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7 Reasons Why You Should Track Your Budget

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I know we all probably know about budgeting. Even though you may have a budget, do you keep track of your spending? If not you should. I am going to tell you why today.

Let’s get started!

Reason #1: It builds discipline and organizational skills.

When you have and follow a budget, it teaches you these skills. It teaches you discipline with your spending. Also, keeping track of your spending helps you learn organizational skills. These two are key to maintaining your financial health. Keeping track of your spending gives you the data you need to keep your finances on track. With the organizational skills, you’ll be able to keep this up to date. Think of it like balancing your checkbook.

Reason #2: Forces you to think about money.

This is one of the benefits of a budget. You see everywhere your money is going. Seeing where your money goes you can start cutting out unnecessary spending and start focusing more on generating wealth. The more you save the more you can invest.

Reason #3: Prevents crisis.

Checking your finances regularly you will be able to see trends. There are good trends and there are bad trends. The bad trends are the ones you want to stop as soon as you spot them. If you can spot them early, you will be able to prevent a financial crisis before it begins.

Reason #4: It’s a tool for family discussion.

Talking about money can be difficult. A way to make it easier is to get your family involved in budgeting. You can have everyone involved in expense tracking. This makes it to where everyone can talk about money and where it’s going. Laying out the facts about money matters is a great thing.

Reason #5: It’s a perfect way to measure your progress.

The main goal of a budget is to reduce your spending. If you don’t keep track of your spending, it makes this task almost impossible. Tracking your budget is a requirement if you are trying to become more efficient at saving money. 

Reason #6: Knowledge is power.

If you are budgeting correctly, you will be able to see how much money you will need on a monthly basis. This enables you to be able to plan for an emergency fund. Once you feel you have enough money there, you can start planning for investing or creating a retirement fund. 

Reason #7: Stress Relief.

Knowing you’re in a good financial spot is stress relief. You don’t have to worry about being able to pay your bills. You know you have savings if something bad happens. You can be preparing for retirement or even your kid’s first car. As you can see budgeting can save you a bunch of worries.

There you go. My top reasons why you should track a budget. I hope this helps out and saves you money. It should save you some gray hair also. ‘Till next time!

Thinking About Investing in Stocks? Start Here!

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Are you looking for an investing for dummies guide? Then you are in the right place. If you are financially stable and are spending less than you make, you are in a good place to start investing in stocks. 

How do you get started? That is what we are going to talk about today. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Cover Your Bases

If you are considering investing you need to make sure you have your financial ducks in a row.

The first thing is you need to make sure all your bills are up to date. If you are behind on anything you shouldn’t be thinking about this. Your main focus should be catching up.

The second thing is you should have an emergency fund already set up. This fund should be enough for you to be able to pay all your bills and feed you for a month in case you somehow get unemployed. Your goal is to have more than that, but as long as you have the minimum amount you are good to go.

The last thing you need is to not have any debts that have high-interest rates. An ideal number for this would be anything above 7%. This includes credit cards and personal loans.

If you have check marks in those categories, you are good to start investing.

Step 2: Figure Out Why You are Wanting To

I know this may seem like no brainer. The first thing you need to ask yourself is,  “Why do you want to invest?” What’s your goal? Where do you hope to go with this?

The most common answer is “to make more money”. You need to ask yourself “Why do you want to make more money? What are you going to do with that money?” You need to be as honest and specific as possible.

You need to do this to define your goal. This goal will help you figure out a timeline for your investing. This will also help you figure out the amount of money you can risk. 

One example of this would be the longer the timeline of your investment, the more short-term volatility you can accept. This means that you can deal with the market fluctuating up and down often. The longer the time frame the more money you will make. The stock market is always statistically higher over a 10 year period. This means you will yield a return. 

Another example is this. The more time you have between meeting your goal and when you are wanting the cash in hand, the less important liquidity is. This means that you can wait longer to get your cash. Unlike real-estate which, stocks are pretty easy to sell. This means that when you meet your goal, it is easy to get your money.

When you define your “why”, you need to figure out the time frame that you will need the money. This also includes how fast you will need the money when you reach your goal. The last thing you need to do is to make sure you are ok with losing money on a short term basis. Remember, it’s all about the average return.

Step 3: Decide Where and What You Want to Invest In

Now that you have your goals set is time to figure out where to start your investing at. There are a few websites out there. Ameritrade is a good one. Once you find one you like it’s time for the next step.

Most of these places have a minimum deposit. Ameritrade is a $500 minimum. You should have a certain amount already saved up for this. Deposit your money and now you can start buying. 

