Your Personal Finance Pro http://yourpfpro.com Personal Finance for Young Professionals Fri, 20 Oct 2017 16:35:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 31591919 Can You Save at a Farmer’s Market? http://yourpfpro.com/can-you-save-at-a-farmers-market/ http://yourpfpro.com/can-you-save-at-a-farmers-market/#respond Mon, 16 Oct 2017 11:00:44 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7407 I love buying food from a farmer’s market whenever I can. Since my husband and I own a farm of our own we want to support other farmers when we can as well. But another reason I like the farmer’s market is that there are many different kinds of foods sold there. This makes shopping […]

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Save at a Farmer’s MarketI love buying food from a farmer’s market whenever I can. Since my husband and I own a farm of our own we want to support other farmers when we can as well.

But another reason I like the farmer’s market is that there are many different kinds of foods sold there. This makes shopping at one fun and entertaining.

During the fall I love to buy squash, pumpkins, and other seasonal produce I can cook in a slow cooker at home. It all seems so much fresher at a farmers market since they are able to skip the middle man and sell directly to the consumer.

Perhaps you have also considered shopping at a farmer’s market but hesitated to do so. If what’s stopping you is wondering whether or not you can save at a farmer market here’s some information that can help.

1. Compare Prices

One way you can save at a farmer’s market is by comparison shopping. Check over the sales ads your local grocery store sends out before heading to the farmers market.

Looking over the flyer first helps you figure out what is available there and at what price. Once you arrive at the farmer’s market you can compare prices to see what the best deal is. However, keep in the mind the products offered at your farmer’s market may be fresher than what is on display at the store.

2. Be Flexible

Make sure your list, if you made one, is flexible. This can help you save at a farmers market rather than overspending.

For example, if you weren’t planning on buying tomatoes but they are on sale for a good price, consider buying them in bulk anyway and freezing for your future recipes.

3. Look Around

When you first arrive at a farmer’s market, take a walk around first and look at all of the booths before you buy anything. This allows you the opportunity to check the freshness, stock, and prices of the vendors.

Once you have made the circuit once, go back to the produce suppliers that interest you the most and had the lowest prices. Adopting this strategy can help you skip booths that were overpriced or had items that were not as fresh.

4. Take Cash

Farmers markets are often very busy because there are many other people shopping for good deals just like you. Taking along small bills such as ones, fives and tens can help speed up cash transactions.

When you make it easy and fast for the vendors who are selling to you, they will be happy to give you good deals. They may even throw in an extra item which can add to your savings.

5. Buy in Larger Quantities

I touched on this above already, but you should consider buying items in bulk. Buying in this manner can save you the most at a farmers market.

Let’s say you have plans to can your own spaghetti sauce with the tomatoes you find at the farmers market. If you buy in large quantities you may be able to haggle a little with the vendor and save.

6. Buy Produce that is in Season

If you buy fruits and vegetables that are in season you will be able to get them at a lower price. Also, foods that are in season will likely be ripe and ready to be eaten.

7. Buy Passed Over Produce

Another way to save at a farmer’s market is to buy what has been passed by. When other people do not buy perfectly good produce that is misshapen or bruised the vendor may discount it.

Furthermore, farmers do not want to pack up and take home the produce if they can help it. This is an advantage to you and your wallet.

8. Know Your Farmer

Get to know the vendors at the farmer’s market, especially if you plan to go often. Developing a relationship with them can often get you discounts for being a repeat customer.

Complement them on their products and offer goods or services you have available to them as well. Let them know what you really liked about your last purchase. They love hearing from their customers because it helps them know how to change or not change what they are doing.

9. Don’t Let Bad Weather Stop You

If you really want to save, go to the farmer’s market even if it is raining. Likewise, if the weather is hot, you may get a discount from sellers who do not wish for their produce to get spoiled.

10.  Shop Late

When it is possible, shop later in the day. Using this tactic you may be able to get good deals because, again, the vendors do not want to take their produce back home.

As you can see it is possible to save at a farmer’s market if you know what to do when you get there. Use these 10 tips to help you save the most on your food budget.

Have you ever saved money by shopping at a farmer’s market?

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How to Use BillSnip to Save Money On Your Bills http://yourpfpro.com/billsnip/ http://yourpfpro.com/billsnip/#respond Tue, 10 Oct 2017 11:00:00 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7370 When you’re working hard to cut expenses, save on your budget, and reduce debt, each extra dollar you can put toward your bills feels like a win. This is especially true if you have had bad spending habits in the past. As you pay debt, another thing you may find yourself constantly doing is looking […]

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When you’re working hard to cut expenses, save on your budget, and reduce debt, each extra dollar you can put toward your bills feels like a win. This is especially true if you have had bad spending habits in the past.

As you pay debt, another thing you may find yourself constantly doing is looking for other ways to save. In fact, it can almost become addicting – but in a good way.

Unless you are really good at negotiating, though, you may discover it can be difficult to get reductions when dealing with creditors.  Let’s face it, not all of us are comfortable making those kinds of phone calls.

Therefore, having help could make all the difference. To assist you, below I am going to review just how to use Billsnip to save money on your bills.

1. Identify Bills

If your month to month bills are overwhelming you, lowering them can make all the difference to you and your budget. However, first you have to identify which bills could be lowered. Some examples include:

  • Loan rates, including fees
  • Credit card interest charges
  • Cell phone bills
  • Internet fees
  • Cable or satellite television bills
  • Various music streaming services
  • Storage unit charges

Of course, they are not limited to only reducing your bills for these services alone. There are many other bills they can help you with.

