Young Adult Money Helping Millennials Make More, Save More, and Live Better Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:35:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 15 Ways You Can Make Money From Your Computer Right Now Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:00:50 +0000 Are you interested in earning money straight from your computer? No matter what skills you possess, there are many ways you can make money right from the comfort of your own home.Do you want to make money at home on your own time? Whether you are looking to make a full-time income or just make a few extra bucks a month, there are many ways to make money right from your own computer.

As the use of technology rises, the possibility of making money from your computer continues to increase. You can do jobs online that did not even exist 5 or 10 years ago. While there are many scams out there, we have highlighted the best 15 legitimate ways to make money online.

The options on this list vary. Whether you just want to earn a few dollars while watching television, or you want to start your own online business, there is an online job perfect for you.

Keep in mind, there are easy and difficult ways to earn money online. Some items on this list may only require an hour a month, but they won’t pay as much as something that requires much more work. Earning a significant amount of money online takes time, hard work, and dedication. But if you are willing to commit, there are endless possibilities to make money straight from your computer. Here are 15 of the best ways you can start earning money from your computer today.


1) Sell Items Online

What better way to make money than by selling items cluttering up your home? You can sell old furniture, clothing, kitchen appliances, or tools all online.

It only takes a few minutes to post an item for sale online. All you have to do is take a few pictures of the items you are selling, post them to sites like Craigslist, eBay, or OfferUp, and write an honest description describing the condition of the item for sale. And if you are selling clothing, Poshmark is an incredibly useful app.


2) Take Surveys

While taking surveys probably won’t make you rich, they do provide a way to quickly make money while sitting on your computer. Many sites are looking to gather data from individuals from across the world in efforts to help with their product and marketing.

Survey sites typically pay a few dollars per survey. The longer the survey, or the more qualifications you meet, the more you will be paid. Some of the sites pay in cash, while others reward individuals with gift cards or reward points. We recommend the following survey sites:


3) Start a Blog

Blogging is increasing in popularity, and there is great potential to make money if you start a blog. It should be noted that it takes time and hard work to make money through blogging, but if you truly enjoy what you are blogging about, it will be a fun process for you. Many people started their blogs as a hobby, only to find themselves making money from it.

There are many ways to make money through a blog, including advertising, sponsored content, and affiliate networks. Read here to learn how to start your own blog.


4) Freelance Write

If you have strong communication and writing skills, freelance writing is the perfect way to earn money from home.

With freelance writing, businesses or websites hire you as an independent contractor to create content for their websites, newsletters, or even promotional items. You can set your own rates for each project.

If you are interested in freelance writing, I highly recommend starting a blog in the niche where you would like to start writing. This is what I did to become a freelance writer and I can’t suggest it enough.


5) Become a Virtual Assistant

Virtual assisting is not only a great way to earn money from your computer, but it has the opportunity to become a full-time job.

A virtual assistant, or VA, is a person who helps an individual or business all online. It is similar to an executive assistant, but all online. Job vary, but common tasks include scheduling meetings, proofing content, sharing content on social media, and other administrative tasks.


6) Write and Sell eBooks

For anyone who enjoys writing, you can write your own eBook and sell it for profit.

eBooks are a great way to make money because they do not require much overhead. In fact, writing and selling your own eBook can be as simple as writing the material, saving it as a PDF, and upload it to a site to start selling.

You can publish your eBook through Smashwords, Booktango, and Amazon Kindle, or you can create your own blog and sell your eBook straight from there.


7) Create a Course

Would you consider yourself to be very knowledgeable about a specific topic? You can earn money by sharing your knowledge with others via an online course.

With whatever topic you choose, you can create an online course by planning out what content you will cover, creating worksheets, and offering valuable resources for students. You can charge a set class fee for anyone who signs up for your course, or you can teach on websites such as Coursera or Udemy.


8) Sell Stock Photos

If you are skilled in photography, you can sell quality photos online to be used as stock photos. Stock photos are photos that others pay to download and use for their own marketing and websites.

You can sell stock photos on large websites like iStockPhotos. The best part about selling stock photos is that once you take the photo and upload it, the rest is passive income. You are paid every time someone downloads the photo.


9) Design Logos

Have a knack for graphic design? From companies to individuals to websites, the demand for logo work is high. If you have a creative eye, this could be a fun and profitable way to make money online.

Logo work can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. I personally know individuals who spend a lot of money on the latest editing software, but I also know people who utilize free software, such as Canva to create logos.


10) Write and Edit Resumes

The ability to write a resume well is rare, and strong resume-writing skills are in demand. Best of all, there are a myriad of ways to work from home while correcting resumes. You can work for a resume writing company or start your own business.

If you are looking to start your own resume-writing business, it’s best to start building your portfolio. You can easily build a portfolio by asking friends and family to let you review and edit their resume. From there, you have built a portfolio that you can send to potential clients.

And if you would prefer to join a professional resume-writing company, Talent Inc., and Risesmart are a couple companies that hire resume-writers.


