National Debt Relief - BBB Accredited Business - Get Relief From Credit Card Debt, Medical Bills And Unsecured Loans

11 Good Paying Jobs For Making Money On the Side

You already have a job you love but what you’ve learned is having that job alone isn’t enough to pay all your bills or maybe the problem is that you have an excessive shopping habit. Regardless of the problem what you’ve learned – the hard way – is that your daytime job just isn’t generating the amount of money you were hoping for and that you need to find some side work to bring in extra cash. The good news is that there are a multitude of jobs that can generate a surprising amount of cash so long as you commit to them. And here is 11 of these good paying side jobs.

Accountant

Are you great at bookkeeping? Then you are in luck because there are dozens of companies that need your help. As a part-time accountant you would go to an office and reconcile discrepancies between money in and money out. This is incredibly necessary work and you could expect to earn roughly $19 an hour doing it.

Copy editor

You may have already noticed that good writing is a very important skill that’s slowly dying. As a result there are companies that will pay around $17 an hour if you can flawlessly edit the grammar, spelling and punctuation of different types of copy from editorial content to social media posts.

Photographer

By this we don’t mean taking pictures with a smart phone. Being a genuine photographer means that you need to know lighting, composition and editing to create great images of places, people and things. Professional photographers are people who take pictures as their main career and charge as much as $100 per hour. If you were to be a part-time photographer you could start charging $20 per hour and then work your way up. The one downside to this is that you would have to first make a serious investment in equipment.

Tutor

If you have the knowledge you have the power – to make money. Tutoring grade school students or even adults at the college level can be very profitable. However, the amount you could charge will depend on your availability and experience. There are tutors that charge more than $30 per hour but most take home about $20 an hour.

Translator

While English has become the language of choice almost worldwide there are still many professions that require interaction with non-English speakers, which means they need help with translation. As an example of this legal assistants that have a foreign language can earn as much as $21 an hour reviewing legal documents and speaking with clients.

Driver

Thanks to Uber and Lyft just about anyone can earn extra cash driving their own cars. Of course, this is available only in big cities. Uber says that its drivers take home an average of $90,000 a year although there is reason to believe that this is a bit on the high side. Beyond this, you would need to subtract the cost of your gas, insurance and maintenance. A more realistic number is that you could probably earn $20 an hour driving for either of these companies.

Social media manager

Today’s businesses rely very strongly on social media campaigns. This means it can be very lucrative if you can manage social accounts. Social media experts earn as much as $25 an hour overseeing companies’ social media, websites and drafting reports on efficacy.

Investment trader

If you have the appropriate knowledge and skill then trading on the stock market can mean big bucks. Of course, this is inarguably a very risky proposition. Whatever you make trading on the stock market will be totally dependent on how much money you put in and how many trades you can make. However, this said there’s no question but that the stock market can be a genuine treasure trove as a side job.

Software Engineer

We live in a world where online apps can generate billions of dollars. However, if you work as a part-time software developer you will most likely be paid on a project basis. If you are an experienced developer you could expect to earn around $30 an hour. Of course, this is a job that requires great skills as you would need to know how to create apps and new websites, update old sites, and create templates and more.

Travel blogger

If you love to travel then being a travel blogger can be an excellent way to both have fun and earn extra money. Real estate and tourism companies hire writers to create content about certain destinations, which would include information on things to do, population size, climate and more – to entice people to visit them. This is generally done on a per project basis and pays anywhere from $50-$100.

Nanny or au pair

Can you remember making money babysitting your neighbor’s kids? You can still make money doing this as an adult by becoming a nanny or au pair. As a part-time nanny you could expect to earn about $20 an hour while live-in au pairs get a weekly salary of $100 or more.

Content writer

The Internet is basically based on content. Regardless of which websites you visit if you read something that’s content and someone had to write it. There is a never-ending need for content, which means there is a never-ending need for people to write it. You may have to start small – getting as little as five dollars an article – but as you build a portfolio and a reputation you could charge as much as $20 or $25 an article. This means if you’re a fast writer there is no reason why you couldn’t earn upwards from $100 a day.

Affiliate marketer

As an affiliate marketer you would promote other companies’ products and earn a commission for doing so. These commissions vary from 4% to 50% so the key here is to promote products that come with the highest commissions. There are a number of affiliate networks that offer the opportunity to sell the products of many different companies. Naturally, the amount of money you would earn will depend on how skillful you are at promoting products but top-of-the-line affiliate marketers earn literally thousands of dollars a week.

If you’d like to know more about affiliate marketing here’s a video, courtesy of National Debt Relief, that explains it.

Grab These Apps And Let Your iPhone Pay You

Geschäftsmann mit SmartphoneIf you’re typical you probably spend a lot of time on your smart phone – whether it’s an Android or iPhone. Given this don’t you think it would be nice if that smart phone could pay you back in the form of some extra cash? Well, it actually can. In addition to apps that entertain you with games like Candy Crush and educate you with news and puzzles there are also apps that will either help you earn some extra money or at least save you some time and after all, time is money. So here are 11 apps for earning money in your spare time.

#1. Bookscouter

If you purchased some hardcover books in the last five years and then read them the odds are that they’re just sitting somewhere gathering dust. Bookscouter is a web-based program for selling books. All you do is scan their barcodes using your smart phone and Bookscouter then displays what 20 different book buyback companies would pay you for them. Find the best offers, fill out some information about where your payments should be sent and then ship the books off to the buyback companies. And presto! You just earned some extra cash doing practically nothing and have also cleared up some space in your house.

#2. Foap

The opportunity to make money through photography is almost limitless. You take photos, determine how much you want to be paid for each one and then upload them to the Foap website. There are always a huge number people on the Internet looking for all kinds of photos and you might be surprised to find you could make money with a photo of your dog or cat or a beautiful sunset.

#3. Fieldagent

No, this is not a job working for the CIA. It’s where you register on its website and then do jobs ranging from taking photos to capture the in-store experience to verifying store displays. Whenever a task pops up on the Fieldagent’s Jobs List you have two hours to complete it. This means it pays big time to check out the job, figure out where you will need to go and then get there before you accept it.