I would suggest doing some research before you start buying random stocks all over the place. Remember there are trends and certain stocks are better to buy at certain times. Keep in mind you want to keep your portfolio diversified. You’ll want to mix it up and add bonds, mutual funds, and some ETFs. It does nothing but add value. Your stocks may drop in value, but your other investments can increase in value at the same time!

Time goes by, and you have reached your goal for your timeline. It’s pretty simple. You sell what you want. The money goes back to your account. Then you transfer it back to your checking account. It’s pretty easy as you can see.

#4 Check On Tax-Advantages.

This is a huge thing. You can actually save money on your taxes by investing. This is mostly done through a 401k plan. Most businesses offer 401k retirement plans. If not you can find a brokerage firm and set one up. How does this work?

Let’s say you make $50,000 a year. You decide to invest 20% of your paycheck into this retirement fund. The amount of money you pay into the fund isn’t taxed. You end up paying $10,000 into the 401k fund, you are only getting taxed on $40,000. That’s not a bad deal. 

If you are getting a 401k plan through your workplace, check and see if they have a match program. These are amazing. After a certain amount of money is invested, your company will end up matching what you put in. So if you are investing $1,000 a month, they will match that investment. You can’t really turn down free money, can you?

This also relates to Roth IRAs. The money accumulates in that account. If you invest $100,000, you may get $80,000 in returns. The beauty of this is when you retire and pull the money out, you are not taxed on any of that income.

Do some research about these investments. This can save you money through taxes as well as you are earning money on top of your investments. Not a bad thing to look into if you are playing the long investing game.

There you go. It’s easy to get started investing. Make sure you have enough money to get started. Make sure your bills are caught up. The largest thing to understand is the risk. If you can do all of these things, you will go far. I hope this helps you out. ‘Till next time!

5 Mental Money Traps to Avoid

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Today, we are going to talk about mental money traps. What is a mental money trap? We are going to talk about these today.

Let’s get started.

#1: Outsmarting the Anchor-Price Comparison Trap

Have you ever bought a used car? Did it have a relatively high price? The purpose of this high price is so that you will remember it. At this point, you will decide whether it’s a good deal or not. The habit of using the first price you see as the basis of your spending is called an anchor price trap. It’s a mental wiring issue we create for ourselves. You can beat it though. This is how to do so.

Beware this trap exists.

The first step to overcome this is to be aware that it exists. We create price points for everything mentally. Knowing how our minds work, makes it easier to be prepared for this. The next time you are tempted to compare prices based on these anchors, you will be ready.

Hesitate before snatching up a “Good Deal”.

I am sure you have fallen for this trap once or twice in your life. If you have, you may have felt buyers remorse. Save yourself some time, money, and guilt. Think about these “good deals”. Giving yourself time to reflect on major purchases.

A good example of this would be buying a home. Before you jump on a $400,000 home, make sure the price is worth it. Maybe 5 miles down the road there may be one as nice and large down the road for $200,000. So before you make that purchase, think, and do some research.

Is it still worth it after you filter out the anchor price?

All too often you will see something advertised for a discount.  Your mentality is that it’s a bargain. It may seem like a deal, but is it really? Filter out the regular price. Then look at the item and ask yourself if it still is a good deal. This will help you more realistically evaluate the value. 

#2: Comparing Dollars to Doughnuts

Dollars to doughnuts was a phrase created to say something is a safe bet. Dollars have value. Doughnuts have none.

Imagine buying a pair of shoes. They normally cost $150 dollars. They are being advertised for 50% off. Would you go out of your way to buy this item? Let’s compare this to going to buy a bedroom suite at $2000. The price of the suite is dropped down to $1925. What would you think the better deal is?

You are saving $75 dollars either way.  Yet, the first is 50% and the second is under 4%. 50% is a better deal in most people’s eyes. That’s why saving smaller amounts on larger purchases sometimes doesn’t seem worth it. Saving money is saving money. That extra money could be invested regardless of the purchase.

A dollar is a dollar!

Saving a dollar is saving a dollar. Regardless of if it is at the grocery store or your mortgage. Keep this in mind. This is an effective view in all areas of your finances. A discount is a discount regardless. 

Picture your savings as cash in your pocket!

When you make a purchase at a lower price, sometimes you view it as a lower set price. Instead of viewing it that way, view it as you are saving money. Next time you make a purchase, take the difference of the full price and set it aside in a savings account.

#3 The Sunk Cost Mentality

Have you ever purchased something and thought about it being a waste of money? What about a vehicle you have that has constant problems yet you refuse to give up on it? This is referred to as “ The Sunk Cost Mentality”.

