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Is Thrift Store Reselling Good Or Evil?

Is Thrift Store Reselling Good Or Evil?

Thrift store reselling is when you purchase items from a thrift store and resell them somewhere else for more than you paid for them. You can resell clothing, shoes, accessories, furniture, home decor, and more. And, it can be an interesting way to make extra money

When I was younger, I worked in a popular secondhand clothing shop called Plato’s Closet. We mainly sold brand name, young adult clothing. And when I worked there, I met many, many people who would scour our racks looking for items to resell. 

I also met many people who purchased items from yard sales and charity shops just to sell to us. Many of these same people also went to garage sales and thrift stores like Goodwill in order to find items for thrift store reselling.

I saw a lot of thrift store reselling going on. Some people did it for a full-time income, and other people did it as a way to make money on the side.

And, some did it because they loved finding treasure and going on a hunt.

Sometimes people would score big, and other times they would make only make just a few dollars.

I worked at Plato’s Closet for many years, starting as a sales associate and eventually becoming a manager, and not a day went by when I didn’t see someone doing thrift store flipping.

One of the things I loved about working in a resale shop is that I love a good deal, and it made me really happy to see so many other people saving money on clothes. We saw lots of high-quality clothing and brand name accessories coming in and being sold for a fraction of the price you would see at a traditional retail store.

After so many years of working in a secondhand shop, it’s still hard for me to pay full price for clothing because I know you can probably find nearly the exact same item somewhere else for much cheaper. 

But, buying secondhand doesn’t just save you a ton of money, it prevents waste and reduces the amount of things that pile up in landfills.

I think we are all aware that we are throwing things into landfills at alarming rates, and shopping secondhand can be one of many ways to make a difference. It’s a small step towards reducing the negative impact we have on the environment.

Buying secondhand isn’t just good for your budget, it’s good for the earth.

However, that’s not how some people see shopping at thrift stores, especially if you are purchasing items because you plan on thrift store reselling.

I have been told by people that thrift store reselling is taking items that people with less money could have bought and used.

I’ve also heard that people who shop at thrift stores in order to flip items for a higher profit are “evil.”

Other comments I’ve heard about shopping at thrift stores and thrift store flipping include (these are all direct quotes):

  • “Why donate if it’s not going to poor people?”
  • “Resellers shouldn’t be allowed in charity stores.”
  • “Shopping at thrift stores is for people who can’t afford clothes.”
  • “The wealthy shouldn’t be allowed to save money. They should leave it for the less fortunate.”

Personally, I believe that thrift stores and discounts are for anyone to use. Of course, everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, but I would bet that those people don’t really understand the positives of purchasing secondhand or the missions that non-profit secondhand stores have.

For those who disagree with thrift store reselling, I would say this – if it somehow encourages more people to buy used instead of new, we are reducing the amount of stuff that ends up in landfills. 

If you want to learn more about thrift store reselling and flipping items for profit, I recommend reading these posts:

Here is why I believe thrift store reselling helps everyone.

 

Photo by chrissie kremer on Unsplash

Thrift store reselling helps the environment.

When resellers come in and comb through the racks at thrift stores, they are finding new homes for the items. 

Thrift stores usually have an overwhelming number of things and are usually bursting at the seams. It’s not like you are going to buy 100% of the items in the store – they usually have TOO MANY items to sell. Sometimes thrift stores have so many items that they can’t take any more donations until they sell more of what they have. Stores like Goodwill go to great lengths to keep things from going to the landfill, like selling items by the pound in outlets or sending clothes to textile recyclers.

Still, there are lots of items that end up in landfills. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there were 16 million tons of textile waste produced in 2015, and 85% of it went to landfills. The main source of this waste is clothing, with 11.9 million tons of clothing and footwear waste in 2015.

And, according to the Huffington Post, Americans, on average, throw away 81 pounds of clothing each year.

According to Down To Earth Materials, the estimated decomposition time for clothing and other items are:

  • Leather shoes: 25-40 years
  • Nylon clothes: 30-40 years
  • Cotton: 1-5 months
  • Tin cans: around 50 years
  • Plastic bottles: 70-450 years

As you can see, the clothing we wear and other household items we use can have a big environmental impact. By purchasing secondhand clothing, even if you are reselling thrift store items, you are helping to reduce the amount of waste we put in to landfills and help the environment well into the future.

With more people shopping at thrift stores and purchasing secondhand clothing from resellers, there are even more items that are getting a second “life” and even fewer items ending up in landfills.

Can you just imagine how crazy landfills would be if resellers weren’t allowed to shop at thrift stores? There would be so much more waste that existed!

 

There’s just SO MUCH STUFF.

For the most part, buying a t-shirt at Goodwill or Salvation Army to resell it isn’t going to negatively impact anyone – thrift stores have plenty of everything. In some places, they are actually turning away donations because they have TOO MUCH STUFF.

When we donated about 99% of our belongings to move into the RV, we took a lot of our things to thrift stores. Surprisingly, a lot of our belongings were rejected because they had too much stuff or too many of a specific item. We actually had to hunt for places that would take some of our stuff.

Most of the things that are sold for thrift store reselling aren’t going to be life or death for anyone – it’s just stuff and there is a lot of it. There are always going to be more shoes, clothes, and household items. 

If you go to thrift stores enough, especially the same ones over and over again, you’ll find that there is always new stuff on the racks. Most Americans love buying new things, they do it every season, and that means thrift stores are constantly getting gently used items.

There is plenty for everyone and thrift stores won’t be running out of basic household items and clothing anytime soon.

So, the belief that “resellers are taking away items from the less fortunate” is not realistic – there’s plenty of stuff for everyone. Like I said, thrift stores are bursting with so much stuff that they are turning donations away!

Related content:

 

It’s all about the thrift store’s mission.

Thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army exist so that they can make money and put that money towards the charities they support.

So, having more people shopping at these thrift stores can help further their mission of helping the community.

For example, with the money Goodwill makes through selling items at its stores and through donations they were able to help more than 242,000 people receive valuable job training in 2018. Goodwill also helped them with transportation, child care, and English language learning.

It’s possible that if you took away some of their customer base, they may not have been able to help as many people. They even state on their website:

“When you donate your new and gently used items to Goodwill®, we sell them in our stores or on our online auction site and use the revenue generated to fund valuable employment training and job placement services for people in your community.”

For many non-profit thrift stores, their mission isn’t to solely sell clothes at low prices. Instead, their mission is to further improve the community and the people in it. To do that, they need funds, and they raise funds by selling donated items.

So, the more people who shop at these stores (including people who are thrift store reselling), the more money they have to further their mission.

 

How to start thrift store reselling.

If you think you’d like to start reselling thrift store items as a way to earn more money, here are some tips to help you get started.

 

Pay attention to trends and brands.

You can follow fashion blogs or influencers to learn what trends and brands are currently popular. Right now, vintage finds and clothes from the 90’s are pretty popular. Also, high-quality outdoor clothing brands always seem to sell well. 

 

Carefully look over each item before purchasing.

When I worked at Plato’s Closet, I learned how to carefully inspect clothing before we bought it from sellers. We looked for rips, torn seams, stains, frayed edges, worn spots, etc. While I mainly did that for clothing and shoes, paying attention to the wear and tear of furniture or other resale items is just as important.

Even though people know they are buying used, they still want it to look decent. Examining your finds is important whether you are Goodwill reselling, finding things at other secondhand shops, purchasing from garage sales, etc.

Here are some tips for looking over items to resell:

  • Shirts and tops: Check for armpit and collar stains, missing buttons, and frayed or stained cuffs.
  • Jeans and pants: Look for worn spots near the back pockets and near the crotch, check to see that pockets don’t have holes, and look for frayed cuffs.
  • Shoes: Examine the soles, laces, and inside of the shoe.
  • Furniture: Look at the legs of chairs and tables for scratches, see if things wobble, check wood items for water stains and knicks, and look over cloth items for stains or odors.

 

Be honest when listing your items.

Items in excellent condition will usually sell the best, but as long as you are honest in your listings you may be able to sell things that look a little more used. And, being honest can help your ratings on apps and other online seller platforms.

For example, if you are selling thrift store items on eBay, you should mention any issues and show a photo of each of them. A potential buyer can decide if the price is worth buying the item, potentially fixing the issue or just living with it.

 

Apps that make it even easier to resell thrift store items.

There are lots of apps that make thrift store reselling easy, so here are some popular apps to sell on:

What do you think? Do you think that thrift stores shouldn’t be used for thrift store reselling?

The post Is Thrift Store Reselling Good Or Evil? appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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The content for this post was sourced from www.makingsenseofcents.com

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How I Made Money Blogging In August 2019 + My Top Blogging Mistakes

How I Made Money Blogging In August 2019 + My Top Blogging Mistakes

Welcome to August 2019’s business report where I show you how I made money online and traveled full-time last month. It’s time to look at this month’s update and see how I did.

If you’re new to Making Sense of Cents, you may be wondering why I would want to publish my business report each month.

This all started out as my extra income report because, in the beginning, it was all about the money I was earning from my side jobs. In my side income reports from the beginning, I included all of the income I made except for what I made at my day job.

However, I left my day job as a financial analyst in October of 2013 and now my monthly business reports consist of the many ways I earn a living with my business.

Many have asked why I would ever want to publicly talk about what I’m working on each month. Some think I’m crazy, whereas some are glad I’m open about what I’m doing. Whatever you think, I enjoy publishing my monthly business reports and I share them publicly for three main reasons:

  1. Before I started blogging, I knew nothing about side hustling and making money online. I didn’t think side jobs were worth the effort and I thought the only way to significantly increase your income was through raises at your full-time job. If it weren’t for others publishing their monthly income reports, I don’t know if I would have ever tried side hustling. I want to help show others the positives in side hustling and how it can change a person’s life. There are many different ways to make money online, and I like to share my story each month to help motivate others to improve their financial situation by making more money.
  2. Secondly, I like to publish my business blogging reports because it’s a way for me to look back, learn from my mistakes and actually see what areas need improvement. I use my monthly blogging reports as a way to track how I’ve done and it helps to keep me accountable.
  3. Lastly, I like to show others that making side money is possible and that there are many legitimate ways to make money from your home.

I know I say this every month, but it’s the truth. Life is great now that I’m my own boss and a full-time blogger. I look forward to each and every day and it’s a wonderful feeling. I truly love waking up every single morning.

Above are just a few of the reasons for why I enjoy publishing my monthly income reports. I like to show others that you don’t have to hate your job and hate your life. You can make changes to your life and make money in a way that allows you to truly enjoy the life you are living. I’m not saying that you have to LOVE your job, I’m just saying that your job should, at least, allow you to do what you like to do outside of work (whether that be spending time with loved ones, doing crafts, hiking, etc.).

 

A quick reminder on the recent announcement.

I want to repeat the announcement again because I have been asked – How I Made Over $1,500,000 In 2018 – Is This The End Of Income Reports? so that no one is confused. I’m sure I’ll receive many questions from readers who missed it.

Surprisingly, the percentages were the same from the previous month, although, the actual income level was different.

How was business income in August of 2019?

In case you are new to this blog, the main areas I earn a living from include:

I regularly earn over $100,000 a month blogging, and I have earned over $5,000,000 from my blogging business total over the years.

Check out How I Successfully Built A $1,000,000+ Blog for all of the different ways you can make money through a blog.

August of 2019 was another great month for Making Sense of Cents and the whole blogging business. I earned a great income and I had a fun month.

I have many plans for the rest of 2019, and I have a jam-packed to-do list that I am very excited to start crossing off and accomplishing. I am wanting to grow Making Sense of Cents in many areas – income, readers, more helpful blog posts, and so on.

Some of the things that I plan on doing in order to grow Making Sense of Cents include:

  • Getting more media mentions. I’m about to take a course that will teach me how to be featured in the media more, and I’m super excited. I will share more information on this course soon.
  • Focusing on SEO. I am taking an SEO course soon from start to finish, in order to start growing Making Sense of Cents in this area. I tried a few years ago, but stopped. While I get decent traffic from SEO without much effort, I do think this area can be a great way to further grow my website.
  • Learning about Pinterest advertising and Facebook advertising. I would like to use social media advertising to grow traffic as well as to grow my email list.
  • Adding an online shop to my blog. I would like to create a shop for Making Sense of Cents, where I sell products such as printables.
  • Creating new optins. I don’t have many optins for my email list, and haven’t added a new one in quite some time. This is currently on my to-do list so that I can reach new readers and gain more subscribers.

The month was great in many areas – blogging, course-wise, life, and everything else. The business is doing well and I’m very happy with it. My business is doing well, I have a lot of ideas for the year, and I am very excited about everything. I really love my business and I don’t know where I would be without it.

Below are some of my monthly online income reports. I publish an online income update every month but only included some of them below as it would be a very long list. If you head on over to my income page you can find all of my monthly income reports from the past few years.

If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, I created a tutorial that will help you start a blog of your own for cheap, starting at only $2.75 per month (this low price is only through my link) for blog hosting. In addition to the low pricing, you will receive a free website domain for the first year (a $15 value) through my Bluehost referral link if you purchase, at least, 12 months of blog hosting. FYI, if you are asking yourself “can you make money blogging?” – my top tip is to be self-hosted. This is essential if you want to monetize your blog as you will appear more professional and this will help you monetize your blog tremendously. My blogging income did not take off until after I switched to self-hosted WordPress.

Blog/life news

August was a really fun and busy month! We spent the month in the van traveling to many different places – from Colorado to northwest Arkansas, back to Colorado, to Missouri, then back again to Colorado and Utah.

We’ve had quite a few events to attend which meant a lot of driving back and forth, but it was all great and comfy traveling in our van!

In case you missed it, you can read more about it here – We’re Going To Start Living In A Van!

We’ve been outdoors a ton since we moved into the van, and it’s been amazing! We climbed six 14,000+ foot mountains in the month of August (all within just 6 days!), have mountain biked several times, and more. It’s been great to get back in the mountains, and it’s making us even more excited to get back to the boat next month too.

We’ve also been able to see our family a lot in the last couple of months, and that has been great. In fact, I am writing this from our van which is parked in my sister’s driveway. This is one of the big reasons for why we got the van – to spend more quality time with those that we love!

Below are several other business and blog-related updates:

  • I’m currently around one month ahead in blog posts. I would like to be around 2-3 months ahead. I do have several months of blog posts planned, though, I just need to finish writing them and hand them to my editor.
  • Traffic for the month was over 400,000 page views.
  • I am working on a series where I will help readers with specific financial questions, and tutorials to go along with them. Topics such as: How to open a bank account, How to write a check, Finding an online bank, Building and creating an investment account, etc. What other topics would you like to see me cover?
  • My community group for Making Sense of Cents is continuing to grow. This is a Facebook group in which you can seek advice from other readers on all sorts of topics such as finance, blogging, travel, running a business, and so on. There are already over 15,000 members!
  • I released my How To Start A Blog FREE Course. If you’ve been wanting to start a blog, then check this out. I created this email course for those who are interested in starting a blog, but haven’t done so yet. The course is free, and over 60,000 people have already signed up. Thank you, everyone, for the kind emails about how great the course is. Glad everyone is enjoying it!
  • Due to how well my first free course went, I also created the free Master Your Money email course. It’s full of great money management lessons and financial worksheets (such as a free budget template), and I’m loving the positive response from this email course as well.
  • Other freebies I have include 10 Easy Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Income and 8 Easy Tips To Make Money From Sponsored Posts On Your Blog.