11) Translate Documents

The demand for translators is rapidly increasing as companies and individuals interact with each other around the world on a regular basis. You can earn money by translating documents online. You can work for yourself, through an agency, or find your own freelance projects on UpWork and Fiverr.


12) Design Websites

If you have the ability and knowledge to design websites, you are sure to find no shortage of work and ways to make money doing it. In order to create and design websites, you must possess a strong understanding of HTML and coding, as well as the ability to understand what your clients are asking for.

Even if you don’t know how to code, you can teach yourself for free via Code Academy. If you are looking to start earning money by designing websites, create a few of your own first and add them to your portfolio. This way, prospective clients can see what you are capable of before they hire you.


13) Switch Bank Accounts

Are you really getting the most out of your current bank account? What if I told you that you could earn significantly more in interest on your savings throughout the year?

Online bank accounts are able to pay higher interest rates because they do not have to maintain the costs of traditional brick and mortar stores. If you are looking to open an online bank account, we highly recommend Discover Bank. Discover online savings account offer a 0.95 APY, which is much higher than you will find at other physical banks. You can learn more about an online Discover account here.


14) Become a Transcriptionist

If you are looking for a flexible and legitimate work-from-home job, transcribing could be for you. To be an online transcriptionist, you simply have to type out audio that you are given. Successful transcriptionists are keen listeners and are fast and accurate typists.

You can become a transcriptionist in many fields, including the medical and legal field. You can either work directly for a company, or you can work for websites such as Tigerfish, or find freelance opportunities on Upwork.


15) Open an Etsy Store

Do you enjoy crafting, such as making jewelry, art, or sewing? Whatever you enjoy creating, you can open an Etsy shop to sell your items.

Etsy is basically an online marketplace for people looking for handmade goods. You open your own shop with your products, and consumers can search and buy your items. Etsy is great because you don’t have to go out searching for your own customers. It costs 20 cents to list an item on Etsy, and they take a small percentage of each sale you make.


Want more ideas for making money on your computer and at home? Here’s 50+ ideas for online and at-home side hustles.

How do you make money from your computer? Do you do any items on this list? If you don’t currently make money from your computer, which list item would you choose to start?

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The Spring Cleaning Personal Finance Checklist Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:00:04 +0000 Spring time means time to spring clean and organize, so why not your finances? Use this Spring cleaning personal finance checklist to clean up your finances.Ah Spring time. Warm weather and longer days.

People also tend to be more motivated than other to organize, clean, and go through their stuff.

While it’s always good to get rid of old stuff and clean your house or apartment, I think it’s also a perfect time to leverage your motivation to give your personal finances a good deep cleaning as well.

Regularly checking up on your finances is important. There are many things you can do to improve your personal finances, but a majority of them are really easy to put on the back-burner. Trust me – “buy life insurance” was on my to do list for two years before I finally got around to it.

Carve out some time this Spring to go through this spring cleaning personal finance checklist. It will help you start doing some things you’ve been meaning to do, as well as give you a check-up on certain things you are already doing to ensure you are still in a good spot.


Check your Net Worth

Checking your net worth can be a painful experience, especially for those who are in student loan or other debt. Even if you fall in this group, though, it’s still better to know where you stand than to be ignorant of your situation.

I have said in the past that for a large majority of people, especially millennials, it’s more important to focus on income than net worth. That’s exactly why it took me so long to get around to signing up for a free Personal Capital account that automatically tracks my net worth. But once I did it felt good to know exactly where I stand at a given point in time.

Tracking your net worth has never been easier. Personal Capital automatically tracks your net worth once you initially link your accounts. If you’re like me you may only check your net worth once or twice a year, but having the accounts linked makes it a lot easier than starting from scratch each time.


Review your Budget or Start Budgeting

One of the things I stress in personal finance lunch and learns or coaching sessions is to not only budget, but to regularly review your budget.

If you haven’t started a budget yet, that’s the first thing you should do. Budgeting can be as hands-on or hands-off as you want. Some people hold themselves to a specific spending threshold while others (myself included) just track the monthly trend and make sure they aren’t spending too much on things they don’t care about (like cable).

I recently released my free automated budget spreadsheet that has been years in the making. If you don’t already track your income and expenses, this spreadsheet is the best way to do it.

If you already budget, take some time to review your monthly spending. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my spending in alignment with my values?
  • Are there areas I can cut back spending on (i.e. restaurants, cable, cell phone, entertainment)?
  • Is my current spending habits allowing me to pay down debt or prohibiting me from paying down or incurring more debt?
  • What changes can I make to create more cash flow?

While reviewing your budget consider what sort of proactive actions you can take. One example would be to start meal planning and making a grocery list to reduce the amount you spend on groceries. Another example would be to research offers that phone companies are making to see if there are lower-cost options available.

Whatever you decide to do make sure to list it out and make it an actionable item that you can check off once you complete it.

Related: Finally! An Automated Budget Spreadsheet in Excel


Review your Debt

While Personal Capital does a good job of pulling in your debt, I think it can be valuable to lay out all your debt in a spreadsheet as well. I have a free student loan debt spreadsheet you can use to track your student loans, but you can add non-student loan debt to it as well.

