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.
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.
Garage sales are a great way to clear out clutter and make a little extra money during the process. For shoppers, finding great bargains and haggling can make for an exciting weekend morning.
Garage sales held in the spring and summer months tend to do very well and with all of the free advertising options available, it’s easier than ever to have a successful garage sale. However, getting customers to your sale is only half the battle, you’ll also need to know how to price your items.
Read on for 5 great tips to help you price your items correctly and have a successful garage sale.
Price excellent condition items at 1/3 of their retail value. High-value or big-ticket items in excellent condition can successfully sell at 1/3 of their retail value. That means if you have a stroller that you paid $300 for and barely used, you can probably sell it for around $100 at your garage sale. Understand that garage sale shoppers are usually bargain hunters, so don’t be surprised if the first few people that look aren’t interested.
Casual garage sale shoppers hate asking a price on an item, so it’s important to have prices clearly marked. Marking prices on items will result in more sales than relying on customers to make an offer or ask a price. If you don’t want to price each item individually, make a sign that says all like items are a certain price or all items on a certain table area another price. This may require some work on your part to keep track of where the items came from or how much each group of items costs.
Offer bulk pricing on like items or lots of items. True bargain hunters can’t resist bulk pricing. If you have a bunch of CD’s or books, consider pricing them as a lot. Offer individual items for one price or the entire lot of the items at a discounted rate. If the shopper is a true bargain hunter, they’ll likely pick up the lot for the discounted price, which means you’ll sell more of your items and clear your house out that much faster.
Drop prices as the day wears on. If getting rid of clutter is your primary motivation for holding the garage sale rather than getting rich, be prepared to offer discounts as the day goes on to get the last of your items cleared out. Dropping prices will bring in a few extra dollars and save you a trip to the donation bin at the end of the day.
Team up with neighbors to have multiple sales on the same day. Garage sale die-hards love neighborhood or multi-family sales. It means more items to choose from and more bargains in less time. Consider teaming up with your neighbors to have a sale at the same time to draw in even more customers. You’ll all wind up selling more items in the end, so it’s worth the effort to find a weekend that works for everyone.
When you graduate from college or university and embark on your chosen career, it’s a good idea to start investing in your retirement from day one. While that may seem like the perfect plan on paper, actually making it happen is incredibly tough, usually because college graduates are left saddled with a student loan that can be totally crippling.
Continuing your education in today’s world means shelling out tens of thousands of dollars, which ends up resulting in large monthly payments once you graduate. It’s a tough debt to pay off, but there are a few ways you can get it paid down sooner rather than later:
Homeowners paying down their mortgage know that there are several ways to pay the debt off faster. These include paying bi-weekly as opposed to monthly, or paying extra towards the principal each month. Every little bit that you can pay over and above your minimum payment helps reduce the amount of time that it will take to become totally debt-free.
Talk to your lenders about what amount you would need to pay to have the loan paid off in a specific amount of time or look at options for refinancing your student loans. 5 years is usually a pretty reasonable timeframe in which to get the job done. You will know exactly what needs to be paid each month to get the loan paid in that time, and you can then budget accordingly. Having a clear end date in sight is often very motivating, and can make it easier to sacrifice on luxury items for a relatively short period of time.
You can establish a separate account at your bank to which a percentage of your earnings are automatically transferred. This account should be a reinvestment type deal where your money can quickly grow. Once you hit a nice little lump sum, that money can then be used to pay down your principal, shaving off a huge chunk of repayment time in the process.
Many students take on a part-time job while they are in college. While some of that is sure to go towards tuition and living expenses, you can also save some money that will quickly add up and make it possible for you to pay off a portion of your loan right out of the gate. Attending college close to home and living with your parents may not seem like the college dream, but it can help you start your career on more stable financial footing.
Getting sucked into bad financial choices is the easiest way to fall off the budget bandwagon. Do you really need the newest cell phone, or do you really need to eat out at a good restaurant 3 or 4 times per week? We are not saying that you cannot ever treat yourself, but try to stay on budget by limiting how often you make those decisions.
A lot has been written about the way millennials approach the world. Millennials enjoy life to the fullest and live in the now. Ascribing to these principles can sometimes wreak havoc on your financial situation.
The tried and true methods for having a successful financial future is to get a good-paying job, live below your means, save your money for retirement and buy a house. But there are other ways of securing a more prosperous financial future that millennials can follow. Here are 4 of them.
