Saturday, February 22, 2014

Running a Frugal Office Thanks to Google Docs

It's Saturday afternoon and am in between my third and fourth speaking engagement of the week.  With a voice barely holding up, I am thankful for the respite.  And happy I have time to put up a quick post.  The restaurant offers free wi-fi.  Something that does not surprise us anymore, and something I can't take for granted.

Why?  For my shorter speaking engagements, the ones related to my book, I now use a power point presentation.  I never use them for the longer, two hour community education sessions I give on the basics of estate planning.  The material is dense enough to begin with, why weigh it down with a lecture format.  But now I am speaking more and more for thirty minutes on Middle Class Philanthropist: How anyone can leave a legacy.  A power point format gives a punch to the quotes I highlight and the cover image of the book.  But I am not using "the" power point.  No, I use the free version through Google Docs.

Simple, easy, and free -- what could a business owner wish for beyond that in a software package.  One thing -- access to free wi-fi.  When I first gave this new format a whirl at a presentation to a professional group it hit me at the last minute -- I need wi-fi for this to work, will the building offer it?  Our society has grown to expect wi-fi, but my techie husband who has a masters in the area of digital signal processing (fancy words for wireless transmissions) reminds me that it is not a given that wi-fi will work.  Problems happen because of walls or dropped packets or fussy routers linger in the background.

So, if you decide to embrace the freedom of Google Docs for presentations, have a Plan B.  Mine is to use my phone as a mobile hotspot.  It allows me to connect my computer to the internet via my phone.  Risks of using too much data or breaching security linger, but it is a decent Plan B and avoided the expense of purchasing software that I can now get for free.

Enjoy your weekend, and be frugal.  For regular readers I have to add, as a thank you for speaking this afternoon for Habitat for Humanity I received a free Bucky Book.  Whooo hoooo -- a favorite of mine for free.  The key, not to spend just because I have a coupon.  Thanks for reading, and remember there are lots of ups for those on the frugal path.

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