Tag: Money Mindset

 

6 Things You Should Know About Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to all the Money You’ll Ever Need

When you think of financial independence, you probably think about people who got rich starting a business, or saved every dime and never had any fun.

Truth be told: There is a way to enjoy your pumpkin spice latte and avocado toast – and still retire early. Take Grant Sabatier. A practicing Buddhist and millennial, Sabatier had a paltry $2.26 in his bank account (plus $20,000 in credit card debt) when he was 24. Yet, in only five years, he grew his pennies to more than $1.25 million. Through his website, Millennial Money, and recent book, Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to All the Money You’ll Ever Need, he now shares his wisdom with the universe. 

While Sabatier’s book is primarily focused on how to achieve FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early), he also offers up tips for growing your money. 

Whether you’re aspiring to be part of the work optional set, or want to bulk up your savings account, here are 6 ways you can build your wealth:  

It’s about your daily habits

Your daily habits are key to building wealth. The average person spends 2,000 hours a year working and earning money. Yet, all it takes, according to Sabatier, is about five minutes a day to manage your money. 

And, when this becomes a part of your daily routine, it’s much easier to control your emotions and get comfortable with risk. This, in turn, will help you make better money decisions.

“While it might take some time to build a new habit, the lifetime impact of small daily decisions and habits can be massive,” says Sabatier.

For instance, something as small as checking the balance of your bank account through a bank app each day can help keep your finances in good shape. 

Other quick and easy things you can do each day? You can see how much you spent yesterday and how much you’ve spent this month. You can also keep tabs on how much you’ve earned from all your income streams to determine if you’re on track with your savings goals. You can also check your credit card and bank accounts to make sure you aren’t dinged with fees and there’s no suspicious activity. (If you’re a Chime Bank member, you’ll never be hit with fees. Never ever.) 

Maximize the potential of income, savings, and expenses 

If you want to grow your money quickly, you should consider maximizing your three “levers:” income, savings, and expenses. 

For example, if you cut back on your living expenses and earn more at the same time, you’ll have more money to save and invest. 

Skip the budget

Most people find budgeting to be tedious, time-consuming, and hard to maintain. To this end, Sabatier says budgets that make you feel deprived and guilty about your spending habits can backfire. Instead, he recommends focusing on lowering your top three major expenses instead — housing, food, and transportation. 

You can reasonably boost your savings rate by 25% (savings rate equals the percentage of your income you’re saving) by finding a cheaper place to live, getting roommates, or saving on transportation by buying a used car. You can also save money on food by growing your own veggies, bartering with your neighbors, or bulking grocery staples in bulk.  

Focus on the future value of a purchase 

That $20,000 you spent on a new car will cost you more than just $20,000. As Sabatier explains, if your hourly wage at your day job breaks down to $20 an hour, that car not only costs you 1,000 hours of your time, but also the future value of that money should you invest it. Using this calculator, if you earn an average of a seven percent return (compounded daily) on that $20,000, in 10 years you’ll have $40,272.35. In 20 years you’ll have a cool $81,093.11. 

Combine and maximize ways to make money

Sabatier lists four major ways to earn a buck: working for someone else at a full-time job; side hustling; entrepreneurship; and investing. And, if you combine different ways to make money, you’ll earn money faster while you have a fall-back income stream. 

For instance, if you have a day job and also a side hustle, and you get laid off, you still can depend on your side hustle. If you have a day job, you can also  “hack the 9 to 5” by making the most of your benefits, such as getting the full employer match on your 401(k) or asking for what you are truly worth. 

Here’s another example: If own your own business but also invest in real estate, you’ll have your investments to fall back on if your business has a few slow months. 

Automation is just the beginning

While “setting it and forgetting it” doesn’t take a lot of effort, automating your savings is just the beginning. Sabatier points out that in order to boost the amount you save to fast-track your wealth, you’ll need to put in the work to bump that savings amount from five percent to 10 percent, or from $100 to $200 a month. This takes serious work and dedication. 

If you don’t have a ton to start with, start small and go from there. It’s helpful to break up your savings goals to see how much you’ll need to save monthly, weekly, or daily. For instance, if you want to save $5,000 in six months, you’ll need to save about $834 a month, $195 per week, or $28 a day. 

Make the most of your time

As you learned from Sabatier’s tips here, we all have the potential to make more money. And, by adopting an enterprise mindset, you can build wealth even faster than you thought possible. Ready to jump in? 

 

Here’s How to Build $5,000 in Net Worth — While in Debt

Did you know that you can grow your money even if you don’t have a robust savings account? And, you don’t have to wait until all your debt is paid off before you start stacking the dollar bills in your bank account

In fact, you can rack up $5,000 in savings within six months — all while carrying debt. To get started, check out these pointers from Aristotle Hren-Boulis, a 25-year-old financial coach in Los Angeles.  

Figure out how much money you have to save and spend 

As Hren-Boulis says, “what gets tracked gets done.”  

Yet, instead of tracking every single transaction, which is as tedious as counting calories, focus on just your variable expenses. To start, figure out what your monthly income is. 

Next, pull out your fixed living expenses. These are those bills and expenses that you pay every month in about the same amounts. This typically includes rent, the minimum payments on your debt, utilities, and insurance. 

Pro tip: If you have a bill that you only pay a few times a year, like your auto insurance premium, you can divide that by the number of months and fold that into your monthly expenses.

Once that’s all done, you’re left with a number. Let’s say it’s $2,000. Divide that figure by the number of weeks in a month, which — if you want to be exact — is 4.28. If you have $2,000 beans after your fixed expenses, that’s about $467 a week. That’s how much you have to “play with,” and either put into your savings or spend on your other living expenses. If you have $1,500 after you subtract your fixed living expenses, that number is about $350 a week. 

