Vote for Me

Here is a little self-promotion for the day. My post is currently live in the Rockstar Rumble, which pits personal finance articles against one another in a March madness type bracket. Please visit this link. Then check the box for Empowerment and click the vote button. I’d love to make it to the next round!

Work is Not Always Fun: Stop Thinking It Should Be

I’m going to say something that might sound a bit radical, but here it goes… Work is not always fun and I think we could all find a little more joy in our current jobs and lives if we recognized this fact and moved on from it.

As a child I remember listening to my dad complain about his work. There were a laundry list of complaints. I don’t remember them all, but I do remember a few that came up time and time again.

The top two grievances: 1) My dad didn’t think his coworkers pulled their weight. 2) He didn’t think he earned as much as he deserved.

Despite these feelings my dad drove to work every week day that wasn’t a national holiday. He drove in rain, snow, sleet and hail and rarely called in sick. Above all he put in his best effort and every year, when his review rolled around, he sat down with his boss and discussed the options for raises, promotions and bonuses.

My dad never said, “I just want to find a job I love” or “I don’t want to work in a job that doesn’t thrill me.” He simply woke up, drove to work, performed his duties to the best of his abilities, brought his work home with him, and repeated this same series of steps every day for over thirty years.

My dad didn’t always complain about work. He also talked about the good parts of his position. Growing up I understood that work was not always fun, (sometimes it downright sucks), but if you put in a lot of hard work and effort you can succeed. I learned that coworkers were extremely important to the success or failure of a project and that the personalities of those around us can make an unsatisfying work environment much more enjoyable. In fact, sometimes an amazing team makes up for a completely awful project.

When I graduated from college I followed in my dad’s footsteps. I certainly didn’t love everything about my job but I worked hard to learn new technologies and put in many hours above and beyond what was expected of me. I too was rewarded with raises, bonuses and promotions.

I recently read a blog post encouraging parents not to complain about work in front of their kids. I’m afraid I don’t agree. I think it’s important to talk to your kids about the good and bad aspects of jobs and at times that means letting them overhear your conversations and complaints.

Of course you shouldn’t just complain about work. You should also talk to your kids about how to make unpleasant aspects of your work better, what you enjoy about your position as well as how to handle tasks you aren’t fond of.

I want my children to know that work is not a bed of roses and that they shouldn’t think they will go to work every day loving what they do. With the good comes the bad and it’s important to figure out how to make the bad parts better rather than believing that the ideal job doesn’t have any bad parts at all.

I don’t think we should propagate fairy tales about loving our jobs. For example, you can become an artist and create incredibly beautiful sculptures, but still not love selling your pieces or marketing your art shows. You can run your own company, but not love searching for employees, running payroll and investigating the best health insurance policies.

The Internet provides today’s work force with the ability to step out of a 9-to-5 job. I hear many people say I want to become a writer or blogger. It sounds dreamy, right? But search around the Internet and you’ll find those same folks writing 2000 words about the best toilets on the market or the best ways to remove lipstick from clothing. Is this really the dream job they’ve always wished for? Do these folks have a passion for toilets and lipstick removers?

I suppose I’m showing my age, (I’m in my fourth decade of life), but I don’t think we should all feel the need to run away from work or hide the fact that it might not be enjoyable for the entire eight hours that we sit at our desks or reside inside tiny cubicles.

While I agree that you shouldn’t toil away your entire existence in a job that makes you absolutely miserable I also think you shouldn’t keep putting in minimal efforts while pining for the perfect job that most likely doesn’t exist.

In fact, I sometimes wonder if saying “I’m not willing to sacrifice my time for a job I don’t love” is an excuse. It’s easy to say I don’t really have to work hard in this job because it’s not my passion or I’m not good at this job because my heart just isn’t in it.

It’s easy to say “I want to find meaningful work” and then find every excuse to hate your job and make little to no effort to improve your current position.

