Adam D. Sanders, founder of Smart Money Star, is an Illinois Registered Certified Public Accountant™ and a proud father. As a financial consultant for over 20 years, Adam has given advice to a bevy of small, medium, and large businesses as well as individuals. Feel free to contact him at Twitter.
Have you become recently unemployed due to the pandemic?
If so, this could be particularly painful if you are also deep in credit card, student loan debt, or other types of debt.
What used to be a rare occurrence in our society is now, all of a sudden, extremely common, leaving millions of Americans feeling trapped, lost, overwhelmed, and even ashamed of their circumstances.
The fact is You Are Not Alone. The economic collapse of 2020 has made sure that this particular boat is currently quite full.
But, however bad things may be now, it is still your responsibility to take action to begin to reverse your situation. But what are the most valuable steps should we take right now, starting today?
What if you could consult a wealth coach with years of experience helping people just like you work through these matters for free?
That would be a good start to help you out, right?
Well, what if you could get the best ideas from FIVE of them right now?
Use The Top Money Tips From 5 Financial Coaches To Stop Drowning In Credit Card Debt and Build Wealth!
If you are looking for ways to significantly reduce your debt even if your circumstances are currently looking pretty grim, then you have definitely come to the right place!
I surveyed a group of financial coaches who are busy helping regular Americans successfully work through this current, unprecedented fiscal chaos about how to successfully get out of debt.
Not only that, but they have also generously provided an additional piece of advice about how you can also start building a base of wealth to be able to successfully weather any future economic storms.
The valuable answers they provide below will surely get you started on the right path…and keep you there.
Review the guidance below and be sure to keep this information handy so that you can refer to it as often as you like while you begin your journey of getting your life back on solid financial footing!
Our First Financial Coach Ben Watson Discusses What To Do When You Are Drowning in Credit Card Debt
Per Ben, here’s what to do if you are having trouble right now managing your debt:
If your primary source of income has disappeared, your first priority should be to replace at least a portion of that lost income. Working odd-jobs, part-time or finding a gig employment can help you keep afloat until your original job becomes available again or you find another full-time employment. Cut all spending except for those absolutely necessary to provide yourself and your family with food and shelter.
The next thing you should do is call your credit card company and explain the situation. Many card companies will waive penalties and interest due to catastrophic circumstances or lower minimum payments. Missing payments will likely lower your credit score but that shouldn’t be your main concern if you have no income.
So what does Ben say when asked “How Do You Build Wealth”?
Wealth can mean vastly different things to different people, but it is entirely possible to earn income from small amounts of investment. With enough time, even small amounts of money can grow to large sums.
I’m not saying go out and bet on the long-shots, but by utilizing smart investments and scalable business models, a small starting amount of money can provide great returns. In my personal experience, I grew a business from $100 to open a checking account, to replace my full-time salary as a CPA in just over 12 months.
This took time and a lot of effort, but by growing “at the speed of cash” and avoiding debt entirely, I was able to provide myself with a runway that was entirely dependent on how much time and energy I wanted to invest in in. The old adage of “you gotta spend money to make money” isn’t necessarily true if you can build a business organically with low overhead.
I’ve coached clients who have comfortable lives from things like blogging, web design, and dog-walking because they were willing to invest more than the typical 9-5 workday just hoping they get that raise at the end of the year.
He equips small businesses and entrepreneurs with the skills and accountability to manage their businesses with confidence rather than fear.
He’s also the co-creator of the Business Launch Kit - an online course with simple to follow steps to create your own business without making a mess.
Ben’s advice regarding investing time when you have more of that than money is excellent. Now, let’s hear from our next financial coach.
Penny Kidd Tells Us What to Do When Drowning in Credit Card Debt
So Penny, if you had a client that had a mountain of credit card debt and recently lost their job what advice would you give them?
We recommend prioritizing the things that keep you safe first, such as utilities, food on the table, rent or mortgage, gas in the car to get to work or job interviews. I would only pay the minimums on credit if you can do that and save as much as possible right now.
Trim all fat from your life including subscriptions, eating out, entertainment until you can work again and get some breathing room.
Don’t worry as much about credit scores and debt reduction, it’s time to be in crisis mode. Later you can then craft a plan to eliminate debt and rebuild. No one wants to plan for bankruptcy, but if you’re in crisis and get behind on payments, make sure you are protecting things you cannot bankrupt later and not lose housing.
Utilities come first because eviction or losing a home takes much longer.
Create a plan immediately and don’t hide from it because you are stressed. There are lots of free resources out there for now.
Then when you get a little breathing room, look at your behavior and circumstances to plan for the long haul and the things that come to all of us, even when there is no pandemic. When you have an emergency fund and no debt, this kind of blow is easier to handle.
So Penny, is it possible to build a lot of wealth starting from zero?
YES! I believe in a small emergency fund, attacking the high-interest debt so you’re not wasting money giving it to banks and creditors and consistent investing every month with what you would have paid to debt and more!
It’s mind-blowing how much money can accumulate with compound interest over time.
There are tools online to show you what every dollar you blow could have added up to when it’s invested, even conservatively.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you cannot build wealth, because you have options to increase your income and make choices about where you spend your money.
Don’t rely on the government or anyone else for your retirement!
Coaching is relationship based. Most of all, personal finance is PERSONAL. It is a process of establishing financial goals and learning skills to achieve the goals YOU set and develop good habits that last.
Through private and confidential sessions, I provide encouragement and accountability over time to help my clients become more intentional with their money and feel more confident in their financial future.
Thank you so much Penny for your guidance! Let’s meet our next financial expert and see what she has to say.
Next Up, Lisa Duke Has Great Advice To Take If You Want To Get Out Of Serious Credit Card Debt
This is what she had to say:
If you are burdened with consumer debt and recently became unemployed due to the pandemic, you have a few options.
If you have an emergency fund or other source of income, such as a side hustle or a working spouse, put aggressive repayment plans on hold and pay just the minimums until your income gets back on track. Go ahead and get out of any bills you can by canceling any extras, such as memberships and subscriptions.
If you have multiple vehicles, you may want to try living as a one car family for awhile. My husband and I were able to do this for a few years in metro Atlanta, so it may be possible if you get creative.
If you aren’t able to make the minimum payments, the best thing you can do is to contact your creditors and let them know what happened. Many of them currently have programs in place for people in exactly this situation. You may be able to skip a payment or negotiate lower payments for awhile. I would recommend doing this for all the money you owe to give yourself some breathing room.
There’s always “the nuclear option”, which would be to declare bankruptcy. That would likely wipe out almost all your unsecured debt, such as credit cards. However, doing so will hurt your credit for the next several years, so this should be a last resort.
The main thing is to try to stay focused on your options. Scarcity thinking plus emotions like guilt and shame can narrow your view of the situation so that you don’t see possible solutions. A friend or coach may be able to help.
And here are Lisa’s thoughts on whether it is possible to build a financial portfolio of wealth starting with little money:
Yes. In some ways, it may be easier to build wealth if you start with little money, as you are already familiar with how to live on little money.
Step one is to live on less than you make. You can do this by trimming expenses. Question what many Americans consider to be necessary, such as a newer car for each adult in the family and a large home.
If you are truly already at the bare minimum, your focus should be to keep your expenses low while growing your income. Side hustles can be a way to make more money and learn business skills. Education may provide a way to get a better job. And don’t overlook non-degree programs like certifications. Often these are more affordable and more in demand than a generic degree. Check out what the market needs before selecting the program you invest in.
Once you begin to grow the margin between expenses and earnings, direct that margin first to elimination of high interest rate debt and then to an emergency fund (so you don’t have to raid your investments if something goes wrong). Then start investing. The easiest way is through your workplace plan. If you don’t understand it, ask HR, a co-worker, or Google for how to get started.
Remember time in the market beats timing the market. Start as early as you can and put in as much as you can and let compound interest do the heavy lifting.
Interested in learning more about money or in sharing what you've learned? Join the Money Club with me, Lisa Duke!
I am here to help you pay off debt, save for emergencies, and get ready to invest.
If you have struggled with this in the past, you may have limiting beliefs. Work with me one on one to learn how to delete your old programs and install new ones so that the changes you need to make flow with ease and can be maintained. You can reach me on Twitter: @lisaduke or Instagram: lisadukests
Thank you Lisa for your thoughts!
Our Next Financial Coach, Katie Oelker Discusses The Best Way To Start Getting Rid Of Debt
According to Katie:
If you’ve gotten yourself into too much credit card debt and then became unemployed due to the pandemic, I would contact your credit card companies ASAP to determine what they can do for you. A lot of companies are waiving interest and suspending payments and may be able to help you out if you explain your situation.
If you’re unable to pay the minimums on the account and your company won’t let you suspend payments, I would find a part time job such as driving delivery or another industry that’s hiring during this time to help make payments until your regular employment starts back up.
In addition, I would hold off on adding any additional purchases to your credit cards, unless you need them for bare necessities such as groceries.
Thanks Katie! What’s your take on building wealth when you have almost no money?
You can absolutely build wealth on little money, but it does take more discipline. If you’re able to pay your bills then it becomes a matter of weighing want vs. need.
A lot of purchases are made thinking we “need” them, when in reality we are just buying them out of want. Instead of spending money you don’t need to spend, you could use that money to start and fund an emergency account, invest in a Roth IRA or put money into an employee sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401k.
When invested, your money will grow quickly thanks to compound interest. Building wealth then becomes less about how much you invest and more about how early and regularly you invest.
I help individuals get a grip on their money so they can pay down debt and start saving faster than they thought possible. The best way to reach me is to send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to Katie for her inspiring advice.
Our Anchor Coach Veronica Gomez Mojica
Veronica, what advice would you give me if I am heavily in credit card debt and lost my job due to the pandemic?
First things first, make sure you are following a budget. Oftentimes you are losing money in places you are unaware of because you are not tracking where it is going effectively. There are many forms and apps online, such as EveryDollar and You Need a Budget.
Find a budget that works for you, update it often (at least monthly) and find someone to discuss it with that will hold you accountable. Include all your debt payments in the budget, as well as savings. Make minimum payments until you have saved up $1000 for emergencies.
Hopefully having an emergency fund will help you to avoid taking on new debt.
Reach out to debt collectors if you feel that you will not be able to make payments. Explain to them that you will pay what you can and are actively seeking jobs. Stay in constant contact with them for as long as you need to until you are able to pay the full payment.
While staying at home, I have worked as a financial coach, a teacher for VIPKid and have transcribed with Rev.com just to name a few ways you could think about making money yourself.
Continue using a budget for your money even once you are back to your normal salary. Don’t lose hope!
Great! What wealth building advice would you give me in this situation?
My husband and I have used EveryDollar as our budgeting tool since we got married. We have paid off $50,000 worth of debt, built up a 3-6 month emergency fund and are now contributing to a retirement account. We have also opened 529 accounts for our children (which is a way to make investments in their education using today’s dollars).
We have gone from two salaries to one, and when we return to two salaries in a few years, our goal is to continue to live off of one salary and build up our retirement and 529 accounts as much as possible.
Budgeting and living below our means has allowed us to continue to build wealth on one salary, when we were previously in debt with two salaries.
Many thanks to Veronica for sharing her story and to all the guest financial coaches for sharing their wisdom and guidance that should be a huge help to anyone struggling to stay meet their credit card or other debt obligations and want to also build a more comfortable future!
Hey veterans, here’s a story that either you or someone you know could easily have experienced if they do not know where to find assistance for themselves.
It involves a young man from the state of Texas who joins a branch of the armed services.
