Your Personal Finance Pro http://yourpfpro.com Personal Finance for Young Professionals Thu, 16 Aug 2018 02:08:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 31591919 4 Ways Competing with the Joneses Harms Your Budget http://yourpfpro.com/4-ways-competing-with-the-joneses-harms-your-budget/ http://yourpfpro.com/4-ways-competing-with-the-joneses-harms-your-budget/#respond Mon, 13 Aug 2018 11:00:39 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=8151 Last week I went to visit my daughter who recently moved. It was quite a drive, so I’ve stayed several days and plan to drive back home tomorrow. In the meantime, we’ve been cleaning, painting, and decorating her new place. Of course, that has meant a few trips to Home Depot, Walmart, and a couple […]

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Some spending can't be helped. But competing with the Joneses harms your budget even if you think a few dollars here or there won’t matter.Last week I went to visit my daughter who recently moved. It was quite a drive, so I’ve stayed several days and plan to drive back home tomorrow. In the meantime, we’ve been cleaning, painting, and decorating her new place.

Of course, that has meant a few trips to Home Depot, Walmart, and a couple of other stores for supplies. Unfortunately, it’s also meant fighting crowds because we forgot there’d be masses of other people shopping too.

Schools are gearing up for the return of their students which means parents are frantically buying supplies and clothes. Stores are getting busier and checkout lines, longer.

But although part of that spending can’t be helped, some people seem to compete with everyone else with their shopping. These folks think they have to have better backpacks, trendier clothes, and more stylish sneakers for their kids. Otherwise, their kids won’t be the coolest ones when school resumes.

The problem is that when you shop this way it isn’t free or cheap. Competing with the Joneses harms your budget even if you think a few dollars here or there won’t matter.

1. Disregards Frugality

All of these extra’s that you buy for your kids do add up. In fact, they can put you over your normal monthly budget if you didn’t plan ahead for them. What’s more, they totally disregard the concept of frugality.

A better option would be to save ahead, buy on sale, and ignore the Joneses (and anyone else who looks down their nose at your family). Then, use any extra money to pay down debt or invest. You’ll get a much better return on your money.

Furthermore, the “cool” factor of trendy clothes lasts only a short time. When it comes to personal purchases, the same applies. Using your money wisely, on the other hand, has much longer impacts.

2. Causes Overspending

Like I mentioned already, competing with the Joneses causes overspending. If your money’s gone before the month is out, you can’t eat stylish pants or a cute shirt.

Where will you get the money for your bills? You may have to borrow from friends or family. Or, scrimping on groceries might be your choice to adjust your budget. No matter how you handle it, not having enough money is not a fun prospect.

3. Ignores Quality

If you try competing with the Joneses you certainly aren’t paying attention to quality in your purchases. All you’re doing is buying based on current trends in the market.

But the market is usually against you. Stores put the newest movie characters on the cheapest shoes, backpacks, notebooks, and other items on purpose. Then they up the price to make the most money from you.

When it comes to clothing and personal items for adults it’s nearly as bad. College students and adults alike are lured by the popular name brands or what their friends are wearing.

Don’t fall for those retailer’s tricks. Rather than buying what’s trendy, watch for quality. Also, whenever possible, hand down clothes from one child to another. For your own needs, swap clothes with friends and buy only what you need, not what’s cool at the time.

4. Builds Debt

Shopping based on style, rather than need, harms your budget and builds debt. Sure, you and your kids could look like mini celebrities when school starts. But at what price?

Think about what you are giving up with each purchase. Could you have spent less and paid down debt? What about taking a vacation?

Every unnecessary purchase you make takes money from another place you could be using it. Put your money to work for you instead of being a slave to it.

The Bottom Line

The next time you shop, think before you pay. Ask yourself if you’re buying just so you can continue competing with the Joneses. If the answer is yes, rethink that purchase. After all, who cares what the Joneses think anyway?

Have you been competing with the Joneses and harming your budget without realizing it?

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Are You Prepared for Back to School Expenses? http://yourpfpro.com/are-you-prepared-for-back-to-school-expenses/ http://yourpfpro.com/are-you-prepared-for-back-to-school-expenses/#respond Mon, 06 Aug 2018 11:00:01 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=8130 Although summer isn’t quite over, many of my teacher friends are preparing for the next school year. In addition, store displays and email advertisements alike are targeting parents who’ll soon be shopping for school supplies. Unfortunately, that means extra expenses for many people’s budgets this month. Pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, markers, and other supplies do […]

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Many parents end up spending hundreds preparing for back to school. The question is, are you prepared for back to school expenses?Although summer isn’t quite over, many of my teacher friends are preparing for the next school year. In addition, store displays and email advertisements alike are targeting parents who’ll soon be shopping for school supplies.

Unfortunately, that means extra expenses for many people’s budgets this month. Pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, markers, and other supplies do add up when bought all at once.

But the spending doesn’t end there. On top of supplies, there are usually school clothes and shoes to get as well. When all is said and done, many parents end up spending hundreds preparing for back to school.

Of course, the more children you have, the more money you will spend. The question is, are you prepared for back to school expenses?

Take an Inventory

Shopping for school supplies and clothes is, in truth, a lot like shopping for food. Before you go blow money on stuff you already have you should take an inventory.

If you have a supply list from your children’s school, compare it to what you already have on hand. That way you won’t spend money on things you don’t need to.

When it comes to clothing and shoes, you should inventory those items as well. Then you’ll know where to spend your hard earned money.