Look I’m not saying you can’t find meaningful work. Rather I’m saying now is the time to be the best at whatever it is that you do. If you have a traditional job that you don’t love you should still give it 110%. You should look at ways to make your work better and more enjoyable.

If that simply isn’t possible than start a serious search for work that you will enjoy. If you want to find meaningful work then do it. If you want to work for a non-profit that saves the world then learn to live on less money so you can pursue your passions.

Either grab life by the horns and take a stab at your dream job or make the most of the job you currently hold. But don’t allow yourself to be disgruntled and angry while you pine away for a dream job that might not exist.

I won’t provide my children with fairy tale stories about work, but I won’t tell them to run away from the traditional workforce either. There are many valuable lessons learned from toiling away at a job you don’t love and many well paying benefits too.

I want my children to know that work isn’t always fun, but they are in charge of their mental mindset. They can view their employment through a negative lens or learn to work through the bad parts of their jobs while still valuing their less-than-perfect positions.

What Is Bridge Financing? Could It Be For You?

If you need a bit of money immediately to tide you over until more financing can be found, then a bridging loan might be for you. In this article, we’re going to look at bridge financing along with how to apply for one.

What is bridge financing?

Bridge loans help those who may need to cover costs in between large financial transactions. For example, let’s say you need to buy a house before you sell your current one. You know that you will receive money once your house sells, but in the mean time you don’t have enough money to cover all of your costs. You don’t need to borrow money for the next thirty years to cover this gap, you just need a short influx of cash that can help you cover costs for a short period of time.

Bridge loans help you jump over that gap in time, by providing you with a short term loan. Once your house sells you will have the money to pay off this new found debt.

These bridge finance options are normally only for short term fund-raising situations. They are often utilized by large businesses and institutions but could also be for small businesses or even individuals.

Bridge financing often helps homeowners who want to renovate a home in preparation for selling or refinancing. Once the renovations are finished and the house is sold you’ll have plenty of cash available, but in the mean time you need just a little money to help finish your housing upgrades.

Sometimes businesses apply for bridge loans when they need money to cover the day-to-day costs of running a business. Business owners may know a contract is about to finalized, but they can’t wait for those big checks to arrive in the mail. Instead they use a bridge loan to fill the gap between when the work is completed and when they will be paid.

What are the drawbacks of bridging loans?

While bridge financing could be a great option for you or your business, they aren’t for everyone. There are actually a few negatives associated with taking out a bridging loan, so let’s have a look at them:

First, they can be expensive. You might be able to find better financing options elsewhere that don’t have lower interest rates. Many bridging loan companies will rely on people who are desperate and therefore willing to pay a higher rate. So if you can find finance elsewhere, it might be a better option to do that.

You will also increase your debt. While bridge loans can be a great short-term option, you need to be aware that your overall debt levels will increase. This could put more pressure on your finances and the situation as a whole. Make sure that you can afford to take on more debt and that it’s the right choice for you.

What are the advantages of bridge financing?

The biggest advantage of a bridging loan is that it gives you the money and time to complete important projects or get to a point where you can release additional financing. This gives you a competitive advantage over those in your industry who can’t do the same. They can also be a more convenient fund-raising option than many alternatives and could provide you with the money you need quickly and easily.

How to apply for bridge financing

It’s relatively easy to apply for a bridging loan, and there are a number of places that’ll help you get a quick quote online. Simply shop around for the best deal and make sure you’ve read all the small print comprehensively.

Living With Bipolar Disorder

Until recently, through discovery and awareness, many people lived behind closed doors with the mental illness known as Bipolar Disorder. It’s a chemical imbalance which creates extreme highs and lows, and can make you do things like take drugs in large quantities, which can ultimately lead to a serious drug addiction that affects everyone in your inner circle. The good news is that with early detection and the proper care, you can live a full and satisfying life.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that results in manic swings. It seems one minute you are upbeat and ready to tackle everything and then, without notice you fall into a deep state of depression that you’re seemingly unable to come out of. During the high, you feel alive and over-energized and during the lows you may become very sad and feel worthless. In many cases, bipolar disorder comes with additional illnesses such as depression or a personality disorder which can further complicate your life. 