In the course of duty he, of course, gives everything he had to the serve the United States of America.
But he returns home and experiences severe emotional difficulty and soon finds that he himself was failed by the health system of the US.
Straight out of high school he married his high school sweetheart and after the birth of their first child he was stationed overseas in Belgium and, of course, his family went along.
Two children later he was re-stationed in a war zone and was kept from communicating freely with his family due to security concerns. His wife and children stayed back with his family in the United States.
In Belgium the US helped pay for his education while he was stationed and assisted with living expenses so his wife did not have to work full time. But when he returned from the final deployment, he was not the same because he had seen and experienced things that traumatized him severely.
Unfortunately, even though he needed real assistance, he tried to manage it himself due to the stigma that can be associated with mental health issues and so he fell through the cracks.
Eventually he was honorably discharged but the stress of not having the income along with the PTSD made it difficult to work and maintain relationships and so found himself alone and homeless.
For people like this young man, this is where programs offered by private nonprofits and state agencies, such as those in his home state of Texas can help.
The Texas Veterans Commissions offers many different types of assistance to Texan veterans. From housing, to general assistance and even mental healthcare.
This commission also offers help when it comes to healthcare and bodily health assistance. They can help connect you with good healthcare as well as help you pay for it if needed.
Another great program is the Veterans Treatment Court grants.
Unfortunately, to deal with the stress of the situations they find themselves in. Some veterans turn to drugs and alcohol and find themselves in trouble. When this happens.
This commission is available to step in and help the veteran through the process as well as organize transportation to and from court and counseling.
Another great part of this program, is you get connected into a group with other veterans in similar situations. They can help you feel not so alone.
Lastly, the veterans mental health assistance program is a great option for those needing help with PTSD or other mental health problems. Things that these young men and women are seeing over seas in war zones is not pretty. It takes some processing and this program can help fund that and make it available to those veterans who need it.
In the end, our veterans who are not aware of the benefits they could be receiving are missing out on the assistance that they need.
These programs in Texas can help Texas veterans receive the assistance that they need. Just like the young man spoke of before, there are veterans in need and these programs are here for them!
Returning Disabled Veterans Face Tough Financial Circumstances
Returning from war is one of the most difficult tasks for a veteran to take on. In war, you are with your comrades day in and day out. You have each others back and you are a well-oiled machine. You know your daily duties. You know all your available resources.
But upon returning to civilian life it may sometimes feel like no one is on your side. Add to this the sometimes crippling PTSD that can affect every area of your life. From job interviews to relationships with families, being a disabled veteran is a really difficult task.
Fortunately, there are grants available to help those in need so that veterans can get help on the road to recovery.
Nonprofits that provide grants for disabled veterans to pay bills
Unfortunately, injured veterans often fall through the cracks. Because they have to be removed from service, and oftentimes there body needs time to heal, they are no longer able to assist their family financially. Operation Family Fund is there for those instances.
To qualify is simple. You have to be a veteran who was wounded in war.
Another great option is the PenFed Foundation. They are a non profit that offers help for veterans financially.
From car payments to groceries, they can help any veteran who needs it. Qualification for this program is to be in need and be a veteran.
A third great option for any veteran in need is the Dixon Center. This is financial assistance specifically for female veterans. This program offers financial expenses for any living expenses that the female veteran comes into contact with as they transition back into society.
Lastly, Veterans Inc. Veterans inc is a program to help homeless veterans find and afford housing. When life knocks you down for too long, eventually a veteran can become homeless and hungry.
This program is there to help veterans in need get back on there feet. Veterans inc. is available to all veterans but there assistance is limited to just helping with housing. Unlike the other program options, they do not assist with a variety of daily needs.
However, for most veterans, a home would do the trick on helping them get back on there feet and back integrated into daily life as a citizen of the United States.
It is an unfortunate part of the United States of America that our veterans are our highest class of homeless. Why should a person who has given basically everything for our country to be homeless and uncared for.
It is our duty as citizens of the United States to ensure these people are taken care of. These few programs are a part of many that ensure that our veterans have opportunities for the help that they are in desperate need of.
I am proud to be one of the first to let you guys in on a secret: A good buddy of mine named Prince Taylor (ex-Navy veteran) has decided to bring some Christmas cheer to the US.
His new song is called “The Jingle Bell Slide” and it is designed to get your next 20 or so Christmas gatherings up from their usual dinner table rituals and into line-dancing formation.
The song is hilarious and you will definitely want to add it to your Xmas song rotation.
Check out the press release on The Jingle Bell Slide by The Prince Project.
The Prince Project -Jingle Bell Slide – From “Silky Black presents Christmas”
A fun and heart-warming Christmas track with a unique twist.
December 2019 – It’s that magical time again, and many artists are taking to their recording studios to record some holiday-themed songs. Some dive deeper into the classics, while others prefer to put a unique spin on the material.
The Prince Project is back on the scene with a fantastic new release titled Jingle Bell Slide. This is a quintessential Christmas song, which will immediately put you and your loved ones in a cheerful mood!
The track has a really stunning production, and it has a bright, appealing sound that sets the bar higher in terms of excellence. In addition to the personable and edgy performance value, this release is also quite distinctive because of the sheer quality of the production.
The mix is balanced and very detail-oriented, making for a lively, edgy and stark sonic approach. In other words, there are many subtle nuances in this release, which really add to the richness of the track when summed up together.
The frequency spectrum of the mix is also very balanced, with a tight, yet deep low end working wonders along with a smooth top end, which adds a sense of clarity to the music.
Many people might be familiar with this melody, but this version has a very special sound, which really brings something fresh to the table.
This track ultimately is the perfect holiday song, because it has a positive, happy attitude, but also a special approach which makes it unique.
If you want some exciting new music under the Christmas tree, then look no further, because this one is going to be right up your alley! Sweet, nostalgic, and beautifully warm, “Jingle Bell Slide” as performed by The Prince Project and Soo Kang, as well as Keith Javors on piano and keyboards and Andrew Neu on saxophone, with background vocalists Blessing Osazuwa and Danielle Harley-Scott, is a perfect addition to any holiday playlist in 2019!
Find out more about The Prince Project and do not miss out on this amazing new release, which will add a new spice to your holiday soundtrack!
As Americans, we owe great respect and gratitude to the veterans of our country’s military. Yet despite the sacrifices they have all made to protect us and our freedom, many veterans end up struggling with money when they return to civilian life.
For them, we’ve put together a list of some charities they can call on when times get really tough. They have programs that can help veterans struggling with finances. So without further ado (and in no particular order):
The Best Charities That Provide Financial Assistance For Veterans
Veterans Families United
An all-volunteer organization, Veterans Families United provides financial resources and more for veterans and their families. On their website, you’ll find several therapeutic, pharmaceutical, and funding options.
The organization was founded after Cynde Collins-Clark realized how difficult it was to find even life-saving resources. Returning veterans suffering from PTSD had a weak support system and sometimes couldn’t advocate for themselves.
Collins-Clark started putting together a vast network of empowerment-based tools that can help heal and educate veterans and their loved ones.
Veterans Families United is still considered an ongoing project; the goal is to create an ever-increasing community of support for the population that has served America in more ways than one.
Homes For Our Troops is a publicly-funded nonprofit that builds custom homes for the severely injured veterans of post-9/11 wars.
Many veterans in post-9/11 wars have suffered from limb amputations, severe traumatic brain injury, or partial or full paralysis. By building and donating custom homes for these veterans, HFOT helps restore the independence lost while fighting for America.
Instead of struggling to get back to stability, these newly-housed veterans can instead focus on normalcy; they can focus on their families, on recovering physically and mentally, and on rebuilding their civilian lives.
Since the organization was founded in 2004, nearly 90% of every dollar spent has directly helped veterans through its programs. The veteran chooses where the home is built, and a relationship between veteran and organization continues even after the home is donated.
Founded in 2006, Hope For The Warriors also focuses on post-9/11 service members and their loved ones. Since its inception, the organization has focused on restoring both the family unit and a sense of self. To date, the company has served over 23,000 through its various support programs, each designed to assist with transition, health and wellness, and sports and recreation.
HFTW’s first program, A Warrior’s Wish, has fulfilled more than 200 wishes for improved quality of life. Its sister program, Run For The Warriors, have helped more than 25,000 in just ten years. The organization also maintains a visible presence on various social media channels.
For all of its rewards, being a soldier in the U.S. Army Reserve can lead to emotional, financial, and logistical challenges for both the veteran and their family. These struggles impact hundreds of thousands of family members, and each unit is unique.
Fort Family is the Army Reserve’s rallying point for struggling families 24/7/365. It is an outreach program with knowledgeable support specialists working out of Fort Bragg, N.C., and it offers a wealth of programs including some that provide financial assistance to veterans and services depending on what the veteran needs.
In all cases, Fort Family offers prompt referrals to current and retired soldiers, their family members, and Army Reserve civilians.
Modest Needs Provides Emergency Grants For Veterans In Need
Veterans stuck in the cycle of poverty often could avoid the trouble with a little well-timed financial help. To restore the rest an otherwise self-sufficient family’s independence, Modest Means seeks to empower the permanently disadvantaged and those willing to work but currently unable to afford looking for work.
The organization also seeks to strengthen nonprofits by providing a space for them to apply to the public for help. These nonprofits all provide programs to help improve the self-sufficiency of their communities.
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society works directly with the Marine Corps and the Navy to provide financial, educational, and other help to its veterans. Relief assistance comes in the form of interest-free grants and loans to current and retired naval servicemen and their eligible family members.
Other programs offered by the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society include the volunteer program, which provides training, reimbursement for mileage, and child/elder care for volunteers; an education program, which provides interest-free financing based on need to the dependent children of retired service members; and non-financial programs that provide budget counseling, thrift shop services, and more.
According to founder Theresa Hart, Newby-ginnings was born on a car ride with her mother on I-90 a year after her son had died in service. She explained that she wanted to start a nonprofit in his honor, one which would serve the community he was a part of and loved, and the name came to them instantly.
Today, the North Idaho-based organization’s goal is to deliver respect and integrity to active and retired military and their families.
There are no income eligibility requirements to receive the basic essentials for free; veterans do not need to prove a need. The only required proof is evidence of past or present military service.
The organization also accepts donations of any clean and functional items. This includes clothing, cold weather gear, household items, and furniture. Monetary donations are also welcomed.
Operation First Response provides help with personal and financial needs to the wounded warriors of America and their families. Some of these services include paying for medical bills after injury or illness, other financial hardships that come up during the recovery period, and the costs of transitioning from the military world back into civilian life.
The amount of financial aid provided to a veteran depends on how great the need is. If a serviceman is struggling to make ends meet and pay for rent, groceries, clothing, utilities, vehicle payments, or travel expenses for finding a job, Operation First Response can provide aid.
To date, the organization has helped over 15,000 veterans and their family members. Additionally, OFR has sent over 10,000 backpacks to combat support hospitals.
Operation Homefront has provided critical financial relief to more than 14,000 families making over 35,000 requests for help. This organization specializes in providing emergency financial assistance for veterans to pay bills, recovery support, and counseling when needed.
When a veteran applies for help with Operation Homefront, the organization writes a check to mortgage lenders, doctors, dentists, contractors, auto mechanics, hospitals, and other providers within a 72 hour span.
To date, the organization has put 500 families through transitional housing, giving them over 4,000 months of rent-free housing, and ultimately saving these families $4.7 million in cost-of-living expenses. OHF has also put over 600 families in mortgage-free homes and saving nearly $50 million in deed value. More than 3,000 caregivers now work through 60 support groups nationwide, as well.
