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There’s no secret that there are so many benefits that come with saving more money. One of the most important benefits of saving is the fact that you’ll have peace of mind when you need money quickly for various different expenses.

When you want to start saving money, it helps to set a goal and determine a realistic timeline. However, there are plenty of expenses that you should be saving for on an ongoing basis.

Here are 5 expenses to start saving for year round.

Emergencies

Emergencies happen and no one knows when they’ll occur. This is why it’s so important to set aside enough money in an emergency fund to cover these unforeseen expenses.

Depending on the severity of the emergency, you may not be able to work for a few days or longer. You can provide yourself with financial relief by setting aside at least 3-6 months worth of your regular monthly expenses in a high-yield savings account.

What happens when you reach your target goal? You can let the money sit, but you may need it for something important.

This is why you’ll likely end up replenishing your emergency fund regularly after you clean it out for serious unexpected expenses and that’s perfectly fine. Make it a habit to stash away funds for emergencies all year-round and it won’t be too hard to build your account back up again.

Christmas

Christmas is hands down the most expensive holiday in the U.S. While there are several things you can do to save and cut back, you’re still going to spend a noticeable amount of money if you celebrate this holiday.

Ideally, you want to start saving for Christmas at least 6 months in advance depending on what your spending projections are. Some people even start saving a year in advance and I don’t blame them.

If you’re not careful, you can get into serious debt around the holidays if you resort to using credit cards and loans to fund your purchases.

Christmas spending is more enjoyable when you’ve saved up the money in advance and have a budget in mind. You don’t want to be stressed out to side hustling so much that you miss out on spending quality time with your family.

I like to set up a holiday savings ladder where I start saving by July each year but contribute a smaller amount like $25 or $50 for the month. Then, I increase my contribution to $100/month, then I save $200/month in November and December. When Christmas rolls around, I have some money to work with.

Medical Expenses

Medical bills are another one of those pesky expenses that are going to pop up throughout the year. Health insurance isn’t so great these days, so odds are, you’ll have some bills even if your family is pretty healthy.

I consider myself and my family pretty healthy, but we have annual check-ups and do a few screenings each year. Plus, there’s an occasional emergency room or urgent care visit if one of us gets sick with something like the flu or strep throat.

This doesn’t even count medical and dental care.

There have been times when the bills were really starting to pile up for the three of us. This is why I decided to just keep a savings fund to help cover co-pays and whatever our insurance doesn’t pay.

We actually use a Health Savings Account (HSA) which is an option if you have a high-deductible health plan. My husband contributes money from his check before taxes each pay period. We’re then able to use the savings for qualified expenses.

The great thing about HSAs is that you can use them to invest after you’ve saved a certain amount of money and they have very generous tax benefits. After you reach a certain age, you can withdraw from your HSA and use the money for any purpose without paying a penalty. You can also withdraw HSA savings early to reimburse yourself for money spent paying medical bills.

Household Maintenance

When you go from being a renter to a homeowner, you’ll have a lot more expenses and one of those is maintenance.

If you don’t maintain your home, the small issues and fixes around the house will turn into bigger ones that cost a lot more money.

Plus, there’s just regular fixes and repairs that need to be made. For example, our home inspector let us know that our furnace was nearly at its life expectancy. We started saving for one as soon as we bought the house. Even though we have a warranty, I want to be prepared if we have to cover the expense yourself because furnaces aren’t cheap.

This is why it’s smarter to just create a monthly budget category for household maintenance. If you don’t end up spending the money one month, just save it instead for when you do need it.

Annual Expenses

Annual expenses can really throw you off budget when you forget about them. If you have annual expenses like membership fees, an auto insurance premium, or your car registration, be sure to make a list of everything and put it on a calendar.

One of the easiest ways to save for these expenses is to break them up in 12-month payments. Then, set up an automatic transfer for your checking account to your savings account each month.

For example, if you have a $150 annual expense, it might hurt your wallet when you’re charged for the whole amount at once and aren’t prepared.

However, if you break it up into 12 months, that means you only need to set aside $12.50 per month. You can easily give up a restaurant meal to save that money each month so you can stress less whenever the bill comes up.

Sometimes it may seem like you’re overwhelmed with bills and various different expenses. If you start saving for some costs year round, it can be very relieving. Consider setting money aside regularly for these 5 purchases if you haven’t already.

The post 5 Expenses You Should Save For Year Round appeared first on Single Moms Income.

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Working from home can be a great way to supplement your income. And if you’re a mother like me it’s a fantastic way to keep a flexible schedule.

If you’re looking for ways to earn $1,000 per month from home here are ten of them. (These are all ranked from lowest pay to highest pay so that you can easily sort through.)

Phone Customer Service (100 hours at $10/hr.)

If you have a quiet home, a landline, computer and high speed internet, answering customer service calls may be up your alley. There are many reputable companies who hire at-home workers to handle customer service calls.

Pay is generally $8-$15 per hour. Here are some places you can apply:

Online Chat Job (100 hours at $10/hr.)

If you like the idea of customer service but prefer to stay off of the phone, chat based customer service jobs might be the better fit for you.

