwork

Any successful businessperson will tell you that it is important to lay the groundwork before starting your business. This often comes in the form of drafting a business plan. A business plan is essentially a roadmap that helps you organize your strategies for the company and projects over the next few years according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). It is designed to outline the path that your company needs to follow in order to increase the revenue that your business takes in, which in turn increases your profits. While drafting a business plan may not seem like a worthwhile task, careful planning is essential to creating a successful company, advises director of the San Joaquin Delta College Small Business Development Center. Developing a comprehensive business plan is not a step to skip.

Determining Your Legal Structure

After you’ve completed your business plan, the next step is determining what legal structure you want to form. Your decision will be based on which income tax form you want to file, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Each legal structure has its own rules and regulations regarding how you and your business are taxed.

The simplest structure you can choose is Sole Proprietorship. With this structure, all profits that are made are reported on your individual tax return. A partnership works in a similar fashion, except the income or losses that the company makes pass through to the partners who then must report these on their personal taxes. If you choose to start a C-corporation, you will be faced with what is known as “double taxation.” This means that both the corporation and the shareholder dividends are taxed. To avoid this, you can choose to start an S-corporation. The profits and losses that are reported by the S-corporation are reported to the IRS, and the shareholders of the S-corporation report any flow-through income on their taxes, but it is at their individual income rate. If you choose to form a Limited Liability Company, you will want to check with your state government because each has different regulations.

Choosing Your Business Name

Your business name is probably the most important part of your endeavor. It is what sets you apart from your competition, and it is how your customers remember you. Your business name was probably the first thing you decided on when you began the process of starting your own company. As important as your business name is, it is equally important that you get it registered. By registering your business name, you can ensure that someone else doesn’t use the same name and confuse your customers, advise the writers at the Wall Street Journal.

Registering your business name doesn’t have to be something that takes a lot of time. With LegalZoom, how to register a business name can be the simplest part of starting your business. With easy forms and dedicated professionals, the company can have your business name registered in a matter of days. They will even do a search of the federal trademark database to check for any conflicts of use. Don’t spend a lot of time registering your business name, let LegalZoom help you out so you can get on with getting your doors open.

Getting a Tax ID Number

Not every business is going to need a tax ID number. If you are a sole proprietor, you can use your Social Security Number when it comes time to pay taxes. If you have set up a partnership or a corporation, you will need to apply for a tax ID number through the Federal government. Your tax ID number is what the Federal government uses to administer the appropriate tax laws for your business. At this time you will also want to register with your state and local governments and acquire a state tax ID number. You will also need to obtain workers’ compensation, unemployment, and disability insurance before you can open for business.

Business Licenses and Permits

The final legal step that you need to take is to obtain any licenses and permits that your state and local governments may require. There are also Federal permits that you may need to obtain if you’re starting a business that will be selling alcohol, firearms, or a number of other operations that can be found on the SBA website. Once you fill out the paperwork and file it with the appropriate agencies, you will be ready to open for business.

Starting a business can be an exciting adventure, replete with opportunities to learn business lessons.  This is especially the case when you know what steps must be taken. Taking your time and ensuring that the legal paperwork is completely and properly filled out can save you from headaches down the road. While it seems like a lot of upfront work, it is work that is well worth it when your business becomes successful and your profits start to rise.

Drink an Extra Glass of Water Each Week and Save $20,000

drink water to save moneyWhen you’re out to lunch or dinner, do you buy a drink with your meal?

Personally, I’ve been sticking to water.  As I wrote in a post on drinking tap water to save money, it’s likely a healthier and cost-efficient option than most other alternatives.  Having given up drinking soda – and not having had one in almost 1.5 years – I can see how a meal outside can be a lot cheaper when just having water.

But when you think about it, the amount saved can really add up.  I was at a place recently where the cost of a beverage was $2.19.  Now, I’m not talking about the grown-up type of drink, but rather just a regular fountain-type of drink.   I recall a time when such drinks were around $0.50, which most assuredly seems like this price increase has outpaced inflation.