Finally, Operation Homefront holds Homefront Celebrations in which military families receive essential items. To date, these celebrations have facilitated the distribution of 250,000 backpacks and 70,000 meals for thousands of military families.
Salute Inc provides aid to post-9/11 veterans through a few different programs. The organization’s flagship program is its Emergency Financial Assistance program, which provides financial aid for car-related expenses, mortgage payments, rent payments, utility bills, moving costs, and more. The organization will also bridge temporary income gaps as needed.
The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Paralympic Sports Camp was started by Salute Inc to reintroduce injured servicemen to physical activity through the help of disability sports. Besides improving physical activity in injured veterans, the structure of the program also helps improve their psychological state as well; the increased socialization and improved self-esteem both lend themselves to helping veterans achieve their goals.
Finally, Builders of Hope is another effort of Salute Inc to bring together local businesses, builders, and contractors. Together, they band together and help renovate the homes of the severely disabled and their family members.
Thanks To Yanks was founded in 2006 by Michael Shain, beginning as a simple idea and growing into a mission to support the members of the military, past and present, and their families.
The first Thanks To Yanks dinner began as a 9/11 tribute five years after the attacks on the World Trade Center. What was meant to be a one-year tribute grew into an annual event that feeds veterans. Nowadays, the dinner supports nearly 400 guests.
The all-volunteer organization’s goals have also grown with the dinner guest list. It works tirelessly to keep itself involved with the military so it can identify gaps in service, enabling them to provide educated support that actually helps. In addition to delivering resources, Thanks To Yanks helps connect the community with one another through civic and religious groups that also support America’s military and veterans.
All the organization’s work serves to fulfill its mission statement, which is to promote civilian respect for past and present members of the military, to provide support to military veterans, and to always honor the heroes and victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Eligible veterans and members of the active, guard, and reserve forces can all benefit from the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
The American nonprofit traces its roots all the way back to 1899 when local groups were founded to support injured and sick veterans of the Philippine Insurrection and the Spanish-American War. At the time, there were no available pensions or medical care options for these veterans, which means they were left stranded in struggle.
These veterans worked together to create the organizations that eventually became the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Chapters were formed in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Ohio, and today there are more than 1.6 million members nationwide.
Post-9/11 military veterans and their families can benefit from the skills training and emergency financial assistance provided by USA Cares. The group’s mission is to help veterans bridge the gap and build their own foundation for stability in the long term.
USA Cares wants all post-9/11 veterans and their families to regain self-sufficiency through financial stability. It seeks to reach out to veterans at the earliest possible point of intervention to stem the flow of financial distress, especially for those who are too injured to seek work. The group states that it takes a holistic approach to its mission, concerning itself with the whole of the veteran and not just the numbers.
All veterans can access free services and apply 24/7. As soon as the application is processed and USA Cares determines that the applicant is eligible, they can provide financial help in less than 48 hours.
One of the most well-known veterans’ organizations, the USO creates strong connections between veterans and their homes, regardless of where they serve. The group seeks to express the full extent of the country’s gratitude to its service members and their loved ones by offering programs designed to improve wellness, resiliency, strengthening, and connection.
The USO also supports service members abroad, even if they are stationed in remote, isolated parts of the world. By offering extensive outreach support expeditions, which includes the delivery of holiday celebration items, care packages, snacks, and functional internet services for the duration of a challenging period, the USO helps keep military members connected to the rest of the world.
In addition to supporting retired veterans, the organization also brings celebrities to active service members by way of its trademark entertainment tours. These programs focus on American pastimes, connecting the military with its nation during these times of separation.
Unfortunately, for all the legitimate nonprofits there are to honestly help out retired veterans, there are just as many shams to beware of when seeking help. These groups don’t just misspend or steal your money; by participating in these unethical practices, they divert millions of dollars that could otherwise go to veterans through honorable organizations that provide real financial assistance to veterans as well as mental health care, job training, and housing.
According to the FTC, older veterans are targeted more frequently than other age groups.
Such scams will use similar methods to reach out to veterans as the above organizations would: by way of email, phone calls, letters, and texts. In fact, they’ll often use similar names as well. Still, they rely on high-pressure tactics and deceptive practices to wear down people until they pay them money.
By doing a little research on your own, it’s not too difficult to weed out the sham companies. If an organization reaches out to you and isn’t on the list above, take a few extra steps to ensure that you’re not dealing with a fraudulent company; don’t allow the scammers to take advantage of your generosity or need for help.
Pressure to immediately donate. Legitimate organizations only want donations when you choose to make it, not before.
Claims that you have won a prize or that you will be eligible for the prize after donation. This is illegal.
Thanks you for a donation you haven’t given. This is a technique used to try and trick people into believing they have donated with them before, which makes them more likely to donate again without thinking about it.
What should you do if you think you’re dealing with a scam company? Do:
Do hang up if the VA makes an unsolicited call to you
Do research any properties that are offered to veterans at a discount or for free. Look up the online property records to ensure the ownership is up to speed, and don’t pay anything unless you have signed a contract.
Do consult your state’s security regulator to check the credentials of an advisor who wants to get you additional benefits through schemes.
Do rely on the VA’s representative to assist you with obtaining benefits and additional assistance. The organization has a database of attorneys it can search, as well as veterans service organizations and claims agents.
Do check evaluators like Charity Navigator, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and CharityWatch to verify the legitimacy of an organization.
Do keep informed on other ways to prevent falling for phishing attacks.
Don’t hand out your Social Security number or credit card details unless you know exactly you are dealing with.
Don’t wire money to strangers. This is as unrecoverable as handing out cash.
Don’t pay to get your military records; your local VA provides this service for free.
Don’t give someone access to your VA information without a power of attorney.
Don’t apply for a job if it requires giving out banking information or if you must pay to get hired.
Veterans: It’s hard to have financial peace when you are paying off debt such as a large credit card bill.
If anyone knows this statement to be true, it’s me.
I also know a few veterans who have come to me and said: “I don’t know how I got so much credit card debt” but got out and to this day live debt-free. But success stories are the exception and not the rule.
I was your average college graduate who had student loans up the wazoo that surpassed my yearly income three times over and credit cards that carried high balances every month.
I knew that paying the bare minimum wasn’t going to do much to rescue me from the bondage of owing more than I earned but I still managed to make minimum payments every month. At least I had some clue about credit repair while I was busy paying off debt.
Don’t get me wrong; I was definitely sick about my situation. There were nights when couldn’t sleep at the thought of spending the rest of my life paying down debt all while never experiencing true financial freedom.
It wasn’t until I got reeeally angry about my situation, however, that the motivation to do things differently came about. I channeled all of my frustrations toward the insurmountable bills that had me by the collar, and now, several years and a many many sacrifices later, I am out of debt. Now what?
“Just exactly how did you do that?” you may ask. “Did you use a budget to pay off debt?” Patience! That, and a lot more patience…
First, a note about getting out of debt, health, and capitalism
We all know that having more month left than money is a horrible feeling, but I don’t think we are aware of just how much debt affects our health. Some people carry the notion that it’s not a big deal…”In fact, I’m paying debt off in a year!”
This same person will have no plan, no tactics, nor strategy and will have no idea how to pay off debt in a year, nor will have done the homework to determine if this is a mathematical possibility.
The point is that our stress levels rise every time we get a bill in the mail that we cannot pay in full. “Not I,” you might say. “I pay all of my bills on time.”
But how calm are you when surprises arise that threaten your stellar record? Exactly! No matter how perfect or imperfect your credit history is, you must admit that the mere thought of owing someone money creates anxiety.
Unfortunately, given our capitalist society, we deem such stress induced nervousness as normal. As such, many average people are one job loss away from saying to themselves “Whoa! I am in debt and have no money to pay it off!”
When you go to buy a car, the first thing that the salesman does is a probe for information to put on a credit application. He automatically assumes that you don’t have the means to pay cash for the vehicle and, as such, sends your information through for a credit check before showing you any car possibilities. Of course he will not offer very creative ways to pay off the debt. Just sign here (and here) please!
The only time he inquires about out-of-pocket costs is for a down payment, which he hopes is at least ten percent of the vehicle’s price tag. Why doesn’t he ask if you have resources to pay the full amount in cash before resorting to a credit application? Well, that’s not how our current form of capitalism works.
Our current form of capitalism puts a country’s economy in the hands of private corporations and not the federal government. A corporation’s central goal is to make money. If you pay for your car in cash, this makes a small tidy profit for the dealer, but this common sense act does almost nothing for the financial partners who only earn money when you take on debt and submit to their ridiculous interest rates.
They make even more when you pay late every month as a late fee is tacked onto what you owe and, depending on your contract, interests rates increase.
The corporate debt monster is always looking for ways to enslave more poor souls. There’s a reason that an entire season, i.e., Christmas, devoted to spending as much money as possible, much of which most shoppers don’t readily have on hand.
Money that you charge on your credit cards today equals BIG PROFITS in prolonged interest for financial institutions tomorrow. The corporations come out as the winners, and we are left to grapple with the fact that there isn’t enough money in the bank for you to care for your future properly.
In fact, it is usually the Christmas splurge that will have most Americans with a shopping hangover rushing to the internet to find out “how to find out how much debt I have” from the likes of Equifax (ugggh).
Aren’t you tired of being a puppet in such a system? Don’t you want to know the real answer to the question “How to pay off my debt?” Our national health sure is exhausted.
Studies show that people with less debt are happier than those with mounds of bills. Such is the case even if those who do not owe reside in a small shack and make the choice to walk everywhere. Living minimally is the only sustainable American debt relief.
“How could they be happier than someone living in a mansion and driving the latest luxury car?” you ask. Well, the person with the tiny, but paid-for home doesn’t have the threat of “stuff” or their “reputation” being taken away when collectors come a-calling. She won’t be the one responding to some sleazy law ad claiming to have the answer to the question “Mr Lawyer, how can I get out of debt fast?”
She owns the small house in which she resides and believes in saving to make improvements to this residence. The shack owner very likely has money saved for a rainy day and doesn’t have to solve money problems by taking out a loan to pay down other debt. She is not in debt. The person with the small house sleeps well knowing that she is living within her means.
The supposed rich man, if the fancy lifestyle was financed by credit cards or home equity lines of credit however, will rarely get a night of peaceful sleep. One small misstep will bring the whole house of cards down.
Many seemingly rich people, although having the appearance of wealth, have zero dollars saved for the future. They are living on the razor’s edge of potential disaster every day and this surely weighs on their health over time. Given all that, I would prefer being the lady residing in a shack any day, wouldn’t you?
“Ok Smarty Pants,” one might be on the verge of asking “How can I pay off my debt quickly with bad credit??” While we may say that one should strive for the simple life, the truth is that it takes hard flipping work to get out of debt.
It takes serious mental resilience to resist the urge to live beyond your means in a capitalist society that weaves instant gratification into our every day lives. So what does it take to get out from crushing debt to live as a free person on the mountain top? Read on and follow these steps!
Steps needed to get out of debt and avoid bankruptcy
Step #1: Know how much money you get to keep each month
Before you can learn how to clear debt fast, let’s get your money house in order starting with what’s left over at the end of the month. It’s absolutely amazing how so few Americans know how much they make after necessary expenses.
Sure, most people can figure out a good approximation at tax time, but as a general rule we simply don’t keep tight enough tabs on cash flow every month. The first step to becoming debt free is knowing exactly how much you are bringing in every month AFTER EXPENSES. Knowing this will allow you to pay off debt fast even with a low income or with no money saved because it’s not how much you earn but how much you keep.