From what I can tell the average pay for chat based customer service jobs is right around $10/hour.

Here are 13 places you can apply for online chat jobs.

Data Entry (100 hours at $10/hr.)

Data entry is one of the work from home jobs I’m asked about most often.

There are a lot of different tasks that fall under the data entry label. Doing this job could mean transcribing audio files, sorting data from one software to another or compiling spreadsheets.

Since the barrier to entry on this type of work is low the pay is too. With a data entry job you can expect to earn $7-$15 per hour.

Here are 6 places to sign up for data entry jobs.

Search Engine Evaluator (71 hours at $14/hr.)

Search engine evaluators are given assignments to search for terms or phrases on specific search engines and then evaluate the relevancy of the results. These jobs are usually first come, first serve meaning that the hours you get can vary widely.

Most of the top search engine evaluation companies pay around $14 per hour.

Here’s where to sign up for a search engine evaluator job:

Online Stylist Job (67 hours at $15/hr.)

I’m sure you heard of companies like Stitch Fix and Rocksbox but did you know that they hire stylists who work from home? If you have a love for fashion, like connecting with people and have excellent communication skills one of these jobs might be a good fit!

Here’s a list of online stylist jobs with openings.

Work From Home Bookkeeper (63 hours at $16/hour)

Even though I was a bookkeeper in a former life I wasn’t aware that remote bookkeeping as a ‘thing’ until being connected with CPA Ben Robinson last year.

To become a work from home bookkeeper you’ll need bookkeeping knowledge and the ability to find your own clients. (Ben has courses for this found here if that’s something you’re interested in.) If you have prior experience as a bookkeeper then this could be a great fit for you.

According to Payscale the average pay for bookkeepers is $16 per hour. However, if you build your own reputation and clientele you stand to earn much more.

Online Tutor (50 hours at $20/hour)

Online tutoring is one area that I look to really expand over the next several years. Because of the flexibility parents and students need the demand for tutors is on the rise.

The pay for online tutors ranges from $9-$23 per hour.

Here’s a list of 6 online tutoring jobs you can check out.

Virtual Assisting (33 hours at $30/hr.)

Virtual assisting was (and is still is) one of my very first online jobs. There are a ton of different things you can do as a virtual assistant. I personally help bloggers by scheduling blog posts, creating images, doing outreach and more. However, virtual assisting is not exclusive to just bloggers.

Here’s a list of 30+ services you can offer as a virtual assistant. And here’s how to find virtual assistant jobs.

Social Media Manager (33 hours at $30/hr.)

You’ll notice a trend in these last few jobs on the list. While they pay the highest they require you to put in some upfront work finding your own clients. This is true with social media management as well.

Social media managers schedule social media posts, interact with fans, answer questions, run ads and provide reports for their clients. This is a great position for someone who is analytical but can also be creative.

Here are 5 ways to turn social media into your full-time job.

Freelance Writing (20 articles at $50 or 10 at $100)

Freelance writing was the very first sustainable way I learned to earn money online.

I started out completely clueless as what to do and therefore under-earned for a long time. When I finally figured things out I earned $50+ for basic articles. (Some of my friends earn $300+ per article!)

I’ve since turned everything I’ve learned into a step-by-step article teaching new freelance writers how to find jobs.

You Can Earn, Even With a Busy Schedule

The nice thing about most of these online jobs is that they allow flexible hours. You should be able to match up one (or more) of these jobs with your skillset and schedule.

If you’re looking for easier ways to supplement your income you can check out my recommended survey sites here.

What ideas have you tried for supplementing your income?

Photo Credit: niradj

The post 10 Ways to Earn $1,000 Per Month from Home appeared first on Single Moms Income.

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On-demand grocery delivery jobs are a great way to earn money in the gig economy today. There are many app-based on-demand grocery shopping delivery companies and sites that allow people to make money by delivering groceries to their customers.

It’s pretty easy too. You basically shop for grocery items and then deliver them to consumers’ doorsteps, depending on the company and your choice. If you have reliable transportation and a smartphone, on-demand grocery delivery jobs can be a great way to make money.

What Are the Requirements?

On-demand grocery delivery companies, sites, or apps have different driver requirements. Most on-demand grocery delivery jobs require you to use your own vehicle, have up-to-date auto insurance and a clean driving record. Some grocery delivery jobs involve the use of a bike. You can even walk to deliver items for some companies.

You must have an iPhone (iOS 10 or newer) or an Android (5.1 or newer) smartphone to download these on-demand grocery delivery apps. You must be at least 18 years old, or at least 21 years, depending on the company, to work for these on-demand delivery companies.

How It Works

Customers place orders on the web using these app-based companies or sites. These orders or jobs are then sent to your smartphone via the apps. The apps allow you to browse and accept jobs that fit your schedule. Which company you can sign up for will depend on where you live.

Because they are all expanding rapidly, it is a good idea to check from time to time to see which company or companies are available in your location. You can work part-time or full-time depending on your schedule and the company.

Companies and Sites That Hire Grocery Shoppers and Delivery Drivers

On-demand grocery delivery jobs are a great opportunity for anyone looking to make money on their own schedule as a grocery delivery driver. Check out these on-demand grocery delivery sites and apps if you are looking to make money on the side as a delivery driver. 

