Tagged: Extra Income

How to Start a WordPress Blog on Bluehost – Complete Guide

If you’re looking for a way to bring in some extra income and have a passion you’d enjoy sharing with others, blogging could be a great side gig or even potential full-time job for you. From travel to fashion, cooking to pilates, budgeting to home decor, it’s possible to blog about almost any topic, allowing you […]

How to Start a WordPress Blog on Bluehost – Complete Guide is a post from Money Crashers.

More money, less happiness: When money makes you miserable

More money, less happiness: When money makes you miserableMoney, the conventional wisdom says, doesn’t buy happiness. Modern psychology seems to back this up, with studies suggesting that beyond an income of $75,000, money doesn’t make you any happier.

This conclusion is simultaneously obvious and counter-intuitive.

As an abstract principle, most us acknowledge that money doesn’t buy happiness. But, at the same time, we all want more of something material — a nicer house, nicer vacations, the ability to live in a certain neighborhood or eat at fancier restaurants — that we think would make us happier. (If you’re J.D., you think maybe season tickets to your favorite team might make you happier.)

5 Key Property Features When House Hunting

When shopping for a home, many of us know our basic focal points, such as identifying the right neighborhood or finding a house with the ideal number of bedrooms and bathrooms. These factors are important, but there are other home features (some very large and some very small) that can greatly contribute to the enjoyment of your new home. Let’s make sure you don’t miss any of them. Here are five opportunities to maximize the benefits of your purchase that go beyond just the house and why each one deserves your consideration. Home Buying Consideration #1: The Garage Garages are a very important feature for many homebuyers, and can even end up being a dealbreaker for some buyers. More than a parking spot, garages provide valuable storage and project space, as well as a way to protect your vehicles from all types of damage. When you are first shopping for a home, you may know that you want a garage, but you may not have considered all of the variables that go into the garage design, and which choice is right for you. Garage Design: Why it Matters When evaluating garage design, it’s important to start by considering what you may want to use the space for, and what external factors (such as weather) might impact your use. Here are several major garage design aspects to keep in mind as you house hunt. Rental space: Depending on the size and layout of your garage, is there space that could be rented out full time, or used as a short-term rental to generate additional income? That extra income could be directed towards your mortgage payment. Storage opportunities: Does the garage have room to store what you need to reduce in-home clutter? Is there space for shelves, or even room in the rafters? Potential property value increase: According to the sales comparison approach (SCA), one of the most recognizable forms of valuing residential real estate, a “finished” garage that feels like an extension of the home’s indoor living space is one of several features that can increase overall home value. You may also want to consider the possibilities of eventually remodeling a bland garage in an otherwise perfect home. Attached vs. Detached Garages: Pros vs. Cons One of the biggest distinctions in garage design is whether a garage is attached or detached. Often influenced by lot shape (narrow lots on an alley often have detached garages, wider lots with a driveway often have attached garages) or the age of a home, having a detached or attached garage has both advantages and disadvantages.   Attached Garages: Pros Convenient access to your cars, storage, and other items, particularly if you live in an area with an extreme climate  Attached garages are often less expensive to build, and can be climate controlled by accessing the electrical and HVAC systems that are part of the home As attached garages are the most popular type of garage, having one typically increases the value of your home Attached Garages: Cons If you’re thinking of adding one, it may not be possible to fit on a narrow, urban lot Since they offer direct access to the home, they can be a security and fire risk   They can be hard to add onto or expand, and any additions or changes might require more expensive permits and extensive inspections Adding an attached garage, particularly to a vintage home, may look strange or otherwise detract from the exterior look of the home Noisy garage activities may be heard more inside the home Detached Garages: Pros More flexibility in size, layout and location, lot size and shape permitting It’s easier to add room for cars, storage, and projects, and to add onto if needed Less fire and security risk to your home  Less of an impact to the look or curb appeal of your home Can increase the resale value of your home Detached Garages: Cons  Particularly in bad weather, less convenient in terms of access  Will require separate utilities, HVAC, and more May not be allowed by your HOA or city permitting office Now that we’ve examined the garage, let’s take a look at another key feature — what’s going on with the front and backyard? Home Buying Consideration #2: The Yard No longer limited to just a lawn, yards have now become an extension of the home. A convenient, well-designed outdoor living space is something that many homeowners desire. Yards can be great spaces for entertaining and are often much less expensive to create than comparable indoor entertaining spaces. Here are some important yard elements to consider.  