Millennial finance Advice: Should I Move Out of My Parents House?

I got asked the question the other day on Quora “Should I move out of my parents house? or stay at home and save money?” I answered this on quora but I thought that it deserves a video because this is on the tip of everyone’s mind lately.

Only in “Western” countries do we find living at home after the age of 21 strange. In Asian and Latin countries people live at home up until they get married, and even at that point they may choose to live with their parents or have their parents move back in to be able to better take care of their elderly.

This is a sign of a strong communal focus, something that western countries seem to be lacking more and more these days.

So if you are a millennial living at home with your parents or you are just getting out of college and you have student loan debt, check out what I have to say here because this applies directly to you.

Here’s my response on quora

 

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How I Used Travel Rewards Credit Cards, Debt Free, To Get 3 Free Flights, $150 Cash, and A Round Trip Ticket for My Girlfriend to Florida.

Want to start traveling but don’t have the money for a ticket? Learn how I used rewards programs to get myself 3 free flights and $150 bucks cash!

How I Used Travel Rewards Credit Cards, Debt Free, To Get 3 Free Flights, $150 Cash, and A Round Trip Ticket for My Girlfriend to Florida.

To date I’ve been able to use the points I’ve gained from my Travel Rewards Credit Cards, both the chase freedom and the southwest rewards card, to get my airfare paid for multiple trips, one being a round trip flight to Costa Rica and also flying to Florida twice…once solo, and the other time with my girlfriend.

Did I mention I have points to spare? About 7,605 to be exact as of this writing.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Points Screenshot

I did this all without carrying a balance. I prefer to save for large purchases and simply funnel the money through a credit card when I’m ready to make the purchase so as to take advantage of the cards rewards program benefits and to also keep the money in savings for as long as possible before required payback. If an opportunity comes along to invest the cash for higher rewards then I prefer to use that, however I always keep enough cash in the bank to pay off any balance I have.

If you’re like me, you want to enjoy traveling as much as possible all while maintaining a certain level of comfort. Some folks are ok with “roughing it” to save money, and I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to refill plastic water bottles to save money while traveling. You can have your cake and eat it too…

Folks that understand what rewards travel is understand that with rewards you can buy things like free food onboard airlines, free nights stays, and free airline tickets.

Yes you heard me right, free whole airline tickets can be had when using credit cards with rewards programs. This is merely only the tip of the iceberg but I’ve included some of my personal cards that I’ve used to get free flights, free points, money back and more.

The Chase Freedom Card

Chase Freedom Card

I’ve mostly only used this card for it’s cash-back for spending, which has more than paid for itself, and it’s not hard to meet the minimum $500 in the first 3 months to get the bonus. 

This is a great card for anyone just starting out and is perfect for someone trying to rebuild their credit. You can use it as a cash lending program to yourself to afford expenses and then take the added savings you’d have to pay down debt faster. 

To date I’ve gotten nearly 30,000 rapid rewards points on it, but the real advantage Is the cash-back and the 0% interest they charge for the first 15 months. 

Here’s what the card offers: 

  • $150 when you spend $500, free money basically for buying groceries. 
  • Up to 15 months 0% interest; low interest loan.
  • 5% cash back on select purchases quarterly, get money for spending on your normal expenses.

Save it, spend it, invest it, doesn’t matter what you do with the cash but it’s yours to keep. I used it to pay off part of my $33,555 in student loan debt in less than 3 years.

In my humble opinion this card is a great way for a new traveler to earn enough cash back in a year to fully offset the cost of an airline ticket to somewhere domestic or even as far reaching as the Caribbean (if you are US based) without having to go into any debt so long as you pay off the card each billing cycle.

I never recommend going into debt for travel, but strategically spending money you would have spent and just funneling it through a rewards card first is a great way to earn yourself a little bonus each year.

So to summarize:

With a minimum spending of $500 to earn the first $150 this is a great way to earn a little extra change towards travel in your first year, and without any fees or 0% interest for the first 15 months I think it’s a no brainer.

Click Here to Apply for the Card and if you are approved for the card you can earn a $150 bonus for spending normally on things like groceries, household items and other necessary expenses.

NEW: The Freedom Unlimited Card By Chase

Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

If you are planning to make a larger purchase for a needed expense, like say buying a new ac unit for a rental property, or doing a full overhaul of your transmission on that clunker that you have because in the long run that car will pay for itself if you resist the urge to upgrade and simply have it paid cash, then you can probably use this card.