 

Popular new posts on Making Sense of Cents last month:

 

Featured Question: What do you wish you would have done differently with your blogging business?

I feature one question from a reader in each monthly income report. Please leave a comment below if you have a question that you would like me to answer. 

This is a very common question that I receive. I mainly hear it from new bloggers, who are trying to avoid the same mistakes I made when I first started.

And, I completely understand!

All bloggers make mistakes or do things that may be holding them back. I’ve made tons of mistakes and I still make mistakes to this day.

Perhaps what you’re doing is preventing you from making an income, stopping you from growing, or something else. While mistakes will be made, it’s all about learning from them and figuring out better solutions.

Here are the top things I wish I would have done from the beginning:

  1. Use WordPress instead of Blogger. I started blogging on Blogger/Blogspot, and that was a huge mistake. Blogger actually shut down my blog at one time, for no reason at all. I begged for it back and they gave it back, but I’ve heard that was extremely lucky. After that, I switched to self-hosted WordPress and I’ve been 1,000,000 times happier. You can learn how to not make this mistake here with my tutorial.
  2. Stick to just one blog. Once I realized that I could make money blogging, I created several blogs. While this may work for some people, I found that I spread myself too thin. I corrected this problem by selling my side blogs and solely focusing on Making Sense of Cents. I receive so many emails from those who want to start multiple blogs all at the same time. I don’t usually recommend this, as it’s hard to start one blog, so starting multiple would be a lot of work! I recommend simply starting with one, and if you still want another later on, then find the time for it.
  3. Hire help sooner. It actually wasn’t until somewhat recently when I decided to start outsourcing more tasks. I now have an editor (I don’t have her edit my income reports, so there are probably a lot of errors, sorry! I like my income reports to be more “raw” and I barely even proofread them), a virtual assistant (who helps with emails, graphic design, support tasks, and more!), and I hire out for lots of small tasks too, such as for printables and technical management.
  4. Start an email list right away. For years, I skipped the newsletter/email list thing. I thought it looked hard and too time-consuming. Boy, that’s probably one of the blogging mistakes I regret the most! I now have over 100,000 email subscribers, and I just only started taking my email list seriously in 2016. I can’t imagine where my email list would be if I would have started it in 2011 when I created Making Sense of Cents.
  5. Realize that I don’t need to publish daily. While today I don’t publish nearly as much as I did in the beginning, it took me awhile to realize this error. When I first started Making Sense of Cents, I thought that I had to create and publish a blog post EVERY SINGLE DAY. This led to me being quite tired and not really enjoying what I was writing as much as I should have. Eventually, I went down to publishing one time a day Monday through Friday. Then, I went down to three times a week. Today, I am only publishing around twice a week and I think this is my sweet spot!

I’m glad I learned from my errors, but I know that I still have a lot of room for improvement!

What do you wish you would have done differently with your website?

Past featured questions:

 

My plans and goals for my blog and my business.

I have so many plans right now for my business that sometimes I feel like I don’t know where I want to start! But, that is a good “problem” to have.

Plans and goals can help you run a successful business. I believe that working towards a goal can help keep a person motivated too.

Below are some of the areas I am currently working on:

  • Complete the Facebook Ads For Bloggers course. There are two courses that I am really wanting to finish so that I can continue to grow Making Sense of Cents. Learning about Facebooks ads is so important and I think I will benefit from this course a lot.
  • Complete the Stupid Simple SEO course. This is the second course. SEO is something I just have never really spent much time on, so I know that this course will be extremely helpful! I’m hoping to finish the above course and this one by the end of the summer.
  • Create a freebie optin for affiliates to share for Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I have been asked by several affiliates for this, and I’m glad to finally start working on it! This is a great thing to do because my affiliates can easily promote my course with this freebie optin, and then be credited for future sales. For me, as an affiliate for other products, freebie optins are usually the very first thing I promote (as well as my favorite) because it’s a great way to introduce an audience to a new product/service/company.
  • Get at least three months ahead on Making Sense of Cents posts. Being ahead in blog posts makes life much more enjoyable because I can focus on other things knowing that the majority of my writing work is already done. This is one of my major 2019 goals!
  • Work less than 30 hours per week. For the most part, I am working less than 30 hours per week. However, there are some weeks when I spend all day and night on my laptop, not even sure where the day went. Due to that, I would like to continue to work on a better work/life balance.
  • Be more present. My main goal in 2019 is to be more present, and I wrote about it here – My Quest To Be More Present And Enjoy Life More. I’m excited for the year of travel and sailing we have ahead of us, and I want to enjoy it as much as we can. I’ve been so focused on the business the last several years, that I want this year to be focused on life outside of business. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE running Making Sense of Cents, and that’s what makes it so hard to break away and be more present outside of work.
  • Have fun. Okay, so this isn’t really a goal that is quantifiable or something that I’ll track, haha, but I am really looking forward to everything that life has to offer!

 

Affiliate marketing results.

Affiliate income was at a normal Making Sense of Cents level in August of over $50,000.

I believe that it will be increasing in the next several months as I will be promoting a few affiliate offers to my readers. I have the rest of 2019 planned for affiliate offers, which is great. I am also currently planning and scheduling for 2020 already too!

I’m also hoping to improve my affiliate income by growing my traffic through SEO, as well as advertising on Facebook and Pinterest. The media course that I mentioned earlier should be super helpful too.

Some of the areas that I am working on to improve my affiliate income include:

  • Planning out 2019 for affiliate offers. I’m not really much of a huge planner, but I am changing that in 2019. I already have affiliate promotions planned out for all of 2019 and for the first several months of 2020. This will help to keep me organized and better prepared.
  • Learning about SEO and applying techniques to my blog. This past guest post has me super interested in starting to take SEO seriously – The exact template that helped my site earn $95,000 in affiliate income last year.
  • Using Facebook ads to my affiliate marketing advantage. This past guest post also has me interested in growing in this way as well – How One Blogger Grew His Blog to Over 2 Million Visitors In A Year.
  • Creating a high-quality funnel. Funnels are something that I have never really spent any time on, but I would like to change that. I want to create a high-quality funnel where I continue to give valuable information to my readers, and keep them happy for the times when I may not have the greatest wifi.
  • Continuing to grow the reach of Making Sense of Cents. Traffic has been a little stuck lately, and I want to change that! I want to see what I can do to grow the traffic, as that will help me to reach new readers.
  • Analyzing popular affiliate blog posts to see how they can be improved for the future.
  • Seeking out new affiliate products to promote, and seeing what my audience is interested in.

And more!

Earning affiliate income is something that I’m extremely grateful for, especially lately. We have been so busy lately and I haven’t spent as much time on the business as I would normally like.

Even though I am spending less time on the business, I am still earning a great income each month and this allows me to focus on a better work-life balance.

I’m a very big fan of affiliate income, of course. It’s something that I enjoy due to how passive it can be. It makes full-time traveling much more enjoyable when I know I can bring in an income while having fun seeing new areas.

If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, I recommend getting the free guide 10 Easy Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Income. With this time-saving cheat sheet, you’ll learn how to make affiliate income from your blog. These tips will help you to rapidly improve your results and increase your blogging income in no time.

I also have a course too!

In the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, there are 6 modules, over 30 lessons, several worksheets, bonuses, an extremely helpful and exclusive Facebook group, and more. I go through everything that you need to know about affiliate marketing, such as:

  • A quick introduction to affiliate marketing and how it works
  • The exact steps I’ve taken to earn over $500,000 from a single blog post
  • How to correctly pick affiliate products to promote
  • The steps to increase your conversion rate
  • 80+ affiliate program ideas for different niches
  • How to build trust with your readers (this is a MUST!)
  • The required disclosures you need to know about
  • The many different strategies to promote your affiliate links

My course is anything and everything about affiliate marketing. This course is perfect for you whether you are a new blogger or if you’ve been blogging for years, no matter what topic your blog is about, what country you live in, and so on.

 

Sponsored partnership results.

August was an average month for sponsored partnerships. I secured a couple of deals with new advertisers that I’m excited to work with, and I’m thinking that the fall months will be quite busy as well.

For some reason, sponsored blog posts and sponsored social media ads seem to scare bloggers, whether they are brand new or have been blogging for years.

What do I charge? How do I find companies who will want to work with me? What are the rules?

There are SO MANY QUESTIONS when it comes to sponsored posts.

I started Making Sense of Cents in August of 2011, at the age of 22, without any hopes of ever earning an income from it. It started as a hobby – just a way to journal my life and talk about my personal finance situation.

Then, around six months after I started my blog, a blogger friend of mine connected me with an advertiser and I earned $100 from that advertisement.

It wasn’t a lot of money, especially considering the amount of time and work I had already put towards my blog. However, it was very motivating to see that something I absolutely loved to do could actually make money. I honestly had no idea that blogs could even make money when I started mine!

After that first $100, my blogging income quickly grew.

I now charge, on average, around $5,000 per sponsored post.

You can learn more about sponsored partnerships in my free guide 8 Easy Tips To Make Money From Sponsored Posts On Your Blog.

Are you interested in earning blogging income?

The post How I Made Money Blogging In August 2019 + My Top Blogging Mistakes appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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The content for this post was sourced from www.makingsenseofcents.com

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Phone Scams: The Best Tips To Avoid Becoming A Victim

Phone Scams: The Best Tips To Avoid Becoming A Victim

Nearly all of the phone calls I have recently received are phone scams. In fact, whenever my cell phone rings, I just assume it's a scammer.  If it's a number I don't recognize, I don't answer it. They can send me a text or leave me a message, it’s just that simple. #phonescams #moneymanagementNearly all of the phone calls I have recently received are phone scams. In fact, whenever my cell phone rings, I just assume it’s a scammer. 

If it’s a number I don’t recognize, I don’t answer it. They can send me a text or leave me a message, it’s just that simple.

But, after talking to others about how many scam phone calls I was receiving, it turns out that everyone I know has been getting more and more of them. I guess it’s not surprising that by the end of 2019, it’s expected that nearly half of all mobile phone calls will be phone scams

When I accidentally do answer one of these calls, I can tell that the phone scam is clearly fake, but I can see how many people fall for them. Sometimes, they do sound quite real, and if you’re unaware of what’s going on or tired when you answer the phone, then you are even more likely to fall for one.

Phone scams can range widely too. They may say that they know you, work at a company that you do business with, or they may be threatening.

While many people believe that phone scams are something they would never fall for, they exist for a reason. 

Sadly, that’s because someone is falling for them.

According to a study done by TrueCaller in 2018, nearly 1 and 10 Americans have fallen for one. What’s really shocking is that Americans lost $9 billion that same year to scam calls.

More statistics from the study include:

  • Free vacation scams are the most common.
  • Households with incomes of $50,000 to $75,000 are less likely to fall for a scam call.
  • College graduates are twice as likely to fall for a phone scam.
  • 96% of victims do take action – this was good to hear!

Rather than waiting until you’re a victim to take action, I want to help you learn how to avoid phone scams all together.

Related content:

Below are common phone scams and what to do if you encounter one.

 

Common phone scams.

There are lots of different phone scams out there, but they are all similar in that they are trying to get something from you. This list is the most common phone scams that keep working for scammers time and time again.

  • The iTunes gift card IRS scam. This is one of the latest phone scams and it’s when you get a phone call from someone pretending to be from the IRS. The person on the line says that you’ll be arrested unless you pay your taxes ASAP. They then ask you to go to the store and purchase tons of iTunes gift cards in exchange for payment. I know this sounds ridiculous, but sadly, many people are falling for it. Trust me, the IRS will never accept payment in the form of iTunes gift cards.
  • The free vacation scam. Many phone scammers try to trick you by saying that you’ve won a vacation. While it may seem like you’ve won something, you most likely have not. But, even if the vacation actually does exist, there are probably expenses you will have to pay for (that’s how they make their money).
  • The student loan or credit card debt phone scams. I get these phone calls ALL THE TIME, and I know they are a scam because I do not have any student loans or credit card debt. These calls are usually trying to get information out of you, such as your Social Security number.
  • The “You won money!” phone scam. Oh, the lottery scam… Rarely a week goes by where I don’t “win” $100,000,000. The lottery scam is when a scammer calls stating that you have won the lottery. They only need you to pay some money upfront before you can claim your lottery winnings. They also may say that they are required to get your personal information. Trust me, no one is going to call you or send you an email when you win a million or a billion dollars. Often, these are for foriegn lotteries, so you will know it’s fake because you most likely never even entered to win a foreign lottery in the first place. Lotteries also never ask for you to pay fees, so that is another clue.
  • The “Yes” phone scam. This is a scam where the caller simply tries to get you to say yes, such as by asking “Is your name ____?” They are trying to record you saying yes, so that they have “proof” that you said yes to buying their item over the phone.

 

To avoid phone scams, block unwanted calls.

The Do Not Call registry can help stop sales calls, which may include some scammers. But, like most people who have signed up for the Do Not Call list, it’s still very possible to receive scam calls.

So, what you’ll want to do next is to block calls.

According to the FTC’s article How To Block Unwanted Calls:

  • They say the best way to stop phone scam calls is through call blocking.
  • This can be done through a feature on your phone, a service that your phone carrier offers, or even through an app.
  • With apps, phone calls can be blocked based on location/area code, a blacklist of numbers to block, and so on.

For me, I try not to answer any calls that I’m not familiar with. I then look up their number to make sure it’s someone I know before I call back. You can do this simply by just searching the phone number on Google.

 

Don’t fall for local numbers.

Scammers go to great lengths to trick people into thinking that scam phone calls are real. One of the newer methods they use is something called neighbor spoofing. This is when scammers modify their phone number so it looks like the call is local.

I know many people who think that if a call is local then it must be okay, but that’s not true anymore. 

If you do answer the phone when someone is using neighbor spoofing, the scammers put you on an active call list because they know someone will answer. You will likely get even more scam calls after you answer the first one.

Remember, if someone really wants to get in touch with you, they can leave a message or text. 

 

Don’t give out information unless you’re sure it’s needed and going to the right place.

This is the most important thing in this article, and scammers are out there just hoping to find someone who will fall for one of their tricks and get your personal information.

Asking for personal information is very common with IRS scam calls or Social Security scam calls. But, scammers might also claim they are from your bank or credit card company. Even the common student loan scam is just phishing for your Social Security number.

Because people fear that they are going to be penalized, many people fall for these scam calls and hand out their information.