2. Send Bills

Getting the bill to them is actually pretty simple. Just scan your bill into your computer or take a picture with your phone. Then, text or email the bill to them. That’s it.

3. Let Them Do the Work

Billsnip has staff members who are trained in negotiation techniques. These personnel will first look over your bills and figure out approximately what your savings could be.

Next, they contact businesses for you thus eliminating wasted time on your part waiting on hold or making zero progress.

Once they help you free up additional cash you can use it to pay off other debt, invest it, or use the extra money in other ways that improve your finances. It’s that simple.

4. What They Charge

Their billing is pretty simple. They charge 35% of the amount they saved you. You can pay that fee monthly or pay the whole thing at once and get 10% off the total.

But if they aren’t able to help you, you owe them nothing. Discounts for future bills should appear on your statements.

5. Who Qualifies

Anyone needing help with their bills can use the services of Billsnip. If the idea of calling one of your creditors makes you break out in a cold sweat and turn green, you may want to contact them for help. They can call in your place and remove the anxiety.

If you have no time in your schedule to call those places to whom you owe money, contact Billsnip instead. They can make the calls you just don’t have the time to make yourself.

When you call Billsnip you are making additional progress toward a future of less debt. So, go ahead and contact them. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Do you need help negotiating your bills? If so, use Billsnip to save money on your bills and do the work for you.

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Why an Off Season Wedding Could Save You Money http://yourpfpro.com/why-an-off-season-wedding-could-save-you-money/ http://yourpfpro.com/why-an-off-season-wedding-could-save-you-money/#respond Mon, 09 Oct 2017 11:00:44 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7395 I have to admit that is has been a very long time since I married my husband. And we actually got married in the month of August which isn’t at all during the off season. But more recently I have helped a few friends and family members with different aspects of their weddings. In doing […]

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Off Season WeddingI have to admit that is has been a very long time since I married my husband. And we actually got married in the month of August which isn’t at all during the off season.

But more recently I have helped a few friends and family members with different aspects of their weddings. In doing so I have learned that if I had to do it again, I would likely have an off season wedding to save money.

1. Less Demand

One of the big reasons an off season wedding could save you money is because there is obviously less demand. The less the demand the more you can save when you begin calling vendors.

For example, if you are trying to set your date with a vendor, late October or early November might be a good time to get married. The reason is because some vendors will see a drop in wedding events during the fall months.

Such vendors as photographers, videographers, and limousines companies as well as others have less business during the off months.  This can result in greater availability of dates for your wedding as well as a lower cost.

To maximize your savings, try negotiating with vendors on price. They will be more likely to book your event at a little lower cost rather than take the chance of losing your business.

2. Cheaper Travel

Weather is another factor that could give you increased savings for an off season wedding. Due to the higher risk of inclement weather, less people travel during the off months of October through April. Therefore, airlines and hotels may have lower prices making travel more appealing to out of town guests during those months.

Of course, you also might run the risk of some guests not making it at all if the weather is unsafe for travel. If you live in an area where the possibility of bad weather is very low, though, you may want to take the chance and book during the off months.

Honeymoon travel costs could be less during the off season as well. Check ahead of time or by going through a travel agent to get the lowest prices and save the most.

3. Lower Cost Décor

Decorations for a wedding and reception can get very pricey. Something that can help with that is reusing what is already there.

For instance, if the church where the wedding will take place is already decorated for fall, you may not have to do much. This means less to buy and increased savings for your honeymoon or to start your new life together.

When it comes to décor you could also try to use some natural elements from your backyard or that of a friend to keep expenses in check. Pinecones, twig wreathes, greenery and other natural elements can help set the mood for a fall wedding. Add a few yards of burlap and some candles and your tables are set.

4. Sales

Don’t forget about sales when you are contemplating an off season wedding. Dresses, tuxedos, accessories, and even rings might be able to be purchased for less during the off season.

Saving ahead for your wedding is important too, but coupled with discounts and sales you can easily make an off season wedding much more affordable.

5. Enlist Help

Another reason an off season wedding could save you money is because of enlisting help. During the off season you may have friends and family who have more time to help.

With a decrease in demands on their time you could have a florist friend help with the flowers. Or maybe you have a friend who is a photographer and will take wedding pictures at the cost of the supplies.

Average wedding costs currently run into the 5 digits. However, there are plenty of reasons an off season wedding could save you money. If you have been trying to set a date, maybe you should start there and save.

Do you know anyone who has had and off season wedding and saved?

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What You Should Teach Your Kids About Money http://yourpfpro.com/what-you-should-teach-your-kids-about-money/ http://yourpfpro.com/what-you-should-teach-your-kids-about-money/#respond Mon, 02 Oct 2017 11:00:13 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7388 It’s a sad truth that many young people today have not been taught how to handle money. Quite a few of them, in fact, are unable to count back change when they need to, such as at a job. But why are our youth not learning these fundamental life skills? For one thing, schools may […]

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Teach Your Kids About MoneyIt’s a sad truth that many young people today have not been taught how to handle money. Quite a few of them, in fact, are unable to count back change when they need to, such as at a job.

But why are our youth not learning these fundamental life skills? For one thing, schools may be relying on parents to teach money management skills while the parents rely on the schools to do it.

Neither one is making sure the children learn what they need to survive once they head out into the world on their own. Therefore, our young people can’t manage the simple tasks of balancing their checkbooks, budgeting their money, our counting back change when they need to.

Clearly change is needed. But if you intent to fill that gap in your own family, what should you teach your kids about money?