When I’m looking at my debt I focus on a couple things: what type of debt it is and what the interest rate is?

There are different strategies you can use depending on the type of debt, but the first goal should always be to get a lower interest rate. If you have high interest credit card debt it can make a lot of sense to refinance it through a personal loan. If it’s student loan debt there is also opportunities to refinance at a lower interest rate.

Debt can be overwhelming, and I always encourage people to be action-oriented with their debt. Sometimes no action is needed, for example if you have it on auto-payment and it will be done at a specific date in the future (assuming you are happy with the interest rate). Others may want to be more proactive, such as refinancing, increasing their income through their 9-5 or a side hustle, or cutting expenses to pay it off faster.

Related: 5 Ways to Lower Your Interest Rate on Your Debt


Analyze your Income

It’s easy to get comfortable in a job and lose a pulse on whether or not you are getting paid fairly. Take some time to review your 9-5 income and give your resume a refresh. Some specific things you can do include:

  • Review job listings on an app like indeed to see what sort of skills employers are looking for
  • Update your Resume

Perhaps you are happy with where you are at with your 9-5 and the prospect of switching employers – even if it meant a higher pay – isn’t attractive. Or perhaps you are already maxed out at your 9-5 but still want to increase your income.

If you want to explore ideas outside of your 9-5 income consider starting a side hustle. Start going down this path by reading our Ultimate Guide to Side Hustling or my book Hustle Away Debt.

Related: How to Make More Money at your 9-5


Check your Emergency Fund

Now you probably don’t need to check your emergency fund. If you have one, you likely know how much it is. If you don’t have one, you also know how much you have.

But when I say check your emergency fund I want you to actually think about whether or not your emergency fund is sufficient. How many months could you live off of it? If your answer was less than three months, it’s time to make building your emergency fund a priority. If you really want to challenge yourself make a plan of hitting somewhere in the six to twelve month range.

If you don’t have an emergency fund then it’s time to get one. I will be the first to admit that building an emergency fund is not easy, especially when you have debt and other things that you want to put your income towards. But I can also tell you that it’s one of the best things you can do for your peace of mind.

Start by setting a realistic goal like saving $100. Then challenge yourself to increase that to $500, and so on. Eventually you will want to have the equivalent of three or more months of monthly expenses set aside, but the important thing is to get started.

Related: How to Quickly Build an Emergency Fund


Review your Retirement & Health Savings Account

Another thing you should review is your retirement and Health Savings Account. A few things to check are:

  • Are you contributing up to your company match for your 401k?
  • Whether you have a company match or not, how much money are you actually putting into your 401k and/or IRA?
    Are you able to contribute more?
  • What investments do you haven in your 401k and/or IRA? Do you need to re-balance it?

I’m all about the “set it and forget it” approach to investing, especially when it comes to retirement accounts, but it is important to check up on them every once in a while, even if it’s just once a year.

Health Savings Accounts, or HSAs, are a relatively new concept but will only increase in popularity over time as the burden of paying for health care continues to shift to consumers. I am all about HSAs and oftentimes refer to them as “IRAs on steroids. I explained in a previous post why HSAs are the absolute best retirement accounts.

If you aren’t contributing to an HSA and using HSA funds for every medical expense possible, you are missing out on some big tax benefits. Even if you can’t max out your HSA, it’s important to contribute something. I would even go so far as argue that you should contribute to a 401k up to a company match and then focus on maxing out your HSA.

Related: How $5,000 Can Turn Into $1,000,000 For Retirement


Review your Insurance

The last thing on the Spring Cleaning Personal Finance Checklist is review your insurance. Insurance isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but it serves an important function and can protect you from expensive, unexpected bills – or even bankruptcy.

Take an inventory of your current insurance coverage. How much do you pay in premiums? What are you actually getting in return? Is your coverage adequate?

Many times people don’t realize how much they are paying for insurance because it’s baked into their paycheck, mortgage payment, or is on auto-pay. Understanding the true cost of your insurance is important, if not just to have it as a reference point.

Insurance isn’t all about cost. You can oftentimes get cheaper insurance, but if the coverage is bare-bones you are going to regret it if something big happens. One of my former manager’s house burnt down right after he switched to a cheaper home insurance company. They ended up being very difficult to deal with and caused much more hassle than a different company likely would have. That’s not always the case, but I think it’s important to balance cost with quality of coverage.

Besides reviewing your current coverage it might make sense to add some additional coverage as well. Up until a little over a year ago I did not have any life insurance, but I decided to open a million dollar policy at age 27. There’s many reasons to consider life insurance, but in general if others depend on your income and would be impacted if it were to go away, you should look into getting life insurance.

You can head straight to PolicyGenius to get a free quote or you can read my post about how to get life insurance on PolicyGenius to see how it works.

Related: The Millennial’s Guide to Finding and Purchasing Insurance Online


Want more ideas for how you can improve your finances? Check out our post 40+ Ways to Improve Your Finances This Month

Do you Spring clean? Have you ever gone through and Spring cleaned your finances?