Risky Behavior

In order to “fit in” with those around you, you may engage in risky behavior and take unnecessary chances to please others. If you have bipolar combined with a personality disorder, you can become a chameleon and mimic the habits and behavior of the people you call friends. This is especially troubling if one friend abuses drugs or alcohol. Since you tend to overdo things, you may become addicted to the drugs rather quickly and enjoy the feeling that they bring. It isn’t uncommon for someone with bipolar to have an addiction to street drugs, alcohol or prescription drugs, which are more common today. Luckily, there are places to go to seek help without shame. For instance, if you live in Southern California, you would look up prescription drug rehab in Southern California and then select the clinic or center that best suits your needs.   

How is Affects Every Aspect of Their Lives?

It’s not easy living with bipolar for you or your family, friends and co-workers. When you fall into a state of extreme depression, you can have difficulty getting out of bed and you may even communicate thoughts of suicide. It’s also not uncommon to become very angry and hostile towards others due to your current state of mind. And, while you don’t really mean it at the time, it’s a hard situation for those around you to digest day after day. Because of this pattern of behavior, you may have difficulty keeping friends or staying in a healthy relationship.

Care and Understanding

When you have bipolar disorder, loved ones can feel frustrated over the unpredictable behavior pattern that occurs each day. Since there is no cure, having good people around you that are patient and understanding is critical. A positive support system can make all the difference in your life. 

Treatment

Thankfully, while there is no cure, there are several different types of medication available to help regulate the unpredictable nature of the symptoms. You may have to try a few until you find the one that works best for you. Along with medication, therapy is also an essential component that helps you to release some of your bottled up emotions and begin to understand how to deal with the highs and lows.

Living with bipolar disorder is not easy. Every day you will face challenges within yourself. The good news is that if you have the support and love of your family and friends, therapy and medication, you can learn the signs of an oncoming episode and prepare to deal with it. 

Home Remedies for Cleaning Your Oven

People are increasingly looking for health-conscious options in various aspects of their life. Since it’s better for both people and the planet, green cleaning is now more popular than ever. The first step towards a greener lifestyle is to avoid using chemicals to clean your home. Commercial oven cleaners contain toxic chemicals like lye and methylene chloride to scrub away buildup. If you’re using an oven in your home, chances are that your household oven cleaner contains these dangerous ingredients.

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A good alternative to chemical cleaning products is to make your own cleaning agent using ingredients you find at home. Some benefits of using natural homemade cleaning agents are that they are gentle on the skin, are inexpensive, and are very effective in removing grime. If you don’t personally clean your house, ask your house cleaning service to switch to natural cleaning methods.

What are the necessary ingredients I need to make natural cleaning agents:

Making your own oven cleaner is very easy as most of the items needed can be found in your home. The only ingredients you will need are cooking salt, baking soda, distilled white vinegar, dishwashing soap, and your favorite essential oil. You can use old spray bottles and plastic bowls to contain the solution and the paste.

While essential oils provide a pleasant aroma, they are volatile substances that should be used carefully. If you have no prior experience with essential oils, do a patch test by applying a few drops of the oil on the inside of your wrist. Wait for an hour to determine if it’s safe to use. Using oils with antiseptic and antibacterial properties, like eucalyptus, rosemary, and tea tree can boost the potency of your cleaning agent.

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How do I prepare and use a homemade cleaning solution?

The most natural method to clean your oven is also the simplest. Pour white vinegar, dishwashing soap, and a few drops of essential oil into a spray bottle. Shake the bottle to mix the solution and sprinkle it on the walls and door of the oven. Take a handful of baking soda and scatter the powder to cover the inner walls and the floor of the oven. If you use a gas oven, cover the gas lines with aluminum foil before beginning this process.