What it offers:

  • $150 when you spend $500, free money basically for buying things like groceries, phone bill, internet, and gas.
  • Up to 15 months 0% interest; low interest loan.
  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which means you get money for spending on your normal expenses.

So to summarize:

Same perks as the chase Freedom, only a little better, you get 1.5% cash back on all purchases regardless of category. So whether your just using it for groceries, or you put all your expenses on it like phone, internet, groceries, and the occasional big purchase, you can expect to get some whopping points back if you do.

If you’ve already been approved for the chase freedom you might want to check out the freedom unlimited card.

Click Here to Apply for the Card and if you are approved for the card you can earn a $150 bonus for spending normally on things like groceries, household items and other necessary expenses.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Card

screenshot-2016-11-03-08-23-13

When I signed up for the southwest Rapid rewards credit card I got the card when they were offering 40,000 points when you spend $1000 in the first 3 months. Shortly there after they changed the offer to 60,000 points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months.

So I decided it was worth a shot to give them a call and see If I could get the same offer and low and behold ask and you shall receive. I got them to add an extra 20,000 points when I spent a measly $1000 on normal purchases, groceries, cell phone expense, auto insurance, and anything else I needed to buy. 

Pro tip: save a big purchase for when you open your account, i.e. if you are thinking about getting a new laptop for work or you need to buy some work clothes or you will be buying new tires for your car and getting other service work done on your car, why not just funnel the money you have saved through your card and get the points for using it? Just be sure to not carry a balance the next month.

Why do I love flying southwest?

  • The crew members love what they do, and they have a lot of fun at work. They are actually one of my favorite reasons to fly southwest…The crew make every flight a fun one.
  • Their rewards program is straight MON-AY!
  • Spend $1000 in first 3 months get $690 approx.
  • No Blackout dates, and points don’t expire as long as your account has activity.
  • 3,000 anniversary points each year
  • VIP status gets you even more goodies like free wifi and priority boarding.

When you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months you get 40,000 points you can use towards no black out date flights (there is about a .017 rewards point redemption rate so this is about $680 in flight redemption – pretty good).

Also you get 2x points on all SW tickets, money spent at partner hotels, and partner car rentals, as well as no foreign fees, chip protection and fraud alert.

Oh and you also get 6,000 anniversary points each year you stay with SouthWest. 

The only con to this card is the $69 yearly fee but I’ve had friends confirm that you can call and have them wave the fee, if you ask nicely, for the first year. Even after the fee, the $600+ in flight savings easily pays for itself.

Click here to apply for the card and if you are approved for the card you can earn a 40,000 point bonus for spending normally on things like groceries, household items and other necessary expenses, that’s over $500 in flight rewards on Southwest!

What is my next Travel Rewards Credit Card?

screenshot-2016-11-03-08-22-08

The United Mileage Plus Explorer Card

This is another one of my favorite cards and the next one I will get.

Though sometimes a little more expensive, United is one of my favorite major airlines because of their extensive network of flights. They literally fly to every continent but Antarctica. See map below:

united-flight-map

Reasons to get it: 

  • 40,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months
  • Priority boarding
  • First bag flies for free (and they have an actual tracking system for the bag so it is located every step of the way).
  • Oh and another thingno pesky foreign transaction fees, damn near ate me alive in costa rica with this one…

I honestly have a love hate with United because of their merger with Continental and the changes that the employees have had to deal with (having personally known a few flight attendants for 20+ years).

If you’ve ever tried to track your bag using something like Lug Lock Luggage Tracker then you know it can be rather difficult. When an airline offers to check your bags they are assuming the risk should your bags get lost, and united uses a point to point tracking system to ensure that your effects are checked at every leg of your flight. 

Though customer service isn’t what they are known for, the 40,000 bonus points on $2,000 in the first 3 months is a good enough reason to get me back in their seats.

Beyond that, they also offer 20% off inflight purchases, 1st bag flies for free, no foreign transaction fees, and 2 united club tickets a year (lounge service!).

Go here to apply for the card: United Mileage Plus Rewards

Some final Thoughts…

I never recommend getting into debt; however, strategic spending on a travel rewards credit card for normal expenses (gas, groceries, car payment, rent) and then paying off your card balance each month is one of the best ways to earn free flights and rewards.

Keep in mind too, there is nothing wrong with having multiple cards open at the same time, if you are smart and don’t use them for petty purchases but instead use them to fund smart purchases that you’ve saved for, then you can reap some major rewards.

