Edwin

Author Archives: Edwin

Edwin is the money hacking millennial behind Cash The Checks. He lives a minimalist lifestyle and is always eager to learn and share his methods to save and make money.

9 Ways To Save Money On Food

There are countless ways to reduce your grocery store bills. Even if you can just slash 5 dollars off your receipt, that little bit goes a long way. That $5 a week is $260 per year, every year.

Here are 9 ways you can save money on food.

Grocery Store Rewards

Shop at a grocery store that rewards you. Some stores may have sales, but others have both sales and a rewards program. Join their loyalty program to get members-only discounts and accrue points that you can redeem for store gift cards.

Ralphs for example gives low prices for members and sends you bonus coupons in the mail. Sometimes it’s a coupon for a free pack of eggs, free orange juice or a $5 off certificate to be used on your next trip.

Buy Cheaper Food

Certain foods are cheaper than others. A meal of rice, beans and vegetables are cheaper and healthier than a meat-based meal. Stock up on items you can purchase by the pound like rice. When you see a good deal, buy it in bulk. It won’t spoil and you can eat a serving of rice for less than a quarter.

Buy Less Soda

Soft drinks are far more expensive than water. Control your caffeine addiction and choose to drink less soda. You can improve your health and keep your wallet healthier by drinking more water.

Bottled Water

Tap water is practically free while with bottled water, you’re buying the plastic bottle for the most part. Help the environment and your wallet by not buying plastic bottles.

If you absolutely refuse to drink tap water, purchase a water filter and do the filtration at home. If you still don’t like the taste, try and different brand until you find the one you like.

Eat less

You’re not supposed to need to eat until you can’t eat any more. If you find yourself unbuttoning your pants after your meals, you’re doing it wrong.

You should only eat as much as your body requires. You should eat until you are no longer hungry. For most people, this means you can eat less, lose weight and save money.

Costco / Sam’s Club

Invest in a club membership card at these warehouse stores. Your first few visits will pay for the card. Some of them even have gas stations where you can save 20 cents per gallon. You may come to find out that this is the best investment you’ve ever made.

Buy in bulk

This tip here goes hand in hand with the previous tip about warehouse stores. When you see a good deal, jump on it and purchase several of them. Just make sure you have the room back at home.

Eat in

Don’t make a habit out of eating at restaurants. The markup on food and drinks is amazingly high. They fill their foods with loads of sodium too. It’s okay to go out every once in awhile, but just don’t make it a habit if you want to keep your food costs down.

Use Coupons Regularly

Saving a dollar or two here and there adds up to a few hundred bucks per year. If you hate carrying coupons, you can use a smartphone app to scan your coupons for you.

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7 Ways To Save On The Cost Of College

It’s no secret that college is expensive. Today’s graduates are leaving college with more than just an education – they’re leaving with staggering amounts of debt. These massive student loans are causing them to delay important life milestones like getting married, buying a house and having children.

New polls from the Pew Research center indicate that more Americans than ever feel that college is simply too expensive to afford. If that sounds like you, read on to discover 7 easy ways you can save on college.

Go To A Public School

Be choosy about your school. Not only will you need to select an institution that has a great reputation for a quality education, but you’ll want to also look at the total cost. Public universities are a great way to get a world-class education without the huge expense of fancy private schools.

Sure, you may have to give up the dream of having your own dorm room or another perk of a private school, but in return you’ll have much lower loans which is a fair tradeoff.

Take Advantage Of Tax Benefits

Don’t forget about the tax savings. Whether you’re filing your year-end taxes or saving for college, there are programs that offer tax advantages to help you pay for the high cost of college.

Opening a 529 plan is a great way to save money for school in a tax-free way provided you use the funds for college costs. You can also claim tax credits for tuition paid or interest paid on student loans.

Get A Federal Loan

To keep your college costs down, look into federal loans. Federal loans generally have lower interest rates than private loans. As a bonus, some loans can be forgiven if you go into the right field and work in a disadvantaged area for a certain period of time.

The subsidized federal loans are based on financial need while unsubsidized loans are available to anyone. Whether you get federal loans or not, be sure to fill out the FAFSA to see which loans are available to you. Your school may also use the FAFSA to determine if you’re eligible for any need-based scholarships.

Apply For Scholarships

Apply for all of the scholarships and grants you can find. There are thousands of dollars available every year for a variety of reasons. Look for and apply for the free money to help cut down on the cost of your education.

Remember that grants and scholarships don’t need to be repaid, so really put some effort into finding ones you’re eligible for.

Graduate Fast

There are plenty of ways you can go about obtaining a degree in under four years, and online schools are arguably one of the most efficient and cost-effective options available.

This new form of education also helps you cut down costs that otherwise would have been dedicated to commuting and room and board, making it a great choice for any student on a budget.

Plan your education carefully to ensure you graduate in a maximum of four years to prevent the dreaded expense of a fifth year.

Try Community College First

Go to a local community college for the first 2 years. If you’re not sure what you want to major in or if you’re just feeling thrifty, try out a community college first.

In 2 years you can get an associates degree that includes all of the prerequisites for your major meaning you’ll complete your bachelor’s degree on time, but for a fraction of the cost.

If this sounds like a good idea, check with the school you plan to attend to make sure credits are transferable. In general, public universities are more accepting of community college credits than private schools are.

Military Benefits

Look into military or veteran college benefits. If you were in the military or if your parent was in the military, you may be eligible for college benefits. Servicemen and women who were in for at least 36 months of active duty are eligible to receive financial assistance to pay for school.

If you’re considering going to college, but can’t afford it, entering the military may be a great way to serve your country, kickstart your career and pay for your education. Some schools offer ROTC programs where you can train for military service while going to college full time as long as you commit to a military career upon graduation.

7 Ways Wealthy People Think Differently

While some rich people are obviously rich based on their appearance and the quality of their lifestyle, other people pretend to be rich, living well above their means, spending much more than they earn, living on credit, and slowly burying themselves in debt.

Adding to the confusion, some rich people go to the other extreme and are disarmingly modest. For instance, two of the richest men in the world, Carlos Slim (with an estimated 2017 net worth of $51.2 billion) and Warren Buffett (with an estimated 2017 net worth of $73.4 billion) don’t live in mansions but in the type of homes owned by those in the middle class income bracket.

How A High School Dropout Became A Millionaire

Napoleon Hill interviewed 500 of the richest people of his time to write, Think and Grow Rich. This 1937 book itself created millionaires who followed his ideas of learning how to think like a rich person. So how do rich people think before they become rich?

Here is a modern true story that illustrates the point that you have to think rich before you get rich:

If you read a report on cryptocurrency would you consider buying Bitcoins? If you’re like most people, you might not want to take a risk on a new form of currency, even though it appeared to be widely accepted all over the world.

However, that’s not what Erik Finman thought when he first heard about Bitcoins. Instead, this high school dropout thought like a millionaire long before he became one. Finman bought his first Bitcoin when it cost $12. Over the years, he progressively built up his collection of Bitcoins. He then sold his investments when a single Bitcoin was valued at $1,200 to make his first million.