Now if you want to know how to get debt-free with no money this is another lesson entirely. But really, if you are able to earn in some fashion then you can’t say you have NO money at all.
The debt-to-income ratio is something that creditors use to determine whether or not you can afford a loan. You, too, should use the equation when determining how much needs to be cut from your budget to achieve debt-free living.
There are two types of debt-to-income ratio: front-end ratio and back-end ratio. The front-end ratio, commonly referred to as the housing ratio represents the percentage of your monthly income that goes towards things like your rent or mortgage. Meanwhile, the back-end ratio shows you the portion of revenue that you need to cover all debts including housing expenses and outside creditors.
Calculating your front-end ratio involves adding up all of your expected household expenses which include utilities along with rent or mortgage. You then divide that number by your monthly net income and multiply the results by 100. The number that you get in the end represents the percentage of income that goes towards monthly housing expenses. Your front-end ratio is 22.5 percent if you earn $5,000 per month and only pay $900 in rent and utilities. Such percentage is definitely living within your means as far as housing is concerned.
Totaling your back-end ratio is similar to calculating the front-end number with the only difference being that you must include all of your debt and divide the result by your net income to get a figure. Let’s say you have an additional $3,000 in credit card payments each month. Your 22.5 percent ratio suddenly rises to 78 percent when credit cards and other expenses are factored in and take away that additional money from your monthly income.
Still, even with your other expenses being more than three times the cost of your housing accommodations, you still aren’t doing as bad as some who have back-end ratios in the negative. Such persons have zero left over to save and are positively drowning in debt.
You may be doing better in the financial department than you think, but you’ll never know until you tally your debt-to-income ratio. You cannot calculate this number, however, without first knowing your net income. It is after you have knowledge of how much money you make on at least a monthly basis that you can begin to formulate a budget aimed at accomplishing your goal. The next section gets meaty because now we’re going to talk about how to budget to pay off debt.
Step #2: Get Rid of Debt Fast by Utilizing Effective Budgeting
Many people hate budgeting because they feel it doesn’t work for them. You cannot pretend that you are living the high life when the numbers that would say that you can barely afford to rent a room in a barn house. Quite frankly you need to know how to budget to pay off debt. Simple as that.
Think about this, properly creating and respecting a budget has allowed people to get out of debt with bad credit, little to no money, in far less time than would happen without it. It is simply the best way to pay off debt quickly and yet live by your own terms while paying off debt.
It also takes a special amount of discipline to keep track of your spending habits and refrain from spending more than your budgeted amount. However, make no mistake, budgeting is essential to your financial freedom. You do not need to track every dollar that you spend all of the time to have an efficient system, though. But in the beginning of your journey to pay back debt it makes a ton of sense to do it.
Keeping track of every dime that you spend during the beginning stages is important because you are trying to get hold of your financial inner program. Many of us spend on autopilot and this is counter-productive with all known ways to pay down debt. How do you ever expect to break through to debt-free living when you don’t even know where your money goes every week?
Yeah, not going to happen. Paying down debt is no joke and you need to know if the enemy is “YOU“!
You need to write down or record the amount and purpose of every dollar that leaves your bank account for at least one week so that you can analyze just how you spend your money. Most people find it incredibly suprising to track their spending habits for at least one month, noticing how the money just slips through their hands in many small and previously unnoticed ways.
It may be helpful for you to charge all expenses to your debit card instead of using actual cash during the observation period since the bank does an excellent job of keeping tabs on even the smallest purchases. Yes, even for that $1.25 candy purchase at 7-Eleven. If the cashier smirks at you just smirk back…harder!
After tracking your purchases for up to one month comes the interesting part: Analyzing your habits that siphon off the money that could be used to free you from your situation.
It may be difficult to look at yourself in the mirror after seeing how many times you dined out when there was a refrigerator full of food at home. Particularly when that food went bad! Most who go through this exercise can no longer say the have no money with with to pay off debt.
Perhaps you went on a mini “retail therapy” spree that caused you to be tardy on others bills during this period. You might want to kick yourself with those new shoes you bought when you could have used that money to mount an attack against the credit monster!
The good news is that by doing this exercise you, unlike most people, start to become aware of your good and bad programmed spending habits and can now make changes that will get you miles ahead of where you are now quickly.
After looking at the ugly truth of their spending practices, some people try to attack all areas of budgeting at once. They may try to eat at home all while going cold turkey on frivolous shopping at the mall at the same time thinking this will show them how to pay down debt. The truly ambitious even determine that it’s high time to stop using credit cards altogether and start shopping at discount stores.
After all, “We’re trying to save money, here!”
While the effort to tackle every aspect of your spending problems at once is noble, it may not be the best idea because too much abrupt change can cause a psychological burnout leaving you further behind than before! In a burnt out state you simply won’t grasp how to pay off bills quickly if at all. In fact you might wake up to even more debt!
We, as humans, burn out relatively easy when we try to do too much out of our normal patterns. The thought of going from a lavish lifestyle to minimalist is so extreme to some people that they won’t even make the slightest effort to change. It is best, then, that you attack your poor spending habits in bite-sized steps.
For example, you could first address the unplanned dining out habit. Pack your lunch the night before AND set a reminder that alerts you to look in the fridge at your normal departure time so that you can’t use the excuse of not having time to prepare food for lunch. Also, it may be necessary for you to plan your dinner meals every day.
Studies show that those who map out breakfast, lunch, and especially dinner are less likely to take the easy route of eating out. For them, it doesn’t make sense to have someone else cook your food when there is a clear outline for the week. This is just one thing a person can do to properly work through how to save money and pay off debt.
Many who are aiming to get rid of debt fast rather than slowly learn to adhere to the 3-Category-Budget.
Instead of trying to tackle every bad habit at once, consumers pick out three categories that they would like to improve upon in coming weeks. An executive unhappy with the amount of money he spends eating food on the road and the large portion of his paycheck that goes towards transportation may include these two areas in his 3-Category-Budget plan. By the way I also used this method to get myself out of debt.
He may focus all of his attention of lowering the cost of food and gasoline for his vehicle by preparing meals at home and forgoing the weekend road trips. It is when he feels that he has developed a strategy to combat his poor spending habits, and given himself time to make new characteristics routine, does he move on to other categories in his budget that are troubling.
The 3-Category-Budget plan, then, serves as a way for you to create steps to get to your desired result, which is financial freedom.
Of course, you cannot be successful in your steps unless you understand the goal of your budget. A monthly financial scheme is not meant for you to micromanage the family’s money.
Honestly, you will probably grow tired of recording every expense by month three of such practices. The purpose of a monthly budget is for you to organize your finances and take control of your spending habits so that you will overtake debt and not the other way around.
You cannot conquer the debt monster while spending every dime before it can get safely in the house. It is necessary to reduce spending somewhere if you ever hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel that says, “Financial Freedom – Next Right!”
Step #3: How to Get Rid of Debt Fast By Cuttting Unnecessary Spending
America, for all of its wealth, fosters and nurtures remarkably spoiled citizens. Our definition of poor is not having an HD television and being forced to go the summer without air conditioning. Other parts of the world wish they had such problems as their poorest citizens may have to select their family’s meals from garbage dumps.
“Why are you bringing this up, I thought we were talking about how to pay down debt fast?” you ask. Well, this is an attempt to adjust the typical mindset before telling you that you must forgo some of the luxuries that you deem necessities if you ever hope to break free of debt.
Such extras might include cable television, convenient transportation, and, just maybe, that ridiculously expensive latte that calls your name every day.
Here’s a breakdown of four luxuries that you anyone can trim on their journey towards financial security.
Cable TV– It’s hard to believe that some people still pay ungodly amounts for cable television service, but this is America where wasting money is celebrated. Paying off debt quickly becomes a tad easier when you realize that the typical cable bill costs upwards of $60 for basic channels and that many people are likely paying double the amount for premium shows without accounting for pay-per-view, which is another beast in itself.
Did you know, though, that Internet-based services such as Hulu and Netflix charge under $10 per month for many of the shows that you see on cable TV? YouTube is also getting into the television sphere with its latest plan charging $35 per month for a service that practically mirrors traditional cable.
You can subscribe to all three of the previously mentioned services – Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube – and have a television bill that’s cheaper than your standard cable bill. Why do you subscribe to this service, again?
Cellphone – If you are in financial difficulty how is it possible to get debt free if you are still one of those people who pay over $100 every month for a cell phone bill just to have the latest smartphone. Sure, prepaid wireless companies like Virgin Mobile and others make you pay for your phone and service up front, but they could save you every year by charging no more than $65 for unlimited service.
Gym membership – I am all for investing in one’s health. I mean, what’s the point of learning how to pay off credit card debt quickly if you end up in the hospital due to poorly maintained health? My main problem with a gym membership is that many of us who shell out $50 per month plus the annual $50 contract renewal fee rarely use the service.
If I’m paying over $600 per year for a gym membership, you’d better believe that I’m going to be in the place working out every day possible, because for that kind of money there has to be some serious benefit to being there (like connections that can get you more money?).
Frankly, you don’t need a gym membership to be healthy, and you certainly need to get rid of the expense if you don’t go regularly. Planet Fitness, however, is a fair alternative for those who feel the need for fitness club membership despite not going to exercise on a daily basis. At least you’re only out $10 per month when fall off the wagon and continue to pay. At least consider it…
Pay Off Credit Cards Fast By Avoiding Starbucks and the like– I spotlight Starbucks because they continue to increase their prices while their devoted customers faithfully purchase their favorite drinks every day. Are you aware that a regular cup of coffee at Starbucks is about $2.20 (but seriously, who pays that low of an amount? Who??)
You might be paying at minimum $11 per week for an ordinary cup of joe that you can brew at home or your office. I mean, not even Starbucks coffee sold in the bag that you buy from your local Wal-Mart costs $11 per five servings.
Why, then, are you paying for the overall experience of buying your coffee out when you can make it at home? The latest coffee makers are so advanced that they can be set to start brewing when you wake up for work, so you only need to pour a cup and walk out of the door. There’s no excuse for spending $44 per month (or likely, way more) on coffee. This should begin to answer most questions about how to get money to pay off debt.
You may feel like forgoing the luxuries of life for financial freedom is asking too much. You’re partially right if you don’t know how much debt you’ve accumulated over the years.
Step #4: In Order To Pay Your Debt, Track Your Debt
Pulling your credit report is the best way to determine the severity of your debt hole and allow you to determine just how difficult it will be to pay off all your debt. There are three major credit bureaus – Equifax, (oops to them!) Experian, and Transunion – with individual goals of keeping track of every financial obligation you’ve ever acquired in your adult life.
Your report will have balances that you know about along with past debts that may have gone to collections. It simply isn’t possible to know how to get rid of debt quickly without this vital information. Upon review of all your listed debts, you may want to consider paying off your existing debt first and then proceed to old obligations in collections.
It is also important to note the significance of negotiation when you are dealing with collectors of old debts. You shouldn’t feel bad about asking for a deal that cuts your initial debt in half (or more!) since they purchased the debt literally for pennies on the dollar. This is a secret shortcut (but fairly painful) way of how to pay off a debt in 6 months or less. Of course, if you are able it’s always best to pay all of what you owe for your own sake.
Reviewing your credit card statement both on paper and online is also a good way to track your debt. Paper statements can be quite tricky when you are actively paying down debt, which is why many stick with online account viewing. Calling your creditors is best when you have enough money for a payoff. Neither your paper statement or online balance owed prove accurate in such instance.