#4. Cash Your Laptop

Got an old laptop sitting around unused? Go to the site cashyourlaptop and turn it into, well, cash. All you will need to do is choose the type of device you’re selling, write a description, pack it up and then ship it free of charge. You’ll get paid with a check or through PayPal. Of course, how much you will get paid will depend on the laptop’s condition and age. If your laptop is left over from the 90s you may get paid something but it probably won’t be a lot.

#5. Expensify

Do you have to worry about filing out expense accounts? This app won’t earn you extra money per se but will help you have more money by saving you money. What Expensify does is capture your receipts, track your time and mileage and your business travel and then create your expense reports for you. You’ll have more time because you’ll get that dreaded task of filling out expense reports done much faster. Plus, it may save you some actual money by making sure you include all those little out-of-pocket expenses that are so easy to forget.

#6. Casual

Casual is also web-based and is a project management tool. It can save you a lot of money by reducing fails with deadlines and problems with your team. It will help you handle projects and tasks in a whole new way as you plan them by drawing them as flowcharts. This could help you visualize dependencies between tasks and become more productive.

#7. Ibotta

After you download this app you take photos of your receipts and then earn rebates. It’s free to sign up for an account. After you download the mobile app you can click on “Rebates” and will see a number of great offers. How much you earn in rebates will vary depending on the product and promotion.

#8. Receipt Hog

This app is similar to Ibotta because you take photos of your receipts and then earn rewards points for Amazon gift cards or PayPal. What makes Receipt Hog different from Ibotta is that you don’t have to go to specific stores. Instead, you can shop anywhere and still earn points. However, be aware that it doesn’t pay out as quickly as does Ibotta. Of course, nothing says that you couldn’t do both Receipt Hog and Ibotta and double your earnings.

#9. Ncponline

In case you’re wondering what NCP stands for it’s National Consumer Panel. What the Ncponline app does is make you a panelist where you scan your purchases and then send in the data to earn points. You may also be contacted occasionally for your opinion on something. It only takes about an hour a week to scan your purchases and submit the information. You’ll then earn points When you’ve accumulated enough of these points you can trade them for rewards.

Girl with one hand on laptop, the other giving a thumbs up#10. iSay Mobile

This is basically a survey app from the company Ipsos, which does a great deal of the polling during presidential races. You make money by completing iSay Mobile’s surveys. Instead of cash the site gives you the option of collecting points and then redeeming them for gift cards from iTunes, Amazon, etc. or you can cash your points through PayPal.

#11. Be a “looker”

If you sign up with the website WeGoLook you’ll get paid just for going and looking at something. This could be a house or apartment that someone in another city is looking to rent or buy or a car that a person across the country found on eBay. In both cases, you would give the house or car an once-over, take a few photos and write a short report as to what you found. This is a pretty good paying gig, too, because the minimum listed is $25 per assignment. However, spoiler alert – when the job is posted you need to be the first to claim it or you’ll be out of luck.

You won’t get rich

You won’t get rich using one or even five of these apps. But you could earn some nice money if you’re willing to put in the time. For example, you could spend a few hours each week filling out surveys from iSay Mobile, upload some of your best pictures to Foap, do a job for WeGoLook, complete a couple of jobs for Fieldagent … and you’d put a fair amount of cash in your pocket.. All that’s required is a smart phone, the free apps and a few hours of work.

6 Lessons In Kindergarten That Will Help You Develop Great Financial Habits

little girl holding moneyWe can all benefit from good financial habits. In fact, we all want to make sure that our children start learning them early. This is why it is encouraged that parents teach kids about smart money management skills. When you let your kids develop the right financial behavior at an early stage, they will most likely bring that with them as they age. When you mold them to become great money managers at an early stage, you can be assured that they will make the right financial choices as they mature. And even if they make mistakes, it is okay. They will know how to get themselves out of the mess that they put themselves in.

While you can teach your kids a lot of things about money, did you know that they can also teach you a couple of things as well? There is this poem by Robert Fulghum titled All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. The same author also wrote a book that expounded on the ideas on this poem. This literary piece enumerated a couple of lessons that we learned in kindergarten. These lessons are something that we can implement even as we age. It tells us of how simple things really is for a kindergarten. In fact, even something as complicated as money can be simplified if you try to look at it through the eyes of a young one.

This is why we tried to search for tips that we can use to help develop financial habits in this literary piece. If you broaden your mind, you can actually see 6 different lessons that you can use to help improve your behavior when it comes to money. Since these are supposed to be lessons in kindergarten, you can probably use this to teach your kids about the proper way to handle their finances.

6 lessons in Kindergarten that can improve your financial behavior

So what financial lessons for kids can you use as an adult? Here are the 6 lessons we got from the poem by Robert Fulghum.

When you go out into the world, watch for traffic.

Everytime you cross the street, it is important that you look both ways before you step off into the busy street. When you watch out for traffic, you will know where you are, what is coming for you and what awaits you. The same is true when it comes to money. Before you make a decision, it is important that you know the whole situation first. You need to know where you stand financially. You also have to find out what will happen when you make a particular decision. Finally, you need to know you want to go it can influence the decisions that you will make about your money.

Everything you need to know is there somewhere.

This is in relation to the previous lesson. If you want to learn something, you will always find it somewhere. If you are persistent and determined to learn, you will find a way to get the information that you need. In today’s digital age, you can easily research something over the Internet. If you do not trust what is one the web, you can always find a professional that will tell you what you need to know.

Put things back where you found them.

This is a lesson that you can use if you want to learn financial habits that you can use every time you borrow money. If you used something, it is very important that you put it back if it is not yours. The same is true for any money or object that you borrow. You need to learn how to return it. You need to pay it back. This lesson mentioned that you need to put it back where you found them. In the same way, you need to return what you borrowed in full – including interest if that is what you agreed upon when you loaned the money.

Hold hands and stick together. This is a great advice for those people who are working towards a common financial goal. You may have goals with your spouse, partner, family or friends. Whatever it is, you need to work hard to meet them together. Cooperate and remember that two heads is better than one. Even if you have set your goals on your own, it helps to find someone that you trust and respect to confide in. This person is the one who will support and encourage you as you try to reach your financial goals.