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10 Podcasts That Will Teach You About Content Marketing Fri, 21 Apr 2017 10:00:07 +0000 Need to learn more about content marketing in a short amount of time? The solution is - podcasts! Here are the 10 best podcasts about content marketing.Need to know more about content marketing? You can read all you want about content marketing, but have you considered listening to podcasts?

As technology changes, so does our need for content marketing. If you run any sort of business with content, whether it’s a blog or website, you need to figure out how to get people to actually find and view your content. Enter content marketing.

Whether you’re a blogger, freelance writer, or marketing guru, there is no shortage of information available to improve our skills. What we do lack, however, is time, which is where podcasts come in. Podcast are great because you can download and listen to them wherever and whenever suites you. On your commute, at work, while working out, and while side hustling are all ideal ways to listen to podcasts. Best of all, most podcasts are free and are easily available for download on your smartphone.

Conversely, we can admit that there is an overwhelming amount of material regarding content marketing available through podcasts. It would be impossible to listen to every podcast out there. So we did the research to narrow down the top 10 content marketing podcasts.


1) Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi

If you only have a few minutes to spare, look no further than Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi. These podcasts are typically only 5-10 minutes long, but are jam packed with information. Joe Pulizzi founded the Content Marketing Institute, and uses his experience and takeaways in every episode.

With content this short, there is no excuse not to listen to podcasts. Content Inc. is released twice a week and relay a blend of Pulizzi’s personal marketing experiences and marketing knowledge.


2) The #AskGaryVee Show

The #AskGaryVee Show was originally a Youtube channel, but it is now available in podcast form. His episodes cover a range of topics including entrepreneurship, career, and, of course, content marketing. Most of the podcasts are discussing single questions asked by listeners, so it is sure to be content you actually want to hear.

The best part about this show is that if you have a question, you can actually ask it! They are constantly looking for new questions and new content to cover, so ask away.


3) Marketing Made Easy Podcast

What sets Amy Porterfield’s Online Marketing Made Easy podcast apart is that it provides actionable steps to implement to improve your marketing efforts. While many other podcasts offer a general wealth of information, Amy’s podcasts get into the specifics of how you can actually put your new knowledge into practice.

Some of her recent podcasts include “7 Content Creation Ideas to Use When You’re Feeling Uninspired,” and “How to Use ‘Content Gold’ to Fuel Your Next Launch.”


4) Content Warfare

Ryan Hanley is the mastermind behind the Content Warfare podcast. In all of his podcasts, he aims to show you how to create content that converts. Personally, 95% of his content is free, but he converts those into buying the 5% of his paid content.

Content Warfare includes guests from various marketing backgrounds and is released weekly. Each podcast varies between 8 minutes to 2 hours long, making it perfect whether you are going on a short run or a long road trip.


5) Learning With Leslie

Leslie wanted to become a biology professor, but didn’t have a PhD. So instead, he blogged about biology topics and eventually became a professor without having to have a PhD. Since then, he has transitioned into full-time blogging.

If anyone can teach you about content marketing, Leslie can! He is a living example of how effective content marketing can work for you.


6) Six Pixels of Separation

Six Pixels of Separation is led by Mitch Joel, the President and Founder of the Mirum agency. With well over 500 episodes, you could spend days soaking up Mitch Joel’s wisdom.

Many of his episodes also discuss personal marketing, with titles such as “Winning Body Language,” and “The Value of Personal Branding.”


7) The Marketing Companion

The Marketing Companion, a podcast by Tom Webster and Mark Schaefer, proclaims they are “the world’s most entertaining marketing podcast.”

Each show is approximately a half hour long. This podcast is particularly useful for understanding new marketing trends and how you can adapt to changes.


8) The Pivot

The Pivot is a different type of podcast in that its host, Todd Wheatland, interviews a new marketing professional every episode. His ability to get the real-life input from some of the world’s top marketers is invaluable.

If you find you learn better from experiences, rather than formal knowledge, this is the podcast for you.


9) The Sophisticated Marketer

The Sophisticated Marketer podcast is broadcast by LinkedIn Marketing and hosted by Jason Miller. Jason interviews marketing professionals from around the world every two weeks with “no fluff, just marketing.”

This podcast is ideal for anyone looking for global knowledge about marketing and who wants straight, to the point information.


10) Unthinkable

Unthinkable describes their podcast as taking your content from “meh” to exceptional. For anyone fueled by creativity, this podcast is for you.

The Unthinkable podcast by Jay Acunzo hits upon how to organize creative content. If you feel like you have the ideas, but are unsure of how to execute them efficiently, this podcast can prove extremely valuable.

Do you listen to podcasts? What recommendations do you have? If you don’t currently listen to podcasts, then how do you learn about content marketing?

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The Ultimate Guide to Landing a Work From Home Job Wed, 19 Apr 2017 10:00:50 +0000 Want to work from home? This 6-step guide to landing a work from home job will help you start earning money away from the office.These days, working from home is certainly the trend. To most people, I’m sure the idea sounds intriguing.