1. The Way Money is Earned

One of the first things you should teach your kids about money is how it is earned. From a young age your children need to learn what it is you do to pay the household bills.

Tell them about your job and what you do each day to earn a paycheck. Keep it brief and general for very young children. If your kids are older, however, you may be able to provide a little more information.

For example if you are a nurse, you might tell young kids that you help sick people to get well again at your job each day. When your kids get older you can tell them a little bit about taking blood pressures, giving medications, administering shots, and various other duties.

It’s important that children know how money is earned so they can better understand how job skills and education impact jobs and income. They must also understand the value of money, which is another reason they need to know how you earn your income.

2. Practice Makes Perfect

When my kids where somewhere around middle school to high school age, I bought one of those paper money and plastic coin sets. Next, I set up different scenarios where they had to “buy” something from me using the fake money.

Sometimes they didn’t have the exact amount, so I gave them change. It was up to them to tell if I gave them the correct change or not. Of course, at times I had them act as cashier too, making them count back change.

As teenagers sometimes do, they rolled their eyes and got a bit impatient with me. But when my high school age daughter was the only person at her fast food job who could count back change correctly I knew I was onto something.

3. How to Budget

Something else you should teach your kids about money is how to budget it. Again, you could set up different practice situations, or just show them how you budget instead.

Start out by letting them help you stuff envelopes and put on the stamps when they are young. As the mature into middle school and high school they will be ready to see how you budget, pay bills, and file paperwork.

4. Why Saving is Important

Show your kids how much you put away in savings each month. They don’t need to know the total amount you have in savings if you don’t wish to share that information with them. Nevertheless, instill in them the importance of saving a portion of what you make each month.

Let them know why you save, such as for an emergency fund, vacation, or college education for their future. When they know why it is important to save they will be more likely to save also once they are out on their own.

Take it a step further by allowing them to save toward a goal they have, such as paying for a new toy or game they want. Give them chores to do around the house and pay them for those they do well. Then, once they reach their goal, take them shopping for the item they saved up for.

5. Reasons to Invest

Another thing some parents forget to teach their kids about money is why investing is essential. If you have any investments, even if it is just a 401K, you should let your children know about them.

Talk to your children not only about how to invest but why you invest. When they know the reasons why you invest for the future they will have a better grasp on how it impacts them.

Instilling financial literacy in our children is vital to their future. Don’t wait on someone else to teach them about money. Teach your kids about money at home and ensure they have the skills they need once they are no longer under your roof.

What additional concepts should you teach your kids about money?

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How to Enjoy Autumn on a Dime http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-enjoy-autumn-on-a-dime/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-enjoy-autumn-on-a-dime/#respond Mon, 25 Sep 2017 11:00:40 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7375 Autumn is my favorite time of year because there are a lot of really great things to enjoy about it. For example, temperatures begin to cool off a bit and there are lots of fall vegetables available to make yummy after-harvest dishes. The leaves start changing and so do the menus of some of my […]

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Enjoy Autumn on a DimeAutumn is my favorite time of year because there are a lot of really great things to enjoy about it. For example, temperatures begin to cool off a bit and there are lots of fall vegetables available to make yummy after-harvest dishes.

The leaves start changing and so do the menus of some of my favorite restaurants. Pumpkin, caramel, and apple dishes can be found and enjoyed all season long.

But there are lots of fall activities that are fun too. While some people spend a lot on fall activities there are plenty of ways to enjoy autumn on a dime.

1. Navigate a Corn Maze

If you’ve never been to a corn maze before, they can be found all over the nation. A corn maze is simply a maze cut into the dry stalks of a corn field.

From an aerial view, some corn mazes are quite spectacular.  They may be cut to resemble cartoon characters, spooky figures, or anything the field owner decides. Most land owners create them for the enjoyment of others and if they do charge a fee, it is usually only a few dollars per person.

2. Decorate with Nature

Fall is a wonderful time to use items from nature to help you decorate for the season. Look around your yard or a park for loose twigs, pine cones, and other items to use in your décor.

Add a few inexpensive pumpkins and perhaps a bale of hay and your fall decorating can be completed allowing you to enjoy autumn on a dime.

3. Attend a Football Game

While admission is charged for some football games, you may be able to get into a scrimmage without having to pay. Additionally, some exhibition games don’t charge admission at all. If you aren’t able to get to a regular high school game until half time, though, sometimes you can get in for a reduced fee.

Even if you do end up paying full price for your admission, as long as you are not attending an NFL or college game you won’t have to pay a lot for this fall activity.

4. Go on a Hay Ride

A hay ride is another fun autumn pastime that allows you to enjoy autumn on a dime. In fact, sometimes when you go to a corn maze or other activity they offer hay rides too, typically for fairly low fees.

Hay bales are stacked on a low trailer and pulled by a pick-up around a farm. Or, the hay ride may be a way to get back and forth from a public parking area to a corn maze or pumpkin patch.

5. Watch a Homecoming Parade

Autumn is the time when many different school districts celebrate their homecoming. Activities include a football game or two, dances, and a homecoming parade among others.

Many people attend homecoming parades to support the schools in their community. They line up along the route of the floats to watch and cheer on their favorite teams for upcoming games. Generally, there is no admission for this activity.

6. Browse Flea Markets

Lots of local events and flea markets have booths at craft fairs and other festivals during the fall. You should find plenty of things to admire and browse through without having to pay a thing.

Of course, many small items are affordable and would make great gifts if you do have a little pocket change available to spend.