Why do we refuse to count our losses and move on? There are a couple of reasons for this. Most of us have a feeling of hate towards loss. The thought of losing money sometimes overpowers all thoughts and reasoning. The other reason is the more we invest in something the harder it is for us to understand it as a loss. Like the car for example. You invest your time and money into it. The problems though keep adding up. Instead of taking the money, you may spend on fixing it, you could use it as a downpayment on a new vehicle. But, since you may have a ton of money and time invested in it you are attached. I mean don’t get me wrong. You want to get any return on any investment. You need to figure out when your investment becomes a sinking boat.

There are a couple of ways to fight the sunk cost fallacy. The first is money spent in the past no longer matters when making financial decisions today. Imagine your car and what you paid for it. Now think about the value of it today? Now think about if someone gave you the car for free? Is it still worth it to put money into keeping it running?

The second one is to use the concept of stop-loss to cut emotion out of your decisions.  Most stockbrokers have a set price that they are supposed to sell at if the market takes a dive. This is their stop-loss threshold. This is to prevent losses with minimal management. You can do this with anything. Your car is a good example. You can set a limit on how much you plan to spend on repairs. Sometimes buying a newer car is cheaper in the long run.

#4 Mental Accounting

Have you ever received an unexpected amount of cash? This could be lottery winnings, tax returns, or an inheritance. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s easy to view it and treat it differently than your normal income. Instead of viewing it as how it can fit into your budget, you think instead of what you can buy. Financial Psychologists call this behavior mental accounting.

What this means is we attend to assign different values to different money sources. We base these values on how that money is earned. Money that is gifted we view as a different source of income mentally. It doesn’t seem like our money. It’s easier to spend gifted money compared to your paycheck. 

There is nothing wrong with spending a little bit of settlement or bonus. Having this extra money can also have you make poor decisions. Don’t spend this money on something such as a new car that you wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. This will add more expenses to your monthly budget. 

The other side of the coin is safeguarding this money too much. You may be afraid to use this money for normal budgeting purposes. You may also not invest it or have it sit in your savings account. Doing this you may miss out on making your money grow. You can’t make your money grow if it just sits.

The way to fix this mentality is to change the way you view your income. You need to view all sources of income (gifted or not) as “your money”. It doesn’t matter about the source, all sources are equal. Use all your money as it all comes from the same source. Don’t let this stop you from investing or saving for your retirement. 

#5 Falling for Bundles

Everyone loves a good deal. Bundle deals always seem the best. It can be your cable provider or a combo meal at your favorite restaurant also. Even though you may feel like you are getting a special deal, these can be money pits. You are inadvertently spending extra money on things you do not need or want.

Think about the last time you got cable. You need the internet. Your internet costs $60. They then tie in cable and a telephone to your bill as a bundle. You may get talked into it like it’s a good deal. They use the idea of you saving $50 for the bundle which now costs $100. Some people may actually use everything in a bundle. Some people don’t and this is where the issue lies. You may not need a home phone because you use your cellphone. How much TV do you actually watch? I don’t watch TV period because you can stream the channels you want through the internet or Roku. The cable company is getting an extra $40 dollars from you for something you may not use.

As you can see bundles can save you a little bit of money. The average savings is around 5%. Saving is saving though. This is where companies get you. Most of the time you are paying almost as much for each item that’s bundled. They get you because mentally you think you are saving money and that the value is there. The real value of the bundle system is convenience. 

We are more willing to pay for convenience. Like my cable analogy, it is easier to go ahead and pay for the convenience and get it all then. You may not use the actual cable till it’s football season. Yet it may be easier to go ahead and get it than waiting to get it hooked up at a later time. Same thing with the phone line. You may not need it at that time, but you may be opening a business at some point. No one wants to use their personal cell phone for these calls. It also may be cheaper than getting another line added to your plan. It would be easier to have than spending time at a cell store or waiting for them to come and hook up a landline. 

Next time you are considering a bundle, review each item separately. Ask yourself a couple of questions. Are you buying the bundle for convenience? Would you still buy each of the items individually? Remember you may be paying for full price for something you don’t need. You will save money in doing so. Because the bundle seems like a good deal, it doesn’t mean it is.

There you go. 5 money mental traps that we fall into and how to fight them. I hope this was helpful. Be prepared and mindful of these and you will save time and money. I hope this was helpful. ‘Till next time.