Working from home can provide you with many benefits including a flexible schedule, location independence, being able to avoid a hectic commute and office logistics, and being able to see your family more just to name a few.

If you aren’t happy with your traditional job or just want to earn some extra money on the side doing flexible work, getting a work from home job may sound like a great option even if you have no idea how to get started.

Landing a work from home job is not necessarily difficult, but it’s not as easy as you’d think either. In fact, many people fail when it comes to finding a legitimate work from home job that they like.

This post will serve as a guide to walk you step-by-step through the process of finding the right work from home job that allows you to make real money.


Step 1: Determine Your Skills

First, you need to determine your skills and look at your experience because it will certainly play a role in what type of work from home job you’re able to obtain.

These days, you can do many jobs from home as long as you have a computer and internet access.

Consider what field you’d like to go into and any requirements you may have to meet. Some jobs provide training, but others expect to have experience. Also, having experience can allow you to demand a higher pay rate.

For example, there are credible work from home transcription companies that hire transcriptionists and pay a higher hourly rate for team members with more experience.

Make a list of all your employable skills, credentials, and experience that is relevant to the job you are looking for.

Related: 15 Skills That Will Help You Make More Money
9 Websites and Apps for Learning and Developing New Skills


Step 2: Work on Your Resume

Next, you’ll need to brush up your resume just like if you were applying for a traditional job. In some instances, you may not need a resume depending on the work from home job you’re trying to get but if you intend to work with a legitimate company that hires virtual team members, you should expect the application process to be similar to any other job.

It’s expected that employers are going to want to look at your job and education history so don’t be surprised if you’re asked to submit a resume and/or cover letter as you come across full-time and part-time job opportunities.

The application process may even be more intense since you most likely won’t be able to meet with the potential employer in person for an interview. You may also need to take an assessment (depending on the field) and do a video interview or call after submitting your resume so keep this in mind.


Step 3: Consider Your Job Needs and Requirements

All work from home jobs are not created equal. While you may like the sound of having a flexible work schedule, that may include having an inconsistent work schedule as well.

Some work from home opportunities are part-time vs. full-time or geared toward contractors or freelancers so there are no employee benefits provided.

If you’re looking to replace your full-time income by working at home, you’ll need to keep this in mind.

Other jobs require you to work a set schedule or during nights and weekends even though you can work from home. Pay close attention to job descriptions and feel free to ask questions if you apply and receive a response from the employer.


Step 4: Search For a Job

Now, it’s time to search for a job. Sometimes, your search may not be too extensive if you prefer to work in the same job field. You can start by asking your current employer if they will allow you to telecommute.

This option isn’t always guaranteed, but it’s worth a try if you actually like your job but just prefer to work from home. On the flip side, some job fields and companies are shying away from using telecommuters and prefer to have everyone come into the office for work.

It really depends on the company you’re at, your job role, and the logistics of how the team works.

If you’re like most people and switching from an in-office employee to a work from home employee is not an option for you, you’ll need to consider finding a new job and you can start your search by checking out online job boards.

Some of the best job boards to find work from home jobs include:

Aside from job boards, you can also find work from home job leads by joining Facebook groups and reaching out to people in your network.

Don’t underestimate the power of your network. Sometimes it pays off to tell friends and family that you are looking for a work from home position. You never know who may have a lead for you.

You can also follow companies you’d like to work for on LinkedIn and connect with recruiters to send a pitch or inquire about job openings.

If all else fails, conduct a search on Google to see if you can find an available work from home jobs in your desired field or reach out to the company directly to send your resume and see if they’re hiring. Many companies don’t post job ads online so it’s important to keep that in mind.

To automate your search, you can sign up to receive job alerts from the online job boards mentioned above so you can be notified when there’s an opening.

Related: 7 Ways to Get Over Your Fear of Networking
How to Network Effectively For a New Job


Step 5: Watch Out For Scams

When you’re searching for the ideal work from home job online, it’s important to be mindful of scams. Work from home jobs are highly desired and unfortunately, there are many illegitimate opportunities out there that aren’t worth it. It someone asks you to pay money to start working or in order to take training, consider this a big red flag because if someone wants to hire you, they shouldn’t ask you to spend any money.

Be sure to research the companies you come across by checking out reviews on sites like Glassdoor and seeing if they are listed and accredited with the Better Business Bureau.

Ultimately, if a job opportunity sounds too good to be true, it often is. Working from home is still work and any respectable employer or client will want you to apply and demonstrate your skillset first. Then, an offer letter or contract should be put in place to secure you actually have the job.

Don’t fall for work from home scams and end up working for free or losing your money.


Step 6: Consider Quick Options to Make Money From Home

Finally, realize that after you’ve done your part in terms of research and applying, it may take some time to land the job you want. Be persistent and follow up while continuing to build your network.

Also, if you need to make money fast working from home consider an online side hustle as a quick fix. To earn extra money from home, you can:


  • Sell products on Etsy
  • Freelance
  • Sign up for rewards websites like Swagbucks or Ibotta
  • Take surveys online
  • Test websites with UserTesting
  • Pet sit

If you’re looking for more ideas, here a post that includes 50+ Legitimate Ways to Make Extra Money From Home.