To protect yourself and your information, you should do a little research before giving anything out. Start by hanging up and calling the company back on a number you know. For example, if they claim they are from your credit card company, call the number on the back of your card to verify.

You should be 100% sure that the person you’re giving personal information to is who they say the are. Unfortunately, in many cases, it turns out that the original person you talked to was actually a scammer.

If it turns out the call was a scam, you can put a block on that number.

 

More tips to avoid becoming a victim of phone scams.

Even though many fall victim to phone and online scams every day, there are many ways to avoid being the next victim.

If you’re not sure about who is calling, then you should hang up. If you have any doubts, then you should follow your intuition.

Below are more tips to stay safe:

  • If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Don’t call numbers back that you’re unfamiliar with. This could be a scam in which you are paying per minute fees.
  • Keep your personal information safe and do not give it away unless you are 100% sure that it is needed.
  • Occasionally, phone scammers will try to get you through email as well. Don’t always trust the sender’s email address. If it seems fishy at all, the email may be cloaked in order to trick you.
  • Always be sure that it’s not a phone scam before you send anyone money.
  • Ask questions. If you do end up talking to someone on the phone, you should ask them who they are, their name, why they need the information, and their badge or employee number. For me, I always call back (as stated above) before I give out any personal information or pay anything.

 

What to do if you are a victim of a phone scam.

Hopefully you never have to worry about this, but becoming a victim of a scammer can be damaging to your financial and emotional health. You may lose money, feel stressed or distrustful, and more. 

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to report the scam and protect yourself from further damage.

  • Contact your state attorney general’s office to report scams related to goods or services (even if they are nonexistent ones like “free vacations”)
  • Using the website USA.gov, search for your state’s consumer protection office and contact them.
  • For scams that violate federal law, contact the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Regularly check your credit report so you can quickly identify any new activity if it happens.
  • Keep track of your bank and credit card statements so you can report charges that you haven’t authorized.

Have you been a victim of a phone scam? What phone scams have you heard of?

The post Phone Scams: The Best Tips To Avoid Becoming A Victim appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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How To Better Yourself – 23 Challenges That Will Change Your Life

How To Better Yourself – 23 Challenges That Will Change Your Life

Learning how to better yourself is something we can all work on. Even small adjustments and improvements can have long-lasting effects on your life.

Improving yourself can change your financial situation, your relationships, your self-esteem, your health, and more.

But, learning how to better yourself can feel like a very difficult thing if your life isn’t going the way you want.

Maybe you had a different plan but things don’t seem to be going your way. Maybe you just want a change because anything is better than how things are currently going.

Each of those things can leave you feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or like everyone is doing better than you. Those feelings can be hard to escape, but my goal is that you’ll find at least one thing on this list that will start to change your mood and your life for the better.

No matter how you’re feeling, I do believe that everyone is in charge of their own destiny.

If you feel that things are not going the way you want them to go, then change it! 

Trust me, I know it can be hard – focusing on how to better yourself can be one of the biggest challenges you face. You may fail sometimes, but you’ll never improve your life if you don’t start trying. 

Instead of looking at how to better yourself as one big and overwhelming challenge, there are lots of smaller challenges and ways to better yourself that will start to change how you see yourself and how you see the world around you. 

Despite your fears, challenges can change the way you think because they open you up to new ideas that you may have never experienced or realized before. By making yourself “uncomfortable” or putting yourself in a position that you are not used to, you will truly learn how to feel better about yourself.

I know that the ideas on this list below will look like a lot and can be overwhelming. You don’t need to work on everything, and especially not all at once. Simply choose one or some of the ways to better yourself and go from there.

Living a better life starts with small steps and changes – just start with something small on this list of challenges. Get out of your comfort zone a little and see how it feels to succeed.

As you keep working on how to better yourself, you’ll start to see your life changing around you.

Content related to how to better yourself:

How to better yourself – 23 challenges that will change your life.

 

1. Be thankful for what you have.

The next time something negative is bringing you down, I suggest you try to remember all of the good things that you already have in your life. You already live a great life, and to live life to the fullest, you just need to remember that.

This is the power of positive thinking at its best, and it’s one of the best ways of how to better yourself. 

You can be thankful for your family, friends, your job, a past experience, opportunities, and more.

Thinking about everything you are thankful for can make something negative seem very trivial. You may even laugh at yourself for being so negative!

Challenge: Once a day, or whenever you’re feeling down, think about all of the things you are thankful for. You can even write each of them down on little pieces of paper and put them in a jar to read at a later time.

 

2. Travel to a random place.

There are many wonderful places in the world. Traveling to a random place can help improve your confidence, open you up to new experiences, and may even make you a little uncomfortable. These are all things that will help you reevaluate what you may want to do in life.

You don’t have to go far from home to explore and have new experiences. Traveling to a random place can even be done in your own state or a nearby one – I bet there are lots of things close to you that you haven’t even tried yet.

Challenge: For your next vacation, why don’t you throw a coin on a map and see where it lands?

 

3. Don’t be afraid of what other people think.

If you want to live life on your own terms, then stop caring what other people think of you and your life. 

This can be one of the hardest challenges if you want to learn how to better yourself, and I know because I used to really care about what other people thought of me. It took me a long time to gain the confidence to let go of that, and now I couldn’t be happier. This has really helped me learn how to live a great life.

You shouldn’t let the opinions of others affect you, drag you down, control you, and so on. Like I always say, “Who cares what others think!?”

The only person who should get to tell you what kind of life to live is you.

Challenge: The next time you start worrying about what someone else might think of you, stop and ask yourself, “What will happen if they are judging me?” Unless you’re doing something illegal, nothing will happen. This can be hard to practice, but you are slowly retraining yourself.

 

4. Take a risk.

Have you ever thought about doing something particularly risky so that you could live life to the fullest but you were too afraid to go for it? Doing something risky every so often can get your heart beating and your adrenaline rushing. If you want to learn how to better yourself, this can really make you feel alive and like you are in charge of your life.

This is something that I am trying to get much better at because I realize that fear might be holding me back from being able to live life to the fullest.

Now is the time to get over our fears and take more risks!

Challenge: Next time you are faced with a risk, think about the pros and cons instead of automatically turning the idea down.

 

5. Say yes.

When you want to learn how to feel better about yourself, you may also be hiding from everyone and feeling like you are stuck. In this case, you may want to try branching out and saying yes more often. Saying yes can open you up to more situations, more challenges in life, and so on.

It’s easy to avoid new situations when you’re feeling stuck, but trying something new can show you that there are so many exciting or fun things around you.

Challenge: Next time someone asks you to do something (that is legal, of course), say yes, no matter what.

 

6. Say no.

I know I just told you to say yes to new things, but always saying yes to everything is an easy way to spread yourself out too thin. You might feel like you never have a minute to yourself, that you’re ready to pull your hair out, or that you don’t have enough time to do the things you want/need to do.

If that sounds like you and you want to learn how to better yourself, it might be time to start saying no to some things. Saying no may allow you to have more time and energy to focus on what you truly want to do in life.

Challenge: Next time someone asks you to do something that you honestly cannot fit into your life, just say no. It’s really that easy.

 

7. Exercise.

Whenever I’m feeling a little stressed out, tired, or even grumpy, I try to fit in a workout. I know that even a small workout is better than none. It can be a short walk around the block, a bike ride, or hike.

Exercising is great and it can improve your life because it can make you healthier all around. You will feel more confident, your mind will be clearer, you will be able to better cope with stress, and more.

You can work out in whatever way you prefer. I’ve never been the type of person to go to the gym or go for a run, but I do like to go rock climbing and hiking. It’s whatever fits you and your situation best – remember, learning how to better yourself is about challenging yourself in a way that works best for you

Challenge: At least a few times a week, try to get in a good exercise session, even if it’s a 30 minute walk or bike ride. Make this a regular thing and fit it in no matter what.

 

8. Spend less time watching TV.

I talk about cutting back on TV a lot on Making Sense of Cents because the average person spends too much time watching television, 35 hours in fact!

35 HOURS! Can you imagine what you could do with even half of those hours every week!?

TV can be a big time waster and can be detrimental if you want to learn how to better yourself.

We currently don’t have a TV at all, and it’s been months since we have sat down to watch anything. We’ve been more productive, have spent more time exploring, and more!

Instead of turning on the TV the next time you are bored or looking for something to do, you may want to do something more worthwhile, such as working out, spending time with friends and family, reading a book, and so on.

Our minds are greatly influenced by what we see on TV and on social media. Plus, it can be a huge waste of time.

Challenge: Every so often, try to completely cut out TV for the day or even longer if you prefer.

 Related to how to better yourself by cutting out TV: 59 Things To Do Instead of Watching TV So That You Can Take Your Life Back

 

9. Spend less time on social media.

The average person spends many, many hours on social media each week. It can prevent you from finding ways of how to better yourself because social media can cause you to compare yourself to others in a negative way.

Between Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and many others, it’s also quite easy to waste your entire day.

If you find that you are spending too much time on social media and are thinking badly about yourself, you may want to shut down some or all of your social media accounts. You can delete apps from your phone, create a time block so you can’t access your accounts during certain periods of the day, and so on.

For me, I actually deleted Pinterest and Twitter off my phone a few years ago, and it’s been great. I decided to do that with Facebook too, and it’s allowed me to be more present and happier overall.

Challenge: Try deleting one or all social media apps from your phone for just one day. You can always download them again, but you may find yourself not missing them at all.

 

10. Have regular family money meetings.

Talking about money and conducting regular budget meetings is an important task for every family and serious relationship to take part in. A family who has regular money talks and budget meetings is more likely to be financially successful and happier than a family who doesn’t.

Regular money meetings can lead to better communication between family members, a more unified financial goal, family members being more involved and motivated, and more. This is how to better yourself for your current and future financial life.

Read more at Family Budget Meetings – Yes, You Need To Have Them.

Challenge:  Set aside 30 minutes this week to talk about a financial issue that you’ve been wanting to address. It could be creating a budget, saving up for something, or just talking about your long-term goals. Remember, go in with an open mind!

 

11. Think positively.

I say this often and I still believe it. Thinking positively is one of the best ways of how to better yourself because it can completely change your outlook on life. Being positive can give you motivation, it can help you to not waste time on regret, and more.

Challenge: Every time something may bog you down or make you unhappy, try to think of a positive outcome that may come from it.

Related article: Why I Believe Being Positive Can Change Your Financial Situation And Your Life

 

12. Be kind to others.

Being kind can improve your life because you will feel better about yourself and you will be making others feel better as well. When you are kind to others, you are not just learning how to better yourself, you’re improving the lives of people around you.

Challenge: There are many daily challenges you could do to take part in this, such as:

  • Say hello to every person you walk by today
  • Open doors for others
  • Smile at strangers
  • Help someone with their groceries
  • Volunteer somewhere

 

13. Look for new ways to save more money.

Looking for ways to save more money may allow you to pay off your debt faster, improve your financial habits, help you reach your dreams sooner, and more. If you want to learn how to better yourself and your finances, finding new ways to save will help you feel less stressed out by your finances and help you work towards big money goals.

Plus, there are many, many different ways to save money. You don’t need to sacrifice your favorite things or live an unhappy life in order to save money.

It’s all about being realistic and finding a good balance between saving and spending.

Challenge: Find something on this list to try: 30+ Ways To Save Money Each Month.

 

14. Learn a new skill.

When I was in school I used to tell myself that I hated learning new things. I was like most teenagers who thought I already knew everything. However, I was completely wrong – there is so much to learn! 

In fact, I’ve been learning how to play chess and Wes and I have spent many hours over the past couple of weeks playing chess together. I finally beat him for the first time, and it felt so good to finally reach that point! Learning how to make jewelry is next on my list.

If you want to figure out how to better yourself, continuing to learn new things can improve your confidence as you work on building a new skill. 

There are so many different things you can learn, including:

  • A new language
  • How to do a craft, like jewelry making, knitting, painting, and more
  • How to cook, like if there are recipes you’ve been wanting to master
  • How to start a blog
  • How to play a new game or sport

And more! 

Challenge: Think of something you’ve been wanting to learn how to do and start researching how you can make that happen.

 

15. Learn how to make passive income.

Building passive income is something that I’ve been working on for the past several years. I want to continue to bring in an income while being able to focus on other goals of mine, like doing more hiking or biking (which will most likely never generate income). I also want to diversify my income so that I’m not too reliant on one source.

For me, finding passive income sources is great because I can focus more on life instead of just my business, and I can do it while continuing to earn a great income.

Unfortunately, many people think that passive income simply isn’t real, that it must be luck and not work, that you’re a trust fund kid, or something else.

But, that’s not true at all! There are small sources of passive income that hardly take any work at all, like opening a high yield savings account.

Now, there are many other sources of passive income that do take a lot of work to start (it’s not a get rich quick scheme) – there’s probably going to be some effort to get the passive income stream started, and perhaps some effort to maintain it for years to come. 

It can take time or money to start on most passive income ideas, but that investment is worth it.

Here are the reasons why earning passive income is one of the best ways of how to better yourself:

  • You can make money with little work to maintain it. This is a huge positive of passive income! Who wouldn’t want to find an income source that didn’t take much work to maintain?
  • You can diversify your income. You want to diversify your income because one source of income may not last forever, and you may be able to lessen your risk by having multiple income streams.
  • You can do what you love while still making money. This will help you to always have money for your bills and other necessities.
  • You can retire and feel a little more comfortable knowing that you’re still bringing money in.
  • You can start a family, and earning passive income can help you devote more time to your family since you may be able to work less.
  • You can travel extensively and enjoy wherever you are exploring. Passive income can support you while you travel.

Challenge: Make a list of things that you want to do with your life and write down how earning passive income will help you make those goals happen. Finding motivation for a change can be a challenge in itself!

Learn more about how to better yourself with passive income at 12 Passive Income Ideas That Will Let You Enjoy Life More.

 

16. Increase your credit score.

If your credit score isn’t that great, then it’s important that you start trying to increase it. Your credit score is important because it can affect your interest rates, your ability to get some jobs, whether or not you are approved for a loan, and more.

Fortunately, there are easy things you can do to increase your credit score. You should watch your utilization rate on your credit cards, pay your bills on time, watch the amount of hard inquiries on your credit report, and so on.

Just a few percentage points can mean the difference of hundreds of dollars each month.

That means you can wind up saving THOUSANDS each year just by increasing your credit score. You can check your credit score for free with Credit Sesame.

Challenge: Start simple here and check your credit score if you don’t know what it is. Once you do, find out what’s hurting you and try to make a plan to improve your score.

 

17. Practice self-care.

Self-care is simply doing something to protect your mental or physical health. It can be something like taking a nice long bath, meditating, drinking more water, etc. It’s spending a little bit of time to put yourself first, which is really what learning how to better yourself is all about.