Create a Budget

The next thing you need to do to prepare for back to school is create a budget. If you have more than one child, and a limited budget, don’t worry about making the amounts equal. How much you spend on each child should be based on need more than anything else.

Your child’s age may also be a factor. For example, the needs of a kindergartener may be far different from that of a high school student. Therefore, the amounts spent on each could be vastly different.

Make Extra Money

If you need cash to supplement your budget, there are lots of ways you can get it. You could try mowing a few lawns, babysitting, or selling stuff online that you no longer use.

Just think about your knowledge and skills and how you could use them to make money quickly. Then, use the extra money you make to help you be prepared for back to school expenses.

Be Thrifty

Thrift stores are a great resource when you’re preparing for back to school. Sometimes you can even find items that are brand new with the tags still attached.

There are some great online thrift stores if you don’t have any nearby. A few to try are Stitch Fix, Thred Up, and Ebay.

Go to Garage Sales

Many garage sales have clothing of various sizes for sale. While some items may be worn and stained, not all of them will be. Some will be barely used and cost next to nothing.

If you really want to stretch your money try shopping at a few. You may be able to knock a few things off your list for very little money.

Shop Clearance Racks First

You’ll be able to stretch a tight budget further when you buy back to school items off the clearance racks. In fact, you should first check the clearance racks before shopping anywhere else in the store.

The same holds true for shopping online. There’s usually a sale or clearance section you can check before looking at other categories.

Check Out Discount Stores

Not all supplies and clothing have to be name brand. You can find plenty of great choices when you shop at discount stores like Walmart and Target. Furthermore, you’ll find the prices are better than some of the pricier clothing stores at the mall or online.

Use Coupons

To help your budget take the smallest hit possible, use coupons and coupon codes for back to school stuff. Watch for them in flyers and ads in newspapers, in the mail, online, and in stores. If you’ve signed up for text alerts from your favorite stores you may get savings codes there as well.

Some can be printed but others may need to be shown when you’re in a store paying at the register. Be prepared when you get to the cashier by pulling up your coupon codes ahead of time.

Watch for Sales

Obviously you can also save by buying school supplies and clothes when they are on sale. That will help you save as much as possible – especially when you combine sales with coupons and coupon codes.

Sign Up for Loyalty Programs

Another way you can be prepared for back to school expenses is by signing up for store loyalty programs. Some will provide discount codes just for signing up. If you were planning to buy there anyway, why not save while doing it?

Do Price Comparisons

At times, different stores will carry the exact same items. However, the prices could vary greatly. Before you buy the first thing you see, do some price comparisons. That will help you save the most on back to school expenses.

Clearly buying back to school supplies and clothes will cost some money. But it you haven’t saved up for it, use these tips to help you be prepared and spend less.

How do you save for back to school expenses?

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8 Ways to Save on Summer Lawn Care http://yourpfpro.com/8-ways-to-save-on-summer-lawn-care/ http://yourpfpro.com/8-ways-to-save-on-summer-lawn-care/#respond Mon, 30 Jul 2018 11:00:07 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=8121 July is coming to a close in the next couple of days and August is hot on its heels. That means school will be starting soon and eventually, my yard work will slow down. But for now, the days are usually quite hot and the mowing and trimming still have to be done. Unfortunately, so […]

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One of the worst things about summer lawn care, is how expensive it can be. Luckily, there are ways to save on summer lawn care.July is coming to a close in the next couple of days and August is hot on its heels. That means school will be starting soon and eventually, my yard work will slow down.

But for now, the days are usually quite hot and the mowing and trimming still have to be done. Unfortunately, so does the weeding and watering.

One of the worst things about summer lawn care, though, is how expensive it can be. All of the watering, fertilizing, trimming, and mowing can really cut into your monthly income. This is especially true if you forgot to budget for it.

Luckily, there are ways to save on summer lawn care.

1. DIY Lawn Care

One way to save on summer lawn care is to DIY it instead of hiring it done. With mowing costs between $100 and $200 per month, you could buy your own mower in about two months.

If you can spare the time, this is one way to save a lot of money each summer. In fact, you can save hundreds, if not thousands, on lawn care over the life of your mower.

2. Hire Your Kids

When you don’t have time to do summer lawn care yourself, hire your kids to do it. If you have a child that is old enough, teach them how to mow and pay them for it.

They’ll be eager to do it to earn spending money. In addition, it can cost you lots less than paying someone else.

3. Exchange Services

Another way you can save on summer lawn care is to exchange services with someone else. Ask a neighbor if they can mow for you in exchange for babysitting, sewing, or some other service.

In other words, barter for summer lawn care instead of paying cash. Each person can benefit from the exchange and save money overall.

4. Collect Rain Water

Did you know you can collect rain water to use for your lawn and garden? There’s plenty of info on the internet to help you get started. Furthermore, your County Extension Office may have information that can help.

Using the water that nature provides can lower your monthly water bill. Furthermore, purchasing a simple rain barrel system costs only a couple of hundred dollars.

5. Water Smarter

Your summer lawn care costs can also be controlled by limiting how often you water. Sprinkler systems can have timers attached to prevent overwatering.

It also helps to water your lawn, trees, and shrubs at night. This will reduce evaporation, which saves you money in the long run.

When it comes to planting, go for grass that is drought tolerant. Then, use mulch around shrubs to keep moisture in.

6. Grow a Garden

Although time consuming, you can also lower summer lawn care by growing a garden. Rather than watering and mowing grass, use some of the space to grow vegetables instead. This can keep your grocery bill down and save you money overall.