I wouldn’t recommend getting a travel credit card if I have a lot of outstanding debt; however, for those who pay off their cards each month and operate on a cash basis it’s nice to get a little reward for your spending every now and then such as free flights, hotels, car rentals and cash back.

Now I only put automated expenses on this card and I simply leave it at home. By automating your expenses and then automating the payments you never miss the money as you already budgeted for it and you don’t see it go.

So don’t think that spending $500 a year on coffee on these cards is going to be worth it, use it when you have a major purchase or expense for your business and then reap the rewards.

What about you, how do you use travel rewards programs (or don’t) to travel around the world? Let us know in the comments below.

If you found this article interesting or valuable please share it with your friends and family.

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Debt Snowball Vs. Avalanche

First off, what is a debt snowball and why the hell would I want one?

The debt snowball method is simply a metaphor for paying off debt.

If you have any kind of debt, then this applies to you. Mortgage debt is something entirely different which we can discuss in another section, but if you have credit card debt, personal loans, student loan debt, charge card debt, auto debt then this is all applicable.

The Debt Snowball Method:

Snowball Giff.gif

Ok, so what is the debt snowball method for paying off debt?

This is simply put paying off your smallest balance loan first, while maintaining your minimum monthly payments on all your other debts thus avoiding accruing interest (keeping those other debts at bay), and then rolling the first payment into the second payment when the first payment has been paid off.

In effect your total paid towards debt is constant each month but it is a means of paying down your debts and principles faster than if you were to continue making the minimum payment each month on your monthly debts.

The Debt Avalanche Method:

Avalanche Method.gif

The debt avalanche method is paying off your highest interest rate loan first, while maintaining your minimum payments, then rolling the first payment into the next highest interest rate loan.

Just like with the debt snowball method you are paying the same minimum payments towards each of your loans, only you are paying off the highest interest rate loan first thus saving you money in the long run. I will show you how in just a moment.

One Thing To Focus On

Of the two loan repayment methods there isn’t a “better” one, rather, both methods work but which would you rather see? Quicker results or knowing that you will hit your overall goal faster? I will illustrate what I mean below.

Now we are also going to assume, for this example, you can find a way to earn an extra $500 a month, maybe as an uber driver or walking dogs, starting your own side business or working some place else.

If you can generate that extra $500 you will be able to apply that directly towards your loan and thus repay your loans back much much faster.

Here’s an example of the Debt Avalanche in effect with the same numbers:

You would take the highest interest loan and pay that first. In this case it would be your  payment and continue paying your other minimum payments:

Credit card – $189 – %19.99 Loan

Auto – $350 – %5 Loan

Student Loan – $250 – %3.6 Loan

Total Payments each month = $789

Here’s what you would see:

The Debt Avalanche Payoff Method

So paying off with the Avalanch method, and applying as little as $500 extra a month towards your payment, can result in you paying your loans off 5 years and 5 months faster than not paying the extra $500 and this will result in a savings of $5,756 in interest.

 

Now lets compare that to the Debt Snowball Method:

The snowball method you would take the lowest balance remaining loan and pay that first. In this case it would be your auto payment, apply $500 extra payment:

Auto – $350 – %5 Loan

Credit card – $189 – %19.99 Loan

Student Loan – $250 – %3.61 Loan

Total Payments each month = $789

Here’s what you would see:

The Debt Snowball Payoff Method

Paying off the Snowball method and applying as little as $500 extra a month towards your payment can result in you paying your loans off 5 years and 5 months faster, saving $5,451 in interest.

So Which is Better, Debt Snowball or Debt Avalanche?

Well if we look at the two repayment periods, keeping all else constant, we can see that both methods show the repayment being 5 years and 5 months faster. Thus saving us the same amount of time.

The Key difference is the interest saved. By simply paying off the highest interest rate loan first and then rolling the excess savings from the previous loan into the next loan repayment we find that we can save $5756 – $5451 = $305.

It may not seem like much, but that’s extra money that you put back in your pocket just by changing the order you repay your loans.

So is it worth it to use the Avalanche method instead of the snow ball method? You decide. One gets your better results in the long run (the avalanche), where as the other gets you instant relief sooner (the snowball).  And we all know that the sooner we can get out from underneath the crushing weight of debt the better.

To get your repayment time frame head over to Nerdwallet and plug in your loans into their repayment calculator and find out which method is best for you. Check out the repayment calculator here.

