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Archive of ‘Guest Post’ category

How to Actually Love Saving Money

Today’s guest post is from Mike Lenz. He’s the co-founder of Tip Yourself. A mobile app for saving money.

Do you love saving money? No? Welcome to the club. Millions of people struggle to save money. It’s a huge source of pain, stress, and anxiety for many of us. Why? What separates folks that love to save money from those of us that struggle?

At it’s core, it’s based on our view of money and savings. It’s a mindset. It’s how we think about spending vs. saving. The good news is that we can shift our mindsets.

1. Stop waiting for “Enough” Money to Save

When trying to save money we often arbitrarily set minimum amounts for ourselves. We wait until we have an extra $50 or $100 at the end of the month. Why? We don’t wait to spend money. We make tons of impulse purchases all the time. So why do we wait to save?

Saving two dollars today means you have two dollars more saved that you did yesterday. It adds up quicker than you think. We’ve all read those articles that say skip this or that small purchase and boom you’ll have $500. Well, it’s true. You don’t wait when it comes to spending, so don’t wait to save.

2. Save as Reward not as a Sacrifice

Stop and consider how you feel about spending money. You most likely see it as a reward for yourself. On the other hand, saving can feel like depriving yourself. It’s a sacrifice. It’s easy to fall into the trap of viewing the money you saved as the shoes you didn’t buy.

What if you saved money just as easily as you spent it? What if you rewarded yourself by saving money? That’s the question that Tip Yourself asks. You’re generous with so many others. You tip bartenders, servers, and uber drivers… but what about yourself? Tip Yourself! You Earned it.

The secret is to connect saving money with positive moments. Shift your mindset from sacrifice to reward. Don’t save money by depriving yourself. Save money by rewarding yourself.

The Tip Yourself mobile app allows you to easily save small amounts. Heck you could tip yourself one dollar. The important part is connecting that savings with something positive you did to earn it. Push a button. Save Money.

When or why you tip yourself is part of the fun and it’s different for all of us. It could be getting your butt to the gym, skipping an impulse purchase, being productive, or maybe it’s just having a great day. It’s up to you. They’re your tips! You earned it!

So next time you do something for yourself, give yourself a well earned tip, even if it’s a small amount. It adds up quicker than you think and most importantly it builds a positive mindset.

Don’t deprive yourself… Tip Yourself.

To Learn more, Click Here

I’m Officially A Homeowner: How I Accomplished This Goal Under The Age of 30

Today, we are thrilled to share a guest post from friend of Mo’ Money, Mo’ Progress, Pauleanna Reid.

I’ll never forget the day I checked my account balance and the statement said $2.09. I just wanted to cry because I felt so defeated. I had mountains of bills, creditors constantly calling me and no money to pay them. During my early twenties, my finances were such a mess and it was my best-kept secret. I was tired. I just couldn’t take the pressure of constantly trying to be someone I wasn’t just to fit in. I was depressed and had anxiety about my future… not only career-wise but my bank account was always in the red. Something had to change immediately.

Today, I cannot stop smiling because I just purchased my first investment property; a one bedroom stacked townhouse for $214,900 in Richmond Hill. It is currently in the pre-construction stage, so the strategy moving forward is to sell when it is fully established in 2017, take that profit to purchase another property and repeat those same steps when discovering new deals that surface in the market.

Work smarter, not harder

Work smarter, not harder

Work smarter, not harder

Work smarter, not harder

This has been my mantra for the past four years. But I want to share more about how I arrived here because I think the journey is much more interesting than the destination. I recently wrote an article called Broke & Living: The Big Money Lessons I Learned While Trying To Keep Up With The Kardashians which spoke about my inability to manage my money in my teens because I was too consumed with the idea of perfection.

What it looked like.

What it felt like.

Confused by my own definition.

Below is the action plan I created so that I could gain the skills, knowledge and tools needed to make the right choices about my future.

1. I sought after professional help

It’s never too early or too late to start planning for your future. The best person to talk to is an accredited financial advisor. It is recommended that you interview two or three in order to find a professional who understands your goals and has your best interest at heart. The first step is to make a commitment followed by a plan of action. When meeting with your advisor, he or she will encourage you to consider contingencies such as a disability, critical illness, or death within the family. It’s important to reassess how these circumstances will impact your life and what you can do to protect yourself. You need three things to reach your goal: time, money and rate of return. Focus on the two components you can control, which is time and money. Set small goals and think big. I started saving only $50 to $100 monthly four years ago. It’s not a lot but it’s more than a lot of people can say they’re doing right now. Today, I’m saving closer to $500 monthly. Still, not a lot but it’s what I can afford and I’m proud of my progress. Besides a contingency plan, you need to outline a budget. You’d be surprised how much money we waste on morning coffee and other items. You DO have money to save, you just have to keep it real with yourself.