Knowing your skill set and utilizing online resources like job boards can definitely help you narrow down opportunities and find the right work from home job faster. Also, don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth referrals either and realize that it’s just as important to build your network for virtual jobs as it is for in-person jobs.

Have you ever had a work from home job before or thought about working from home? What are your best resources for finding job leads?

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How to Save Money on Food: 10 Things You Can Do Mon, 17 Apr 2017 10:00:38 +0000 Food is one area where most people would like to spend less money. We share some ideas of how to save money on food, whether it's groceries or eating out.Last weekend I was driving through a trendy neighborhood in downtown Minneapolis and I said to my wife: I can’t imagine how much money is spent on food and drinks here every single day.

I’ve been to this part of Minneapolis a number of times before, and I have to say the food and drink bill is always pretty high. The tab adds up quick.

I don’t think you have to become a hermit to save money on food, though. “Strategically splurging” is what I would describe my wife and my approach to groceries and restaurant spend.

For many, food is an area they would like to save money, but they haven’t found or taken the practical steps that will lower the amount they spend on groceries and restaurants.

Today I want to provide you 9 things you can do to save money on food. These are all practical steps you can take that will make a positive impact on how much you spend on food.


1) Meal Plan

Meal planning is one of the easiest ways to save on food. Planning what meals you are going to have throughout the week will make you less likely to waste food that you buy at the grocery store, as well as make you less likely to go out to eat due to indecision.

Like most things, once you get into the habit of meal planning it becomes easier. Listing out what you are going to have for lunch and dinner for the next week can be a quick weekly exercise that will pay off long-term. It helps avoid the mental drain of trying to decide what to eat each day, and it will help you make more affordable decisions when it comes to your meals.

My wife and I use this meal planning note pad. Pro tip: once you finish a week, save it. You can reference past weeks for ideas of meals in future weeks.


2) Try Recipes

Trying new recipes might not sound like a typical way to save money, but it goes hand-in-hand with meal planning. It can help add variety to what meals you eat at home, and the more you enjoy what you cook the less likely you are to go to restaurants.

There are an overwhelming number of recipes online for. In addition to traditional recipe websites like, food blogging has become huge in recent years. So don’t be afraid of trying new recipes – after all, it’s saving you money!


3) Have “Go To” Meals

Sometimes meal planning is easier said than done. There’s been weeks where my wife and I have just a few more meals to add to our menu, and you can guess what I end up suggesting in those situations: “Chipotle sounds good!”

While there is nothing wrong with going out to eat once in a while, it’s not good if the reason for doing it is because you can’t think of anything to make at home.

Instead try to think of what I call “go to” meals. Whether it’s pasta, adult mac and cheese, breakfast food, or something else, these are meals that you don’t mind having again and again. When in doubt, plug these meals into your meal plan.


4) Make a Grocery List

Once you have a meal plan the next step to saving money on food is to make a grocery list. I’m sure this isn’t the first time someone has suggested that you make a grocery list to save money. But it just makes sense if you’re trying to save money on food.

Going to the store and sticking to your grocery list also helps you save time. You aren’t slowly browsing the aisles, like so many people do. I personally hate grocery shopping so the quicker I can get in and out the better!

My wife and I use these “all out of” note pads to keep track of what we run out of during the week. Combine this list with your meal planning list, and tack on anything else you need and you can put together your shopping list effortlessly.


5) Coupon

I’ll be the first to admit that couponing does take time. But if you are able to save $100-$500 a month through coupons it would be silly for me not to suggest it as a way to save money.

We took couponing to a new level and created a coupon database (you can download your own copy of the coupon database here). This helps keep coupons organized and avoids running into situations where you forget that you had a certain coupon for a certain brand or product.

I’ve started to think the main thing keeping newspapers in business are the Sunday coupons. One coupon alone can sometimes justify the cost of the paper, and there tends to be hundreds of coupons in the Sunday paper.

Of course there are online coupons as well. A few of the more popular sites are, red plum coupons, and

Related: 12 Tips for Beginner Couponers


6) Look for Deals

Coupons aren’t the only way to save money on groceries – look for deals as well. We go to two different grocery stores each week, which can be annoying, but when certain products are sometimes discounted $2+ at one store and not the other it makes sense to visit both stores.

Looking through the weekly ad – yes, it can feel old school – is a great way to tell which store is offering the best deals on products you plan on buying. When you match deals with coupons you can get really good deals on things you were already planning on buying.

Consider checking out the blog Pocket Your Dollars which makes weekly shopping lists that match coupons with deals. Additionally, try to save in unexpected ways like using the Target REDcard debit card which offers you 5% off your transaction, scanning products on Target’s Cartwheel app, and using other apps like Ibotta to get cash back on purchases.


7) Skip the Drinks, Apps, and Desserts at Restaurants

When Olive Garden came under new management they had two areas of focus to increase profits: sell more drinks and sell more desserts.

