Archive for December 2016

How To Better Assess Your Financial Situation After A Relocation

How To Better Assess Your Financial Situation After A Relocation

How To Better Assess Your Financial Situation After A RelocationIt is important after a big move to make sure that you are taking the time to sit down, look over your income and expenses, and determine what you can do to save money. You might have already done this a while back, but it is vital that you are doing it again after a big move. The reason for it?

Well, to be honest, what it costs to live in one state may be completely different than what it costs to live in another state. Some things might be more expensive while you may be able to get a savings on other things. It is about examining all of your expenses again, reworking your budget, and determining how you can make the best possible use of the cost of living that you now have.

Saving Money Before?Relocation

If you have not yet actually moved, but are simply starting to assess your new financial situation so you can be well prepared ? that?s great! Not only will you have the chance to give yourself the best shot at saving money once you move, you can start saving money during the process of moving.

While you certainly will not be able to relocate everything free of charge, you can cut down on the costs of moving. Start by limiting the number of personal belongings that you have to move with you. Simply throw out or donate the things that you really do not need anymore. This will result in fewer boxes, less packing tape, and a smaller moving truck.

Consider Your New Utility Choices

If you are lucky enough to move to a state where most of the market is deregulated, like Texas, you will have the chance to shop around for your energy supplier. This might be a lot different than what you are used to, especially if you never had the chance to check out different suppliers, such as Green Mountain electricity.

When you have the option to shop around between different utility companies, you will have a much easier time finding quality service for an affordable rate. The reason is because there is now true competition, so utility companies have to work hard to not only get your business?but to keep it. This can save you a substantial amount of money over the course of a year.

Food Costs

Besides the cost of utilities, the cost of food is another one of those things that can be drastically different from one state to the next. For example, some states may have cheaper fresh produce because of a lot of it is grown right there in that state. This is a savings that you will want to include in your budget.

However, if you are moving to a state where a lot of the produce that you eat is not grown, you may find that you are going to spend much more money. This is because everything has to be shipped in, which raises the cost of everything that hits the shelves.

This is also the time when you need to think about other ways to lower your grocery bill. This can be done through meal planning, shopping sales, and locating local farms or farmer?s markets that can give you fresh foods for a more reasonable price.

Is this going to take a lot of work to figure out? No, but it might take a little bit of time. However, once you have figured out the new cost of living for where you are moving to and how you can make the most of the resources available to you, you will find that it is much easier to keep up with.


Are you planning on a relocation soon? What else can you think of to help make a relocation go smoothly?


Photo courtesy of: MIH83

4 Ways to Plan Now for The New Year

plan now for the new year

plan now for the new yearAs another year draws to a close, it is easy to catch yourself looking ahead to the new year.

After all, the start of a new year always feels like a chance to ?start over? ? to do things that you didn?t get around to this year. Of course, in reality, the calendar has nothing to do with what you can or can?t do on a given day.

Rather than putting your financial goals off until the new year, why not get started right away? Anything you do today won?t have to be done tomorrow, and that is certainly a good feeling.

So, with this line of thinking in mind, let?s take a look at 4?things you can do now to start planning for financial success in the new year.

Build Up Your Savings

Of course, this should always be one of your top financial goals. Do everything you can to start saving up money for next year and you will head into 2017 feeling great about the status of your finances.

There is no such thing as having ?too much? savings, so keep moving as much money as you can into your savings account while continuing to meet your monthly budget obligations. As long as you see that savings pile steadily growing over time, you will know you are on a positive track.

Trim the Budget

The end of the year is always a good time to take a fresh look at your budget to see what you may be able to cut out. Are there any subscriptions that you are paying for which are unnecessary? Could you save money on an ongoing expense such as food just by shopping smarter?

Take a close look at how your budget is working (or isn?t working) and make the necessary corrections to be more efficient with your spending in the year to come.