After moving out of your parents’ house there’s a desire to want to live alone as an adult for the first time. But you must resist that temptation and get a roommate instead. Living with a roommate or two gives you the independence you crave while also helping you save a lot of money.
When you live with roommates it is almost as if you’re living alone. The reason is that roommates are typically around the same age as you, and thus they leave and go to school, leave again and go to work, then leave again to go out with friends. Depending on everyone’s schedule, it may feel as if you have the house all to yourself. And that rent payment is a much easier pill to swallow when that $1,500 a month payment is divided by 3.
The millennial generation is into using social media, often time snapchat stories that soon disappear. But what’s the point of creating great content and then having it be deleted? Consider posting your content on your own Youtube channel or on a blog.
You have to think of yourself as a brand looking to attract followers. Can you build a loyal following? Then can you then turn your followers into buyers? Whether you’re into fitness, sports, tech or art, there’s a market for almost anything. It takes a long time to get a good fan base, so why not start now.
Once you have built a reputation for creating great content and have a solid base of fans, you can begin to sell advertisements, whether it be ads on a blog or shoutouts in Instagram or video reviews.
Putting money away is an obvious way to build a little nest egg for your future, but a not so obvious way is education. Learning a second language is a weapon in your personal arsenal.
Knowing Spanish or Chinese or Arabic is the key that can get you a job promotion or extra pay. You can become invaluable in a company if you’re the only person in the office who speaks a second language. This equals job security and hopefully a nice raise.
The daily costs of commuting can take a real bite out of your paycheck. To ease the pain, consider commuting to school or work the green way – via bicycle. You will improve not only the environment but your health as well. Major cities have introduced dedicated bike lanes. Some even have bike-share services.
With the costs of gas being so unpredictable, why not hop on a bike and save some green.
Making sure you have a good financial future doesn’t have to be a long and tedious process. You can still live by the mantra of YOLO and stay financially fit if you use the 4 tips I’ve provided here.
Everybody learns differently. Some can handle lectures, others need to read it in a book, others need pictures and yet others need to practice the task themselves to finally master a new skill.
Regardless of whether you want to learn a new skill or sharpen up an existing one, the below techniques will help you become a better learner.
It is imperative to let your brain rest. When your brain isn’t going a million miles per hour you tend to do some great thinking. It’s why great ideas might come to you in the shower. When you’re not thinking of anything in particular, that’s when you allow your brain to open up.
So if you’re going to study for an hour, be sure to give your brain a rest before and after. It might let you see the big picture or connect the dots in what you’re studying.
You can employ the Pomodoro technique, which calls for 25 minutes of work followed by 5 minutes of rest. Then after the 4th session, a larger 15-30 minute break. By using this technique you will help ward off mental fatigue.
Memorizing and then regurgitating facts may have helped you get through history class in high school, but it’s not going to help you in learning a new skill. Make a real life connection by understanding the relevance of what you’re learning in order to make it stick.
If you’re trying to memorize a recipe, it does you no good to read the recipe a hundred times. Instead, learn why you’re adding each item or why the amount of each is important to the overall flavor.
Learning why something is important will allow the ingredient list and amounts to stick in your brain.
Likewise if you’re trying to master on-page search engine optimization techniques, learn about WHY certain techniques matter. Think about what the end goal is (better rankings) and the purpose of each technique (make it more Google-friendly). So if I mention images, repeating word for word what to do with an image is much harder to do if you don’t know why you’re doing it. For example, with an image, you want to:
You see, without making the “why” part meaningful, it’s just a bunch of nonsense rules to a silly game Google made up. But by learning the reasons why each bullet point is useful, you can more easily remember the steps to take.
There’s really no such thing as a book learner and a visual learner. The method of learning that works really depends on what you’re learning. But the important thing here is to immerse yourself in the activity.
If you are learning a new language, a book will rarely help you. You’ll need to watch television shows in this new language, talk with others in this language and even listen to music in this language.
If you are learning to be an auto mechanic, ditch the manuals and get your hands dirty. You will learn better through practice, patience and through trial and error.
While in school I’m sure we all hated taking tests. After all, these were make it or break it moments. Some of us just weren’t good at tests, even though we studied endlessly. Perhaps that was because of pressure. But it’s the real world now and you shouldn’t be afraid of tests anymore.
