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.
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.
Being late on a credit card payment may inevitably happen to all of us. There are many circumstances which can cause us to miss a payment. Maybe your bill or your payment was lost in the mail. Maybe you didn’t have enough to pay the bill. Or maybe you just forgot.
If this happens to you, don’t despair, there are 6 things you need to do if you miss a credit card payment.
Missing a credit card payment isn’t the end of the world. So the first thing to do is to relax and don’t panic. While there are several consequences to a missed or late payment, you can and will overcome their impact.
If you always make your payments on time and this missed payment is a very rare event, you may be able to avoid paying a late fee. Typically, when you are late, you are charged a fee of $15 (or even $35). But if you are a good customer, one phone call to customer service could get that late fee wiped out. Remember, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
If you’re late on a payment, you will be hit with a late fee. But if you’re past due more than a month, you’ll be hit with an additional fee. Not only that, but when you are late for more than 30 days you will be reported to the credit bureaus. This late payment will stay on your credit report for the next seven years. If you’re late for 60 days then your interest rate will go up too.
Some people see a problem, and rather than dealing with it, choose to ignore it. Well folks, that missed payment isn’t going away. Do not compound your error by just forgetting about it – because the credit card company surely won’t forget. Be sure to make the payment as soon as you can – the earlier the better.
The impact of a late credit card payment is rather minimal. First of all, if you pay within 30 days it won’t be reported to the credit bureaus at all. But if you are more than 1-2 months late, do not despair because you can overcome this. While your score will take an immediate hit, within a few months the impact will lessen, assuming you make your future payments in a timely manner.
Missing a payment can happen to the best of us. But when you make a mistake, you need to figure out why it happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. If you forgot to pay or your payment was lost in the mail, set up automatic payments so they’ll be debited from your bank account on time every time.
When you started your small freelancing side hustle it was a necessity to work from home. It was cost-effective. After all, you’re already living there and paying rent or a mortgage. So, you simply designate a space for work and you’re all set. Simple, right?
But what if your freelance business is beginning to take off? What if you’re no longer some small fry trying to make it big? What if renting an office is within your budget? Should you spring a few hundred dollars per month to lease office space?
While the decision is a personal one that’s entirely up to you, I’m going to tell you 5 reasons why having an office space can benefit you.
The number one reason to get an office outside of your house is to improve your productivity.
This point alone can justify the added expense.
Getting out of the house can help you avoid all those distractions so you can concentrate on what matters and get more work done.
First impressions mean a lot. If your job requires you to meet clients in person, you need to have a real office. If your side gig is a website designer, marketing agency or consultant of some kind, you might need to schedule an appointment every now and then.
Having an office space gives you the businesslike impression you need to make a positive impression. If you meet a client at a coffee shop, at their own home or business, or at your home, it doesn’t give the appearance of a professional person who they can trust with their money.
What you need is the added credibility of physical office space, which may lead to you attracting more clients.
When you run a small business your address will be splashed everywhere. Much like your email should be from your domain name rather than gmail or yahoo, your address should also be professional.
You really don’t want to publish your home address anywhere publicly. That’s where getting an office comes into play.
An office space gives you a real address, which is much better than a PO Box. Would you trust a website with no address or a PO Box? But seeing an address with a suite number lets you know you’re dealing with a person who takes their business seriously.
Some office spaces are fully equipped to handle your growing freelance business. Some have large shared conference rooms with video teleconferencing capabilities. You simply need to schedule to have the room to yourself ahead of time. If you think having office space leaves a good impression, imagine how having a conference room makes a client feel.
There’s another added benefit to renting out office space. You may also benefit from a super fast internet connection that you can’t get at home.
Ever heard of that old adage: you have to spend money to make money? You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on your dream office. All you’re looking for is a small room so you can get work done. Plus, that money paid plus any other office-related expenses are fully tax deductible.
By dishing out a few hundred dollars per month, you’ll force yourself to work hard. You’ll realize you’re spending money so you will definitely want to take advantage of the time you spend there. Being in an office with a desk, a computer, a filing cabinet and no distractions can really do a lot to put you in the right frame of mind.
Then, when you head home, you can concentrate on your family life and leave work behind as much as possible.
Do you have an office, a home office, or neither? How would you rate your level of productivity? Let me know in the comments section below.
What once was a privilege that had to be paid for, many credit card companies are now issuing rewards cards with no annual fees. However, points are becoming harder to use and the rewards are getting smaller.
Here are 5 tips for maximizing your rewards points.