When you are busy or overwhelmed with other aspects of your life, self-care is one of the last things you think you should do. But, when you take a small break to take care of yourself, the effects can ripple through the rest of your life.

You may find that your stress is reduced, you’re more productive, happier, and more.

Challenge: Find a simple self-care practice that you can start doing today. 

 

18. Keep a journal.

While I don’t have a journal, I do have this blog, which acts as a journal in a way. Keeping a journal can help you reflect on your past and lets you check in to see how you’re progressing as you learn how to better yourself. Plus, spilling your heart out every so often is great for the mind and for the soul.

Challenge: Write in a journal once a day, once a week, or whenever you want. Just keep it regular and be completely honest with yourself.

 

19. Cherish moments with loved ones.

You should never take a moment for granted with those you love. Take time to see your family and friends, talk to them on the phone, tell them you love them, and let them know that you are there for them.

Your loved ones offer you some of the most amazing moments we have, and you just never know what may happen to you or them.

This is one of the best ways to better yourself because it feels good for both you and your loved ones.

Challenge: The next time you think about someone you love, send them a text or call them to tell them that you’re thinking of them.

 

20. Pay off debt.

If you have debt and want to learn how to better yourself, now is the time to make a plan to change your life. Paying off your debt can lessen your stress levels, allow you to put more money towards something else (such as retirement), stop paying interest fees, and more.

Debt might be the thing that has been holding you back from being able to live life to the fullest, so let’s make 2019 the year that you finally start eliminating your debt!

Read more at How To Eliminate Your Debt.

Challenge: This can be hard, especially if you have been avoiding your debt, but look at your total amount of debt. It will feel like you’re pulling the bandaid off so you can start making a plan to pay it off.

 

21. Sit silently.

When was the last time you just sat down in complete silence with no distractions? For the average person, this is probably a rare occurrence.

Sitting silently can help you reflect on your life and what’s going on in the world around you. It can also help you relax, destress, and clear your mind.

Challenge: Every day or as much as you would like, try to sit down for anywhere from 10-30 minutes with no distractions whatsoever, not even music playing in the background

 

22. Read as much as you can.

Books are one of the best ways to learn more and explore the world around you. Spending just a little time everyday with a book is great for many reasons, such as:

  • Providing knowledge
  • Improving your memory
  • Opening your mind
  • Bringing out your creative side
  • It is affordable entertainment

And more!

Challenge: Go to your local library and borrow a book you’ve been wanting to read.

 

23. Get enough sleep each night.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average person needs around 7.5 hours of sleep in order to “function at their best.” However, the average person actually only sleeps around 6.5 hours.

Lack of sleep, according to HealthLine, can lead to issues such as:

  • Impaired brain activity
  • Memory problems
  • Moodiness
  • Depression
  • Cold and Flu
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease

So if you want to learn how to better yourself, you should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night. It will help you be more productive, become healthier, and live a better life.

Challenge: Start a routine of going to bed at least 30 minutes earlier than you normally do.

Have you ever taken part in any of these daily challenges? Do you believe that taking part in daily challenges can help you learn how to better yourself? Why or why not?

The post How To Better Yourself – 23 Challenges That Will Change Your Life appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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10 Quick and Easy One Pot Meals

10 Quick and Easy One Pot Meals

We split our time between a van and sailboat, so space is a major issue for us. 

Our kitchen area is tiny, we have very limited counter space, and we just don’t have as many burners. Our cooking range is really small too, so we really can’t cook anything that takes more than one pot. Oh, and we don’t even have the storage space for tons of pots either.

I know that’s not the case for everyone, and one pan meals are still great options for anyone who lives in a traditional home – they simplify meal time!

So today, I have a great list of one pot meals for you to try. There are several vegetarian and vegan options, there are some delicious looking comfort food recipes, and a fun take on egg rolls. And more!

Personally, I’m really excited about the lemon spaghetti with spinach. The lemon seems like it will the dish taste refreshing and light, and adding spinach makes it a nice healthy meal. 

These one pot recipes don’t require a ton of prep work either, and most of them only take around 30 minutes to cook. This makes them good for weeknight dinners, especially if you’re feeling busy and are tempted to go out to eat.

If you end up with extra, I think all of these meals would make great leftovers that you can bring to work for lunch. That will help you save even more money on your food spending!

Doing things like meal planning, making a grocery list, and packing your lunch are some of the easiest and best ways to save money. You’re also less likely to go out to eat when you have ideas like the ones on this list, and that means you are probably eating healthier food than what you would eat at a restaurant. 

Note: If you’re looking for easy weekly meal plans, full of budget recipes, I recommend $5 Meal Plan. $5 Meal Plan is a meal planning service that sends you a delicious meal plan and shopping list every week for just $5 a month. This is another way to simplify dinner time and get excited about trying new meals.

Other helpful content to read:

Here are 10 quick and easy one pot meals to make.

 

1. Egg Roll In A Bowl

Get the recipe here.

 

2. One Pot Chili Mac

Get the recipe here.

 

3. One Pot Parmesan Chicken, Spinach and Orzo

Get the recipe here.

 

4. One Pot Taco Elbow Pasta

Get the recipe here.

 

5. Lemon Spaghetti with Spinach

Get the recipe here.

 

6. One Pot Easy Lasagna Soup

Get the recipe here.

 

7. Easy Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken

Get the recipe here.

 

8. One Pot Creamy Chicken Noodle Skillet

Get the recipe here.

 

9. Chicken and Dumplings

Get the recipe here.

 

10. Italian Chicken Tortellini

Get the recipe here.

Do you enjoy one pot meals? Which one will you try above?

The post 10 Quick and Easy One Pot Meals appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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My 8 Year Blogiversary: How I Made Money Blogging In July 2019

My 8 Year Blogiversary: How I Made Money Blogging In July 2019

How I Made Money Blogging From Home In July 2019 #howtomakemoneyblogging #howtomakeextramoneyWelcome to July 2019’s business report where I show you how I made money online and traveled full-time last month. It’s time to look at this month’s update and see how I did.

If you’re new to Making Sense of Cents, you may be wondering why I would want to publish my business report each month.

This all started out as my extra income report because, in the beginning, it was all about the money I was earning from my side jobs. In my side income reports from the beginning, I included all of the income I made except for what I made at my day job.

However, I left my day job as a financial analyst in October of 2013 and now my monthly business reports consist of the many ways I earn a living with my business.

Many have asked why I would ever want to publicly talk about what I’m working on each month. Some think I’m crazy, whereas some are glad I’m open about what I’m doing. Whatever you think, I enjoy publishing my monthly business reports and I share them publicly for three main reasons:

  1. Before I started blogging, I knew nothing about side hustling and making money online. I didn’t think side jobs were worth the effort and I thought the only way to significantly increase your income was through raises at your full-time job. If it weren’t for others publishing their monthly income reports, I don’t know if I would have ever tried side hustling. I want to help show others the positives in side hustling and how it can change a person’s life. There are many different ways to make money online, and I like to share my story each month to help motivate others to improve their financial situation by making more money.
  2. Secondly, I like to publish my business blogging reports because it’s a way for me to look back, learn from my mistakes and actually see what areas need improvement. I use my monthly blogging reports as a way to track how I’ve done and it helps to keep me accountable.
  3. Lastly, I like to show others that making side money is possible and that there are many legitimate ways to make money from your home.

I know I say this every month, but it’s the truth. Life is great now that I’m my own boss and a full-time blogger. I look forward to each and every day and it’s a wonderful feeling. I truly love waking up every single morning.

Above are just a few of the reasons for why I enjoy publishing my monthly income reports. I like to show others that you don’t have to hate your job and hate your life. You can make changes to your life and make money in a way that allows you to truly enjoy the life you are living. I’m not saying that you have to LOVE your job, I’m just saying that your job should, at least, allow you to do what you like to do outside of work (whether that be spending time with loved ones, doing crafts, hiking, etc.).

 

A quick reminder on the recent announcement.

I want to repeat the announcement again because I have been asked – How I Made Over $1,500,000 In 2018 – Is This The End Of Income Reports? so that no one is confused. I’m sure I’ll receive many questions from readers who missed it.

How was business income in July of 2019?

In case you are new to this blog, the main areas I earn a living from include:

I regularly earn over $100,000 a month blogging, and I have earned over $5,000,000 from my blogging business total over the years.

Check out How I Successfully Built A $1,000,000+ Blog for all of the different ways you can make money through a blog.

July of 2019 was another great month for Making Sense of Cents and the whole blogging business. I earned a great income and enjoyed my month. In fact, it was an amazing month!

I have many plans for the rest of 2019, and I have a jam-packed to-do list that I am very excited to start crossing off and accomplishing. I am wanting to grow Making Sense of Cents in many areas – income, readers, more helpful blog posts, and so on.

Some of the things that I plan on doing in order to grow Making Sense of Cents include:

  • Focusing on SEO. I will be taking an SEO course soon from start to finish, in order to start growing Making Sense of Cents in this area. I tried a few years ago, but stopped. While I get decent traffic from SEO without much effort, I do think this area can be a great way to further grow my website.
  • Learning about Pinterest advertising and Facebook advertising. I would like to use social media advertising to grow traffic as well as to grow my email list.
  • Adding an online shop to my blog. I would like to create a shop for Making Sense of Cents, where I sell products such as printables.
  • Creating new optins. I don’t have many optins for my email list, and haven’t added a new one in quite some time. This is currently on my to-do list so that I can reach new readers and gain more subscribers.

The month was great in many areas – blogging, course-wise, life, and everything else. The business is doing well and I’m very happy with it. My business is doing well, I have a lot of ideas for the year, and I am very excited about everything. I really love my business and I don’t know where I would be without it.

Below are some of my monthly online income reports. I publish an online income update every month but only included some of them below as it would be a very long list. If you head on over to my income page you can find all of my monthly income reports from the past few years.

If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, I created a tutorial that will help you start a blog of your own for cheap, starting at only $2.75 per month (this low price is only through my link) for blog hosting. In addition to the low pricing, you will receive a free website domain for the first year (a $15 value) through my Bluehost referral link if you purchase, at least, 12 months of blog hosting. FYI, if you are asking yourself “can you make money blogging?” – my top tip is to be self-hosted. This is essential if you want to monetize your blog as you will appear more professional and this will help you monetize your blog tremendously. My blogging income did not take off until after I switched to self-hosted WordPress.

Blog/life news

July was a fun month! We finished up our long chore list on the boat and secured it for hurricane season. We are now living in our van for the next couple of months and have been having a ton of fun.

In case you missed it, you can read more about it here – We’re Going To Start Living In A Van!

We’ve been outdoors a ton since we moved into the van, and it’s been amazing! We’ve climbed eight 14,000+ foot mountains in just the past month, have mountain biked several times, and more. It’s been great to get back in the mountains, and it’s making us even more excited to get back to the boat in a couple of months too.

And…

August marks 8 years since I first started Making Sense of Cents. It is just so crazy to think about how much life has changed since I first started this website.

I started this blog and worked on it in addition to my full-time day job as a financial analyst, and around two years after I started, I quit my day job to blog full-time.

Blogging changed my life for the better, and it allows me to earn a great income, all by doing something that I love.

You may have heard this from me before, but the funny thing is that I created my blog on a whim after reading about a personal finance website in a magazine. It started as a hobby to track my own personal finance progress, and I honestly didn’t even know that people could make money blogging!

I knew absolutely nothing about blogging and I didn’t have any goals for Making Sense of Cents.

In case you are new here, I used to work as an analyst at an investment banking and valuation firm. I chugged along working the 8-5, Monday through Friday grind and didn’t see myself having an enjoyable future there. I had a stressful job filled with lots of deadlines and responsibilities that just didn’t interest me. Yes, I know this is the norm for some people, but I just couldn’t imagine myself living like that for 40+ years.

Blogging was an outlet for my stressful day job, and my interest quickly grew, even though it was just a hobby. It gave me space to write about my personal finance situation, have a support group, to keep track of how I was doing, and more. I did not create Making Sense of Cents with the intention of earning an income, but after only six months, I began to make money blogging.

A friend I met through the blogging community connected me with an advertiser, and I earned $100 from that advertisement deal. That one deal sparked my interest in taking my blog more seriously and learning how to make even more money blogging.

Today, I earn a great income from my blog, and it all started on a whim, not even knowing that blogs could make money.

Blogging completely changed my life for the better and just thinking about how everything has improved over the last eight years is an insane/wonderful thing to think about.

Blogging has allowed me to take control of my finances and earn more money. It means I can work from home, travel whenever I want, have a flexible schedule, and more!

I have had some of the most amazing experiences ever since building my blog – I have lived and traveled across the U.S. in an RV, bought and now live on a sailboat, and take some pretty incredible vacations!

And, all of this happened because I started some random blog eight years ago.

I made so many mistakes, and I still make mistakes today. But, I continue to learn and improve, which has shaped this blog into what it is today.

I was so afraid to quit my job when I did, especially for a blog.

So many people thought I was absolutely crazy and making the worst decision of my life. Especially since my husband quit his job at the same time!

It’s now been almost six years since I worked for someone else.

When I sit back and really think about it, I am still in disbelief that starting some blog has led me to where I am today.

Thank you all for being here and being wonderful readers!

Below are several other business and blog-related updates:

  • I’m currently around one month ahead in blog posts. I would like to be around 2-3 months ahead. I do have several months of blog posts planned, though, I just need to finish writing them and hand them to my editor.
  • Traffic for the month was over 400,000 page views.
  • I am working on a series where I will help readers with specific financial questions, and tutorials to go along with them. Topics such as: How to open a bank account, How to write a check, Finding an online bank, Building and creating an investment account, etc. What other topics would you like to see me cover?
  • My community group for Making Sense of Cents is continuing to grow. This is a Facebook group in which you can seek advice from other readers on all sorts of topics such as finance, blogging, travel, running a business, and so on. There are already over 15,000 members!
  • I released my How To Start A Blog FREE Course. If you’ve been wanting to start a blog, then check this out. I created this email course for those who are interested in starting a blog, but haven’t done so yet. The course is free, and over 50,000 people have already signed up. Thank you, everyone, for the kind emails about how great the course is. Glad everyone is enjoying it!
  • Due to how well my first free course went, I also created the free Master Your Money email course. It’s full of great money management lessons and financial worksheets (such as a free budget template), and I’m loving the positive response from this email course as well.
  • Other freebies I have include 10 Easy Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Income and 8 Easy Tips To Make Money From Sponsored Posts On Your Blog.

 

Popular new posts on Making Sense of Cents last month:

 

Featured Question: How do you have internet while traveling full-time?

I feature one question from a reader in each monthly income report. Please leave a comment below if you have a question that you would like me to answer. 

I hear this question all the time, and it’s one of the top things that stops people from traveling more.

And, I completely understand the hesitation!

When we first thought about traveling full-time, I had no idea what would happen to my business. I didn’t know how I would connect to the internet, if it would be super expensive, or anything else. I didn’t even really know if it was possible.