Create a paste using 1 cup of baking soda, ¾ cup of cooking salt, and 4 teaspoons of white vinegar. Apply a thin layer of this paste on the rest of the inner surfaces of the oven. Close the door and leave it to dry overnight. If the crust is too thick, spray the vinegar solution a few times while you wait. The next day, use a plastic spoon to remove the solidified paste. The burnt fat and hardened crud should come off as you remove the paste.

If you still spot any traces of grime, dip a steel wool brush into the solution and use elbow grease to scrub it off. Have a good look at the corners of the oven for tough stains and grime. Keep scrubbing till you remove the dirt from the surface. Once you are satisfied, spritz plain warm water at the inner walls and the inner side of the door. Use a clean cloth or sponge to wipe off the water and remaining paste to reveal an immaculate oven.

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Do I need to take any precautions before starting the cleaning process?

Yes, whether you use natural ingredients or not, you should always take extra precautions to ensure the safety of yourself and your appliance. Protect yourself well by wearing full-sleeved clothing, eye protection, an apron, and rubber gloves. If you have long hair, tie it up to avoid any inconvenience. You should also avoid cleaning your oven if you have small children running around in the kitchen.

Ensure ample ventilation and natural light in your kitchen by keeping your windows and blinds open. It’s also important to keep your oven turned off the day before and the day after you clean it. The oven needs to be cold to avoid hot splashes and scorching surfaces. After cleaning the oven, it’s best to give it an extra day to dry up and be ready to use.

Before you begin to clean the oven’s surfaces, remove the oven grids and soak it in diluted soapy water. Keep a dry cloth next to you to wipe away any mess created during the cleaning process. You can also cover the floor with newspapers or rubber sheets to prevent an untidy kitchen.

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Conclusion:

Ovens have some of the toughest stains and grime in the house. Due to the baked-on gunk and burnt liquids, they are probably the most difficult appliance to clean. But you don’t need to use hazardous chemicals found in commercial oven cleaners to enjoy a neat oven. Instead, get the job done with a hassle-free home remedy and achieve an oven that looks like new.

A Sign of Financial Independence: We Stopped Looking for Our Next Paycheck

I can clearly remember sitting at a desk in graduate school crunching financial numbers. As the professor rattled on about data management I pulled out a lined piece of paper and began to scribble down various amounts. How much was my car payment that month? How much did I owe for rent and utilities? How much did I spend on groceries and dining out?

My grandmother taught me to pay off my credit card every month and despite making only $32,000 a year while living in Washington, DC I was determined to close out that account every month without owing a penny of late fees or interest.

So there I sat writing down numbers and trying to figure out if I could make the math work. Alongside the totals I wrote down various dates. When was my credit card bill due? What was the latest I could hand over my rent check? And perhaps, most importantly, when would my direct deposit show up in my bank account?

My good friend Henry looked over at the paper in front of me, but he never said a word about it. He didn’t ask what I was doing or why I wasn’t paying attention to the professor. Maybe he pieced it all together, maybe he didn’t care. I have no idea, but I remember furiously scribbling down those numbers and worrying that my income might not cover my expenses that month. I remember wondering if Henry ever had the same thought or anyone else that sat in class alongside me. Back then money was taboo, (I suppose it still is), and personal finance blogs didn’t exist.

Twenty-two years later I can tell you that I’ve never missed a rent or mortgage payment and I’ve never paid my credit card bill late. In fact, due to a frugal mindset, six years of college education, quality health insurance and ultimately a high paying job I’ve always managed to pay that credit card bill in full.

I don’t say this to brag, but just to tell my story. The only story I know. I recognize my blessings and I am forever grateful for them. I am so glad my grandmother instilled the importance of money management and that I was healthy and capable enough to listen and follow her example. I am, in fact, beyond grateful.

