Young Adult Money Helping Millennials Make More, Save More, and Live Better Fri, 20 Oct 2017 10:00:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 5 Things You Can Do to Take Your LinkedIn to the Next Level Fri, 20 Oct 2017 10:00:55 +0000 Are you making the most of your LinkedIn account? LinkedIn is a great place to build your network and find your dream job. Here's how to take your LinkedIn to the next level.You’ve heard it before: Linkedin is the Facebook for getting your career started.

Thousands of business leaders check in to LinkedIn to connect with like-minded individuals and share how well their company is going. Linkedin is a great place to build your network, find job opportunities, or even find clients to fund your business.

But, unlike Facebook, you can’t just post a picture every couple of weeks, like a few comments, and leave. If you want to make money out of using your Linkedin, you’ve got to make it a bit more intuitive. A bit more friendly, informative, and interactive. Here’s a few ways to take your LinkedIn to the next level.


1) Change Your URL

You’ll notice that your LinkedIn URL might incorporate a string of letters and numbers at the end. You know you can change that, right? Simply go to your public profile settings by clicking on your icon at the top right corner. Click “View Profile”. Then click “Edit your profile pic” on the right-hand side and change the URL on the right as well.

While you’re at it, make sure your profile can be seen by everyone. The default selection hides your profile. However, you can change that by scrolling down to “Customize Your Public Profile” and clicking the “make my public profile visible to everyone” option.


2) Add Articles to Your LinkedIn

If you are a blogger, and even if you aren’t, you want to show the world what you’re capable of creating. But you don’t have to make two different blog posts every week for your website and your LinkedIn. Instead, re-purpose existing blog posts. Take a blog post that’s incredibly niched and copy a small excerpt of it onto your LinkedIn account. On the home page of LinkedIn, click “Write an Article” and paste the excerpt. Change formatting if needed. Make sure you add a graphic as well.

Copying the whole blog post might tank your SEO score, which is why I recommend an excerpt. Normally I take the first couple of paragraphs from a blog and paste it. You can use whatever part of the article, but make sure you link back to the original article so they can visit your website. By adding previously created content to LinkedIn while linking back to your website, you’re killing two birds with one stone.

Now if you aren’t a blogger, you don’t have to worry about all that. Creating relevant content surrounding your expertise or career niche will help you build credibility and gain attention from others in your field.


3) Add Everyone You Know

Do you remember the name of your first employer? How about your favorite high school teacher? One thing I love about LinkedIn is that it’s socially okay to add people you barely talk to anymore! Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t engage with them when you add them, but it does mean you get to watch their every move and their every update.

Experienced professionals oftentimes know more important people. They already have their life established and have let life teach them a few lessons.And these people might so happen to have jobs for you. Keeping up with professors and employers on LinkedIn keeps you alert of their needs and their friends’ needs as well. You never know when Dr. Sally’s daughter might need a tutor, or if your entrepreneurial teacher is looking to hire a content marketer for her website. Sometimes you don’t have to look far for work opportunities.

In addition, who knows, maybe even your close friends and relatives might need your hand in something. Now that they actually see your blog posts or business samples on LinkedIn, they might feel more obliged to help out. I personally don’t like charging friends for my services; instead I ask them to endorse me and add a recommendation on my LinkedIn profile. That way, when your prospective clients do look at your page, they’ll have evidence of how great a worker you are.


4) Join Groups

Why did you join LinkedIn in the first place? To meet new people of course! And if you’re starting out with rarely any connections, go join groups. Look for groups where your client or dream employer might be. If you like to do social media marketing, join groups catered to business owners and companies. If you want an internship in the health department, look for groups that have health professionals as the main audience.

In addition, you can use groups to learn more about your industry as well. Members are encouraged to post whatever is new and valuable to the audience. If there’s any post that draws you in and teaches you something, leave a comment and if you like, share it to your audience. LinkedIn might be more professional than Facebook, but it’s still a social media platform. You’ve got to be social.