2. Stress proof your financial plan

Life is all about change and at the drop of a dime an emergency can occur. Examine your plan regularly so that you can adjust it before something happens. Once it is designed to do a job, ensure that your goals are supported with the right options available to you. Protect your assets and don’t underestimate the need to do it sooner rather than later. Your actions will create discipline. I just turned 27. As I approach the golden age of 30, I see children, marriage and a fruitful career in my future. I don’t want to wait until I reach those milestones to start preparing for them. Life changes cost money. Money does not fall from trees. To avoid the stress, I started saving early. Then I took a look at my savings pool and thought about what power moves I could make in order to double, triple, or quadruple my money. The answer was obvious. Investing in real estate is one of the only sure-ways to accomplish this.

3. Invest with Confidence

Young investors should consider opening a Tax Free Savings Account because of the tax benefits. A Registered Retirement Savings Plan is a good option as well. The big payoff is that you have a far better chance to save enough money to do the things you want to do in the way you want to do them, for as long as you live. I won’t lie to you, taking action was very scary, but the idea of continuing to struggle financially was more terrifying. I will come right out and say it, I don’t want to struggle. Ain’t nothing cute about women who walk around with $2,000 designer handbags with less than $200 in them and ain’t nothing cute about a man who drives a nice car but can barely afford to pay his insurance. I want to have the financial freedom to live fully. I have the choice to do that right now. I have my future in my hands. So I took the necessary steps to inch closer to my goals.

In the past four years, my financial advisor, Ken Thomas, and my investing partner and realtor, Aaron Charles, educated me about how to clean up my debt and create generational wealth. They both schooled me on my careless spending habits and educated me on the same principles and values they use to navigate their lives. These two men each created something from nothing. They both started out like me but have disciplined themselves to create growing empires. Ken is the Division Director for Investor’s Group and Aaron owns more than $3 million in assets under management. Their energy has rubbed off on me BIG TIME.

Due to our country’s debt crisis, preparing the next generation about personal finance is critical now more than ever before. Financial literacy is a pillar which provides life support to a better future. The day I became a homeowner was the day everything changed for me. I purchased my first investment property under the age of 30; a goal I set for myself four years ago. People have many reasons why they hustle, but for me, the goal has always been to create a legacy; a brand and business that will outlive me. Ten years from now my (future) children will either eat or starve from the decisions I make today and I’m tryna raise kings and queens.

If you want more information about my real estate purchase or have any finance-related questions, please contact me directly and I will help you the best way I know how. If I can’t answer an inquiry, I can gladly forward you to my teammates Ken and Aaron directly.

Remember, if you never understand money, you will always be a slave to it. Don’t ever let what a man brings to the table be all you have to eat. The smartest thing a woman can ever learn is how to finance herself.

Guest Post by Pauleanna Reid

Pauleanna Reid is a motivational speaker, author and co-founder of New Girl on the
Learn more about Pauleanna at: http://www.pauleannareid.com
Twitter: @PauleannaR
Instagram: @PauleannaReid

3 Ways to Earn an Extra $500 on the Side

When I graduated from college in 2009 with a BA in French, I spent six weeks looking for a job.

Any job.

I needed to save money for my impending move to Paris, where I would spend a year working as a teaching assistant in an elementary school, frolicking in the City of Lights, and I needed to save money quick—$3,000 in the span of a couple months—in order to afford all of those baguettes and bottles of vin.

I don’t know if you recall, but the summer of 2009 wasn’t exactly the best time to find a job or graduate from college because of the…ahem…recession that had just hit the U.S.. Merci, economy! When June arrived and I still hadn’t found work, I started to panic. In my desperation, I posted an ad on Craigslist entitled “French Tutor: $15/hr”.

Two days later, I got an email and scheduled my first student: a Russian-American eighth grader with a deep love for David Bowie.

That, my dear reader, is how I got my first taste of how to earn money on the side. No, it wasn’t a ton of money (I eventually found a full-time job to save the money I needed for France), but I realized an important lesson: it’s just not that hard to get people to pay you to do things.