I review our finances often. I log in to my bank account at least once a day. I check to see if the market is up or down and watch the wild swings that come with a large portfolio. I do all of this despite the fact that I never change our investments or make any major changes to the way we handle our money. I suppose it simply feels good to see the amount in black and white in front of me.

These days I no longer need to furiously scribble my income and expenses on to a piece of paper, but not much else has changed since my husband and I reached financial independence. In fact, we go about our day to day lives just like we did before reaching that monetary threshold. My husband still works an ordinary job and when my boys get another year or two older I will return to the workforce.

One thing that has changed: we no longer look for our next paycheck. That’s crazy isn’t it? When you reach financial independence you can stop worrying about dates and reworking numbers to ensure your income covers your expenses. That money still arrives in our bank account every two weeks, but we no longer need that paycheck to pay our bills.

Does it sound like a dream to stop worrying about your income and expenses? It hasn’t been a sprint to the finish line, but the ability to completely disregard the timeliness of a paycheck still feels like a miracle to me.

With Intention Comes Wealth

I stopped reading the majority of personal finance blogs in my RSS reader a few years ago. After reading blogs day after day for years I simply couldn’t find any new ideas that I hadn’t read or thought of before. I stopped blogging myself for this very same reason. What could I possibly say that no one had heard before? Honestly, I couldn’t come up with much. So I stopped writing and filled this blog with paid posts, because well, I wasn’t sure what else to do.

After awhile even the websites of amazing personal finance bloggers begin to feel stale and old. Most of the rules for accumulating wealth are simple. Increase your income, decrease your expenses and figure out how to invest the money you’ve saved. The blog ESI Money, which stands for earn, save and invest pretty much covers it.

So if that’s all you have to do than why don’t more people follow these principles? That’s a tough nut to crack, but I think that the majority of money management comes down to intentionality.

Before I begin let me say that not everyone can become a millionaire. I know there are may factors involved in the accumulation of wealth and some of those factors are out of our control.

If you are disabled, ill, paying for family members expenses or dealing with a devastating accident than you may not be able to climb the financial ladder or at a minimum you may not be able to climb as quickly as those around you.

But if you are making a half-decent wage and not dealing with unfortunate life circumstances than the odds are pretty high that there is nothing holding you back from wealth other than you.

To find the path to wealth I believe you need to live with intention. If you have an aim, a plan, a purpose, an objective, a target, whatever you want to call it, you are more likely to reach your goal.

Many of us live our lives from moment to moment without any real plan in mind. I recently had a conversation with a forty-year old friend of mine. I asked him what he wanted to do with his life. He said, “I don’t know.” I asked him if he wanted to travel. He said, “I don’t know.” I asked him if he would consider moving to a new state. He said, “I don’t know.” I asked him if he had plans to switch jobs. He said, “I don’t know.”

The fact is that my friend wakes up every day and steps through the motions of life. He takes a shower, gets dressed, drives to work, parks his car, works for 9 hours, gets back into his car, drives home, eats dinner and goes to sleep. My friend is an amazing guy, but he does not have a plan. How many of us can say the same about ourselves?

In order to reach a goal you have to set one. If you want to attain wealth, retire early, travel the world, do whatever your heart desires, you have to set a course and follow it closely.

So what does living with intention mean when it comes to your finances? First, put your finances into auto-pilot. Begin contributing to a 401(k) through your employer. Let your money slide straight into your retirement account without ever realizing it’s missing. If you can do the same with automated savings accounts. Move money aside each month and see if you can live without it.

Second, avoid shopping whenever possible. If you avoid the temptation of brick and mortar and online stores you will keep more money in your pocket, period. If you want to buy something ask yourself “is this a need or a want?” If it’s a want, then think long and hard about your end goal and decide if the item you covet really needs to be purchased at this very moment.