It doesn’t take a restaurant consultant to know that bills can increase quickly if everyone is having drinks and desserts. So what’s the best thing a consumer can do? Skip the drinks and desserts. I would add appetizers to this as well. The more you can stick to just your entree, the better.

As with most things, you don’t always have to deprive yourself of drinks, apps, or desserts. Splurging once in a while can be a good thing.


8) Take Advantage of Restaurant Gift Deals and Promotions

You may not have liked my suggestion of skipping drinks and apps. In fact, that may be your favorite part of going out. The obvious solution? Happy hour!

Happy hour isn’t the only way to save money on restaurants. Looking for deals and lower-cost options can save you a lot of money over time.

The best way to get deals on restaurants is through email lists. As annoying as they may be, email marketing is huge right now. If you can put up with the emails you could end up saving a lot of money over time.


9) Bring Your Lunch

I get it – some people hate leftovers. And some people simply don’t have the option of bringing their lunch to work. But if you don’t mind leftovers and are able to bring a lunch to work, bringing leftovers can be a great way to save money.

Aside from breakfast, lunch is the best opportunity to save money on meals. At my work there is a cafeteria and I could easily spend $5 to $12 a day on lunch. It’s convenient and easy. But saving a couple hundred dollars a month is too big of a $ opportunity to pass up, so I bring my lunch each day.

When you make your meal plan for the week consider what you are making for dinner. My wife and I often will only make things that can be used for lunch the next day, and when that doesn’t work out we will bring salad.


10) Track your Spending

All of these tips are great, but how do you know if you are successful in cutting the amount you spend on groceries and restaurants? You have to track your spending.

While I’ve been tracking my spending manually for years, there is finally an automated solution in Tiller. Tiller grabs your transactions and puts them into a standardized format. I cannot say enough about how much time this will save people.

I’ve utilized Tiller’s technology in my own automated budget spreadsheet. This budget spreadsheet integrates with Tiller to create attractive automated budget reports. You can download my automated budget spreadsheet for free.

Regardless of how you go about tracking your spending, it’s a key part of knowing whether you are saving money on groceries and restaurants. My wife and I consistently have saved $200+ since implementing meal planning, couponing, and some of the other ideas on this list.

You can save on food, you just have to be motivated enough to follow through!

Have you tried to save money on food, whether it be groceries or eating out? What steps did you take? What steps do you still plan on taking?

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What To Do With Your 401k When You Switch Jobs Fri, 14 Apr 2017 10:00:12 +0000 If you have a 401k and switch jobs, here are 4 options to consider when deciding what to do with your retirement money.Last year, millennials were nicknamed the ‘job-hopping generation’ after a Gallup report revealed that 6 in 10 millennials are open to new job opportunities.

According to this report, millennials have a reputation for job-hopping and are said to move freely from company to company, more so than any other generation.

That being said, I don’t think switching jobs is a trait unique to millennials only, even though they are said to job-hop three times more than other generations.

The job market is ever-changing and is not like it used to be. Fewer companies offer pensions and some entry-level jobs offer very little benefits or stagnant wages. Self-employment, temporary work, and side jobs have all become increasingly popular work options.

Also, there is less loyalty among employees who realize they can be laid off at any given time.

At the end of the day, if you come across a better job opportunity that you think you’ll be happier with and has better pay and benefits, you may feel tempted to switch jobs and there’s nothing wrong with that.

If you have a 401k however, you may be wondering what you can do with it when you do secure another job. You don’t want all the money you saved for retirement to go to waste, so here are a few options.


Keep the Money in Your Old 401k

Most companies will let you leave the money you saved for retirement in your 401k where it is. In other cases, there may be a balance requirement.

Employees who move on to another company may choose this option out of default especially if they have no idea what to do with their 401k. The major downside is that you won’t be able to contribute to your 401k anymore and you’ll have to keep track of more than one retirement account.

If you tend to switch jobs every couple of years, you could wind up with multiple 401k plans that you can’t contribute to which is why it’s best to consider some of these other options first.


Roll Over Your 401k to Your New Company’s 401k

If you had a good 401k plan with your old employer, you can easily roll it over to your new 401k. Check to see what the investment options are along with the fees with your new company. If you don’t like your current options as much as your old plan, consider rolling it over.

Most employers will accept a 401k rollover. As long as you have at least $5,000 in your account, it’s your legal right to do roll it over. If you have less than $5,000 in your account, your employer will have the option to cash you out of the plan.

If you’re going with this option, always ask for the rules to be clarified since you may have limitations since you’re no longer with the company. For example, you may be charged extra fees since you no longer work there.

Related: How to Catch Up On Retirement Savings


Move Your 401k to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

This is another option you’ll have especially if you don’t like your new company’s 401k plan or even if they don’t have one. IRAs and Roth IRAs are great options that typically have lower fees and allow you to have more control over your investment options.

You can easily roll over your 401k to an IRA on TradeKing.

With an IRA, you will just have more control overall and can choose low-fee investments and won’t be limited to name just your spouse as your beneficiary like with most 401k plans.