7. Share Costs

Several years ago, my husband and I co-owned some expensive outdoor equipment with friends. Each of our families trusted each other and we were close neighbors which made the plan feasible.

Purchasing high dollar machines our families needed, but didn’t use constantly, worked well for us. It lowered the amount of money we each had to spend. You could use that same idea for lawn care equipment and keep costs down for your family.

8. Maintain Equipment

Once you have lawn care equipment, you can also keep costs down through good maintenance. Here are a couple of tips.

  • Always make sure you use the right kind of fuel or fuel mixture for your mower. Consult your manual to be sure.
  • Don’t forget to change the oil as the manufacturer recommends.
  • Sharpen the blades when they begin to dull and rip the grass.
  • Change the spark plugs every so often to ensure you can start your mower. You should get about 100 hours before changing them is necessary.
  • Charge, or change, the battery as needed.
  • Some mowers have fuel filters. Look to see if yours does and it needs to be cleaned or replaced.

As you can see there are lots of ways to save on summer lawn care. If your lawn care is chewing a hole in your budget, try some of the tips mentioned to save some green.

Do you hire out your summer lawn care?

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Can You Get Along Without a Car? http://yourpfpro.com/can-you-get-along-without-a-car/ http://yourpfpro.com/can-you-get-along-without-a-car/#comments Mon, 23 Jul 2018 11:00:24 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=8101 For many young people, one of the keys to independence is getting their first car. It’s not only kind of a rite of passage, it’s also a step toward adulthood. I can still remember getting my first car. It was handed down to me from my brother when he upgraded to a newer (although still […]

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Having a car gives you independence and convenience. But it comes as a price. The question is, can you get along without a car?

For many young people, one of the keys to independence is getting their first car. It’s not only kind of a rite of passage, it’s also a step toward adulthood.

I can still remember getting my first car. It was handed down to me from my brother when he upgraded to a newer (although still used) one.

While I could have probably gotten along without it for another year or two, eventually I’d have needed wheels anyway. Where I live, to get to anywhere you’ve got to have some form of transportation other than your two feet.

Of course, not everyone lives in a rural area like I do. That means there may be other ways to get around. So, can you get along without a car?

Ways to Get Around

As mentioned above, there are other ways you could get around, depending on where you live. For instance, you could walk instead. Alternatively, you could also take a bus, ride a bicycle, carpool, take a taxi, use an Uber, take a train, or use the subway.

Clearly, there are lots of alternatives to driving in order to get where you want to go. But, there are both advantages and disadvantages of each choice.

Advantages

Car

You probably can get along without a car, but a major advantage of having a car is that it’s convenient. Since you own it you can use it whenever you want. You can also go pretty much wherever you want.

Accessories can also be added, like seat covers, steering wheel covers, fancy wheels, and more. If you want to change the outside appearance, you can do that as well.

Did you ever consider that with a car you can make money too? Using your car you can drive for Uber or Lyft and earn money to offset car costs or other things.

Walk

Obviously there are also advantages to using your own power to get around. You don’t have to pay for gas money, for one thing. For another, you get exercise which is good for you.

Bicycle

Using a bicycle is another way you can get along without a car. Once again, it provides good exercise.

Another advantage is that they are not too expensive. They hold up well over time, if taken care of properly. That means you can also pick them up used for less money increasing your savings over owning a car.

Carpool

Carpooling will only help you get along without a car if you pay a friend to take you everywhere. While that may be convenient and less expensive for you, it may not last.

Other

Above I mentioned several other methods of transportation you could choose over a car. They include taking a bus, taxi, train, or subway to get to your destination.

While at the onset they are cheaper than buying your own car, some can add up over time if used frequently.

A couple of methods of travel I didn’t mention until now are motorcycles and mopeds. Certainly they are cheaper than owning and maintaining a car.

Disadvantages

Car

There are disadvantages to having a car as well as advantages. If you drive far, you will have to fill up with gas more frequently. They can also be expensive to buy as well as maintain. In addition, you’ll need a place to park it when you’re not driving it.

Walk

The bad thing about walking as your mode of transportation is that it takes longer to get anywhere. You also can’t easily transport very much, like groceries or other large items.

If the weather is bad while you are walking you may get cold or wet. When it’s hot out, walking can be equally miserable.

Bicycle

As with walking, a disadvantage of using a bicycle is not being able to carry much. You can add baskets or other accessories that allow you to transport small items. But what and how much you can carry will be limited.

Weather is just as much an issue when bicycling as it is with walking. When it comes to maintenance, you will need to air tires and replace them now and then. Your bicycle may also need to be washed, lubed, and have brake pads replaced as well as other routine care.

Carpool

Without a car of your own, paying someone else to drive you probably isn’t a lasting option. They will tire of it after a while and then you’ll have to figure out another way to get around.

Other

Taking public transportation everywhere may be cheaper than buying a car, but it isn’t as convenient. You’ll still have to pay and you’ll probably have to wait to be picked up or transported. Moving large items remains an issue you’ll have to deal with through delivery services or other means.

If motorcycles or mopeds are your choice of transport, you’ll want to use extra caution and a helmet. They aren’t going to be as safe as using a car. Additionally, you’ll still have the same problem of not being able to haul very much.

I could go on and on about the different methods of transportation and their good and bad points. But each person’s needs and viewpoints are different. Obviously where you live and how far you routinely travel must be considered.

Having a car does grant independence as well as convenience and other advantages. Obviously it comes at a price. But you must ultimately weigh all of the factors, not just what is mentioned here. Then, decide if you can get along without a car or not.