Say you’re sorry.

This is a great advice for couples handling money together. At one point, you will make mistakes when it comes to handling your money. Since you are a couple, your mistake is bound to affect the other. Learn how to apologize and work with your partner to get past the error that you made. Try not to fight about it. If your partner gets angry, do not react negatively. Be humble about it and do not add fuel to the negativity of the situation.

Share everything.

You are not really required to share everything – but you are encouraged to share. This is not really something that will improve your finances – but it will make the growth of your wealth worthwhile. It does not really matter how much you give. As long as you share with those who are less fortunate than you, then it will add to your motivation to improve your finances.

Tips to develop the right money habits

Developing the right financial habits cannot happen overnight. It is a process that you need to patiently work on. Here are a couple of things that you need to do in order to make this happen.

  • Educate yourself. This is the first step. According to the NFCC.org financial literacy survey, 3 out of 10 Americans reveal that they are not confident with their financial knowledge. If you think that you belong to this statistic, you may want to start researching about the financial concepts that will make you more confident about making decisions.
  • Observe the financial habits that you currently have. Once you have done your research or while you are doing it, observe the habits that you currently have. You need to understand your current situation before you can make improvements.
  • Identify what needs to be improved, retained or removed. Based on what you find out from the first two tips, you need to think about the habits that you need to develop. What are the current habits that you need to improve, retain or remove? And beyond that, are there any habits that you need to add? Determine what these are before you proceed.
  • Practice the habits you want to develop. After you have identified everything, it is time to implement them. In developing new habits, you need to practice them repeatedly. According to an article published on 99u.com, a habit is developed through the practice of three things: setting cues, going through the routine and earning a reward. If you do it repeatedly, you can train your brain to unconsciously do something. That is how you develop a good habit.
  • Always keep yourself informed. Lastly, you need to keep adding to what you already know. It is not enough that you develop the financial habits that you need to use to make your life better. You have to see if there are new habits that you need to form. This is why you need to continue educating yourself.

Follow these tips and you should be able to develop the financial habits that will help you improve your current financial situation.

15 Things To Do Before You Turn 30 That Will Improve †he Rest Of Your Life

woman smilingYour 20s should be a decade of experimentation and enjoying life. You may be out of your parents’ house and living on your own. You might have made some mistakes and we hope you learned from them. You might have had your heart broken or broken a few hearts yourself. When you get into financial problems, your parents are probably still willing to bail you out. But before you turn 30 there are some things you need to do that will make the rest of your life better and here are 15 of them.

Believe that there is no failure, just feedback

Just about everyone fails at one time or another and some of our wealthiest people failed more than once. The difference is that successful people understand that there is a value to failing. High achievers see failure as an opportunity to get up off the floor and try again. For example, Michael Jordan has said, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”

Deep-six those regrets

Think of your 20s as a decade for making mistakes and learning from them. You shouldn’t have regrets because if you learned from them you at least won’t do them again after you turn 30.

Go somewhere outside of your comfort zone

Do you have any idea of how lucky you are to have been born in the United States? Go somewhere that doesn’t offer first world comfort before you turn 30. That way you’ll have more appreciation of what you have and that you were lucky to have been born in the U.S.

Embrace who you are

Be proud of who you are and take care of yourself. There will always be opportunities to change and grow but make sure that it’s out of love and not out of self-hatred. Hating yourself generally leads to poor decision-making, which then leads to a pretty cruddy life. If you don’t love yourself now, learn to do so. You’re just as good and as important as anyone – never forget it.

Find time for yourself

Whether you’re an extrovert or just a kind of social being you need to take time out occasionally to reflect and recharge your batteries – even if it’s just for a few minutes.

telemarketerGet a job where you’ll be happy

You don’t want to reach age 50 and look back at more than 20 years working in a job that made you miserable. The stress related to working in a job you despise can actually lead to serious health problems including heart disease, diabetes and even an early death. Think what it is in life that makes you feel good and try to translate it into a career. If you can earn big money at it, that’s just a bonus.

Do something just for the good of it

Find a charity or something else that contributes to the good of the world and get involved. Being part of something that’s bigger than you should have you feeling really good.

Understand it’s okay to not know everything

The world is a complicated place and many issues don’t have simple answers. Understand that you will never know everything about everything. If you let go of the idea that you need to be right all the time you’ll not only have more friends you’ll be more open and ready to learn new things.

Appreciate what your parents have done for you

We guess your parents probably weren’t perfect because, well, nobody is. But we’re sure they did the best they could. Accept them for who they are and appreciate what they were able to do for you. You may not understand or appreciate all the choices they made for you but that doesn’t matter. You’re making your own choices from now on.

Learn from your mistakes

You probably made mistakes when you were in your teens and even up to now. It’s likely that your parents bailed you out when you dropped that iPhone on the concrete or got a speeding ticket. But once you hit 30 you’re on your own. You will need to take sole responsibility for your actions. You should have at least learned from your past mistakes. That will keep you from making the same ones in the future.

Understand that you’ll need to work for anything worth having

If things have come easy to you so far, be grateful. If you haven’t yet learned this the harsh truth of life it’s that things worth having are worth working for – and sometimes it’s hard work. Once you understand that life isn’t going to give you anything on a silver platter you’ll be a better person and better prepared to handle your life.

Save some money

When you had an allowance it didn’t matter much how you spent your money. If you spent all of it before the end of the month all this meant is that you’d have to do without for a few days. Now that you’re responsible for your finances it’s important to think about the future. If you’re not already paying back student loans you soon will be and you might even have a mortgage. So now is a great time to begin saving money to set yourself up for a better financial future.

If you find you have a hard time putting money away for the future, here’s a short video that could help.

Don’t feel you absolutely have to settle down

There are some deadlines in life but settling down, getting married, buying a house and having kids aren’t any of them. Travel now when you don’t have a lot of responsibilities. When you’re in your middle to late 20s is a great time to explore and experience life before you do settle down.

Surround yourself with “good” people

When you are in your teens the important thing was probably to hang out with the cool or popular kids. That doesn’t matter anymore. What’s important now is surrounding yourself with people who accept who you are, make you feel good and help you become a better person.