7. Go to a Bon Fire

When I was a kid, we held a homecoming pep rally around a bon fire before the high school football game. It was a great way to raise the spirits of the players and spectators alike.

It was a traditional pass time we did that didn’t cost a lot but was fun and uplifting.

I think I’ll always pick fall as my favorite time of year. One reason is because there are so many ways to enjoy autumn on a dime.

How do you choose to enjoy autumn on a dime?

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How to Save on Your Medical Bills http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-save-on-your-medical-bills/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-save-on-your-medical-bills/#respond Mon, 18 Sep 2017 11:00:59 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7355 It goes without saying that medical expenses for many Americans are at an all-time high. Prescription costs are through the roof. Doctor visits and emergency room visits have gotten so expensive many who need healthcare aren’t using these services. To make matters worse, insurance rates have risen dramatically over the last few years. The result […]

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Save on Your Medical BillsIt goes without saying that medical expenses for many Americans are at an all-time high. Prescription costs are through the roof. Doctor visits and emergency room visits have gotten so expensive many who need healthcare aren’t using these services.

To make matters worse, insurance rates have risen dramatically over the last few years. The result is that, despite the promises of Obamacare, healthcare is now even less affordable than ever.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability to solve all of these problems. Neither am I promising advice that will help you to get free medical care nor even cheap medical care. However, having worked in the health care industry for many years, I can offer some tips on how to save on your medical bills.

1. Call When You Can

There may be times when you don’t actually need to go see a medical provider in person if you are sick. Please note that I am not suggesting you diagnose yourself entirely and skip seeing a medical provider for all situations. You must be the judge of how sick you are.

But some people do tend to go to the doctor’s office or hospital emergency room for every little sniffle or ache. Each of these visits can add up and really eat away at your monthly budget.

As an alternative, perhaps you could call your medical provider’s office and talk to a nurse. Give them your symptoms and seek their advice as to whether or not a doctor’s visit is actually necessary. This could save you some money in the long run.

2. Know When Not to Wait

If on a Friday you suspect you have an illness that could require a prescription, don’t wait to call the doctor’s office. Often, if you think you can hold out until Monday you will end up in the emergency room over the weekend anyway.

Should that happen, you’ll end up with a bill that is somewhere between seven to ten times higher than if you had gone to the clinic on Friday instead.

3. Use Walk-in Services

Some clinics have walk-in hours on Saturday mornings. Ask if yours does ahead of time so you know for sure. If your clinic has them you can’t wait for a regular appointment, it should still be cheaper than a trip to the emergency room.

4. Negotiate

You might be able to save on your medical bills if you are willing to try to negotiate. Give your medical provider or hospital billing department a call to see if your bill could be lowered in some way.

For example, some hospitals will reduce the bill if you are willing to pay the balance in full by a certain date. Or, you might qualify to make payments or receive financial assistance.

5. Save Ahead

Another way to save on your medical bills is to save ahead for them. You may be able to set up a health savings account or a regular savings account specifically for medical care.

The advantage of a Health Savings Account is that the money you contribute is pre-tax. Check with your bank to find out all of the requirements before you set one up.

Of course, you can also set up your own savings account to be used as you need it. Or, ask if your employer has a flexible spending account for healthcare that you could contribute to each pay period.

All of these alternatives can help you save on your medical bills by avoiding interest, late fees, collection agency charges, or any number of other additional fees. Furthermore, a couple of them also save when tax time rolls around.

6. Shop Around

One of the ways some people choose to save when it comes to healthcare costs is to shop around. You might choose to go to a different medical provider or hospital entirely if the prices are lower.

A different option not everyone thinks of is to seek medical care from a different country altogether. There may be travel expenses associated with this choice too, obviously, but if the price is low enough it may be worth it.

In summary, we all know medical costs have skyrocketed in the last few years. But there are ways to save on your medical bills and keep your costs as low as possible if you look for them.

What are some of the ways you have chosen to save on your medical bills?

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Social Media Should Be a Part of Your Financial Firm’s Marketing Strategy http://yourpfpro.com/social-media-part-financial-firms-marketing-strategy/ http://yourpfpro.com/social-media-part-financial-firms-marketing-strategy/#respond Mon, 11 Sep 2017 22:44:54 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7351 Social media is a great way tool to use as a financial investment firm. Social media data can be used to help clients get access to credit, open bank accounts or get a loan. These platforms go beyond just providing a place for people to connect, share and socialize. These high levels of penetration, engagement […]

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Social media is a great way tool to use as a financial investment firm. Social media data can be used to help clients get access to credit, open bank accounts or get a loan. These platforms go beyond just providing a place for people to connect, share and socialize. These high levels of penetration, engagement and use mean there are countless opportunities for financial advisors. The way people are connecting impacts the value financial service providers are able to deliver.

Social Media 101

As a financial investment firm, you should have a social media marketing plan. It is important to leverage multiple streams on social media to get the most out of it. There are many benefits to leveraging these platforms.

  • Convert prospects: Fifty-percent of advisors claim they successfully used social media to convert a prospective into a client.
  • Increase exposure: Blogging, tweeting and posting can increase you search engine rating and funnel people to your website.
  • Develop trust: Trust is important. These platforms open up new avenues for relationship enhancing conversations.
  • More presence: Social media gives you additional platforms to sell your services beyond your website.
  • Show expertise: Different public platforms allow you to share your knowledge and expertise in a field and establish thought leadership.
  • Stay current: Social media allows you to stay on top of industry trends.
  • Connect with professionals: Social media is a great way to network. You can even establish a mastermind group to share ideas and strategies.