Step #5: How I Paid Off My Debt Using a Budget Spreadsheet
There is little excuse for you not to have an organized budget in this digital age where some form of Excel comes with all computers and many tablets. Heck, if I had to do it all over and wanted to clear my debt today there’s a ton of apps out there that would be super beneficial!
And for those reading with “little to no money”, a budget is how to get out of debt on a low income. The following are steps to creating an effective budget using an Excel spreadsheet to pay off bills fast. You can go here and download an awesome google sheet
which was lovingly created by www.spreadsheet123.com or make your own by:
Step 1: Open Excel and select a blank spreadsheet Step 2: Enter the months that you wish to account for horizontally starting in column B Step 3: List your income source(s) down the first column (A) Step 4: Next skip a row in column A then enter your monthly expense sources Step 5: Then add the appropriate amount to column to the right of each item in Column A Step 6: Begin setting up your spreadsheet so that it can calculate math formulas. Click on the cell where you would like the total to show up and then click Autosum. Click and drag all of the cells that you want the program to include in the calculations, and press “Enter.” Copy and paste the formula that you’ve created in all other cells and repeat until your entire spreadsheet is capable of automatically tallying totals when you enter figures. Such automation takes the pain of counting your income and expenses manually and decreases the possibility of error due to oversight or outright bad math and is the best way to pay off debt fast.
The fact is that I would not have been able to exit the debt trap without know what I habitually did with my money, and then having a plan to do something different with it. A closely followed budget is a tool that must be in your kit in order to pay credit card debt fast.
Step #6: One Of The Best Ways To Get Out Of Debt Fast!
Of course, creating and using a budget is an awesome step in your quest to pay off bills. But the next phase of the process involves adopting a method that works best for your situation.
So, what exactly is the best way to pay off debt (credit card or otherwise) and in what order? Many people start out by attacking the credit cards with the highest balances or personal loans with the most outstanding debt. This strategy of going from high to low can be seriously discouraging because it takes more years to pay off high debt than small bills.
Consider, then, the idea of the Snowball Effect where your start by using your money to pay off the smallest debt first. This gives a quick win and is the snowball that starts the momentum that eventually creates an avalanche that annihilates your financial prison. When you absolutely, positively need to pay off debt, every small bill paid in full brings you one step closer to your ultimate goal of not owing anyone anything anymore.
Others feel that the best way to pay down debt is to pay significantly more than the minimum amount due on all balances. In reality, if your financial situation allows it, you should only regard the bare minimum as a last resort when money is tight for the month. If possible, make it a practice to pay at least ten percent of the balance owed if you cannot pay in full every month.
Giving creditors $400 towards your $4,000 debt puts a much larger dent in what you owe than succumbing to the temptation only to pay $70, which mainly pays for the interest. You will begin to feel accomplished three months into implementing the ten percent rule when you see your balance shrink. This sense of fulfillment will make you want to pay more, which you may do in the form of weekly payments which would really put SAUCEon your effort to pay off all debt.
There are others who believe that the smartest way to pay off debt is….the Machine Gun approach! (OK – so we made up that name…but it is catchy, eh?) The reality is that many people believe that making payments to revolving debt every other week is pointless. “Interest is going to eat up whatever extra I pay, anyway. So what’s the point,” they may think. Interest, however, doesn’t work like income taxes and overtime pay.
Small, rapid succession payments are a secret most financial institutions don’t want you to know about. Why? Well, it takes time for compound interest to work it’s magic. Using the Machine Gun approach to pay off your debt chops down the money owed before interest has had time to work against you.
Unlike the federal government which taxes you more when you work harder, the math behind compound interest calculations reward you for your efforts. Interest is only attached to your balance once per month, so you can pay $200 every week and see the benefits of contributing $800 to reduce your $5,000 debt.
Of course, you will need to halt reckless spending to see the fruits of your labor otherwise you will be ruining the best way to pay off credit cards fast. What’s the point in paying $800 towards your debt on one credit card only to charge $1,000 on another? You should definitely reward yourself when you meet personal goals, but it is essential that the rewards do not cancel out the accomplishment.
Step #7: How To Pay Off Your Debt Fast By Avoiding Traps
The road to financial freedom has many tricky sticky wickets along the way. Here are five common pitfalls that you should avoid when trying to pay off debt.
Disregarding the need for a set budget – History has proven that we’re not as financially savvy as we may think. Why, then, would we try to address the problem of debt without first establishing a budget? Your financial life needs a plan and high level insights, and you get this by outlining in advance where your money goes every month.
Keeping the same spending habits – Not even the Snowball Effect nor the vaunted Machine Gun approach (OK – we will stop trying to make this a thing…) can help if you continue to blow through your income without regard for priority. You may need to go cold turkey with extra expenses until you get your impulses under control.
Earning the same amount while trying to pay off debt – Sure, you’ll eventually pay off your bills if you are consistent while earning the same annual salary. It would be WAYYY more beneficial, however, for you to find ways to make more money so that your debt can be paid sooner rather than later.
Weekend gigs are the best because they give you the additional income you need to reach your goal without disrupting your daily work routine (that is…unless your job has you working on the weekends, but you get the drift!). Selling possessions that you no longer use is another way to increase cash flow and can even start a rewarding side hustle.
Using your home’s equity to pay debt faster – WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS! This is a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul . Not only is this trap counterproductive to your goal of being debt free, but it is also quite risky. You stand to lose your home if you default on an equity loan. You should definitely reconsider this supposed “way” to financial freedom.
Trying to hide your financial situation instead of being honest – Admitting to having mountains of debt can be quite embarrassing. In fact, you may be so humiliated about your financial situation that you fail to seek proper assistance in finding a solution to the problem. Don’t let your embarrassment be the thing that prevents you from breaking through to the freedom that you so desperately desire.
Take full advantage of a financial counselor who can evaluate your situation and establish a plan of action that gets you out of the red. You may read this section and think, “Great! I’ll call a debt consolidation company!” You should definitely proceed with caution.
Step #8: Consider A Debt Consolidation Loan Company With Caution
Many people resort to debt consolidation companies in a final attempt to take control of their finances and avoid bankruptcy. You should be aware, though, that about half of debt consolidation plans are success stories.
Part of the reason why so many consumers fail at consolidating debt is that they attack the problem, which is mounting bills, without addressing the source. One can’t rack up $50,000 worth of revolving debt by having reigned-in, overly-modest spending habits. It just ain’t likely…
How, then, can a debt consolidation plan keep you from repeating the process several years down the road? You must attack the problem at the root, which is a wealth harming spending habit, head-on if you hope to maintain a financially sound life long into the future.
Another reason why debt consolidation companies are a bit toxic is that their model that encourages you to be several months behind on your bills. Many firms cannot offer their services until you are on the brink of having debt sent to collections. Only then can they offer you a package that might rescue you from the torture of debt.
What if you don’t want to let your credit score hit rock bottom before doing something about your financial situation, though? They can’t help you there!
Some consolidation firms do offer the option of debt management, which involves them negotiating on your behalf so that all of your credit card obligations can be combined into one payment. The consolidation company divides your one payment into several so that all of your credit card bills are paid at the same time.
Debt management can have some benefits, including reduced interest rates across the board. The program also comes with serious repercussions if you fall off the wagon. You run the risk of defaulting on all of your loans by missing just one payment. Such pressure is not applied when you keep your revolving debt separate.
Step #9: Embrace the Minimalist Lifestyle
The best way to become debt free is through good old self reliance without relying debt settlement practices. Remaining financially secure requires just as much effort.
Many people celebrate their accomplishments after making the final payment to their last loan only to become entangled in the web of debt again several months later. Steering clear of indebtedness is particularly challenging given our society that glorifies living beyond one’s means. You will need to be prepared to push against the grain of consumerism and embrace a more minimalist lifestyle if you want to maintain your financial freedom.
Minimalism is built on the notion of a person using only what he needs to survive. A house with five bedrooms and two bathrooms is not necessary if you are single and without children.
Living according to the minimalist way means that you exchange large living quarters for smaller homes. You reward yourself for reaching milestones in your ongoing financial goals, but paying for extravagant vacations every three months is not the way of the frugal-minded.
Going the way of minimalism at least when it comes to your finances opens the door to many opportunities for investment. You are better capable of making your money work for you when you have funds to spend.
Conclusion: Financial Freedom By Paying Off Debt Is Not Easy
There is nothing easy about striving to get out of debt now. You will need to make a conscious decision to stop living from paycheck-to-paycheck. Take steps towards your goal of financial security. The benefits of enjoying life without a horde of bills can be all the motivation you need to keep going. Imagine yourself working less and enjoying the passions that used to take a backseat because you had too much debt.
Financial security is something that every American talks about, but few pursue. Will you be among those who fantasize about getting yourself out of debt? Will you continue to charge credit cards with things are basically unnecessary?
Or, will you be one of the ones to become angry and motivated to do something about their financial standing? I was one of the few. I haven’t regretted my decision to pay my debt off at all.
Veterans: Ever wonder how to save more money monthly without living too frugally?
Have you ever had this experience when trying to make ends meet?
You’re working hard at your job. You get what some consider to be a decent pay, but at the end of the weekend you’re feeling like the money is already running low. Then the stress starts…
That’s how it was for me for years! I got paid every two weeks and 3 or 4 days after payday I was usually flat broke. I just knew there had to be a way to make it last longer other than trying to learn how to make money from home online.
If I sat down and wrote out a budget once I must have done it a thousand times. Every time I thought I had it figured out something would come up, kid’s needing shoes, fix something on the car, you know what I’m talking about.
It was slow coming but I finally realized that there had be a way to plan for the unexpected. I tried several ways.
See how to save more money fast each month on a tight budget!
The first was to keep a little cash on hand at the house. That party was doomed from day one. Then there was setting it aside in my checking account. Doomed again.
That’s kind of a long, dull story to get to my point which is that “I just didn’t have a plan”. The bills were on one side of the paper and my income was on the other, but that’s as far as it went.
To develop a thorough budget plan, you need to use percentages of your income for your bills. Don’t try to make this too complicated. Keep it simple. Here’s an example:
HOUSING – 30% = HOUSEPAYMENT OR RENT, TAXES, INSURANCE
HOUSEHOLD – 30% = EVERYTHING YOU SPEND MONEY ON BETWEEN PAYDAYS (GROCERIES, GAS, SCHOOL LUNCHES, AND DON’T FORGET YOUR POCKET MONEY) TAKE YOUR TIME WITH THIS ONE.
OTHER BILLS – 30% = CREDIT CARDS, ELECTRICITY, PHONE BILL, ETC.
SAVINGS AND CRISIS FUND – 10% = YOUR LONG AND SHORT TERM SAVINGS (SHORT TERM SAVINGS WOULD BE USED TO FIX THE CAR, BUY A NEW TV, ETC.)(LONG TERM SAVINGS IS FOR THINGS LIKE BUYING A HOUSE, COLLEGE FOR THE KIDS, ETC.)
One of the most important points to making and keeping a budget is to use cash for your household expenses and use the bank for the bills and savings.
Stay well away from the ATM because it causes money to turn to a fine mist, disappearing into thin air time and time again.
The short term savings or crisis fund as I call it, is the key to making your budget work. A lot of what we use credit cards for can be bought using the crisis fund. If we sat down and added up the interest, late fees and penalties we pay on credit cards, most of us could buy a house full of furniture with that much money.