If you find yourself wavering then tape a picture of your goal to your credit card. I kid you not, this works. If you want to retire early to a beachside retreat then tape a picture of yourself at the beach. If you want to travel the world, then print a picture of an airplane flying around the globe. If you want to stay-at-home with your children then add their beautiful little faces to the top of your credit card.

Now, every time you pick up that credit card to pay for something you will come face-to-face with your goal and that reminder may be all you need to place that credit card back in your pocket.

Third, avoid feelings of jealousy and envy. When you visit your friends luxurious home filled with beautiful furniture and tchotchkes remind yourself that your goal may be different from theirs. If you want to travel the world you don’t need a five bedroom house to live in. If you want to retire early you might hop into an RV and travel around the country. Again, remember to keep your goal in mind. Do your best not to be distracted by others.

Fourth, remember that people are more important than things. All of the things in the world don’t add up too much if you are alone. Focus your intentions on creating meaningful relationships with those around you. Fill your life with people who fill your soul and you will suddenly realize that you don’t need much to make you happy in this world.

Fifth, revisit your plan often. Track your expenses, search for ways to earn more income and try to remain optimistic about meeting your target. Every time you stop yourself from spending you will reach one step closer to the finish line.

Sixth, find those who will cheer for your success and pick you up when you fail. It can be difficult to talk about money with others, so search for an online community or blogger who can guide you. Over the years I’ve met many amazing bloggers who now feel like life long friends.

Lastly, once you apply the notion of intentionality to your finances you will find yourself applying similar principles to other aspects of your life. A lot of people talk about retiring early, but once they’ve met their financial goals they have absolutely no idea what they actually want to do with their lives.

Create a plan for your relationships, your career, your children, your passions and anything else you can think of. Set your goals and strive to reach them. I can only speak from personal experience here, but maintaining the goal to accumulate wealth played a huge role in my success with money.

I wish you the best in your future endeavors.



Property Purchase: The 7 Steps of the Real Estate Purchase

The real estate purchase is a very exciting adventure, but complex! The whole process lasts several months, and involves very different interlocutors, owners, notaries, banks, etc. the process is quite difficult which is the more reason you will have to consult attorneys for legal guidance before launching. However, very necessary to look into detail in this article the seven major steps that punctuate the path to the good of your dreams.

Calculate your Real Estate Budget

The first step is to determine your real estate budget and make sure it sticks with your aspirations. However, you should set the topmost price you could pay for your acquisition. For this, two steps, first, determine your borrowing potentials, which is the maximal amount you can obtain based on your income. Our simulator is here for that! Second, find out about the prices of the goods that interest you. Indeed, these prices differ according to the idiosyncrasy of the house and its locality. Can you notafford the duplex of your dreams? You are given some tips to optimize your borrowing capacity.

Find the Apartment of your Dreams

You have chained the visits, and finally, it’s love at first sight, you don’t want the house of your dreams to slip away. After negotiating the price and making a proposal to buy, you are launched. The sale is sealed by the sales agreement (or promise of sale) scribbled by the owner and you. As a buyer, you benefit from a cancellation period of 10 days succeeding the signature, after which it is difficult to cancel the purchase unless one of the conditions precedents of the pre-contract is fulfilled (for instance, if you don’t get your credit).

Apply for Mortgage

During this phase, you will seek the cheapest loan with the most advantageous terms. You must not only be vigilant about interest rates, but also associated benefits, flexibilities, credit insurance, and so on. To appeal for a loan, you will have to submit a complete file to the banks. This file, including your pay slips, your statements of account and your latest tax records, is your borrower’s CV for the bank. It is therefore important that you make theeminent impression possible, be now rigorous and organized.

Advice 

Prepare your file before your search for funding; because once you found your property, it will be fast. Indeed from the time the promise is signed, a period of 45 days is commonly granted to the buyer to allow him time to find his financing. Manage your accounts healthily and especially avoid overdrafts, they will be visible on your statements and will make a very shoddy impression. As disclosed above, the time available for your search for funding is limited and you ought to hurry up. 