7 Wealthy Mindsets

Steve Siebold interviewed over a thousand ultra-rich people to write his book, How Rich People Think. Here are some of the differences he discovered in the difference between how a poor person thinks and a wealthy person thinks:

1. A poor person thinks money is the root of all evil while a wealthy person thinks that you need resources to achieve things in life.

2. A poor person considers selfishness immoral while a wealthy person thinks that you can only contribute to the welfare of others when you have something to give.

3. A poor person hopes that they will come into some good fortune while a wealthy person believes that action is necessary to change things for the better.

4. A poor person has little regard for acquiring expert knowledge while a wealthy person is eager to learn new things.

5. A poor person reflects on all the mistakes they’ve made in life or longs for the good old days while a wealthy person thinks about what’s possible in the future and engages in setting goals and making plans for a better future.

6. A poor person makes emotional decisions about money, either hoarding or overspending, while a wealthy person make logical decisions, evaluating the value of things before investing or spending.

7. A poor person works for a living at a job they hate while a wealthy person focuses on projects that they love.

Master Your Mindset

Although it may sound somewhat counterintuitive, you won’t join the 1% who earn over $380,000 a year simply by going back to school, getting a better job, or saving more money each month. It’s not that there is anything wrong with this approach; it’s just that it’s premature. Before taking any course of action, no matter how sensible it appears to be, you must first change how you think. When you have the right mindset, then everything you do will work out in your favor, and if you’re doing the wrong things, you’ll quickly course correct.

6 Easy Strategies To Grow Your Blog Readership

You might already know how to create a blog, especially if you’ve seen my guide to creating a blog in under 30 minutes. You may also know the importance of adding content consistently to your blog, but do you know how to drive traffic to your blog?

Sometimes the simplest methods are the best: this list contains some of the most basic but essential ways to grow your blogs’ audience.


1. Produce Quality Content… Consistently

When people can count on you to update your blog regularly, especially on a strict schedule, they will visit more often. If you commit to posting interesting content at least once every week, and more frequently if you can, you’ll be well on your way to a larger readership.

The key here is that the content must be high quality. Do not be pressured into posting three times a week if you can’t deliver insanely great content.


2. Comment On Other Blogs

A great way to encourage people to check out your blog is to leave interesting, engaging comments on other blogs. If people appreciate your comments, they will likely click on your name in search of what else you have to say.

Don’t make the mistake of only saying things like “great post!” and leaving your link. Always add value to the discussion with your comments. Comments that do not acknowledge the blog you’re on or those that sound like an infomercial for your own blog are not what other bloggers or blog readers appreciate, and such comments can look like spam.


3. Link To Other Bloggers

Want to know a quick way to have people find your blog? Link to their blogs first!

Most bloggers track their stats and incoming links, and they will click over to see who has linked to them. They just might end up linking back to you if they like what they see.

You don’t have to be selfish about your readers. If you find a great blog or blog post that you think your audience would love, share the link on your blog! Don’t keep a good thing to yourself. It will whet your audience’s appetite for more of the same sort of content, and will give you a good reputation with others in your field.


4. Write Guest Posts

Countless blogs readily accept well-written, relevant guest posts, and that’s good for you: guest posting is one of the most effective ways to introduce your blog and your writing style to a new audience. As an added benefit, if the host blog has a lot of traffic and ranks high in search engines, having a link or two from that site to your blog will increase your search engine rankings, too.

When submitting a guest post, make sure to follow that blog’s guest post guidelines. Always carefully proofread your article before you send it. If it gets rejected, don’t take it personally—submit it to another blog for consideration instead.


5. Make It Absurdly Simple For People To Subscribe

A subscriber to your blog feed or email newsletter is much more likely to remember your blog on a regular basis. Plus, once people have made the effort to sign up, they are unlikely to bother unsubscribing.

Make it as obvious as possible how and where to subscribe to your newsletter. Keep the prompt in your blog’s sidebar at all times, if nowhere else, and occasionally remind your readers of the ease and benefits of subscribing. Giving a little something away as a reward for subscribing doesn’t hurt, either.


6. Create A Community

To build your readership, you need to be there for them. Your audience is composed of individuals, and they will regard you with greater respect and loyalty if you treat them as such. Don’t just write a post, then disappear and leave your readers to talk amongst themselves in the comments.

Respond to questions and interact with your readers on a regular basis. In fact, when you are first starting out, you might want to try to respond to all comments left. It encourages people to stick around because it makes them feel like part of a close-knit group.

Rather than adding a forum section to your blog, it’s much better to create a Facebook group to get your readers to interact with you and each other.

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How To Save Cash By Getting Rid Of Old Tech

Look around your home. How many old TVs, cell phones, remote controls and other electronics do you have lying around collecting dust? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably a lot. Most homes are filled with outdated technology that’s wasting both space and money.

Here are 5 ways you can save cash by cutting old tech products out of your life.

Kill The Cable Bill

There’s no reason to pay hundreds of dollars for hundreds of channels you’ll never really watch. Cable is slowly finding it has no place in modern America and the overpriced service is being cut from households across the nation, one house at a time.

Fortunately, there are plenty of cheap or free places to get your TV fix and none of them involve paying the cable companies. If you’re a movie buff, you can take advantage of Redbox and rent movies for a dollar. Another option is Netflix to get your favorites for 9 bucks a month. To watch your favorite television shows on cable subscribe to Hulu Plus for $8 a month.

Once you get into the habit of streaming or renting your videos, go through your DVD collection and get rid of the flicks you don’t want to watch again. Don’t just throw them away though, sell them at a yard sale, sell them on eBay or take them to a used DVD store to trade them in for cash.

Cut The Landline

It turns out that less than a third of Americans still use a landline. If you’re in that small group, it may be time to look at why others are getting rid of their home phones and using their cell phone exclusively.

Landlines are expensive and charge you for long distance, caller ID and call waiting, all items that come with your cell phone at no additional charge.

The downside of cell phones used to be that they limit your minutes, but there’s many plans now with unlimited minutes or at least unlimited nights and weekends. With other ways of communication being available like email, text messages and Facebook, people are talking on the phone less and less anyway.

If you still want to chat up a storm you can use FaceTime or Skype and talk as long as you want for free. You’ll need the other person to have either service and a good wifi connection and you’ll be set to either video chat or just voice chat.

With all of these options available, there’s little need to still pay for your landline.

Get Rid Of Your Digital Camera

Digital cameras made film obsolete. Now smartphones are making digital cameras redundant. Unless you have high quality DSLR camera, there’s little need to own a digital camera anymore.

Most people actually prefer taking pictures with their phone because their phones are always an arms length away. Carrying a digital camera around is an inconvenience as it’s another item to carry in your pocket or purse.

Quality-wise, new smartphones can take amazing pictures that rival your typical point and shoot digital camera.

Better yet, you can save your pictures straight to the cloud from your smartphone, something you can’t do with most digital cameras. You’ll have to take the added step of transferring the pictures to your computer.