I know, I know, using your credit card for everyday expenses is a risky proposition. But if you only buy what you truly need (and is within your budget) and you pay the entire balance off each month, then you can really rack up the points.
While you can’t pay your mortgage on your credit card, cable companies, utility companies and even cell phone providers all allow customers to use credit cards to pay their bills. Using your card to pay a bill that you’d otherwise pay from your bank account is a great way to earn points on a regular purchase.
Periodically credit card companies will offer bonus points from select stores or on specific types of purchases such as gas or groceries. Taking advantage of these double or even triple point offers will help you rack up points much faster.
The Chase Freedom card, for example, offers 5 points per dollar on different categories every summer. Some months it’s Starbucks and gas, others it’s restaurants and Amazon.com.
Note that some companies require you to opt-in for these double or triple point offers, so check your email for these alerts.
Some credit card companies are now voiding points for late payments. In order to keep your points and your credit score in the green, you need to make sure you pay your bill on time – every time.
Set up automatic billing so your balance is paid off each month from your bank account. If you can’t afford to pay off the balance each month, set up a recurring payment each month so you will never have a late or missed payment.
Whether you are booking your hotel or getting your airline tickets with your points or with a credit card, it’s important to get a good deal.
If you plan to travel during the summer or the holidays, it’s going to cost you. This translates into a greater number of points required to redeem the reward. To get the most miles from your points, plan to travel during the least popular times.
Many credit card companies offer customers the opportunity to trade their points for tablets, video game consoles, digital cameras and other products. You can also cash in those points for a check in the mail or a PayPal payment.
In nearly every instance, it’s a better deal to swap points for gift cards instead. You can then use an Amazon gift card, for example, to buy these products yourself.
Many people use credit card rewards each year to get gift cards for the holidays to either help stretch their budget or to give as gifts.
But not all gift cards cost the same. You might get a $50 gift card from one store for less points than another, so browse through the different cards to find the best offer.
In a difficult economy, asking your boss for a raise isn’t out of the question. In fact, if you are a good employee that helps keep the business afloat, your boss may agree to a raise just to keep you.
But in order to be successful when you ask for a raise you need to be properly prepared to say the right things. Here are the 8 things you need to do in order to get a raise at work.
If a quarterly report has just come in that shows the business is struggling, you should not ask for a raise. If, however, the financial numbers are looking good, take that opportunity to set up a meeting with your boss. After all, you were a part of that success.
You should not go up to your boss and begin talking to them about a raise in the hallway or during lunch. You need to have their undivided attention. The only way to get this is to set a specific date and time with them. This way, they are prepared to hear what you have to say and you won’t catch them off guard.
If you yourself don’t believe you’re getting a raise, then nobody else will believe it either. So fire your ego up enough so you know that you truly do deserve a raise. This is not the time to be modest and shy.
Before discussing a raise with your employer, practice your approach with a friend. They will be able to critique you and tell you how to perfect your presentation. It will also allow you to practice what you’re going to say so you can better familiarize yourself with your sales pitch.
Your boss is not going to give you more money just because you need it. It doesn’t matter to your boss that your significant other has lost their job or if your rent has gone up. Your employer will only give you a raise if it’s in their best interest.
Do some research online as to the average amount someone in your position is paid. If you notice you are being underpaid, be sure to mention this. Be sure to have various sources in case your boss wants to correct you. If you have a lot of experience and other special skills and do other tasks at the office, then this will also bode well for your worth.
So come forth with a persuasive argument. Explain to them that you are underpaid when compared to others who hold the same position at other companies. Explain to them how long you have been working there and that you are due for a raise. Tell them about the extra duties you perform at work or extra education and training you have acquired.
After you complete your presentation, ask for a specific amount of a raise. If you don’t mention any amount your boss is more likely to shut you down. Make sure to ask for a bit more than what you think you can get. This way, when your boss is shutting you down, you can ask for a smaller raise and get it. Getting any amount of an increase in your paycheck is better than nothing. It’s a common negotiating tactic to shoot for the moon and land among the stars.
Having a budget is a must-have for anyone looking to take control of their financial situation at home. But sticking to your budget is much easier said than one. But with steady practice, staying on track with your budget can get easier over time.
Here are 5 ways you can keep your expenses down so you can stay on track with your budget.
To create a smart budget you need to know where your money is coming from and where it’s going. Without this, you have no chance of making your budget work.
So step 1 is to find out how much everyone in the family makes. This includes summer jobs and side hustle gigs in addition to your main sources of income. Don’t forget to include year-end work bonuses and tax refunds.
If the money varies month to month, get the last 3 months and average the total income out.