In the four years since I graduated, I’ve become more and more obsessed with the idea that I can earn money without getting a real job. In fact, while living in Paris, I continued to grow my tutoring business and offered up my services as a nanny. I made bank. I even moved back to France in 2011 and spent eight months living off of my side hustle, earning money “under the table” or “in the black”, as the French say, by tutoring ESL, babysitting, and even continuing to tutor American students via Skype.

Now, I even teach new entrepreneurs how to land their first three clients and start earning money on the side. (My “side hustle” has become my main income).

How did I do it? More importantly: How can you start earning extra money (at least $500) on the side, too?

Lemon squeezy.

You just need to try a few of the following things (as many as you can, really). It’s fun. Just think of it like a game!

#1 – Teach someone something

You, my friend, are talented. You have knowledge and wisdom that others just don’t have. You have knowledge that they need. Stop hogging it all!

Maybe you have an academic skill, like tutoring French or Math or Biology. Maybe you’re an amateur auto mechanic. Maybe you have a knack for cooking tapas or sneaky vegan recipes that even meat lovers will love. Contact the local high school, library, etc. to see if they’d refer you.

Whatever it is, there’s someone out there who is willing to pay you to teach them how to do what you do best.You have to get over the unwillingness to earn money for doing what comes easy to you, because, well… it doesn’t come easy to them. (I, for example, would love to hire someone to teach me how to sew or do my taxes).

Make a list of 50 things that you know how to do. You don’t have to be an expert. You just have to know how to do it better than the person who hires you. (I am not the best French speaker in the world, but I know way more than my students and have diverse teaching experience, and they get an incredible value from my lessons.)

Charge what you’re worth. Don’t do what I did and charge a measly $15. (My lessons are now triple that cost). If you do this right, this is the best and easiest way to make money on the side.

#2 — Sell something (not your body, duh)

Don’t even try to tell me that you don’t own anything that you can sell. I’m a minimalist, for crying out loud, and I still have things lying around that I can sell.

Do you have:

  • Nice clothes that you rarely wear?
  • Shoes?
  • Furniture?
  • An instrument?
  • An old computer, phone, or other electronics?
  • A designer purse?
  • Books?

Walk around your house with a pen and paper. Make a list of items that you see that you might be able to sell. (Note: the best places to sell things are eBay, Craigslist, and at garage sales).

I sold my piccolo from high school for $300. A few friends told me I was crazy—that I should keep the piccolo just in case. Just in case what?! The damn thing had been rotting on a shelf in my basement for eight years. Now that I’ve sold it, it’s actually going to get the love and attention that it deserves… and I made 300 bucks.

#3 — Get a J-O-B.

Last spring, after my house was hit by a tornado (yeah, that happened). It was cra-zy. In the midst of the madness, I craved normality. I decided to get a part-time job at the local coffee shop (I’m actually writing this post from that coffee shop right now, sippin’ on my chai).

Getting a part-time job is great because (a) it’s easy (b) you get to meet new people (c) you spend your time doing something that’s earning you more money rather than spending it.

Most people complain that they don’t have enough time to get a part-time job, even for just a few hours on a Saturday morning. Or—they think that having a part-time job would suck just as much as it did in high school.

I don’t agree with either of these claims. I’m sure that you could wake up a couple of hours earlier on a Saturday or trade some of that time that you spend surfing Facebook to get out into the world. You need to think about the benefits the job gives you: more money, more freedom (eventually), and a more interesting life!

So, what’s it gonna be?

You can absolutely earn $500 a month this way, but you have to make a decision. The mailman is not going to drop the money off at your door, though. You must get up and take action to get started.

– Courtney Johnston

 

How I Paid $20,000 of Student Loan Debt One Week After I Got Married

Normally, I hate headlines that make it sound like I am some super human when I am really just a nerd who sits behind a computer all day.

When my wife and I got engaged, we had accumulated $21,500 in subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans and we were both finishing up our last semester of school before we would drop out. We were each going to have to pay off half of a degree that would never be used.

I got married at 19, so when we got engaged we had about $200 between my wife and me. We were the definition of young, broke and in love.

Four months before our wedding date, I knew I had to buckle down because I didn’t want $21,500 of student loans hanging over our heads. I thought the pressure of student debt and being broke would cause a split in our marriage.

I was freaking out and worrying about $21,500 we had to pay off collectively, which is less debt than the average student graduates with.