5) Add People That You Might be Able to Help

Now’s the fun part. You can start adding people you like from the groups or jump right onto the search bar and look for people. However, it’s best not to just add random people. I started off by adding people from groups and then researched the companies I wanted to work for. I looked up CEO’s, managers, and other people of authority. But when you do this, it’s best to have engaged with their content a couple of times before.

That way, when you send them their personalized connection request, you can say, “Hi! I found your article blahblah and totally agree with blahblahblah. Would love to connect to learn more…” You want to make your interaction as friendly as possible and not sales-y at all.

LinkedIn is much more than a social media platform. It has helped me connect with thousands of business owners and has even given me a couple jobs here and there. Don’t treat LinkedIn like just another social media account. Make your LinkedIn profile work for you by taking it to the next level.

Related: 5 Skills That Will Help Advance Any Career
10 Things You Can Do to Increase Your Salary
5 Ways Millennials Can Build Their Personal Brand
In a Career Rut? 5 Proactive Things to Do

Do you use LinkedIn? How active are you on the site? Any additional tips for those looking to make the most of it?

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5 Ways to Save For a House Down Payment Wed, 18 Oct 2017 10:00:55 +0000 Buying a house is a dream for many. To reach your house down payment savings goal, here are 5 different things to do.Buying a house is a goal for a lot of people.

Sure, there is the whole rent vs. buy debate, but at the end of the day, many people want a place to call their own. A place where you don’t have to ask someone if you can put a nail in the wall.

It can a dream to buy a house one day, but with the home market rising in cost in many places, it can be hard to figure out how to come up with a down payment for a house.

The home buying market varies in terms of costs and requirements. If you’ve spent time researching housing costs, you’ve probably read some tips on how much to save for a down payment. Putting a down-payment of 20% of the house’s purchase price is the rule of thumb in order to avoid paying PMI (private mortgage insurance) on top of your mortgage.

No matter what percentage of the house’s purchase price you put down, you can almost guarantee it will be a hefty amount. If you want to be fully equipped to save and reach your house down payment savings goal, here are few things to do.


1) Get on a Budget

It can be easy to think you don’t have any extra money to save towards a house down payment. When you’re contending with things like debt and high costs of living, saving a big amount of money can be overwhelming at first glance.

However, the first step to reaching any savings goal is to know your cash flow, the income you have coming in and the expenses that are going out. Start tracking your spending to see what you can start working with.

Once you have figured out your cash flow, get on a budget. Check out our free automated budget spreadsheet for a way to quickly budget but still stay close to your spending and really understand it.

Try meal planning in order to cut down on food costs. Cut the cord so you don’t have to deal with a pricey cable subscription. Prioritize what’s important to you and what the nice to have vs. need to have expenses are.


2) Open a New Savings Account

I love creating separate savings accounts for different goals I have. I have one for my emergency fund, one for travel, and another for immediate savings.

There are several good reasons to open up a new savings account for your house down payment, preferably one that isn’t at the bank where your regular checking account is. Most traditional brick and mortar banks have not so great interest rates on their savings accounts.

Online banks, however, have interest rates on their savings accounts that are way higher than the national average. They’re able to offer higher interest rates because they don’t have physical locations to manage like brick and mortar banks.


3) Save Windfalls

While you may not magically get a big inheritance out of nowhere, you could get bonuses at work or extra income through something else. Have a savings plan for any bonus income you get.

Windfalls of money, no matter how big or small will get you closer to your house down payment savings goal. Maybe you’re able to sell some things around your house in order to make some extra money. Whatever the case, put the money in your dedicated savings account so you’re not tempted to spend all of it.


4) Increase your 9-5 Income

Increasing your full-time job income can be one of the most beneficial things towards improving your finances. Look for ways you can grow your 9 to 5 income.

Consider taking on more responsibilities at work. Learn some new skills to increase your marketability. Outline what you’ve done to help your company succeed and use it to negotiate a raise.

Use tools to compare salary data to use in your salary negotiations. Look at how salaries compare across different companies. Make connections with others to find out about new opportunities.