Skip The Software

Another bit of dying technology you should get rid of is paid software. Depending on what you need, most of the time there are online services or free smartphone apps that can do as good of a job as paid software.

If you just need basic photo editing, you don’t need to buy Adobe Photoshop If all you need is to crop, rotate, touch up photos, add text or an effect to your pictures, you can a free online service like Canva.

If you need a program to create documents, flyers, a spreadsheet or a presentation you don’t need to pay a few hundred dollars for Microsoft Office. There are free options such as OpenOffice or my preference, Google Docs. With Google Docs you can create documents online on any computer without the need to download anything. You can log in to your Google account and edit your documents from anywhere, even your phone.

Get Rid Of Your Music Players

First, there were records and record players, then cassettes and cassette players, then CD’s and CD players and then there were digital downloads and mp3 players.

Now there’s a new way to listen to music. You can stream it from the cloud. You don’t have to purchase, download and store individual music files anymore. With services like Pandora and Spotify, users can listen to music for free. With Spotify you can create a playlist to listen to, listen to a specific genre or just choose your favorite artist and shuffle their music all day long.

With each of these services, there are paid options available which give you additional options such as removing advertisements and removing time limits.

11 Money Habits Of The Rich

Are you broke and want to be rich? Who doesn’t!

If you want to be like the rich, maybe we should learn about their daily habits / morning rituals.

Here are 11 money habits that separate the rich from the poor.

Automate Your Finances

Set your financial plan on auto-pilot. Once you get paid, send money automatically to your savings account, investment account and your bill payments.

This way, you won’t ever be hit with a late fee and you won’t be tempted to skip your savings one month. That’s because your money will go directly from your paycheck into your savings/investment accounts.

Invest Your Spare Change

To truly build wealth, you need to invest what you earn. Even if you don’t have a lot of money to invest, it’s still a good (and fun) thing to try out. It is exciting to see your money grow.

You don’t need millions to start investing either. You can use a micro-investing app like Acorns to begin investing your spare change. With Acorns, the app rounds up your purchases and puts your spare change to work.

For example, spend $42.63 and Acorns will round up to $43 and invest the $0.37. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is a pain-free way to begin investing.

The power of savings isn’t in the amount, but rather how early you invest and how often you continue to add to your investments. When you start early and do it often, you are letting the power of compound interest work its’ magic.

Take The Fast Lane

Thinking you are ever going to get rich by working for someone else isn’t the right approach. To become wealthy you need to be the one at the top of the food chain.

The slow lane is 40 years working at a 9 to 5. The fast lane is starting a business, no matter how small. The power in running your own business is that you can automate and outsource most tasks, which makes this income passive.

Look at anyone who is rich and you will always see they took the fast lane to wealth – not the slow lane!

Have A To-Do List

Another rich person habit is to have a to-do list. The wealthy value time, knowing that time is money. They take advantage of their time wisely by always having something to do.

The poor, on the other hand, seem to always complain that they never have any time. Then, find themselves bored half the time.

Wake Up Early

Millionaires wake up early. That’s because people are most productive early in the morning. It’s quieter, the sun is coming up, birds are chirping. What a wonderful start to your day!

The wealthy wake up early and take advantage of their time, the poor set an alarm to wake up, then rush to barely get to work on time.

Eat Healthy

Rich people care about their health more than the poor do. The rich count calories, go to the doctor, exercise regularly and eat healthy.

The poor? They eat fast food and sit at home watching tv on the couch.

Create Goals (And Follow Through)

The rich and wealthy are goal-setters who are constantly pushing themselves to be a better version of themselves.

One key money habit of the rich is to set specific goals – not general ones like “lose weight”. Nope, the rich set goals such as earn X dollars in Y days by doing Z.

Rich People Read Books

The rich read books. But not for entertainment, but to better themselves. Rich people are constant learners, always looking to learn more. For the rich, learning didn’t end at graduation – but rather started there.

Focus on reading self improvement books. Even reading just 10 minutes per day really adds up to quite a few number of books per year.

Wealthy People Take Risks

The rich take calculated risks to achieve their dreams of becoming wealthy. The poor, on the other hand, are too scared to try something new.

But you will never achieve anything by standing on the sidelines and watching. Get in the game!

The Rich Are Producers, Not Consumers

The rich abandon consumerism. You know, that silly stuff they sell on TV and those childish games of trying to impress people.

The rich are producers who create things that the poor will consume.

So, want to be rich? Stop consuming and start producing.

Surround Yourself With Successful People

You are the average of the 5 people you hang around with. Are they losers? I bet you are too.

If you want to be a winner, get rid of the losers and hang around people who will help you “level up” in life.

Did you find this post helpful? It would totally rock my socks if you shared this post on your favorite social network below!

  • Edwin
  • December 31, 2019

Smart 50/30/20 Budget Printable

50-30-20 Budget

You need a budget in 2020. But where do you start? How do you prioritize what you spend on?

Here's a good rule of thumb:

Follow The 50/30/20 Rule

Here's how it works.

Set aside 50% of your income to go toward necessities such as housing and important bills.

Set aside 20% of your income to go toward your financial goals. This includes paying off your debt and starting to save for retirement.

Finally, the last 30% of your income can go toward your wants. This is all that fun stuff like restaurants, movies and other forms of entertainment.

Free 50/30/20 Smart Budget Printable

Download this free budget printable to help you prioritize your spending. Use this to help you determine what expenses matter most and need to be paid first.

Oh and one more thing. If you found this printable helpful, all I ask is that you share it on Pinterest or Facebook. Thanks!

  • Edwin
  • December 30, 2019

3 Proven Ways To Improve Your Efficiency

Being productive means doing more with less, faster yet still correctly. In this post I’ll discuss how to be more efficient in order to squeeze the most out of your day.

Here are the 3 main segments of your life to focus on:

Managing Your Time

Managing your time is essential for improving your productivity. If you think multitasking is the answer, think again. Even though you claim to be the master of multitasking, you’re not. It’s been proven that you can’t do two things at once. The brain is not like a quad-core processor. It performs tasks one at a time. Sure you can drive while adjusting the radio dial, but while you’re thinking about your selection you’re not thinking about the road.

The appropriate way to manage your time efficiently is to minimize tasks that distract you. Yes, that means shutting off notifications when you’re working. Plan your day in sections. Start it off with email, news and social media to get caught up on what you missed overnight.

Then shut off alerts and concentrate on the most important tasks of your day. Throughout your day it’s okay to take breaks and even a power nap. What’s imperative is that you work efficiently with a laser focus on the task at hand.

Your Workspace

Your workstation needs to be free from clutter. A white empty area eliminates all distractions, allowing you to see only what you’re working on.

If you work from home, create a new user account on your computer dedicated to work. On your browser, create an account with your work email so that you are logged into a browser which only has work related bookmarks and plugins. Having a work bookmarks folder is not enough.

Turn off email notifications. Every time there’s an alert you’ll be tempted to stop what you’re doing to check it. More often than not it’s a newsletter or something not important. Yet this stops your flow and messes with your concentration.