Pay yourself first

After you pinpoint that number, divvy it up into savings and spending. How much should you save? Well, there’s no set number, as it depends on your lifestyle and preferences, says Hren-Boulis. 

“Everyone’s budget is different, so you’ll have to customize it,” he says.

So, if your weekly number is $467 after your fixed expenses are accounted for, try saving $200. The rest you can spend on your variable expenses, such as groceries, eating out, concert tickets, personal items, and clothes. Here’s the sweet part: If you save $200 a week, after six months you’ll have $5,000 in the bank!

Pro tip: To save time and brain space, automate your savings. If you’re a Chime member, you can choose to save a percentage of each paycheck with Chime’s Save as You Get Paid feature.

Budget weekly

Instead of budgeting for the entire month, break down your variable spending in weeklong chunks. 

When you’re starting out, Hren-Boulis recommends giving yourself more than you think you’ll need. To gauge this, you can go through your transaction history on a mobile banking app. Not sure where to start? Try $250 or $300 a week, and adjust your weekly savings accordingly. 

Start your budget on the weekend

Rather than beginning your budget on a Monday, Hren-Boulis recommends kick-starting your spending plan on the weekend. 

This way you’ll be in the flush and can enjoy yourself over the weekend. 

“Nobody wants to get to the weekend and run out of money. So if you start on the weekend, and spent $100, then you’ll have $150 Monday to Friday,” says Hren-Boluis. 

Of course, you’ll have to figure out what works best for you. For example, if you’re concerned with having enough money for groceries, you might start your budget on your weekly grocery shopping day. 

The important thing is to have enough money to spend so you don’t feel deprived or stressed out. 

Track your spending

You’ll only need to track your spending on your variable expenses. You can do this by way of jotting down notes on your phone or on a pad of paper, creating a simple spreadsheet, or using a money-saving app. 

“When you start tracking how much you’re spending each week, you start to mentally make trade-offs,” says Hren-Boulis. 

For instance, let’s say you have $30 left this week. You can think to yourself, “If I eat in tonight, I’ll have money to go out tomorrow night.”  

Spend what remains 

So what happens if you end up spending less in a week than the amount you had set aside? Hren-Boulis says it’s important to feel motivated and good about your money. 

For instance, if you end up having $100 left for that week, you could spend $60 on a massage and put the rest toward savings. And if you don’t feel deprived, then by all means save whatever is left over each week. 

He also doesn’t think it’s a good idea to “roll over” money into the next week.

“That’s when you start to get ideas,” says Hren-Boulis. 

Letting “extra” money spill over into subsequent weeks operates on the same principle of rollover minutes for cell carrier plans. If there are weeks where you have larger chunks of money to spend, you might get used to spending more than you can really afford. 

Track your net worth

Net worth isn’t your income, but rather your assets minus your liabilities. And, tracking your net worth is something you should get into the habit of, explains Hren-Boulis. 

Your assets include the value of your car, and how much you have sitting in your savings and retirement accounts. Your liabilities include all your debt — such as credit card balances, student loans, car loans, and personal loans. 

Try to check in on your net worth at least once a month. When you see that number growing, it’ll keep you motivated! 

Save those beans before paying off debt 

So, should the money you’re saving go toward debt or your emergency fund? 

Ideally, you should have some savings tucked away in an emergency fund before aggressively paying off your debt. Why? Well, if you don’t have much of a financial cushion, and the unexpected should occur, you might resort to using your credit cards, which could tailspin you into deeper debt. 

You do you

Following these tips is just one way you can go about saving $5,000 within six months. But, no matter how you slice and dice things, the important thing is to consistently save the same amount each week. Are you ready to give it a try?

 

6 Summer Side Hustles That Can Help You Earn $1,000+

Links to external websites are not managed by Chime or The Bancorp Bank.


Did you know that, while everyone else is booking vacations or fighting the summer FOMO, you could be earning money? Indeed, starting a summer side hustle can put some extra cash in your pocket by the fall.

The question now becomes: Which summer side jobs have the most profit potential? Luckily for you, we’ve put together a list of six ways you can fatten up your wallet (and potentially your savings account) before Labor Day rolls around. 

1. Deliver food 

Food delivery has gone beyond just pizza these days. Companies like DoorDash hire drivers to deliver orders from partner restaurants. 

It’s one of the best summer side gigs you can try, says Deacon Hayes, financial expert and founder of Well Kept Wallet. 

“It’s a great way to earn $1,000 or more during the summer. You can roll down the windows and listen to music while you drive and the work is easy,” says Hayes.

DoorDash offers drivers a guaranteed minimum rate of $10 per hour but that could easily grow if you factor in tips. If you were to earn $15 an hour, working 20 hours a week you’d make $300 before taxes. After just a month of that, you’d hit the $1,000 earnings mark. 

Hayes says the best way to boost tips is by building a rapport with regular customers. 

“This makes it more likely they’ll choose you, if given an option, and tip well in the process.”

2. Sell off unused items

Clearing out your garage, attic or basement probably isn’t on your summer bucket list. But maybe it should be if you want to make some extra cash. 

“Have a huge clear out – wardrobes, garage, bookshelves, video games, etc. and concentrate on off-loading everything,” says Ben Taylor, founder of HomeWorkingClub.com

“It’s a simple hustle and anyone can do it, and you get to declutter and simplify your life at the same time.”

If you’re looking for places to sell your items, here’s a short list:

Look offline for places to sell as well. Thrift stores, consignment shops, antique shops, flea markets, used bookstores – all of these could be a gold mine for selling unwanted items that are still in good condition. Better yet, you can score an easy $1,000. 