Have you thought about giving up your car and getting along without it?

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How to Build Your Credit Score http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-build-your-credit-score/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-build-your-credit-score/#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2018 11:00:51 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=8083 There are lots of reasons your credit score is important. If you’re opening a bank account, getting a loan, or applying for a credit card, a good credit score matters. But what if you have bad credit or no credit history? Fortunately, you can repair a credit score after having bad credit. As far as […]

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A good credit score matters. Fortunately, you can repair a credit score after having bad credit or build your credit score from scratch.There are lots of reasons your credit score is important. If you’re opening a bank account, getting a loan, or applying for a credit card, a good credit score matters.

But what if you have bad credit or no credit history? Fortunately, you can repair a credit score after having bad credit. As far as having no credit history, while it takes time, you can build one.

Repair Your Credit Score

Having a low credit score can prevent you from getting a loan. Consequently, raising it is in your best interests. There are several things you can do to repair and build your credit score:

Get Your Score

The first thing you need to do to repair your credit score is to find out what it actually is. If you think it is low, but don’t know the actual number, check with creditsesame.com to find out.

With Credit Sesame you can get your credit score without having to pay a dime. They also offer once a month free credit monitoring and a free credit report card. Credit Sesame has a lot of useful information that can answer many of your credit questions.

Use Credit Repair Services with Caution

If you plan on using a credit repair service to help you build or repair your credit score, make sure they are legit. In other words, use a reputable service. Additionally, make sure you read the fine print so you don’t get taken for a ride with additional fees.

Pay Bills Timely

When you’re credit score is low it’s important to pay all of your bills timely. This will help you to raise your credit score. Late payments can hurt your credit score just like non-payments.

Keep Credit Card Balances Low

Another thing to help repair your credit score is to pay down credit card debt and keep balances low. Having credit card debt that is 30%, or less, of your limit is best.

Watch for Errors

Even credit reporting agencies make errors. Get your credit report from Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax and keep an eye on it for mistakes. You can do a soft inquiry for free once per year.

Build Your Credit Score from Scratch

There’s more than one option to help you build your credit score and your credit history from scratch. Here are some of them:

Get a Student Credit Card

If you are a student, build your credit history by getting a student credit card. Many have promotional offers, rewards, and other perks. Just make sure you keep balances paid off.

Apply for a Store Credit Card

Some stores you frequent will offer you a credit card even if you have no credit history. Again, keep them paid off because the interest rates on unpaid balances can be very high.

Find a Co-Signer

You might be able to get a credit history established by finding a co-signer on a small loan. Usually a parent or close relative agrees to be the co-signer.

Obviously the co-signer has to be willing to take the risk, though. If you should not pay the loan the co-signer will have to make the payments for you.

Ask for Help from Your Parents

When you’re young you might be able to ask for help from your parents to build your credit score from scratch. They can do that by allowing you to be an authorized user on one of their credit cards.

Should you decide to build credit this way make sure you read the details of any agreements. Some credit card companies charge fees for authorized users to be added to the account.

Clearly, there are several ways to repair or build your credit score. Changing your credit score doesn’t happen overnight. But, with dedication and patience, you can improve your credit score and reach your financial goals.

Have you ever had to repair your credit score?

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What to Know Before Renting Your First Place http://yourpfpro.com/what-to-know-before-renting-your-first-place/ http://yourpfpro.com/what-to-know-before-renting-your-first-place/#comments Mon, 09 Jul 2018 11:00:43 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=8077 Moving out on your own for the first time is exciting. You are in charge of where you live, what your place looks like, and how long you’ll live there. As exciting as it is to get a place of your own, you shouldn’t rush into a lease too quickly. There are some things to […]

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Moving out on your own for the first time is exciting. But don't sign a lease too quickly. There are some things to know before renting your first place.

Moving out on your own for the first time is exciting. You are in charge of where you live, what your place looks like, and how long you’ll live there.

As exciting as it is to get a place of your own, you shouldn’t rush into a lease too quickly. There are some things to know before renting your first place.

Budgeting for the Rent

Before even making appointments to view rentals you should be looking at your finances. Do you have a good job? If you do, renting an apartment or house might be within your means.

To know for sure, though, you should consider what your budget might be. Add up monthly food costs, health insurance, gas for your car, utilities, and all the other expenses you’ll have. Leave off the rent payment, for now, until everything else is added up.

Now compare that figure to the take home pay from your job. If there’s enough money left over for rent, you’re ready to go look for your first place. But if there isn’t, you’ll need to either find places to cut your budget, or wait to move out on your own.

Realizing you can’t afford a place of your own is a bummer. Still, there is a point when mom and dad’s financial support needs to end.

Choosing a Location

Sometimes location plays almost as big of a role in choosing a rental as the amount of the rent payment. For instance, are you planning to walk, drive, or take a bus to your job each day?

If you’re walking, you’ll want an apartment that is close to your job. On the other hand, rentals near your work could be out of your price range.

But if you’re driving to work you must also consider the distance to and from work each day. Driving too far to work will cost you more money on gas for your car.

Taking a bus or some other form of public transportation may not cost you that much. However, it does come up short in convenience. Keep that in mind as you choose an apartment or home to rent.

Picking the Rental

Of course, your monthly rent will be dependent on more than just location. There’s also the newness of the building and amenities to think about.

As examples, ask these questions: Is there a carport? What about a pool? Will you have your own laundry facilities or a shared one among tenants? Do they allow pets? Any of these items can drive up the price of your rent so that it’s unattainable for you.