Shipt

Shipt is an on-demand grocery delivery service that lets you work as a delivery driver. You will shop for fresh foods, groceries and household essential for local customers from the stores they trust and then deliver them to their doorsteps. You will shop for grocery items and then deliver them to the customer.

If you are at least 18 years old, have valid U.S. driver’s license and auto insurance, then all you need is a reliable vehicle (1997 or newer) and an iPhone (iOS 10 or newer) or Android (5.1 or newer) smartphone to get started making money on the side by delivering groceries to consumers’ doorsteps.

You can work part-time or full-time any time on your own schedule. Experienced Shipt shoppers make an average of $22 per hour.

Instacart

If you have your own vehicle, then you can work as a grocery delivery driver for Instacart. Sign up for Instacart and download the app. You will do both the grocery shopping and delivery, which means you will shop for the items and then deliver them to each customer.

You can work on a flexible schedule and earn $9-$20 per hour, depending on scheduling and demand. You also receive 100% of your tips. You can use your car, bike or motorcycle.

Burpy

Burpy is an on-demand grocery delivering service that allows you to pick and deliver groceries to their customers as a Burpy personal shopper. You can choose to work part-time or full-time. This is a great opportunity for someone looking for a flexible schedule to make money delivering groceries to customers in their community.

When you accept a job via an on-demand delivery app, you will shop for the items based on the order detail and then deliver them to the customer. You can make up to $25 per hour. You can keep your tips. Payment is sent to you via direct deposit. You can request for a payout at any time for the deliveries you made.

Favor

Favor is an on-demand delivery service that allows you to make money delivering anything like tacos, groceries, and dry cleaning to their customers. If you are 18 years or older, have reliable transportation, an iPhone or Android smartphone, you can apply to become a Runner. If your application is approved, you can choose your hours.

All scheduled hours have minimum guaranteed earnings. You can earn between $10 and $18 per hour as a runner. You can even earn cash by referring your friends to be runners. You also receive 100% of your tips.

Postmates

Postmates is an on-demand delivery app that enables people to deliver food, groceries and other merchandise from thousands of restaurants, grocers, retail shops, and more to their customers. You can drive, bike or even walk to deliver groceries to each client or customer.

DoorDash

DoorDash allows you to make money by delivering food and other items from local merchants to their customers as a Dasher. You can use any car, motorcycle, scooter, bike, or even walk to make deliveries to customers in your city.

Dashers can also pick up Walmart grocery delivery gigs on their app and make money by delivering groceries from Walmart to the customers’ doorstep. You can accept cash tips if offered by your customers.

Summary

Many people make a decent second income by delivering groceries to customers during their off time when they are not working. You can work full-time, should you choose, or work part-time if you have a full-time job, delivering groceries on your own schedule.

If you have a car and actually don’t mind grocery shopping during your free time, check out some of these sites and start a profitable side hustle.

Related Posts:

The post How to Make Money Delivering Groceries appeared first on Single Moms Income.

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Freelancing is a pretty sweet gig. According to Upwork, freelancers are predicted to become the U.S. workforce majority within a decade with nearly 50% of millennial workers already freelancing.

What makes freelancing such a hot commodity is the fact that it’s flexible. You can work whenever and from where ever you want. Freelancing also sets you up to become an entrepreneur and run your own business.

You’ll learn how to manage clients and have more control in terms of growing your income on your own terms.

So how do you transition from working a 9-5 job to freelancing full time? Here are some key steps you can take.

Step 1: Determine How Much You Need to Earn

The first step is to calculate how much you’ll need to earn from freelancing in order to quit your job. This may sound like an easy answer as most people would assume they’d need to match their freelance income with what they’remaking at their 9-5 job.

It’s actually a little more complex than that. It’s wise to want to do this but you may even need to consider bumping up your goal and earning more freelance income.

You’ll need to do this in order to cover expenses like taxes along with workplace benefits you won’t get any more. Realize that freelancers are responsible for their own medical, dental, vision, and retirement benefits. Plus, they set aside anywhere from 15% to 30%+ of their income in order to pay Uncle Sam.

You’ll want to create a new potential budget so you can record how your expenses might change as a freelancer. For example, I realized that I would not be spending as much money on gas and commuting once I started working from home.

When I was considering taking the leap into full-time freelancing, I knew I was making around $3,000/month at my day job. However, I knew I couldn’t walk away until I was earning $4,000 – $4,500/month minimum.

Here’s how that would break down with me being in a 25% tax bracket:

$4,500 x 25% = $1,125 <— Amount to set aside for quarterly estimated taxes.

From there, I’d be left with about this much as after-tax income: $3,375 = $4,500 – $1,125 (gross income – taxes)

This is a little more than what I was making at my full-time job, but it also has to cover my living expenses, benefits, and business expenses. Knowing this, I actually increased my freelance income goal and set it to $5,000/month in order to quit my day job.

Step 2: Figure Out Your Hourly Rate

Whether you want to work on an hourly or per project rate, it’s important to determine how much your time is worth per hour. This will allow you to know how many hours you’ll need to work in order to meet your income goal.