Types of Debt And Which Ones To Avoid

Have you ever wondered why there is so much mixed information out there on the internet about money, finance, and debt? Which debt is bad? Which is good? The answer may surprise you. 

Have you ever wondered why there is so much mixed information out there on the internet about money, finance, and debt? Which debt is bad? Which is good? The answer may surprise you.

There are many types of debt out there, and some of which you need to downright avoid.

In the next several sentences I’m going to share with you the 3 types of debt you need to avoid at all cost, the types of debt that are ok, and some strategies to fund your lifestyle without debt. 

First, lets start out by defining debt

Merriam Webster’s definition of debt is:

Debt Defined Merriam Webster

Lets use the 3rd term as our point of reference. To be under obligation to pay or repay someone or something in return for something received, a state of owing.

So with this definition in mind it’s easy to see that there are in fact good and bad types of debt.

Debt that is owed that brings no inherent value or perceived value with it can be considered “bad” debt, and debt that brings inherent value “good” debt

So What Are Some “Not so Good” Types of Debt

Debt #1: Credit Card Debt

As I’m sure you may know by now, if you’ve read my site for any period of time, I am completely opposed to having any credit card debt.

Personally I have a zero balance on all but one credit card which I treat as a 0% loan to myself. I recently gave up using my credit card for day to day spending, to learn why check out Why I Gave Up Using My Rewards Credit Cards for Everyday Purchases?

Outside of big purchases I no longer use my credit cards for day to day spending.

I still do use cards with 24 month grace periods because it free’s up my capital for investing activities, allows me to keep a sizable emergency fund, and allows me to breath easier knowing that I could get equipment I need for my business without worrying about not being able to pay my rent because I spent all my liquid assets. 

With your own business you will be able to take the expenses you incur purchasing capital goods, like machinery, computers, or other assets, but be careful not to spend all the money your business is making otherwise you could put yourself between a rock and a hard place should your lenders ask for the funds promptly. 

With that being said, here are my rules for having and using a credit card: 

  1. Never carry a balance unless it is on a card with no interest for a deferred period of time, AND you have a repayment plan in place for it (ex. 15 months 0% with $X paid each month to fund the cost of _____ )
  2. Expenses are for capital purchases or business related expenses.
    1. Coffee and dinner dates, unless they are seriously with clients should be avoided. 
  3. Have the funds saved in your business checking or savings account, or have the cashflow already flowing into your business, to cover your expenses.

To learn how I used travel credit cards, for free, check out my article: How I used Travel Rewards Credit Cards For FREE…

Someone just getting started in business though need not spend money they don’t have on credit cards in “hopes” of a return. If you can’t start incredibly small and roll the profit into greater returns rethink your business model and/or business plan. 

If you need money now, get a job and save at least 6 months in emergency funds before you try to start your own business. 

Credit cards are a terrible thing to use for your luxuries like clothes, jewelry, and anything else that does not produce income.

If the item does not product income for you, I recommend not buying it with credit. Instead buy it with money you saved from your income (preferably passive income).

Debt #2: Student Loan Debt

I am personally a believer that school is really the last resort when it comes to furthering yourself.

I had to pay back over $33,555 in student loan and credit card debt so I know that there are better ways to grow your income than studying for 4 years to get a degree in something you may or may not use.

With that being said, I can think of at least 20+ different ways to finance your own education in life: 

  1. Work your way through school by getting a part time job
  2. Work your way through school by starting your own summer business
  3. Get a technical job instead
  4. Work for a small business owner locally
  5. Get Adwords certified
  6. Social media marketing manager
  7. Learn Affiliate marketing
  8. Look on craigslist a need and fulfill it
  9. iTunes University
  10. Skill-share
  11. uDemy
  12. Start a lawn care business
  13. Start a dent removal business
  14. Start a window washing business
  15. Start a dog walking business
  16. Become a Nanny
  17. Look at becoming an Au Pair
  18. Go teach English abroad
  19. Teach English as a second language locally
  20. become a sign language interpreter
  21. write a blog
  22. learn email marketing

the list just goes on an on…

And of course if you are still interested in going to college you can look at grants, scholarships (both domestic and abroad) and consider community college or online degrees instead of attending full time university. 

If you are one of the fortunate ones who has parents paying their way then take advantage of every opportunity you get in college to further your social network, your education, and your relevant professional experience. 

There is no reason you should be coming out of college with any more than $10,000 in debt with all the possibilities out there.