Anyway, at $2.19 you do get the honor of getting unlimited refills.  You know, in case you have a real urge to erode your teeth in the spirit of getting the most of your money.  Good deal?

But let’s look at the $2.19 figure again.  If you go out to eat even just one time per week, and spend a drink when you do, you’re talking about $113.88 over the course of a year.  It wouldn’t be too tough to drink one glass of water each week instead, right?

So let’s say we invest that $113.88 and earn a straight up 10% rate of return, after all expenses.  Not a sure thing, but let’s run with this figure.

Then, let’s say that we make this a habit and do it for the next 30 years.  Again, just substitute 1 glass of water for a beverage when dining out, 1 time per week.  Save and invest the difference, and let it compound.  That’s it.

After 30 years, this comes out to nearly $20,000.  All for developing a simple, healthy habit and sticking with it.  Just one extra glass of water per week is all it would take.

To me, this is but one of many examples of how we can make small, incremental changes that can eventually have a big impact on our savings.  It’s easy to think of ways that we could save here and there, particularly by changing our habits.  Perhaps this can even be applied to instances where we’re making money too?  Just a little extra income can really add up over time.

Oh, and it could save on dental expenses and avoid actual pain too, which I experienced enough of in the past.  Try saving and investing those types of expenses and watch what happens!

My Questions for You

Do you order beverages when dining out, or do you stick to just water?

Do you have any other examples of how smaller expenses can really add up over time?

Credit Tools You Can Use to Keep Track of Your Credit

good_credit_scoreYou can hurt your credit score in many ways. You can fail to pay bills on time, use too much credit at once, apply for a bunch of credit cards at the same time, etc. However, even if you are responsible with your credit you can still get into trouble. One of the easiest ways to hurt your credit report is to fail to keep track of your credit.

Why Keep Track?

If you do not keep track of your credit and some merchant makes a mistake in reporting to the credit agency, this mistake can be stuck on your credit report and eventually wind up affecting your credit score. It follows that in order to be truly responsible with your credit, must pay attention to the transactions that are recorded on your credit report.

On a more sinister note, if you do not keep track of your credit, you run an exponentially greater risk of being the victim of identity theft. The last thing you want is to receive a large bill from a credit card company with whom you have never done business. If you are keeping track of your credit and an identity thief does happen to target you, you will be better able to defend yourself and take the proper actions to mitigate, or even completely nullify, the damage.

Finally, it should be noted that the best way to improve your situation is to learn from your successes and your mistakes. This cannot be done if you are unaware of what those successes and mistakes are. By keeping track of your credit, you can monitor your financial situation and learn from it before you take future action.

Think about it this way: By taking the simple step of monitoring your credit, you make it easier to manage all of your accounts. You also open the door to lower interest payments, better loan terms, higher credit lines and your own peace of mind.

So how do you keep track of your credit?

Free Credit Report

The first step you can take to monitor your credit is to order a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies. You are entitled by federal law to a report from each agency every year. However, since this is only useful once a year it is not a very effective method of tracking your credit. It’s a start, but not much of one. Even worse, the above site only gives you your credit report, not your credit score. There is no federal law that mandates that the reporting agencies give you a free credit score.

Thankfully, there are many other tools you can use to monitor your credit for free. At sites like Credit Sesame, you can even get a free credit report and score monthly along with these tracking tools.

Central Location

One of the best ways to keep track of your credit is to have a central place to monitor everything at once. Anyone with more than a few lines of credit will attest to how daunting it is to jump from one bank site to another to another and so on, in order to make sure everything is copasetic. Eventually you grow weary of the journey, stop paying attention, and before you know it, you have a missed payment or a stolen identity. The best bet is to use a free service that culls all of your information into one place.

