Unique Ways To Create Income

Have you ever wanted or needed to create an additional source of income? Maybe you want to pay off debt or save more for the future. There are many ways to create an additional stream of income while still working your current job

1. Create items to sell online – If you enjoy crafting you could set up an account on Etsy and sell your items online. I have looked at many different sellers’ websites on Etsy and often sellers have sold thousands of unique handmade items through their Etsy store. Be aware that buyers can be located around the world, so make sure you understand the costs of shipping and include those costs when selling the item.

Another place to sell items online is through Facebook. My local community has a Facebook page dedicated to selling and trading. The cost is free to list your posts.

2. Sell at flea markets – Flea markets can be a good place to sell items that you have around the house. Some sellers go to yard sales throughout the week and purchase items to take and sell at the flea market on the weekend. Remember, one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure.

3. Become a freelancer – If you have a skill that can be used to complete special projects, you might want to consider becoming a freelancer. For example, if you are an expert at web design you could become a web design freelancer. Maybe you enjoy writing and could become a freelance writer. Some people will pay you to write for their blog.

4. Become a tutor – Take the knowledge and skills that you have and become a tutor. My background is in Accounting, therefore,  I could choose to become an accounting tutor online or through the local high school, college, or university.

 

5. Become a caterer – You could start out small and offer specialties such as desserts or cook meals for families. These days many families are pulled in many directions and having a healthy home cooked meal is sometimes not an option. This is where you could create a menu that can be prepared and delivered to families.

6. Become a personal shopper – The Christmas holidays are just around the corner and people often do not have enough time to complete all their holiday shopping. How this would work is you would be given a shopping list and then you purchase the items. I would suggest charging a fee either based on the total cost of the items or based on the amount of time and effort needed to complete the shopping. Additional services you could offer are gifting wrapping, shipping, and delivery.

7. Become a House sitter – Take care of someone’s home and animals while they are out of town by house sitting for them. On several occasions, my family has paid someone to come in and take care of our pets twice a day and bring the mail in. They would also change the lights to make it appear that someone is home. A house sitter could even stay at the home if necessary. A flat fee or per day fee could be charged for this type of service.

 

While this is certainly not an exhaustive list of ideas to create additional income, it should serve as a starting point for creating your own additional stream of income. The possibilities are many so find the one that work best for your particular situation.

Reasons for Financial Stress and Ways to Deal with the Stress!

What do you think are the main reasons people are under financial stress? Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) conducts annual surveys of full-time employed adults in the United States to determine employee’s financial wellness. The categories given for the respondents to choose from are:

  • Not having enough emergency savings for unexpected expenses
  • Not being able to retire when I want to
  • Losing my home
  • Not being able to pay for college
  • Not being able to keep up with my debts
  • Not being able to meet monthly expenses
  • Being laid off from work
  • Other

According to the results of the PwC’s 2016 Employee Financial Wellness Survey of more than 7,000 people in all 50 United States and the District of Columbia, the leading causes of financial stress are:

  • 55% – Not having enough emergency savings for unexpected expenses
  • 37% – Not being able to retire when I want to
  • 25% – Not being able to meet monthly expenses
  • 20% – Being laid off from work
  • 15% – Not being able to keep up with my debts
  • 6% – Other
  • 5% – Not being able to pay for college
  • 5% – Losing my home

There were even differences in gender choices. For example, 60% of women are concerned with not having enough emergency savings for unexpected expenses versus only 50% of men who felt the same.

The results of the survey show that more than half of the respondents surveyed were concerned about not having enough emergency savings for unexpected expenses. Is there anything that can be done to alleviate or at least minimize this stress? Let’s look at each of the categories to see what steps can be taken to lower the stress.

1) Not having enough in emergency funds – Step up your monthly savings for the emergency fund for several months until you have saved up enough to cover 3 – 6 months of living expenses. This will give you a cash cushion in case of job loss or other emergency.

2) Not being able to retire when you want to – Increase weekly contributions to your retirement account. If your account is tax deferred, you will save money in taxes that will help offset the additional money you are investing.  The net effect is less than the amount you are actually contributing.

3) Not being able to meet monthly expenses – One choice is to get a second job to help build up your savings and to help pay down your debt.  Another is to decrease your monthly expenses.

4) Being laid off from work – While this is one of those events that you don’t actually have full control over, you can keep your skills current and have other ways to earn income such as creating a passive income stream like rental income. Make sure your resume’ is current and ready to be printed in a hurry, if necessary.

5) Not being able to keep up with my debts – Build that savings account up and pay off those debts as quickly as possible. Avoid getting into debt even further.

6) Not being able to pay for college – Start those college savings accounts as soon as a child is born and contribute to them on a regular basis. Have the savings amount automatically deducted from your checking account.

7) Losing my home – Keep your payments current and have a savings account that could be used to make payments under extreme circumstances.

Knowing the causes of your financial stress is the first step in taking action. Decide what concerns you most and deal with that area first to eliminate as much stress as possible. Don’t let your worries and concerns over money bring you down emotionally. Make a plan that you can follow to lower the stress and put the plan into action. Less stress results in a higher quality of life.

http://www.pwc.com/us/en/private-company-services/publications/assets/pwc-2016-employee-wellness-survey.pdf

Do You Have a Spending Problem?

While most of us may not believe we have a spending problem, many of us live in denial and actually do have a spending problem. I would feel safe to say that the average person has or has had a spending problem at one time or another.

Here are a few ways to know you may have a spending problem:

#1: You only pay minimum payments on your maxed out credit cards. If your credit cards are all maxed out and you can only afford to make the minimum payments, you have a spending problem. You are living beyond your means and using credit cards to cover your living expenses. This is a big problem! What happens when you run out of credit? Avoid using credit cards and only pay cash. Live as though you do not have access to credit cards then work diligently to pay them off.