GETTING STARTED WITH A SIMPLE BUDGET
Write your bills on a piece of paper. Then put them in the category’s listed above (Housing, Household, Other bills and savings and crisis fund).
Next figure your monthly income. This is your take-home pay. HINT: For those of you that get paid weekly multiply by 4. If you get paid every two weeks multiply by 2. About every 3 or 4 months you will have an extra paycheck, but don’t count that. I’ll explain later.
Compute your percentages. Example: If your income is $2000 per month and your house payment, taxes and insurance comes to $600 per month, then $600 divided by $2000 equals 30%. Do this for all the categories of your budget.
Now the fun begins. What if my income is $2000 and my house payment is $750 per month? That’s 37.5%. What do I do? Don’t panic, just compute the other categories. They may be less that the target percentage. If they aren’t less, still don’t panic. There are ways to bring these things in line.
Look at how all of your percentages compare to the target percentages above. If you are at or under 100% you are still OK. If it comes out to over 100%, then some adjustments need to be made.
If you are over 100% look at which category goes over the target percentage. I’ll bet it’s other bills. That is where the vast majority of us have our biggest downfall. But the good news is that this category is the one we have the most control of.
There are hundreds of ways to cut a little from your electric bill, phone bill, credit card debt, installment loans, etc. Way too many to list here. We will be covering many of them in the coming months.
Before I forget, let me give you some ideas of what to do with that extra paycheck that I mentioned before. HAVE SOME FUN. After sticking to a budget for 3 or 4 months, you deserve it.
Now for a few tips to make that cash last til payday.
Discipline, discipline, discipline. If you have the discipline to get up in the morning and go to work, or get a house full of kids off to school or what ever your routine is, then you already have the discipline to manage your money. Just work at applying it.
Try paying yourself two or three times between paydays. This doesn’t work well for the groceries. Usually buying your groceries in one trip saves money. But after you buy the groceries and fill the car up then divide the money in two or three parts and set a given day to get more. If your paid weekly on Friday, then Tuesday of the next week is a good day.
Build some enjoyment into your plan. Allow money for a pizza night or movies. Budgets that are all work, don’t work.
Be aware every time you spend money that there are necessary items that have to be bought before you get paid again.
If you are married, work closely with your spouse on making your money last til next payday. This alone can make it or break it.
Now for the answer to the question in the topic of this article, Yes it’s not only possible, but likely when you focus hard on not spending money out of a habitual response to some external stimulus, but from a state of complete awareness of whether it is necessary. Plus, it’s really nice to have a few dollars left over when the next paycheck comes in.
Hey Veterans: Are You Concerned About Losing Your Savings and Investments in An Economic Slowdown?
Well, even though times seem to be riding high, the prosperity doesn’t seem to be, so I feel you there!
As of the time of this post, the Dow average is currently above 27,600. We have been riding the coattails of a bull market that has seen the Dow rise 21% in one year and over 35% in the last two years. Have your investments kept up?
Yet, objectively, I (and others with way more clout and personal financial education than I) believe that the US economy is really not supporting this gain, making it seem artificial.
So when the economy does go ahead and take a tumble, many that are relying on it to fuel their investment portfolios will feel a serious pinch in their pocket, and a punch in their gut.
It is quite possible that many jobs and the value of retirement accounts and other paper investments such as stocks could be significantly reduced overnight.
Per President Trump’s first presidential address to Congress, he pointed out eleven startling facts that point to an economy that seems to be struggling to maintain a facade of prosperity. I think this list points to a coming crisis. And we should start to prepare for that.
11 Factors Pointing To Economic Slowdown!
1. Ninety-four million Americans are out of the labor force.
This means that even if they are not reported in the labor statistics, there is a significant and rising level of poverty combined with debt that acts as a serious weight on America’s GDP.
How long can this group of people continue to grow? How can we justify calling ourselves a wealthy nation when such a large percentage of able-bodied people are not able to produce?
The number to look at is not the unemployment rate, but the participation rate which has dropped from around 67% down to 63%. This means there are a large number of people who have given up trying to be a part of the labor force.
2. Over 43 million people are now living at or below the poverty line.
Given the numbers of those who are chronically unemployed, or who have just given up on trying to work, you should expect this number to grow. This also provides us with another reason to assume that perhaps things are not as rosy as the financial news networks suggest.
3. 43 million Americans are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Oh, you don’t know what SNAP is? Well, maybe you know this program by it’s former name: Food Stamps. Without looking into this stat, I would hazard a guess that the people from point #2 are the ones populating point #3. Yikes!
This is a double-drag on the economy. Less workers producing, more hand-outs a handin’.
For many people, this safety net is needed. I appreciate that it is there because there are places in the world where there is no safety net, and it is not pretty. (Looking at you, South America!)
However, what do you think would happen to this number if our current bubble bursts? Is the US really doing so well that it can handle even a 10% increase to those in need of this type of assistance?
4. More than 20% of people in their prime working years are unemployed.
Do you have four long-time friends? It is very likely that one of your group is chronically unemployed or severely underemployed.
If this were a number that was regularly reported on television even people who absolutely hate math would begin to think “Hey, seems that something’s not right out there”. They might even begin to think that maybe these awesomely advancing stock market prices and historically low unemployment figures might be detached from from the real world.
5. We have had the weirdest version of a financial recovery since, well, the Great Depression.
Because in order to dig America out of the housing and credit bubble collapse, the Obama administration had to create more new national debt than almost all of the other Presidents combined.
People like to point fingers and say “Spend Thrift!!!” but consider the alternative. What would life be like now if the dark-debt tide was allowed to run it’s course naturally.
In a dramatic meeting on September 18, 2008, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke met with key legislators to propose a $700 billion emergency bailout. Bernanke reportedly told them: “If we don’t do this, we may not have an economy on Monday.”
This contagion was just not an American problem, it was a global problem. We did what we had to in order to stop the mayhem.
But the problem HAS NOT GONE AWAY! The debt stacks have been shuffled around and –POOF– their number has doubled.
6. We’ve lost one-quarter of our manufacturing jobs since NAFTA was approved.
And we really thought this would be a good idea for America even if it weren’t such a great idea for Mexico. Some say that it’s not the fault of NAFTA, but of world competition for cheap labor.
Whatever the cause, we did not have enough foresight to look into the futures of those families who would be affected by this exodus of meaningful work.
We are seriously late in even attempting to address the need to get this population meaningful productive employment.
7. America has lost over 50,000 factories since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
Ok, so we didn’t misplace them. They were just run out of business by that same cheap labor thing we discussed before.
Economists will point out that wealth creation in America is now more about intellectual property (i.e. software and patents) than about bricks and mortar.
I think they have a valid point within specific, small, time-frames.
The math doesn’t work when you think in terms of hundreds of years. The only things that have a fighting chance at retaining value over this stretch would be things that are considered a HARD GOOD.
Real estate and precious metals will probably always represent real long-term national wealth.
Ideas come and go, and so too the “wealth” created by them. Particularly if that wealth is parked only in fiat money.
I challenge anyone to name one governmental fiat monetary unit (i.e. money that is not based on an underlying hard good) that has been able to retain any of its originally established value over a period of even 200 years.
8. The US Dollar has lost between 10 and 20 percent of its value since 2008.
Some might say ‘only 10%? I can live with that!‘. Since that time, bank savings interest rates have hovered around 1% per year. Meaning that in real terms bank holdings have probably lost you value. This represents real wealth loss.
But the bigger story is that the US Dollar is over 230 years old. Losing even 10 percent value in the last 9 years shows an alarmingincrease in the rate of wealth destruction of this monetary unit. At this rate, we would need a new unit of exchange much sooner than we realize.
Ready for that?
9. The US trade deficit with the world in 2018 was a little over $600 billion.
This amount puts the total accumulated trade deficit over the past 20 years at over 7.3 Trillion dollars. This is the number of excess dollars that flowed to other nations because we have preferred the goods of other nations.
Economists argue that either this is a good thing for US consumers, or it means nothing.
I prefer to look at it as a scorecard. Per www.epi.org, in the 1950’s and 1960’s the US was the world’s leading trade powerhouse. I am not saying that life was perfect during that time period by any means.
However, if you were a wage earner living in that environment who was then magically transported to our time, you would be very surprised to learn that America is not the #1 country owed money, but is now the #1 borrower! And what happened to the stay-at-home wife and debt-free lifestyle?
10. Health care premiums nation-wide have gone up by double and triple digits.
Some states increased premiums 116 percent in 2017. The state of the worker (or potential worker) is in serious jeopardy if they teeter on the edge of bankruptcy every time they have a child, or break a bone.
11. The US infrastructure is really in need of repair.
But we have instead spent trillions overseas over the last few decades. It seems like an opportunity missed and something that can’t continue long-term.
So, there it is.
This state of affairs when combined with an overall sense of mild alarm, does not give me a warm fuzzy feeling about the current market levels.
Seriously, can we determine if anything pervasively positive to the economy as a whole is driving the current market optimism?
The US Economy is seriously hampered by these and many other factors. Given that fact, it is all likely to end very abruptly.
So, what will you do to protect yourself?
I suggest you begin by reading a good book by Harry Browne that talks about hard good wealth accumulation. I wholeheartedly believe in the wisdom Harry Browne dispensed on setting aside a portion of your investments in what he calls a “permanent portfolio”. This portfolio of investments is designed to be able to withstand anything that could possibly happen financially outside of the comet that destroyed the dinosaurs.
After you finish, take action on that book, then begin another one, and so on, until you feel quite secure that no matter what happens in the economy and the markets, you and your family will have access to valuable goods that can truly aid in survival, and not just look good on paper.
Hello to all you veterans trying to gain financial freedom. This site is dedicated to the men and women of the armed forces who want to create wealth and happiness through saving and learning to make extra money doing online jobs from home.
When people think of saving money, the first things that comes to mind are clipping coupons or buying at the cheaper gas station. While these can be good money saving ideas, I feel that to really save money, we must go WAY beyond that.
Almost every aspect of our monthly spending budget could be a potential money saver.
Let’s go over a few items and show a few ways that we can save some real money.
Save Money On Your Mortgage
If you have a reasonable mortgage interest rate, then this is great for you.
My friend just recently refinanced her mortgage and lowered the interest by a full 3 percentage points. This alone saved her over $50,000 and cut 10 years off the life of her home loan.
By the way she got that mortgage refinanced through Chase, but it could be through your preferred lender as well.
Why not surf the web and see if you can find a better rate. Don’t forget to consider closing costs before you decide. Surf around to to see if you can get a better deal on a mortgage.
Shop For Cheaper Internet Service
If you are paying a higher rate than normal while connected to the internet, consider looking for cheaper alternatives. In Chicago where we live, there are now three providers that are bidding for service, not to mention only using your cell phone.
Reduce Costs For Cellular Phone Service
Most of us have dedicated ourselves to one cell phone service company and may have been with them a long time.
But after years of being hassled to death, I switched from Sprint to T-Mobile and while the price didn’t change much, my satisfaction went wayyyyy up.
I know some people who hate T-Mobile, but I certainly am not one of them, especially after years of sub-par living with Sprint. I have noticed that T-Mobile’s data speeds are affected by how much traffic they’re getting from the particular parts of the city I happen to be in. The South Side is now not so great for T-Mobile, but when I travel about, it is pretty darn good.