Don’t forget to take into consideration the size of the rentals you’re looking at. The number of bedrooms, and their sizes, will also determine the amount of your rent.

Lowering Rent Costs

When it comes to renting a house or apartment, there are some ways to make it more affordable. As hinted at before, having pets will cost you more. That may mean giving up your furry friends or leaving them with mom and dad.

Another way to make renting fit your budget is to get a roommate. Sharing with a friend might make a nicer place more affordable than living there alone.

Knowing What’s Included

Knowing what’s included in your monthly rent will impact your budget. Some rentals will include all, or a portion of, the utilities. That allows landlords to ensure yards are watered and kept up properly.

The last thing you want after signing a lease and moving in is surprise bills you weren’t looking to receive. That’s why what’s included is important to know before renting your first place.

Completing the Walkthrough

Usually there’s an inspection or “walkthrough” that happens before you move into your new place. When it’s offered, don’t sidestep it.

Make notes or take pictures of holes and nails in walls including their location. If there are any stains or tears in carpet, record that as well. Otherwise, at some point in the future when you move out, you could be charged for those damages.

Taking the time to complete the walkthrough can save you money when you move out. In fact, according to Allstate Insurance, the walkthrough is one of the most important parts of moving.

Moving into your first place is an exciting time in your life. However, as you can see, there are some things to know before renting your first place.

Have you started looking at rentals and had a few surprises? If so, what were they?

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8 Ways to Make Money Before Summer is Over http://yourpfpro.com/8-ways-to-make-money-before-summer-is-over/ http://yourpfpro.com/8-ways-to-make-money-before-summer-is-over/#comments Mon, 25 Jun 2018 11:00:58 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=8053 Where I live, in the spring we can still get (and usually do!) a big blizzard in April. Of course, for many other areas of the country, April is much too warm for snow. Needless to say, Mother Nature’s last attempt to hold on to winter makes me long for warmer temperatures. But once they […]

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Do you use the summer months to make extra money? If you're panicking because summer is too short there are still ways to make money before summer is over.

Where I live, in the spring we can still get (and usually do!) a big blizzard in April. Of course, for many other areas of the country, April is much too warm for snow.

Needless to say, Mother Nature’s last attempt to hold on to winter makes me long for warmer temperatures. But once they arrive it seems like no time until we are half-way around toward fall again. Yes, summer is just too short for my liking.

Some people agree with me, but perhaps for a different reason. They may use the summer months to make a little extra money.

If you are one of them you may be panicking at the thought that it’s going by so quickly. Fortunately, there are ways to make money before summer is over.

1. Lawn Care

Although summer is well under way that doesn’t mean everyone has taken good care of their lawns. You might be able to cash in on their negligence and make some money. If you like spending time outdoors (and want to work on your tan, too!) start a lawn care service.

You could begin with friends or neighbors and even mow and trim a yard or two for free. Then ask for referrals and do some advertising. You’ll be raking in the green in no time.

2. Pet Sitting/Dog Walking

If you’re an animal lover try pet sitting or dog walking to make money before summer is over. Once again, start with family and friends and build up your client base from there.

To gain momentum, put the word out on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. You could also post flyers around your community.

3. Baking and Catering

Do you have a love for all things food related? Why not turn that passion into a side business to make money before summer is over?

Try out a few recipes on co-workers and other’s you know. Ask for their honest opinions and help in spreading the word about your side business. Then watch how quickly you start rolling in dough.

4. Sell Unused Stuff

When you’ve got stuff sitting around unused and unwanted at home, you could turn it into cash. Have a garage sale or post it on Craigslist to make money quickly.

You’ll feel better freeing up space and earning some money too.

5. Trade Unwanted Gift Cards

Don’t just leave unwanted gift cards lying around at home unused. Instead, trade them in for cash to an online site such as Gift Card Granny.

You’ll have cash in your pocket to use for other things you need.

6. Pool Care

If you’re the outdoorsy type and have the right experience, you could make money doing pool care. You can do it part time and you don’t need a bunch of equipment to get started.

It’s a great way to go to work wearing shorts and t-shirts without getting fired for it. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

7. Painting Service

Painting homes is another way to make money before summer is over. If you advertise and have a willingness to work hard, lots of people would pay you well for this service.

You may need a few supplies, but it isn’t too costly to get started. Get your name out there on community bulletin boards and social media. You’ll have money in your pocket in no time.

8. Car Detailing

Do you need another idea on how to make money before summer is over? Try cleaning up cars for other people.

Running a car detailing business doesn’t take too many supplies, although it will take a certain amount of water. Nevertheless, you could be well on your way to extra cash in a hurry.

The truth is, if you need money badly enough, there are lots of ways to make money before summer is over. Some are as easy as going for a walk. All you have to do is decide what your skills are and think about how to make money from them.

What types of odd jobs have you done in the past to make money in the summer?

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How to Be More Productive and Make More Money http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-be-more-productive-and-make-more-money/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-be-more-productive-and-make-more-money/#respond Mon, 18 Jun 2018 11:00:36 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=8026 Many people these days are working hard to improve their financial situations. Of course, there’s more than one way you can accomplish that. You can reduce debt, budget wisely, and increase your income. When trying to increase your income, one way to do it is to improve your productivity in your job. Start at Home […]

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Many people these days work hard to improve their financial situations. One way to do it is to improve productivity in your job so you can make more money.