Make Money Trading Stocks As A Side Hustle

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Are you looking to make some extra money? Have you ever thought about trading stocks? It is a good way to supplement your income. You can also make a ton of money. Want to know how? 

Let’s get started!

How to Get Started

It really doesn’t take much to get started. The very first thing you need is a brokerage account. You need to make sure that you are allowed to trade is the most important part. Tradestation is a great one to use.

The trading part is pretty simple. In case you don’t understand, the object here is to buy stocks at a lower price and then you sell at a higher price. An example of this is buying a stock at $75 and selling it for $150. There may be some negotiations between the buyer and seller involved as well. 

How Much Money Do I Need to Start?

You don’t need a ton of money to get started. It also depends on the brokerage program you are using. They all vary.

Ameritrade’s minimum balance is $2000 with the margin. Tradestation you can start at $500. The genuine recommended amount to get started by investors is $2,000. The cool thing about Tradestation is it has a simulator. Once you invest your money you have instant access to it. They will hold your money like a bank until you are comfortable enough to start trading. 

Once you start trading the goal is to make 1% of your money back daily. If you start with $2,000, your goal would be to make $20 a day. The more money you have, the more that 1% will be.

Active Investing VS. Long-Term Investing

Active investing is making money in real-time with stocks. You will be reading charts and learning to buy and sell. You will see a stock rise in price and you will sell it to make money. That money immediately comes back to you. You can take that money out like an atm as soon as you get it.

Long-term investing is more for retirement. It’s a long game. Instead of viewing it as a checking account, think of it more as a savings account. You will not be touching this money until you retire. 

How Many Hours a Day Does it Take to Trade?

This depends on the experience. When you first start out it definitely will take more time. It’s because of the learning curve. You are learning what and when to buy. You are also learning when to sell. You could be spending 4 hours a day.

The way this is broken down is spending 2 hours when the market opens. This will give you an idea of what are the good buys of the day. You will spend 1 hour a day when the market is closing. You will spend one more hour at the end of the day checking your stocks, profit, and getting things set up for the next day.

Once you gain experience, your time will be cut down like crazy. You may only need to spend 30 minutes a day. You will understand the trends and how the market works.

How Long Does it Take to Start Making Money?

This is all dependent on you. There are plenty of courses and videos out there. It also depends on how comfortable you feel doing it. Time on a simulator can be crucial here. You wouldn’t go and play a game in a casino without trying it out for free first correct?

You could start in a day if you’d like. If you really understand it, start as soon as possible. Make sure you are comfortable enough and understand the risk. As long as you are fine with these two things, get started.

It’s not hard to learn. It really is just about time and patience. The more money you invest, the higher the gains you will earn. This isn’t something that will make you a millionaire overnight. It’s all about the small gains. Remember, your daily goal is 1%.

That’s all it takes. Remember, only start when you are ready. The object of the game is to make money, not to lose it. I hope this helps give you direction on how to get started. Now go learn and start making money. ‘Till next time!

How to Make Money Selling Printables on Etsy

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I assume you have heard of a website called ETSY.com. If not it’s a website where people sell arts and crafts. Another item that is profitable are printables. What are printables? They are pieces of artwork, drawings, and graphic design that you can download and print. The cool thing about this is you only have to create the image once and you can sell it as many times as you want. How do you do this?

Let’s get started!

How Much Can You Make?

The sky’s the limit here. It honestly depends on your niche. My mother focuses on seasonal items. She does it for fun. She has had $50 weeks. She also has $800 dollar weeks. I also have another friend who does fan art and chalkboard style work. He made around $6,000 for a month. He put in about 50 hours of work to make that money. It’s variable. It depends on how much work you do. It also depends on trends that are big sellers. Examples of things that sell are Calendars, Grocery Lists, Quotes for Wall Patterns, Gift Tags, and Printable Art. The cool thing here is once your printable is on Etsy, it’s there for good. It may not be quite your job money, but the fact it’s a recurring income means you don’t have to do anything but sit back. You can get $2,000 to $3,000 a month in passive income if you work hard.

Marketing

You don’t need a following to make money. You market your product and page. Ways to do this are using keywords and do some SEO work. Another way of doing this is doing Facebook and Instagram Ads. Set up a campaign and target a certain audience. This is a great way to get people to your Facebook or Instagram Page. You can also do email marketing with this. This is a whole other topic. Yet, if you can get them on your list, you can send out emails informing people of new items. You will have a following in no time.

Printable Ideas

There are a bunch of ideas of what to make. The very first thing you need to do is find out what’s trending. This could be anything from sports, big movie releases, holidays, etc. Whatever is coming up you can make a product for it. 