Knowing how much you’re making each month will put your financial situation in focus. Because at the end of this, if you realize you’re bringing in less than what you spend – something’s gotta give.!!
While reducing your expenses to make your budget work is a great idea, do not ignore the option of increasing your income! Doing this will allow you to maintain your quality of life. Look at my resources page for help with increasing your income from home.
Now that you know how much money is coming in, it’s time to figure out what’s going out. We need to create an expense report for your family to figure out what’s happening to all this money you’re earning.
You can use a spreadsheet to note your expenses, but a pen and paper will work too.
If you use a credit or debit card for all of your expenses, you’re in luck! Usually, there’s a year-end summary available in your account statements section. If you have several cards, you’ll need to add these figures up.
After you get the total, you’ll need to remember what other purchases you routinely make with cash. This could have been buying a used car with cash, or paying for $50 in gas every two weeks, etc.
Once you have your expense report finalized, it’s time to overestimate your expenses – because sh.. happens! That’s life.
Don’t you just hate when you make a budget and say your gas is $30, electricity is $50 and water bill is $80 and one bad month explodes your budget? Rather than trying to guess the exact amount each of your bills, overestimate them.
This way, if you have a good month, that means you have more money to spend on fun expenses. If you have a month where you use a lot of energy, then you’ll be right where you thought you’d be all along.
Rather than writing down your budget on a piece of paper or using a spreadsheet, use an app to help save time.
Here are the best budgeting apps:
Best of all, some of these apps allow you to invite family members so you can share your budget with them so they can all keep track of their expenses right from their smartphone.
The 50/30/20 rule is a simple smart budget anyone can follow. Here’s how it works:
Another popular budget is the 80/20 budget. In this one:
No matter what budget type you pick, remember these three main categories: obligations, goals and splurges. Your budget needs to account for all 3 of these.
Don’t forget to fund your emergency savings account.
It NEEDS to be fully funded at all times, no exceptions. What happens if you happen to get into an emergency situation such as your car breaking down or an unexpected medical event? This is when your savings account will help get you through these times.
It may seem counterintuitive to put money into your savings while you still carry a debt like an auto loan or credit card debt. But having a healthy savings account is imperative to your financial wellbeing.
By not having enough in your savings account, you’re just setting yourself up to land yourself in debt all over again.
Add an entertainment expense.
Life isn’t all about saving every penny you have. What’s the point of being the richest person in the cemetery? Life should be fun, so even though this article is to help you create a solid budget, don’t forget to have some fun too.
It sounds strange to put aside money for entertainment since having fun should be spontaneous. But you should allot a reasonable amount for entertainment each month. By being too strict on your budget you will only go nuts and go on a mad spending spree. By actually factoring in some fun each month, you are more likely to not get frustrated and stick to your budget.
Download this free budget printable to help you plan your expenses for 2020 and beyond. Using a simple budget printable can really help you see where your money should be headed in 2020.
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.
You can use your credit card to buy just about anything. You can pay your bills with it, buy food and clothing with it. Almost everything. Almost.
Here are 5 things you can’t pay for with your credit card.
Every time you use your credit card, the business you’re paying doesn’t get the full amount. The credit card companies charge about 2% to process the transaction. So you could see why the banks don’t want you using your credit card. On a $2,000 mortgage payment that’s $40 they’re missing out on – every month.
It would be great to be able to pay your mortgage with a credit card though. Just imagine all reward points you can rack up.
While pot may be legal in some US states, you can’t pay for it with a credit card. Under federal law, marijuana use is illegal and credit card companies do not want to violate the law. Since credit card companies operate nationwide, they surely do not want to incur the wrath of the federal government.
Update: Recently, however, Visa and Mastercard have taken the bold step to allow marijuana transactions only in states where it is legal. They made this change after the federal government announced it will not challenge the states who’ve made it legal.
Visa has stated they will allow the banks to decide on their own whether they will allow this type of transaction to take place. If you use Discover or AMEX, at the moment you’re out of luck.
You’re going to have a hard time putting porn on your plastic.
Stolen credit cards are often used to purchase adult memberships. The odds of tracing a purchase where no physical goods are shipped aren’t that high, especially if the thief hides their IP address.
Adult transactions also result in higher chargeback ratios than other industries.
Then there’s the risk that some content borders on being illegal, such as those “barely legal” sites.
For these reasons you may have a difficult time charging adult material on your credit card. It’s hit or miss. One card may be denied while another one won’t. One card may be denied one day and not the next.
Visa, MasterCard and Discover allow it, but American Express wants nothing to do with it as they ban it altogether.