Trees and landscaping: Important for both aesthetic and practical reasons, trees and landscaping can increase your yard’s appeal. A mature, well-designed landscape is valuable, as it represents an investment of both time and money.  Outdoor kitchen: Whether you are grilling for two or entertaining 200, an outdoor kitchen makes cooking fun and convenient.  Fireplace or fire pit: This stylish focal point makes it easy to keep enjoying your yard, even after dark or in cooler weather.  Automatic sprinklers, drip system, and misting system: Automatic sprinklers and drip systems can keep your yard looking lush for a low cost, and are particularly valuable in dry climates. Misting systems can also keep you cool on hot days.  Deck or Patio: A stylish outdoor surface makes it easy to enjoy your yard, and many new construction materials require little to no maintenance.  Shed: Well-designed sheds can go beyond storage, offering everything from a private workspace to extra space for guests to sleep.  So, you’re considering the finer points of a yard. But what about adding a body of water to that yard for cooling off on hot days? Here’s the pros and cons of investing in a water element for your next home. Just starting your home search? Here’s the best time to begin. Home Buying Consideration #3: The Pool Pools and hot tubs are perhaps the most controversial of all outdoor home features. Some homebuyers totally avoid them, and some won’t look at a house without them. Which side are you on? Here are some factors to consider.  Backyard Pool and Hot Tub: Pros  Pools and hot tubs can be aesthetically pleasing Both are also useful for entertaining In warmer climates, pools can provide a way to enjoy the outdoors comfortably If you like to swim, engage in other aquatic exercises regularly for fitness, or use a hot tub for muscle and joint pain, having your own can be convenient In hot climates where pools are common (i.e., Arizona, California, Florida), having a pool can significantly increase the resale value of your home  Backyard Pool and Hot Tub: Cons Both pools and hot tubs require regular maintenance that includes chemicals, cleaning, and repair Many families with small children do not want a pool at home due to safety concerns Your insurance cost may be higher, and your utility bills may go up as well, particularly for heating a pool  When it is time to sell your home, there are many buyers who will not want a house with a pool A pool is a big decision that comes with both maintenance and benefits alike. You can always opt for a different kind of water feature, like a backyard stream. But if you’re looking to streamline your life, investing in home tech devices is almost a no-brainer. Home Buying Consideration #4: The Appliances and Tech Gadgets As technology improves and designs continually evolve, having up-to-date appliances and other devices in your home has become increasingly important. For example, while attractive kitchens are near the top of many house-hunters’ wish lists, there are items within those kitchens that can help — and items that can hurt — when it comes to increasing a home’s value. Appliances That Can Help Property Value Commercial-grade appliances: Particularly in high-end properties, many buyers expect to see appliances from luxury or professional brands.  Smart devices: Thermostats, fire detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, security cameras, door locks, and doorbells are just a few of the relatively new smart home devices that homebuyers are now beginning to appreciate and even expect. Appliances That Can Hurt Property Value Old and energy inefficient: These power-sucking products will cost you in both your utility bill, and the resale value of your home.  Homes totally lacking certain appliances: Is your property missing a dishwasher, indoor laundry, or other key features? This can be a major turn-off for buyers who don’t want to have to complete a complicated remodeling and installation project.  Mismatched appliances: Appliances from different eras or in different colors can make your kitchen look unfinished and low-quality, even if your other finishes are fantastic. Looking to stock up on home amenities? We’ve targeted the seasonal best deals for doing so. Now that you’ve considered the key interior and exterior components of your dream home, there’s one last important element to contemplate: the driveway. Home Buying Consideration #5: The Driveway Walkways and driveways connect your home to the outside world and play a crucial role in the curb appeal of your residence. Although often overlooked, they are important home features that can be messy and expensive to replace or update.  If you are evaluating the driveway at a potential home, or considering an update at your current home, the first choice you will need to make is whether you want asphalt or concrete. Both have benefits and drawbacks that may vary depending on your climate, landscape, and usage needs. Today, many homeowners and buyers are also looking for something beyond the basics, with driveway design trends including elaborate paving materials, irregular shapes, and additional features like extra parking for guests. Know the Tricks, Now Land the House Although these five features may not be your first considerations in the house-hunting process, they are important elements that you will use or interact with nearly every day. Add them to your consideration list, and you will be sure to end up in a customized home that you enjoy and treasure. If you’ve found your ideal home with all the right features, reach out to a PennyMac Loan Officer today or apply online to get pre-approved for the loan that’s right for you.