Having The Right Mindset

Running a marathon is a daunting task, but while you’re running in one, what matters is just the next mile, just the next step.

Likewise, break your bigger tasks into smaller chunks. Doing this reduces procrastination as we’re more likely to avoid doing large tasks.

Checklists are useful for keeping you on track. Utilize checklists to allow you to see that you are making progress with your bigger tasks.

Use an app to create your checklists and check off each small task after you complete it. Seeing the box checked, the ding noise or the striked-through text triggers the rewards portion of our brain.

The app I use and recommend is Trello. Trello is a task management app that gives you perspective over all your projects. Large projects can be broken down into what are called cards and each card can have smaller tasks within it. It’s useful for everything from planning a party to creating an editorial calendar.

What tools or methods do you use to improve your productivity?

  • Edwin
  • December 30, 2019
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4 Ways To Personalize Your Rental And Keep Your Deposit

After you’ve found the right apartment or rental house, you may think you’re stuck living with the bland outdated style of the landlord. But that’s not the case. There are ways to make your new home your own without jeopardizing your deposit.

Let me show you 4 ways you can personalize your rental home without making any permanent alterations.

Paint The Walls

While there are some rentals where you aren’t allowed to paint the walls, there are more agreeable landlords and property managers that will let you. If the landlord allows you to paint the walls there are some things to keep in mind.

  • Repainting

When your lease runs out you could find yourself having to spend potentially a lot of money and time repainting. Think about whether or not you’ll be able to prime and paint the walls when moving out.

  • Colors

A landlord may say that you can paint the walls, but will restrict which colors you can use. They may just have to verify the color to ensure it’s not hot pink or neon green for example. Get their approval before painting using a shade they don’t allow you to use.

  • Rooms

The landlord might also restrict which rooms you can paint. They could say that you can paint your bedroom but not your kitchen. Make sure you can paint a room before splashing out the cash necessary to do so.

  • Lease

Finally you need to consider how long your lease will last. Will you be in the property long enough to make it worth painting now and having to paint it again in the future? If you just have a month to month lease and you just moved in, you might wait a while to see if you’re going to like the neighborhood.

Hang Pictures

If you can’t paint the walls, then hanging paintings and pictures are a great alternative to decorate the walls. Many rental agreements will allow you to do this but you should still check with the landlord. After all, the landlord might not want all the holes in the wall. There are several benefits to having just a few pictures up on your walls:

  • Minimized Damage

Only the small nail hole will be left behind by hanging a painting. But there might be lots of holes if you plan to cover your entire wall. You could instead hang the photo or artwork with adhesive and leave behind no traces behind at all.

  • Easy To Fix Any Damage

Don’t forget that one provision to being able to hang up paintings is having to fill in any nail holes left behind when you leave the property. It’s less work than repainting a wall again at least.

  • Self-Expression

Make a bold statement. The photos and art you choose allow you to express yourself.

  • Can Be Changed Easily

One great thing about pictures is that they are super easy to change so you can replace and remove them on a whim.

Change The Non-Permanent Fixtures

There are certain fixtures in a rental property that are easy to update. Don’t forget to keep hold of the original items when replacing them though. That way it’s easy to put them back before moving out. The following are prime examples of permanent fixtures you should be able to change to personalize your rental property.

  • Light Fixtures

Always check with the landlord before changing fixtures as some of them could be permanent. But there shouldn’t be a problem with changing a bulb or shade though, and it can really change how a room feels.

  • Showerheads

Showerheads tend to be inexpensive to buy and super easy to change. The right showerhead can breathe new life into your shower.

  • Blinds and Curtains

Changing these is often easy and can add plenty of colors and pop to a room that would otherwise be bland.

There are some landlords who will give you the freedom to change light switches, indoor doorknobs, and cabinets. These small changes can add up to a massive overall change for the home.

Accent Pieces

An easy way to personalize the home is to use accent pieces. These can be installed and removed easily and will often not breach the rental agreement, keeping the return of your deposit safe.

  • Lighting

Create diversity in your home by adding table and floor lamps.

  • Wall Decals

Wall decals can be taken down easily and cause less hassle than painting a room.

  • Rugs

An area rug can give some pep to any room in the house, giving a splash of color and softening up a hardwood or tile floor.

  • Tables

Buying the right end table and coffee table personalizes your home while also serving a useful function.

No matter how small or how big your new rental home is, there are plenty of ways you can make it feel as if it were your own. Check with your landlord before making any major changes to your house to ensure you’re not breaking your lease contract.

Have fun sprucing up your new house!

  • Edwin
  • December 27, 2019

How To Set Up Your Home For A Side Hustle

Extra cash is never a bad idea. For some of us, working 9 to 5 just isn’t cutting it, but the idea of working more hours can be overwhelming. Each time we think about trying, we bombard our own heads with questions:

• Where can I find a second job?
• How far away is it?
• Will the time and energy be worth it?
• When will I sleep, eat, and breathe?

If you set up your home for a side hustle these questions will fade, along with your money issues. You’ll be able to work as soon as you wake up or get home; making more money without spending extra time on a commute.

Want to know how to begin? Let’s dig in to how to set up your home for a side hustle, plus peek at a few side hustle gigs to get you started.

1. Remove Distractions

This is a big one. If you’ve ever worked from home remotely, you know that there are dozens of distractions and temptations that can pull you away from your work.

If you’ve never worked from home, well, we’re here to tell you that you’re bound to get sidetracked by shiny-object-syndrome.

There’s the big screen TV, the laundry piled up in the corner, there’s even a big yellow circle outside called the sun and it’s calling your name.

Somehow, you’ve got to ignore all of it.

If you have a roommate who works from home, he or she is bound to be the biggest distraction of all. From rolling past the living room at night eating a bowl of crunchy cereal, to cranking up Justin Bieber in the wee hours of the morning, you’ve got some serious obstacles to overcome.

What To Do:

For starters, keep your phone in a different room and try turning the internet off if you don’t need it. If you do need to use the internet, use a website blocker to make sure you only use the sites related to the work you need to get done.

With those two steps, you remove any temptation of losing hours on Facebook or Netflix instead of building your side hustle.

If you’re tempted by looming chores, remind yourself that doing laundry all night won’t pay the bills. Choose a day on your calendar instead to work on washing your whites. Rainy days are best to clean up and do other household chores.

If you have a roommate, you’ve got to get creative. Sit down with him or her and explain that you’ll need some quiet time between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. (or whatever hours tickle your fancy) to get some work done. If they want you to pay your half of the rent, they’ll get the message. With any luck, you live with a respectful roommate so this shouldn’t’ be an issue.

If it is an issue, it’s time to invest in headphones and some white noise. You can buy white noise machines, or you can pop on YouTube and take a peek at their offerings. A fan will even do the trick.

By closing yourself off to distractions and noise interruptions, you can be more productive and crank out additional work in no time.

2. Design The Ideal Workspace

Speaking of closing yourself off, if you share an apartment or house with someone else, you’ll want to create your very own workspace for yourself. This personal space is a huge plus when you need to be productive.