Get an Agreement in Principle and Reassure the Seller

You have found the bank that suits you. Bingo, she gives you a loan! You will be warned by an agreement in principle, i.e.,a document grouping the elements of credit, amount, rate, conditions, etc. You can, therefore, inform the seller that you have obtained your loan and confirm your decision to buy his property.

Sign the Official Loan Application and Validate the Insurance

To validate your agreement you will have to sign a loan request from the selected bank. It is at this time that the insurance must be validated, it can be done before the appointment of the signature loan application, or the insurance membership can be done at this appointment. In both cases, you must finalize a confidential medical questionnaire. If membership is at the signature appointment and your situation is simple, you can most often get an instant insurance agreement.

The Loan Offer: The Last Moment to Think

After the validation of the insurance and following the opening of the account, the bank sends you and the sureties, an offer of an official loan by registered mail. You have a 10-day cooling-off interval, which you must use; you cannot give an answer during this period. Be patient! Additionally, the loan offer remains valid for 30 days. If you reject the offer, you will not be charged by the bank – but beware, the advance paid when signing the trade-off will probably be withheld to compensate the seller.

Passage to the Notary: You Officially become the Owner

Congratulations, you are there! The signature of the authentic act, which is more often called “passage to the notary” is the formalization of the passage of title deed. This is where you pay the property and pay the notary fees and agency fees. The capitals are released days before the signing of the deed on an account held by the notary. Attention, the funds can be released only if the signature of the authentic act takes place within six months following the acceptance of the loan offer. If you decline from visiting the notary within this time, the loan will be canceled, andthe bank may claim fees.

3 Tips for Personal Finance in 2019

As the year draws to a close, many of us are reflecting on 2018 and resolving to improve ourselves in 2019. New Year’s resolutions related to money are common, with many Americans planning to escape debt, save more money, and even eat at home more often. Follow these personal finance tips to manage your money better in 2019.

Assess the Way You Use Money

Money is one of our most precious commodities, but many of us move from year to year without really thinking about how we’re using it. Start the new year by taking stock of your financial situation. Did your financial situation improve in 2018? How are you using your windfall? Often we simply absorb bonuses and raises in our household budgets. Increasing your retirement plan contributions, repaying debts, or growing an emergency fund are better uses for this extra money.

Expenditure is another area we don’t analyze enough. Look through your financial statements and identify the regular payments. Are all those expenses necessary? You might spot subscriptions you rarely use and wouldn’t miss. Also consider downgrading some services like your internet subscription or streaming plans if you’re not using all the features. You might receive discounts by bundling some services like insurance policies. Use the money you save to achieve your financial goals.

Resolve IRS Debts

While clearing all debt matters, resolving your IRS debt is even more important in 2019. On April 1 last year, the IRS increased its interest rates in line with Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. The rate compounds every day and is assessed every quarter. The Motley Fool calculated that an individual tax debt of $10,000 would accrue interest of $1.37 every day until its paid. After one year, that would add $500.05 to the debt. Then there are additional penalties to consider.

Of course, repaying your IRS debt as soon as you can is the best way to avoid the sting of those interest rate hikes. Even a partial payment can help you minimize the impact. You could also apply for an extension if you expect to have the money before long, or apply for an installment agreement. You might also qualify for an Offer in Compromise. If you’re struggling with tax debt, seeking professional help can reduce the pain of those IRS changes.  

Review Your Credit Score

You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Despite all Americans qualifying for this complimentary service, 30% of us don’t know our credit scores. Don’t bury your head in the sand in 2019. Obtaining your free credit score reports is as easy as visiting the Annual Credit Report website or calling 1-877-322-8228. Knowledge is power.

Once you know your credit score, you can take steps to boost it, like direct debiting bills to avoid late payments and eliminating credit card debt. You might even spot errors harming your score.