3. Become a kids’ yoga instructor

Teaching yoga to kids over the summer is a good way to find your zen – and extra dollars. 

Getting certified to teach yoga may be easier than you think. Take it from Robyn Parets, the founder of Pretzel Kids. This growing kids yoga company offers a self-paced, fast-track online yoga instructor certification for moms, fitness fanatics and others interested in teaching yoga to kids. 

“In the summertime, our teachers work at summer camps, as well as teach classes in parks and recreational programs,” Parets says. 

“They also lead birthday parties, perhaps the most lucrative opportunity as they can typically charge $300 or more per party.” 

Getting certified in just 10 hours and booking one party per week over the summer could easily earn you $1,000 or more. And if it turns out yoga is your true love, it’s a summer side hustle that can carry over to fall. Just think: You could grow your kids yoga business substantially by teaching after-school classes, preschool classes or getting teaching gigs at your local recreation center or gym. Of course, you can also continue running Pretzel Kids birthday parties around your schedule. 

4. Be a dog walker/pet sitter

While dog moms and dads go on vacation, they may not always take their four-legged friends along. Boarding dogs is one option but hiring a dog walker or pet sitter can be less stressful for pets and their owners. This is a prime opportunity to make some money over the summer.

You can offer your services as a dog walker or pet sitter directly to people you know or advertise locally. Setting up a profile through a site like Rover is another option.

Rover connects dog owners with people in their local area who can care for them. According to the company’s website, you can earn up to $1,000 month, just for keeping someone else’s pets company. You’ll need to apply and pass a background check to get approved as a Rover sitter but once you’ve done that, you can start booking doggie playdates. 

5. Teach English online

If you have a good grasp of English, you could spend hot summer days sharing that knowledge with kids online. Companies like VIPKID connect English tutors with children in other countries who want to learn the language. 

“This is an amazing side hustle because you get to set your own hours, you can work as little or as much as you want,” says Amanda Kolbye, a digital nomad who helps other people work online and build businesses.  

According to the VIPKID website, the minimum pay per 30-minute tutoring session starts at seven dollars, but you can also earn incentives to boost your earnings. If you qualify to be a VIPKID teacher, it’s possible to make anywhere from $14 to $22 an hour tutoring through the site. 

6. Offer lawn care services

So, cutting grass in the heat may not be ideal but you can bet homeowners aren’t eager to tackle it either. You can save them the trouble by offering to cut grass or do light landscaping work as a summer side hustle. 

Similar to offering dog walking or petsitting services, you can reach out to people directly. Or, you could market your services through an online company like GreenPal. This company connects people who need their yard tended with vendors in their local area who provide lawn care services.

“Many of our lawn care vendors are part-timers,” says Zach Hendrix, GreenPal co-founder. 

“Some are firemen, some are teachers that use our app in the summer to make extra money, others are college students that work afternoons and weekends, and it’s the perfect way for them to make extra money.” 

According to Hendrix, the average vendor makes around $55 per hour mowing lawns on the side. You could earn more or less, depending on how much you bid for jobs and whether the bids are accepted. 

Which summer side hustle will you try?

These are just a few ways you can make an extra $1,000 or more over the summer. And as you’re making money to supplement your paychecks, think about what you plan to do with it. 

“To use your side hustle money to the best advantage, I would first eliminate debt. If you don’t have debt, start an emergency fund and invest for your future,” says Hayes at Well Kept Wallet.

So tell us, are you planning to start a side hustle for summer? And if so, how will you maximize your new-found cash?

 

4 Money Lessons I Learned From ‘The Lion King’

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I’m a product of the ‘90s. This means I’m also a product of the 1994 Walt Disney classic “The Lion King.” I grew up on the film’s songs and characters, did my best to take hakuna matata to heart, and even named my pet lizards Simba and Nala.

I recently learned that Walt Disney Pictures is rolling out a new version of my childhood favorite. After getting a little nostalgic (and watching the trailer on repeat), the news made me reflect on what I learned from the original animated classic. 

As a personal finance writer who covers everything from bank accounts with no unnecessary fees to Roth IRAs, it isn’t surprising that money lessons popped into my mind first. Here are 4 financial lessons you can learn from “The Lion King.”

1. Strive for Balance

One of the most poignant scenes in the entire movie (IMHO) is Mufasa and Simba’s father-son moment overlooking the plain. This is when Mufasa famously tells his son that “Everything the light touches is our kingdom” — and also that “Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance.”

While Mufasa was referring to ants and antelopes, and life and death, the truth is: Balance matters when it comes to money, too. 

Take the issue of spending versus saving. It’s easy to swing from one extreme to the other: from becoming a FIRE (financial independence, retire early) fanatic and saving 90% of your income to racking up thousands of dollars of credit card debt to keep your FOMO at bay. I’m willing to bet Mufasa wouldn’t think either of those lifestyles exist in a “delicate balance.” 

Put it into action: When it comes to money, look for a balance between saving for the future and enjoying your life. You can try the 50/30/20 rule, which recommends allocating 50% of your after-tax income toward necessities (like rent and gas), 30% toward wants (like concert tickets and vacations), and 20% toward savings (like your emergency fund and retirement accounts). 

You should also “pay yourself first” by automatically transferring savings from your checking account into an investment account every week or month. This way, you can rest assured your future self is covered, while still being able to grab happy hour after work. That’s the kind of balance that would make Mufasa proud.

2. Don’t Run from Your Problems

After (spoiler alert!) his father dies, Simba tries to escape his guilt, confusion, and grief — both figuratively and literally. He runs far into the savannah and grows up away from his family and his pride. 