5) Start a Side Hustle

There is only so much you can cut back in terms of expenses. Sometimes increasing your salary at your full-time job isn’t always an option. Enter the side hustle.

If you’re really wanting to supercharge your house down payment savings, then picking up a side hustle is the way to go. In DC’s book, Hustle Away Debt, he talks about how to find, start, and grow a side hustle.

Saving for a house down payment can be a long process. Having a side hustle can help you make more money and accelerate your savings, as well as have a cash cushion for when unexpected expenses come up. An added bonus is that you get to explore new interests and learn new skills in the process.


Final Word

Saving for a house down payment isn’t an easy process. If you’re juggling a small income with debt, which many millennials are, then it can feel like a never-ending process.

Make a point to set down and determine a timeline for your house goal. Breakdown your final savings goal into smaller mini goals for you to hit so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Utilize financial technology services to your advantage. Research to find out if there are down payment assistance programs in your area. Be proactive.

Are you planning on buying a home? How are you saving for a house down payment?

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What Happens If You Don’t Have Enough Money for Retirement? Mon, 16 Oct 2017 10:00:26 +0000 Everyone knows that they should prioritize retirement savings, yet few do. 

Unfortunately, not saving for retirement has dire consequences.It is no secret that most Americans are not preparing themselves adequately for retirement. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than one third of American people are saving money in an employer-sponsored retirement account.

Further, according to the Federal Reserve, the average working American couple has less than $5,000 saved for retirement.

These figures are quite alarming, especially considering the cost of retirement. Gone are the days of a reliable retirement income from pension plans and significant funds from social security. While some companies offer a match for what you as an individual contribute to your employer-sponsored retirement plan, many companies don’t offer anything. These days, the only source of income you can safely rely on is savings you built yourself.

Knowing this, then why do so few people prioritize saving for retirement? While we all know that saving for retirement should be a priority, it can often be overshadowed by other pressing financial goals. Young adults often struggle to save for retirement due to lack of education and massive student loan payments. As people grow older, providing for families might become more of a financial priority than retirement.

With so many financial demands now, it can be challenging to save for the future. While few people will deny that they should save for retirement now, there is always a sense of “I can start saving later.” While this is true, you can in fact start saving later, playing catch-up on your retirement is hard. It never gets easier to save for retirement. Not only does it get harder to save in the future, but you will likely lose out on the opportunity to earn thousands of dollars in compound interest. Now is the time to start prioritizing saving for retirement.


What Happens When You Don’t Have Enough Money for Retirement?

But what actually happens to those individuals who have not saved enough for retirement? It’s important to note that you are the only one you can completely rely on for your retirement. The bleak answer is that if you do not have enough money saved for retirement, you may not ever be able to retire.

And this wasn’t how retirement was supposed to be. Retirement plans, such as IRAs and 401(k) plans were introduced to give people additional retirement resources, instead of relying on Social Security alone. Unfortunately, around the same time these plans were rolled out, pensions were cut back. These days, pensions are nearly non-existent.

Without adequate retirement savings, you may need to continue working full-time. After a lifetime of work, retirement may never be a viable option if you failed to save.

The good news is that no matter your age, income, or personal situation, you can still retire by making some smart financial decisions. Though it is never too early to start saving for retirement, it is never too late to start either. Here are some ways you can start saving for retirement.


Rethink Your Budget

If you are having a hard time finding extra money to save for retirement, it is probably a good idea to take a long look at your budget. Retirement savings should be a priority, just like you have to prioritize any bills or savings goals.

You may need to cut out some expenses, like cable or dining out. Every extra dollar you can contribute to your retirement helps.


Start a Side Hustle

After cutting expenses, you may still find that you could use a little more cash. Side hustles are a great way to earn extra money on your own terms. This might be anything like starting a blog, selling artwork, freelance writing, or baby sitting.

Side hustles don’t have to be a ton of extra work, either. For instance, I started a blog as a hobby, and now I make money through blogging and freelance writing. To me, it doesn’t feel like work, and the extra money has helped me to meet all of my financial goals much faster than I would without the additional income.