Stop listening to those voices in your head

The older you get the more you’ll feel pressure in terms of what to wear, what to drive and what your career should be. Don’t fall prey to those voices of self-doubt. Understand that you’re good enough no matter what and be kind to yourself.

Is It Easier To Pay Off Debt In Retirement If You Move Overseas?

depressed man with coins for retirement fundDo you really think it is easier to pay off debt if you are living in a different country? This is a serious question that a lot of retirees are probably thinking about.

We are all advised to get rid of debt before we enter retirement. When you stop working, you have to live on an income that is typically less than what you are used to. Ideally, when you reach this point in your life, you should do well even with a lower income coming from your retirement fund or your Social Security benefits. After all, your child or children should already be financially independent and living on their own. You only have to financially take care of your needs and that of your partner or spouse.

While that is the ideal scenario, we all know that a lot of retirees are not as financially well off as they would like to be. This is thanks to the presence of debt. According to The 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey done by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, there is a huge chunk of retirees who are currently in debt. The data published on EBRI.org revealed that 31% of retirees have admitted to having a problem with the level of debt that they owe. Among the debts that plague retirees include mortgages, credit card debt and car loans.

The truth is, a lot of pre-retirees are not able to save for their retirement. They are facing a retirement life that will only rely on Social Security benefits – which is admittedly not enough. This is thanks to the rising cost of living, expensive health care and the amount of debt that some retirees are facing. If there were unable to pay off debt while they were working, how can you expect them to pay it now that they no longer have a monthly income?

It is possible to live a good retirement life for less so you can continue to pay off your credit obligations. One of your option is to relocate to a place that will allow you to have a stronger financial position to give yourself the budget to pay off what you owe your creditors. Take note that you will make this move not because you want to escape what you owe.

How can being an expat help with debt payments

The question is, how can moving to a different country help you pay off debt?

According to an infographic published on TransferWire.com, one out of three Americans are ready to move abroad. This survey revealed that 33% of those who want to move is doing so for financial reasons – specifically a lower cost of living. If you are retired and you want to afford paying all your debts, moving to a country with a lower cost of living might just be the answer that you are looking for.

Here are the specific reasons why being an expat will allow you to pay off your debt.

Lower cost of living.

When you are moving to a new country to help you pay off your credit obligations, you need to make sure that you will enjoy a lower cost of living there. If not, it will defeat the purpose of moving abroad. Unless you have an opportunity to earn more while in retirement, you need to take this into careful consideration. Having said that, the low cost of living in a new country will help you make way for your debt payments. You may not have to make a lot of sacrifices when it comes to your standard of living and still have a lot of room left in your budget to pay your dues.

You can set up a lifestyle where your spending is controlled.

The great thing about living in a different country is you can start anew. If you had bad financial habits that landed you in debt, you do not have to deal with that when you move to a new country. Sometimes, changing your environment can help bring about a drastic change in your life. If you moved to Ecuador, for instance, you will most likely adapt to the lifestyle of the people here. The local establishments usually prefer to transact in cash instead of credit. If you move to this country, you will most likely adapt that payment method. Paying in cash will allow you to control what you spend and thus help you make better choices about your money.

Easier to live a frugal life.

Since you are more controlled with your spending, you will most likely be able to adapt a frugal lifestyle. Let us stick to the country of Ecuador in giving examples. The land in this country is quite rich that you can probably grow your own produce in your very own garden. That would help slice your food costs significantly. The prices of meat and produce by itself is already cheap. If you can grow your own, that would help you allot more budget into your debt payments. This is only one way that frugality can help you manage your money to pay off debt. In Ecuador, it is also more common for folks to walk or bike going to their destination. That can help remove the cost of transportation in your budget. That means more money for your debts.

No pressure to keep up with the Joneses.

Sometimes, the downfall of people with debt are brought about by our need to look good in front of our peers. It seems like we want to prove that we are successful by trying to look affluent – even if we know that we cannot afford it. Well moving to a new country can help eliminate this notion. You do not have to prove anything to your new neighbors because they do not know you yet. If you were known to be extravagant before, you can simply build a reputation of being more frugal in the community that you belong to right now. As we said, you can begin with a clean slate and build better financial habits now.

These are only some of the reasons why moving to a new country can help you pay off debt – or at least put you in a better financial position to be able to afford your credit dues. Of course, if you do not want to move to a new country, your option is to live a working retirement.

Facts about moving abroad when you have credit obligations

Most people like the idea of moving abroad, not just for the financial benefit, but also for the adventure. While it may sound exciting, you need to know that it does entail some work on your part. You have to understand that this will bring about major changes in your life. If you think that you are not ready for that, you have to reconsider other options that will help you pay off debt while in retirement.

Here are a couple of facts that you need to know about moving abroad.

  • You need cash – sometimes, a lot of it. This may be a bit difficult for someone you has a lot of debts. There are many reasons why you need cash. Some countries require you to have a certain amount of show money before they will let you stay for a long time. For instance, in Colombia, you need to invest at least $30,000 before you can be given a residency visa. Not only that, some countries prefer that you use cash in making purchases rather than credit. In fact, in Ecuador, it is the common to buy a house in cash. It is difficult to borrow a mortgage here. If you think about it, this practice may do you good because spending in cash can increase your chances of being a smart spender.
  • It will cost you to make the actual move. Before you can decide on what country to move into, you need to visit it first. Even the most extensive research is not enough. You need to physically explore the place you are considering to move into. Once you have decided on a place to live in, you need to process your documents in applying for a visa. This will also cost you. Not to mention the cost of the actual move. The more items you will be bringing with you, the more you need to spend.
  • You still need to pay your taxes. According to the AmericansAbroad.org, any American citizen is required to pay their taxes – especially if they are earning more than $9,000. You may argue that you are in a different country that and you are not really enjoying any benefits from the government while residing abroad. That is not true. Paying your taxes will help you enjoy the treaties that US has on these foreign countries. If you choose a country that the US is friendly with, you may be able to enjoy a lower tax rate.

Take note that all of these may not be applicable to certain countries. You have to choose the right country that will not only help you pay off debt, but will also suit your personality. Try not to make the mistake of focusing too much on countries that has the cheapest rates but have questionable safety issues for expats.