Eventually, however, Simba listens to Rafiki, who tells him, “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” Those wise words compel Simba to finally face his problems head on. 

Rafiki (which, fun fact, means “friend” in Swahili) would say the same thing to you: Running from your money troubles won’t solve anything. You can’t fix your problems if you never acknowledge them in the first place. 

Put it into action: If you’ve made financial mistakes, don’t stick your head in the Sahara and pretend they’ll get better. 

If you have credit card debt, commit to paying $25 over the minimum, then slowly increasing the amount by five dollars each month. If you’re struggling to cover your student loans, sign up for an extended repayment plan. If you ruined your credit in your 20s, apply for a secured credit card.

No matter the size of the hole you’ve dug, you can get yourself out. It’ll just take patience, commitment, and a willingness to learn from your missteps.  

3. Focus on the Future

While you shouldn’t ignore your money problems, you shouldn’t let them define you either. Once you’ve created a plan to tackle your financial woes, focus on the future. 

As Timon might say: “Look, kid, bad things happen, and you can’t do anything about it.” So stop feeling ashamed about the past — about how you didn’t start saving early enough, about that pair of designer heels you never wear — and consider how you can change your behaviors moving forward.

You know, hakuna matata!

Put it into action: Think about how you can weave a strong financial safety net for yourself in the future. Focus less on skipping your daily latte, and more on the big expenses, like renting an apartment within your budget or buying a used car instead of a new one. 

Then, slowly build an emergency fund that will cover at least three months of expenses. Ask for a raise at work. Open a 401(k). Switch bank accounts to avoid unnecessary fees. And gather a solid support network of friends (think of them like less-furry versions of Timon, Pumba, and Rafiki) to help you stay the course.

4. Confidence Matters

At one point when Simba is doubting his abilities, he hears the echo of his father’s voice. “Look inside yourself,” Mufasa tells him. “You are more than what you have become.” It was true: Simba’s lack of self-confidence had been hindering him from his destiny. 

Although I’m not going to sit here and say you have a personal finance “destiny” like the king of lions, I will say that confidence plays a huge role in money management, too. And if you don’t feel financially confident, realize it’s not your fault. Since most American schools don’t teach personal finance, many people feel confused and anxious when it comes to money. 

Put it into action: To take control of your finances, you need to build the confidence so that “you are more than what you have become.” The key here is education. Find your financial footing by listening to podcasts like Stacking Benjamins and Bad With Money, reading blogs like this one and books like “Get Money,” and watching YouTube channels like Financially Wise Women and The Financial Diet

The Circle of Money

Although you might wish you could live like an animal in the savannah, and trade in budgeting for, you know, surviving in the wild, the reality is: We live in a world that revolves around financial transactions. 

You don’t have to like it, but you do have to accept it. And with the help of “The Lion King,” you can hopefully gain the knowledge and confidence you’ll need to rule over your very own financial kingdom. (Just watch out for the hyenas!)

 

7 Ways to Build Wealth in 10 Minutes or Less

What would you give up so that you’d never have to worry about your finances? Pumpkin spice lattes for life? Instagram for a month? 

Many of us hate thinking of money, let alone managing it. Yet, neglecting to make your finances a priority can lead to dire circumstances down the line. 

But, guess what? Quick, no-brainer ways to build your wealth do exist. Here are seven ways you can grow your money in 10 minutes or less: 

1. Check Your Bank Balance

This seems like a no-brainer. But, if you don’t know how much you have in the bank, you run the risk of spending more than you have. 

Just doing a quick check through a banking app each morning makes a big difference. This will help you figure out how much you can reasonably spend in a given day, whether you can afford to go out with friends, or if you’ve got enough available in cash to splurge on that pair of on-sale sneakers. 

2. Create a Money To-Do List

Perhaps you keep a to-do list for your daily tasks. Why not create one for your money? I have a running to-do list of financial housekeeping that I need to tend to. This sometimes includes: figuring out my “going out” budget for the week, making sure my bills will be paid on time, or determining if I need to close an account.

Because I freelance, I also need to take care of gig economy-related tasks, such as sending invoices, balancing the books in my accounting software, and setting aside money for taxes. I make a point to check off a few items at least once a week. If I don’t make the time to do this, things will just pile up. 

I know, it seems like a major snoozefest. But you could set a date with yourself, or see if any pals would be up for a short session – either in real life or virtual. It’s nerdy fun and keeps away the boredom. 

3. Work on Your Passive Income Project

Have a killer idea for selling shirts? Or maybe you’d like to launch a digital product, such as a course or series of books? Spend 10 minutes a day on your passive income project to figure out how you can turn your idea into cash.

I’m currently working on the first of a series of books, and I try to crank out a certain number of words each day.

If you’re having trouble giving some love to a passion project, consider incentivizing yourself. For each checkpoint you pass, treat yourself to something small. And once you’ve completed the project – besides giving yourself a high-five – offer yourself something that’s meaningful and rewarding to you. 

4. Negotiate Your Bills

Negotiating for a lower monthly bill, annual fee or subscription can net big wins over time. Let’s say you nix a $90 annual fee on a credit card. If you keep that card for five years, that’s a $450 savings. Or, if you shave $10 off your Internet bill each month, that’s $120 after 12 months. 

This usually takes 30 minutes max, and at the very least, the customer service rep will check to see what she can offer you. For instance, your current cell phone plan may offer up a promo you can hop on or existing discounts that you’re unaware of. 

If you get tripped up on what exactly to say to a customer service rep, start with the following script: 

Hello. I am calling today to see what deals or promotions you might have for X. I did some research and [competitor X] is offering Y, while competitor Y is offering Z. I’ve been a loyal customer in good standing for X years. Will you be able to match it? 