Think Taxes

While your taxes might not technically be due until April, you can start now thinking about how you are going to pay your bill ? or what you will do with a refund, depending on the situation.

Look back to previous years for a good indication of what your tax situation may look like this time around, and start saving up if necessary if you think you are going to owe. You certainly don?t want to get caught off guard with an unexpected tax bill, so get ahead of the game by thinking about this topic as soon as possible.

Plan on an Income Increase

It is certainly great to live within a controlled, restricted budget, but nothing will help you pay the bills and save money quite like finding a way to make more each month. With the time remaining in 2016, think about how you are going to track down some additional income in the new year.

This may be through getting a raise at your job, working on a side hustle, or some other method. Whatever the case, remember that additional income isn?t going to happen by accident -? you have to go get it!


How are you preparing for the new year? Do you have a plan?


Photo courtesy of: Shandi-lee Cox

6 Overlooked Ways To Boost Your Income

6 Overlooked Ways To Boost Your Income

6 Overlooked Ways To Boost Your IncomeThe following is a contribution from my blogging friend, Jon.

When dealing with personal finances, there are only two ways to improve a bad situation. You can save money by cutting expenses or you can increase your income by earning more money. Most will only focus on one side of the equation and that tends to be saving money on monthly expenses. The problem with this is that you can only cut so much from your monthly expenses before you will need to focus on increasing your income. After all, you might be able to go without a car, but if you live somewhere that doesn’t have public transportation, your quality of life is going to suffer.

As a result, going without a car is not an expense you can realistically cut.

The problem with increasing your income is that many people are not sure how to increase their income so they don’t do it. The obvious options for increasing your income are to get a raise or work a second job. But what if you already earned a raise or don’t want to work a second job? Then what? Here are 6 overlooked ways to boost your income.

#1. Rent Out Your Car

If you own a car, then you have an asset. Your vehicle helps you get around and increases your mobility. While many will think of a car as just a personal asset, it can also help out others in need of transportation.

There is a growing trend of services that will allow you to rent out your car and earn money. Companies provide a marketplace where people wanting to rent a car can find one from someone willing to rent theirs out. Car owners that live in larger cities and don’t drive their car often can bring in an additional $250 on average per month.

When it comes to car insurance, you need not worry. Car insurance follows the driver and not the car. So for example, if I were to borrow your car and get into an accident, it would be my car insurance that pays for the damages, not yours. I realize that checking and verifying that potential renters of your car have insurance can be cumbersome. That is the nice thing about using a third party. For a small fee, they do the work for you of verifying things and even handle the back and forth in the case of an accident.

Of course, before you go this route, be sure to check with your car insurance provider anyways just to make sure your policy doesn’t have any limitations or exclusions that you may not be aware of.

#2. Rent Out Your Car

Become a cab driver. Thanks to technology, you don’t need to fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars for a medallion that most cab drivers are required to have. You can get a job for Lyft or Uber. You can choose to work the hours you want. Maybe you only want to drive people around on weekends? With either of these apps, you can do this and make some decent money on the side.

And since you are driving people around as a business, you should track your gas purchases, miles driven and maintenance so you can write them off on your taxes.

You might even do this on a short-term basis. Maybe there is a big event in town and many out of town people are visiting. You can just work during this period and earn a few bucks.

#3. Test Websites

Do you spend time online looking at websites or love to shop online? There are thousands of companies that get regular people to test out their websites in order to find issues or just to get general feedback. There are many opportunities each and every day for people to sign up to test a company’s website. You start out earning $10 per website and it takes about 15 minutes per test. If you can do one test a day, you can earn $300 per month.
The great thing about this option is that you don’t need an advanced degree to be able to test the websites. In most cases, you are just clicking on links and making sure you don’t encounter any errors or broken links. In the case of providing feedback, you just have to record your thoughts and opinions as you surf around a website.