Keep in mind that there is a difference between a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA. With a traditional IRA, you contribute pre-tax dollars and pay taxes on the contributions and gains once you start withdrawing the money at age 59 ½. If you withdraw funds before then, you’ll most likely have to pay a penalty fee.

With a Roth IRA, your contributions are taxed when you make them so your earnings will be tax-free along with the withdrawals you make starting at age 50 ½.

There are also income limits to be eligible for an IRA. In 2017, you must earn less than $118,000 if you’re single and less than $186,000 if you’re married. The maximum contribution you’re allowed to make per year is $5,500 and $6,500 if you’re 50 or older.

Related:What’s the Difference Between a 401k and an IRA?
5 Places to Open an IRA


Cash Out Your 401k

This isn’t the best option, but it is an option nonetheless. If you want or need the money in your 401k account to pay bills, meet other expenses you have, or even to reinvest another way, you can simply cash out what’s in your retirement account.

A major downside is that you will have to pay taxes on the money along with a penalty fee so if you cash out a smaller amount, what you receive will be even smaller and if you cash out a large amount, it won’t really be worth it due to your large tax bill.

You could also destroy your retirement nest egg in the process especially if you received a nice 401k company match.

Related: Should You Cash Out Your 401k to Pay Off Debt?

Depending on how many times you switch jobs that provide you with a 401k account, you may need to make the decision of what to do with your old 401k more than once. To determine which option is best for you, determine your current and future needs and consider factors like fees and along with your investment options.

I’m sure everyone wants to retire some day so it usually the better option to keep money from your 401k and roll it over or put it in an IRA.

Have you ever been faced with the decision of choosing what to do with your 401k from an old employer? Which one of these options sounds best to you?

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Do This One Thing to Pay Off Your Debt Faster Wed, 12 Apr 2017 10:00:38 +0000 Do you want to pay off your debt faster? Consider making one simple change to pay off your debt faster. Read on to find out what the one thing is!This blog post is part of the Pay Down My Debt (PDMD) blog tour, sponsored by US Equity Advantage. PDMD is a solution that accelerates debt payoff and helps consumers monitor their credit and make smarter purchasing decisions. If you’re looking to pay off debt find out how they can help.

We talk about paying off debt on this blog. A lot.

After all, debt has become a huge issue for many households. Whether it’s student loan debt *raises hand*, credit card debt, a mortgage, or some other form of personal debt, there’s literally trillions of dollars of debt in the United States.

Anyone who has spent even a little time reading our posts knows that our primary focus for paying off debt faster is through side hustles. My entire book is based on paying off debt faster through side hustles.

But side hustles aren’t the only way to pay off your debt faster. In fact, I’m a big advocate of looking for “easy” wins before considering side hustles.

One thing I don’t mention in my book that I want to share with you today is the power of utilizing bi-weekly debt payments.

It may not seem like it at first, but making just this one change can have a huge positive impact on your finances long-term, and help you pay down your debt faster.

Let’s dig into how exactly making this one thing helps you pay off your debt faster.


Bi-Weekly Debt Payments – An Underutilized Weapon in Paying Down Debt Faster


The best way to pay down debt faster is to make extra payments towards your debt. If you make the minimum payments, especially with credit cards, you are going to be paying off your debt much longer than if you make extra payments towards your debt.

When you pay more than the minimum payment you are paying off additional principle of your debt, as opposed to interest.

Payment towards debt is usually done on a monthly basis. That means you are making 12 payments a year. If you make two payments a month, you are making 24 payments. But bi-weekly payments result in 26 payments a year, meaning you are making two extra payments.

Those two extra payments can cut off weeks or even years of payments. That’s huge!

But here’s the problem: everyone is busy. Are you really going to stick to manually making bi-weekly payments? Let’s make your life easier by automating those payments.


Next Step: Automate Bi-Weekly Payments

Automation is a good thing in personal finance because it means automating good decisions. For example, bi-weekly payments are an excellent way to improve your finances. You can automate this good decision and not have to give mental energy towards it by putting it on auto-drive.

One way to automate bi-weekly payments is through Pay Down My Debt (PDMD). PDMD can automate mortgage payments, credit card payments, and any other payments on debt.

PDMD doesn’t just pay your bills automatically, though, they pay it bi-weekly. By switching to bi-weekly payments you will cut down weeks or even years of loan payments. Automating this payment process will ensure that you stick with your plan to cut down the length of your loans, and will make your life easier because you will know that PDMD is automatically making your payments.

PDMD comes with a number of benefits, including:

  • Automated Payments on Up to 3 Loans payments on up to 3 loans
  • Additional Loans for $1 Each
  • Monthly Credit Scores
  • Financial Planning Resources

PDMD does cost $9.95 a month, but considering the fact it will save you so much on your loans through automated bi-weekly payments, the benefits far outweigh the monthly cost.

Head on over to the Pay Down My Debt website to find out more. Remember, bi-weekly payments could cut months or years off the length of your loan!

What actions have you taken to pay down your debt faster? Did they take a lot of effort or just a little effort? Have you utilized or considered utilizing bi-weekly payments?

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