5. Pay Yourself First

You may have monthly bills and debt to pay off. But what about your own financial goals? Perhaps you want to save up to buy a house or fund a sabbatical to focus on a passion project. The immediate obligations that are screaming “me first” get in the way of longer-term stuff. 

So, try paying yourself first, which means putting aside some cash toward these important, meaningful goals. 

6. Automate Your Savings

Automating your savings and bills will make your financial life easier.

And, when it comes to automating your savings, try to start small. It doesn’t have to be a ginormous amount. Can you swing one dollar a day? Or maybe $10 a week? That adds up over time. Just think: You can put that extra cash toward an emergency fund or into another savings account.  

If you’re afraid that an overcharge will slide past you, set alerts. For example, I set email and text alerts each time a bill gets paid.

7. Round Up Your Transactions

For every purchase you make on your card, you can round up the transaction to the nearest dollar. Spend $3.50 on a latte? Round it up to four dollars, and save fifty cents. If you make 30 transactions over a week, that spare change can add up quickly. 

You can do this manually at days’ end, which should take a few minutes. Or if you’re a Chime Bank member, check out the Save When You Spend feature. 

Greater Wins In Less Time

The name of the game is to try to net larger wins with your money in short chunks of time. 

Making it a priority to build your wealth, and doing a little bit each day will organically lead to more money in the bank for you. Are you ready to grow your wealth in just 10 minutes a day?

 

5 Ways to Manage Your Side Hustle Finances

If you’ve just started your first side hustle (or two) – welcome to the club! It’s a great feeling to have extra cash rolling in every month. But did you know that your side gig will also require a bit of cash flow management

If you haven’t created a game plan to manage your side hustle finances yet, fret not! Keep reading to learn our top five tips for getting a handle on your extra earnings. This way you can get closer to your financial goals faster than you ever imagined.

1. Never stop tracking

If you aren’t carefully tracking all the extra money you’re bringing in (against your side hustle expenses), then you’ll never get a true sense of whether the effort you’re putting in is paying off. The good news is: You don’t necessarily need a fancy bookkeeping system to keep tabs on your side hustle earnings.

“I track it all in my spreadsheet throughout the month,” says Diana Farmen, a middle school teacher and founder of Diana on a Dime

There’s also another benefit of tracking your side hustle finances on a consistent basis. Whether you’re bringing in an extra $500 or $5,000 a month from your side gigs, you’re officially an entrepreneur, with an obligation to file your taxes. Farmen knows all too well about juggling side hustles and keeping track of her finances. She’s got five income streams, including her full-time teaching job. 

Farmen says that her spreadsheet makes it easy for her to calculate how much she needs to set aside for paying taxes on the income she brings in. Without this step, she would be in for a bit of a shock when tax time rolls around. But, by estimating her taxes throughout the year, she is prepared to handle the payment when she files her taxes in the spring.

You can also take a look at the IRS website to figure out the different types of small business deductions you can take. This way you can begin to keep track of these expenses month to month. For example, you may be able to deduct office supplies, gas mileage, Internet services and more.

2. Be careful how you budget

Some side hustles are inconsistent in nature, so it’s important to adjust your budget accordingly. In Farmen’s case, her budget is based only on her salary.

“As I make money through side hustles, I add it to the income section of my budget and in my notes I add how much I set aside for taxes, if needed,” she says. 

At the end of the month – once she has her final numbers – she determines a purpose for her side hustle income. This usually involves putting extra payments towards her student loans, emergency fund, or sinking fund.

3. Keep things separate

In this case, out of sight, out of mind, is actually a good thing! 

One of the best ways to manage your side hustle finances is to keep your extra income in a separate bank account so that it isn’t commingled with regular earnings from your 9 to 5 job. This makes it a lot less tempting to blow through those extra earnings! Plus, if you’re a Chime member you can also watch your savings grow by using your Chime Visa Debit Card to make purchases. When you use your card, Chime will round up each purchase you make to the nearest dollar, and transfer the round up amount right into your Savings Account.

4. Be cautious when taking on debt

If you can start a side hustle using your savings or better yet, find one that requires virtually no start-up money, that would be ideal. However, if you’re looking to scale your side hustle gig into a full-blown business, think about using debt only if you have no other choice. Or, use debt in small increments with a plan to pay it back fast.

“I sometimes see people investing in five-figure web design, or fancy editing, or (full-blown) photoshoots, without first having done basic market research or getting clear on how they (plan to make) money. So, suddenly they find themselves in all this debt with no way to pay it back,” says Amanda Abella, author of Make Money Your Honey.

In her case, Abella leveraged debt incrementally to avoid overextending herself. 

“I knew what I could handle on a credit card, for example: the cost of mentorship or a (particular course). And then I was under a deadline to hustle and find new clients to pay it off in time – which I always did,” says Florida-based Abella, who is also a Latina brand ambassador. 

5. Outsource to grow your business

This usually comes into play once your side hustle game starts to grow. 

Leah Gervais, founder of Urban 20 Something says that “outsourcing, both personally and professionally, was critical in my business growth.”

“Business-wise, I started with things that could be automated. This included email marketing, scheduling out social media posts, and using Quickbooks to track my income and expenses. Eventually, I started looking at what tasks I did daily or weekly that made me the least amount of money and/or could be done by someone else, and started outsourcing them. Things like graphic design, social media management, and podcast production.”

Gervais also looked at other obligations that took up her free time and prevented her from working more and started outsourcing those as well. 