Printable planners are a big seller. Calendars are a big one. You can make a weekly daily or monthly calendar. You can make a yearly calendar and offer a discount. Meal planners and grocery lists are good ones as well. You can make fitness planners for people to track workouts and progress.

Wall decor printables have become huge. Inspirational wall quotes are big. Bible verses sell well during Easter and Christmas. Printable art for bathrooms and kitchens. Laundry rooms and children nurseries are great sellers as well.

Creative Templates are awesome. This is where you create a template, and the buyer can add in text. This could be greeting cards, invitations, marketing material, resume layouts, and even marketing material. 

As you can see there are plenty of printable ideas out there. If you are having issues, use google for more ideas.

Steps to Start

The very first thing you need is an idea. You cannot make an Etsy seller account without your first item created and ready to sell.

Now that you have an idea, it’s time to create it. You will need to get a program to do so. If you plan on getting serious, I would suggest paying and getting Adobe Photoshop. You can get it for $19.99 a month. This is the best out there. If you don’t want to spend the money, get Canva. It’s a watered-down version of Photoshop. You can not do as much as you can in Photoshop. But, you can get started and make something to sell.

Next, you will list your product in Etsy. Make sure you optimize your listing. You will want to use keywords, tags, product images, and the actual listing description.

Your product is officially listed. Now it’s time to promote it using the marketing strategies I mentioned above.

So there you have it. That is how you set up a printables business on Etsy. There may take a little more work to figure out how to use the tools. You may need to watch some videos on SEO as well. You can be making money in no time. ‘Till next time.

5 Companies That Look For SEO Writers

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One of the most reliable jobs out there is SEO freelance writing. When the laptop lifestyle first started, SEO content creation was and still is one of the most profitable businesses around. The reason being is there is always work available.

Unlike most fields in marketing, you do not need any special education to do this. You don’t need to spend hours in an office to do this. You also don’t have to worry about a boss in your face constantly checking on your progress.

How do you get into this? That’s what we’re going to go over today. Let’s get started!

What is SEO?

SEO is short for search engine optimization. This is where you create content that is geared towards the algorithm of search engines. If you have looked for any marketing jobs, a ton of them require some basic knowledge of this. The great thing is it doesn’t take a ton of learning to figure this skill out. There are a bunch of articles and YouTube videos for tips and tricks. 

How Does it Work?

The way SEO works is by using keywords. These are special phrases and words in your copy. The goal here is to use these words and phrases as much as possible. While doing so, you will need to sound as natural as possible. There is an equilibrium of the usage though. There is such a thing as too much. Location is important also. For example, you may put a phrase in your introduction paragraph. Then you may add it again in your final sentence. In doing so, your goal is to boost whatever you are working on to the front page of any search engine.

Is SEO Dead?

This could not be further from the truth. The one thing you’ll learn is that search engines are always evolving. The tactics and keywords change all the time. This makes it difficult to stay on top.

There was a point in time where there was a strategy called keyword stuffing. This was where you would use a word 7 or 8 times in an article. What happened here led to horribly written articles. Due to people getting sick of reading these articles, search engine companies decided to change their algorithms. 

There have been tons of changes. Every time this happens, all content writers have had to change their styles and strategies. Which used to be keywords is now a bunch of other things. These things now include optimal word count, number of headings in an article, and paragraph length. I know this may seem like a lot of information to learn. There is an upside to this.

As long as you have a basic grasp, you will be ok. Almost all companies will give you guidelines to follow for each assignment. Think of it like building a lego model. They will give you instructions and you follow them.

After doing this for a while, you will become accustomed to the ebb and flow of SEO. You will know what works and what doesn’t. You’ll eventually be a pro at this. You will be able to take on clients that don’t know a thing about it and help them out.

Build a Resume

Before you start freelancing your new skills, make sure you study and learn all the technical skills you can find. I don’t know about you, but I am more of a hands-on learner. I learn by doing. That’s what I am recommending here.

You gotta crawl before you walk. I recommend starting to work for some small companies. Once you have completed enough jobs, you should have a decent amount of experience under your belt. This will result in making you look more appealing to larger paying job offers. You can take this skill to almost any corporate job and make a handsome living. You can also work for yourself.

Jobs

I bet you are wondering where these entry-level jobs are? You are in luck! Here are my top 5 places to find jobs at.

TextbrokerThis is one of the older ones out there. It’s a good one to start off on. You won’t make a ton of money per gig. The bonus side is there is a lot of work. The articles are put into a pull and you accept the job. They use a ranking system to determine your pay. Periodically, the editors will look at your work. The better the work the higher your rank. The higher the rank means you will be able to take on more jobs. Also, those jobs will get you more money.