Do you know how to perform better at tests? It’s not by re-reading the textbook or your notes. Nope. It’s by taking many practice tests. Tests ask questions, tests ask you to be problem solvers, tests make you think. Becoming a problem solver is a great way to master whatever skill you’re learning.
When learning a new skill, test yourself, as it will help you learn your strengths and weaknesses. This can help you isolate what you need help with. You can then practice what you struggle with to get better.
One of the greatest basketball players of all time, Kobe Bryant, practiced for hours on end. But he always kept pushing himself to learn new skills, practicing the moves and shots he had not yet mastered. Here is how he improved throughout his 20 year career:
What new skills have you learned recently and how did you do it?
Whether your pregnancy was planned or not, seeing those 2 lines on the test strip will change you entire life. Thinking about your future and the financial responsibilities you’ll soon face can trigger anxiety and stress in the most frugal of people.
Once parenthood is impending, it’s important for mom and dad to start thinking about finances and to get their priorities in order. Read on for 6 financial tips for new parents.
If you don’t already have a life insurance policy, get one. Once you have a family, a death could leave behind not just a grieving spouse, but a family that needs financial support.
Get a basic term life insurance policy instead of a permanent life policy to save money. Make sure you get a plan that covers the life of your mortgage and will provide support until at least the kids are out of school.
Check your employers leave policies and health coverage. You’ll want to look into maternity leave or paternity leave as soon as possible so you can start planning what will happen once the baby arrives.
Also, find out if the birth will be covered with your health insurance and how much you can expect to pay. Even if you have good insurance it can still cost thousands of dollars to have a baby in a hospital.
Ideally, you’d already have an emergency fund with enough money in it to cover any bills should you get laid off. If you don’t, now is a good time to start one.
Even if you can’t fund the whole thing before baby arrives, it’s good to have any amount of cash in reserve for unexpected expenses.
Once baby arrives it’s a good time to start a 529 college savings plan. When your kids go off to school you’ll have a nice nest egg of tax-advantages savings that can be used to pay for tuition or other school expenses.
Best of all, other relatives can add to the account and help it grow, making birthdays and holidays a breeze for relatives.
Wills, estates and things like that aren’t just documents that old or elderly individuals need. Unexpected deaths can happen to anyone, so it’s important to have a plan in place that details what you want to happen to your belongings and your children.
Babies are expensive, so there’s no better time to get serious about budgeting. Look at your monthly expenses and find places to tweak the budget to make ends meet. You may be surprised how many monthly services you’re paying for that you really don’t need.
If you are constantly swimming against a tide of debt and your bank balance looks decidedly skinny, it’s time to change your spending habits into saving habits. Here are some tips on how to change your ways for the better and get your debt payments into shape.
It’s a tried and true method but it works for a reason. It’s way too easy to overspend if you’re using credit cards, so leave them at home and take a fixed amount of cash with you when you go shopping, or use your debit card. That way you will be able to stick to your pre-set budget.
Don’t wander aimlessly around the store picking up things at random. Shop with a list. That way you can plan your meals for the week ahead and only buy the items you need. This saves you money and eliminates waste. If you are tempted by something that’s not on your list, add it to next week’s list.
Shopping carts are quite large, which encourages you to keep shopping so you put more into them. Don’t fall into this trap. Next time you go to the store, grab a basket instead of a cart or simply carry your items. This will help you curb your temptation to buy items you don’t really need.
Think of something that you would really like, such as an overseas vacation or saving money to settle your debts. Start saving for it today. Instead of blowing money at the coffee shop or the bar, put those dollars in a savings account toward your big treat. Before long you’ll be sitting flying off to foreign climes or paying off all your credit card debt.
If you’re finding it really tough to break your spending habit, let someone else shop for you. All you have to do is give your shopping list to another immediate family member and let them handle it. If you’re not in the store you won’t be tempted to impulse buy things that you don’t really need.
Budget yourself an allowance so at the end of the week you can treat yourself. This will encourage you to save. It will also prevent you from depriving yourself too much. If you don’t treat yourself from time to time you are more likely to have a spending splurge.
Before you rush out to buy the latest gadget or the newest fashion wear, give yourself a cooling off period. This is will give you time to consider whether you really need that big-ticket item. If you still feel you want it after 24 hours, go back to the store and get it.