“I started hiring a cleaning service to come and that shaved hours off of my week. I also started using a grocery delivery service to save time. These have not only helped my business but my sanity,” she says.  

Final word

With these five side hustle money management tips in mind, now is the perfect time for you to start earning extra cash with a side gig. Are you ready to give it a go?

 

How to Stop Spending Based on Your Financial Triggers

Financial triggers: We all have them, and just like any issue having to do with money and emotions, they typically won’t go away forever. 

If not addressed proactively, financial triggers can become serious obstacles to making progress on your money goals. For starters, these triggers often result in bad habits like credit card binge spending or overspending in general, which can rack up hundreds (or thousands) of dollars in debt.

Studies show that almost half of Americans (49%) cite emotions as the reasons they spend more than they can afford. Stress, excitement, and sadness are the most common emotions arising out of overspending. When you’re in need of retail therapy, nothing feels better than splurging on new scented candles or a pair of shoes. However, the emotional high fades once you realize you’ve accrued more debt or depleted your savings

Here’s the good news: You can identify your personal financial triggers and manage them so that they don’t derail your future goals. Take a look at how you can more effectively handle your financial triggers and thus stop overspending.  

Be Aware of Your Triggers

The first step to manage financial triggers is to admit they even exist. It’s easy to write off

overspending as something that everybody does. Still, if you notice a pattern in how you spend money when you feel a certain way, you should be mindful of this.

Most financial missteps happen when we unknowingly slip into everyday habits. You might be

bored over the weekend and decide to go “browse” at your favorite store. And while this may seem innocent enough, you may soon realize that you just walked out with bags full of merchandise you never planned on buying.

Or, perhaps your trigger is the result of peer pressure. How many times have you gone out for drinks with friends to celebrate a birthday or promotion, or maybe simply to blow off some steam after work? Maybe you promised yourself you’d only get one or two cocktails, but you ended up with a $100 bar tab. 

Unplanned spending happens to the best of us. If it happens regularly, however, it’s a problem that can quickly spin out of control.

So, don’t feel ashamed about your financial triggers. Once you’re aware of them, you can take steps to manage them. This way they won’t throw your bank account off track.

Find Ways to “Trick” Yourself

The thought of tricking yourself to avoid overspending sounds silly at first, but it actually makes sense due to the emotional nature of financial triggers. It takes time to unlearn old behaviors, and a few personalized techniques can help as you build self-discipline.

For example, maybe you’re prone to splurge on going out to eat after a long day. To help resist the urge, you can instead create a meal plan or stock up on prepared dinners. If weekend boredom is your Achilles heel, make room in your budget for “fun money.” (It’s best to use cash so you’re not tempted to swipe a credit card.) Once you run out of cash, keep a notebook or whiteboard handy, with a list of free things to do when you’re bored.

You might even have to resort to extreme measures to curb your financial triggers. This could

include literally freezing your credit cards or moving money to a bank account that you don’t allow yourself to use. It won’t be fun when the impulse to spend arises, but the bright side is that you’re making a smart financial choice for your future self.

Find an Accountability Partner

Working to change old habits is a daunting task, but you don’t have to do it alone. Talk to a

family member, friend, or partner about your financial triggers. You might not be comfortable

sharing all the details about your finances, and that’s okay. It can be as simple as asking someone to join you in free activities or check in weekly about your spending.

There are other options if you don’t have anyone close to talk to or feel ashamed of sharing

such personal information with loved ones. If this sounds like you, you might want to consider joining an online group with like-minded individuals. There are tons of online personal finance communities available to answer any questions you might have and include you in challenges to help you meet your money goals.

Final Takeaway

Financial triggers can be tricky and frustrating to navigate, but they don’t have to take over your life. Once you’re aware of them and have tools in place to better manage your money, you’ll know what you need to do to spend less on stuff and keep your hard-earned money in your bank account.

 

8 TED Talks About Money You Should Watch Right Now

Finances can be complicated.

Fortunately, there are tons of resources out there to help you understand the world of money From books to classes, and from podcasts to blogs, there are plenty of ways to learn how to manage your finances and save more money.

TED Talks, the infamous videos which feature renowned speakers, are an excellent way to verse yourself on finances. Whether you want to learn about investing, spending less, paying off debt, saving more money, or something else, there’s a TED Talk to fit the bill.

Check out these 8 inspirational TED Talks to help you get a better handle on your finances.

1. How Does the Stock Market Work? – Oliver Elfenbaum

Turn on the news or open a newspaper, and you’re likely to hear about the stock market.

While most people are familiar with the basics of the stock market, not everyone knows how it works. What’s the history of the stock market? How do companies and investors benefit from the stock market?

In his TED Talk, Oliver Elfenbaum explains the history of the stock market (would you believe it started in the late 1600s?), how it works, and how you can benefit. This four-minute TED Talk is jammed-packed with information, so be sure to add it to your list.

2. 3 Psychological Tricks to Help You Save Money – Wendy De La Rosa

“We all know that saving is important and is something that we should be doing,” says Wendy De La Rosa. “And yet, overall, we’re doing less and less of it.”

In her TED Talk, De La Rosa explains that the way you save money has nothing to do with how smart you are or how much willpower you have. She shares her research and gives listeners three easy and practical steps to increase their savings. Whether you’re just starting to save, or you want to increase your savings rate, give this TED Talk a listen.

3. Let’s Get Honest About Our Money Problems – Tammy Lally

After her brother took his own life due to his financial problems, Tammy Lally has made it her mission to remove the shame around money conversations.

She breaks down common barriers that stand in the way of families having honest money discussions. If you are someone who suffers from money-shame, be sure to give this quick TED Talk a listen.