The Big Four

There are many social media sites in existence these days. Knowing where to start can be overwhelming. The big four are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. These are the only platforms you need to worry about. Each network is unique and should be leveraged for a specific purpose. By leveraging these platforms, you are likely to reach many different types of potential clients. LinkedIn should serve as a way to increase your referral network and connect with other professionals. Use Facebook to build your brand and enhance client relationships. Twitter is where you establish your firm as a thought leader and where you stay on top of news and trends. YouTube is a great way to use education as marketing.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is unique in that it caters to professionals. It is the most popular among financial professionals. It is a great place to stay in touch with colleagues and share industry knowledge. Since prospective clients might view your LinkedIn profile to establish creditability, make sure you utilize the space dedicated to displaying certifications. Don’t let your profile fall by the wayside. If your profile is not up-to-date it looks unprofessional. The more connections you have the more opportunities available to leverage. This is important, but don’t get carried away and try to associate with everyone. Make intentional and meaningful connections. It is these associations that will reap the most benefits. Join some groups that you are willing to stay active in.

Facebook

This platform is probably the most well-known. You can actually create a business page that allows you to promote your services, increase brand awareness and provide customer service. These also allow you to separate your business and personal accounts. Make sure all your photos and banners are consistent with your brand. Post engaging and helpful content written by you and other reliable sources. Mix up your content so it remains engaging and relevant.

Twitter

Twitter limits you to 140 character posts. Microblogging can be powerful if used correctly. It is a great way to connect and engage in ongoing conversations. Learn to use hashtags appropriately and effectively. Excessive use of hashtags can degrade your content, so use them sparingly and only when relevant. Use the @ symbol to bring others into the conversation. These are called mentions and are a great way to increase engagement and encourage meaningful conversation. Use your 140 characters wisely and don’t be afraid to retweet news sources and posts by other professionals to increase your credibility.

YouTube

YouTube is the unsung hero of social media. It is unique in that it incorporates many characteristics of other social media sites, but its functions extend beyond typical platforms. YouTube acts as a search engine almost as powerful as Google. It is a great platform for educating clients about your firm and financial topics. Give some information away for free. It is a great way to gain credibility. Videos can be more effective than text-based media, as they can better capture users’ attention. When leveraged properly, YouTube is a powerful marketing platform.

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7 Different Ways to Invest in Yourself http://yourpfpro.com/7-different-ways-to-invest-in-yourself/ http://yourpfpro.com/7-different-ways-to-invest-in-yourself/#comments Mon, 11 Sep 2017 11:00:17 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7346 From time to time I think everyone goes through a period of self-reflection. Recently, I had a milestone birthday and it made me think about my past and where I’m headed in the future. Like everyone else, I’ve made some mistakes in the preceding years, but I’ve made a lot of good decisions too. Something […]

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Invest in YourselfFrom time to time I think everyone goes through a period of self-reflection. Recently, I had a milestone birthday and it made me think about my past and where I’m headed in the future.

Like everyone else, I’ve made some mistakes in the preceding years, but I’ve made a lot of good decisions too. Something else I’ve discovered is that anytime I work on self-improvement I’ve never regretted it.

I would say I am continually investing in myself and my future. In fact, I believe there are at least 7 different ways to invest in yourself.

1. Buy Insurance

Nobody likes to think about all of the bad things that could happen to you throughout your lifetime. However, the reality is that things sometimes don’t go as you plan. That’s one of the reasons you should have insurance.

There are many different kinds of insurance from homeowner’s insurance to pet insurance and many others in between. Obviously, having insurance can’t prevent all of the undesirable events from happening. But investing in it can give you peace of mind and protection from financial ruin.

2. Start a Side Hustle

Another one of the different ways to invest in yourself is to start a side hustle. I started my own side hustle about a year and a half ago. It has now grown to the point that I will soon be turning it into my full time career and leaving my regular job.

Understandably, not everyone would want to follow my example. Self-employment isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

If you need a creative outlet or a little extra income, though, a side hustle is a great way to get both. Additionally, you may learn some new skills you can apply elsewhere in your future.

3. Read

Reading books, blogs, magazines, and other material may not seem like an investment to some people. I disagree, however.

For example, my change in career paths is leading me to use many of the different things I have read about in the past. I am also using pieces of just about every job I have ever had.

You never know when something you read will help you in the future. That’s why reading about a variety of topics and experiences is never a waste of time.

4. Go Back to School

One of the other ways to invest in yourself is to go back to school. Although I’ve not chosen to go down this path, many do and have found it to be a good investment.

Going back to college will require a monetary investment. Nevertheless, the end result could be a much higher salary and a larger nest egg come retirement time.

5. Invest

Choosing to simply invest is another of the ways to invest in yourself that you could choose. No matter what your income or level of expertise there are many different ways to do it.

Rental properties, 401K plans, Roth IRA’s, and stock are just a few things you could invest in. There are many others and lots of information on the internet to help you start.

The sooner you invest for your future goals, including retirement, the more likely you are to reach them.

6. Learn a New Language

Something I have always wanted to do is learn a new language. So far, the furthest I have gotten is to learn a dozen or so Spanish words, but not enough to converse fluently.

My reasons for wanting to learn Spanish are two-fold. For one, I want to help the patients that I interact with on a daily basis. The other reason is merely because I think the language is beautiful.

No matter my reasons, I have always felt that learning a new language is an investment in yourself. That is especially true if you will be in an environment to use it often.

7. Take Care of Yourself

None of the other ways to invest in yourself can be accomplished if you do not take good care of yourself. I am a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to this at the moment, I will admit. But I expect to fix that in the near future, however.