You can break bad spending habits if you’re determined and really consistent. The main things to remember is to track your spending, stop impulse or emotional buying and keep saving on a regular basis, not matter how small an amount it is.
The thought of owning a house and having a place you can truly call your own is appealing for obvious reasons. However, choosing to be a homeowner takes not only a decent level of financial stability but also a certain emotional maturity that’s needed to create a time-constrained plan that suits your budget and lifestyle. If you’re feeling stuck on the fence between renting and buying, here are some important questions to ask yourself.
It’s easy enough to stack rental rates against each other, but when you’re looking into buying a home, you not only need to think about your mortgage payments, but also property taxes, homeowners insurance, and possibly some extras like homeowner or condo association fees. In many cases, it’s much more expensive to rent than to buy, especially when mortgage rates are fairly low.
Even if the mortgage rates in your area aren’t all that attractive, it’s important to consider the wealth-building benefits of owning a home which can keep giving over time. The median net worth for homeowners is significantly higher than those of non-homeowners, thanks to the way your equity increases as you pay off your home loan.
One of the primary benefits of renting over buying is that you’re not tied down to anything. When buying, things get a little more difficult. Not only is the variety of choice generally more limited, but you have to find a home and an area where you’d be happy to live for several years, all the while recouping the cost of buying the property and building up your equity.
Take some time to consider whether you’re really ready to tie yourself down to such a big obligation.
It’s impossible to tell for certain what’s going to happen in your future. However, assuming that everything goes according to plan, you need to think about how renting or buying will mesh with your long-term strategy.
If your plans for the future include a major career change, or moving to another state, then you’re generally better off renting. If you’re planning to settle down and have kids, you’re better off buying, and incorporating the cost of raising a family into your budget.
If you’re out of touch with your credit, then you’re really in no position to think about renting or buying. Get a free credit report from the federal credit report website and comb through for any kind of errors and negative information in it.
Many home creditors will want to see a score of at least 620, but you won’t qualify for the best interest rates unless your score is over 750. If you’re far away from having great credit, it may be worth renting and working on your credit score before you think about buying.
What it’s a car repair, an illness or a sudden and unexpected bout of unemployment, sometimes life can catch you off guard and leave you in dire financial straits.
When the unexpected happens, it’s time to dip into your emergency fund to cover life’s ups and downs.
While it would be nice for an emergency fund to have at least 3 months of your living expenses, the reality is that most of us can’t save that much.
Whatever you can save is better than nothing, so even if you can’t sock away a lot of cash, every little bit helps.
Read on for some surprises that may inspire you to finally start the emergency fund you’ve been thinking about.
Whether it’s caused by a lay off or a sudden desire to quit, having an emergency fund can make a job loss less scary. The temporary income replacement will help cover basics while you hunt for a new job.
Health insurance is covering less and less of medical expenses and an unexpected illness or emergency can still put you into financial ruin. Having an emergency fund can make planning for the unexpected easier, relieving stress that many families feel whenever someone falls down or starts getting sick.
With the fluctuating economy, bills and housing costs are skyrocketing. If you have an emergency fund to cover the cost of living increases that rise faster than your paycheck, you’ll have plenty of money set aside to cover bills when the price of oil starts to rise or when you’re suddenly spending more on electricity.
To cover the cost of living increases, you’ll need enough money in your bank account so you can write the checks to cover these added expenses.
If you work for a company with more than one location, there’s always a chance you can be asked to relocate at the last minute. Not all companies offer moving reimbursement, so having a savings account that you can dip into to cover the cost of sudden moves is a must.
You probably need to drive to get to work and if it hat’s the case, having a fund to cover car repairs can be invaluable. Car repair funds will allow you to fix whatever is wrong with your vehicle so you can get back on the road quickly. That means you’ll be back to getting groceries, driving to work and taking care of business in no time.
It seems like when it rains it pours, so it’s not uncommon to have to battle several household repairs at once. When things start going wrong at home you can either turn to your insurance or you can dip into your emergency fund. Turning to insurance may include paying a deductible, which could require your emergency fund as well.
Even though you’re not planning on visiting your grandmother on the other side of the country, a death can mean a necessary ride in an airplane or an extended drive. Instead of worrying about travel costs, dip into your emergency fund and focus on what really matters.