When you’re calculating your hourly rate, you want to look at the market rate for your freelance service. You can even ask other freelancers what they are charging for particular services if they’d be willing to tell you. Or, you can go to another freelancer’s site and review their rates if they share them.

Instead of choosing a random number, you can actually calculate your hourly rate to ensure you’ll earn a profit. To do this, take the annual salary you have in mind. Say it’s $50,000. Then, determine what your expenses might be.

Freelancers tend to have expenses like tax payments, website hosting, marketing costs, and equipment whether it be a laptop or a special software program. Add up how much you think your expenses will be each month then multiply it by 12.

Let’s say your expenses totaled up to $15,000. Add that to your goal salary to make it $65,000/year.

Next, divide your total salary by how many days you plan to work minus time off and vacations. The average employee works about 1,800 per year.

So let’s do this: $65,000 / 1800 = $36/hr as an estimate.

This would be your baseline meaning you can’t earn less than this per hour or you won’t be able to meet your needs. To be safe, I would even bump this hourly rate up to $50 per hour since freelancers often have to do admin work (like emailing and sending invoices) that you aren’t able to bill for.

Plus, you want something left to save or help you stay afloat if you have to cut your hours for a few months.

Step 3: Market to More Clients

After you know what you need to make and what minimum rate should be, you need to focus on obtaining more clients to help you reach your desired income.

If you’re new to freelancing, just start by trying to obtain one client. After that, go for another. Ask your current clients if they have referrals or extra services you can provide.

I like to find clients by sending email pitches and on social media. Occasionally, I’ll ask people in my network to connect me with someone who might need a freelancer.

By doing this type of outreach, I was able to land several clients in just a few weeks.

If you don’t have much of a network and want to advance your skills, see if you can take an online course or get a mentor to help you. Some courses for freelancers come with bonus material to help you land new clients or even to connect you with clients in your industry.

This bonus alone makes the course extremely valuable.

Step 4: Manage Your Time Wisely

Once you start getting clients and making money, then you’ll be faced with a new problem: time management. I’m not going to lie, it’s difficult to juggle freelance work with a full-time job.

It’s important to get on a schedule and eliminate distractions and poor use of downtime. When I was trying to build my freelanxce business, I got up at 5 am to work on it while my husband and son were sleeping.

Then I went to work and used my lunch break to check my emails, do light tasks, and pitch clients. After work, I’d spend a little time with my family then get back to freelancing for a few hours before bed.

I also focused on working smarter and scaling my business up. I actually hired a VA to help with a few tasks and that enabled me to make more money freelancing.

It was exhausting and I didn’t do much outside of work but it was only for a few months while I was growing my business.

When I finally quit, I had the relief of knowing that I was already earning a full-time income by putting in part-time hours.

Step 5: Boost Your Savings

Before you quit your job to freelance, make sure you have a full emergency fund to fall back on. This isn’t to say that freelancing will fall apart and won’t work out for you, but it is quite unpredictable.

If you lose a client or need to take an extended break, you want to have some savings help supplement your income.

Lots of people say that freelancing is also feast or famine which means sometimes there’s a ton of work and other times, gigs run dry.

To combat this, I focus on saving more money during the busy seasons, but I’ve also established a relationship with my clients where they provide me with stable work for the most part.

Yet and still, things happen. Earlier this year, I lost a huge client who paid about 1/3 of my total freelance income each month. It was a tough blow, but I knew I was one month ahead with my finances and had some savings to rely on.

Before I knew it, I had replaced the income with a new client but it was nice that I didn’t have to freak out much when I initially lost the client.

If choose to be a full-time freelancer and don’t have enough savings set aside, you’re often going to be stressed and worried when hiccups happen.

The post How to Replace Your Daytime Job Income with Freelancing (In 5 Steps) appeared first on Single Moms Income.

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Trying to pay off debt is not an easy task. Most people want to become debt free, but often realize it’s easier said than one. 

Paying off debt is often like starting a new diet in the beginning stages. You have to crack down on your bad money habits and commit to developing new, better habits.

Life throws curve balls that can quickly derail your journey to becoming debt free. You have to create a clear budget and stay the course. 

The hardest part of paying off debt is the journey. It’s difficult to keep up with your goals and stay on track each month. The best solution is to have some type of accountability while on your journey.

Here are a few ways to help you stay accountable while paying off debt.

Know Your Why

Having a specific reason as to why you decided to pay off your debt now will help you in the long run. It gives you that little extra push you need if you find yourself falling off track.

Maybe you want to pay off credit cards so you can buy a house or be able to save for retirement. No matter what the reason is, come up with some reason to help motivate you. Know they why will also help you set up goals.

Set Goals

An easy way to hold yourself accountable is by setting financial goals throughout your debt journey. Make sure to set up both short-term and long-term goals. The short ones help keep you on track towards meeting your long-term goals.

Make sure to write down your goals and be specific. Setting a date and what you want to achieve (whether it be to save $100 or pay of a chunk of your credit card) will help keep you focused.

It’s okay to change your goals and your debt-free may change over time as circumstances change and that’s okay.