Alerts

By using such a free service, you can also set up alerts that will be triggered when particular actions are taken regarding your credit. These services keep track of your credit in real time so you can instantly catch an issue before it begins to snowball. You merely maintain access to one site and you are always aware of all of your due payments and alleged transactions.

Know Where You Stand

You can get even more control over your credit by using tracking tools that use analytics that provide you with useful information regarding how you can improve your credit score.  This is of course important for many reasons, and credit scores can even matter in the workplace too.  These tools analyze your financial situation and compare it with the finances of other people in similar situations. The program then tells you where you could be doing better. This service will even track your credit life over time so that you can see when you were doing best and when you should have been doing better. You will be able to determine if you are paying too much on a loan, if a credit card is not working in your best interests, etc. This information can make a big impact on your daily life and your wallet.

Get Recommendations

Along with learning about where you can be doing better, you can also get recommendations on actions you can take to improve where you are lacking. With a recommendation service, you can get advice based on your goals. Sure, there are credit issuers that will give you similar advice, but they are looking out for their own interests and not yours. With a good recommendation service, the advice you get is not biased. The service looks out for your bottom-line, not its own. This type of service keeps track of the financial world as a whole and highlights things like loans with terms and interest rates that will be best suited for you. Essentially, this is like having a financial advisor that never misses a day of work, constantly keeps track of all financial goings-on across the globe, and only has your interests in mind. You really cannot beat that.

Need to Know

In the end, it is absolutely imperative that you maintain awareness of the state of your credit. You need one place to monitor all of your financial transactions. You need to be constantly aware of what is being reported on your credit report and you need to know your credit score. You need to know where you stand and where you could stand for improvement.

For more information on how to obtain all of these services for free, check out Credit Sesame.

The “Would You Want it Publicized” Rule for Frugality

extreme_frugalityFrugality can be a funny thing.  Sometimes we think we’re frugal since we pinch pennies in certain areas of our life, but we spend quite a bit in others.  In other cases, what we consider to be frugal might pass as overspending to others.  Clearly, sometimes frugality has some gray areas.

This can also extend to the ethical side of frugality.  It seems like sometimes we have rules for what we consider to be right and wrong behavior, but occasionally might let it slide by when it comes to saving a few bucks (or pennies).  Rationalized behavior abounds!

There have been some cases of extreme frugality that I’ve witnessed.  In a few cases, I’ve done a few unconventional things to save money.  Case in point:  my approach to saving money on coffee at the drive-thru.  Yes, it wasn’t my finest moment (and it was a few years ago), but I’m cool with admitting it.  I wouldn’t do it again.

There have been other cases where I’ve actually witnessed others going too far to save a few bucks.  I’ve written quite a few posts about these instances in the Squirreling Gone Wild series.  Check out that category to read those posts about extreme frugality, some of them were quite eye-opening in my view anyway.

All that being said, when trying to save a little bit of money, I follow what I call the “would you want it publicized” rule.  It simply involves asking yourself this question:

Would you feel okay with this frugal behavior being publicized?

In other words, would you be cool with your entire network of friends, family, and even co-workers knowing about your approach to saving money on something?  That is, feeling okay with them knowing the frugal approach you took in a given circumstance?

If we don’t want others to know, or we would be ashamed to broadcast it, then it’s probably not something we should be doing in the first place.

Here are few things I’ll own up to doing:

  • Taking a couple of extra napkins from a quick-serve restaurant.  I have no problem saying that I’ve done this on occasion.  Never hurts to have a few in the car, just in case.
  • Sneaking candy or snacks into a movie theatre.  Yes, I’ve done this before too.   I’ll admit it, though I’ll also say that I don’t do this anymore.
  • Picking up pennies outside a drive-thru.  Okay, I’ve done this too, as discussed above :)  Again, I’ll own up to it despite refraining from such behavior (and avoiding drive-thrus) these days.

These are, to me, gray area moves.  But that’s as far as I’ll go.