If you thought that having life insurance was know for the rich, you’d be mistaken. Life insurance is for anyone who wants their family to be financially secure in the event of your death. It can pay for funeral expenses and help to replace lost income.
Perhaps the biggest reason why people don’t buy life insurance is because they think they can’t afford it. But here’s the real deal: you can get life insurance for under $100 a month in your 20s, 30s and even 40s.
Here are 6 instances where it’s important to have life insurance.
When you are the only person who is bringing in income for a household, it is essential that you have life insurance. What would happen to your loved ones if you and your income were to disappear one day? Is there enough money to pay for the mortgage, food and bills every month? Probably not, which is why it’s irresponsible to not have life insurance if you’re the breadwinner.
If there is a debt in your name, your estate will pay it (if you have anything in your name). But if you have a loan, a credit card or have a mortgage with another person, they are now fully responsible for the repayment of the loan.
Even if a debt is in your name only, if you acquired the debt during your marriage, your spouse may still be liable for the debt. This is the case in the 9 community states: California, Washington, Texas, Arizona, Wisconsin, Idaho, Nevada, Louisiana and New Mexico.
Do you have aging parents who are becoming more and more reliant on you for their care? Do you drive them to the doctors, give them a bit of money every month? If so, you need a policy in place to help them when you’re no longer around.
College is extremely expensive. It’s already a challenge to help pay for your kids college expenses. Now imagine if you’re not around? Well with life insurance, you’re ensuring they won’t end up buried in a massive pile of student loan debt.
Let’s say you have two kids. You leave your house to one, but what about the other one? Rather than having them be forced to sell the house and split the proceeds, why not get a life insurance policy with one of them listed as the benefactor.
A funeral with a burial can run to roughly $10k. Is that the burden you want to leave your family in the days after you pass away? Having a policy in place ensures your family is only in mourning, not in debt from your loss.
Looking for useful apps for freelancers? You’ve come to the right place.
You’ve come to the right place.
The work of a freelancer can be done from anywhere and at any time – if you have the right tools.
From your home office, your bed or even while relaxing on the beach, the power to run your business rests right on your fingertips.
With the right tools any self employed individual can take their small business to the next level by using these 7 must-have apps for freelancers.
As a freelancer, you need to sign documents from time to time. Maybe you’re hired to redesign a website and need a contract to ensure you’ll be paid. Maybe you’re agreeing to write content for an online publication.
Regardless of what gig you’re performing, as a serious freelancer you really shouldn’t be making agreements without having a signed contract.
The old fashioned way was to physically sign paperwork and either mail or fax it back. The newer way was to print, sign and then email the contract back. Well there’s a new way to sign documents now, electronically.
With the SignNow app, your client could be a block away or a whole world apart, it makes no difference. So whether you’re at your home office or enjoying yourself while on vacation, you can close deals in minutes.
The main reason I like this app over the other digital signature apps is that the first 5 signatures every month are free. So if you work exclusively on big projects – and thus don’t have lots of contracts to sign – this app is perfect for you.
Here’s a video tutorial on how to use the SignNow app.
Download SignNow for iOS here.
Download SignNow for Android here.
Self employed entrepreneurs don’t need to create expense reports to turn in to the boss. But it is important for freelancers to keep track of all of their business expenses.
This is especially true when it comes to filing your tax returns. It’s important for any freelancer to deduct all business expenses to lower their tax liability.
The Expensify app simplifies everything for you. You can take a picture of a receipt and all the pertinent information gets added to your account. Then, with ease, expense reports can be created to give you a good idea of where your money is going.
The app also features automatic mileage tracking. Just open the app and your mileage is recorded and reported.
Here’s a short tutorial on how to use Expensify.
Download Expensify for iOS here.
Download Expensify for Android here.
You can keep up to date with your appointments with the Google Calendar app for Android smartphones and now for Apple users as well.
If you have an iPhone you can use the built-in calendar app. But what if you’re not entirely in the Apple ecosystem? Well the solution is to use the Google Calendar app instead. This way, you’ll have access to all of your appointments and to-do’s everywhere. Even if you’re on a public computer you can just visit http://www.google.com/calendar and log in.
Google Calendar integrates nicely into Gmail as well, with events such as flight and restaurant reservations automatically being added.
Google also makes other useful apps for freelancers such as Google Translate, Google Sheets and Google Docs.