#2: You pay your bills late. Paying bills late usually means you don’t have the money to pay them when the bills are due. If this is a common occurrence, you may be overextended and spending too much money. Get a grip on your spending now or those late payments will lead to even more financial hardships. Set up automatic payments and do not spend any discretionary money until the bills are paid first. Another idea is to set up a savings account on the side for discretionary money so that you aren’t tempted to use your actual budgeted income on discretionary spending.

#3:   You are using payday loans to pay your bills. Under no circumstances would I ever suggest you take out a payday loan! These loan companies often charge from 200% to over 600% interest on loans! The rate you are generally quoted is a daily rate, not an annual rate as most banks and financial institutions quote so you would need to calculate the annual rate to understand exactly how expensive these loans can be. If you think I am joking about the interest rates that are charged, just do an internet search on a payday loan company in your area. I did and was appalled by the interest rates charged to customers! Unfortunately, many individuals do not understand how payday loans work so they do not know to avoid them.

As humans we tend to want things that we don’t have or that others own. You know the “keeping up with the Jones” syndrome. I wish I could meet the Jones and just let them know I am tired of trying to keep up with them! Wouldn’t it be great if we could just be content with what we have and what we can afford? Contentment seems to be scarce in our world today. I say we try to find contentment again and stop the overspending before it is too late!

 

 

 

 

Personal Finance Tips for Everyone!

I feel I am safe in saying that most of us can use tips for building wealth. In reality, many people are struggling paycheck to paycheck and have a difficult time looking farther than the next week or month. We have to realize that personal finance and investing are  long-term processes though we still have short-term goals.

Tip #1: Married couples should take time to sit down and seriously discuss their finances. What I have often found is that most couples have indirectly designated some of the team members are in the dark concerning the goals. This is a team effort, not an individual event if you are married. When you have a couple whose makeup consists of a spender and a saver then they usually balance each other out. But if both are spenders, there can be financial problems. Have that financial discussion so that everyone knows the plan.

If you aren’t married but are planning marriage in the future, it would be wise to meet with a financial planner or someone who is an expert on finances or who has done well with their own finances. Make sure you are getting good advice from an experienced person or persons. Don’t just rely on your friends who might very well be in the same boat you are in but who just hasn’t admitted it.

If you are single it is still important to meet with a personal finance professional.  It is a good idea to have another opinion to make sure your financial plans are implemented.

Tip #2: Make plans for the future as if you will live for many years in retirement. People will often make the mistake of only looking ahead for the next few years and wait until it is almost too late to plan for their children’s college education and even their own retirement.

Tip #3: Review your finances and other pertinent information to make sure everything is as it should be in case of emergency. If you don’t have life insurance, make a plan to find enough coverage that will help your family in case of the inevitable. Shop around for quotes from various companies to find the best coverage at the best rates. You certainly wouldn’t want to leave your family in a financial bind if something were to happen to you.

Tip #4: Save as much of your income as you can once you have paid all other expenses. Don’t neglect making payments to save more money, but you should be saving at least a small amount every week if at all possible. I know that sometimes this can be difficult to do, but make every effort to save. You will be thankful you did.

Take these tips to heart and put yourself on the road to building wealth. Remember that wealth building is a long-term commitment, so stay on track. Try to stay focused on the goal!

Put the Envelope Budgeting System to Work!

The envelope budgeting system has been used for many years to help people take control of their budgets. This simple to use system will help you organize certain spending categories and will make it easier for you to actually see the money you are spending. This system is quick and easy to implement. If you have a few envelopes around your house you can get started.

While I don’t recommend using the envelope system for every budget category (housing, retirement, etc.), I do recommend it for areas that are key when budgeting. These areas are generally low amount categories that are recurring expenses such as groceries and gasoline expenses.

To get started, decide which categories you feel would be best suited for using the envelope system. Once you have selected the categories, determine the amount you will budget for that category. I use a weekly budget for some categories and a monthly budget for other categories.   Here are a few of the categories that might be a good option for you to use in the Envelope system:

  • Groceries
  • Gasoline
  • Dining Out
  • Entertainment
  • Personal expenses such as hair cuts and manicure/pedicure
  • Clothing

Once you have determined the categories and the amount for each, take an envelope and write the name of the category and the amount on the envelope. If you are paid weekly, take out that amount of money each week from your paycheck and put the cash in the envelope. Here’s an example:

Grocery monthly budget: $240 – weekly amount would be $60. The envelope would start out with $60 in it. Once you have spent the $60, you are out of money in this category and will need to wait until the next week. If you see that $60 per week is not enough you may have to adjust your estimate. This could take a few attempts so don’t get frustrated at first. Once you find the right amount everything should work out well unless you have an unexpected additional expense. Budgets should be flexible but don’t just keep adding to a category. That would actually defeat the purpose of having a budget.

When I started using the envelope our sons were younger and they would see that once the envelope was empty we couldn’t spend anymore in that category until the next week. It is a great visual representation for anyone but especially for children.  If you have children allow them to help you with the budget and with putting the money in the envelopes each week. Teamwork is a great way to conquer the budget.

You might be wondering what happens if you have money left in the envelope at the end of the week. A few things could happen in this case. First, you may have over-budgeted in this category so you could lower it. Second, you may have done extremely well this week and could use some of the leftover money to give yourself a special treat or reward. Third, you could leave the money in the envelope and add the weekly amount to it. That way you could have a larger food budget the next time around. Finally, you could put the money left over in a savings account or put it towards a special trip or item you wish to purchase.

Using the envelope can you help you develop better budgeting skills. By actually seeing the empty envelopes you will realize you cannot spend any more money in that category until the next budgeting period. It works for my family and it should work for your family, too.