4. Saving for Tomorrow, Tomorrow – Shlomo Benartzi

Economist Shlomo Benartzi partnered with Richard Thaler from the University of Chicago and created a financial program called Save More Tomorrow. He calls the program an example of “behavioral finance on steroids,” and defines behavior finance as how people manage their money.

Benartzi states that only one third of Americans are contributing to a 401(k) plan, and that the remaining two thirds aren’t saving for retirement at all. Yikes.

Benartzi’s TED Talk Saving for Tomorrow, Tomorrow addresses the saving dilemma with a simple solution. Be sure to check it out.

5. How to Buy Happiness – Michael Norton

The phrase “money can’t buy happiness,” isn’t new, but is it true? Michael Norton doesn’t think so.

In his TED Talk, Norton shares his extensive research on how money can buy happiness. The secret is to change how you’re spending it. Norton offers up tactical tips to help you spend in ways that will increase your happiness.

Still don’t think money can actually buy happiness? Let Norton convince you otherwise.

6. What Gives a Dollar Bill its Value? – Doug Levinson

Have you ever thought about how the value of money is determined? Chances are, you haven’t considered what gives a dollar bill its value.

In his insightful TED Talk, Doug Levinson walks listeners through the process the United States Federal Reserve uses to determine how much money to circulate. This, in turn, determines the value of money. This TED Talk is brief, but incredibly informative and will help you appreciate your hard-earned cash.

7. Should You Donate Differently? – Joy Sun

Joy Sun, co-founder of the charity GiveDirectly, is a veteran aid worker with a new idea on how to approach giving.

After providing aid to countries abroad for more than 10 years, Sun had a revelation. Instead of donating material supplies, what if you simply gave families cash?

Sun acknowledges that every family is unique, and she has research to prove that giving is more effective when recipients can decide how to spend their gifts. By using a unique idea and technology, GiveDirectly is revolutionizing the way we donate. This talk challenges traditional charitable contribution ideas, and gives listeners a refreshing perspective on the idea of giving.

8. Less Stuff, More Happiness – Graham Hill

Have boxes of random items lying around that you haven’t opened in years? You’re not alone. In his TED Talk, Hill shares that Americans have about three times the amount of storage space than we had 50 years ago.

Hill argues that the habit of overconsumption has led to an excessive amount of credit card debt and huge environmental footprints. He also believes our happiness levels have flat-lined over the last 50 years.

In this TED Talk, you can hear all about Graham’s experience of living with less in a 420 square foot apartment in Manhattan, and how his happiness has increased with less stuff. He shares practical tips to those who are looking to find happiness with less.

Take a Listen

So there you have it! Take a few minutes and broaden your financial knowledge with some of these educational and fun TED Talks. Once you’ve listened, you’ll be inspired to increase your savings, find happiness with less, and improve your financial future.

 

How to Learn to Be Rich: Tips from Ramit Sethi

We hear the same rules of personal finance again and again. Save up three to six months of expenses into an emergency fund. Pay off “bad” or “high-interest debt” first. Make more money.

It’s one thing to know what your finances should look like. It’s another thing to know what steps to take to achieve your money goals.

For this knowledge, we looked to personal finance guru Ramit Sethi for golden nuggets of wisdom. When Sethi wrote his New York Times bestseller I Will Teach You to Be Rich in 2009, it was during the height of the Great Recession. The general population sorely needed a fresh look on money. Here’s some happy news: A fresh, updated edition of this book was recently released. Sethi provides an easy-to-read, relatable primer on basic money management. He also offers insight on how to grow your wealth.

We delved into the updated version to offer up five of Sethi’s top tips. Take a look.

1. Avoid bank fees like the plague

Your bank shouldn’t be putting you in the poorhouse. Instead, your bank should help you save money. But according to FDIC data, big banks collected $11.45 billion in overdraft and non-sufficient fees in 2017. The truth hurts: Most banks charge $35 per overdraft fee.

Sethi says he is “fanatical” about having a bank account that doesn’t charge fees of any kind — no monthly maintenance fees, setup fees, or overdraft fees. And I’m 100 percent with him. Like Sethi, I also avoid banks with fees. If you’re a Chime member, you too can rest assured that you won’t be charged fees of any sort.

2. Automate your money flow

Sethi talks about how important it is to set up what he calls an Automatic Money Flow. This is when you link up all your accounts, and then set up automatic transfers on certain days. You can schedule transfers for both payments and savings. And, ideally you should try to sync up your bills with the days you get paid.

For freelancers and gig economy workers, Sethi recommends saving during your flush months, and spending from your savings when you’re having a lean month.

You can think of it as water running through different systems in your “money house” to keep everything running smoothly. What’s more, this system will help you save a reserve of money and have some cash set aside for your goals. Yes, it requires some thought and setup work, but after that, all you have to do is monitor your accounts every so often, and make tweaks as needed.

3. Set up auto-savings

Throughout the book, Sethi talks about different ways you can automate your savings. For instance, you can set up an auto transfer directly from your paycheck into a 401(k) account. Or automate your investments. And of course, you’ll want to automate your savings for big money goals. If you’re a Chime member, the Save When I Get Paid feature allows you to save a percentage of every paycheck.

4. Know your why

Another takeway from Sethi’s book is not to live in a spreadsheet. In other words, don’t get too caught up in the numbers as it’s important to remember why you’re managing your money in the first place. He calls it “street-level motivation.” For example, how can your money management skills help you live a richer, more fulfilled life based on your own vision? Do you want to afford a massage every so often, or maybe take a ride share instead of the bus? Make a note of your “why.”