Google has always been available on Android, but not for iOS until recently. Here’s a video for the iOS version.
Download Google Calendar for iOS here.
Download Google Calendar for Android here.
Paper is basically a note taking and drawing app. But its’ simplicity allows your imagination to flow. You can start with a blank canvas or annotate photos if you wish.
Freelancers can use it to jot down ideas in a visual way. Flow charts, pie charts and basic designs are all good uses for this app. Other freelancers will use it to write business plans, goals or presentations while on the go.
Your designs aren’t just senseless doodles that are just for fun. You can invite others to collaborate on them. I can see how this could be useful if you’re redesigning someone’s website or logo. You and the client can both go and make edits to the rough draft so you both are on the same page.
You can see the beauty and simplicity of this app in the video below.
Download Paper for iOS here.
Paper is not available on Android.
PayPal is a must for freelancers. The days of sending checks are almost a distant memory. Clients want their product immediately and freelancers want immediate payment too.
In comes perhaps the largest online payment processor around, PayPal. With their mobile app, freelancers can send payments as well as see payments posted to their account. You can then withdraw your money to your bank account in one business day.
PayPal for Business offers more robust features such as invoices and merchant services. To process payments in person, you’ll use the Paypal Here service. For this, you’ll need a mobile card reader ($14.99) or their chip card reader ($79.99). They’ll also take 2.7% of each transaction you process.
Here’s how to use Paypal Here to accept payments in person.
Download Paypal on iOS here.
Download Paypal on Android here.
Freelancers have a lot of things to do. Remember The Milk is a task management app that helps to keep you more organized. Don’t be fooled by the name. While it can indeed be used as a grocery store list replacement, it can also help you be more productive.
Here’s how it works. You first create a list. You can create as many as you’d like to help organize your task list. Then you can create tasks and even subtasks. Each with different colorful tags and even reminders.
This is one of the most useful apps for freelancers that I can recommend.
The key to accomplishing a lot isn’t being a workaholic! The keys are managing your time effectively by taming your to-do list in order to focus and complete your most important tasks first.
Here’s a very good and detailed review and tutorial on how to use the new Remember The Milk app.
Download Remember The Milk on iOS here.
Download Remember The Milk on Android here.
If you operate a small team of employees or independent contractors who travel to jobs, you need to keep track of their performance. With Hubstaff’s GPS monitoring and time tracking abilities, you’ll able to know your team is on track.
From within the app, you can track how long it took them to reach the destination and how long they stayed there. With this data, you can automatically generate timesheets and invoices to figure out how much to pay your employees and how much to charge the end customer.
Bonus: Hubstaff also have Hubstaff Talent, which is a free resource for companies (and freelancers) looking to find remote talent across the world. As a freelancer, it’s hard to do everything on your own, so why not outsource some of your work?
There’s a lot of ways you, as a freelancer, can utilize the services of others.
Here’s a quick overview of what you can do with this time tracking app.
Download Hubstaff on iOS here.
Download Hubstaff on Android here.
Do you have any apps for freelancers that you simply can’t live without? Let me know in the comments section below!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Retailers are always trying to seduce us into overspending at the grocery or department store. They have employed shopping experts to study the behavior of shoppers. They then use this knowledge to trick us into spending more than what we intended to spend. But if we can learn what their dirty tacts are, we won’t fall prey to them any longer.
Here are five crafty tactics retailers use to make us overspend.
When you enter a store you’ll see shopping carts available, sometimes they’re even offered to you. This is common in a grocery store, but it’s becoming more prevalent in department stores as well. Studies show that it’s far more likely you’ll buy more when you use a cart. The same concept applies to overeating. When you use large plates you are more likely to fill the plate up with more food.
To avoid being trapped by this trick, use a basket instead. The basket will look full and you won’t add unnecessary items. Not only that but the basket will become heavy and you’ll want to leave sooner.
Some retailers are changing the sizes of their clothing. For example, a large is now a medium and the XL is now a large. They are playing on your emotions. If you are usually a large and you try on a medium and it fits, you are more likely to buy it. This ploy works because most people would be thrilled if they fit into a smaller size.
To avoid falling into this trap, realize what the retailer is doing. They are employing a neuromarketing trick on you in order to manipulate you. This should actually offend you. Hopefully offend you enough to not buy it.