Create a Budget

Budgeting comes in handy when you are trying to pay off debt. Your budget is basically a spending plan that takes your income and expenses into account. 

When you first get on a budget, you’ll naturally start spending less. It will show you how much income you bring in each month and where it is all going. The excess income you’re able to free up can start going toward your debt. 

Creating a well thought out budget is a powerful tool to keep you on track with your set goals and taking control of your finances. If you’re trying to pay off debt with your spouse, it’s important to budget together 

After using your budget for the first few months, you will be able to notice patterns in your spending. Seriously sit down and look at your budgets and see where you need to make adjustments to save more money.

Track Your Progress

Tracking your progress is one of the best ways to stay accountable when paying off debt. It also shows that you’re serious about becoming debt free.

Once you set your goal and start taking action, you need to see how much progress you’re making which can help you stay motivated.

It will also help you stay accountable because if you’ll know if you need to work harder to reach your goals.

You can track your progress by creating a debt repayment spreadsheet or by reporting to others close to you each month. As a blogger, I used my platform to help hold myself accountable by posting monthly budget reviews and debt updates. That helped me during the tough times

Get Help From Others

When in doubt, if you are struggling to pay off debt or stay accountable on your own, ask for some help. By going to a professional, they will be able to give you a clear picture of your financial situation. Then you can come up with different options that are suitable for what your needs are.

You may want to talk to a debt or credit counselor to come up with solutions and start implementing a plan.

You can also get help from a friend or family member to hold you accountable to your goal of paying off your debt. See if there are groups within your community or online with people going through a similar journey.

There may be local meetups, forums, or Facebook groups filled with people who can be a reliable accountability partner for you.

Justifying expenses to yourself is easy. But trying to explain it to someone else, it might be just what you need to say no to purchases and save the money instead.

If you’ve been on a debt repayment journey for some time now and it’s been a major hassle, accountability may be the missing piece in your formula.

Use these tips to help keep yourself accountable and on track to becoming debt free. Understanding why you are doing this, setting goals, budgeting and getting help are all ways that will keep you on your path to become debt freedom.

Photo Credit: yeko / 123RF Stock Photo

The post 5 Ways to Stay Accountable While Paying Off Debt appeared first on Single Moms Income.

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It can be a frightening feeling to realize you don’t have the money to cover your bills for the month. Sadly, many Americans experience this daily. It’s a tough position to be in especially if you reside in a high cost of living area.

Your rent or mortgage will usually be one of your highest expenses.  In the past, I’ve moved quite a few times to keep my cost of living low and my expenses manageable. However, I realize everyone doesn’t have the option or luxury of just packing up and moving.

If your housing payment is high but you need to stay put for whatever reason, here are some other steps you can take to turn things around when you can’t cover your bills.

Go After Other Big Expenses

So maybe you can’t find more affordable housing or refinance your mortgage right now. That just means you’ll need to go through your other large monthly expenses with a fine tooth comb. Take a look at your spending and see what other items dominate your income.

For many families, transportation, food, and childcare are all heavy expenses that can create quite the burden. See if you can lower any of these costs to get some relief. This may mean cooking more meals at home using whole ingredients because it’s cheaper, finding a reputable babysitter instead of paying for summer camps, or even selling your car and buying an older one in cash or using public transportation.

You can focus on cutting back on smaller monthly expenses too like your phone bill, gym membership, an auto insurance but you’ll notice a big difference instantly when you start focusing on the big expenses.

Utilize Programs to Help You Lower Your Bills

High utility bills can eat up a lot of your disposable income which makes it difficult to pay all your other expenses. Try your best to make your home more energy efficient and insulated, then see if you might qualify for any energy assistance programs.

The government has quite a few programs to help get help paying for their telephone service, medical bills, prescriptions, and home energy bill. You do have to meet certain income guidelines but you can find more info here.

You can also look to community organizations for help like a Community Action Agency (CAA). These organizations receive funding from Federal Government grants, but most of the money gets passed down to local groups in cities and towns across the country.

They can provide referrals or even direct resources and assistant to you.

Finally, you can talk directly with your utility company to see if you can get a fixed billing plan. If your energy costs tend to shoot up in the winter or summer, you might want to consider getting one fixed bill each month so you can better prepare for the expense. If you run the numbers and a fixed billing plan seems like it will be cheaper, give it a try.

Get a Roommate

This may not be an ideal option for everyone, but if you can make it work, it could significantly cut your housing costs until you’re able to get back on your feet financially.

If you have a spare bedroom or basement, you can rent it out to a friend or even consider becoming an Airbnb host if you live in a tourist-heavy area. Last month, I stayed in an Airbnb in Long Beach and had a really nice conversation with the host about her experience sharing her home with Airbnb guests.

She casually revealed to me that she makes around $2,000 per month with Airbnb rentals which covers a majority of her bills. Must be nice!

Use a Budget

It’s important to use a budget no matter what your financial situation is, but if you’re struggling to pay bills having a budget is crucial. A budget helps you determine exactly where your money is going which is important if you already feel like finances are tight.