If setting up shop in the shared living room or kitchen isn’t an option, consider a corner in a spare bedroom or your own room. But don’t just shove a desk and chair in there and call it a day. Take the time to set it up so it feels different and exclusive.

Experts say that creating an ideal workspace is beneficial because the space we occupy shapes who we are and how we behave, both of which affect our psychological wellbeing and creative performance.

If you work an eight-hour shift at your job, you’re going to need a clear mind and some creativity before digging into your side hustle. Taking the time to design the ideal workspace will help you get there.

What To Do:

First, decide where to set up shop. Clear that area out completely, including any wall art.

Next, choose colors that speak to you. If you like black and maroon (the color of compassion), it’s time to hit the thrift stores to find the ideal desk and chair that matches your colorful needs.

If color isn’t super important to you, go with neutral earth tones. They’re rather soothing.

If you can’t find a desk or chair in the color you like, spend a Saturday painting that awesome desk you picked up at a yard sale for $25 bucks. Make it your own.

Have fun with this process. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in this area working. The least you can do is make it an enjoyable space to be in.

Do the same with any wall art or pictures you want to hang. Check out antique shops, thrift stores, and yard sales for some good buys. Bring your new space full circle with a soft light desk lamp. Don’t work under glaring, bright lights.

Workspace lighting is more important than people realize. Our work environment, work performance, and well-being are affected by it. So, turn the lights down and bring on the ambiance.

If you can work in natural light, even better. It’s good for the soul.

3. Dress For The Job

It’s true that one of the advantages of working from home is the freedom to dress however you want. But, tempting as it is to work in your jammies, you might want to dress up a little even for your home office.

There’s been some evidence that the clothes you wear can affect your mindset. If there’s no real distinction between your “work” clothes and your “off” clothes (or “sleeping” clothes as the case may be), you may find it harder to get your head in the zone.

On the same token, you might also find it hard to get out of “work” mode if you’re wearing the same thing all the time. You might find yourself constantly thinking about your projects or clients, even when you’re supposed to be focusing on your relationships and hobbies. That’s a recipe for stressing and eventually burning yourself out.

But you shouldn’t take this as a sign to start wearing a suit every day either. Because so much of this is psychological, the perfect type of “work” clothes can change from person to person.

What To Do:

Experiment!

When you’re working from home try wearing different types of clothes and see for yourself what makes you most productive.

If you want – start working in the clothes that you normally wear to work. From there you might start incrementally wearing clothes that are more and more casual. For instance – going from slacks to sweats, or from sweats to jammies.

While you’re making these changes, keep track of how you spend your time. If you find yourself becoming less productive, that’s a good sign that your clothes might have gone too casual.

Or – you might try going more formal than your normal workplace. Who knows, maybe a three piece suit is just the thing to supercharge your side-hustle efforts.

4. Be Your Own Boss

This might be the greatest challenge for anyone choosing to earn extra income with a side hustle. But if you remove distractions and stick to your guns, you can make it work.

According to a Gallup Study, more and more people are working from home. They’re figuring it out and reaping the rewards. That means they’re choosing to be their own boss.

The best part of being your own boss is that you call the shots. If you choose to sit down at your desk at 7 o’clock at night, Mr. Boss Man can’t say a word. The world is your oyster.

What To Do:

Being your own boss can be challenging, especially if you’re not sure how to organize your priorities. Try using an app like 17 Hats to keep everything you’re doing in one place.

If you’re not ready to invest in an app, good old-fashioned spreadsheets always work. Find an accountability buddy, too. This works great if you find work with demanding deadlines.

Anytime you want to get up to run outside and play, remind yourself of the fact that the bills won’t get paid and your dream vacation will never happen unless you focus.

5. Side Hustle Ideas

Not sure what to do to earn extra cash?

With so many people today moving toward the work-from-home model, the number of side hustles out there are endless. Truly. If you can think it, you can do it. Thanks to the Internet, anything is possible.

  • Do you write? Freelance writing jobs are off the charts.
  • Do you work in admin? IT? Are you a social media geek? Or maybe you like to cut coupons and save lots of money?
  • Do you transcribe? Enjoy reading? Like to scan Amazon?

Jobs that match these desires are out there.

If you’ve never explored how to find a side hustle before, we’re got some suggestions for you.

What To Do:

Start with Google. Google is your BFF. Sit down in your living room with your cat (or dog or ferret or monkey) and start digging. Google things like:

• Side Hustle Jobs (for variety)
• Freelance Work (for writing)
• Virtual Assistant Jobs (for administrative and social media work)
• IT Remote Work (for internet technology work)

Depending on what you Google, you’ll see options a-plenty. Here’s what came up with the keyword search Side Hustle Jobs.

If you really like Amazon, they’re always looking for copywriters to write descriptions for them.

As you conduct your search, remember that this is a process. You may spend a week or so searching for a sidle hustle that resonates with you. When you do find it, you’ll have to take the time to apply for the job.

You can either drive around the city looking for jobs delivering pizza, or you can use your time to create a comfy workspace and look for jobs that you can do from home.

Option 2 doesn’t need any money for gas.

Conclusion

There’s lots of research out there that speaks to the kind of stress we deal with at work and how making money from home can reduce that stress.

Who knows, maybe your new side hustle in your cozy little corner is just what the doctor ordered. Maybe you’ll discover that you can create a more balanced life by working for yourself. Start small, go big.

If your current employer has an option to work extra hours from home, ask about it.

When you set up your home for a side hustle, create a cozy space to work in, and make a deal with your roommate to stay out of your way, the work-from-home possibilities are endless.

The question now is, when will you begin?

  • Edwin
  • December 24, 2019

Flexible 52 Week Money Saving Challenge

Using a money saving challenge is the perfect way to get better at money management. That’s why I created this flexible 52 week money saving challenge. This is going to be one of the best money saving tips you’re ever going to come across.

We know all about 30 day challenges (or monthly money saving challenges), but why not a 52 week money saving challenge?

Plus, this money saving challenge comes in a free printable you can use. Use this free printable template / worksheet to make saving money easy to track (and accomplish).

Use this 52 week money challenge to get rid of your debt, get better with money and start saving money. This money challenge sure is the best personal finance tip you’re going to find today.

How it works:

Each week, pick one square you want to save. Afterward, cross it off. The reason I like this money-saving challenge so much is because you can save as little as $10 or as much as $57 in one week. If you complete this challenge – you would have saved over one thousand dollars this year!

One more thing:

I do have a favor to ask, could you please share this on Pinterest and Facebook?

Thanks!

Is your new years resolution to save money? Download this free printable to save money in 2020. With this 52 week money saving challenge you'll learn how to save money in 2020. Take the money challenge today! #savings #money #finance #saving #personalfinance #cashthechecks
Is your new years resolution to save money? Download this free printable to save money in 2020. With this 52 week money saving challenge you'll learn how to save money in 2020. Take the money challenge today! #savings #money #finance #saving #personalfinance #cashthechecks

  • Edwin
  • December 22, 2019
2

How To Avoid Problems When Lending Money To Friends

You’ve heard it before. Lending money to a relative is akin to giving it to them.