If a white kid like me can go to school, come out with only $27,000 in student loans after attending a school with tuition costs of $176,000 for 4 years, with financial support from his parents, and work his way out of debt in only 3 years, then you can find a way to get funding to cover your full cost of education. 

Individuals located outside of the united states have even more options for education with a lower cost of tuition.

Should you find yourself choosing to attend university, consider studying abroad in countries like Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, or Singapore where the tuition is as little as 10% that of a school in the United States. 

Debt #3: Mortgage Debt 

This debt is one in which folks typically incur in order to purchase the “home of their dreams”, which can later become a nightmare…

Firstly, with an asset that will more than likely depreciate if you are buying anything other than in a neighborhood with millionaires in it, this is probably one of the least valuable assets you can invest in. 

In addition to the likely depreciation that you will pay for a new home, you have variety of interest rates to play with, 15 year, 30 year, fixed mortgage, variable interest rate mortgages. There is also the question “how much should we put down as a down payment?” The answer? As much as you can afford. 

Really REITS are the way to go if you are looking to invest. If you are looking to simply live in a place then consider renting.

I always aim for living in a place that is close to 10% or under my take home pay.

When I was earning $25,000 a year, I had to live at home to afford to pay my loans back and to be able to eat, pay rent and live. I contributed around $300 a month for food and living arrangements, and by my dad’s good graces was able to afford living.

Once I got a better job and earned more income I increased my rent contribution and eventually moved out to live with a room mate in a small 2 bedroom 1 bath apartment.

Then I got yet another job paying more and was able to move with my girlfriend to an apartment across from work. Still, keeping my housing costs as low as possible, ideally around 10% of my before tax income.

If you are looking to own a home now a days, money experts the likes of Tony Robbins, Dave Ramsey, and Grant Cardone suggest investing in REIT’s and Saving for your first investment property.

Check out this Article on CNBC Money: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/25/heres-how-much-money-the-average-first-time-home-buyer-makes.html

Don’t look to own a home.

But if you are still interested in owning a home, increase your income first to where your payment will be around, or under, 10% of your take home pay.

Want a $300,000 home with a 30 year mortgage and $1,000+ mortgage payment? Earn 10x that before you look at buying.

Being evicted from an apartment is a much smaller blow than losing your house and all the money you sunk into financing it. 

Avoid mortgage debt at all costs until you can afford to buy your home or you at least earn 10x your mortgage payment.

Debt #4: Small Business Loan Debt

If you have a valuable good or service, that has been thoroughly researched and has been validated in the marketplace through small batch testing, then do you really need a loan? 

I’m thinking not. 

If you have a product or service which is consistently selling out and you need more capital to purchase more inventory that could make sense to invest. 

One of my favorite ways to Microfinance a business, in order to minimize the risk but maximize the upside, is to get a 0% credit card like the chase freedom card, and to spend at most 10% of the credit maximum on business essentials. That means finding a good or service that is needed in the market place and to invest up to 10% of your card limit before calling it quits. 

If you’ve followed the 6 Steps I’ve outlined in “6 Steps to Financial Freedom” and you’ve paid off all your personal debts, consumer debts, and student loan debts, you are now ready to begin building a business. 

If you are approved for say $6,500 credit limit with a 0% APR for the first 15 months and you spend at most 10% of the card limit to begin your business you can, at any given point, afford to pay off the full balance. Carrying this $650 startup cost for up to 14 months before needing to pay it back is an option, but should you actually find a product or service with a need in the market place and be able to sell it for at least a 50% profit you will be able to reinvest the profit to not only pay off the full balance, but be able to then take the $650 that you have in profit and use that moving forward. 

The important thing is that you take the profits each month and pay off the FULL balance of the card before you pay anything else. You do not want to carry a balance.

I REPEAT. YOU DO NOT WANT TO CARRY A BALANCE. 

All the fund that your business spends you can funnel through the credit card each month, but you will keep a separate business checking account and not spend a penny of that money on your own personal expenses. 

This money, just like a tree, needs to grow and not be “picked” like the fruit on an apple or pear tree. If you pick fruit before it’s ready you can kill the tree and it will taste like shitty fruit. 

With that being said. Following that process you can quickly scale up and know that you have a value-able service or good without sinking your life savings into it. 

What are Some “Better Types” of Debt

Type A: No Interest Personal Loan to Pay Off High Interest Debt

A personal loan from a friend or family member that know’s and trusts you, doesn’t need the money immediately, and can afford to live with out. Using this money for anything other than to pay down high interest credit card debt or student loan debt is a TERRIBLE choice and WILL result in you failing and getting into more debt. 