Having a budget and tracking expenses can help highlight some areas of you might be overspending in so you can avoid it for the future. Using a realistic budget means you can manage your money more intentionally and understand which expenses you can do without in order to free up more money.

Using a budget doesn’t have to be a major hassle if you don’t make it out to be one. I’m not fancy at all with mine and just use a basic spreadsheet to lay everything out so I know where I’m at during the month.

Make Extra Money

If you’re truly struggling and can’t pay your bills, you can only cut and manage expenses so much. Being able to make some extra money could make a huge difference.

You might want to start by picking up extra shifts or finding something simple that you can do on the side to earn some quick cash. Here’s a list of plenty legitimate ways to make money on the side.

When you start making more money, you have to de disciplined and put it to good use. Pay off your debt, catch up on bills, and stash anything extra away in a savings account.

Some extra income ideas are sustainable long-term while others may only be good for a specific season in your life. This is why it’s best to act quickly and stay focused so you won’t have to struggle in the future.

In addition, think about your long-term plan. Once you get back in control of your finances, think about what you can do to avoid getting back into such a scary and uncertain situation. Consider how you can increase your income long-term, pay off debt for good, and start building an emergency fund.

Have you ever struggled with paying your bills or do you know someone who has? What strategies did you use to improve your situation?

The post What To Do When You Can’t Cover Your Bills (And Moving Isn’t an Option) appeared first on Single Moms Income.

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A credit card can be a very powerful tool. Most people enjoy using credit cards because it allows you to build your credit and spend money you technically don’t have.

Growing up, most people in my family told me to avoid credit cards like the plague. When I turned 18, I thought credit cards were bad news and caused people to get into debt and ruin their credit scores.

Little did I know, it was the other way around. After researching about credit and learning more about personal finance, I realized that people’s spending habits lead them to get into debt and credit cards themselves are not evil.

Credit cards can actually be helpful tools to allow you to increase your credit score and receive a lower interest rate on your mortgage. I’ve taken quite a few trips for cheap thanks for credit card rewards. It just requires some skill and discipline to use them wisely.

However, I’ve decided to take a break from using credit cards for now and I think it will help improve my household’s finances. Here are a few reasons why.

1. It’s Hard to Have Self Control

I’ll be the first one to say that it’s hard to have self-control when you’re using credit cards. Research shows that consumers will spend more money with a credit card than with cash and I couldn’t agree more.

When you swipe your credit card, you don’t have to worry about the bill until later. Unfortunately, all of those swipes can add up and you’ll be faced with a huge bill that you can’t afford to pay.

Impulse purchases can be expensive and only make you feel like crap afterward. If you struggle with controlling your spending, I’d highly recommend giving credit cards a break or refraining from using them altogether.

When you choose to pay for things in cash, you are immediately hit with the consequences of your purchases so it motivates you to have better self-control and spend wisely.

2. Credit Card Interest Rates Are Expensive

Credit card interest rates tend to range anywhere from 10% – 20%+ which is what makes it so difficult for people to pay off their credit card debt and keep it paid off.

If you happen to miss a monthly payment, the interest you’ll pay for your balance will cause you to pay even more money for that new pair of shoes making it not worth it in the end.

To make matter worse, credit card interest rates can fluctuate so your rate might increase without notice. Just as credit cards can help increase your credit score, they can also drive your score down if you don’t pay your bill on time and keep the utilization low (preferably below 30%).

3. The Rewards Are Not Always So Great

I’ll admit, earning credit card rewards feels great. It’s a perk that I’ve been tempted to indulge and it’s been difficult to give up. Being able to earn cash back and points to redeem for travel is always nice, but you must think about the cost.

If you are struggling to spend $3,000 on your credit card in 3 months, just so you can earn $500 in travel credits, perhaps the bonus rewards won’t really be worth it if it will take several months for you to pay off the bill.

When you think about it 1% or even 5% cash back is not all that great and it’s definitely not worth getting into debt over.

4. Credit Card Usage Doesn’t Align With a Debt Free Life

When I think about it, using credit cards all the time doesn’t align with my goal of living a debt free life. I’d like to be completely debt free pretty soon excluding our mortgage.

Using credit cards promote a lifestyle where you spend more than you earn in hopes of paying the bill off later. I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want to rely on credit cards and I don’t want to have them in the back of my mind as an option if things go south. That’s what an emergency fund is for.

By using credit cards excessively, I also felt like I was having a harder time sticking to my budget. Again, it was tempting to grab something extra that I didn’t plan to spend money on.

When my husband and I got married, he had credit card debt and I saw what a huge burden it was. Credit card debt is sneaky and it’s easy to get right back into the hole once you’ve dug yourself out.

If you currently have credit card debt or any other type of debt you’re working to get rid of, it’s probably a good idea to stop using credit cards for the time being at least so you can focus on paying off what you owe.

I still get tempted to overspend almost daily so not having that option to use credit will be helpful.

My family and I also want to live a simpler life and only spend money on what we can afford. For our new home, we’re cash flowing some updates and even though it’s costly, it’s not as stressful since we’re not having to think about paying an extra bill later.

If you’ve noticed some similarities between your own situation and mine, ditching credit cards for the time being may be a good idea. Yet and still, I know some people who feel very financially secure and swear by using credit cards and that’s okay too.