If you want tips on how to retire abroad, here is a video from International Living that features a couple that has lived in different expat communities in four countries.

7 Personal Finance Mistakes You Avoid Like The Plague

couple going over billsIn the not very long ago managing your personal finance was relatively simple. Just ask your parents. When they were young they probably had checking and savings accounts and that was about it. They used a combination of their checking account and cash to pay for their day-to-day expenses and whenever there was money left over they deposited into their savings account. If they had any credit cards they probably had just one and paid off their balances at the end of every month. They probably also had a mortgage, which they paid monthly by check.

But things have changed considerably. The world of personal finances has become so complicated that if you don’t manage yours very carefully you could take a big hit your financial health as well as your retirement fund.

Here are seven personal finance mistakes you should never make as they would definitely ding your finances.

Not taking advantage of online money transfers

There are two places where you will never earn much interest on your money. They are your checking and savings accounts. This is why you should have a money market account at your bank or a high-interest savings account linked to your checking account. After you have done this, you should never make a deposit directly into your checking account. Deposit everything into that higher interest account instead. Then as you need money, move it from that account into your checking account using online transfers. Move only the amount of money you need to cover whatever checks you write.

Keeping your money in a savings account at your bank

This dovetails with what we said in the above paragraph. The interest you would earn on a bank savings account today is nearly zero. This is why you should never deposit any of your money into one. If you do, the interest you’ll earn will probably be less than the rate of inflation. This means you’re actually losing money when saving money. Put whatever cash you need to have available into a bank money market account where you’ll at least earn somewhat better interest and many of these accounts come with free check-writing privileges. Don’t overlook those online banks for your cash investments. Most are FDIC insured just as is your brick-and-mortar bank.

Paying your bills too quickly

One thing you want to do for sure is hang on to your money as long as you can so that it’s earning interest. The way you do this is by setting up a system to pay your bills just before or on the day they’re due. If your bank doesn’t offer a system for paying bills online, you will need to go to your creditors as most of them do. Of course, you don’t want to pay them late as this would hurt your credit standing. And you definitely don’t want to make late payments on your credit card bills because of the oppressive interest rate that you will be required to pay.

man looking frustratedFailing to shop for better interest rates

Thanks to bank deregulation banking has become very competitive. Whether you’re paying or receiving interest it’s important to shop around. You will likely find wildly different interest rates and bank charges. When you find something better than what your current bank is offering, jump on it. Don’t stick with the bank just because you’ve been with it for “forever” if it isn’t competitive.

Overdrawing your account

One of the ways that banks are trying to increase their revenues is by making you pay a big penalty for a small error. As an example of this, let’s suppose you have $300 in your checking account and you write three checks. You write the first one for $20, the second for $30 and the third for $290. Did you know that some banks process checks in order of size and not in order received? In this case, that $290 check might be processed first so that all three checks would end up bouncing. You would then be hit with three overdraft charges that could add up to as much as $105. This is because some banks are actually charging, believe it or not, $35 for each check you overdraw.

Not managing cash flow with the help of your computer

You should definitely let your computer takeover every aspect of your personal finances including your investments. Software products such as Quicken® and Money® are now much easier to use than they were just a few years ago and they can help you gain the greatest advantage in your personal finances. These programs will produce reports at the touch of a button that can show you exactly where you stand financially and what you need to do to maximize things. There is also a wealth of apps available for both iPhones and android phones that make it much simpler for you to manage your money. The most popular of these is probably Mint.com, which will track your spending and help with your budgeting as well as monitoring your investments and credit cards. If it finds a better product than what you’re currently using it will even alert you by email.

Staying with the wrong bank

Have you noticed the “merger mania” that’s been going on in the world of banking? This is why you could wake up one day and find that the bank with which you’ve been doing business for so many years is no longer around as it has been merged into a strange new bank that now holds your accounts. It’s likely that this new bank will be one of the new megabanks, which brings up the question of will it treat you better? The answer to this is forget about it. Many of these megabanks are just raising inefficiency to a new level as well as dumbing down their customer service. The good news is that you can solve this problem very easily. Just look for the smallest bank in your neighborhood that’s FDIC insured and move your business to it. You’ll get more personal attention from a small bank then you ever will at one of those megabanks and you’ll have exactly the same insurance protection. Plus, there’s just something nice about being able to walk into your bank and be recognized, not just as another 10-digit number but as an actual, real live person.

Celebrate The Smallest Milestone In Your Financial Goal: Here’s Why

person holding starDo you have a financial goal? If not, then you need to set up one. Having a goal can give your life some direction. A goal is defined as something that you aim for or desire. It is something that you want to happen. Given the current financial situation of consumers, you can expect that debt freedom is one of the common financial targets.

We all need something to live for. It helps us plan and make decisions that will affect our life on a daily basis. Our goals can be that something that we can live for. If you think that your financial situation requires improvement, then you know that you need to set money goals that can help bring about the changes that you need.

According to the latest survey published by Bankrate.com, 2 out of 10 Americans (20%) feel like their financial situation got worse. Obviously, they need to set up more financial targets that will allow them to improve their position in life.

On a lighter note, 24% of the survey respondents of Bankrate revealed that their financial position improved. This is great news. Any improvement that you may have in your finances should make you feel good. Even if you only got a small win – it still takes you one step closer to your financial goal. That means you should celebrate, right?

Absolutely!

Reason why you need to celebrate the small successes in your financial targets

Even if you only reached a small milestone, that deserves some celebration. We are not saying that you need to party. But in your own little way, you need to give yourself a pat in the back. There is one important reason why you need to celebrate even the smallest financial success.

Motivation.

If you want to completely achieve something, you need to be motivated enough to do just that. This is what will take you through the setbacks, the mistakes, the downfalls and the various bumps as you journey towards your financial goal.

According to the Harvard Business Review, there is power in the idea of progress. The article published on HBR.org revealed that progress is fundamental to humans. It helps motivate us towards improvement. The authors, Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer, discussed what they called the Progress Principle. This was a phenomenon that was evident in the diaries of knowledge workers – something that the authors analyzed in their study. This particular principle is said to boost the emotions, perception and motivation of a worker during any workday. Any progress, as long as it is meaningful, can have this positive effect in the worker. A small win is powerful enough to affect how workers feel and perform.