Get Your Employer Match

If your employer offers a company match to your retirement account, do everything you can to at least get the full match.

For example, maybe your employer offers to match your own retirement contributions up to 5% of your income, make it a goal to contribute at least that 5%. Contributing anything less is literally leaving money on the table that is offered as part of your benefit package.


Prioritize Savings

Many people know that they should save for retirement, but struggle to prioritize it because it is so far away. But, in all honesty, investing a few dollars of every paycheck into a retirement fund isn’t as challenging as you think once you prioritize it. You can have the funds automatically deducted from your paycheck.

Even in the toughest of months, remember that retirement is more important than most of your other day-to-day financial priorities. Take a look at what you can cut back on so that you don’t have to lower your retirement contributions.


Don’t Touch Your Retirement Funds

The IRS allows individuals to take loans out against their 401(k) for a variety of reasons. Though the IRS requires you to pay these loans back, you are losing out on potential interest. In certain hardship cases, such as if you face eviction, need to pay tuition, certain medical expenses, or purchasing a primary home, the IRS allows you to take a hardship withdrawal from your 401(k).

While this is meant to be an option for you in very difficult situations, withdrawing funds from your retirement accounts have huge tax implications, as well as loss of interest. The best way to grow your retirement funds is to make wise investments and to leave your money alone and let it grow.


Create Other Smart Investments

You can make other wise investment decisions, which may help to subsidize your retirement income. In general, the stock market, HSA’s and real estate could be viable investment decisions for you.


Related: Why I’m Prioritizing Retirement Savings Over College Savings
3 Reasons to Save for Retirement Now and How You Can Start
Are Millennials Saving for Retirement? The Latest Research
How to Catch Up on Retirement Savings

What are your tips for saving for retirement? What financial or emotional barriers did you have to overcome to start saving for retirement? Or, if you haven’t started saving, what is holding you back?

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5 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Flying Fri, 13 Oct 2017 10:00:12 +0000 Flying is stressful for many reasons. If you get stressed out when you fly, you aren't alone. Here's a few ways to take the stress out of flying.When it comes to flying, I get stressed out.

I like the idea of travelling, and I don’t mind travelling for the most part, but the process of flying there has never been enjoyable to me.

From packing and making sure I have everything I need, to going through security, to being cramped on a plane for hours and hours, there’s a lot about flying that stresses me out.

My family never flew anywhere when I was growing up. We took two road trips from Minnesota to Florida (yes, two road trips to Florida), but never took a flight. In fact I didn’t take my first flight until after high school.

Ever since I started dating my wife I’ve traveled more. We both like to travel to new places and get away from the grind. Because of this we’ve taken many flights over the past 5+ years.

Flying has become less stressful for me, but it’s taken time to learn some of the tips and tricks that remove the stressful aspects of flying. Here’s a few of the things that have worked for me.


1) TSA Precheck is a Necessity

Until a couple weeks ago, I had never taken TSA Precheck. But now that I have, I’m questioning why I didn’t sign up earlier.

For me TSA has always been a stressful experience. Especially a few years back when TSA forced you to either take a highly invasive body scan or essentially be groped, going through security was just awful.

I still think going through security is by far one of the worst parts of travelling. I think we have all encountered TSA agents who could care less about being friendly or who were downright rude.

While you do still have to go through security when you have TSA Precheck, it’s a lot less stressful. You don’t have to take your shoes or belt off, and your pockets don’t have to be completely empty (put your keys, phone, and wallet in your bag prior to getting in line). It’s a breeze.

If you get the Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card you can sign up for TSA Precheck and when the expense hits your card, it will be comped by Chase. I would highly recommend getting Global Entry for $100 instead of TSA Precheck, as Chase will cover both and Global Entry is only $15 more than TSA Precheck. Plus, you get TSA Precheck as part of Global Entry.


2) Get Airline Credit Cards

Having an airline credit card was never something that I thought would make travelling less stressful. Before I started travel hacking I always thought airline credit cards were unnecessary, or even worse, a “bad deal.” Ever since I started travel hacking, though, I’ve realized when used appropriately airline credit cards can not only be really good deals but also can make flying less stressful.