Going further than this would be actions such as taking silverware from a restaurant, towels from a hotel room, and so on.  To me, that crosses the line and I absolutely would not do such things.  Yet some people quietly do such things even though they wouldn’t broadcast it.  There’s a good post on Making Sense of Cents on which I commented, which includes some related discussion.

If we wouldn’t want anyone else to know about something we’re doing to save money, then there’s probably a reason:  we shouldn’t be doing it in the first place!

I’m actually at a coffee shop now typing this.  So if you’ll excuse me, I have a couple of recycled napkins to grab….

My Questions for You

What do you think about the “Would You Want it Publicized” rule for frugality?

How do you determine what’s going too far when it comes to efforts to save money?

Do you have any examples of others (or yourself) going too far crossing the line to save?

10 Ways to Spring Clean Your Finances

ways to spring clean your financesSpring could not get here fast enough.  Here in the Chicago area, we have experienced quite a winter.  In my lifetime, this has been the most extreme one that I’ve seen.  This winter has yielded a snowfall total that is in the top 5 ever recorded here, and I don’t recall a season with as many below-zero days.

With the upcoming thaw comes the annual ritual of spring cleaning.  I know that in my home, there is some purging of “stuff” that is needed, as well as reorganization of things. That, with some deep cleaning while the windows are open, just seems like a good thing to do around this time of the year.

Did I already say that spring could not get here fast enough?

Well, this time of year could also be a good time to take stock of our finances as well.  Now, many of us do this at the end of the year or at the beginning, as a part of resolutions and then taxes.  But that’s often a matter of gathering information, setting goals, and getting ready for tax time.

How about actually getting into the nuts and bolts of our money?  There are plenty of things that we can do to spruce up our finances and get a better handle on things during this time of year.  Along those lines, here are 10 ways that we can spring clean our finances:

  1. Rebalance our investments.  It’s a good idea to periodically rebalance your investments.  Let’s say that you target 60% of assets to be in stocks.  If there has been a run-up in stock prices, your mix will likely be even more weighted toward stocks.  For example, you might find your 60% allocation becoming more like 70% since the other asset classes might not have performed as well.  Rebalancing can help get things back in line to where you want them.
  2. Review your insurance policies.  Are your coverage amounts meeting your current needs? Can you get a better deal elsewhere? Taking some time to go over your existing policies and making sure they work for you is a worthwhile exercise.
  3. Take stock of your professional network.  Wait, what?  What does this have to do with money?  Well, I think it can have quite a big role in your finances.  Building up a network is something that many people don’t pay attention to, but I’ve seen some people accumulate a ton of wealth by being very good at networking.  It can only help you, and at times and places you might not otherwise imagine ahead of time.
  4. Get a copy of your credit report.  You don’t want to be held back by any mistakes on there.  It’s good to keep an eye on things and be proactive.
  5. Take inventory of your possessions.  While many of your big-ticket items may be the same from year to year, you may make some notable purchases from time to time anyway.  The ultimate goal here is to have an accurate accounting of possessions for insurance purposes.
  6. Review your college savings for your kids.  Whether it’s a 529, other accounts, or a combination – you should pay attention to how the money is growing.  Adjustments in your allocations can be made as necessary.
  7. Review your estate plan.  If you don’t have one, depending on your age you may want to consider developing one.  What you want to do is make sure that you have everything protected as well as possible, to account for different events, while ensuring that assets can ultimately be distributed according to your wishes.  It’s not fun to think about, but it would seem to be a good thing to review from time to time.
  8. Organize your tax documents.  Once tax season is over, make sure that you file away your final documents in a safe and secure place.  Don’t let papers sit around for an extend period of time, as you never know what could be lost.  With prior year tax returns, it’s good to be organized.
  9. Review your 401(k) contributions.  If you’re maxing out your contribution, it’s hard to go higher than the limit!  But if you’re contributing below the limit, it can be helpful to take another look at things periodically to make sure you’re not leaving money on the table.
  10. Collect unwanted items to sell or donate.  Hey, if you’re going to do a real spring cleaning anyway, why not get something for your unneeded or underutilized stuff?  You can sell on craigslist or some other avenue, or simply donate to those who might truly need it.  Either way, you’ll be a little bit richer for your efforts.