This is the same phenomenon that you can tap into to help reach your financial goal.

Now how can celebrating these small wins help you? An article published on INC.com gave us a couple of ideas. When you celebrate successes, these things happen:

  • Endorphins are released in your body and you end up feeling great. It makes the progress that you made meaningful – which leads to the next event.
  • You train your brain that accomplishments are supposed to be special. When this happens, your brain becomes focused and it results in an increase in your performance. Yet another event become evident because of this.
  • It reinforces your attitude towards facing challenges. Since your brain is wired to focus and increase performance, you get to feel more capable of handling challenges. Even if you encounter problems along the way, you will not be deterred. You can push forward and have the right attitude towards mistakes – learning from it and not feeling discouraged.

How to celebrate your financial success the right way

Now that you know how important it is to celebrate even the small milestones in your financial goal, the next question that you will face is how you will do the celebrating. People usually associate celebrating with spending money. You usually buy yourself something, eat out, travel, etc. But if you think about your financial target, you know that you need to be smart about how you will celebrate your success. What you spend while celebrating might remove the value of what you were able to achieve.

It is true that there is something about spending that makes you feel great. When you know that you have the financial power to buy yourself something that you like, it gives you a sense of success. While that is true, you need to realize that there are ways to celebrate that will not require you to spend. Some of our suggestions here will require some spending – but there are also some that will not cost you anything.

  • Share the news. The cheapest way to celebrate is to simply share the news. If you reached a milestone in your financial goal, tell your family and friends about it. Allow yourself to bask in their praises. Even if it is just your significant other, having them praise you will give you a good feeling about your success. Who knows? Maybe they will treat you out and celebrate. That way, you do not have to spend anything and still do a bit of partying.
  • Give yourself a break. Any goal is hardwork and can sometimes be stressful. This is especially true if you are going after a financial goal. You are probably under some form of money stress. If you reached a milestone, you deserve to pat yourself in the back. Give yourself a day to relax from the restraints that you put on yourself. Let yourself sleep in – at least, if there is no work. Allow yourself that Starbucks latte that you are cutting back on. Eat out for lunch if you had been brown bagging for the past few weeks.
  • Buy yourself something. This has to be allowed if it is what will make you feel good. However, you need to make sure that what you will buy will cost you a reasonable amount. Not only that, try to buy yourself something that will help motivate you further.
  • Enjoy something you love to do. If not buy, you can treat yourself to something. If you love watching films, one movie date night should not be so bad. Just don’t over do it with the movie snacks. You can also give yourself a massage. Anything that will help you relax and feel good about yourself should be enough to celebrate your small financial goal milestone.
  • Write a journal to record your successes. This is not really a form of celebration but it can help you look back on your past successes – at least, if you started this habit beforehand. But if not, then that is alright, you may want to start the habit so this journal can help motivate you in the future. Whenever you feel like giving up, you can take a look at this journal to remind you of how it felt to have the past successes that you had.

After you reach a milestone, you may want to revisit your financial plan. Your financial goal should have a plan and this is the one that tells you how many milestones you have reached. You need to look at this plan to mark the milestone that you just went through. Feel free to make revisions in your plan – like when you think you need more time or you can finish your goal faster.

8 Important Credit Cards FAQs You Need To Know

man holding multiple credit cardsCredit cards can be a good friend or a terrible enemy depending on how you use them. If you use your credit cards sensibly they can be an easier way to pay for things than carrying a big wad of cash. If you need to make a major purchase and don’t have the money in your checking account to cover its costs you could use a credit card to pay for it. Most of today’s credit cards come with some nice perks such as cash back, points and airline miles. If you lose your job or run into some other emergency your credit cards could bail you out until you’re back on your feet. And last but certainly not least credit cards can help you track your spending, which can be very important if you’re trying to stay within a budget. But credit cards can also encourage you to spend more money than you have, which means creating debts that you may have a very difficult time paying back. There are also some other things about credit cards you need to know and hear are eight of the most frequently asked questions about them.

Q. Why is it so important that I pay off my balances at the end of every month?

The answer to this has to do with a thing called compounding interest, which some people have called one of the most powerful forces on earth. It can hurt you when you carry balances forward because you’ll basically be paying interest on interest. As an example of this if you were to have a $10,000 balance on a credit card that has a 14% interest rate that’s compounded monthly your finance charge or interest the first month alone would be $116.67. If you were to then make just a $200 minimum payment only $83. 33 would be applied to the principle. The next month your balance would be $9916.67 but only $82.64 of your minimum payment would go towards the principal. At this rate it would take you more than 36 years to pay off your original balance assuming you made no more charges on the card.

Q. Is it a good idea to close any credit cards I’m longer using?

The answer to this one is a simple, “no.” The reason for this is that 30% of your credit score is based on your credit utilization ratio. It’s calculated by dividing your total credit card limits by the amount you’ve used. Let’s suppose you have $10,000 in total credit card limits and have used or charged $5000. In this case your credit utilization ratio would be 50%, which would be too high. Ideally you should keep that ratio below 30%. If you did have $10,000 in total credit available and had used $3000 of it your credit utilization ratio would be 10%. But if you are to close two cards so that your total amount of credit available dropped to $7000, your credit utilization ratio would immediately go to 42% and this would have a negative impact on your credit score.

Q. Why is it important that I read and understand my credit card agreements?

Your credit card agreements are contracts that spell out what you are expected to do. As a general rule they include fees for late payments or if you go over your limit. It’s important to know what these are because if you’re not careful they can begin to really pile up, which means you’ll just be adding on more debt. It’s especially important to read the agreements that come with rewards cards so you will know exactly how much cash back, points or miles you’ll earn depending on what you do. You could also find there are fees that will be tacked on if you use that card outside the US. It’s important to carefully read all of your credit card agreements including the fine print so you’ll know how to use that card wisely.

Q, Is it okay to use a credit card to get a cash advance?