One card in particular has greatly benefited me and my wife, the United MileagePlus® Explorer card. Because there are so many ways to get United Airlines miles (here’s some tips), my wife and I had over 300k at one point. Not surprisingly, we’ve flown United Airlines quite a bit. Some of the perks of the card that have made flying less stressful include:

  • Early Boarding – When you have a United MileagePlus® Explorer card you are automatically put in boarding group 2. You (likely) won’t ever have to worry about overhead bin space being used up. A large majority of people will be boarding after you in groups 2 through 5.
  • Free Checked Bags – Both you and your guest will have your first bag checked free. With United that’s usually $25 per bag, each way. $100 in savings isn’t too shabby. This can make travel less stressful because if you are really cramming your stuff into small bag, you can just take a bigger one since you’ll be checking it anyway. It takes the cost of checking a bag out of the equation.
  • Lounge Access – On a recent trip I flew through the Panama City airport, and it was packed! People everywhere and few if any open tables near restaurants. One nice thing United offers is two lounge passes a year. If you have a long layover it’s a great way to get away from the crowded airport.

Other airlines have similar perks. I have a Sun Country and Delta card and both offer free checked bags. Lounge access, early boarding, and other perks will vary by airline, so check the specific airline you are looking into to make sure it has the perks you are expecting.


3) Have a Go-To Packing List

I added this to the list because I feel like every time I travel I have to recreate my packing list. Some travelers are savvy enough where they do not need a list, but I’m too much of a planner and too paranoid about forgetting something to not have a list.

If you have a list ready to go, ideally in a digital format, all you need to do when you travel is slightly edit it for where you are travelling to. A weekend in Vegas will require different clothes than, say, a 2-week trip to Europe.

Having this list pre-made will be one less thing you have to worry about when you are prepping for your trip. And you’ll feel much better checking everything off the list than trying to pack from memory.


4) Plan Plan Plan!

The more you can plan ahead of time for the trip the less stressed you will be. This goes beyond just having a packing list and includes things like having small things planned out – how you will get to the airport, how you will get to where you need to go when you land, and making sure that everything is in order while you are gone.

Do you have pets? As early as possible have a plan for how they will be taken care of. Whether it’s having someone check up on them or having them stay somewhere, having this checked off your list early on will make your life easier.

I’m also one of those people who like coming home to a clean house, so I clean and organize as much as possible before I leave. This can make things a bit hectic the couple days before I leave, but not having to worry about that when I get home is a huge stress reliever.

One nice trend is that a lot of airlines and hotels are making it easier to check in before you even get to the airport. Hilton just rolled out a “digital key” and I tested it out during my recent trip to NYC. I was able to pick the exact room I wanted to stay in (a full two days prior to my trip) and I checked in the morning I was scheduled to fly out. I went straight to my room and used the digital key – which is essentially an app on your phone – without having to talk to any staff members. Not a bad deal!

Another example is early check-in for flights. On that same NYC trip I had my boarding pass printed out prior to going to the airport (and had it on my phone) and I went right up to the ticketing agent and dropped off my bag – no waiting in lines to check in and print my boarding pass.

Another thing you can do to plan ahead is choose a seat. I prefer airlines that let you do this early on as I prefer aisle seats, and if flying is stressful to you it’s always nice to have a seat you prefer versus the dreaded middle seat.


5) Invest in Products that Make Travel Easier

I’ve already mentioned a few things that you could invest in to make travelling easier, but there are many more things you can buy to make travelling even less stressful. A couple of them are:

  • Insulated Water Bottle – This is pretty much a no-brainer. Granted there are cities and countries where you will want to purchase bottled water or boil water before consuming, having a solid water bottle will save you money over time.
  • Portable Charger – Instead of running around looking for outlets at the airport (I think we all know this: there aren’t many!), get a portable phone charger and simply plug it into your phone whenever your battery is getting low. I always have one with me and love getting off the plane with a full phone battery.

Here’s a list of 13 things that make travelling easier.