Your mileage may vary, though… I didn’t think I saved money switching to T-Mobile until I went on vacation out of the country. Then I realized what a sweet deal they give their customers. As long as I was near wi-fi, I could use my phone as if I was still in Chicago – No Extra Charge! Other carriers are starting to catch on though. Mind-Boggling that it took this long though…
Then there are the “second tier” carriers. Just look around. They are everywhere.
The idea is that you need to sit down and go over every aspect of your budget and investigate if there are ways to rearrange expenses so that you end up with as good a life given what you are going to spend your money on anyway.
As every veteran knows, planning and organization are the key to success in anything and this really goes for saving money.
A Good Idea To Try: Saving Money As a Group
Having other like-minded people around to hold you accountable could be really helpful to help you meet financial goals. I believe that being accountable to others who team up with you to meet your goals means you are much more likely to stick to the money saving or budgeting script when your urges are about to run wild.
Easy and Cool Money Saving Tip
Have you heard about the Dollar Bill Saving Plan. With this plan you never spend a dollar bill (except for possibly tips). I have been doing this for some time and average putting away $50 to $75 a month.
I just put all of my dollar bills in a jar when I come home. I take this money and deposit it in savings each month.
Then I take this jar to the bank and put it in a vacation savings account. Try it. It’s a great way to painlessly increase your savings for your holiday gift fund or vacation fund.
Veterans: How You Too Can Make Money From Home Online
Hey men and women of the Armed Forces: Are you struggling to make those pennies stretch? Do you sometimes look at your bank balance and want to burst into tears? Are you working in a soul-sucking job for a soulless company? Or perhaps you are looking for a way out of debt while living on a fixed income…
If any of those questions resemble you then it may be that your home computer and your connection to the internet have the answers you are looking for.
Now, this article is not about how to get rich on the internet, but you can bet it would be much nicer to begin to see more money flowing into your bank account than out.
With some of the following ideas, even seasoned veterans can begin to make money from home online starting today and may even have enough left over to save for an awesome vacation!
The idea of making money from home has moved from a dream to reality for a number of people and perhaps now is your time to make money online right now!
I suspect that in the future we will see many, many more people get rich online while not being tied to an office.
So What Is The Real Way People Make Money Online?
Now you may be asking yourself, “How do I start riding that gravy train?” or “They’ve promised that I can make quick cash…It seems too scammy to be true… What’s with those ads I see suggesting a person could make an extra $10,000 per month?”
It is true that there are many scams out there but the trick is to do your research and separate the good from the bad.
We have all heard stories about people receiving fake checks and subsequently losing money to scammers but here are a few things to bear in mind when venturing into this new world:
First, many people who really make money online (no scams) are very secretive about it. The main reason for this is because they don’t want you to cash in on their racket (makes sense to me…).
The fact is that they feel that fewer people that know about how to make money selling online, the less competition they have. I believe that this is a scarcity mentality and that to be truly successful one must spread the wealth they earn.
As an example, did you know that some people who are ebook ghostwriters get paid into the thousands of dollars on one job alone? Do you think they want you as competition? People will be people, so you’ve got to do your own research on how others are getting rich online.
Second, if you are lucky enough to find a side-hustle that meets your needs, you need to be careful and do your homework to make sure it isn’t too good to be true.
When a site promises quick ways to make money from home or online with little to no effort, you can be sure they are full of…crap.
So, yes, there are many quick ways to earn money, but the money may not be that big, or the work may not be for you.
You might ask: Are there people really making thousands per month online or working from home now? This is a legitimate question for the curious and skeptics alike.
Here are a few things to look out for before responding to a work at home job advertisement or getting into an online marketing deal.
Does the dollars promised by the gig make sense?
Ask yourself this, does the rate of pay being offered for the online work seem way too generous for the actual work being performed?
Most people are so eager to ask “how can I earn money online from this” that they forget to apply logic to the situation. Seriously, if an ad is offering $60 per hour to do something simple like stuff envelopes then your BS meter should go to high alert immediately.
Is the company offering the online work a legit or well-known company?
This is a huge issue in the world of making money online. Many scammers will try to present themselves as reps of big or well-known businesses while presenting an opportunity to make quick money.
However, if you’re in doubt about the legitimacy go to the company’s official website. If the job is not running there, then chances are it was a scammer trying to get your personal info.
Also, never get involved with any company that asks you to pay some type of fee before you can work for them. Why? Because scammers!
No matter how good their offer to help you get money from home may be, you should probably skip ’em. Real companies don’t make you pay because if you make money they have clearly made money too.
Real companies don’t make you pay big money to play. They want to show you how to make money from home for free because if you make money they have clearly made money too.
Internet-based interviews for online work
If you’re interviewing for a virtual position, be leery of any companies that do not want to do a real interview online, say via Skype. If they don’t want to show their face to you or let you hear their voice then the chances are high that it is not legit, or that eventually, you won’t be happy with them in some way.
Write them off and return to the hunt!
All the legitimate ways I have seen to make money online actually involve a real person with a real product or service. Great companies and salespeople don’t hide behind the internet to earn their dollar online.
Looking for online work can be frustrating often because it feels like the opportunities are hidden from plain view. A lot of online gigs are held by people who are long established in their particular industry and had transitioned from office work.
With that being said if you’re reading this article you’re probably at a point where you need to earn money online now by exploring the world of online work or finding yourself a side-hustle.
Below are some of the many money-making ventures one can legitimately do from home to make money today.
1. Surveys Can Help You Earn Money From Home Fast For Free
Surveys are a great way to earn income from home and can be a fun pastime too. When we say a bit of cash we really mean it, though. Most sites pay a pittance, but if you are lucky enough to qualify then there are surveys that can pay you $100’s. Here are a few sites that offer paid surveys.
Swagbucks pays you to do surveys and perform other tasks in return for their credits known as Swagbucks, which can be converted into hard currency or traded for gift cards and other rewards. The site will not make you rich but it’s a way to earn money fast that will give you great alternatives for spending money on Christmas presents.
Opinion outpost is s great site for surveys and it has an incentive cash pool drawing of $10,000. The prize is drawn once a quarter. In addition to the cash drawing, you can earn apple and Amazon gift cards and is helpful if you need to make money fast, even if it’s not so much to start.
2. Create a blog
Some gurus will tell you that if you want to learn how to earn money fast just start a blog. The truth is that while blogging can allow you to learn how to make money online without paying anything, it is incredibly difficult to do.
Blog creation can be very lucrative but it is not for everyone. Many people go blank when considering what they might write about. Rest assured if you can get a blog up and running and really figure out your market and proper marketing, it can be very lucrative. Most people who run blogs make their money off of advertising tools such as Adsense including this one!
Now, the amount of money you can make off the advertising varies greatly. Factors include the number of clicks your ads get and the amount a company will pay you per click. For a blog to be successful you need to figure out one very difficult thing: how to get a TONof traffic. Do not be fooled, it is not easy. But for those who crack the code…
That said, if you love spending lots of time online and interacting with lots of people online, you can definitely make it happen.
Some bloggers have figured out that banding together helps spread the traffic, so it would be good to get to know other bloggers in your space. Once you get traffic, then it the next important matter is monetization (see Adsense). If you want to get started creating a blog for free to visit, blogger.com, WordPress or Weebly and get started blogging today!
3. Watch and like videos – make big money!
Who knew you could get paid to watch videos? Well folks, you really can. There are actual websites and businesses that allow you to watch and like videos to get paid. If you catch the job page at the right time, Netflix actually hires people to watch films all day long!
Other companies that will pay you to do what you are probably already doing all day anyway include swagbucks, inboxdollars, and Nielsen Digital Voice.
4. Make money from home today by testing websites
User or website testing can be very well-paying and often times you can find permanent positions with well-known companies. User testing is paid per job and if you are not lucky enough to find a regular gig, then you could always check out a company known as usertesting.com which pays $10 for every 20-minute video you create. So if you were some type of web-munching machine that could mean $30 per hour.
The company uses software to record your thoughts on the site you are testing and then uses that feedback to improve the overall experience for future users of the site based on your recommendations.
5. Become A Freelance Writer
If you consider yourself a wordsmith and know the difference between when to use ‘affect’ and ‘effect’, then freelance writing might be the vocation for you. Freelance writing is considered by some to be a grind but it PAYS and is one of the best ways to generate money from home online! There are many sites out there looking for talented writers and if you have the know-how and dedication to the craft, you can make hundreds a week or more.
Most writing websites will pay you between 1 and 7 cents per word, but there are some who will have a set rate based on the quality of the work. For example, onlinewiritingjobs.com pays $10, $14 or $27 dollars depending on the score your editor gives you. There are also companies that hire permanent full-time employees but they are often looking for years of experience and degrees to match it.
If you want to get a feel for the type of work one would do as a freelance writer then head on over to textbroker.com and apply to be a freelance writer today. Being a great writer is how to make money now…not later, now.
6. Graphic Design
What’s considered the best way to make money online today? Being a provider of things that support the backbone of the internet is like being a tool salesperson to all those speculators heading West during the Gold Rush: Graphic Design is part of that backbone (along with programmers if you have that skill).
Freelance graphic designers are alwaysin high demand. If you are a wizard with Adobe Photoshop you can really cash in. As far as full-time work goes, the nature of the work can be sporadic and therefore many employers will be okay with and even encourage work from home options.
A simple search of Indeed.com gives many options for graphic design positions, alternatively, you could set up your own website and build up a client list of your own. The standard hourly rates set by graphic designers range from $25 to $150 depending on the size and complexity of the job as well as your skill level.
7. Virtual Assistant – Not Your Grandpa’s Secretary
Gone are the days of having an assistant sitting outside the door waiting to make coffee. In today’s high-tech world, businesses have realized the cost-effective nature of virtual assistants and are utilizing these services to the fullest.
Being a top-notch VA can help you earn money online now because many busy business people need someone they can trust to take care of their business for them. If that’s you, you can make some good extra income from home.
There are many sites where you can list your services as an assistant on a freelance basis such as freelancer.com, brainhire.com, and upwork.com. Bear in mind that some of these sites do charge fees so be mindful before signing up. Alternatively, you could sign up with an agency such as Time Etc or Zirtual.com. Virtual Assistants, on average, make between $15 and $20 an hour.
8. Chegg Tutors Help You Pay Your Gift Forward
Do you have a gift for teaching? You might wonder “How does that skill make me money on the internet?”. Well, let me tell you! Chegg is an awesome website that pairs students or other qualified people with students who need tutoring. This is the perfect income for anyone qualified to tutor at the college level and pays tutors roughly $20 per hour.
9. So How Do You Make Money With Focus Groups?
Focus groups are a great way to make some extra cash and they can be really fun as well. Some focus groups will have you watch films and then give your opinions on the content. Other focus groups might ask you about political candidates or even let you sample food or other products.
20/20 research is one of the oldest and most trusted firms, they and a few others (including Probe Market Research who doesn’t have the best reviews..) offer online or telephone interviews where others may ask you to come to a physical location to participate. The amount of compensation you receive varies but it can be anywhere between $50 to $200 dollars, again this is all dependent on the specific research.
10. Personal Research Assistants Make Money Online With Google
Good work from home jobs are hard to come by but if you are lucky enough to qualify for a position as a personal research assistant you can earn a pretty nice paycheck. What’s even nicer is that you earn it on while on your own schedule.
When most think of research they think of lab coats and numbers but it can also be doing in-depth searches online and entering your findings into a system. Wonder Personal Research Assistant is a good place to start hunting for this type of position.