#4. Sell Services on Fiverr

One of the most overlooked income generating opportunities is using Fiverr. While it is relatively new compared to other services, it has blown up in popularity. Fiverr is a marketplace where people can offer services starting at $5. When it first started, you could only charge $5 for your service, but the model has changed. You now can provide basic services for $5, but can offer add-on services for more money.

There are thousands of people looking for simple services each day. You might not think that you can offer a service, but check out Fiverr to see what people are offering (I was blown away at all of the various offerings).

Some people offer copy-writing, editing, drawings, design, video work, Facebook likes, back linking, and everything else under the sun. It would be relatively easy to come up with an idea that you can sell. If you can sell one service per day at the base price of $5, then you could bring in $150 per month. That is just one service sold per day. Bump it up to just 5 per day and you are making $750 extra each month.

#5. Running Errands

Do you know that most people hate running errands, but have no problem paying someone else to do it for them? While you might think it could be hard to find such jobs, the best place to go is on Craigslist. You can either promote your services or find people looking for an assistant. The pay will depend on what type of errands you run, but the need is definitely there.

If you aren’t comfortable with Craigslist, then do a Google search for errand runners in your local area. If you live in a well-populated area, you might find a local errand running service website where you can join to advertise your services.

As with the previous tip of driving for Uber, you should track miles driven and gas purchases so you can write these off of your taxes.

#6. Rent Out A Parking Spot

When someone lives in a prime real estate location or owns an awesome parking spot that is not being used, then they can make money renting out that location. Many homes that are near popular locations can rent out a spot in their driveway to people looking for easy parking. This is a popular type of service in small college towns along with large metropolitan areas. If you own a parking spot that you are not using, then it could be easy to rent it out to other drivers for easy monthly income.

I know of a few people that live near the professional football stadium in my city. They have a driveway and a nice sized front yard that they rent out for parking. The price is less than at the stadium, and an additional benefit is that you avoid the traffic jam at the end of the game. I usually see around 10 cars in their front yard/driveway during games. At $20 per car and 8 home games, that’s $1,600 over the course of a few months. And that doesn’t include any baseball, basketball, hockey games and concerts!

Final Thots

When looking for overlooked ways to boost your income, it’s important that you look outside the box. The caveat to this though is that you need to look for solid opportunities to produce income. It would be easy to make money illegally, but we both know it won’t last and odds are you will get in serious trouble!

Additionally, asking for and getting a raise is a great first step, but you can only earn so much from your job before needing a promotion. By diversifying your income to other areas, you not only increase the amount you earn, but you protect yourself with an additional income stream should your main job ever be lost.

Jon writes at Penny Thots, a personal finance blog whose goal is to improve your finances one day and one penny at a time.


Photo courtesy of: Melies the Bunny

5 Easy Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money

teach your kids about money

teach your kids about moneyLearning about money is one of the most-important things that a child can pick up in their early years. At some point, your kids are going to need to start earning their own money, and they will need to know how to handle that money in order to become successful and prosperous adults.

You certainly don?t need to be rich in order to enjoy life, but you do need to know how to manage your money in a way that will keep you on the right track for the long run.

If you would like to teach your kids some lessons about money that will last a lifetime, consider using the following methods to easily teach your kids about money.

Give an Allowance

Giving an allowance is one of the easiest ways to teach your kids about money. This is a time-tested plan, and it is one that is used by so many people because it is so effective. Giving your children an allowance in exchange for completing some basic chores around the house is a lot like giving them their first job. They will learn that money has to be earned, and they will also learn that they need to save that money if they want to buy things later on.

The Power of Saving

The next step after giving your children an allowance is to make sure they understand how important it is to save money. Money that is earned should not be spent immediately, but that is a lesson that isn?t understood by all adults, let alone children. Encourage your kids to save at least a portion of what they earn through their allowance, and they will have a greater appreciation for money as they grow older.