But I’m here to tell you that personal loans between friends/relatives can work – if you do it right.

In order to figure out how to make them work, we need to first realize why these types of loans typically go wrong.

Is it because your friend is forgetful? Is it because your cousin is too cheap? No. It’s because they convinced themselves it was actually a gift and not a loan.

So how can you make personal loans between friends work? Just follow the steps outlined in this post so that you can both help your friend out and get all of your money back.

Get It In Writing

The key to making personal loans work is to get your loan terms in writing. Verbal contracts mean absolutely nothing. By having your agreement on paper, your friend will feel an obligation to pay it back. There is no mistaking that this is a loan and not a gift. It’s right there in black and white. Your agreement doesn’t need to be written up by a lawyer. It doesn’t even need to be typed.

The purpose of this note is to make this financial transaction an official loan in their eyes. If you feel uncomfortable having your relative sign this agreement then don’t loan them money in the first place. If they don’t want to sign it, then apologize to them for offering them a loan.

Charge Them Interest

If you offer your relative an interest-free loan, they will not feel obligated to pay it back. An interest-free loan is such a gift to them that it makes the loan appear like a gift. All loans charge interest. So if you want to get your money back, charge them interest too.

Give them an amazing deal though since they’re family. If a bank will loan them money at 15%, give them a 5% deal.

Monthly Payments

Make an agreement with your friend/relative to pay back the loan in payments every single month. Don’t just say “pay whatever you can, whenever you can”. If you do that, you might as well kiss your money (and your friendship) goodbye.

You need to make it clear (in writing) how much money they are paying you back, for how long they are paying you back for, the exact date of the payment due each month and late fees.

Late Fees

Speaking of late fees, if your loan doesn’t have a penalty for being late, expect your friend to pay you late every month. Each month they will get progressively more tardy until they eventually stop paying you back altogether. Make sure you specify their due date and what penalty will be incurred if they are late.

Collateral

Personal loans carry a very large interest rate because there is typically no collateral. When you get a car loan or a home loan, interest rates are low because if you don’t pay the bank takes your car or house away.

So if you want to make your personal loan to a relative a success, get some collateral. A piece of jewelry usually works great. Once the loan has been paid in full, give the item back.

If the loan isn’t paid back in full, you can pawn their item and keep their past payments. They shouldn’t get mad at you either. After all, it was them who asked for money then didn’t pay you back.

Have you ever loaned money to friends or relatives? How did it work out?

  • Edwin
  • December 21, 2019

7 Fun Ways To Make Extra Money

Whether you’re looking for a large amount of money or trying to come up with a clever way of bringing in some extra income, there’s nothing that spells success like choosing to do something that you would do anyway for free.

While choosing your favorite hobby is easy, finding ways to make money off of it may be very difficult.

Below are 7 great ways to turn a hobby into a profitable venture:

Dog Walker

If you love dogs and have a lot of free time during the day, then you’d be the perfect candidate to turn walking and caring for dogs into a great opportunity for making money. Many city-dwellers work during the day, so if your hours allow for it, you can make a great deal of money just by creating a schedule where you watch and walk stranger’s dogs.

Baking

Some of us make cookies and cupcakes for fun and then bring the leftovers to work to share with coworkers, when we could be making and selling them for a profit. Try putting out an ad for services you can handle with your current schedule, and lower your prices to compete with bakeries and other independent bakers. If you’re already doing it for free, then a little income is better than nothing.

Playing An Instrument

If you’re not already part of a band, or playing at cafes and bars, you should seriously consider doing so. This is especially true if you write your own music. Some places charge you to play there, but many cafes will let you come in for free and keep whatever you make in tips. As your fame grows, so will the money you make. If you’re looking for a low key start to pulling in extra income, this is definitely it.

Crafts

If you make anything of any sort, you can usually sell them on Etsy and at craft shows for quite a profit. Try to isolate a craft that is both inexpensive to make, yields a high profit, and also takes very little time to make. Remember that this is a side job, so it shouldn’t take over all of your free time.

Writing

Here’s where many people find their extra income. If writing is something you love to do, then you can find a million ways to make money off of it. The best part of all is that you can pretty much write anywhere – on the train, at a coffee shop, on the way to work, and when you get home. It doesn’t take up any space and doesn’t require a financial investment to get started.

You can try your hand at writing articles for blogs other online publications to start, and work from there. Starting your own blog will yield more profit due to the promise of ad revenue (either selling your own ads or selling products).

You can also proofread, edit and write content for others who are willing to pay for articles like on Fiverr.

Photography

A lot of people pick up cameras and love taking pictures of events and friends. Some even go beyond and buy accessories for their camera. If it’s something you love to do for fun, and will be doing at events anyway, offer a cheap service for great photos.

This is especially great when it comes to huge events like proms, sweet sixteens, and weddings. Professional photographers can make or break a couple’s budget, so if you offer something small for a quality job, you’ll be bringing in a good amount of money for something you love to do.

Make Money Online

Pretty much anything you can do on the internet is bound to get you money. If you’re the artistic type, you could try your hand at web design or graphic design. If you’re more of a marketer, you can offer your search engine optimization or paid marketing skills. If you’re a numbers person then computer programming may be your calling.

Regardless of which path you choose, the most important thing to remember is that your money-making ideas should never cause you more stress than their worth. You should always be something you can fit in your schedule while being something you love to do.

  • Edwin
  • December 18, 2019
1

15 Year vs. 30 Year Mortgage, Which Is Better?

When applying for a new mortgage, one of the things you need to decide is the term of the loan. The most common mortgages are 15 and 30 year terms. While a 30 year mortgage is considered the gold standard in this country, many homebuyers are finding that a 15 year mortgage is more advantageous for their needs.

Read on to learn the differences between a 15 year and 30 year mortgage to help you decide which one is right for you.

Advantages Of A 15 Year Term

Obviously, the biggest advantage is that you’ll pay off the mortgage a lot quicker with a 15 year loan. If you plan on staying in your home and you don’t want to have to make mortgage payments for the rest of your life, the 15 year mortgage makes perfect sense.

With your mortgage paid off earlier, you’ll be able to plan for other things like retirement, college for your children or other expenses.

Another advantage of a 15 year loan is the interest. You’ll save significant money on interest with a shorter term. It’s not just that you’ll only be paying interest for a shorter amount of time, the rate itself is actually lower. Rates for a 15 year mortgage are typically 1 full percentage point less than its’ 30 year counterpart.

Most lenders offer lower rates on 15 year loans which helps create additional savings. You can expect to pay less than half as much in interest on a 15 year loan versus a 30 year loan.

Finally, you’ll build equity (the difference between the home’s value and what you owe) faster on a shorter mortgage. As the difference increases, so does your equity. With a traditional 30 year loan, equity grows slowly. With a 15 year loan it grows more rapidly, giving you more options should you need to borrow against the equity in the future.

Advantages Of A 30 Year Term

The reason many lenders opt for a 30 year loan instead of a 15 year loan is that the payments are lower, significantly lower. Having a lower monthly mortgage payment can outweigh the many benefits of a shorter loan.