What do you do to make flying, and travel in general, easier?

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The Ultimate Moving Checklist Wed, 11 Oct 2017 10:00:36 +0000 Moving can be frustrating. Packing and adjusting to a new setting can be hard. Here are 7 things to do to help make moving easier.Moving can be frustrating. Nobody likes having to deal with packing, carrying heavy stuff, and having to adjust to a new setting. I’ve moved several times in the last few years and each time has been a learning experience of what to do and what not to do.

As I’ve learned from relocating to different places, in order for a move to go as smoothly as possible, you have to plan and budget it accordingly. While there is no need to go full type A and plan out every little detail, doing some preparation can be beneficial and save yourself from further frustration.

If just the thinking about the thought of moving gets you nervous, then it’s in your best interest to get your moving tasks in order. Your sanity, budget, and time will thank you.

Things always seem to get lost or forgotten in the process of relocating to a new place. The last few times I’ve moved, I’ve always had to spend way more than I anticipated on things like trash bins, cleaning supplies, unexpected fees, and other small things.

To make your move easier, give a few of these things a try.


1) Declutter

When you get settled into a place, things always seem to start to pile up. No matter how careful I’ve been, I’ve always amassed a few things in every place I have stayed in that I really didn’t care for.

It usually doesn’t make sense to bring every single thing you own with you in a move. There is bound to be a few things you can toss. While you’re in the process of packing, set stuff aside that you’re not sure about keeping. Revisit the stuff once you have packed up all your stuff.

Decide what is and isn’t worth to keep. Donate the rest. Give things to your local thrift store or Goodwill. Consider having a yard sale or selling some of the stuff on Craigslist in order to make some cash.


2) Stock up on Supplies

You do not have to buy moving boxes. They can an unnecessary expense for something you can otherwise get for free. Visit your local grocery store or liquor store to see if they have any boxes they can give away.

The last time I moved, I was able to get several boxes from my local grocery store, saving me money that I would have spent had I purchased boxes from a shipping supplies store. Some of the boxes I got where wine and alcohol boxes which had separators in them that were perfect for storing my fragile items.

Remember to add up the cost to purchase things like permanent markers, labels, bubble wrap, tape, and rope.


3) Decide How You Want to Move

Do you want to stuff everything in your car or rent a U-Haul in order to move everthing? I’ve done it both ways. Back when I was moving into my first apartment, I crammed everything I had into my little sedan. It worked out since I didn’t have much furniture to my name and gave away several things I didn’t want.

Decide if you’re going to pack everything in your vehicle, rent a U-Haul or hire professional movers. Consider the distance you’re moving, like if you’re going to be relocating to a different state or somewhere far away. While it can be cost-effective to go the do-it-yourself route, think about stuff like heavy furniture and the amount of time you have for the move.


4) Update Your Address Details

One of the most frustrating parts about moving is having to update your address details for everything including bills, insurance, bank, memberships, and subscriptions.

Updating your details for all of these can take time. Putting in a change of address via the post office can be easily done online in a few minutes. It’s quick, simple and ensures your mails get delivered to you.


5) Practice Good Money Management

Moving tends to make everything go down the drain, including your finances. Admittedly moving isn’t going to be easy on the wallet, but don’t let it make you abandon your money management during the process.

If you know well in advance that you will be moving, then start setting aside dedicated savings to help pay for moving costs. There are a lot of unexpected moving costs that can seem to come out of nowhere.

Paper towels, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies are often forgotten costs. Make sure you account for things like installation fees, utility deposits, pet fees, parking costs, and other expenses. While some of these costs are expected among frequent movers, they can sometimes be higher than anticipated.

Having dedicated savings for your move will help you. I’ve utilized financial tech resources in the past to help with my moves. Apps like Ebates and Ibotta help you earn cash back. Every little bit counts in helping to cover the cost of a move.


6) Meal Plan

Food spending can get out of hand when you’re moving. Packing up things like pots and pans usually means you’re left with the options of leftovers or take-out. Protect your wallet by planning out your meals and what you will eat in the days leading up to your move and for the first few days after your move.