BKA ContentThis site is very similar to Textbroker. There are a couple of differences here. One of the main ones is you will be assigned to a team. This could be any type of marketing. You will also have a minimum word count weekly. It is 3,500 words a week. You will need to set aside time daily to accomplish this. It is more like an actual job vs. small gigs. The pay is a little more than Textbroker and the top earners from the entry-level position make around $18 an hour.

The HOTHThis is one of the better sites. What you will do here is you are hired to take over blogs for clients. Shorter articles will bring in around $16. Longer articles can get you around $50. The faster you can pump out articles, the more money you can make. Here is the downside. They are very strict on hiring. They don’t judge you on your experience, they are more concerned about the quality of your writing. If you get hired then this is a great place to build up your resume.

Writer AccessLike Textbroker they use a ranking system. You can make a lot more money though at the higher levels. The downside to this place, it’s like Fiverr. The clients pick you. It will take a while to find a job. If you do get one, make sure to build a relationship with all your clients. If you do a good job and they like you, they may keep hiring you. It takes time, yet you can make good money.

Content Runner This site is a lot like Writer Access. They use a marketplace system as well. Here you create a  profile and include your samples, styles, and experience. Clients will browse through profiles and pick the writer. Client relationships here are important as well. To get into the higher paying brackets you are going to need to have a bunch of regular clients. It takes a while, but you can actually make good money here.

There you go! This should give you a good start on SEO content writing. There is some self-learning here. You also have some places to start looking for entry-level positions when you are ready. Good luck on your adventure. ‘Till next time!

3 Ways to Better Optimize Your Finances

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You may be new to the world of finances. Maybe you are already doing well and have a great plan saved up. Regardless of which one of these people you are, there are always ways to optimize your finances. If you are new to setting up a financial plan, these are some good starting points as well. What are they you ask? You are about to find out. 

Let’s get started!

Choose The Most Efficient and Effective Ways to Repay Debt 

If you have debt, you need a plan to repay it. I know the idea is simple. Yet, you will be surprised how many people do not actually put the ideas down on paper. If you don’t have a plan, you can’t formulate a game plan to tackle this.

Once you have a plan, it’s time to organize your debt. You want to organize your debt by interest rates. You want to list it from the highest to the lowest. You want to make sure you are still paying the minimum on all of your debts. At the same time, you are paying more on the highest.

Keep doing the same thing till you knock them off one by one. Once you get to the lowest ones, you will need to form a new plan. You want to leverage these instead of paying them off.

Let’s say your last thing is your student loan. Instead of paying it off quickly, use the money you are saving from your cash flow, and invest it in an asset. This could be a 401k, stocks, bonds, or ETFs. You are saving money and making money all at the same time.

Evaluate How to Save for The Future

Retirement is something that needs to save for. The sooner you start the cheaper it is in the long run. You might be wondering how you do this.

If you work for a company that offers a retirement package, contribute enough money for an employer match. At this point, your company will be matching every dollar you put in. There is such a thing as free money in this case.

If your employer doesn’t have a retirement package to invest in you can go another route. Take it upon yourself to invest in an IRA account. There are multiple types. There are Roth, Traditional, Sep, or Simple. You can also invest in a 401k.

Regardless of which route you go, try and max out the monthly payments. Remember the more you invest, the more you will have to retire!

Focus on Growing Wealth

You have worked on repaying your date. You have set up a retirement plan. Now you need to figure out how to gain additional cash flow you can use for the rest of your life. You do this by investing.

Start off by opening up a brokerage account. You will buy low-cost index funds. You will buy them and hold on to them. These types of accounts allow you the flexibility of how and when you use your money.

The best thing to do is to get a diversified portfolio. These can be risk-adjusted for your needs. Make sure to spread your investments around.

Once you get something set up. You can optimize your portfolio with certain strategies. These few strategies will help you grow your investment. It also lowers the risk involved

Invest in tax-efficient vehicles to optimize after-tax returns. 

You need to rebalance your investments every one in a while. Make sure to consider your taxes when doing this.

Use tax-loss harvesting when appropriate.

Consider how certain style boxes or asset classes could better align your portfolio and your goals.

As you can see the object here is to reduce taxes while keeping most of your money. You do not want to ignore the tax implications of your investments. Hopefully, you will be making some larger and higher-level buys and moves after a bit.