I still remember telling Wes (my husband) that I would not be able to travel full-time unless we had internet, and I just did not even think that it was possible.

But, now I know it’s actually not too bad. There is usually some form of internet, and I almost always use my own source. It’s not terribly expensive either. Yes, sometimes there is absolutely no internet. However, I usually try to prepare for that by working ahead as much as I can.

We currently have AT&T for our phones and internet. We used to have both Verizon and AT&T (many full-time travelers have multiple sources because you travel to different areas), but we switched to just AT&T and have been happy with it.

Even with that being said, sometimes our internet connection is not that great. This means I always try to work ahead as much as I can so that a lack of internet or a bad connection doesn’t create any stress.

I did just get a WeBoost which I have put on the van so that I can improve my signal and work in more places. Since living in a van means we will be off the grid a little more often, this will be a must for us so that I can still work! So far, it has been amazing and I have been able to have internet almost everywhere that we’ve been due to the WeBoost. About half of the places that we have stayed so far in the van have had no internet, and the WeBoost has boosted our signal to something where I can actually work! I don’t know how I’ve gone the previous 4 years of full-time travel without it!

And, surprisingly, I’ve found that internet is better in the Bahamas than anything we ever had in the U.S. while traveling full-time. We used a new company called MyIslandWifi. It is truly unlimited internet for just $75 a month (and there’s no contract!). I can make phone calls, text, and hop online whenever I want, and it’s always a fast speed. For people in normal homes, this may seem expensive, but keep in mind that when traveling full-time you don’t have access to affordable (and FAST) wifi that is usually found in a home.

When we start going further outside of the US and Bahamas, I know that internet will be more difficult. I’ll update you as I go along!

If you’re wanting to know more about the various options (and there are a lot of options!), I highly recommend RV Mobile Internet.

Everyone’s situation is a little different and different options exist due to that.

Past featured questions:

 

My plans and goals for my blog and my business.

I have so many plans right now for my business that sometimes I feel like I don’t know where I want to start! But, that is a good feeling to have.

Plans and goals can help you run a successful business. I believe that working towards a goal can help keep a person motivated too.

Below are some of the areas I am currently working on:

  • Complete the Facebook Ads For Bloggers course. There are two courses that I am really wanting to finish so that I can continue to grow Making Sense of Cents. Learning about Facebooks ads is so important and I think I will benefit from this course a lot.
  • Complete the Stupid Simple SEO course. This is the second course. SEO is something I just have never really spent much time on, so I know that this course will be extremely helpful! I’m hoping to finish the above course and this one by the end of the summer.
  • Create a freebie optin for affiliates to share for Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I have been asked by several affiliates for this, and I’m glad to finally start working on it! This is a great thing to do because my affiliates can easily promote my course with this freebie optin, and then be credited for future sales. For me, as an affiliate for other products, freebie optins are usually the very first thing I promote (as well as my favorite) because it’s a great way to introduce an audience to a new product/service/company.
  • Get at least three months ahead on Making Sense of Cents posts. Being ahead in blog posts makes life much more enjoyable because I can focus on other things knowing that the majority of my writing work is already done. This is one of my major 2019 goals!
  • Work less than 30 hours per week. For the most part, I am working less than 30 hours per week. However, there are some weeks when I spend all day and night on my laptop, not even sure where the day went. Due to that, I would like to continue to work on a better work/life balance.
  • Be more present. My main goal in 2019 is to be more present, and I recently wrote about it here – My Quest To Be More Present And Enjoy Life More. I’m excited for the year of travel and sailing we have ahead of us, and I want to enjoy it as much as we can. I’ve been so focused on the business the last several years, that I want this year to be focused on life outside of business. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE running Making Sense of Cents, and that’s what makes it so hard to break away and be more present outside of work.
  • Have fun. Okay, so this isn’t really a goal that is quantifiable or something that I’ll track, haha, but I am really looking forward to 2019!

 

Affiliate marketing results.

Affiliate income was at a normal Making Sense of Cents level in July of around $60,000.

It will be increasing in August and the following months as I will be promoting a few affiliate offers to my readers. I have the rest of 2019 planned for affiliate offers, which is great. I am also currently planning and booking for 2020 already too!

I’m also hoping to improve my affiliate income by growing my traffic through SEO, as well as advertising on Facebook and Pinterest.

Some of the areas that I am working on to improve my affiliate income include:

  • Planning out 2019 for affiliate offers. I’m not really much of a huge planner, but I am changing that in 2019. I already have affiliate promotions planned out for all of 2019. This will help to keep me organized and better prepared.
  • Learning about SEO and applying techniques to my blog. This past guest post has me super interested in starting to take SEO seriously – The exact template that helped my site earn $95,000 in affiliate income last year.
  • Using Facebook ads to my affiliate marketing advantage. This past guest post also has me interested in growing in this way as well – How One Blogger Grew His Blog to Over 2 Million Visitors In A Year.
  • Creating a high-quality funnel. Funnels are something that I have never really spent any time on, but I would like to change that. I want to create a high-quality funnel where I continue to give valuable information to my readers, and keep them happy for the times when I may not have the greatest wifi.
  • Continuing to grow the reach of Making Sense of Cents. Traffic has been a little stuck lately, and I want to change that! I want to see what I can do to grow the traffic, as that will help me to reach new readers.
  • Analyzing popular affiliate blog posts to see how they can be improved for the future.
  • Seeking out new affiliate products to promote, and seeing what my audience is interested in.

And more!

Earning affiliate income is something that I’m extremely grateful for, especially lately. We have been so busy lately and I haven’t spent as much time on the business as I would normally like.

Even though I am spending less time on the business, I am still earning a great income each month and this allows me to focus on a better work-life balance.

I’m a very big fan of affiliate income, of course. It’s something that I enjoy due to how passive it can be. It makes full-time traveling much more enjoyable when I know I can bring in an income while having fun seeing new areas.

If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, I recommend getting the free guide 10 Easy Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Income. With this time-saving cheat sheet, you’ll learn how to make affiliate income from your blog. These tips will help you to rapidly improve your results and increase your blogging income in no time.

I also have a course too!

In the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, there are 6 modules, over 30 lessons, several worksheets, bonuses, an extremely helpful and exclusive Facebook group, and more. I go through everything that you need to know about affiliate marketing, such as:

  • A quick introduction to affiliate marketing and how it works
  • The exact steps I’ve taken to earn over $500,000 from a single blog post
  • How to correctly pick affiliate products to promote
  • The steps to increase your conversion rate
  • 80+ affiliate program ideas for different niches
  • How to build trust with your readers (this is a MUST!)
  • The required disclosures you need to know about
  • The many different strategies to promote your affiliate links

My course is anything and everything about affiliate marketing. This course is perfect for you whether you are a new blogger or if you’ve been blogging for years, no matter what topic your blog is about, what country you live in, and so on.

 

Sponsored partnership results.

July was an average month for sponsored partnerships. I secured a couple of deals with new advertisers that I’m excited to work with, and I’m thinking that the fall months will be quite busy as well.

For some reason, sponsored blog posts and sponsored social media ads seem to scare bloggers, whether they are brand new or have been blogging for years.

What do I charge? How do I find companies who will want to work with me? What are the rules?

There are SO MANY QUESTIONS when it comes to sponsored posts.

I started Making Sense of Cents in August of 2011, at the age of 22, without any hopes of ever earning an income from it. It started as a hobby – just a way to journal my life and talk about my personal finance situation.

Then, around six months after I started my blog, a blogger friend of mine connected me with an advertiser and I earned $100 from that advertisement.

It wasn’t a lot of money, especially considering the amount of time and work I had already put towards my blog. However, it was very motivating to see that something I absolutely loved to do could actually make money. I honestly had no idea that blogs could even make money when I started mine!

After that first $100, my blogging income quickly grew.

I now charge, on average, around $5,000 per sponsored post.

You can learn more about sponsored partnerships in my free guide 8 Easy Tips To Make Money From Sponsored Posts On Your Blog.

Are you interested in earning blogging income?

The post My 8 Year Blogiversary: How I Made Money Blogging In July 2019 appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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The content for this post was sourced from www.makingsenseofcents.com

View the Original Article

12 Passive Income Ideas That Will Let You Enjoy Life More

12 Passive Income Ideas That Will Let You Enjoy Life More

Are you looking for passive income ideas so that you can start making more money? Learning how to make passive income streams can significantly change your life by helping you earn more money and diversifying your income.

Looking for passive income ideas so that you can start making more money? Learning how to make passive income streams can significantly change your life. #passiveincomeideas #makeextramoney #passiveincomestreams

Building passive income is something that I’ve been working on for the past several years. See, I want to continue to bring in an income while being able to focus on other goals of mine, like doing more hiking or biking (which will most likely never generate income). I also want to diversify my income so that I’m not too reliant on one source.

For me, finding passive income ideas is great because I can focus more on life instead of business, and I can do it while continuing to earn a great income.

Unfortunately, many people think that passive income simply isn’t real, that it must be luck and not work, that you’re a trust fund kid, or something else.

But, that’s not true at all! All of the passive income ideas in this article are real ways to make money.

Now, that doesn’t mean that earning passive income takes literally no effort (it’s not a get rich quick scheme) – there’s probably going to be some effort to get the passive income stream started, and perhaps some effort to maintain it for years to come. 

It can take time or money to start on most passive income ideas, but that investment is worth it.

If you want to learn how to start earning passive income, below are different passive income-related questions you may have. We will discuss what passive income is, the positives of earning passive income, passive income ideas, and the hard work that goes along with it.

Related content:

 

What is passive income? Is it possible for the average person?

To start off, we should probably answer the question “What is passive income?”

Passive income is when you are able to make an income that doesn’t require a ton of work to maintain. 

You, of course, need to do something in the beginning to start earning the income. That work can be either a time or financial investment. But, after most of the leg work is done, income continually comes in without much effort from you. 

There might be a little maintenance here and there after you set it up, but overall the passive income stream should continue to operate on its own.

Side note: I highly recommend that you check out Personal Capital if you are interested in gaining control of your financial situation. Personal Capital allows you to aggregate your financial accounts so that you can easily see your financial situation. You can connect accounts such as your mortgage, bank accounts, credit card accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and more, and it is FREE.

 

What are the positives of learning how to make passive income?

Passive income is great. Some of the positives of earning passive income include:

  • You can make money with little work to maintain it. This is a huge positive of passive income! Who wouldn’t want to find an income source that didn’t take much work to maintain?
  • You can diversify your income. You want to diversify your income because one source of income may not last forever, and you may be able to lessen your risk by having multiple income streams.
  • You can do what you love while still making money. This will help you to always have money for your bills and other necessities.
  • You can retire and feel a little more comfortable knowing that you’re still bringing money in.
  • You can start a family, and earning passive income can help you devote more time to your family since you may be able to work less. 
  • You can travel extensively and enjoy wherever you are exploring. Passive income can support you while you travel.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons for why you may want to find passive income ideas.

 

Why should I have more than one source of income?

Do you ever feel too reliant on one source of income?

Maybe you are afraid that one day you will lose your job or that something will happen to your main source of income.

The beauty of starting one of these passive income ideas is that it allows you to diversify your income. This means you won’t have to worry as much about one of your income streams having a bad month or completely disappearing – you’ll be earning income in other ways and be prepared.

By diversifying your income with multiple income streams, you will have a backup plan, you may be able to retire easier and earlier, and so on.

 

What are the best passive income ideas?

Passive income sounds great, right?

You are now probably wondering exactly how to make passive income? Some passive income streams may require more set up than others, and some are riskier than others.

Each of the ways below have their positives and negatives so definitely do your research.

In this article, I’ll be outlining various passive income ideas:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • High yield savings accounts
  • Rental real estate
  • Rent out a room in your home
  • Dividends
  • Blogging
  • Write a book
  • Start an online store
  • Create an online course
  • Shop at cash back websites
  • Earn credit card rewards
  • Pay off your debt

 

Affiliate marketing.

Out of all of these passive income ideas, this one is my absolute favorite.

That’s because I regularly earn around $50,000 a month through affiliate marketing alone.

Now, it’s not always the most passive. But, I am able to earn income while I’m on vacation, have no internet, am sleeping, and so on.

Earning affiliate income is something that I’m extremely grateful for, especially lately. We have been so busy and I haven’t spent as much time on the business as I would normally like. Having this passive income source allows me to keep earning when I don’t have as much time for my business.

See, even though I am spending less time on the business, I am still earning a great income each month and this allows me to focus on a better work-life balance.

As you can tell, I’m a very big fan of affiliate income. It’s something that I enjoy due to how passive it can be. It makes full-time traveling much more enjoyable when I know I can bring in an income while having fun seeing new areas.

But what is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when you try to earn money by placing an affiliate link on your website, social media account, etc. and have people purchase a product through your link. 

An affiliate is a person or business who promotes a product or service offered by other businesses, and you become an affiliate when you promote an affiliate product. And as an affiliate, you are given a special link that tells the company that a customer came from your site.

An example would be Amazon book sales, where you link to a specific book on your website and try to get people to purchase the book through your affiliate link. Amazon and other companies want quality affiliates under their belt because they want all the help they can get to promote the products and services they are selling.

If you get someone to sign up through your affiliate link, the company rewards you for promoting their product.

This is what is known as a conversion, and it’s when a person completes a specific action designated by the affiliate program. It may be when someone enters their email address on a company’s website, when they make a purchase, fill out a form, or some other action through your affiliate link.

You can share an affiliate link with your audience in many different ways, such as:

  • By adding an affiliate link to your blog (you can do this by inserting a link within a blog post, page, email, etc.)
  • Promoting it on social media
  • Sharing it in a podcast or webinar
  • And more!

I recommend checking out my online course for bloggers, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. In this very informative course, I share the exact strategy and tips I use to earn over $50,000 a month through affiliate marketing. If you’re a blogger, then you need this course.

If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, I recommend getting the free guide 10 Easy Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Income. With this time-saving cheat sheet, you’ll learn how to make affiliate income from your blog. These tips will help you to rapidly improve your results and increase your blogging income in no time.

 

High yield savings accounts.

This is probably the easiest of these passive income ideas to get into, yet so many people skip it!

High yield savings accounts are a great way to grow your savings, but most people have their money in accounts with low rates. Unfortunately, that means many of you are losing out on some easy cash!

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t even know what interest rate you’re getting on your checking and savings accounts. You were probably told the percentage when you opened your account, but that could have been years ago.

If you’re looking for a free checking account, as well as a higher than average interest rate on your savings account, look no further!

With Betterment Everyday, you can start earning 2.39% with a balance as low as $0.01.

That’s all great news for the average person who doesn’t have a really high account balance – a high yield savings account like this is really valuable for everyone.

How does that compare to the national average savings rate? It’s a very sad 0.09%. That is a HUGE difference from what Betterment Everyday is offering. If you are only getting 0.09%, then you are losing out on easy, passive money.