While you don’t have to organize every last meal you will eat, it is good to at least know some simple recipes and foods you can eat. Moving is stressful, so naturally you’ll want to cave in and order take-out at some point. Allocate a set amount for food spending and try to stick to it as much as possible.

Know your weaknesses. If you have a feeling you will be ordering a lot of take-out, then budget for it so you don’t feel too bad.


7) Shop Small and Thrifty

You might have a tendency to buy the things when you move into a new place. Resist the urge and start small. Focus on the essentials first like a bed, table, and place to sit.

Get thrifty and browse your local thrift store or Craigslist to find things like furniture and kitchen appliances. There are some things I will always buy new like a mattress, but plenty of things can be bought secondhand. Doing so will help you save money on furnishing.


There are many steps to moving, so it’s alway best to take the time to get yourself organized. Review all of the steps above so you’re not running around at the last minute to do everything. A little planning can go a long way and give you peace of mind.

What steps did you take when preparing to move? What things did you do to prepare for a move?

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How to Have Fun While You’re Still in Debt Mon, 09 Oct 2017 10:00:34 +0000 Who says you can't have fun while paying off debt? Here's how you can live a little without interfering with your debt repayment plan.The path to financial freedom is not easy, and at times, it can become all-consuming.

When working towards paying off debt, we can find ourselves with blinders on, and we often forget to have fun along the way.

With a little creativity and prioritization, you can still have fun while you’re paying off debt. You may just need to be slightly more careful and mindful of your budget.

Here are a few tips on how to have fun while you’re still in debt.


Budget Your Fun

While paying off debt, the most common advice is to try to cut as many expenses as you can. However, if you have a large amount of debt, this could take years, and if you are constantly feeling deprived, you are less likely to succeed and become debt-free.

Take away the guilt from having fun by giving yourself a fun allowance. By creating a fun budget, you will force yourself to more regularly do those things you enjoy, which will help you sustain your debt repayment journey. This will also allow you to have fun while still meeting all of your other financial goals and obligations.


Find Free Events

No matter where you live, there are always free events and activities available. Whether it’s festivals, concerts, or outings, making use of these free events will fill your social and hobby need without busting your budget.

Check your local newspaper or city blog. They often list free events going on in the city every night of the week.


Test Before You Buy

It’s expensive to be fully invested in a hobby. Being completely consumed by a specific hobby requires the cost of equipment, tools, and transportation, and those costs all add up quickly. While it’s great to be deeply interested in a hobby, we should make it a point to be careful of what hobbies we splurge on.

Before you fully invest in a hobby, test it out to ensure that it is something you truly are interested in and would make time for in the future. For example, you can rent canoes for a few times before you decide to purchase canoes of your own, or buy an older, cheaper sewing machine until you are sure you are ready to go “all in” on a sewing hobby.

Though it might cost per use if you are renting, testing it before you purchase everything will save you significant money in the long run. You may find that after a few tests, you aren’t as interested in a particular hobby as you thought you might be.


Prioritize Your Hobbies

Having hobbies that you truly love will only help your personal finance journey. Taking some time and spending some money to focus on things you truly enjoy will keep you rested enough to be able to continue your financial journey for the long-term.

There is no shortage of ways to spend money on having fun, but not all of the fun is truly relaxing. Spending money on hobbies versus going out with friends or eating out all of the time will pay off in the long-term.


Get Creative

Having fun while in debt doesn’t have to break your budget. There are plenty of ways you can entertain yourself for little money if you just exercise some creativity.

If your budget is tight, find cheaper alternatives to your favorite hobbies and activities. For example, instead of going to the movies, rent a movie and make popcorn at home. If you enjoy golfing, try to go more frequently in the off-season when it might not cost so much. Getting creative with


Plan in Advance

Planning in advance always helps to save more money. By planning activities and events beforehand, you already have a budget set. And by planning in advance, you allow yourself enough time to compare rates, find discounts, or travel hack for extremely cheap trips and events. If you’re with a group of people, planning in advance also eliminates the pressure of wanting to participate when you did not budget for a certain activity.