My fear of debt and wanting my marriage to succeed drove me to pay off all of our student loans in just over four months or exactly one week after our wedding.

I will never forget the day I made that last payment and the joy I felt (almost more joy than my wedding). I made my student loan payment the day I got back from my honeymoon, which was one week.

Here are the four strategies I took to paying off my student loans in just over four months.

They work really well when combined, but be careful how much you take on. I was working close to 70 hours per week trying to pay off my loans.

Strategy #1: Let the Money Roll, Baby
Before my wife and I got married I was going to school full-time and had a part-time job as a day labourer for a construction company, meaning I was the young muscle because all of the older guys have bad backs from years of construction.

In the winters I would work shovelling snow and in the summers I would carry various tools and supplies like shingles, drywall, and plywood.

The five months before my wife and I got married, I was fortunate enough to be able to turn my part-time day labourer job into a full-time job and get a raise.

Being able to go to full-time was luck because they needed more men and had plenty of work.

But getting a raise was done strategically. Here are the steps I took to get a raise in roughly 30 days:

Step #1: Hustle for Mo’ Money
In the 30 days before asking for a raise, I hustled like I never did before. I broke my back (not literally – though it felt like it at times) and made myself look extremely valuable.

I jumped at any opportunity to work late, work hard, and take on new projects. I began working on projects rather than just hauling supplies like a mule.

My goal was to create more value for the company and make myself look extremely valuable so my boss did not want me to leave.

Step #2: Collect Your Negotiating Chips
While I was hustling I would go home every night and apply for new jobs. I would apply to other day laborer jobs or factory jobs that offered the same or more pay.

I did not want to leave my employer, but I needed negotiating power so that the only response my employer could give was, “Yes Alex. I will give you a raise.”

I interviewed at a couple places and was extended an offer at a manufacturing plant that would increase my hourly wage by 20 percent.

Now I had some bargaining chips and knew I was going to get at least a 20 percent raise.

I sat with my employer and asked for a raise. He told me, “The company cannot afford to at the moment”. So I told him as collectively and respectfully as possible that I had another opportunity that he would need to beat for me to stay.

I ended up getting a 30 percent raise.

Between becoming full-time and getting a raise, I was able to bring in an additional $1,500 monthly.

Strategy #2: Start a Side Hustle
I have always had an interest in owning my own business.

I did not have very many skills, but I spent some time as a janitor and cleaner when I was younger so I thought I would start a cleaning company.

With a low cost to start, I was up and running within a week. Since I started my cleaning company while still in college, I figured I would market to college students. This was hard and tricky because they did not like to pay you sometimes, but I managed.

I marketed to Frat and Sorority houses and specialized in “after party clean up”. I spent most of my Saturdays and Sundays cleaning houses, but it turned out to be pretty lucrative business idea.

I was able to generate an extra $500 per month before my wedding. In my effort to increase my income I was able to generate about $8,000 more than I was making.

Strategy #3: Keep Your Money in Your Pocket
All of the extra money I generated would have been useless if we spent it all.

Did I go out to eat a little more than I did when I was making less money? Sure.

But we kept our expenses to a minimum. My wife and I lived with our parents until after our wedding. We basically lived off of Ramen Noodles. I still shiver just thinking about that.

We slashed and questioned all of our expenses. Spending less money was not too hard for me because I was working 70+ hours a week so I did not really have time to spend it.

Strategy #4: Keep Things Simple and Cheap if Possible
The average cost of a wedding is $28,000. Most people say they would never spend that, but there are so many other people whose input matters, like your parents.

It is hard to have the wedding you want, especially if your parents are going to be the ones to foot the bill.

My wife and I got lucky by having a large network and a large family. Between my wife and I, we have 27 uncles and a lot of cousins. We were able to get the church, the venue, and catering all for free.

The only expenses we had were the clothes and the rings. Our total cost of our wedding was $3,645 and there were 212 people there that gave us a total of $14,000 in wedding gifts.

Conclusion
Defeating a mountain of student loan debt can feel impossible. It is possible to pay it all off and quickly, but it requires hard work and sacrifice.

I know most people are not willing to delay buying a home, are afraid to negotiate a raise, and spend time watching too much Netflix rather than starting a side business.

Anything remarkable is achieved because it takes effort. It’s not easy. By definition, to do something remarkable, it takes doing the things most people are unwilling to do.

If you want to pay your debt off faster than anyone else, then you have to work like no one else.

Alex Craig