Ever wonder why you may have trouble buying lottery tickets with your credit card? The reason is because the lottery is considered a form of gambling, which is against the law.
There’s a thin line between what is and isn’t gambling, so credit card companies want to be extra careful. American Express and Discover stay away from allowing their cards to be used to purchase lottery tickets.
You’ll have better luck with Visa and Mastercard, but it varies by state. Some states don’t want a credit card company eating up 2% of every transaction, while other states welcome the added revenue. Your best bet is to use a Visa or Mastercard debit card, rather than a credit card.
Gambling is a legal gray area. Some forms of gambling are legal while others are not. The policies of each credit card (and bank who issues the card) vary. Some will allow you to gamble at brick and mortar casinos, but not online. Others ban all gaming outright.
If you’re a first time home buyer, especially one who has waited years to buy a home, you may have a day dream about the perfect house. Maybe you picture a cute bungalow with a nice garden in the backyard with room for the kids to play. Perhaps you imagine a flower-lined walkway and a picket fence.
While daydreams are nice, and you may actually find a home just like you imagine, you also should remember that as a first home buyer, you face a steep learning curve. If you’re not careful and don’t do your research, you could make a major mistake.
Here are some pitfalls to avoid:
Even in this environment, banks may be more lenient and say that you qualify for more than you can comfortably afford. The best way to decide how much you can truly afford is to set aside money now for your mortgage payment before you buy a home.
For instance, if your current rent is $1,000, but you want a home that will cost you $1,700 a month in mortgage payments, start setting aside the difference of $700 a month now. Do this for 6 to 12 months to see if you can truly afford the loan amount you would like.
Unfortunately, your monthly home loan payment is only one expense associated with homeownership that you’ll have to pay. There are many more expenses. You’ll also need money for property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, repairs, and routine maintenance.
If you didn’t have 20% down to pay, you likely will also have to pay private mortgage insurance. Don’t be surprised if these expenses add as much as $500 to $2,000 additional monthly to your budget.
You may have your daydream about your perfect house, but recognizing that no house will meet all your needs is important. Be flexible when choosing a property and remember to offset the price with what you’re getting. Often low cost, cosmetic fixes may be all you need to make a property you weren’t enthusiastic about homier. Compromising on your wants can help you afford a home in your price range.
Having said that, remember what is truly important. If you work from home full-time, you’ll likely need a home office. Compromise on this important feature, and you may regret buying the property. If you have one child but plan to have another in the future, you’ll likely need a 3 bedroom rather than a 2 bedroom home.
Buying a home is an overwhelmingly complicated process. However, you don’t have to do it alone. A qualified mortgage broker can help you through the process as well as help you find the best mortgage for your situation. Mortgage brokers can save you time and energy. Best of all, they usually provide their services free to the consumer. There’s really no reason not to hire a mortgage broker.
Congratulations on taking the leap to homeownership. The process can be intimidating, but if you do a little research before you begin the buying process and follow this advice, you can make buying a home much easier.
It is the responsibility of every parent to teach their children about money. Making your kids understand the value of a dollar is the best way to prepare them for the responsibilities that lie ahead.
Your children’s financial education will change as they grow and age, with different lessons being taught at different points in their lives.
Below, you’ll find five ways to teach your kids about money.
When your child is very young, a simple work and reward system will teach them how to earn money. Give them simple tasks, such as chores around the house and reward them with coins for their piggy banks. Very young children can do a variety of tasks, such as putting their toys away, folding towels, or helping dust furniture. The chores should be age-appropriate as should be the reward.
While a nickel per task is plenty for a toddler picking up their toys, teenagers will require a heftier payment for more involved work, such as washing the car.
Once your kids have mastered earning money, it’s time to teach them about saving money. Take your kids to the bank and open a savings account, then take them back to the bank once a month to deposit their chore money.
If your kids have a habit of spending their money before they can save it, try having them deposit their money in a locking box, to which you hold the key.
You can also teach your kids about money while shopping at the store. Whenever they ask for a toy or special treat, have them think about how much it costs in terms of how many chores they would have to do to earn it. Try phrasing your response like, “That toy boat costs a lot of money. You would have to put away 25 toys to earn that.”
If your child still insists on getting the boat, tell them they need to earn the money before they can buy it and they will have an opportunity to do chores when you get home.
Often, your kids will find that they don’t want the toy as badly once they are out of the store. This doubles as a lesson about impulse buying and self restraint.
Use cash when you go shopping, so your kids can experience handling and counting actual money. Schools are slowly phasing out children how to count money and make change, so it’s up to you as a parent to make sure your kids understand basic concepts about finances.