Many people these days are working hard to improve their financial situations. Of course, there’s more than one way you can accomplish that.

You can reduce debt, budget wisely, and increase your income. When trying to increase your income, one way to do it is to improve your productivity in your job.

Start at Home

One of the best ways to be more productive and make more money is to start at home. When your home is a wreck it’s certainly harder to “be at work” all the way when you’re physically at work.

Your mind may wander to what you’ll make for supper or how you’ll have time to get the dishes done. Instead of working you’ll get distracted by all that’s waiting for you when you get off work.

So, to be more productive and make more money at work, use these ideas:

1. Get Organized

Get through any mail, bills, or papers that are lying around at home. Do your laundry, dishes and cleaning.

If you need to, ask a friend, partner, or spouse for help, especially if you have small kids. Once you get organized at home you’ll be fully present at work. That will help you be more productive so you can make more money through raises and promotions.

2. Prepare Each Night

Every evening at home, get into a routine that will help you be more productive at work. Choose and gather clothing for yourself and other family members for the next day.

Do you take lunch with you to work or make lunches for your kids? If so, make them the night before to make your morning so faster and smoother. Then all you’ll have to do the next day is grab them on the way out the door.

3. Get Plenty of Rest

Another way to be more productive so you can make more money at work is to get plenty of rest. When you are well rested you’ll work faster and complete more work throughout the day.

What to Do at Work

There are lots of things you can do to be more productive while at work too.

4. End the Day Preparing

At the close of each day, review your calendar and what you need to do tomorrow. This enables you to prepare for early morning meetings and appointments so you don’t arrive late.

It only takes a moment or two to scan your calendar for the next day. But it can make a world of difference to your whole day tomorrow.

5. Make a Task List

When you make a task list at work it helps you remember to do important projects.  Keeping a running list helps you work faster, be more productive, and in the end, make more money.

You’ll spend less time trying to remember all you need to do and more time doing. It also allows you to add to the list and remove things from the list as they are completed.

6. Establish a Routine

Believe it or not, the simple act of establishing a routine will help you be more productive at work.

Begin by reading emails and texts as well as listening to phone messages in the morning. Check all forms of communication and then move on to other important tasks. If you have trouble getting this done quickly, set a timer to help you get to a stopping point.

Once you get your morning pattern established, move on to other time blocks in your day. The more routines you create the more productive you will become.

7. Don’t Look at Social Media

One of the worst time wasters and bad habits many people have these days is social media. Therefore, to be more productive and make more money at work, stay away from it.

Put your phone in a drawer or across the room. Or, put it in the next room so you aren’t tempted to check it every 5 minutes.

Certainly many of us are trying to improve our financial situations these days. But sometimes to make more money you need to be more productive. Use these tips to help you accomplish both your productivity and money goals.

What do you do to stay productive and make more money?

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4 Reasons Not to Give Up on Financial Goals in Summer http://yourpfpro.com/4-reasons-not-to-give-up-on-financial-goals-in-summer/ http://yourpfpro.com/4-reasons-not-to-give-up-on-financial-goals-in-summer/#respond Mon, 11 Jun 2018 11:00:18 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7989 I must confess I am not sure just where the time has gone this year. It seems like the last I knew it was January and then all of a sudden it’s June. Where did February, March, April, and May go? For me it was spent working and doing various other chores and family activities. […]

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Although the year is nearly half way over, your financial goals shouldn’t be. There are plenty of reasons not to give up on financial goals in summer.

I must confess I am not sure just where the time has gone this year. It seems like the last I knew it was January and then all of a sudden it’s June.

Where did February, March, April, and May go? For me it was spent working and doing various other chores and family activities.

But regardless of the fact that the year is nearly half way over, your financial goals shouldn’t be. If you made financial resolutions this year that haven’t been met yet you’re probably not alone.

Besides, there are plenty of reasons not to give up on financial goals in summer.

1. You Can Still Have Summer Fun Cheaply

Rather than give up on financial goals in summer, consider ways to have summer fun cheaply. Here are a few to try:

Cool off at the Beach

If you live anywhere near the water, take a daycation and go to the beach for the day. Gather your friends or family, pack some snacks and grab the sunscreen for a cheap day of fun.

Run Through the Sprinklers

I don’t live anywhere near a beach. If you don’t either, try running through the sprinklers a couple of times to stay cool while watering your lawn. You’ll have summer fun and keep your yard green at the same time.

Go on a Scavenger Hunt

Another inexpensive fun summer activity to try is a scavenger hunt. If you need some ideas of things to scavenge for, try the ideas found at Coolest Parties.

2. The Year Isn’t Over Yet

Yes, it’s June and at the end of the month the year will officially be half over. But that doesn’t mean the second half can’t be an improvement over the first half.

When it comes to financial goals, starting late is still better than not starting at all. Even if your goal was to save a certain amount by December 31rst you can still save some money.

Start by looking for ways to save such as hanging clothes on the line instead of drying them. Make sure electric appliances and lights are off or unplugged when not in use. Open the curtains for light instead of flipping the switch on the wall.

There are tons of ways you can save money if you want to badly enough. Don’t wait. Get started now.

3. Budgets Can Be Started (and Restarted) at Any Time

As far as I know there is no rule that says all budgets must be started in January. Budgets can be started or restarted at any time.

Besides, since it’s your budget you can start it whenever you want. This is another reason not to give up on financial goals this summer.

If you need help budgeting or your income is not regular, ask a friend, family member, or financial advisor. There’s no shame in not knowing how, only in not doing it at all.