Savings accounts at brick and mortar banks are known for having really low interest rates. That’s because they have a much higher overhead – paying for the building, paying the tellers, etc. Betterment Everyday is an online option, which means they have lower costs, then passing the savings on to you. 

Over a 10 year period, that same savings balance with a 2.39% balance would earn you an additional $2,390, whereas a savings account with an interest rate of only 0.09% would earn you a mere $90.

Your money is just as safe in a Betterment Everyday account as it is with a brick and mortar bank. You’re just earning more interest, which is something that everyone wanting to learn how to be rich can take advantage of.

Betterment is just a great place to save your cash and earn high interest on it, whether that’s your first $500 toward a rainy day fund, your $2,500 tax refund, your savings in general, a down payment for your next house purchase, or money you’re saving for your next vacation. It’s money you’re earning with no risk, and that’s a great feeling!

To get started and open a Betterment Everyday account:

  1. Signing up is super easy. Simply click here and sign up.
  2. If you join the waitlist for Betterment Everyday Checking, they will boost your Betterment Everyday Savings Account rate to 2.39%.

See, super easy!

Read more at How To Earn Over 20x The National Savings Rate.

 

Rental real estate.

I don’t have rental real estate, but this is one of the passive income ideas that we have been thinking about lately. 

Earning rental income each month would increase our cash flow. It would likely be a steady stream of income we earn every month. Plus, we may even be able to earn significantly more for the property when we sell it years later.

But, not everyone considers rental real estate passive because your rental property might not always be rented out, and it takes work to maintain the property.

However, if the rental property is in good shape and you have good renters, then there may be little work that needs to be done in order to continually bring in an income. This does become even more passive if you outsource the property management duties and home maintenance tasks.

Here are two great interviews I did with two people who are active in rental real estate:

In these interviews, you’ll learn:

  • How they each got into real estate investing.
  • How they were able to afford so many rental units.
  • What they look for in a rental unit.
  • The types of property they invest in.
  • How much time and money it takes to invest.
  • How they manage rentals that aren’t in the same part of the country.
  • Their worst renters.
  • The sacrifices they had to make to make this all possible.

 

Rent out a room in your home.

While you may not want to buy rental real estate properties, there are other passive income ideas that are similar.

And, that is by renting out a room in your home.

We had several roommates when we lived in a house, so I am very familiar with this source of passive income.

While renting a room in your house most likely will not make you rich, it may earn you a good amount of side income. I know of a few people who rent out many rooms in their home and have been able to pay off their home completely due to this.

And while this is a little less passive than having a roommate, renting out a room in your house (or your entire house) on Airbnb is another similar idea.

There is a little more work involved in making sure the room is always clean and ready to stay in. But, if you live in a touristy area, this can be a great way to earn some side income that feels pretty passive.

I recommend reading A Complete Guide To Renting A Room For Extra Money.

 

Dividends from your investment portfolio.

This is one of the best passive income ideas that many take part in. It does take some money to start, but this is something you can work on even if you don’t have much money to start.

Here’s how Investopedia defines dividends:

“A dividend is the distribution of reward from a portion of the company’s earnings and is paid to a class of its shareholders. Dividends can be issued as cash payments, as shares of stock, or other property, though cash dividends are the most common.”

By investing in dividend paying stocks, you may be able to earn a sizable passive income with very little work needed to be done. This one of the riskier passive income ideas, because there is no way of knowing exactly which stocks will earn money and what the stock market will do over time.

Learn more at How I Became A Successful Dividend Growth Investor and How To Start Investing For Beginners With Little Money.

 

Blogging.

Even though it isn’t super passive, especially in the beginning, it’s one of my favorite passive income ideas. But, it is a lot of hard work and can take up pretty much all of your time when you are first starting.

However, as discussed above, there are ways to make your blogging income more passive (like earning affiliate income), so that you can have more freedom.

Learning how to start a successful blog is no easy feat. If it were easy, then everyone would be doing it!

That being said, one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life is learning how to start a blog.

Blogging completely changed my life, and it’s funny to think that I literally had no idea what blogs were until I started one in 2011.

So, even if you have no clue how to start a successful blog, you can do it! And, I’m about to tell you how.

Here’s How To Start A Successful Blog In 10 Steps.

I also have a free How To Start a Blog Course. With this free email course, I will show you exactly how to create a blog easily, from the technical side (it’s easy – trust me!) all the way to earning your first income and attracting followers.

Here’s a quick outline of what you will learn:

  • Day 1: Reasons you should start a blog.
  • Day 2: How to determine what to blog about.
  • Day 3: How to create your blog. In this lesson, you will learn how to start a blog on WordPress. My tutorial makes it very easy to start a blog.
  • Day 4: How to make money blogging.
  • Day 5: My tips for earning passive income from blogging.
  • Day 6: How to grow your traffic and followers.
  • Day 7: Miscellaneous blogging tips that will help you be successful.

 

Write a book.

While writing a book is definitely not easy, it may become passive income after you’re done with the writing and have finished launching your book. But, this is one of the passive income ideas that takes very little work to continue bringing in income for months and years later.

For example, I interviewed my friend Alyssa to learn how to make passive income by writing a book. 

Alyssa self-published her first book and has sold more than 13,000 copies.

She is now earns over $200 a day from her book – $6,500 last month alone!

Alyssa is the author of the best-selling book A Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV, a book about how anyone can start traveling full time in an RV.

She is also the creator of From Blog To Book, a course that will help you write, launch, and market your first book. I’ve already signed up for the course, and the expertise she shares is absolutely amazing. Some of the modules in her course include:

  • Mapping Out Your Book Content
  • Strategies for Writing Your Next 30,000 Words
  • Where to Publish Your Book
  • Tutorial: Getting Your Book on Amazon
  • Design Your Book Cover
  • Set Pricing for Your Book
  • Create Your Marketing Plan

You can check out her super informative course by clicking here.

Another really great interview I did with someone about earning passive income from book sales is How to Make Money Self-Publishing Short Romance Novels on Amazon.

 

Start an online store.

Yes, you can start your own online store, and you don’t need to have tons of experience or a lot of money to do so. Many people start with no background, which means that if this is one of the passive income ideas you are interested in, then you should definitely read on.

I had the chance to interview the creator of E-commerce and Prosper, who explains exactly how to start an online store and make extra income.

Jenn is a corporate mom turned e-commerce store owner and blogger.

She started her online business a little over three years ago, and since then, she has developed and grown three successful online e-commerce stores earning an average of $19,000 per month.

She is super successful despite only spending around 5-10 hours per week on her e-commerce business.

Her course E-commerce and Prosper teaches you exactly how to start an online store. She reveals her successful rinse and repeat formula to students in her course. It’s the same formula she uses to earn an average of $19,000 per month. In her course you will learn:

  • How to start an online store.
  • Winning e-commerce success tools.
  • How to turbocharge your e-commerce success.
  • How to start making money in THREE days.

Learn more about this at How Jenn Makes Over $10,000 A Month With Her Online Store In Less Than 10 Hours Per Week.

 

Create an online course.

Creating a course is not the easiest of these passive income ideas, but it can be a great way to earn an income around the clock. Most of the work is done in the very beginning, and then there is some maintenance along the way to keep the course updated, help students, and so on.

I created Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, my first online course, in July of 2016. After three years, I have earned over $1,00,000 from it.

This was without any webinars, Facebook Lives, any guest posts, a “launch” period, or anything else. It’s an evergreen course that has mainly spread through word of mouth.

Most people are completely shocked to hear this, because when most people think about running a course, they think of an intense sales period with a huge team and lots of live videos.

However, my course has pretty much just been me, no big promotions or videos.

This doesn’t mean that creating my first course came easy to me.

Creating an online course is a lot of work, no matter how you do it, and I decided to create my courses on my own terms. I want to be comfortable with how I develop and run my courses and make sure they fit with the rest of my business plan.

Don’t get me wrong, videos and a big launch period can be great for others, but for me, I wanted something a little simpler and something that reflects who I am.

I was very nervous when creating Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. It was the first product that I’ve ever sold, and like all online course creators, I was afraid that no one would want it.

Learn more at How I’ve Made Over $1,000,000 From My First Course Without a Big Launch.

 

Shop at cashback websites.

This is not one of the passive income ideas that is going to earn you a lot of extra income, but it’s an easy way to earn a little money back while shopping how you normally would online.

Cashback websites like Ebates give you a percentage back of every purchase you make when you shop through one of their partner stores. The money you earn is passive because you aren’t doing any extra work to shop like you normally would.

Here are some examples of stores and the percentage of your purchase you can earn back:

  • Walgreens 6% 
  • Amazon 5% 
  • Macy’s 6% 
  • Gap 8%
  • Kohl’s 3%

Those are just a few, and these stores and the cashback amount changes from time to time. There are even stores who offer in-store cashback or a dollar amount back on certain purchases.

Learn more at Use Ebates For Free Cash Back And Get A Free $10 Cash Back.

 

Credit card rewards

This one might seem a little different, but I still think it can be passive income as you may earn income from using credit cards just like how you usually do, as long as you normally use them responsibly.

Travel rewards credit cards are extremely popular right now. I’ve been interested in and using them for a few years, and it seems like everyone going on a vacation is talking about them these days.

Note: You can find your own travel reward credit card here.

I absolutely love travel rewards cards. In fact, I’ve gone on many extremely affordable vacations due to travel rewards credit cards. I’ve also received lots of free cash back, they’ve allowed me super cheap first class flights, and more.

Actually, a couple of years ago Wes went on a 3,000 mile sailing trip in Europe, and when he was done, I was able to use travel rewards to book a last minute flight back to Arizona (where I was with the RV). He was able to sit in business class on a 12.5 hour flight (from London to Los Angeles, I believe) and it cost less than $100 after points. It would have cost even less if I booked it more than just a few days ahead of time. After a month on a boat sharing a bed with another crew member, we wanted to get him a roomier/comfier seat, and our travel rewards credit cards made it super affordable!

The credit card companies aren’t just giving away points and cash back because they are nice, so I’m sure you’re wondering what the catch is. 

This is how they work – credit card companies offer these great bonuses and rewards because they are hoping that you’ll become a loyal customer. They know that having more customers means they’ll be able to make more money, which they make in various ways, such as:

  • Interest charges
  • Taking a percentage of each transaction when you use your credit card at a store
  • Annual fees
  • And more

So, credit card travel rewards aren’t a scam or a myth. They are part of how credit companies gain new customers, earn more money, and are only a reward if you use your cards responsibly (always paying your balance every month!).

I wrote a whole blog post on this subject here – Are Travel Rewards Credit Cards a Scam?

 

Pay off your debt

I know this doesn’t sound like the rest of the passive income ideas on this list, but the truth is that your debt is costing you money. With student loans, credit card debt, and/or a mortgage, you may be spending thousands of dollars a month on your debt.

But the part that’s really costing you is the interest, and the longer you have your debt, the more you pay in interest.

Wiping out your debt relieves some financial stress and can feel like you are earning a raise. You then have more money to put towards other things on this list, like purchasing rental properties or dividend earning stocks. 

Now, I know that debt is something that many people have, and I know that it is something that is very difficult to get out of. And, debt can be useful – you can use it to buy a house or get through college. But, that doesn’t mean you have to live with debt forever. 

Focusing on paying off high interest rate debt first, like credit cards, is one of the best ways to start. After you eliminate that debt, you’ll have more to put towards paying off other types of debt.

Related articles:

 

Is it difficult to earn passive income streams?

As you probably noticed in each of these passive income ideas, starting a passive income stream is not always going to be the easiest. There will most likely be a lot of legwork that needs to be done in the very beginning.

Some of these passive income ideas take time, some take money, and some of them are easier than others. If they were all easy, then everyone would be doing all of them!

Passive income through any of the passive income ideas above may require hard work but it is attainable.

Earning passive income is definitely not a way to get rich quick. In order to build your passive income stream, you may have to sacrifice sleep, work multiple jobs, and more. Passive income usually requires a lot of hard work in the beginning, but then simple maintenance afterwards.

If you want it badly enough, though, earning passive income can be well worth it. If you do it right, you may be able to earn an income well into the future so that you can focus more on doing what you love and less on what you’re doing to earn an income.

Are you interested in any of these passive income ideas? Why or why not? 

The post 12 Passive Income Ideas That Will Let You Enjoy Life More appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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10 Easy And Delicious Lunch Ideas For Work

10 Easy And Delicious Lunch Ideas For Work

Finding exciting lunch ideas for work is one of the best ways to start saving money on your food spending. That’s because buying lunch at work can really add up if you do it too often.

When I worked as a financial analyst, I tried to bring my lunch as much as possible. But, it was easy to get caught up with others who were going out to grab a quick lunch. The leftovers or sandwich I packed never sounded as exciting as going out.

Sure, it’s fun to go out to lunch from time to time, but it adds up quickly.

I would find myself spending anywhere from $10-$15 when I did go out for lunch. Even just $5 for lunch here and there can add up to a lot of money when you’re trying to cut your budget.

So, to help you save money on lunch, I have some delicious and healthy lunch ideas for work that will get you excited about packing your lunch.

This list is full of healthy lunch ideas for work, including a great vegetarian quinoa bowl with beans, corn, and a lime vinaigrette. There are low carb options like chicken fajita bowls and an avocado chicken salad (this one looks so pretty in the pictures!).

The recipe I’m most excited to try is the chicken hummus naan wrap. It’s packed full of veggies, and if you are vegetarian, you can easily leave out the chicken and still have a great and filling lunch.

One thing I recommend doing with these lunch ideas for work is to make them even easier by doing your prep work on the weekend or spending one night cooking and preparing several days worth of lunches. You can divide them up into containers and label each, which will help you stay organized.

Even if you don’t prepare your lunches in advance, all of these recipes are still easy lunches for work. That means you’ll be even more likely to remember that there is food in your fridge so that you can save money each week on lunch. 

You might even find yourself making some of these for dinner!

Note: If you’re looking for easy weekly meal plans, full of budget recipes, I recommend $5 Meal Plan. $5 Meal Plan is a meal planning service that sends you a delicious meal plan and shopping list every week for just $5 a month. You can even add some of these recipes into your list of lunch ideas for work.

Related: Does bringing lunch to work actually save money?

Other helpful content to read:

Here are 10 easy and delicious lunch ideas for work.

 

1. Cheesy Taco Pasta

Get the recipe here.

 

2. Southwest Quinoa Salad

Get the recipe here.

 

3. Chicken Fajita Meal-Prep Bowls

Get the recipe here.

 

4. Cold Chicken Pasta Salad

Get the recipe here.

 

5. Chicken Hummus Naan Wraps

Get the recipe here.

 

6. Korean Chicken Meal Prep Bowl

Get the recipe here.

 

7. Vegan Curry Ramen Noodles

Get the recipe here.

 

8. Crispy Vegan Potato Tacos with Jalapeño Cilantro Sauce

Get the recipe here.