5. Start small

Taking small steps toward reaching your financial goals will pave the way toward major in-roads. As Sethi points out, it’s far more important to take small steps today than wade through an exhaustive litany of literature out of fear of making the wrong choice. I get it. In this day and age, we’re faced with more options than ever — from which bank is best for you to which money-saving app to use.

Keep it simple

Sethi’s book outlines ways to set up a money system designed to help you live a richer life defined by your values, preferences and goals. At the end of the day, once you set yourself up, you’ll spend as little time and energy thinking about your money as possible.

 

How to Manage Your Money in your 20s and 30s Like a Boss

When I moved out of my mom’s house when I was 23, my greatest fear was having to move back home – again.

In turn, I did everything I could to stretch my $1,800 a month take-home pay. By being frugal, taking on side hustles, and saving as much as possible, I was able to both squeak by and sock away a bit of cash each month. It was no easy feat, but it was doable. Remember: You don’t have to live in a van to save. Even small steps can help, like switching to a bank that doesn’t charge fees and negotiating for a lower Internet bill.

Fast forward to the present. Now that I’m in my 30s, I know that my frugality and hard-core money-saving ways paid off. Yet, there are quite a few things I wish I told my 20-something self about money.

To up your money game, here are a few pointers on how to manage your finances during your 20s versus your 30s.

In your 20s: Focus on career potential

You might not be raking in as much as you would like right out of college. But salary isn’t the only thing you should consider when evaluating job offers.

Take a look at the entire compensation package. This includes insurance benefits, employee perks, and whether your employer offers a match on a 401(k). Plus, consider this: Will there be opportunities to learn skills, work with a mentor, or move up the ladder?

I considered learning on the job as an added benefit. For instance, when I worked in the communications department for an entertainment labor union, my boss subsidized courses I took in graphic design and copyediting. That’s because those were useful skills for my current role.

And, while I was fortunate to have steady jobs that offered robust benefits, I worked in niche industries without much room for growth. Looking back, I wish I had spent more time focused on a host of job opportunities, both monetary and non-monetary.

In your 20s: Automate, automate, automate

In your 20s, it’s not surprising that you may be stressed out about your money situation. That’s why one of my favorite money-saving hacks is to automate your finances.

You can automate your savings for an emergency fund, for a car, or invest in your retirement fund. If you’re a Chime Member, consider opting into the Save When I Get Paid feature.

And yes, while you have decades before you retire, the earlier you begin to save for this goal, the better. Why is that? Two things: time in the market and the magic of compound interest. Let’s say you begin socking away $250 a month starting at the age of 25. You keep it up for 40 years until you’re 65. According to Investor.gov, if you earn an average of seven percent interest, you’ll have earned just shy of $600,000.

While I opened an IRA in my early 20s, I put in $100 and then stopped. Imagine how much I would have if I had continued putting money into it! And during one of my jobs, I failed to opt into the matching 401(k) plan until a year after I started. That’s money I left on the table.

In your 20s: Develop the discipline to cut back on spending

My friend Dave Fried, who is 39 and lives in Chicago, would tell me he treats his money as a business: You should always have more coming in than out. Fried kept this general rule of thumb in mind when he was earning minimum wage working at a screen printing shop, and when he was raking in cash selling pay-per-demand videos online.

The takeaway: It doesn’t matter how much you earn, you can always get into the habit of saving. To start, try cutting back. Try a no-spend Sunday. Or use a money management app to track your spending to see what your vices are. After having a few spend-happy months this year, I’m focusing on two major problem areas for a month: food and clothes.

When it comes to food, instead of overstocking my fridge, I’m checking my pantry before I head to the market. This helps me plan out my meals, stick to a weekly food budget, and cook in batches. As for clothes, I’ll wait 30 days before purchasing something I have my eye on.

In your 20s: Manage your debt

Sure, you wish your debt could just disappear yesterday. And while it’s tempting to conveniently forget you’re carrying a debt load, you’re going to have to pay it off eventually. Whether it’s credit card debt, student loans, or a car loan, know exactly how much you owe, and what the interest rates are.

Next, come up with a repayment plan. Figure out how much you can reasonably afford to pay off each month. It’s important to stay on top of your debt payments. Otherwise, your credit can get dinged.

In your 30s: Focus on earning potential

While your 20s is all about focusing on stepping-stones that lead to career opportunities, your 30s is prime time to make more money.

Although you can only cut so much of your living expenses, you can increase your earning potential. For example, it wasn’t until I job-hopped that I boosted my savings significantly. Another major wealth-building move for me was when I turned my side hustle of freelance writing and copyediting into a full-time gig.

In your 30s: Pay off your student loans and credit card debt

“Good debt” is loosely defined as debt for valuable assets that can grow over time. Traditional examples of good debt include a mortgage on a home or a business loan. “Bad debt” is anything that loses value over time, or has a high-interest rate, which can eat into your savings. “Bad debt” is normally thought of as credit card debt, student loans, and personal loans.

However, there are a lot of gray areas. Credit card debt can be a good thing. If you have a balance, but pay it off in full each pay cycle, this can boost your credit.

In your 30s: Continue to build your wealth

While in your 20s, you were laying the groundwork to save and invest. In your 30s, however, you’ll want to start thinking about growing your money.

There’s no single way to approach this. It depends on your personal situation, existing resources, and lifestyle preferences. For example, perhaps you want to buy your first home, or get serious about investing in the stock market. This is your time to make decisions to grow your money.

Live the life you want

As my friend Kristin Wong, author of “Get Money” likes to say, there’s a difference between living the life you can afford, and living the life you want.

And the perks of financial wellness are many — freedom from money stress, the resources and knowledge to grow your money, and the ability to live your best life.

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