Ultimately, this is just my decision to stop using credit cards for now and I can’t speak for anyone else. Credit cards can be useful under certain circumstances, but they can also cause a lot of harm.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts on credit cards. Share them in the comments below!

The post 4 Reasons Why You Should Stop Using Credit Cards appeared first on Single Moms Income.

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Have a great idea for a book you’d like to write and sell? Creating an ebook is a great way to self-publish your writing and generate some passive income by selling it to consumers.

Plus, ebooks have been steadily rising in popularity over the past few years. It can take quite a bit of work to create and market an ebook. The worst-case scenario would be launching a book that doesn’t sell.

To avoid this and create a solid stream of passive income, be sure to implement these steps when creating your next ebook for profit.

Establish Some Credibility

Selling an ebook is just like selling any other product. You not only have to sell the item, but you also have to sell yourself and your credibility as well.

You want customers to become familiar with you so they know, like and trust you. When this happens, people will be more willing to go through with a purchase.

To establish this relationship and trust with your customers, it helps to have some credibility. Be sure to define in your bio and marketing for the book what makes you qualified to discuss the particular topic.

If you have a blog, have been mentioned in the media, or have some important experience or research to back up your claims, you can do a better job of persuading people to buy your book.

This is especially true if you’re trying to sell a non-fiction or self-help book. Think about it this way. Would you buy a self-help product from just anyone without seeing credentials or a proven track record? Probably not, so don’t ask others to do it either.

Focus on Solving a Problem

If you’re writing a non-fiction book or self-help book, it can still be entertaining and easy-to-read but you also want it to solve a core problem.

It’s important to get into your audience’s head and perform detailed market research in order to determine what they actually struggle with.

If your experience and credentials have led you to come up with the right solution, you’ll be able to successfully sell your book to a specific audience.

Finding your problem to solve may be easy or difficult. If you’re a busy mom who has mastered the art of organization and structure and want to show others how to do the same, that’s a clear problem you can solve with your ebook.

Make It Professional

The next thing you want to do is make your ebook as professional as possible. Even if it’s not under a fancy publishing company, you still want to provide customers with a quality product.

Make sure the content is proofread and edited by a professional. You also may want to talk to a graphic designer about coming up with a cover page design.

Another great thing about writing an ebook is that you can offer downloadable material for readers as well. Would printable worksheets or checklists help enhance the reader experience? Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile.

Build Up a Following

Before you finish your ebook, it will be helpful to work on building up your following and building trust among your target audience.

After completing market research, explore platforms you can establish to share your expertise or build a following. You may want to start a blog and share weekly tips while building an email list, or start offering value on various different social media platforms to engage with and encourage your audience.

While building up a following is not necessary, it’s highly recommended and will help you have a built-in audience to market your book to from the start.

Work on Your Sales Copy and Marketing Strategy

Once you’ve completed your ebook and established a target audience, it’s time to start working on your marketing plan and sales copy. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a platform to sell your book on. You can choose a product site like Gumroad, or sell your book through Amazon Direct Publishing for example.

It’s a good idea to develop some solid sales copy to explain what your book is about and persuade people to buy it. You can write the sales copy yourself or you can hire someone to do it. When developing your copy consider:

  • What key takeaways readers will have after completing your book
  • What problem your book solves
  • What makes your book different from other books on similar topics
  • What makes you qualified to give this information
  • What’s at stake for people if they don’t buy your book (what are some setbacks associated with not buying your book and reading about your expertise?)
  • What bonus content you can provide with the purchase (people love freebies)

Your sales copy be placed on a landing page used to entice people to buy your product and create a better, user-friendly experience.

When it comes to marketing your book, determine which channels you’ll use to promote it. You can use free options like promoting the launch on social media, to your email list, or even on podcasts or in guest posts that will allow it.

You can also consider spending a little money to create buzz with Facebook ads. It’s key that you set a marketing budget and measure ROI. Use your market research to determine which channels are going to be best for reaching your audience.

Record an Audiobook Version

Audiobooks are super popular these days. Many people want to read, but just don’t have the time so they’re signing up for services like Audible.

Why not record your own audio version of your book and offer it with the original ebook purchase? This is a genius idea that will help your book sell and you can record MP3 files right on your computer. You may want to invest in a basic microphone from Amazon to improve the quality.

Creating an ebook can be a great way to generate long-term passive income when done effectively. Plus, it’s great to help others with purposeful content.

Have you ever thought about creating an ebook?

The post How to Create and Market a Profitable Ebook appeared first on Single Moms Income.

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The following is a guest post from Stew @ The Balance Hub

It’s your first day of a new remote job.

The usual first day nerves are there of course, but this time it’s a little different; you’re not going to be meeting any of your colleagues face-to-face for a start.

Working remotely raises a whole different set of challenges as you try to navigate your way through the intricacies of your new job.

Picking up on the nuances of the workplace is a tough call while you’re sitting alone, at a desk in your home office.

There’s no whispering across to the neighbor sitting next to you for some quick guidance, and the usual in-office signals are not there to be read.