My Questions for You

Do you do any “spring cleaning” of your finances?

If so, which of the tasks above do you periodically do?

Do you have any other suggestions?

Why Video Conferencing: It’s Benefits and the Impact on Various Fields

Communication is an essential part of any business. On a daily basis, people use any form of communication they can to transact business with clients, partners, challenges, and to report accomplishments. In order to have well-executed, clear, and precise communication among businesses, the communication technology have been working to continue to improve and surprise businesses with innovations.

Video conferencing over the years has brought new ways for businesses to work with each other. With workplace trends changing over time, more and more small companies and startups are adopting the idea of using video conferencing and the idea of co-working. With more companies doing this, there are numerous ways video conferencing can help benefit you and your company.

Benefits of Video Conferencing

Fuel is becoming more expensive each year making traveling to a business meeting a money vacuum. With a company like Blue Jeans video conferencing, you can maintain relationships from the comfort of your own office to anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. By saving money on travel costs, you are also saving the earth by lowering your carbon footprint. The new ‘in thing’ today is having your company go green. By reducing the amount of traveling done for business meetings is a great way to go green.

Video conferencing can help keep employees that may have to relocate or need to work from home. This can save your company a lot of money on recruiting and training potential new employees. In the past all we had were emails, phone calls, or texts to connect us with people around the world. Now that we have video conferencing calls, it allows users to see a live feed of the people you are talking to. Being able to see people’s body language and facial expressions means that meetings are now on a more personal level. A lot of companies are now using video conferencing to conduct interviews for new candidates who can save money on traveling expenses for hires that might be a good fit for the company but are too far to come to the office for the interview.

Too much traveling can burn out an employee who might not be used to the consequences that come with travel. People who are not accustomed to traveling may experience long hours on the road or even dealing with jet lag. In certain scenarios, weather can become an issue, stopping someone from getting to and from work. With video conferencing, you can conduct your meetings in your own home as if you were sitting in your office chair at work. It helps reduce the stress of planning your whole day around traveling to a meeting.

There are many ways video conferencing can give businesses and educators with an opportunity to learn, share, and interact with people all across the globe. It can improve productivity, be able to share data and ideas with others.

Medical Field

The medical field can utilize video conferencing in order to communicate with fellow medical professionals. Doctors can use it to consult with other doctors around the world for a second opinion in real time. Internationally, video conferencing can help in treating patients abroad and consulting with medical professionals in other locations through video chat.

Businesses

Business professionals might be required to travel long distances in order to meet with customers or colleagues. By using a video conferencing, traveling can be completely cut out of the picture. Employees can also work from any other location with an Internet connection.

Education

Using video conferencing in the education field is fairly new technology. Some colleges allow students who cannot attend classes to attend a class through video conferencing. This feature is a good way for schools to offer more flexibility to students and professionals.

To attend a three-hour meeting in Singapore, a manager in San Francisco is going to have to travel almost 40 hours in order to conduct this meeting. Here is a small break down of the whole trip. In total, that is almost 37 hours that are unproductive.

  • Driving to the airport: 1 hour
  • Check in: 1 hour
  • Flight to Singapore: 14 hours
  • Luggage: 30 minutes
  • Hotel travel: 1 hour
  • Hotel to Office: 30 minutes
  • Meeting: 3 hours
  • Travel to airport: 1 hour
  • Check in: 1 hour
  • Boarding: 1 hour
  • Flight back to San Francisco: 14 hours
  • Travel to office: 1 hour

Video conferencing plays an important role in improving your company’s competitiveness by enabling long distance meetings to be organized and executed in minutes. Your company can react faster to changes in the market trends faster than your competitors. While actual human interaction can never be replaced, video conferencing is a great runner up.