Time to Cash in
Here's how to grab on to this awesome financial challenge.
What you should do:
1. Know that carrying a balance on a credit card is not a good decision. However since one cannot predict or be prepared for every emergency, try to pay off any credit card balances as soon as possible. This plan does not work if you have balances, since interest rates will always be higher than the cash back percentage - That's just how the laws of the credit card industry works.
2. Know your limits. Swiping without thought or preparation is never a good idea. Use your credit card for everything, but treat it like cash. You must maintain a balance you can pay off every month. I send my payment on the 1st of each month so that I can feel like I'm starting the new month at $0.
3. Do not touch the cashback stash! Yes, you may earn $20 one month and $100 another, but never cash in until the end of the year. Let it build to enjoy your reward.
4. Review your options. I always use my balance as a statement credit, but there are also options like getting it as a check or buying gift items out of the rewards store. Either way, cash back bonuses provide extra cash to your budget.
I'm so excited! Let's see what kind of bonus 2020 brings!
Turn on the radio...
Now that I got you singing, let's talk business!
Calling all Mompreneurs:
Do you use your car for work?
It's early in the morning, and you have to meet a client. You get up and get dressed. You grab your phone and bag. You hop in your car and be on your way. What is wrong with this picture?
One of the most under-reported expenses is the use of your personal vehicle for work. Did you record your mileage or do you have a plan to capture it? Keep in mind, your mileage for work is not just to and from your destination. Think about all the other places you go during the day.
Track your actual mileage
If you meet a client for a business lunch and they ask you to take them to the airport on your way home, this will not be included if you only use a map app to determine your mileage. Think about it -- if you drive an extra 10 miles out of your way each week for a year, that is 520 unclaimed miles. At roughly $.55 per mile, you could be losing out on almost $300 of expense claims per year.
Make Smart Decisions
Using your personal car for business-related expenses can take a toll on the overall health of your car. Be diligent about getting your oil changes and tune ups. Also, remember to shop around! For things like tires, you don't want to wait until one blows out to make that purchase. If you do, instead of finding the best deal, you will be stuck paying for the most convenient. Get those line items repaired on time, so you can shop around and get the best available prices. Each time you get your car serviced, they provide you with a report. Try to stay ahead of those upcoming and obvious repairs like getting new tires.
So, what does it take to be an expense expert? Well, you already are! No one knows the expenses related to your business better than you. All you need to do is be aware of what you are spending and definitely keep a log.
Note: This post is for informational purposes only. For tax advice, please contact a tax professional or visit www.irs.gov.
Financial Tip: Common Sense Cash Back
How would it feel to have $500 - 1000 dollars deposited in your bank account at the end of each year without paying a cent for it?
I just requested my statement credit of over $700 - yep totally paid for me. Oh, how I love the cashback option on my credit card. Simply put - I get paid to pay my bills and spend money on groceries, gas, and eating out. You have probably tried using a cashback credit card and gave up when the return was only a few cents. Well, when you have a strategy, it works! All you need is a little discipline.
Here is how to maximize your cashback bonus and make it work for you.
When I say DISCIPLINE, I mean you have to stick with these strategies:
Need help with your unsecured debt? See below!
Tips to Building Your Own Gig-Based Business
Whether you’re unemployed, newly graduated or looking for a change, the gig economy represents both a challenge and an opportunity. More companies, including those in the IT, finance, project management, writing, software development and customer service sectors are turning toward contract and freelance employees because of their affordability.
If you’re an independent contractor, you’ve got more control over your career and more autonomy because you work for yourself. LinkedIn predicted that by 2020, freelancers and independent contractors will make up 43 percent of the U.S. workforce.
Looking to build your own gig-based business? Here are some useful steps to get started.
Evaluate your expertise and passions
If you’ve got a background as an administrative assistant, it doesn’t take much to make the jump from that to working as a personal assistant. If you’re a web developer, parlay that skill into building apps. Work for a gym as a personal trainer? Partner with apartment complexes and retirement communities to create and host classes for residents.
Have a hobby you love? Consider whether it would make a profitable career. Maximize your options by building a career portfolio. Completely stumped about where to start? Start with assessing your skills and go from there!
Evaluate the market to find your niche
Lynda Falkenstein, author of Nichecraft: Using Your Specialness to Focus Your Business, Corner Your Market, and Make Customers Seek You Out, says “Good niches don’t just fall into your lap; they must be carefully crafted.” She recommends this seven-step process.
Set goals and stick to them
Lists are perfect for keeping yourself on-track and motivated. Plus, there’s something viscerally satisfying about crossing something off that “to do” list. Generate lists of daily, weekly, monthly, annual goals. Revisit those lists and goals regularly to adjust as needed.
Publicize and advertise
Utilize the resources you have—connections with past employers, your LinkedIn network and social media—to get your message out. Define your message and find channels that most effectively tell your story. Don’t neglect your audience—your message should include your value proposition.
Cultivate your digital footprint
Update all your online profiles: LinkedIn, Facebook, website, Yelp, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and your portfolio. Taking time to build and maintain a digital footprint will pay dividends as you increase your market penetration, drive brand awareness, and grow your client pipeline.
Designing a workspace that’s right for you
When you’re working primarily from home, ideally you should have a dedicated room to use as your office. You probably won’t need a ton of tools and products to start, but the bare minimum includes:
Channel your inner resilience
When you’re considering hanging out that shingle, embrace a willingness to experiment and try new things. Use your network and connect with fellow entrepreneurs and freelancers.
Cultivate and channel your inner resilience. You’ll face setbacks and failures as you launch and establish your business. You’ll probably spend a lot of late nights, weekends and spare time working to gain momentum.
Choosing to be your own boss, however, will push you to your limits; allow you the chance to follow your passion; give you creative control; and provide plenty of challenges and opportunities for success.
Guest Blog by Lucy Reed Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: pixabay.com