Nobody can sacrifice taking care of themselves for the long term. You must eat the right kinds of foods if you expect to get good results. Garbage in equals garbage out, as they say.

Invest in yourself by eating right, sleeping enough, drinking plenty of water, and exercising. Personally, I can’t wait to get back on track with these things and take better care of myself. My future kind of depends on it.

Every day is a new chance to try to improve myself and become the best “me” I can be. I hope you use these 7 different ways to invest in yourself to be the best “you” you can be too.

What are some of the different ways you invest in yourself?

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5 Ways to Save Around Your Home that Add Up http://yourpfpro.com/5-ways-to-save-around-your-home-that-add-up/ http://yourpfpro.com/5-ways-to-save-around-your-home-that-add-up/#comments Mon, 04 Sep 2017 11:00:21 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7336 I don’t know what the arrangement is for who pays the bills in your household, but in mine it’s my husband. My contribution is to work and bring in money to help pay the bills and reduce our debt. No matter who pays the bills in your home, though, there are lots of ways to […]

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Ways to Save Around Your HomeI don’t know what the arrangement is for who pays the bills in your household, but in mine it’s my husband. My contribution is to work and bring in money to help pay the bills and reduce our debt.

No matter who pays the bills in your home, though, there are lots of ways to lower your budget and save more money. Some people negotiate utility or phone bills while others attempt to cut down on grocery spending.

But in addition to these tactics there other ways to save not everyone thinks of. For example, there are 5 ways to save around your home that add up.

1. Pull the Plug

One of the ways to save around your home is to take a quick trip around your house.  Check out how many appliances you leave plugged in that are only in use rarely.

For example, the toaster, coffee maker, or countertop mixer could be items you only use when you need to. If you don’t use them daily and it isn’t difficult to get to the outlet, pull the plug until you need it.

If you have a home office, unplug calculators and shut down computers at the end of the work day. Make sure all of your lights are off before you tuck in for the night. These things may not seem to save much, but over time they will save you several dollars each year.

2. Save Every Drop

There are lots of ways you could be sending your dollars down the drain. Therefore, another of the ways to save around your home is by conserving water.

First, work on changing some of your habits. Turn off water while brushing your teeth, shaving, or lathering up in the shower. Then turn it back on to rinse off.

Next, install water restrictors and low flow faucets in bathrooms. Additionally, a shower timer can cut down on the amount of water family member’s use and reduce your bills too. These items are fairly inexpensive and quickly pay for themselves with the money you’ll save.

Have you ever considered collecting your water? Instead of running it down the drain while waiting for hot water collect it in a rinsed out milk jug. Then, use it to water plants or fill a toilet tank.

You can save money when you wash dishes as well. Use a plastic tub in the sink to reduce the amount of water you use. Only fill it part of the way unless you have large items that require more soapy water.

3. Shut off Unused Services

Paying for something you aren’t using doesn’t make a lot of sense. If you carry newspaper and magazine subscriptions you don’t have time to read, end them.

To further increase your savings think about anything else you may not be using. Shut off gym memberships if you or other family members aren’t going. Turn off cable if you aren’t watching it.

4. Share Resources

Several years ago my husband and I lived in a different town about double the size of the one where we currently live. We shared resources with our close friends because it saved us each several hundred dollars.

At the time both families felt we needed a snow blower for those times mother natured dumped snow on us. However, we didn’t want to shell out a ton of money for a piece of equipment that didn’t even get used some years.

Our solution was to share in both the cost and the use since we lived right across the street from one another. Using this example you could also save on household items such as a carpet cleaning machine or canning equipment.

5. Don’t Forget Maintenance

When you are looking for ways to save around your home that add up it’s easy to overlook home maintenance. People think if they let a few things go it will save them money. The problem is it can also cost you money.

It’s not terribly difficult to use calking, weather stripping, and insulation to fill leaks and gaps around doors and windows. Keeping up with these tasks can save by cutting heating and cooling costs anywhere from 5% to 40%.

Did you know changing your furnace filter can help lower your monthly energy bills? Change it regularly to save up to 15%.

Look for other repairs that could be costing you money by remaining undone. Fix leaky faucets, clean duct work, and do other home maintenance to keep your home in top shape and save money in the long run.

There are lots of ways to lower your budget. But sometimes people forget there are ways to save around your home that add up too.

Have you found other ways to save around your home that add up? If so, what are some of them?

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Reasons Not to Burn Bridges When You Quit Your Job http://yourpfpro.com/reasons-not-to-burn-bridges-when-you-quit-your-job/ http://yourpfpro.com/reasons-not-to-burn-bridges-when-you-quit-your-job/#respond Mon, 28 Aug 2017 11:00:18 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7326 Recently, a former co-worker of mine quit her job. While she didn’t flip her finger when she left, she did make it known that she hadn’t been happy while employed there. The town I live in has a population of just over 5,000 and, as a result, jobs are sometimes hard to find. My employer, […]

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Reasons Not to Burn BridgesRecently, a former co-worker of mine quit her job. While she didn’t flip her finger when she left, she did make it known that she hadn’t been happy while employed there.

The town I live in has a population of just over 5,000 and, as a result, jobs are sometimes hard to find. My employer, however, is one of the larger ones in our small town. Consequently, there is always a remote possibility that she may re-apply for a position there in the future.

But the problem is that I am not at all sure she would be hired back if she did. Her situation got me thinking about how different it was when I was rehired a couple of years ago.