Give them chances to count and handle money in real life situations so they can learn valuable financial skills.
When your kids are teenagers, talk to them about credit cards. You need to make sure to get to them before the credit card companies do. Make sure they understand that credit card purchases represent real money.
Teaching your teenagers about credit cards will help them make good choices as adults. You can further press the lesson by creating an invoice of items they ask you to buy and presenting them with the invoice at the end of the week or month to be paid for with their allowance money.
This way, they will gain experience and understanding, without the potentially devastating credit implications of learning with a real credit card.
The 9-to-5 crowd thinks it’s a dream come true to work from home. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Sure, working at home has its advantages. You have the freedom to wake up whenever you want, dress however you want and set your own work hours. Yet on the other hand, distractions are plentiful when you work at home and it takes real discipline to actually get things done.
When you work from home there’s no boss to stop you from checking your Facebook every 5 minutes. There’s nobody to yell at you for watching daytime television for hours on end. There’s no one to get on your case for having a 2 hour lunch break.
This freedom may sound nice, but when you own your own business it’s a recipe for disaster. Work-at-home freelancers aren’t paid by the hour, they’re paid on commission.
Everyone shares the same 24 hours a day, however it seems that some of us are able to accomplish so much more than others. It’s all about time management, removing distractions and being more efficient with our time.
If you’re finding it difficult to focus at home, follow these 5 tips to maximize your work-at-home productivity.
If the living room is where you watch TV and also where you work, then it’s hard to actually work when you’re in that space. Every worker needs his or her own place under the sun. Those who say they can work anywhere are telling a lie. Because even if they can indeed work, their productivity level is sure to go down.
When working at home, investing in a comfortable home office is highly recommended. Treat this room as a real office. That means no television, doors closed and yes that means no unauthorized people allowed.
There really isn’t a structure when you work from home. This type of flexibility is dangerous to those who lack discipline. Creating a schedule, or a set of goals for the day, helps provide the structure you need to be productive.
Create a to-do list every day and set out to accomplish each item on the list. Then check each item off your task list as you go along. The pleasure of completing a task will only help motivate you to complete the next item too.
Clutter will cost you a lot of time. It’s also not good for your mind. Having a messy office doesn’t lend to being disciplined and productive. When you have a neat office space it exudes professionalism and will make you want to stay at the top of your game when you sit down to work.
Organization isn’t just putting the pens in the correct drawer, it applies to your hard drive as well. Organize your work, create folders and sub-folders. Rename items so you can find them again easily. Don’t just save everything on the desktop as Untitled 1, Untitled 2, etc.
Remove anything that can distract you in your home office. If there are things that can veer your attention away from your daily goals then do away with them.
Often times distractions happen right on the very computers we’re using to work. Whether it be a Skype call coming through or a Facebook message or new email, it’s important to stay focused on work. So log out of your personal accounts so you won’t be bombarded with any distractions while you’re “at work”.
One way to do this is to have two accounts on your computer. One for your personal use and one for business use. The business user account only has work related programs while your personal user account can have Spotify, Angry Birds, Gmail and iTunes.
It’s difficult to work all day and night. The more hours you work (or try to) the less productive you will be. True productivity occurs when the mind and body are able to perform at their best.
Set two 15 minute break times and one lunch hour every day. Use your 15-minute breaks to enjoy a cup of coffee or go out to walk your dog. Lunch hours may be spent with your family. Never eat in the office or stay inside for 8+ hours straight. Doing so is not healthy nor will it lead to improved productivity.
If you work from home, how do you manage to stay productive? If you have any tips to share, let us know in the comments section below.
If you’ve always had access to a car, ditching your wheels may seem like a scary endeavor. But if you’re lucky enough to live in a city or an area with good public transportation, it’s entirely possibly to get rid of your car and still get by quite comfortably.
Living the car-free life will save you money on gas, repair bills, car payments and car insurance. If the savings sound appealing, read the following 5 tips for living without a vehicle.
A bike will be your new wheels and best of all, it doesn’t run on costly fuel. Besides letting you easily navigate city areas, riding a bike is environmentally friendly and it keeps you in shape.
This GMC Denali bike from Amazon has 600+ reviews, is about $200 with free shipping. You can also find great deals on used bikes at garage sales or on classified sites like Craigslist.
You’ll also want to purchase a bike lock to prevent your new set of wheels from being stolen. The Kryptonite Kryptolok is Amazon’s best seller.
To live a car-free life you’ll want to learn how to navigate public transportation. Familiarize yourself with the routes of the busses, trains and subway systems in your city. Odds are they’re going where you’re going and for a small fee they’ll do all the hard work for you.