 

9. Smashed Avocado Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Get the recipe here.

 

10. Avocado Chicken Salad

Get the recipe here.

What are your favorite lunch ideas for work? Do you bring your lunch to work?

The post 10 Easy And Delicious Lunch Ideas For Work appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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21 Ways You Can Learn How To Save Money In College

21 Ways You Can Learn How To Save Money In College

21 Ways You Can Learn How To Save Money In College #howtosavemoneyincollege #waystosavemoneyincollegeLooking to learn how to save money in college? With ever rising college costs, it can really help your current and future finances if you learn how to save money.

Tuition for an in-state public college averages around $25,290. Private college tuition costs twice as much, at an average of $50,900, according to Value Penguin. If you want to go to an elite, four-year university, the cost jumps to $68,000 per year.

And, if you’re going to college for something like medicine or law, you may end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years that you are in school.

As you can see, college can be very expensive.

However, I want you to know that you can learn how to save money in college so you can get a valuable college degree on a realistic budget.

Many students take out student loans to pay for college, and it can be very easy to borrow more than you actually need. While student loans do help you pay for college, having those loans hanging over your head can set your finances back by years and even decades.

And if you’re a parent trying to help your child, I’ve heard far too many stories of parents who go to great lengths to pay for school. Some take out a second mortgage, personal loans, or borrow from their retirement to send their children to college. The problem with this is that these parents are making it even more difficult to retire at their planned age. Remember, you can’t take out a loan for retirement!

College is just very expensive, but for many students it’s an important part of how they work towards a job or career they’ve always wanted. But, I want you to know that you can learn how to save money in college.

By cutting college costs, you can lower your student loan debt, or it can help parents reduce the amount they are borrowing or taking out of savings to pay for their children’s education.

Or, with these tips on how to save money in college, you may be able to attend college without racking up any student loan debt. Remember, that is also possible!

Related articles on how to save money in college:

Here is how to save money in college.

 

1. Think about the value each college will offer you.

I know many students who think about which college their friends are going to or which one is ranked the highest. But, you should think about which college is best for you and your specific major.

Sometimes, the highest ranked or most expensive college may not be the best for your actual major, which can hurt you in the long run and it isn’t how to save money in college. 

When thinking about whether or not a college is right for you, here are some things you’ll want to consider:

  • Accreditation- This is especially important if you want an advanced degree, such as medicine or law, because accreditation can determine whether or not you can go on to the next level of schooling.
  • Degrees- Which ones are offered by the college.
  • Cost- This includes the cost of tuition or the program you’re going into, plus whether scholarships or financial aid are available.
  • Location- If it’s close to home, can you save my living at home. But if it’s far away, you will need to think about dorm fees and the total cost of living.
  • Student to faculty ratio- If you need more one-on-one help with your studies, then this may be an important number to know.
  • The expertise of the professors- For me, I always liked having professors who had hands-on knowledge in the fields they were teaching.
  • Networking opportunities- A lot of life is about networking, and this is a must for some professions.

There’s a myth that expensive colleges are always better than the cheaper ones. As if higher college costs means that you’ll automatically get a great job, you’ll have an extremely high salary, and more.

One way of learning how to save money in college is to just stop believing in that myth!

In fact, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal:

From the academics [who have studied whether students from elite institutions outperform their peers or not] we know that in terms of future earnings, 1) your choice of field matters more than your choice of college, 2) after controlling for ability, the earnings differences of graduates from elite and non-elite institutions are small at best, and 3) any earnings advantage that may emerge over the long run is difficult to concretely tie back to the effects of one’s college choice.

 

2. You need to think about the full cost of college.

There is a lot that goes into the full cost of college, and it’s not just the initial tuition cost.

The most expensive school may actually be able to give you more scholarships than a less expensive school. That means the most expensive school may actually be the cheapest in the end, and this is why you need to think about the total cost.

And, there are still many great colleges that don’t come with a high tuition.

There are many factors that determine real college costs, and due to this, you’ll want to think about things such as:

  • College tuition- This will most likely be the biggest expense that you pay.
  • Room and board- Will you live on campus or not?
  • Fees- Whis can include laboratory fees, parking fees, etc.
  • Textbooks- Textbooks can easily cost a few hundred dollars each semester.
  • Financial aid- Will you receive any?
  • Scholarships- Will you apply for any?

Doing those last two things is one of the best ways to save for college, so please apply for scholarships and financial aid!

Considering all of the factors I’ve just listed can help you learn how to save money in college, and when you put them together, it may change your mind on which college provides the best value.

 

3. Remember that college isn’t the only thing that’s important.

When thinking about how to save money in college, you also want to remember that college isn’t the only thing that’s important. Yes, you definitely want to take it seriously and learn as much as possible, but there are other factors that are extremely important as well.

These other factors may play an even bigger role in helping you land the job you want.

Some of the other points you’ll want to keep in mind include:

  • Internships
  • Extracurricular activities such as college clubs
  • Part-time and full-time jobs
  • Leadership opportunities

And more!

With those things on your resume, you may put yourself ahead of others that are applying for the same position. These things are important no matter where you went to college.

Remember, companies want to see that you can apply what you learn and that you actually have experience.

 

4. Taking community college classes is one of the best ways to save money in college.

When you graduate with a four-year degree, the school name on your diploma will be the name of the college you graduated from. It won’t say, “graduated from here but took some classes at community college.” This is because your community college credits are transferred (if you follow the correct steps as outlined by your school).

If you are wondering how to save money in college, this is a great way to cut college costs.

Whether you are in college already or if you haven’t started yet, taking classes at a community college can be a great way to save money.

Community colleges provide an enormous value. However, many think they are too good to save money by taking classes at a community college.

Usually, earning credits at a community college costs just a fraction of what it would cost at a 4-year college, so you may find yourself being able to save thousands of dollars each semester. 

You may only spend $5,000 a year at a community college (most likely even less), which is a huge difference from the costs that were mentioned at the beginning of this article.

There is also a myth that your degree is worth less if you go to a community college. That is not true at all. When you eventually earn your 4-year degree, your degree will only say where you graduated from and it won’t even mention the community college credits. Your degree will look the same as everyone else that attended your college, whether you took a few classes at community college or not. You might as well save money!

I only took community college classes during one summer semester where I earned 12 credits, and I regret not taking more. I probably could have saved around $20,000 by taking more classes at my local community college.

Also, community colleges are great for getting general type credits out of the way, so you’re not missing the interesting and in-depth classes that gives your 4-year college the reputation it’s known for.

If you decide to go to a community college first, always make sure that the 4-year college you plan on attending afterwards will transfer all of your credits. It’s an easy step to take, so do not forget! You should do this before you sign up and pay for any classes at the community college.

Related post on how to save money in college with community college: I Thought I Was Too Good For Community College.

 

5. Take advantage of high school classes that give you college credit.

One way of how to save money in college starts while you’re in high school. See, many high schools offer dual credit classes that allow you to earn both college and high school credits at the same time. Most of the time, these are done right at your high school, so you don’t have to go out of your way to take them!

If you are still in high school, this is something I highly recommend you look into, as it saves time and it might even be the best way to save for college.

When I was in my senior year of high school, nearly all of my classes were dual enrollment courses where I was earning college and high school credit at the same time. I took AP classes and classes that earned me direct college credit from nearby private universities.

Due to this, I left high school with around 14-18 credit hours (I can’t remember the exact amount). I had knocked out a whole semester of college before even starting. I could’ve taken more, but I decided to take early release from high school and worked 30-40 hours a week as well.

 

6. Take all of the credits your tuition allows for.

At community colleges, you typically pay per credit hour.

However, at many universities, you pay a flat fee for your college tuition. So, whether you take 12 credit hours or 18 credit hours, you may be paying nearly the exact same price.

This is why I recommend that students who are paying a flat fee tuition take as many classes as you can. Now, you may want to make sure your classes are balanced because 18 credit hours of demanding courses can take a toll on you. But, this will allow you to take full advantage of high college costs.

If you think you can still earn good grades and do whatever else you do on the side, definitely get full use of the college tuition you are already paying for!

 

7. Apply for aid and scholarships to lower your college costs.

If you want to learn how to save money in college, applying for financial aid and scholarships is one of the most important things to do.

But, according to a study by NerdWallet, for the 2018-2019 school year, students left $2.6 billion of free college money on the table. That was Pell Grant money that students qualify for by filling out the FAFSA, which is easy to fill out and necessary for any financial aid or scholarships.

So, before you start your semester, you should always look into scholarships, grants, and fill out your FAFSA (click here to read my FAFSA tips). Paperwork for the following semester is usually due around spring, so I highly recommend doing this as soon as you can if you are planning on attending college in the fall.

Sadly, many people believe that scholarships are impossible to get. That is just another myth, and it’s probably why so students missed out on so much money last year.

I received around several thousand dollars a year in scholarships to the private university I attended. That helped pay for a majority of my college tuition. The scholarships were easy for me to get because I earned good grades in high school and scored well on tests. I received scholarships to all of the other colleges I applied for as well, just for good grades, so I know you can find scholarships if you do well in school!

And, there are still other ways to find scholarships. You can receive scholarships from private organizations, companies in your town, and more. Do a simple Google search and I am sure you will find many free websites that list possible scholarships.

Tip: Many forget that you sometimes have to turn in a separate financial aid form directly to your college on top of the FAFSA form. Contact your college’s financial aid office and see if there is a separate financial aid form that you should be filling out as well. Don’t forget to do this by the deadline each year!

 

8. Only take out what you actually need in student loans.

Many students take out the full amount in student loans that they are approved for even if they only need half of that amount.

This is a HUGE mistake. If you want to learn how to save money in college by reducing your student loan debt, start by only taking out what you truly need. You will need to pay back your student loans one day, and I know many people who regret taking out more than they need.

I know someone who would take out the max amount each semester and buy timeshares, go on expensive vacations, and more. It was a huge waste of money and I’m still not even sure why they thought it was a good idea.

Just think about it – If you take out an extra $2,000 a semester, that means you will most likely take out almost $20,000 over the time period that you are in college.

Do you really want to owe THAT much more in student loans?

 

9. Search for cheaper textbooks to lower your cost of college.

There are a lot of college costs, and buying textbooks is one of them.

Students usually spend anywhere from around $300 to $1,000 on textbooks each semester, depending on the amount of classes they are taking and their major. Just one textbook alone may cost as much as $400!

When I was in college, many of my classes required more than one book and each book was usually around $200 brand new. This meant if I were to buy all of my college textbooks brand new, I probably would have had to spend over $1,000 each semester.

I learned how to save money in college by renting my textbooks or buying them used. Renting was nice because I only paid one fee and never had to worry about what to do with the textbook after the class was done, as I only had to return it. I didn’t have to worry about a new edition coming out and the book being worthless. Buying used textbooks was nice because sometimes I could resell them and make my money back.

 

10. Don’t bring a car to college.

If you don’t need to commute off campus for work, then you may want to think about whether you may be able to realistically get rid of your car. Not everyone in college will need a car with them, and this can be an easy way for how to save money in college.

By not bringing a car, you may be able to eliminate the monthly loan payment, a campus parking permit, fuel, maintenance costs, and more.

 

11. Use your student ID.

Your student ID is good at many places beyond just your college campus. Before you buy anything, I highly recommend seeing if a company offers a student discount.

Your student ID can be used to save money at restaurants, clothing stores, electronics (such as a new laptop!), at the movies, public transportation, and more. You may receive a discount, free items, and more all just by showing your student ID.

After all, you are paying to go to college and you are paying a lot. You might as well reap all of the benefits of paying those high college costs.

 

12. Learn how to correctly use a credit card or don’t have one at all.

Many college students fall into credit card debt, but I don’t want you to be one of them.

Credit cards can seem like a good option when you are living on such a low college budget, but this can lead to thousands of dollars of credit card debt. That will eventually seem impossible to get out of due to significant interest charges that keep building up.

In order to never get into this situation, you should avoid credit cards at all costs if you think that you won’t use them well.

You should think long and hard about whether you should have one or not. Just because other students have a credit card doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing! However, if you think you will be good at using them, then there are many advantages of doing so.

Related post: 6 Credit Card Myths You Need To Know The Truth About

 

13. Get a free checking account.

If you’re paying for a bank account, you should think again. 

Opening a high yield savings account is one of the best ways of how to save money in college because it’s actually growing your savings. But, most people have their money in accounts with low rates. Unfortunately, that means many of you are losing out on some easy cash! 

With VARO, you can start earning 2.12% with a balance as low as $0.01. Once you have grown your savings, you can earn up to 2.80%.

How does that compare to the national average savings rate? It’s a very sad 0.09%. That is a HUGE difference from what VARO is offering. If you are only getting 0.09%, then you are losing out on easy, passive money.

Savings accounts at brick and mortar banks are known for having really low interest rates. That’s because they have a much higher overhead – paying for the building, paying the tellers, etc. VARO is an online bank, which means they have lower costs, then passing the savings on to you.

Here’s an example that will show you how much you can save with VARO – if you have a $10,000 savings balance, you could be earning up to $280 a year just by having a high yield savings account with VARO. With the national average, you would only earn $9 a year.

Over a 10 year period, that same savings balance with a 2.80% balance would earn you an additional $2,800, whereas a savings account with an interest rate of only 0.09% would earn you a mere $90.

Your money is just as safe in a VARO account as it is with a brick and mortar bank. You’re just earning more interest, which is something that anyone wanting to learn how to save money in college can take advantage of.

To get started and open a VARO bank account, you will:

  1. Signing up is super easy. Simply click here and sign up.
  2. Submit your application, which takes less than 5 minutes.

See, super easy!

Read more at How To Earn Over 20x The National Savings Rate.

 

14. Find ways to make extra money.

While I wasn’t smart enough to graduate from college without debt, I do know of many amazing people who were able to pay for their college tuition on their own while they were in school. They learned how to save money in college with the tips above, but they also found ways to make money that allowed them to pay their college tuition bill in full each month.

I did work full-time all throughout college. That helped me pay my bills, take out only what I needed in student loans, and go without any credit card debt.

Whether you only have one free hour a day or if you are willing to work 40 to 50 hours a week on top of being in school full-time, there are many options when it comes to earning extra money.

Here are some things you can do to pay for those high college costs:

  • Find a part-time or full-time job.
  • Look for a paid internship.
  • Make money online such as creating a blog, becoming a virtual assistant, etc.
  • Become an Uber or Lyft driver – Spending your spare time driving others around can be a great money maker. Read more about this in my post How To Become An Uber Or Lyft Driver
  • Take online surveys. This is something I did in my early 20s. Survey companies I recommend include American Consumer Opinion, Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, Pinecone Research, Opinion Outpost, and Harris Poll Online. They’re free to join and free to use! You get paid to answer surveys and to test products. It’s best to sign up for as many as you can as that way you can receive the most surveys and make the most money.
  • Maintain and clean yards. You can make money by mowing lawns, killing/removing weeds, cleaning gutters, raking leaves, and so on.
  • Move furniture and find jobs on Craigslist. Movers can earn a broad range when it comes to hourly pay, but it’s usually somewhere around $50 an hour if you run your own business.
  • If you love animals, then you may want to look into how to make extra money by walking dogs or pet sitting. With this side hustle, you may be going over to your client’s home to check in a few times a day, you may be staying at their house, or the animals may be staying with you. Rover is a great company that you can sign up with in order to become a dog walker and pet sitter. Learn more about this at Rover – A Great Way To Make Money And Play With Animals.
  • Babysit and/or nanny children.
  • Sell your stuff.