Related: 7 Fun Things To Do While On A No-Spend Challenge
7 Inexpensive Date Ideas
15 Hobbies and Interest That Can Be Profitable Side Hustles
Are Your Hobbies Costing You Too Much?

How do you have fun while paying off debt? What are your tips for affordable activities and hobbies?

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How to Have a Social Life When You’re On a Budget Fri, 06 Oct 2017 10:00:30 +0000 Are you on a budget but still want to have a social life? It's possible to have both. Here's some tips on how you can have a social life even when you're on a budget.To be honest with you, I used to not have an actual social life. I would wake up at 6 and go to bed at around 11 and work all day. Don’t be like me.

The thing about entrepreneurship is that it’s draining, and if you stay there and do that every single day, you’ll burn out and your work will turn to crap.

So take a break and live a little. You might be afraid to hang out with your friends because everything cool to them costs money. But here’s how to have a social life while still on a budget.


1) Make Friends, Preferably those that are also Money-Conscious

Obviously, the first thing to do is make friends, preferably GOOD friends.  One thing you can do to make friends is talking to anyone and everyone. Several questions start off with a question, so ask one. Try not to start off with how was your day, because let’s be honest: do you really care?

I would start off trying to find some place where you can find common ground. After a while, see where their head is when it comes to spending money. Nothing’s better than making friends that are also money-conscious and disapprove of the consuming culture.


2) Let your Friends Know that you Have Financial Goals

I’m sure everyone has goals, but not everyone knows of your goals. You don’t have to be super adamant and in their face about your financial goals, but letting them know why you’re not splurging on $10 frozen yogurt will help your friends plan dates better. A good friend would respect your goals and bring you closer to them, not farther away.

In some cases, if your friends offer an expensive restaurant but still want you to come, one of them might also offer to split the bill with you. Your friend wouldn’t have offered if you never told them that you were budgeting. On the same token, if you know of any restaurants that deliver big portion sizes, think of those and offer to split the bill with someone.


3) Start a Side Hustle if You Haven’t Already

At some points in time, you’re gonna want to do something you can’t afford. A great way to be able to afford travel or other things that are outside your budget is to start a side hustle. If you already have a 9-5, see if you can do a couple of gigs here and there in something you’re good at to increase your income. Having an additional source of income makes budgeting a lot easier and life a lot more enjoyable.

Are you great with taking pictures? Give discounted head-shots to friends and families. Reach out to bloggers that you might know because bloggers always need graphics and photos for their site.

Are you great at writing? Try freelance writing on for size. Starting a freelance business might be a bit more lucrative to get into because you might not know people looking for writers. However, freelance writing has been the saving grace for me when I’m short of a couple hundred dollars every month.

Let your network know that you offer these services, show some samples online, and pitch to people who might need your services.  This article will help you find your first client.

Another side income you can look into is graphic design. Every business—and I mean EVERY BUSINESS—needs a graphic designer. Someone’s gotta make the logo! If you’ve got Photoshop or any other type of graphic design software (that’s not Canva), try your hand at graphic design. Practice making logos, social media graphics, resumes, and even business cards.


4) Examine the Opportunity Cost of Going to Every Event

You might have friends that don’t care about your goals, or they constantly forget that you’re trying to live a financially-stable life. You might have to say no to events. You might even have to say no to the friendships.

But you might also have close friends that want you to join in on their celebrations. Fancy occasions like weddings might require a fork load of money. But just because you’re saving doesn’t mean you have to deny a special occasion. If you were the best man or a bridesmaid at a wedding, are you just going to ignore their invitation because of your goals? If you don’t go, you’d save money. But you’d also miss out on a special moment in your friend’s life. It’s up to you to decide which sacrifices are worth it.

The secret to having a social life while on a budget is to be conscious of everything. And if you don’t want to be the one to always look at the price tag, try looking for an additional source of income to supplement the costs.

Do you splurge whenever you’re with friends? What are some ways to spend less money when you’re having a good time?

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