When you take control of your personal finances, it feels like so many facets of your life fall into place. Start 2019 off right by applying these money-savvy solutions.

5 Ways to Make Money Without Leaving Your Home

When you think of ways to make money you probably think of finding a part-time or full-time job, which means waking up every morning, leaving your house, and working a set schedule. But, thanks to the internet and mobile apps, there are new ways to fund your lifestyle.

These money-making alternatives are convenient and flexible. Some of these money making ventures can even turn into a long-term side hustle that will create a reliable stream of monthly income.

Do you want to know how to make money fast without having to leave your home? Here are 5 of the best options to make money

1. Become a Website Tester

With millions of websites on the web today, there’s no shortage of poorly designed sites. From those that aren’t mobile friendly to sites that are designed with clashing colors, website developers can greatly benefit from having a second set of eyes look over the site for errors. This is where you come into the equation.

As a website tester, you’ll provide feedback on the design, functionality, and look and feel of a site. By providing this information, you can give web designers a better idea of how user-friendly their website is (or isn’t!).

You can find website testing jobs on several websites including TryMyUI and User Testing. These sites pay $10 per review, and you can typically finish a review in about 20 minutes. Knock-out 10 reviews a week and you’ve got an easy $100.

2. Offer Virtual Assistant Services

Businesses all around the globe outsource administrative work as a way to save money and to grow their team. As an independent contractor, you can serve as a company’s virtual assistant. You’ll be responsible for a variety of tasks including:

  • Database entry
  • Bookkeeping
  • Online research
  • Managing email
  • Creating presentations
  • Social media marketing

Depending on your client’s budget and the technical skills required to complete the necessary tasks, you will make at least $10 per hour. Some virtual assistants make well over $100 an hour!

You can find reliable virtual assistant jobs on sites like Upwork, Zirtual, and Remote.

3. Take Paid Surveys

Paid surveys are one of the easiest ways to make money at home. They are relatively short, typically taking less than 5 minutes to complete. While surveys don’t pay much money, you can easily make an extra $50 if you’re able to complete dozens of them throughout the week. 

Companies use the feedback you provide in order to better tailor their products or services. Companies also use paid surveys to learn about the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.

To find paid surveys, you’ll want to sign up on websites like Survey Junkie, Vindale Research, and Swagbucks. By signing up for several sites, you can ensure that you have surveys to take almost every day.

4. Become a Freelance Writer

Are you an inspiring writer but never really got the big break you were looking for? The internet is one of the best places to make money using your writing skills. You’ll find clients that are looking for keyword optimized web pages, unique eBooks, and even companies that want a writer to ghostwrite white papers.

The great thing about becoming a freelance writer is that over time, you can find high-paying clients and turn this side-gig into a part-time or full-time job. There are thousands of people that work as freelance writers and editors and make enough money to live comfortably.

Before applying for freelance writing gigs, you should do some research on social media marketing, search engine optimization, and using keywords. Having the slightest bit of knowledge in these areas can give you a competitive edge over other writers bidding for the same job.

Websites like Problogger, Upwork, and Freelance Writing Gigs post dozens of writing jobs each day, so start applying!

5. Create Videos

The online world is driven by video content, and chances are you’re one of the millions of people who watch YouTube videos on a daily basis. Wouldn’t be nice to create your own videos and make money off of them?

Though the video content world is pretty crowded, if you find a unique niche that sets you apart from other video posters, you can make some serious cash. To monetize your videos, you’ll want to use Google AdSense, which allows you to make money each time a viewer clicks on the ad in your video.

The key to successful video content is to establish a steady stream of viewers. This means marketing your videos on social media, interacting with viewers, and posting new content on a routine basis.

Conclusion

By setting a schedule and committing to completing daily tasks, you can make hundreds of dollars a month with these at home money making jobs. Here’s to earning money, in your couch, wearing your most comfortable pajamas!