Fun house mirrors aren’t only found in the carnival. They are also found in countless dressing rooms. There are two mirror manipulations that are done. The first is a trick to make you look thinner. If you see yourself looking thin while trying something on, you will think the item of clothing is what’s doing the trick. But in reality it’s just the mirror.
The other trick is a lighting trick. Some retailers will tint their mirrors a bit, making you look tanner and thus healthier. Others use strategically placed lights to give you a fresher more appealing appearance.
Nothing is ever free – even free samples. When you are given a free food sample, various things are triggered in your brain. First of all, there is the personal factor involved. Someone has just given you something which makes you feel like you should give them something back. This plays on your emotions. The second thing that happens is that you trigger your stomach into thinking it’s dinner time. When you’re hungry you are far more likely to overspend on food.
To counteract this simply eat before shopping and say no thank you to free samples.
When checking out you are often times asked if you would like to receive a discount on everything you’re buying. All you have to do is sign up for their store credit card. It’s free after all and you’ll be approved instantly. But the harm you’ll do to your wallet is far more costly than the measly 15% off you’re getting.
With this credit card, the store will know what you buy so they can tailor advertisements to mail/email you – creepy. By adding another credit card you could also be hurting your credit score, as a hard credit check is done.
The main reasons retailers offer credit cards is because they know you are more likely to buy more when you have one. These credit cards also carry a very high interest rate and have no rewards program.
Not so surprisingly, many millennials haven’t started saving money for retirement. Millennials are in the highest bracket of putting off until tomorrow when it comes to saving.
A recent survey showed that over 64% of this age group do not believe they will have enough money when they retire to live comfortably. In fact, many believe they will need to continue to work well past retirement age.
Let’s look at some of the reasons millennials will have a really tough time when they finally do retire.
If you’ve never calculated what you need for retirement, you’re in for a shock! Studies have shown that of all generations, millennials between the ages of 25 to 34 are the smallest percentage of people who have even attempted to calculate how much money they will need to retire.
By not having a set goal for retirement savings, many millennials will have no idea how much to contribute into a plan each month. Perhaps this explains why on average, the contribution levels from each paycheck is a paltry 7.3% for millennial men and 5.7% for millennial women. The result is that 75% of millennials between the ages of 25 to 34 have savings and investments of under $25,000 total.
The same survey showed that only 4 out of 10 millennials have actually started a savings plan for retirement and half of them live paycheck to paycheck.
Putting off making retirement contributions has a seriously negative impact on your future. Due to IRS regulations, it’s can be practically impossible to “catch up”. The IRS has a ceiling on the amount of money you can put into a 401(k) and an IRA. Each year you cannot go over $18,000 in contributions to your 401k and $5,500 into your IRA. Therefore, if you wait until you’re 40 to start bulking up your retirement account, you’ll never be able to make up those lost years, no matter how much money you earn.
Student loans taken out by millennials average $37,172, which is up 6% from last year. Many students strongly believe in further education which causes such a rise in loans. There is no doubt that a higher education will lead to a higher income upon graduating and most students just don’t have the funds so they take out loans.
Statistics show that back in 1993, the average percentage of students taking out student loans was only 45% with an average balance of $15,000. Obviously, those numbers have increased greatly since then and because of that, millennials will not be able to contribute to an IRA and/or 401k because they’ll be too busy trying to pay off their student loans.
Faced with the reality that their student loans must be paid off, most millennials will grab the first job offer that comes along, regardless of the salary.
What’s worse is that they won’t even negotiate their salary one cent. Surveys have shown that 9 out of 10 employees have never negotiated for a better salary for fear they would not get the position. By not negotiating, millennials are shortchanging themselves and their potential for retirement.
According to TD Ameritrade, 19% of millennial parents believe their kids’ college education is their first priority. Granted, this is based on the fact that they have personally had a tough time with their college loans.
Millennial parents are putting aside approximately $310 each month toward their children’s college education. On top of that, they’re also making roughly the same monthly payment on their own student loan debt. Unfortunately, saving money for retirement is third on the list of priorities.
When you begin to understand the uphill climb it is to reach your retirement savings goal, you’ll get a better grasp of why you need to start saving now. Some day you will retire and realizing that fact of life now will help you better plan for it so you can enjoy your retirement when it’s time.
At what age did you begin to seriously begin investing in your retirement?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.