There you have it. You should be able to start formulating a plan. You’ll be able to start getting out of debt, planning your retirement, and making money. Not a bad deal. I hope this has given you some insight and helps you out. ‘Till next time!

Become a JustAnswer Expert

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Do you have friends that come to you and ask for your expertise? This could be from cooking to car repairs. You being a good friend, you help them out. What if you could get paid for your help? That’s what JustAnswer is for. Want to learn how? Let’s get started!

What is JustAnswer?

JustAnswer.com is a question and answer website. You ask a question and you pay a certain amount to get the answer. It was created by Andy Kurtzig. Before its existence, Andy’s wife was pregnant at the time. He had a ton of questions, yet there was nobody to answer them. Due to his frustration, he decided to make this website. This allows people to get their questions answered by experts in their spare time. With close to 12,000 experts, you will be able to get your answers quickly.  JustAnswer contracts experts from all places. Doctors, Lawyers, Home-Improvement Gurus, Mechanics, and Veterinarians are some examples.

How does it work?

It’s simple. You post a question, pay a fee, and then you will be matched with an expert. You will then be able to communicate with them through talk, text, voice chat. You will also be able to send the expert documents and photos to aid in your help.

You then give them a rating. If you get your question answered, that’s great. It’s what you paid for. If it doesn’t get answered or feel unsatisfied, you can ask for a refund.

As an expert, it’s as easy. You log in, find the questions you were paid with. Answer the question. Then you get paid. As I said, it’s that simple.

Why work for JustAnswer?

Think of working for JustAnswer like driving for Uber. You can work as much or as little as you want. You are also helping people by sharing your knowledge with people. You are getting paid to do so also. It may not be enough to make a full-time income, but it could be a good side gig.

How much can you make?

It honestly depends on the value of the answer. The fee can be anywhere between $5-90. There are some members that pay a monthly fee. Either way, you will be able to see what the user is paying before you accept the gig. After you answer the question and are reviewed, you will receive a commission from the fee. If you are new you will get 20%. The higher your rating you can get up to 50%. They pay via PayPal. You can take out the money immediately as long as you have $20 in your account.

How do I become a JustAnswer expert?

Think of signing up like a job interview. You will need to send in a resume. JustAnswer uses a verification system to prove that you are an expert in your field. They use an 8 step process. You will need to have an up to date resume, licenses, credentials, your ID, Social Security Number, and a recent photo.

After you give them all that info, you will tell them what you are an expert in. The three main categories are general, finance, and medical. There are a ton of sub-niches that are categorized within these. You will pick 2. Once, you have filled out all the proper info you will then e-sign the verification form. This will send your info to a third party system to be verified. Once you are proven, you can get to work and start earning money.

There you go. The hardest part of getting started is the verification process. Hop on it and you can be working in no time. ‘Till next time!

Make Money Being a Papa Pal

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One thing that is needed during this time of self-isolation has been delivery services. I am sure you have ordered pizza or uber eats to avoid going out. Like us, the elderly need help also. On-demand grandkids are needed more than ever.

Papa is a company that does this. It pairs older adults with younger individuals. This is to combat loneliness during periods of isolation. Andrew Parker founded this company in 2016 for Seniors and Gen Z aged people. Researchers say that these two groups are the loneliest people in the world.

Help Older Adults And Families During This Time of Isolation

This company has expanded to 25 states at the moment. They are planning to be in all 50 states by the end of 2021. The pandemic has pushed the company into overdrive. It’s not just the elderly that need help. Families all over are needing help as well. 

The services you would offer vary. This could be doing yard work for someone that can’t. You could be getting their grocery lists and going to pick their groceries up. You can even go pick up someone’s medicine for them. Before the pandemic, it was being with the person. Now it’s evolved to running errands for people and helping them with their day to day activities. You can help people learn how to use technology as well.

Apps like Instacart and uber are difficult for the elderly. These apps are created assuming the user has the knowledge of how they are able to use them. You’ll be responsible to help them learn how to use these.

Papa is still going to be focused as a companionship app. Yet, with everything that has happened, it’s continually evolving. You are tech help as well as delivery services.

Become a Papa Pal

Becoming a Papa Pal isn’t difficult. Until recently, they were just accepting college students. Now they have opened up the age limits. Thanks to COVID, it made them just have to do it sooner than later. The requirements are:

-Be able to work 4 days a week

-Have a valid license and car insurance

-Be tech-savvy.

-Have a great personality

When going through the hiring process you will watch some videos and read a handbook. There is a criminal background check as well as a drug test in some states. You will have to submit photos of yourself and photos of your vehicle you will be using. The whole process takes 48 hours to do. The background check takes about a week. Once this whole process is done, you’ll be able to start immediately.