No matter how tempting it might be to use one of your credit cards to get a cash advance the answer to this is just say no to yourself. We don’t know of a single credit card where the interest charges aren’t a great deal higher when you use it to get a cash advance. This is yet another reason to read your credit card agreements carefully. You may think you’re paying only a 14% APR but that’s probably just for purchases. The card’s interest rate could go as high as 19% or even 21% on cash advances. You might be thinking you’re paying only 14% when you take out a $500 advance but when your next statement rolls in you could be in for a nasty surprise.

Q. My spouse or parent died leaving a large amount of credit card debt. Do I have to pay this?

The answer is you probably will not be responsible for his or her debts unless you were a cosigner on the account. The exception to this is if you live in a community property state such as California, Nevada, New Mexico, Idaho or Texas. In this case any debts that were incurred during your marriage will be considered as community property and you’ll likely be responsible for them.

Q, If I can’t pay my credit card debts should I file for bankruptcy?Hand holding batch of credit cards credit card debt

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this as there are other factors involved in making this decision. However, it’s important to understand what a bankruptcy will do to your financial life. For one thing, it could drop your credit score by as many as 200 points. It will stay in your credit reports for 10 years although the effect it has on your credit score will diminish as the years go by. More and more employers are checking credit reports as part of the employment process so bankruptcy could actually cost you a good job. You will have a hard time getting new credit for at least two years after bankruptcy and when you do it will be “low balance, high interest credit.”

Q. My child has a lot of credit card debt. What can I do to help?

Probably the best thing you could do is give him or her a lot of information about smart money management. But if you’re considering paying off that debt keep in mind that you may just enable more bad behavior. But if you just can’t resist doing this make the money a gift and not a loan. That way there won’t be any conflict in the future about getting paid back – or not being paid back. Alternately, you could agree to give your child the money but only if she or he would be willing to sign an official loan agreement. You might also ask your child to set up automatic transfers of the payments to your checking or savings accounts. That way there will be no question about whether or not a check was mailed.

Q. What is the ideal number of credit cards to carry?

As a general rule you should be okay with just two major credit cards. One of them should be a low interest rate card for those times when you must carry a balance forward. The other should be one with a grace period. Of course, the best card would be one where there is no annual fee and no interest for some period of time. If you’re concerned about your credit then two cards is a good number as well. However, it’s also a good idea to have at least four credit accounts of different types. This could be your mortgage, a car loan, a major credit card and a store card. Part of your credit score is based on the types of credit you have as this shows potential lenders that you can successfully manage different types of credit.

Finally, here is a short video, courtesty of National Debt Relief, with some good information on how to manage a credit card.

How To Rebuild Your Reserve Fund After An Emergency

red crisis fund boxYour reserve fund is meant to be used for emergencies. Let us assume that after you have spent months saving up for your emergency fund, you have finally reached your target amount. This is a great feat because saving can keep your finances from flying apart. Whatever amount you have in this fund can help you get out of another tight spot.

But that is the challenge here. How can you build up your emergency fund once you have spent it for an unexpected event?

When you have an emergency fund, you are actually better than 62% of Americans. Bankrate.com, asked survey respondents what they would do if they are faced with an unexpected emergency that will cost them $500 to $1,000. It is revealed that 57% of the respondents will not use their savings. To be specific, 26% will reduce their spending on other things, 16% will borrow from other people, 12% will use credit cards, and 3% will think of something. $1,000 seems like a very low target for a reserve fund and it appears like a lot of Americans do not even have this amount in their savings.

If you have just spent your emergency fund – you may be in better shape than all these people. Of course, you are no longer as secure as you once were because you blew out your savings. This is why you need to work as fast as you can in rebuilding your reserve fund.

How to build up your emergency fund after spending it

There are a couple of things that you can do in order to get back the amount that you spent in your last emergency. You may be feeling relieved because you had that money saved up when you needed it the most. Imagine what would have happened if you didn’t?

Well to give you an idea, here is a video from Forbes that discusses what it can cost you if you do not have a reserve fund to get you out of tight spots.

We all know that it is difficult to not have the money to get out of tight spots. What you learned from the video should give you some motivation to build it up quickly.

Here are some tips that we have for you.

Revisit your budget.

The first thing that you need to do is to look at your budget plan. If you have to save up for something fast, you need to make sure that it is aligned with your budget. The good thing about putting your saving goals in your budget plan is you can ensure that your allocation will be there each month. If you put it in your priority list, you will be reminded that you have to put aside money for your reserve fund.

Now revisiting your budget would help you identify if you have enough income to set aside to rebuild your emergency fund. If not, you can figure out your next steps in order to reach your saving goal.

Be a smart spender.

The next step on your to do list is to take a look at your spending and to improve it. Since you have to continue spending in order to survive, you should learn how to be a smart spender. Take note that our definition of smart spending is not only saying no to expenses that you cannot afford. That is already a given. If you really want to be smart when it comes to your expenses, you need to learn how to say no – even when you can afford to pay for something. You need to stick to the expenses that are necessary at present. The rest should be invested in your future. Your reserve fund is one of the investments that you can make. Remember the video we shared earlier? Think about what it will cost you if you did not have the emergency fund to spend on unexpected expenses. If you eliminate the unnecessary spending, you can increase the amount that you can save.

Increase your income.

To help you put more money in your emergency fund, you should also look for ways to increase your income. In case your income is not enough to help you build up your funds immediately, you can look for ways to boost your monthly cash flow. If your intention is to simply rebuild your reserve fund, this increase can only be temporary. You do not really have to get a second job or something. But if you can set up a source of passive income that you can make permanent, then that would really help your finances in the long run. However, if you can only set up a temporary financial boost, then that is alright. Among the things that you can do is to declutter your home and sell off things that you do not need. The profit that you will earn can be sent towards your reserve fund.

These three should be enough to help you rebuild your emergency fund as fast as possible. As you work diligently in saving, just pray and hope that no unexpected expense will happen in the near future.

How much money should you put aside for emergencies

After the emergency that you had to go through, you may want to ensure that the next unexpected expense will no longer wipe out your savings. If this means you have to increase your reserve fund target, then that is what you should do.