11. Mechanical Turk Is a Legit Way to Earn Money Online, But…
Mechanical Turk is a subsidiary of Amazon and is a crowdsourcing job website. In a nutshell, employers will list jobs or micro tasks to be completed by workers. These tasks can range from surveys to data entry and the rate of pay is anywhere from damn near nothing up to $60 depending on the project. However, if you have any other skill listed on this page, I would recommend trying that first… Any Other Skill.
12. Maintain Fan Pages For Those Who Are Too Busy
Now maintaining fan pages can be a tricky one. If you want to set up or maintain a fan page you might want to check what you have to do legally, especially for actors or musicians. If you are cheeky enough you could always approach the PR firms of your favorite actors to see if this possibility could be a reality.
Also, you could go into business as a social media manager and take on clients. I will always recommend anything that will create an entrepreneur. Yes, it’s less of a safety net than a job, but the sky is the limit for your earning potential.
13. Transcriptionists Earn Quick Money Online Due To Fast Fingers
Transcription work is labor intensive but you can do this from home with ease, particularly if you are a beast typing on a keyboard. Companies have differing wage scales but you can expect to be paid by the line or page and you need to be able to type uber fast as there are usually tight deadlines.
Transcribeme, Casting words and Athreon are great places to start exploring the field of transcription. You can even put yourself on Fiverr as a freelance transcriptionist and work at your own pace.
14. Sell Your Stuff on Amazon or eBay and Make Some Bank
Making money on the internet is hard, truth be told. However, there are two internet giants that thrive because they work! Setting up an online store is a breeze with Amazon or eBay is a great way to earn money working from home for yourself.
Both sites will walk you through the process although there are some fees associated with selling your goods. For more info check out the introductory pages of Amazon or eBay and get started selling all that stuff you have piling up in the garage or attic.
Or even better, learn how to arbitrage by buying super cheap from bargain bins and selling that stuff on Amazon and start your own business.
15. Translators Can Make Extra Money Working From Home- ¿Que?
Are you one of those people who are fluent in more than one language? If so, The Language Line is a great place to utilize your skills as a translator. Also, you could always approach a company like rosetta stone, duolingo or other such companies for work. Alternatively, you could set up a little business of your own translating in your own language. The great part about that is you can set your own hours and individual rates. And yes…it’s entrepreneurial.
16. Photographers Are The Memory Makers (For A Fee Of Course)
Americans are photo crazy and there is always someone getting married or having some type of party for which they want someone helping them create special memories. So why not invest in a Nikon or dust off that Kodak and make some money as a photographer.
This is something you could do out of the home but usually, the client will want you to come to them. Your best bet to break into the market would be through advertising on Craigslist and by making sure you have a portfolio ready.
Technically, this really isn’t something you could do out of the home because usually, the client will want you to come to them. Your best bet to breaking into the market would be through Craigslist advertising and by making sure you have a portfolio of awesome photography shots ready for review.
17. Grant Writers Make It Rain On Not-For-Profits
Grant writing is a great way to use persuasive writing skills you may have but perhaps haven’t put to the test. Many not-for-profits live and die by the grant funding they are able to obtain. Be aware though, as a grant writer you are expected to make money come through the door for the non-profit so make sure you know what you’re doing! You can go check out grantstrategies.com to get started.
18. Call Center Employees Can Earn Money From Home
Call centers are utilizing people working from their home office more and more and are basically saving money by cutting down on space (and using yours). Most of the jobs are sales positions but there are some companies that service tech support for companies like Comcast. Check out Sitel, Convergys or Support.com if you want to start the journey as a housebound call center rep.
19. Freelance Editors – Break Out Your Red Pen
Freelance editing is a competitive market but it is pretty profitable and most editors charge $30 an hour at a minimum for their services. Check out American Journal Experts, OneSpace or Edit911 for more information on how to get your career started.
20. Copywriting (Sales People for Online Marketers)
Copywriting can pay very well and can be enjoyable work since you are always testing your skills against a previously determined winning piece of copy. Copywriters work in all industries but they are most sought after in the sales and marketing industry and usually work on creating effective sales letters and landing pages for websites.
If this sounds like the career for a persuasion wizard like yourself then head over to google to get searching or advertise your services as a copywriter on freelancer.com or Upwork.com.
21. Video Sales Letters Are Online Sales People Too!
Video sales letters (VSLs) are basically the same as written sales letters but they are set in a video format. However, there are more skills needed such as video editing, graphic design, and sound production that make this a slightly tougher feat. This also makes a good VSL person someone in high demand! Many companies still need a copywriter for these and you can find employment in this field by heading over to Upwork.com.
This also makes a good VSL person someone in high demand and worth a lot of money! Many companies still need a copywriter for these and you can find employment in this field by heading over to Upwork.com.
22. Teach English To Those Who Talk Funny
The internet is FULL of websites recruiting English teachers. Some require experience where others do not. You are paid per lesson so it is really up to you how much you get paid. Fees per lesson vary on experience and at a minimum you are paid about $8 an hour but can go up from there quickly.
Moreover, if you are a night owl this will work for you as the time difference means peak teaching would be during the night. Check out dadaabc.com or teflsearch.com today.
23. Bookkeepers Can Make Money Online And It’s Not That Hard
Even if you are not a certified accountant, you can quickly learn to do work as a bookkeeper. You can help yourself learn this quickly by searching on YouTube for basic understanding and then signing up for training through QuickBooks (QB). There is a fee for the QuickBooks certification but you will have a solid money-making skill once it’s complete. Xero is an online-only product very much like QB and is also in high demand.
Bookkeepers are always in hot demand and with the year-end creeping closer this is the time to jump on that gravy train. Once you learn QuickBooks or Xero check out remotebooksonline or integravirtualbookkeeper to get started crunching those numbers.
24. Social Media Management Can Make You Wealthy
Many businesses are looking for social media managers to work from home monitoring and updating their social media accounts. With the active social media presence of most companies you will not be bored and if you are lucky you can find a full-time position.
However, you can do yourself a big favor and just get on the phone, call some local businesses, and offer to set up their Facebook page and Twitter for $50. Once they’re happy, then hit ’em with a monthly subscription to manage those accounts for them. (Ewww, that’s so…entrepreneurial!!)
25. Sell Your Expertise on Udemy And Get Paid
This is a great way to utilize a skill you already have and turn it into cash! Udemy allows you to record a class on video and sell it to the world. Reports differ on how much you will make as a tutor but the average is around $6k per year. However, if you are really prolific at content creation I am pretty sure you can make more. Again it all depends on supply and demand. Head on over to Udemy and get cranking today!
26. Website Designers Do It Online From Home
This is better suited to a freelance home position due to the sparse work demand. You are going to need top of the line software such as Adobe Suite and top-notch skills if you really want to reel in the clients. Why not set up your own website and advertise yourself on social media to get started.
27. Local Search Engine Optimization Is Hot
SEO is the skill of optimizing a website for maximum exposure to search engines such as Google. It is a form of marketing since if a website ranks highly in Google for a highly searched keyword you can guarantee more potential customers to the business.
If you are skilled enough to do this and have a degree or adequate experience, then there are a lot of jobs out there. Check out flexjobs.com for more info (note, this is a paid service but I can tell you from experience that it’s a great service).
28. Video Editing – A Sorely Needed Skill
Video editing jobs are out there but sometimes it can be your location that keeps you from getting on with a company. Many companies in California will let you telecommute so long as you live in the state.
Do not despair though. There are still many jobs out there. Check out Upwork.com for some suggested work ideas. Once again, you will need some top-notch hardware and software to go with your skill set in order to bring home the big bucks.
29. Marketing Automation Specialists Are Not Robot Makers
A marketing automation specialist is responsible for handling the marketing needs for a company’s online advertising and promotional campaigns. This skill involves learning about sales funnels which is the process of bringing someone from the state of being a mildly interested prospect all the way to a happy paying customer, automatically. PersistIQ is a great site to start your job search.
30. Ebook Writers Can Really Make Good Cash From Home
Ebook writers are in demand right now and it is the perfect job for the housebound writer. If you have the skill to crank out page after page of interesting subject matter for any subject, then you can earn a very steady paycheck. To get started in this role check out ghostebookwriters.com or consider advertising your services to publishing companies, or on freelancer.com.
31. Event and Wedding Planning Works If That’s Your Thing
If organizational and interpersonal skills are your strength then there are brides out there looking for you! Event and wedding planning can be a hard market to break into and unless you can find someone who needs an apprentice then you will have to go it alone.
Consider setting up your own website and make sure you aggressively advertise your services. You may even have to so far as to do one or two events super cheap to get some raving testimonials.
32. Interior Designers Can Earn From Home Too
If the thought of frills and throws tickles you then why not get into interior decorating. There are many leads sites looking to match your skills with interested clients. Check out craftjack.com for more info or advertise your services on an interior design job board.
33. Handicraft Designers Make Up Things All The Time
Are you handy at creating beautiful knick-knacks that your friends rave about? If so, you might want to try your hand at creating an Etsy shop! However, once you get going and making money you will want to expand into having your own website for a variety of reasons.
34. Affiliate Marketing: A Pipe Dream?
Affiliate marketing is the act of referring customers to products and services via a website thereby earning yourself a commission. In theory it seems easy (and many hucksters on the web will attempt to convince you of this), but in reality most affiliate marketers don’t make even $500 over their entire career. Why? Because most people who teach this as a method leave out the fact that there is real hard work involved. Don’t be suckered.
There ARE people who make BIG money doing this, but it’s best for you to find out who they are and then attempt to get apprenticeship style training from them rather than taking course after course and ending up frustrated and poorer. But beware: There are some really unscrupulous folk in this game. As with any entrepreneurial business venture you need to seriously do your homework before you explore this option.
35. Voice Actors Have A Voice Made For Radio
Voice acting can be fun and may even take you down a different career path than you ever originally planned for yourself. If you think you have the golden pipes that make the world swoon, then check out Fiverr and list yourself for employment as a voice actor. Alternatively, you could seek out an agent or talent agency, you never know you might end up in the next Pixar film!
36. Warm Sales, Cold Cash
Warm sales are basically reverse telemarketing (which is known as cold calling because the prospect did not ask you to contact them). This is where you are called by a client or you follow up on a lead for a sale in your chosen field. In theory, you can make a lot of money closing warm leads and closing them should be easier as they expect your call or even better, they called you! Check out a website called isosales.com or search indeed.com to try to find a position.
37. Telemarketing, Doing The Hard Thing Well Can Get You Paid
Anyone who has ever done this knows it is not for the faint of heart. Telemarketing has gotten some flack over the years but if you know what you are doing you can make good money if you earn commissions. If you have a thick skin, silky voice, are willing to overcome the word “No” then telemarketing might just be for you. To get started check out intrep.com.
38. Telemedicine, Who Knew There Was Such A Thing?
This is a great way for Nurses or Doctors to utilize their skills in a relaxed setting. If you have the training but want to do more work from home then this may be what you’re looking for. If you are looking for a career in remote medicine then check out Teladoc.com, AmericanWell.com or PlushCare.com.
39. Software Developers Will Be In Demand Until AI Replaces Us All
Do the following terms mean anything to you: GitHub, RubyOnRails, Ubuntu, or Linux? If so, you are probably a developer and you already know your worth. Developers can work from anywhere that has an internet connection and as long as they are detail-oriented and deadline conscious, companies really don’t care where you are located. The internet is full of employers searching for this skill.
40. Part-Time Paralegal? Nice Work From Home Income Opportunity
Are you a paralegal? Are you tired of commuting to a dusty, paper-filled office? Well, there are forward-thinking companies out there that are looking for you to work from your home office! For example, check out lawdingo.com.