How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt Faster

I've received several questions from Money Girl podcast listeners about paying off credit card debt. It's a fundamental goal because carrying card balances come with high interest, a waste of your financial resources. Instead of paying money to card companies, it's time to use it to build wealth for yourself.

7 Strategies to Pay Off Credit Card Debt Faster

1. Stop making new card charges

If you're carrying card balances from month-to-month, it's essential to understand what it costs you. As interest accrues, it can double or triple the original cost of a charged item, depending on how long it takes you to pay off.

The first step to improving any area of your life is to acknowledge your mistakes, and financing a lifestyle you can't afford using a credit card is a biggie. So, stop making new charges until you take control of your cards and can pay them off in full each month.

As interest accrues, it can double or triple the original cost of a charged item, depending on how long it takes you to pay off.

Yes, reining in your card spending will probably require sacrifices. Consider ways to earn extra income, such as starting a side gig, finding a better-paying job, or selling your unused stuff. Also, look for ways to cut costs by downsizing your home, vehicle, memberships, or unnecessary expenses.

2. Consider your big financial picture

Before you decide to pay off credit card debt aggressively, look at the "big picture" of your financial life. Consider any other debts or obligations you should prioritize, such as a tax delinquency, legal judgment, or unpaid child support. The next debts to pay off are those already in default or turned over to a collection agency.

In many cases, not having a cash reserve is why people get into credit card debt in the first place.

Assuming you don't have any debts in default, focus your attention on your emergency fund … or lack of one! I recommend maintaining a minimum of six months' worth of your living expenses on hand. In many cases, not having a cash reserve is why people get into credit card debt in the first place.

3. Make more than the minimum payment

Many people who can pay more than their monthly minimum card payment don't do it. The problem is that minimums go mostly toward interest and don't reduce your balance significantly.

For example, let's assume your card charges 15% APR, you have a $5,000 balance, and you never make another purchase on the card. If your minimum payment is 4% of your card balance, it will take you 10½ years to pay off. And here's the worst part—you'd have paid almost $2,400 in interest!

4. Target debts with the highest interest rates first

Make a list of all your debts, including credit cards, lines of credit, and loans. Include your balances owed and interest rates charged. Then rank your liabilities in order of highest to lowest interest rate.

Getting rid of the highest interest debts first saves you the most.

Remember that the higher a debt's interest rate, the more it costs you in interest per dollar of debt. So, getting rid of the highest interest debts first saves you the most. Then you can use the savings to pay more on your next highest interest debt and so on.

If you have several credit cards, evaluate them the same way—tackle them in order of highest to lowest interest rate to get the most bang for your buck. And if a credit card isn't the most expensive debt you have, make it a lower priority.

In general, debts that come with a tax deduction such as mortgages, home equity lines of credit, and student loans, should be paid off last. Not only do those types of debt have relatively low interest rates, but when some or all of the interest is tax-deductible, they cost you even less on an after-tax basis.

5. Use your assets to pay off cards

If you have assets such as savings and non-retirement investments that you could use to pay down high-interest credit cards, it may make sense. Just remember that you still need a healthy cash reserve, such as six months' worth of living expenses.

If you don't have any or enough emergency money saved, don't dip into your savings to pay off credit card debt. Also, consider what you could sell—such as unused sporting goods, jewelry, or a vehicle—to raise cash and increase your financial cushion.