4. Money Goals Help You Make Financial Progress

It’s time to realize you may not reach your financial goals this year. But another reason not to give up is that goals help you make financial progress. Even if those goals aren’t reached, forward progress is still progress.

So pull out the goals you have written down and go over them. Revise your budget if it is needed. Check your credit report and reset your money goals for the remaining part of the year. Doing these things will help you to make financial progress.

Sometimes life happens and time passes quickly. But just because you get off track it doesn’t mean you should give up on financial goals in summer. Instead, use these tips to help you make financial progress and stay on track the rest of the year.

Have you ever gotten off track with your financial goals? What did you do about it?

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5 Ways You Spend More Because of Stress http://yourpfpro.com/5-ways-you-spend-more-because-of-stress/ http://yourpfpro.com/5-ways-you-spend-more-because-of-stress/#comments Mon, 04 Jun 2018 11:00:14 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7970 I don’t know about you, but from time to time I get stressed. For me it happens when I have lots to do in a short period of time. Fortunately I have a husband and family who understand and pitch in to help when needed. This usually brings down my stress level somewhat. However, sometimes […]

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If you’re like me you may feel pressured from time to time. Unfortunately, it may cause you to spend more because of stress.

I don’t know about you, but from time to time I get stressed. For me it happens when I have lots to do in a short period of time.

Fortunately I have a husband and family who understand and pitch in to help when needed. This usually brings down my stress level somewhat.

However, sometimes I alleviate stress in other ways that are not so healthy. In addition, a few of them impact our finances.

If you’re like me you may feel pressured too from time to time. Unfortunately, it may also cause you to spend more because of stress.

1. Eating Convenience Foods

One of the ways my husband and I sometimes succumb to stress is by eating convenience foods. When we’re in a hurry it’s faster to pop a frozen pizza in the oven than make food from scratch.

Of course, this does nothing to help our waist lines so we try not to do it too often. Also, even though some foods may seem cheaper, in the long run they probably aren’t.

We end up spending more because we have to buy larger clothes. Or, we turn around and spend money on diets or gym memberships. Eating convenience foods could be causing you to spend more because of stress too.

2. Buying Fast Food

When we aren’t eating convenience foods we sometimes buy fast food instead when we are stressed. If you do too, it could make you spend more due to stress.

No time to cook? Grab some burgers at a drive-through on the way home from work. No time for that either? Have a pizza delivered instead.

Buying fast food a couple of times every week can raise monthly food bills by a couple of hundred dollars. When we realize we are buying fast food too often we try to put the brakes on that spending.

3. Retail Therapy

Retail therapy is another feel good solution when you’ve been dealing with stress. But it’s a short term high that also causes you to spend more because of stress.

This is one area I can say I have conquered, for the most part. Still, I haven’t always been able to claim that. In the past I turned to shopping online to ease my stress.

That ended once I realized it wasn’t really helping. In fact, it was making more stress due to the extra spending.

4. Salon Trips

Some people spend more because of stress by making frequent salon trips. They opt for services such as manicures, pedicures, haircuts, dye jobs, and massages to name a few.

Obviously, these treatments don’t come cheap. This is especially the case if you go every couple of weeks. These trips can really cut into your monthly budget all in the name of dealing with stress.

5. Alcohol Consumption

Luckily, my husband and I aren’t big drinkers. In fact, I can probably count on two hands how many drinks I’ve had in the last year.

I’m sure it isn’t that way for everyone, though.  Some people probably try to drink away their stress often if not every day.

Since alcohol doesn’t come cheap this can really cause them to spend more because of stress.

Cheaper Ways to Handle Stress

The good news is that there are some cheaper ways to handle stress that  are also healthy. Here are a few of them:

  • Eat Healthier Meals
  • Drink Plenty of Water
  • Know Your Limits
  • Get Enough Sleep
  • Take Periodic Breaks
  • Request Help
  • Say “no”
  • Don’t be a Perfectionist
  • Use Apps

Just about everybody gets stressed from time to time. The key is to combat it in ways that don’t make you spend more.

How do you deal with stress without spending more because of it?

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How Switching Jobs Can Hurt Your Budget http://yourpfpro.com/how-switching-jobs-can-hurt-your-budget/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-switching-jobs-can-hurt-your-budget/#comments Mon, 28 May 2018 11:00:04 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7957 Lots of times switching jobs is exciting. You may get to meet new people and learn some new skills. In addition, you might be glad to leave behind a job where there were ill feelings. Changing jobs can mean working less hours or receiving a pay increase. It may also allow you to work closer […]

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Lots of times switching jobs is exciting. But there are times when making a job change can have negative consequences. Sometimes switching jobs can hurt your budget.

Lots of times switching jobs is exciting. You may get to meet new people and learn some new skills. In addition, you might be glad to leave behind a job where there were ill feelings.

Changing jobs can mean working less hours or receiving a pay increase. It may also allow you to work closer to home.

Nevertheless, there are also times when making a job change can have negative consequences. Sometimes switching jobs can hurt your budget.

Lower Pay

If circumstances at your current job are bad enough it may warrant a change in jobs. Of course, the switch may also be prompted by your employer closing its doors or selling the business.

Regardless of the reason, making the switch can hurt you financially if the pay is lower. Fortunately there are a couple of things you can do to soften the blow to your budget.

For instance, if you know with enough advanced warning you can try to pay down some debt. This could alleviate some of the financial strain you will otherwise feel. Another idea is to take on a side hustle so you can make up for the lower pay.