However, that doesn’t mean to say you can’t hit the ground running from the first day.

These following steps will help you slip into the groove quickly and painlessly, so that you can really begin to enjoy that new remote position.

A Dedicated Workspace

Hopefully you will have sorted this already.

Having a dedicated work space is a vital ingredient towards successful productivity.

This can be something as simple as the dining room table, as long as it is an area free of distraction and gives you the feeling of being in work mode.

Depending on the role you will want to ensure that all the equipment you need is primed and ready to be used.

Any remote office supplies required should be in place, and if there are any apps to download or sites to register for, these need to be taken care of before you login that very first morning.

Another useful tip is to get dressed as if you were attending a real office for the day. This will help you slip into a professional mind set for the hours that follow.

Review Any Work Materials

Another step to complete before you start is to make your way through whatever company materials have been made available.

Your employer will likely have provided some kind of ‘welcome pack’.

This should contain initial employee orientation, including a handbook, company rules and other important issues your boss will want you to be aware of before starting.

Being au fait with all of this will help relieve any first day anxieties. You will feel prepared.

That being said, it is important not to take everything you read at face value.

Company handbooks can be quite general, outdated or may not align with your situation as a remote worker.

If this is the case, do not be afraid to raise any queries you may have with your manager. In fact, they will probably thank you for it.

Training materials can be an area that a company overlooks and they might not be aware of any problems or potential confusion.

And if you find yourself starting at a company where no formal induction process has been designed or provided, keep a list of questions for your initial one-to-one with your manager; raising any questions or concerns from the outset is definitely the best approach.

Finally; attempt to get your head around the company vision. What sort of values, goals and plans for the future does the business project?

Understanding where the company is headed and how you and your role fits into that plan, will help you feel at home from the start.

A 1:1 with Your Manager

Ideally, your manager will have organized a time on your first day for you both to have a one-to-one.

This should help you understand your schedule and expectations for that first week.

It is important that you leave that meeting with a clear idea of what your day-to-day tasks are, and an overall expectation of what is expected of you.

The nature of a remote position means your boss (or any other colleague for that matter) will not be there to help micro-manage you through those first few days.

However, as long as you understand their expectations regarding communication, task management, and productivity, you should feel confident to get on with the job under the limited amount of supervision that comes with working remotely.

Join Weekly Meetings

While the responsibility of adding you to relevant meetings should fall upon your manager or team leader, it doesn’t hurt to be proactive and enquire as to when they are and which ones you should be a part of.

When you join those meetings you can use it as an opportunity to say hello and meet fellow team members in real-time.

It might be that you will be given center stage for a short period to introduce yourself.

If you are naturally introverted, try not to worry. Everyone is on your side, and they are miles away so no one can bite.

Smile, wave, say hello and talk about how happy you are to be part of the team.

If any questions are fired your way, try to enjoy your brief moment in the spotlight talking informally with your new colleagues.

These guys will inevitably become your friends.

Don’t be Shy in Coming Forward

Following on from joining any relevant weekly meetings, behind the scenes you should begin networking with your colleagues.

In a lot of situations this will be made easier as some teammates will reach out to you to say hello.

When you reply you might want to see if it’s possible to set up a quick 15-minute meeting to introduce yourself.

Don’t mind any teammates that don’t get in touch; people are busy. You should still take the time to reach out to all your colleagues individually to say hello.

And don’t forget to seek out any other employees that work remotely. They are a valuable insight into the nature of the company from a remote perspective.

Figure out who they are on your first day and make efforts to contact them via video calls or instant messaging.

Keep it light and ask for any first-day tips; they have been in exactly the same position as you and will very often be a friendly point of contact and support.

Pick up on the Technical Cues

From your very first day you should start tuning yourself to the range of technical cues on offer.

Communication in the remote world is built upon video calls, instant messages, emojis and the old stalwart, emails.

Paying attention to the formalities that individuals adopt, will help you set the tone as to how to communicate with them.

How quickly do your teammates respond to messages? What is their preferred mode of communication, (do they knock off a quick reply using an instant messaging app, or is email their thing?), how do they sign off on things?

Be sensitive to the patterns you identify as generally accepted, while at the same time keeping true to yourself as an individual personality.

By adopting the language of the company and embracing the subtleties, you will find yourself falling into the groove of how it all works before you know it.

Remember to Thank Those That Help You

Showing appreciation for those that have helped you on your first day, is a great way of starting your work relationships on a good footing.

You will inevitably have questions on your second, third day and so on. A little gratitude will certainly go a long way.

Go Easy on Yourself

And remember, everyone has to start somewhere.

As you down tools and reflect upon your first day as a remote worker at a new company, be positive about the outcomes.

As your skills and knowledge increase you will be able to take the role in your stride, and really start to enjoy the work life balance that being a remote worker provides.

This is the start of something wonderful.

Give yourself a pat on the back, (and crack open a beer or pour a glass of wine); you deserve it.

About the Author: Stew Bacon is the Founder of The Balance Hub, a work from home blog for dads that want to quit the rat race and spend more quality time with their family.

The post Do This On Your First Day of a Remote Job appeared first on Single Moms Income.

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