However, this is something that you need to be careful with. You need to set a reasonable emergency fund target – but at the same time, you do not want to overdo it.

There is an article published on GetRichSlowly.org that tells us something about putting too much money in your savings. This article hinted that you could waste money if you put too much in your emergency fund. This is money that you usually put in your savings account because you want to be able to access it immediately when you need to. The problem with savings accounts is that it only gains you a small interest. If your retirement or children’s college fund earns 23% (as was stated in the article), you might feel bad about the money you have in your reserve fund.

So here is another challenge, how much money should you put aside for your reserve fund?

The answer to that will depend on your personal situation. Your emergency savings will depend on what you need to spend on. According to an article published on BusinessInsider.com.

You need 3 months worth of monthly expenses if…

  • You are a healthy individual.
  • You do not have dependents.
  • You can live well within your means.

You need 6 months worth of monthly expenses if…

  • You have a dual-income family.
  • You have dependents.
  • You rely on variable or commission-based income.

You need 8 months or more worth of monthly expenses if…

  • You have a single-income family.
  • You have or one of your dependents have a health problem.
  • You are old or retired.

This is something that you need to consider if you want to be able to save just the right amount of money in your reserve fund. It helps to just start with your budget. Analyze what you need to do and be very honest with what you need in your financial life. By doing that, you can set up a fund that is enough for what you may require if an emergency happens.

13 Items You May Already Own That Will Help You Save Money

happy woman with raining moneyHave you ever created a comprehensive budget, started out following it religiously and then sort of let it slip away over time? No matter how good our intentions might be our willpower can sometimes just slowly fade away as we see that were not meeting our objectives. However, there are tools available that can make it infinitely easier for you to save money. Here are 13 items that can help you save money that you may already have around the house and, if not, many of them are very inexpensive.

#1. UV-blocking curtains

These curtains can dramatically reduce your heating and cooling bills. They are now available in a multitude of patterns and colors so you should be able to find ones at your local Lowe’s, Home Depot or even a hardware store that will match in your decor. If you live in particularly cold country put up liners in the winter to lock in heat even more effectively.

#2. Ceiling fans

Ceiling fans can help lower both your heating and cooling bills as they run counterclockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter. This diffuses cooled or heated air so less energy is needed to maintain whatever temperature you desire wherever they are mounted. During times when heat is only moderate the increased airflow created by a ceiling fan might mean you wouldn’t even need to run your air-conditioner.

#3. Grocery and shopping bagswoman with a groceries bag

Why spend $10 for trashcan liners for your laundry room, bathrooms and guest rooms when you can use grocery bags instead? They’re generally the perfect size and reusing them is also good for the environment. When you made your purchases you paid for them so they cost nothing extra. You can even use those bags to clean up after your pet in your yard or the park or keep several in your car for emergency spills.

#4. Toilets with options

Do you think it takes the same amount of water to flush both your number one and number two? If you don’t think so, you’re right. It doesn’t. And the amount of water your toilets use each year just increases your water bill. You could spend $100 and get toilets that have dual flush options, which would mean you wouldn’t have to use extra water unless you needed it.

#5. A clothes drying rack

The one appliance that can really run up your electric bill is your clothes dryer. You can reduce that bill by getting a clothes drying rack and drying your clothes on it. You’ll be doing something good for the environment as well as saving money. You should be able to find a folding drying rack at your nearest home goods or superstore.

#6. Rechargeable batteries

How many things do you have around your house that just eat batteries? If you’re typical the answer is probably at least a dozen. There are flashlights, appliances, smoke detectors, cameras, TV remotes, radios and, of course, your children’s’ toys. While rechargeable batteries cost more and generally mean frequent recharging, they will save you money over the long term. And there’s an nice bonus. You won’t get that feeling of frustration when you find you’re out of some type of battery you need to replace the two that just died. And do remember to unplug your battery chargers when you’re not using them as anything plugged in will require electricity you’ll be have to pay for.

#7. A cooler

Will you be meeting with friends soon? Think about picking up items from the store and stock them in a cooler. You could then meet your friends at a garden, beach or park instead of spending money to meet at a restaurant. Many parks, aquariums and zoos allow you to bring a cooler stocked with food from home, which can save you a lot of money versus buying stuff when you get there.

#8. Coffee pot

Stop those daily runs to Starbucks or your favorite neighborhood coffee bar and you’ll save hundreds if not thousands of dollars. You could also have friends over and serve them freshly brewed cups of coffee in place of going out for costly weekend brunches.

#9. Crockpot

If you don’t believe you have time to cook and have been in the habit of picking up takeout meals on the way home, you could make that a thing of the past. Get a crockpot, toss in some meat and vegetables in the morning before you go to work, turn it on low and you’ll have a great meal waiting for you when you get home from work. If you have extra portions left over just freeze them for another day, which would mean yet another meal you wouldn’t have to cook.

#10. A blender

If you have or get a heavy-duty blender you can make your own juices, smoothies and if appropriate baby foods. You’ll both save money and get the flavor you like exactly right each time. You can lower your grocery bill even further by blending in-season vegetables and fruits.

#11. “Smart” power strips

If you run your computer and multiple devices such as a printer, a laptop and a stereo from your desk then a “smart” power strip is a must. It will focus power usage on the items that are in use and reduce the amount of energy it sends to the others, which means eliminating “ghost charges.” And while you might think that unplugging gadgets when you’re not using them to be a time waster you won’t think so when those charges aren’t so “ghost” and you see how much they increase your electric bill.

#12. Home entertainment subscriptions

Are you regularly spending anywhere from $15-$25 to see a movie on the big screen? A better alternative would be to have your entertainment at home through Netflix, Amazon Prime or some other entertainment subscription service. Plus, at-home entertainment can be a cool option for a fun evening with friends or a date night and will save all of you money.

#13. A library card

family reading a bookThere is no reason these days to go to a Barnes & Noble and spend money buying books. And while it may be very easy and convenient to download e-books you can do without them as well by checking out books at your local library. Many of them maintain subscriptions to popular magazines and have DVDs available. You may not be able to check out the magazines but you should be able to take the DVDs home and enjoy a free movie with your friends or kids.

Mobile Menu
MENU