Take them Shopping

Grocery shopping is one of the basics of managing your budget, and taking your kids shopping with you is a great way to help them understand how money works and how they can look for savings. As you shop with your child, teach them to look at prices and make decisions based both on need and budget. If they see you simply grabbing things off the shelf without any regard for prices, they will never come to understand how important it is to shop smart.

Open a Bank Account

Another ways to teach your kids about money is by helping them open a bank account. A piggy bank might work just fine when your kids are small, but opening a bank account for them as they get a bit older is a great way to take their financial education to a new level. You can begin to deposit their allowance into the bank account, and any other money they earn can go in there as well.

Teach ?Grown Up? Expenses

It is easy for kids to take things for granted. They don?t understand just how expensive it is to live a ?normal? life. When you kids are old enough to understand, teach them about things like mortgage payments or rent costs, utilities, car payments, insurance, and more. Just a small amount of education on these points can go a long way towards helping them understand why it is important to save money whenever possible.


Have you used any of these ideas to teach your kids about money? What else have you done to teach your kids about money?


Photo courtesy of: Carissa Rogers

8 Ways to Sell Your Home Quickly

8 Ways to Sell Your Home Quickly

8 Ways to Sell Your Home QuicklyThere could be a multitude of reasons why you may need to make a quick sale on your home. Some of those reasons could be financial. Or it could be due to other circumstances such as a new job in a different city or town. Whatever your reasons might be, it can be tricky sometimes to sell your home so you can move on to the next chapter of your life. But there are at least 8 ways to sell your home quickly that can help.

1 Price it Right

Any good realtor will tell you the first 30 days a new home listing hits the market is the best time to make a sale. Before you list your home, do a little homework to find out what other homes of like size and condition are selling for in your area so you know your selling price is competitive. That can help you capture the attention of prospective buyers within those first critical 30 days.

2 Create Curb Appeal

We all know that first impressions are important. That is true not only when you are meeting someone for the first time, but also when a potential buyer first pulls up to the curb of your home for a viewing. If you aren?t sure what impression your home will make, look at it from the buyer?s perspective by driving around the block and then pulling up as if for the first time. What do you notice immediately? Are there garden hoses or bicycles strung about? Pick them up. Do the bushes need to be trimmed or is the grass in need of mowing? Doing these little tasks can create curb appeal and help you sell your home faster.

3 Depersonalize it

Removing personal belongings helps buyers to imagine themselves living in your home as they move from room to room. Store photos and other items that have meaning to you and keep d?cor generic.

4 Keep it Clean

Nothing says ?Ewww? like a dirty, un-kept home. Why would someone want to buy your home if it isn?t clean and well cared for? If you aren?t keeping up on cleaning and picking up the home, maybe the maintenance hasn?t been kept up either. So, pick up and clean up to help you make a faster sale.

5 Take Good Pictures

If your realtor is the one taking the pictures but they aren?t talented with a camera, consider hiring a professional photographer. The extra money you pay for this service could help you make a faster and more profitable sale of your home.

6 Make Repairs

Although it can be done, it is more difficult to sell your home fast if your home is in need of repairs. So, fix the leaky faucets and replace the cracked windows and torn screens. Making these small repairs can make a big difference in selling your home quickly.

7 Be Flexible

The more flexible you can be when it comes to showing your home, the more likely you will be to sell it fast. Potential buyers can be turned off and may?cross a home off their list if they can?t get in to see your home when it is convenient for them.

8 Remove Pets

If you are a pet owner, remove not only the pets themselves, but all signs of owning a pet such as bowls, kennels, and of course pet hair. Pets mean possible urine and vomit stains in carpets as well as smelly rooms. Making a quick sale might be far easier if you board them for a while.

No matter what circumstances led to your need to sell, these 8 ways to sell your home quickly can help when you need to get out of your current residence so you can move on to the next phase of your life.


Can you think of other ways to sell your home quickly?


Photo courtesy of: paulbr75