6. Consider using a balance transfer card

If you can’t pay off credit card debt using existing assets, consider optimizing it by moving it from higher- to lower-interest options. That won’t make your debt disappear, but it will reduce the amount of interest you pay.

Balance transfers won’t make your debt disappear, but they will reduce the amount of interest you pay.

Using a balance transfer credit card is a common way to optimize debt temporarily. You receive a promotional offer during a set period if you move debt to the account. By transferring higher-interest debt to a lower- or zero-interest card, you save money and use it to pay down the balance faster.

7. Consolidate your high-rate balances

I received a question from Sarah F., who says, “I love your podcast and turn to it for a lot of my financial questions. I have credit card debt and am wondering if it’s a good idea to get a personal loan to pay it down, or is that a scam?”

And Rachel K. says, "I love listening to your podcasts and am focused on becoming more financially fit this year. I have a couple of credit cards with high interest rates. Would it be wise for me to consolidate them to a lower interest rate? If so, will it hurt my credit?" 

Depending on the terms you’re offered, using a personal loan can be an excellent way to reduce interest and get out of debt faster.

Thanks to Sarah and Rachel for your questions. Consolidating credit card debt using a personal loan is not a scam but a legitimate way to shift debt to a lower interest rate.

Having an additional loan added to your credit history helps you build credit if you make payments on time. It also works in your favor by reducing your credit utilization ratio when you reduce your credit card debt.

If you qualify for a low-rate personal loan, here are some benefits you get from debt consolidation:

  • Cutting your interest expense
  • Getting a fixed rate and term (such as 6% APR for 60 months with monthly payments of $600)
  • Having one monthly debt payment
  • Building credit

A couple of downsides of using a personal loan to consolidate debt include:

  • Being tempted to continue making credit card charges
  • Having potentially higher monthly loan payments (compared to minimum credit card payments)

While it may seem counterintuitive to use new debt to get out of old debt, it all comes down to the interest rate. Depending on the terms you’re offered, using a personal loan can be an excellent way to reduce interest and get out of debt faster.

What should you do after paying off a credit card?

Credit cards come with many benefits, such as purchase protection, convenience, and rewards. Don't forget that they're also powerful tools for building credit when used responsibly. If maintaining good credit is one of your goals, I recommend that you keep a paid-off card open instead of canceling it.

You don't need to carry a balance from month to month or pay interest on a credit card to build excellent credit.

To maintain or improve your credit, you must have credit accounts open in your name, and you must use them regularly. Making small purchases charges from time to time that you pay off in full and on time is enough to add positive data to your credit reports. You don't need to carry a balance from month to month or pay interest on a credit card to build excellent credit.

To learn more about building credit and getting out of debt, check out Laura’s best-selling online classes:

  • Build Better Credit—The Ultimate Credit Score Repair Guide
  • Get Out of Debt Fast—A Proven Plan to Stay Debt-Free Forever

What Is A Blog, How Do Blogs Make Money, & More

What is a blog and how does it work? Can you really make money blogging? How much do bloggers make? Over the years, I have received many questions about blogging. People want to know what is a blog, how they work, is it really a way for people to make money, and so on.  I […]

The post What Is A Blog, How Do Blogs Make Money, & More appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

80+ Best Side Job Ideas To Make Extra Money in 2021

Do you want to know, “What can I do as a side job?”  Today, I have a list of over 80 possible side hustle ideas for 2021. With these side jobs, you can make extra money in 2021. So, what is a side job? I say side job meaning something that you do on the […]

The post 80+ Best Side Job Ideas To Make Extra Money in 2021 appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

How the Debt Snowball Works

This page may include affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more information. You may have heard of Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball as a popular method for getting out of debt. We’re going to share how the debt snowball works so you can decide whether it’s a smart way for you to get your debt paid…

The post How the Debt Snowball Works appeared first on Debt Discipline.


How the Debt Snowball Works was first posted on November 23, 2020 at 11:46 am.
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Should You Make Payments During Coronavirus Student Loan Deferment?

As Americans grappled with the financial consequences of the pandemic in March of this year, the federal government took several actions to help cash-strapped consumers. For starters, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in late March of 2020, which included a temporary suspension of payments and interest for government-owned student […]

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