Google Maps on your smartphone is your friend who can help you choose the best route to and from work. You can even adjust your route by choosing options with fewer stops or less walking.
Have a solid plan in place for your weekday commute so you never have to wait too long or get stranded. While these services (almost) always run like clockwork, it’s good to have a backup plan in place. Google Maps again will help you find alternate routes if there’s ever any service disruptions.
While you’re at it, look for a discount card. Frequent riders can buy multiple rides at once in most cities to get a discounted rate. Reusing a reloadable card can provide even more savings.
Without your car, it will probably take much longer to go where you need to go. If you’re walking, riding a bike or taking public transportation, odds are that you won’t be able to get anywhere in 5 minutes anymore.
Instead of being chronically late, plan your commutes ahead of time and leave a buffer in case the public transportation system is delayed or if you run into problems along your way.
When you had a car, the weather wasn’t much of a concern. However, when you’re relying on public transportation, a bike or your own two legs, knowing the weather can make a huge difference.
Since you’ll be exposed to the elements, check the daily forecast and plan ahead to see if you need to bring a raincoat, umbrella or a pair of boots with you.
In today’s society, it’s almost impossible to avoid riding a vehicle altogether. You may work in an area where transportation service is spotty or you may just work too far away.
An alternative to not owning a vehicle is to carpool with a co-worker. Agree on a monthly payment plan and both of you will be happy.
Your co-worker will get to work sooner since they can ride the carpool lane, they’ll get some money to offset the cost of gas and some company for their commute.
You will benefit the most though. No more insurance premiums, no more vehicle maintenance fees, no more trips to the gas station, no more car washes, no more vehicle registration fees. You even get a driver and you’ll help the environment.
Why put off till tomorrow what you can do today? It seems like a pretty easy question to answer, yet many people find themselves putting off tasks for days and weeks on end. Procrastination is an issue that a lot of people have to deal with, and while it can be somewhat glossed over in trivial details, it is something that can hurt you at work.
Leaving large projects to the last minute often means that the work delivered is not as good as it should be. Deliver that sort of work on a regular basis and the next thing you may be procrastinating about is searching for a new job.
Here are 5 ways to break free from procrastination and become more productive:
Why do you procrastinate? Ask people who have made a habit of doing it and you will get a number of different answers. For some, it all comes down to self-doubt, while others will claim to be perfectionists who need everything to be just right before they begin. Once you are able to answer the question about why you procrastinate, you will then be able to take the steps to stop behaving that way.
For most of us, actually getting started proves to be the toughest part of any project. How many times have you dreaded the thought of doing something, only to find out that is wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be once you get started? The more you think about the actual start of the project, the more ominous it seems. Decide that you are going to start today, set a timer for 10 minutes, and as soon as that alarm goes off, jump right into your work. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you start rolling once you get started.
Take a moment to think about a project that you recently completed, and then think about how good it felt once you completed it. We all spend time focusing on the negative aspects of the work that needs to be done, which is why it becomes easier to put it off till tomorrow. Instead of thinking negatively, always envision how good you will feel when the project is done. Trust us, you will want to speed towards that good vibe.
Even if you are committed to a large project, there are going to be times when you feel bogged down or uninspired. This can lead to a stall in productivity that can begin to stretch into hours and then days. Before everything starts to stagnate, think about ways you can make that task fun. Put on some music, or maybe take your laptop to the park or a coffee shop, or anywhere that isn’t your office. A little fun can lead to a lot of inspiration.
We all become inspired to do better when we are held to some level of accountability. Enlist the help of a friend or family member when a project needs to be done. Tell then when you are going to begin, and when you plan on finishing. Have them check in on your progress at regular intervals. Trust us, the shame you will feel at not being where you said you would be at a given time can act as a great motivator.
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!
Millionaires and billionaires have something other than being uber rich in common. They also have similar morning routines.
Have you ever wondered why some people are so successful and you’re not? Is it just random luck, are they smarter than you or do they have more money to invest than you? While perhaps some of this is true, we should also look at other reasons why people are so successful.
I think one of the reasons why some find success is a positive mindset. I know it takes a lot more than just the right attitude, but it’s a great start.
Speaking of starts, I always wondered what successful people do first thing in the morning. I mean, do they work late and thus wake up late? Do they sleep less to work more? Do they eat breakfast or skip it?
There’s a lot of life choices we can make in the early morning hours that can shape our entire day. It’s possible that if we make these changes we too can find that success that so eludes us.