Learn more at 100+ Ways To Make Extra Money.

Related tip on how to pay off student loans: I highly recommend Credible for student loan refinancing. You can significantly lower the interest rate on your student loans which may help you shave thousands off your student loan bill over time. 

 

15. Sign up for birthday freebies.

Everyone has a birthday, and you may be able to score a lot of free birthday stuff by simply showing your date of birth date on your driver’s license or by signing up for a company’s email club to receive a coupon for your birthday. 

This is a really fun way to learn how to save money in college and it’s easy and free for everyone!

Here are 31 Birthday Freebies You Should Sign Up For.

 

16. Switch to a more affordable cell phone plan.

Most people overpay for their cell phone plan – they can easily cost over $100 per month.

I know that once you find a provider you like, it can be hard to switch. But, once you know how much you can save with another company while still having great service, this is a no brainer.

If you are looking for a more affordable cell phone plan, then check out Republic Wireless. They have monthly cell phone plans for as low as $15 per month.

I have several family members who are now using Republic Wireless and they love it!

Please read Saving Over $2,000 A Year With Republic Wireless Review for more information.

 

17. Make a budget.

Budgets help people manage their money better. It’s that simple.

Budgets are great and one of the best ways for you to learn how to save money in college because having a budget will keep you mindful of your expenses and how much money you have in the bank. With a budget, you will know exactly how much you can spend in a category each month, how much you have to work with, what spending areas need to be evaluated, among other things.

You can download a free budget printable here.

Budgets have helped people reach their goals, pay off debt, make more money, retire early, and more. This is one of the college savings tips that will completely shape and change your financial life for the better.

Learn more at The Complete Budgeting Guide: How To Create A Budget That Works.

 

18. Visit the library.

When you’re in college, the library can often feel like your second home (and not always in a good way). But, did you know that your college or local library can also be a great way to have fun without spending any money.

You can check out the latest bestseller, a classic you’ve been wanting to read, or borrow movies, music, and more. There are actually a lot of libraries now who let you borrow things like cameras, GoPros, even telescopes, and more.

This is definitely one of the best ways to save money in college as all you need is a library card.

 

19. Find a roommate.

If you decide to live off campus, then finding a roommate is going to be one of the best ways for how to save money in college.

My husband and I have had roommates in the past. While that’s not really as possible now that we split our time living on a sailboat and an RV, I still recommend that anyone with an extra room in their house think about giving it a try.

If you find a roommate while in college, you can save a good amount of money on housing costs. And, depending on your situation, you might even be able to earn a little side income.

If you are interested in renting out a spare room on a short-term basis (such as for vacations), I highly recommend that you check out Airbnb. I know people who are making thousands of dollars a month by renting out rooms on this website.

Related blog post with more saving tips about this topic: A Complete Guide To Renting A Room For Extra Money.

 

20. Read personal finance books.

This is something you can and should start doing at any age because reading personal finance books can help you in so many ways. Since many schools don’t go in depth on things related to personal finance, books are a great way to improve your financial knowledge.

Personal finance books I recommend reading are:

You can find the whole list of personal finance books I recommend here.

 

21. Other ways you can help your child get through college.

If you’re a parent and you’re reading this, then you may be wondering how you can help your child in college but not go broke yourself.

If you cannot afford to pay for your child’s college costs, or if you decide that you just do not want to, there are many other things you can do to help them. You should also read this You Don’t Have To Go Broke For Your Kid’s Education.

I believe that parents should only fund their child’s college education if the parent is on track for retirement.

This is because there are many ways to pay for college (paying for it with cash, student loans, grants, scholarships, etc.), but there is only one way to fund your retirement.

Remember, you cannot take out a loan for your retirement!

This means you should not wreck your retirement plans to help your children through college. You should analyze your financial situation first and where you are on your track for retirement to see if helping your children through college is possible. If it’s not possible, be realistic with yourself and your child. 

There are many ways to help your children with college costs that don’t involve paying for their college tuition.

You can:

  • Help your child understand personal finance. Helping your child create a budget, use credit cards correctly, and understanding college costs, will help them greatly in life. I recommend reading How To Create a Budget.
  • Support them and help them make a plan. Even if you are not offering financial support for college, you can always support your children in other ways. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with what they do, rather help them by giving advice and coming up with a solid financial and college plan.
  • Help your child find ways to make money. There are tons of ways to make extra money, and helping your children find ways to do so can help them pay for college and their living expenses.
  • Inform your children about affordable college alternatives. For example, your child may only think they should go to an expensive private university, but it’s important for you to inform them on how to save money in college with more affordable alternatives, such as going to a community college or a state university.
  • Help your child apply for scholarships. There are numerous scholarships that your child may qualify for. Some may require them to write essays, whereas others are based on high school grades. Most take very little effort and are given away by the college itself, this makes applying for them a no brainer!
  • Help your child in other ways. For some reason, there is this myth that helping your child go to college means you need to pay for everything. Instead of paying for their tuition, textbooks, food, dorm, car, and everything else, set limits on the college costs that you’ll pay for. You can help by giving them emotional support, letting them stay in your home while they are in college, helping them find ways to save money for college, helping them cut their college expenses, and more.

What other ways are there to learn how to save money in college? How much student loan debt do you have?

The post 21 Ways You Can Learn How To Save Money In College appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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How And Why My Husband And I Keep Separate Finances

How And Why My Husband And I Keep Separate Finances

Hey everyone! Today, I have a great guest post from Stephanie Schill. Stephanie is the creator of the personal finance blog WynningInLife.com. A lifetime saver and self-proclaimed shameless couponer, she is passionate about spending consciously and saving intentionally. When not writing she enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband Nick and their daughter Wynn. Below is her story of how her and her husband keep separate finances.

How And Why My Husband And I Keep Separate Finances #manageyourmoney #marriagemoneyMy husband, Nick, and I have been married for 7 years. We are successful in managing our finances happily and relatively stress-free by keeping them separate. In talking with our circle of friends and reading financial advice from experts, I get the feeling this may not be the norm.

But it works for us.

I want to share with you our experience of managing money independently, as a couple. You may be inspired to separate your finances if they are currently joined.

Or it may give you a perspective on how you can be in a relationship but keep your financials separate.

Other content you may be interested in:

 

Our earnings & accounts

Nick and I both work corporate jobs, with an approximately  62%/38% split in our earnings.  My husband earns a higher salary.

Our daughter is 3 years old and we have a second child on the way. We have one combined savings account that we can both access through Chase. All other accounts: checking, savings, investments, etc. are all managed independently.

Growing up my parents kept independent finances, so that was normal to me. My mom and dad have been married for 41 years and counting, and it has worked for them. They are a huge influence on how I manage my finances today.

While as a married couple I think it’s important to consider all money as “our” money and align on financial goals, managing money independently works really well for us.

 

Reasons why managing money independently works for us:

  • We don’t argue about money!  For example, arguing about how much he spent on this or how much I spent on that.
  • Zero bounced checks or overdrafts because we weren’t aware of what the other is spending.
  • Birthday, Christmas and other gifts given throughout the year are true surprises.
  • We both have financial independence and are able to spend, save, or invest freely as we want.

 

Separate finances from the beginning

Our independent financial model happened pretty organically. When my husband and I were dating, and through our engagement, we had separate finances.

When we got married and purchased a house in 2011, we had various financial conversations about how to manage our money. It just felt right to continue to manage our own finances individually, but take some action to bring our finances together.

We landed on having one combined savings account and managing all other finances separately.  Our preference was to make large financial decisions together but to leave the smaller day-to-day financial choices to each of us independently.

 

Recurring household bills

All of the household bills are in Nick’s name and he pays all of them every month. That includes things like the mortgage, gas, electric, cell phone bill, etc.

Once per month, I will wire him money that covers my “portion” of the bills, based on my earnings. He earns a higher salary and thus he pays a higher percentage of the bills each month.

For example, let’s say our mortgage, gas, electric, and cell phone bills are $2000 net per month. I will wire him $760 to cover the 38% that I am responsible for. In turn, he covers his 62% which equals $1240, for a total of $2,000.

We both bank through Chase. So I use Chase’s Zillow to effortlessly send him money each month.

 

Finances beyond recurring household bills

Outside of regular household bills, we each have other regular expenses we pay for individually. I pay for groceries, daycare, and anything that my daughter needs: diapers (thankfully potty trained now), clothing, etc.

Nick will routinely pay for anything around the house. Examples would be all trips to hardware stores when we do projects (he’s a project guy so there’s always something that needs fixing or improving). Typically, anytime we eat out he pays, any taxes we owe annually, any household expense like a broken water heater, or furnace checkup, etc. is usually all him.

Any expenses regarding our vehicles: gas, maintenance, payments, etc. are taken care of by each of us individually.

 

Our Savings/ Investments

Joint Savings

We have one shared savings account that we both access. We both put money into the account, but it is a joint decision if we are to ever take money out of the account. The initial goal of the account was to build an emergency fund. For example, if either of us loses our job or if there is an unexpected medical household emergency.

Over time the account has grown so now our conversations have changed toward investments and identifying ways we can have the money accessible if needed, but have it earn more interest. We all know the fraction of a percentage point any traditional bank will give you on a savings account is nothing relative to what a high-yield savings account or the stock market could yield. The question comes down to how much risk we are willing to bear.

 

Individual Savings

Beyond our one joint savings account, we both manage our own savings and investment accounts. We each have our own personal savings accounts.

While not completely defined, they would be for things like a down payment or cash payment on a car, a future vacation, or a larger ticket item either of us wants to purchase.

I consider it the bridge between our salary and the emergency fund, and money we’ll likely spend but not yet sure on what.

 

Retirement accounts

We both have our own individual 401K retirement accounts.

They are through our current employers, and we both contribute to them each paycheck. Recently we both began maxing them out which was a goal of ours for years. We know how important saving for the future is.

Due to changing of jobs over the years, we have both made decisions in the past to roll 401Ks from old employers plans into traditional IRAs.

 

Other investments

Beyond traditional 401ks we both have additional investment accounts.

We both use TD Ameritrade to purchase stocks. In my curiosity with personal finance, I’ve also dabbled using Stockpile to purchase fractional shares of stock (or gift stock) and Robinhood to purchase stock. We discuss investments but we don’t get permission from each other before we buy or sell a stock, we just do what feels right.

 

Separate finances are not perfect

While this independent financial model works really well for us, it’s not without its challenges. As the person earning less money in the relationship, even though I pay a portion of the monthly bills, our take-home pay varies significantly. Meaning, each month Nick still has significantly more money in his account that isn’t allocated toward bills.

I don’t know exactly what he makes or the exact net amount of any bonuses he receives and vice-versa.  If I ask him about his balances, he will tell me and vice-versa, but it’s not something I have visibility to on demand.

I know he’s saving money above and beyond our joint savings that I have visibility to. However, I don’t know exactly what is in his personal savings account, or retirement accounts, or investment accounts.

We each have the freedom to make our own financial choices, sometimes when the other may not fully agree. For example, purchasing a specific stock or investment, liquidating a specific stock or investment or spending money on a hobby or entertainment item.

 

Regular check-ins to stay on the same page

Regularly we check in on our finances with each other. We don’t have a specific time, but at least once per year.  Sometimes the catalyst for such a conversation will be a life event: a change in earnings from a new job, unemployment, a large purchase we want to make, or the birth of a child.

We regularly review how we are trending toward our goal of paying off our mortgage early. We’ll share how much we have in our personal savings, retirement, and investment accounts, etc. so we can make larger joint decisions together.

Examples of money decisions we make together:

  • Should we move some money from our joint savings account to an investment account that would give a higher return?
  • Should we be putting more in our daughter’s college fund?
  • Can we put more money toward the mortgage to aid in paying it off faster?
  • Is there a vacation we want to take that we should start budgeting for now?
  • Are we serious about buying that boat or gutting our master bathroom? If yes, how are we going to pay for it?

Regularly checking in our finances helps to align our finances as a couple, even if we keep them in separate accounts.

 

Separate finances pros

  • The feeling of financial independence. You get to decide where and how to spend or invest your own money.
  • Less arguing or heated conversations regarding who spent what on what.
  • Ease of budgeting when you know your income, and know your exact financial responsibilities each month.

 

Separate finances cons

  • Less visibility into the day-to-day finances.  If you’re a number cruncher or always like to have a pulse on exactly how much is in savings, calculating your net worth, exactly how much is left on the mortgage, or how your significant other is tracking toward their student debt, this may be invisible.
  • You may not account for every single expense that arises, so when something unexpected comes up, you may each think it’s the others’ responsibility.
  • If you are not the breadwinner, you may have feelings of envy of the extra money your significant other has, even if bills have been calculated relative to income.
  • If your partner is a spender, they may spend on things you don’t agree with or nickel and dime their money away each paycheck so they don’t have money to pay a portion of the agreed upon monthly bills.

 

Is managing money separately as a couple for you?

There are some things you should consider with your partner if you are thinking of going the independent finances route:

  • Is your significant other responsible enough for this arrangement? Maybe you’re not good with money or they aren’t good with money.
  • How are you going to divvy up the regular, recurring bills?
  • Whose responsibility is it for non-recurring or unexpected household bills?
    • Whip out your current budget if you have one, or create one. (If you don’t, I recommend a zero-based budget). Identify whose responsibility it will be for every line item in that budget. Being very deliberate and transparent up front will negate heated conversations down the road. Include everything: gifts, holidays, pet food, vet visits, diapers, eating out, groceries, misc. household expenses, takeout, annual lawn maintenance, snow removal, garbage removal, donations, kid’s expenses for school or activities, etc. The list goes on…
  • How will you manage savings, retirement or other investments?
  • Define how often you will check in with each other regarding the finances, and get household meetings on the calendar.

 

Conclusion

Separate finances just happened for us. My husband and I had maintained separate finances when we first got together and it became the norm as we got married. I’m used to it; we have our rhythm.

While sometimes there are heated conversations about money, they are few and far between.

I feel in control of my money which gives me a feeling of independence. But I also feel like his money and my money is “our” money regardless of whose bank account it’s in or whose name it’s under. We still make large financial decisions together and align on future goals for our money. So it’s a system that has simply worked for us.

Do you prefer joint or separate finances? What do you think of separate finances?

The post How And Why My Husband And I Keep Separate Finances appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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