You see, I worked for the same employer once before. In fact, I ran the department that I now work in. The difference for me is that I left under different circumstances.

Had I have been surly or lashed out in any way I am certain I would not have been considered for re-employment. I was lucky that I didn’t. There are reasons not to burn bridges when you quit your job.

1. Reputation

Several years ago when I left the hospital where I now work again I wasn’t happy either. Being in management isn’t all great pay, authority, and power over others. For me it was hard work, long hours, and not much appreciation.

Of course, that is expected when you are in a position of management. I knew that before I was first hired because it hadn’t been my first management roll.

After a while, though, I got burnt out. Additionally, I was tired of missing out on so much of my kid’s lives and school activities. That was what motivated me to put in my notice.

Like my friend who recently quit, my coworkers and staff at the time knew I wasn’t happy when I left. Despite my discontent, I left my management job with as much dignity and respectfulness as I could muster.

Because my town is small I knew I would see my former work family again. The two part-time jobs I held during the gap ensured I continued having contact with them. Community events and shopping at local stores also contributed.

But since I didn’t act out or verbally berate anyone when I left the first time my reputation was intact and I had the full-time job I needed. In addition, I had no problem getting those two part job jobs in between either.

2. Possibility of Being Rehired

Another one of the reasons not to burn bridges when you quit your job is the possibility of being rehired. For example, my current employer hired me back with little reservation.

My story would no doubt have been much different if I had gotten confrontational when I left the hospital the first time. Sure, I was frustrated by work conflicts just like anyone else.

However, it’s always best not to say or do anything in the heat of the moment that you might regret later. Think things over carefully before you burn bridges and prepare ahead of time when you quit your own job.

3. Future Employment

Ours is the information age and networking is as important as ever. Furthermore, in a small town, word travels like wildfire. Any juicy gossip or tidbit of information is known by nearly everyone in our community within 24 hours of it happening.

Obviously not everyone works in a small town like mine. Regardless, information still travels and keeping up appearances is important.

When you burn bridges as you leave a job, though, you risk ruining your chances at future employment even in a city. Word gets around within the business world if you leave in flagrant style.

The problem is that you never know when your reputation precedes you. You may apply for a job somewhere with a former competitor and be turned down.

If you were to ask why you may find out information you almost don’t want to know. It’s because the prospective employer heard about your final dramatic performance from your former employer.

Rather than risk your future employment possibilities, don’t burn your bridges when you quit your job. Telling off your boss might feel good in the moment, but it could cost you another job if you do.

Instead, plan your exit carefully. Look over your benefits package and turn in your notice to maximize them the most. Whatever you do, don’t burn bridges when you quit your job.

Have you ever burned bridges when you quit a job? Did you regret it later?

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How to Keep Hustling When You Are Wiped Out http://yourpfpro.com/keep-hustling-when-wiped-out/ http://yourpfpro.com/keep-hustling-when-wiped-out/#comments Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:00:15 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7307 Anybody who works a full time job, like I do, and also has a side hustle too can tell you they know what it’s like to feel tired. In fact, I can personally tell you I am running on fumes a lot of the time. I know I am not alone. There are plenty of […]

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Keep Hustling When Wiped OutAnybody who works a full time job, like I do, and also has a side hustle too can tell you they know what it’s like to feel tired. In fact, I can personally tell you I am running on fumes a lot of the time.

I know I am not alone. There are plenty of other people who also work hard at a side hustle so they can turn their dreams into reality. If you are one of them you likely already know what it is to feel exhaustion.

Having a full time job and a side hustle that rivals it isn’t easy. There are plenty of nights when I don’t get enough rest to feel really good the next day. So how do you keep hustling when you are wiped out?

1. Know Where Your Stopping Point Is

Up until a couple of weeks ago I have been working a full time job that frequently requires overtime in addition to two different side hustles. On top of that my husband and I own and operate a farm with crop ground and cattle.

But I know where my stopping point is. That is one reason why I recently let one of my side hustles go. In addition, it was the one I work the least hours at, therefore making it the lowest paying job I was holding.

It wasn’t necessarily easy to let that job go, however, because I really enjoyed what I did there. The hours were very flexible and that made it easy to work into my crazy schedule.

The deciding factor for me was the fact that sometimes I have had a hard time functioning at the level I need to be at my current 40 plus hour per week job. Something had to give.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, my advice is to know where your stopping point is. Don’t try to push beyond it because you could be working yourself into a state of sickness.

2. Sleep as Much as You Can

Right now I do plan to continue to side hustle. The reason is because my master plan includes turning my side hustle into a full time job so I can leave my other full time job.

However, some of the time I simply don’t get enough sleep. As a result, I sleep as much as I can whenever I can because there really isn’t a good alternative to getting enough sleep.

A constant state of exhaustion and sleep deprivation eventually catches up with you. It can cause your immune system to not function as well leaving you vulnerable to sickness. You may also experience higher blood pressure, weight gain, and other negative effects to your health.

Productivity can be affected too. I notice it at my full time job as I try to stay focused while being very tired. I feel like I am lucky because my full time job keeps my attention.

One other way I combat exhaustion, and you can too, is by finding places in my schedule to take a short nap or rest break. For instance, I may lay my head on my desk for 20 minutes over lunch and shut my eyes. Sometimes it makes all the difference on getting through the day.

Another tactic is to get up early in the morning and work instead of working late at night. When I get so tired in the evening that I start doing the head nod, I stop and go to bed.

Working in the early morning hours has the advantage of allowing me to work after just having had a few hours of much needed sleep. This allows me to be fresher and finish my work more timely, using my time more productively.