Just what does the right morning routine have? Well, in the morning, your routine should maximize your energy for the day, help improve your productivity later and should give your mind a boost of creativity all day long.
So just what do the most successful people do to start their day? That’s the topic I’m going to dive into today. Here now are the carefully crafted morning routines of millionaires.
Steve Jobs was a minimalist who chose not to spend (or waste) time on meaningless things. His minimalism was evident not just in his Apple product designs, but in the way he ran his business down to even the clothes he wore.
In the mornings, he would ask himself “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And if he answered “No” too frequently, he knew there needed to be a change in his life.
The CEO of the wildly successful investment firm Berkshire Hathaway has a daily routine that anyone would envy. He is an avid reader and advocates reading 500 pages per day.
He lives very modestly and doesn’t waste time on social media. It seems like he tries to take advantage of his time by improving himself, which is a common theme of millionaires (and billionaires).
What does the founder of the Virgin Group do every morning? This one is interesting. Richard leaves the curtains open at night, so that when he sun comes up, it hits him right in the eyes. He rises at 5:45 AM with the bright light because, according to Richard, he loves “bouncing up early”.
His mornings also consist of swimming or kite surfing before eating a healthy breakfast.
The CEO of Twitter has a simple morning routine he sticks with. He gets up every morning at 5:30 AM to meditate. That’s right, he starts off his day with meditation. After he clears his mind, he goes for a run and runs several miles every morning.
If this sounds like a daunting task, to run for a few miles every morning, then maybe you don’t have what it takes to be successful. You have to be very practiced and very disciplined to pull off this morning routine.
What does the CEO of Yahoo! do every morning? Well, it starts with sleeping only 4 to 6 hours a night. That sounds a bit on the low side, but every person is different.
Marissa likes to maximize her productivity by utilizing the 130 possible working hours available to her in the week. It’s the passion that she has for her job that motivates her to stick to such a tough sleep schedule.
The founder and CEO of Amazon is worth a whopping 46.7 billion dollars. So what’s his morning routine? Well it starts with a good nights’ rest. He sleeps 8 hours a day. You see, sleep if very important to him, so important that he has a sleeping bag in his office for those late nights.
Meetings are inevitable in the business world, but he tries not to schedule any meetings in the mornings and schedules no meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Even though he’s busy running multiple companies, he still finds time to exercise once or twice daily.
As you might expect, Oprah Winfrey makes use of all her morning time. It starts with some meditation, followed by hitting the treadmill for a workout. Then she has a healthy meal afterwards.
Then it’s off to work early in the morning. But she doesn’t waste time once there. Oprah was known to record two shows in the morning. At that rate, she’d have the afternoon/evening’s off and some extra days during the week.
The founder of Facebook knows that at his job, he is faced with making many decisions. So his mornings are as simple as can be. He doesn’t have to make decisions because he adheres to a simple repetitive routine.
Mark rises every morning at 8 AM (that is unless he’s pulled off an all-nighter at the office). He is also known to wear the same t-shirt every day to avoid making any extra decisions.
The ex CEO of Microsoft is one of the richest men in the world, with a net worth of around 79 billion dollars.
His mornings start with a one hour workout on the treadmill. While on the treadmill he doesn’t listen to music or watch the news. Instead, he takes advantage of this time to educate himself. He watches educational videos from The Great Courses to learn something new every day.
If you are super-talented at making your own clothes, ornaments or fabrics then there is a market out there for your goods. People are always looking to support products that have that a personal touch and are made in America, but it can sometimes be difficult to know where to find your potential buyers.
Here are the 5 very best places to sell your homemade goods.
Many local stores will sell craft items on your behalf for a share of the sale price. Make sure that your designs and products fit the feel of the store and fit in with what their customers might be looking for. It is another way to have the local market discover you and buy in to what you do and make.
Craft fairs are a great place to find local people that are interested in your designs. For a small fee you can have a stall at a local craft fair and show off your creations. It is a great way to get started and test the water to see if your designs hit the right notes. But you don’t have to stop here, you should sell your goods online as well.
Etsy is the established leader to get your crafty creations seen by the entire world. It is fast becoming a household name and this is where budding creators go to get seen and gain sales.
eBay is the world’s online marketplace for all types of goods and your craft creations are no exception because they can be found by buyers from all corners of the globe. Make sure that you set the shipping to worldwide so your designs will be available to all the market you want to hit. This is a great way to get your designs moving across the globe.
Shopify is an online marketplace that allows you to set up your own store for a monthly fee. Think of it as getting a pitch on a market – but this market is truly global! You may need to do a little research to make sure that you understand how to sell on Shopfiy but as soon as you are in the know you can get your products in the eye line of shoppers from all over the planet. This will allow you to get your sales off the ground.