Gap in Paychecks

You may also experience a gap in pay that can hurt your budget as well. It all depends on timing. The last paycheck from your current job and the first paycheck from the new one could leave a gap.

Should that happen you may have to dip into your emergency fund to keep your bills paid. Other options include planning ahead and asking for help from family or friends. Once you receive your first check you can pay the money back.

New Attire

There are times a new job has different clothing requirements than your current one. Some have uniforms and others may simply be more professional than your last job.

Either way, this can affect your finances if you’re expected to foot the bill for the difference in attire. You should ask about this ahead of time if you are unsure of what to expect.

Longer Hours

When you switch jobs you may end up with longer hours than before. Even if the pay is higher, switching jobs can hurt your budget.

Hiring out tasks you used to do yourself, such as housework, decreases the amount of the raise you actually received. You may also eat out more or increase your grocery budget by purchasing more processed foods to save time.

But you can find out how many hours you’ll be expected to work before accepting a job offer. Then, run some number to make sure the higher pay is worth the sacrifice.

Farther Commute

If your new job has a farther commute than your previous one, switching jobs can hurt your budget. You may have to pay for more frequent gas fill-ups for your vehicle. Or, if you take a bus or train it may cost you more for the longer ride.

This is something to consider as you think about whether or not to change jobs. In fact, it may even make you hold out for a promotion rather than leave your current job.

Fewer Benefits

Fewer benefits may also hurt your budget when you switch jobs. You may experience a reduction in sick pay which forces you to take unpaid leave occasionally.

Other considerations are a 401K, vacation days, life insurance, and health insurance to name but a few. Any of these, or other benefits, may be eliminated or reduced by your new employers. Be sure to ask about them for comparison purposed before accepting a job offer.

There are lots of things to look forward to when you begin a new job. But since switching jobs can hurt your budget you need to be prepared. Use the information and tips found here to ensure switching jobs is the right thing to do.

Have you ever switched jobs and found out you made a mistake by doing it?

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8 Reasons Graduates Need to Watch Their Budgets http://yourpfpro.com/8-reasons-graduates-need-to-watch-their-budgets/ http://yourpfpro.com/8-reasons-graduates-need-to-watch-their-budgets/#comments Mon, 21 May 2018 11:00:16 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7932 Once you graduate from college you may feel a sense of relief. No doubt part of that relief is due to the idea that your studying days are over. But you may also feel a sense of relief financially. With college costs higher than ever before it’s no wonder you might feel this way. Still, […]

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If you’re a recent college grad you shouldn’t let down your guard. In fact, there are reasons graduates need to watch their budgets now more than ever.Once you graduate from college you may feel a sense of relief. No doubt part of that relief is due to the idea that your studying days are over.

But you may also feel a sense of relief financially. With college costs higher than ever before it’s no wonder you might feel this way.

Still, if you’re a recent college grad you shouldn’t let down your guard. In fact, there are reasons graduates need to watch their budgets now more than ever.

1. Graduate School

If you’ve just graduated from college don’t let that fact allow you to relax a frugal budget. Especially if you plan to attend graduate school.

According to U.S. News & World Report, a graduate degree can cost from $20K to $80K or more. So, even if you have your bachelor’s degree already you’ll need to watch expenses. Otherwise your dreams of an even higher education could end before they start.

2. Moving Expenses

Presumably, no matter where a college graduate is living they will soon move elsewhere to start new employment. After all, education for employment is one of the reasons to go to college in the first place.

However, as a college graduate you need be mindful of just how much money it costs to move. Obviously it differs based on many things.  Distance to new location, amount of stuff to be moved, and who is doing the moving are just a few.

Coming up with the money to move isn’t easy if you didn’t plan ahead for it. That’s one reason graduates need to watch their budgets.

3. Low Income

Not all college graduates enter the workforce with jobs that pay six figure salaries. Some have to make ends meet with jobs in the fast food industry, retail, or other lower paid services. For that reason it’s wise for grads to watch budgets.

Even with a degree it sometimes takes a while to build up your income to the level that you desire. If you’re not budgeting you could find your expenses outweigh your income.

4. Delayed Employment

Even worse that taking a job with low pay is not being able to get a job at all. That’s what some graduates deal with after graduation and it could happen to you too.

If you spend extravagantly upon graduation, it will be harder to regain control of your spending. When paired with delayed employment it could end up sinking you financially.

5. Avoiding Debt

Do you need another reason for graduates to watch their budgets? Avoiding debt is one of them. By spending carefully instead of wildly you can avoid adding more debt to your budget.

The faster you pay off your debt the more financially secure you will be. Budgeting carefully will help you gain that security you are looking for.

6. Student Loans Come Due

There is some debt you may not be able to avoid. For example, that of student loan debt you already incurred. But that is another argument for why graduates need to watch their budgets.

When student loan payments come due you need to be able to pay them. Not doing so could cause a poor credit history, among other things.

7. Money for Emergencies

If you keep careful tabs on your budget after graduating college you’ll be able to start saving for emergencies. Although your budget may still be tight, the sooner you do this the more piece of mind you’ll have.

8. Investment Opportunities

Graduates who don’t watch their budgets may not have the investment opportunities everyone else does. If your money is tight you may not have enough to invest. This means you are robbing your future self.

Conversely, watching your budget will allow you to invest even if only in small ways at first.

It’s true that without studying requirements you should feel a sense of relief when you graduate college. But you still need to watch your budget so you can take care of everything that matters most.

Are you watching your budget now that you’ve graduated?

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