There you go! You can be making money in a week. If you like helping people and money, this is a good job for some side cash. ‘Till next time!

Cash Envelope System

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Do you have trouble budgeting? Have you tried going back to spending cash? There is a method you may not have heard of. The Cash Envelope System. This method was popularized by the financial guru Dave Ramsey. You rely on spending physical cash that you have saved away in pre-paid envelopes for everything besides your fixed expenses. 

Today I am going to be discussing how to do this. Let’s get started!

How the System Works

Step 1:Determine How to Allocate Your Money

The first thing is you are going to need to create a budget. You need to figure out how much money you have to spend each month. There are a couple of ways to do this.

The 50/30/20 method is a solid one. You designate 50% of your income for essential. This is your bills and groceries. 30%  of your income is going to your personal self. This is for fun. 20% of your income is going to investments.

The 60% method is the next one. This is where you allocate 60% of your income to expenses you are already committed to.  This includes your necessities and everything that is most important to you. The other 40% is for whatever you want.

The final method is called Zero-Based Budgeting. This where you assign a spending limit to all your budget categories. The object here is to account for every dollar. You will subtract your income from your spending and investments, and should end up with $0 at the end of every month.

Step 2: Label Your Envelopes

Now that you have set up your budget plan, it’s time to grab a stack of envelopes. You will label each one with a spending category. These will vary depending on the categories you have set up in your budget. Color code them to make them distinguishable from each other. Here are some examples of the types of categories:

  • – Groceries
  • – Restaurants/bars
  • – Household supplies
  • – Toiletries
  • – Doctor’s office copays
  • – Medication/vitamins
  • – Pet care
  • – Gas
  • – Ride sharing
  • – Clothing
  • – Hair care
  • – Entertainment
  • – Gifts

Make sure to have one for miscellaneous spending. This will be your emergency fund. In case something comes up, you will have this one to back you up.

Step 3: Distribute the Cash

Now that you have your envelopes filled out, it’s time to fill them. Every time you get paid, go take out the cash from your bank. If you get paid once a month, go ahead and fill your envelopes for the full amount. If you get paid twice a month, you’ll do half. If you get paid weekly, you’ll do a quarter. 

The big key here is once the envelope is empty, you are done. Do not cheat. Also no grabbing money from other envelopes. That would defeat the purpose. You will need to practice restraint. It’s actually easier than you think.

Pro’s of Envelope Spending

You will start thinking twice about your spending. Since you are physically touching the money and seeing where it is going, you will be more mindful. Swiping your card for everything is easier, but there is no feeling of loss. When you break a hundred dollar bill there is that little sting.

One of my favorites is there are no overdraft fees. If you are like me, you probably keep your money in a bank. You may have overextended your budget, and went negative. On top of that, you get hit with that $35 dollar overdraft fee. With the envelopes that is a thing of the past.

Curves your appetite to order online. If you don’t have the money in your bank account, you can’t buy. This will prohibit all impulse buys. You can make and envelope for something specific you have in mind. Once you have it saved, you can put it in your account. Then you can buy it online.

Cons of Envelope Spending

You may miss out on credit card awards. The way to fix this is by using your credit card on your fixed expenses. You are going to pay these anyways so go ahead and use your card to pay for them. Then pay your bill all at once. You get the rewards and still pay your bills.

Some restaurants and stores are going cash-free. There are a couple of solutions to this. Like I stated above. You can deposit the money in your account and then go to these places.  Or you can find places like farmers’ markets and street vendors that do take cash. You may have to do some research but there are solutions. 

You are budgeting for more than one person. Managing this system with joint expenses may be a little more complicated. Get with your other person and work this out. You can split the costs or organize it where you both have your own envelopes for certain things. It just takes some planning. You can split your purchases into individual purchases.

It can be a safety risk. Carrying around large amounts of cash can put you at risk. I mean if someone sees you with large amounts of cash they might get some funny ideas. To remedy this situation, just take the amount you plan to spend. If you are going to the store no reason to take your restaurant and vacation money with you. Only take what you need.

Envelope System Pro-Tips

Track every purchase on the envelope. This will help you be more mindful of your spending. When you see where you spend your money, you will be able to see things you may decide you don’t need. Extra money means more savings.

Get envelopes that are made for this. There are companies that make them just for this. They are made for keeping track of your purchases and color-coded for personal organization.

There you go. It’s a simple system that can save you from yourself. Grab some envelopes and get started today. ‘Til next time.