Amazon is now getting in on the handmade goods game. You can showcase your handcrafted products on the nation’s biggest online retailer. Since everyone has an Amazon account, it’s a great place to list your items and be noticed.
Bonanza is popular amongst sellers because their fees are more reasonable than the big boys listed above. You can list your items on Bonanza for free. When they sell, they let you keep 97% of the money.
The new self-employed life is not found in startups and small businesses, it’s in remote working on the internet with a laptop or even just a smartphone. While none of the ideas below will make you rich overnight, a few hours a week on any one of them can supplement your income nicely and at least pay for all those grande lattes.
Are you a reasonably good writer? Can you do video testimonials? Are you good with photoshop? Are you creative with a digital camera? Your skills are in high demand and immediately marketable.
Popular online agencies like Fiverr.com and Peopleperhour.com allow you to market and sell your skills to people and businesses from all around the world. Starting off as low as $5, you can easily make $200 a month while parked on your favorite Starbucks sofa.
If you have a blog, you can use this platform to offer ad placements to companies. You can not only make money by selling a banner ad, but you can offer text link ads as well.
But even if you don’t own a blog yet, you can still sell sell ad space. If you’re influential on social media, you can sell a tweet or an Instagram post. Another method is reviewing products on your Youtube channel for a fee.
We currently live in an age of crowdsourced consumer information and advice. As there are so many products readily available from such an enormous variety of businesses, we want to know what people’s experiences personal experiences are in order to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Those companies with the most and best reviews rank higher on Google and receive more customers. They can be willing to pay handsomely for those reviews too.
Another more geeky version of this is testing websites. A skinny cappuccino and a twenty minute session should put $10 in your account at usertesting.com.
Granted, this needs more than just a brief stay in a coffee shop, but if you’re a creative person and have a flare for making things then you can sell them on sites like Etsy.com. Hand knitted teddy bears, cutting boards, personalized jewelry, fun photo frames, wedding gifts or even wacky pencil toppers all have a market online.
If you have a quirky sense of humor you can design and print your own custom t-shirt slogans. In fact you can do this from your coffeeshop haunt: Simply design your logos, outsource the printing, and market them online on cafepress.com. You will run a profitable, fun business while saving money on materials and equipment.
To top off this list, here’s another easy way to make money online. By spending just 10-15 minutes of your time, you can make $50 a month. You can listen to fresh new music and review it and also review the latest fashion trends. Check out slicethepie.com to find out how.
So there you have it, five simple ways to supplement your income online. All you need is a laptop, the internet and your favorite caffeinated treat.
Taking into consideration the statistics and general number of specialists and the job offers in today’s market, it seems that the earlier you start the job search, the more chances on finding the perfect one you will have.
To convince the companies hiring in your local area that you are the best candidate for the job, there are some steps you can take. Here are 10 tips to help you in your job search.
While you are still a student you should pay attention to your grades, especially for the subjects that coincide with your major. Showing your knowledge and skills base, these are important both for school and employers.
Finding a job is all about advertising yourself, and no one can advertise something they don’t know well. Go to the career center at your school and make the most of their help – one-on-one career counseling and career assessments will help you know your interests and evaluate the skills you have.
The saying “look before you leap” works for job search and career development as well – before getting into the search you should know what it is all about. Refer to the labor market and research what the market is offering for people of your occupation and what are the predictions for the year you graduate. Knowledge is power after all.
Your college campus is a great tool for developing your leadership skills and improving your teamwork. Get involved around school with various groups and see what opportunities for employment they have. You can get some job offers through specialized student organizations so be sure to look around.
Look for the ways to serve your city and state, and show everyone that you understand the greater world. Not only will opportunities come your way, but it’s something great you can add to a résume.
You don’t have to become a hacker, but ability to write a properly formatted business letter, make a powerpoint presentation or dominate a spreadsheet are skills you should be able to do.
Verbal and written communication skills are a must for any job applicant. But being a great communicator isn’t just being good at talking, it’s being a good listener as well.
Getting an internship (free or paid) will help you prepare for future jobs and help you connect with people in the field. Even if you’re not hired within the company, you will network and make important connections that may pay off in the future.
Studying abroad or simply learning more about other cultures will help you entering the diverse American workforce.
Remember, a job is a job and a paycheck is a paycheck. You’re still young and you have the time to work your way up the corporate ladder. If you know how to manage your money well, you’ll be doing just as good as your fellow classmates with higher paying jobs.