For many families, lower payments are a necessity to make homeownership a reality. In an uncertain economy, lower payments may also be preferred by those who aren’t 100 percent secure in their job.

With lower payments, you can increase your savings account or plan for retirement easier. It’s good for those that need to pay off credit card debt or who need to make improvements to their new home. Once your other debts are paid off or your savings is sufficient, you can always funnel the extra money towards paying down the principal on your mortgage instead, which will help pay off your mortgage in less than 30 years. Payment Difference

Many people ignore the 15 year option because they assume they either won’t qualify or can’t afford this type of loan. People oftentimes believe that the payments of 15 year loan costs twice as much as a 30 year loan. But that’s simply not true.

It turns out that the monthly payment increases only moderately, making a 15 year loan an option for many buyers. Let me present an example to prove this point:

  • A $300,000 30 year mortgage at 5% yields a payment of $1,610
  • A $300,000 15 year mortgage at 4% yields a payment of $2,219

As you can see, the payment did not double, but rather only went up a bit over $600. And over the course of the entire loan, the 15 year mortgage will accrue $99k in interest whereas you’ll pay $279k in interest on the 30 year mortgage.

Do the math and take into consideration the lower rates afforded to shorter loans to determine which one is the best option for you.

  • Edwin
  • December 15, 2019

6 Common Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself

Cars guzzle two things: gas and your money. If you’re unlucky, there will always be something wrong with your vehicle that requires a trip to the mechanic and a hit on your wallet.

It’s bad enough when there’s something seriously wrong with your car, but it’s far worse when you’re being overcharged by a mechanic to fix a simple problem that you could easily take care of by yourself.

There are actually more car problems that anyone can fix than you’d think. The issue ultimately stems from confidence – you might think the problem is minor but may be scared to fix it yourself. If you can roll up your sleeves and summon the courage to tackle your own car maintenance and repair tasks, however, you can save time and, more importantly, money.

Here are 6 common car problems anyone can tackle.

Replacing The Air Filter

There are few maintenance tasks within a car that are as easy as replacing the air filter, which is the piece that prevents dirt and other particles from the outside getting into the engine system and damaging it. Air filters should be checked at the same time as the oil (i.e. on a regular basis, every few thousand miles).

If the air filter does need to be changed, it’s usually just a case of opening the lid that keeps it in place (sometimes using a screwdriver), lifting it out and putting the new one in.

Fixing Coolant Leaks

Coolant leaks in the vehicle’s engine can be extremely problematic if they are left untended-to, sometimes meaning that the entire engine needs to be replaced – this can often be more expensive than it’s worth, leading to the scrapping of the car.

Sealing solutions are often the easiest way to fix a coolant leak as they simply require the solution to be poured into the coolant system to do its work. As long as you pour the solution into the right part of the engine, there should be no need to call in the professionals.

Changing The Headlight Bulbs

One of the legal requirements of driving at night or in murky conditions is that you have working headlights on the front and back of the car. Not only is it a safety issue but you’ll be pulled over by the police constantly and may be ticketed.

In practice, changing the headlight bulbs when they fail is no more difficult than changing a normal lightbulb – the tricky bit is detaching and reattaching the headlight assembly.

A lot of the time, you may not even need tools for this job, though it depends which bulbs are being replaced. Most bulbs are screwed into place or attached by clamps and wires and the front headlights can be accessed under the vehicle’s bonnet. Make sure you buy the right sort of bulb – they’re not all the same.

Replacing The Battery

You wake up one morning before going to work and your car is dead. You turn the ignition and… nothing. The most common culprit is a dead battery. But don’t go scheduling an appointment with the mechanic just yet. You can do this one on your own.

Head over to O’Reilly’s, Walmart or any nearby place that sells car batteries. You’re looking at spending anywhere from $50-$100 for a new one.

The main challenge here is to remove and replace the positive and negative cables in the right order. If your vehicle has negative ground (check your manual), the negative battery cable must be removed first and replaced last. If it has positive ground, the positive cable must be removed first and replaced last.

Make sure you wear safety gloves and goggles, as you may come into contact with battery acid which is extremely corrosive.

Remember to dispose of the old battery responsibly. Some places will give you a discount on your new battery if you give them your old one. Otherwise, you can take it to a recycling center to be properly disposed of.

If you can successfully replace a car battery on your own, you should be able to move on to more complicated repairs.

Fixing A Leaky Sunroof

When a sunroof begins to leak, the issue is usually a drain tube that has become clogged with debris, meaning that water has nowhere to go and makes its escape into the interior of the vehicle. The tubes need to be cleared and this should fix the problem.

You can get to the insides of the drain tubes via the holes in the front corner of the sunroof – if you can, try and vacuum the blockage out rather than poking wire up the tubes or using compressed air, as you could create a hole or disconnect the tubes from the sunroof and have to replace the whole draining system. If you do have to use a wire, do so carefully.

Replacing The Thermostat

A faulty thermostat, which regulates the temperature of the engine, can lead to issues with the car’s performance – for instance, if it sticks in an open position, the car won’t be able to warm up properly, and if it sticks in a closed position then the engine will overheat. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to replace when needed.

You’ll need to locate the thermostat to begin with. In most cars it’s where either the top or bottom radiator hose connects to the engine. From there, the most difficult bits of the job involves loosening a clamp and replacing the coolant that you’ll lose during the process.

Remember to follow your vehicle service manual and thoroughly research the issue so you know what you have to do every step of the way.

Have you ever fixed anything car-related on your own to save money?

  • Edwin
  • December 12, 2019

6 Signs You’re Carrying Too Much Debt

The average household in America carries at least $10,000 in credit card debt. Besides this, many people have upside down car loans, underwater mortgages and other debts that are difficult to pay off. While debt is an unfortunate part of modern life, racking up the bills can get you in serious financial trouble.

Here are 6 signs you’re carrying too much debt.

Your Whole Check Goes To Debt Payments

If all of your money goes towards paying your debt, you just might be carrying too much debt. Look at how much you spend on paying debt payments each month. Tally the minimum payments for your credit cards and compare it to your monthly income. If you exceed 50% on debt payments, you’re doing something seriously wrong.

While you can’t get rid of your debt overnight, you can work to eliminate unnecessary expenses like bloated cable packages, an expensive apartment or a car that’s too expensive. Sell off things you don’t need like a timeshare and put the proceeds towards your debt payments.

You’re Only Making The Minimum Payments

If you can’t afford much more than the minimum payments, or if those are even hard to come up with each month, you’re carrying too much debt.

Get on the phone and ask your credit card company to lower your interest rate. If you have a good history of paying on time and have a good credit score, you may get a positive reaction.

You can also transfer balances to a card with a lower rate or a zero percent introductory rate, but realize that balance transfers often come with fees.

You’re Sick Thinking About Your Debt

If your cards are nearly maxed out and you’re getting collection calls, you may be under a lot of stress. Stress from debt can result in physical side effects, such as illness, headaches and even high blood pressure.