3. Eat the Right Foods

I am the first to admit I am struggling with eating the right foods right now. It can be difficult to take the time to cook and prepare food properly when time is so short.

Avoiding sugary foods and snack that contain a lot of carbohydrates in them can help combat sluggishness. Therefore, I almost never drink soda pop.

Instead I reach for ice water. The coldness helps to keep me alert and focused as I work during the day. Drinking water has many health benefits that make it a better choice than other drinks as well.

When it comes to food, I eat as many fruits and vegetables as I can. I also limit carbohydrates most of the time to prevent the afternoon “blahs”.

Take a page out of my book and eat dried fruit or nuts as an afternoon snack. The extra protein in nuts provides a boost without added sugar. Additionally, my dried fruit is low in added sugar because I dehydrate my own.

These are just a few of the many tactics I use that you can use too in order to keep hustling when you are wiped out. I also try to exercise when I can, ask for help when I need it, and say no to some requests instead of always saying yes. As you get tired from your own side hustle, try some of these ideas to help you keep hustling your way to success.

Are there other things you have tried to help you keep hustling when you are wiped out?

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Using a Side Hustle to Grow Your Net Worth http://yourpfpro.com/using-side-hustle-grow-net-worth/ http://yourpfpro.com/using-side-hustle-grow-net-worth/#respond Wed, 16 Aug 2017 11:00:58 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7291 This is a guest post from Eric Rosenberg, a finance writer at Personal Profitability, InvestmentZen, and other personal finance, technology, and travel publications. When I started my first online side hustle in 2006, I had no idea it would change my life. I was still a college student and began blogging during the summer before […]

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This is a guest post from Eric Rosenberg, a finance writer at Personal Profitability, InvestmentZen, and other personal finance, technology, and travel publications.

When I started my first online side hustle in 2006, I had no idea it would change my life. I was still a college student and began blogging during the summer before my senior year. As a finance major, I intended to get a good job in corporate finance, which I did. But along the way, I built a side hustle that revolutionized both my money and lifestyle ten years later. Thanks to this hustle, I’ve been able to save more, avoid debt, and live a low-stress financial life. Read on to discover the lessons I learned along the way.

A side hustle can help pay off debt

I have taken on debt twice in my life. First, I had a $10,995 car loan shortly after college when my old car broke down. Then I took on about $40,000 in student loans in grad school. It was at the time I was paying off these debts I started to take my side hustles seriously.

I had a good starting salary considering I graduated at the start of The Great Recession, but I wanted to get out of debt as quickly as possible. I kept my living expenses low, but the pay off my debt faster I wanted to attack both sides of the equation. While I started my first blog in 2006, I didn’t start to look at my blogs as a business until a couple of years later. As I began to focus on earning more online, I had more dollars to throw at my loans.

Through a combination of smart budgeting, aggressive payments, and a little help from my side hustles, I was able to pay off that car loan in half of the scheduled five years. I paid off my student loans exactly two years and six days after graduation.

A side hustle can fund your IRA

Over the years, my side hustle income grew to a more significant level. It covered a round of beers, then all of my bar tabs for a month, then it grew to a point where it could cover my rent and later my mortgage. Whoa, I realized I was making some serious cash with this crazy internet side hustle.

Because I kept my expenses low, every extra dollar I made resulted in bigger savings. Once I paid off my loans, I decided it was time to start focusing on my Roth IRA, which has a maximum $5,500 contribution limit every year. I split up the direct deposit from my paycheck at work to directly add $211 to my Roth each payday, resulting in a maximum $5,500 per year. I also increased my 401(k) contributions and added some padding to my emergency fund. Because I had extra income from outside of work, I was able to boost my automatic savings at my day job too.

In fact, my income from the side hustle grew enough that I added my wife’s Roth IRA to the mix. Between my 401(k), our IRAs, and other savings, we were putting about as much as I made from my side hustle into savings. In 2015, that was about $40,000.

A side hustle can revolutionize your finances

The core principle of personal finance is simple: spend less than you earn and use the rest to pay off debt or save and invest. But like most decisions that have the greatest positive impact on our life, that’s easier said than done.

I look at this financial conundrum similarly to how I view weight loss. If you are looking to drop a few pounds, common wisdom says to focus on diet (input) and exercise (output). But if you only focus on the exercise portion, you won’t see much success. You can spend hours on the treadmill every day, but if you only eat pizza, ice cream, and nachos all day, you won’t lose any weight. Why? Because you ignored the inputs. The same is true with your money.

You can budget until you’re blue in the face, but you can only cut your spending so much. You still need a place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear. Further, you can’t cut your spending infinitely. You can only go as low as zero. And if you are earning only $20,000 per year, you will never be wealthy regardless of how well you budget.

Just as changing your diet has the most dramatic impact on your weight, focusing on your income has the greatest effect on your finances. If you can cut your spending by $5,000 per year, that’s great. But if you can increase your income by $10,000, that’s even better. When I increased my income by $40,000 through side hustles, it made more than a small impact. It completely changed my family’s finances.

Earn more or spend less: I prefer earning more

I’m not suggesting you ignore your budget. Budgeting and understanding where your money goes is vitally important. But if I had the choice between cutting my spending and earning more, I’ll pick earning more every time. Because personal finance isn’t so black and white, it’s most likely you can find a combination of the two.

It might seem like increased earnings are an elusive pipedream, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Adding a small side hustle can have big results on your life. You might just find your side hustle to be a growing success that lets you leave your day job. You never know unless you try!

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