If you’re suffering from physical side effects, it’s a clear sign you’re carrying too much debt.

You Got Denied For A Loan

If you have been denied for new credit or another type of loan, you are carrying too much debt. When your debt load is too high, it’s hard to qualify for new credit. Creditors and lenders look at your overall ability to pay back debt when they decide whether to open a new line for you, so if the rejection letters are coming in, you need to look at your debt load.

If you are using too much of your available credit (i.e. you’re maxed out) your credit score will suffer and you won’t be able to get any more credit.

You Don’t Have A Savings Account

You need to have a nest egg in case something goes wrong like you lose your job or have a medical emergency. The savings account will provide money in the event of emergencies, but if you spend all of your money on debt payments you won’t have any left to save.

To put money away, you’ll need to get a side job or look for a better paying position to help increase cash flow, or you can put off a major purchase like buying a new home or car while you build your savings.

You Pay Your Bills Late

Having too much debt can make it hard to make all of your monthly payments on time. If you’re missing due dates and sending late payments, it’ll hurt your credit score. Add that to the hit it already took from your huge debt load and you’re looking at years of rebuilding once you get your finances under control.

If you have a debt problem, the next step is to create a plan to eliminate the debt. You’ll need disposable income to reduce your debts, which means you’ll need to either sell belongings or take on another job. You can also try to reach a debt settlement with your creditors, but only explore that option as a last resort.

  • Edwin
  • December 10, 2019

5 Investment And Finance Books For Beginning Investors

Navigating the world of personal finance and investing can be a daunting challenge for just about anyone, particularly those just who are just getting started in investing.

But learning about investing and finance need not be a difficult process. Luckily, there is a wealth of literature out there for guiding beginning investors.

While they won’t tell you what to buy and when, these books can serve as a guide to help you wade through the muddy waters of investing.

You’ll find that these books on finance and investing provide tremendous, nuanced insights while also being enjoyable reads. While some of these books were published decades ago, they have withstood the test of time and the advice offered are still applicable today.

Here’s the list, in no particular order.

The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham (1949)

Graham is widely regarded as the father of value investing. Famous investors such as Warren Buffet have credited Graham for laying the foundation for them with his ideas about security analysis. The Intelligent Investor teaches sound, established principles that every investor can use. According to Buffet, it is “by far the best book on investing ever written”.


Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill (1937)

The book Think and Grow Rich was, rather ironically, written during the Great Depression. Hill conducted extensive research based on his associations with wealthy individuals. The book stresses the importance of planning and persistence to increase one’s income, and it makes the argument that people can succeed in any type of career.


The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, by Warren Buffett (1997)

Buffett is widely considered the most successful modern investor. In this book, he outlines his views on a wide range of issues which are of importance to corporate America, investors and shareholders. The book delves into the interaction between a company’s management and its shareholders. It also highlights the thought processes involved in enhancing a company’s enterprise value. It is an absolute must-read for investors.


How to Make Money in Stocks, by William J. O’Neil (2002, 3rd ed.)

O’Neil is the founder of Investor’s Business Daily, a financial research and media company, and the creator of the CAN SLIM system. This book is of great interest to investors keen on stock picking and serves as an excellent blueprint. How to Make Money in Stocks is full of substance and is quite on point and trimmed, leaving out any ambiguities. This book is recommendable if you are looking for an approachable book that you can apply to your day-to-day investing.


Learn to Earn, by Peter Lynch (1995)

Lynch is well known in the world of investments: beginning his career in the 1980s, he served as the manager of the well-known Fidelity Magellan Fund. Learn to Earn targets a younger audience and focuses on explaining business basics. Lynch takes a common-sense approach and insists that individual investors can perform just as well or even better than experts can if they adopt a strategic approach to investing. This book is strongly recommended for younger readers and beginning investors.

While investing can seem frightfully complicated, one need not go through the process alone. Many investment and finance giants have passed on their knowledge and experience in the form of widely available books. The books listed here are but a drop in the ocean when it comes to the abundance of professional advice and guidelines for investing.

Are there any good books in investing for newbies I’ve left out? If so please do share your personal favorites in the comments section below.

4 Occasions You Tend To Overspend

Have you ever noticed that you can go a few days without spending a dime, then all of a sudden you go on a crazy spending spree? There are two main reasons why this happens. The first is practical – you probably overspent right after you got your paycheck. The second is psychological – you’re sad, tired or just plain bored.

But there are other occasions we spend too much. If you can spot the times you tend to overspend you can learn to avoid those situations altogether. Here are 4 situations where people tend to overspend.

When You Get Home After Work

Retailers also know that we are weaker at certain times. A prime spot for weakness is at 8 o’clock at night. By 8 PM people have come home from a long day at work and have eaten dinner. Around this time you check your email, your Facebook and yes you may do some online shopping.

If you have had a particularly bad day at work then you are in an emotional state that makes you vulnerable to overspending. Retailers know this and will schedule a sale to begin at this time. They’ll send you an email at this hour advertising a sale or showing you their new items.

If you have had a long day at work and feel the need to blow off some steam, do not go online shopping seeking to reward yourself. Instead, reward yourself in other ways. You can take a bath, play a video game, eat a tasty snack or just take a nap.

While online shopping may make you feel better temporarily, you won’t feel so good when you take a peek at credit card bill the next month.

After An Unexpected Windfall

When you receive some unexpected good fortune (such as a bonus or a tax refund) you feel as if it’s extra money. Extra things can be discarded, so you feel like that money can be wasted. But this couldn’t be any further from the truth.

If you get a bonus from work, that’s not extra. You really did deserve that money for all the hard work you’ve done. When you get a tax refund, that is your own money you overpaid to the government. If you find a $20 bill on the ground, consider it your lucky day. But there are better things to do with that money than to quickly go and spend it.

Instead of getting rid of this money by buying some new clothes you don’t need or going to an expensive restaurant, put the money to good use. Pay down an existing debt such as your credit card.

You shouldn’t be spending money foolishly when you still owe money. If you have no debt then ask yourself if you have enough in your emergency savings account. If you don’t, then you know where that money needs to go.

When You’re Dating

When you’re in the market for a new partner things can get pretty pricey. You tend to overspend to make yourself look better by getting your hair done professionally or buying more expensive clothing. Then you overspend on your dates by trying to impress your partner – restaurants, amusement park visits and pricey gifts.

There are low cost ways to have a good time with your date. For example, a picnic, a homemade dinner or you could play a game at the park. And as far as impressing your partner with lavish gifts, that’s only going to make you seem desperate and needy.

When You’re Trying To Lose Weight

The weight loss industry is a multi billion dollar industry. There are countless ways you can spend hundreds of dollars while trying to lose weight. You could buy costly exercise equipment, workout clothes and a $500 yearly gym membership. Before you know it you’ve given your wallet quite the workout.

But you don’t need to spend a dime to lose weight. The bottom line is that if you want to lose weight, you need to eat healthy and exercise. You don’t need anything else. So eat your veggies, cut out the junk food and go out for a run or bike ride every day. That’s all there is to it.

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