Do NOT buy a car with this. Do NOT spend it on clothes. Do NOT frivolously blow it on the weekend. This is a personal loan that will help you to save thousands on interest by paying your high interest debt back early. 

Type B: Personal Loan From Yourself to Yourself

If you have a decent savings account and you are trying to pay off a high interest debt that you occurred due to a bad business decision, or to start up your business venture, then consider taking out a personal loan for yourself. Key here is to set an expected payback date that you will 100% meet. 

There is no point in loaning yourself money that you do not intend to pay back. You might as well just not do the loan and instead figure out some other way of funding the payoff of your 19% debt to the bank or your 6-9% interest on your student loans. 

Type C: Private Loan to Aquire Cash Producing Assets

As Robert Kiosake writes about in his Rich Dad Poor Dad books, taking out a small loan from a friend or a family member, with the expectation to pay it back with around 10% interest, could be a valid option for acquiring real estate assets in the short term. 

The tricky part here is that you have to know what you are doing to minimize your risk and to maximize upside for you and your investor. 

This strategy is in the event that you have no liquid assets to use to invest in your first short term flip. But for those individuals who are interested in this avenue, securing financing from a friend or family member in a small investment around $2,000 (depending on your market), could be a good seed money to begin buying and selling real estate. 

This method can be a bit risky though and is probably a better option for those a bit more risk tolerant. 

For individuals who are less risk tolerant you would be better off growing the investment through a diversified asset like an REIT (real estate investment trust) and then reinvesting the money in a property once it’s reached a $5,000 mark. 

With that property though, understand that there is quite a bit of work involved to find the tenants, maintain the property, collect the rent, and possibly even evict the tenants should they fail to pay. 

Once you reach the $5,000 mark you can elect to simply keep your funds in the REIT and allow them to continue to grow at the market rate so as to not have to worry about the difficulties that come with managing properties. 

How to fund your lifestyle without debt

Option 1: Start a blog

Option 2: Develop a unique skill and market and sell it

Option 3: Find a unique problem in the market place and sell and market that

Option 4: Begin investing your spare income (this isn’t really an option this should be viewed more of as a must in my humble opinion)

Option 5: Get a membership to Audible for $16 bucks a month and listen to a new book on business each month. 

Option 6: Subscribe to free podcast on any subject you are interested in.

Option 7: Attend university level courses on your iPhone or iPad through iTunes U. 

Option 8: Become a computer programmer on the weekends using W3 schools.

Option 9: quit life and live as a hermit in the woods eating squirrels and berries for survival 

Ok the last option is more of a joke but you get the point. There are many ways of funding your ideal lifestyle but they all pretty much involve learning new skills and ways of managing your time and money moving into the future. 

“If you want to live, and give, like no one else, then you have to be willing to live like no one else”  -Dave Ramsey – 

In Conclusion

You really don’t need to go into debt to begin building wealth, you can start doing that working at a subway shop or a pizza shop. What you need moving into the future is new skills and knowledge, all of which you can gain through this magic called the internet and through networking with other entrepreneurial thinkers. 

  • You don’t need to go to school to make a life of your dreams. 
  • If you do, avoid getting into debt, there are numerous ways to fund education.
  • Avoid getting into debt with credit cards and carrying a balance. 
  • Avoid buying a home without substantial assets, and research the area you are buying in to look for market upswing.
  • Don’t take out a small business loan, start small instead and reinvest the profit. 
  • Acceptable forms of debt include debt which has a lower interest rate (or preferably no interest rate) to pay off higher interest rate debt (5%+) 
  • Personal loans from friends or family are a good way to begin investing, start small and turn a profit, pay them back, and reinvest the profits. 

The possibilities are endless and you don’t need to subscribe to any one persons “plan for life” in order to live a life of your dreams. 

If you liked this post be sure to share and comment down below. 

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10 Reasons You Need to GET THE HELL Out Of Debt!

You don’t need a new electronic gadget, you don’t need a new car, you don’t need new clothes to make you feel better. You need goals.

If you’re tired of living paycheck to paycheck and never feeling safe enough to quit your job you hate for the lifestyle you desire, then it’s time to commit to yourself to Get the Hell Out Of Debt!

In the next couple sentences I’m going to share with you 10 reasons why you absolutely must get out of debt, and stay out, in order to truly start living the life you desire and dream of.

But first…

You may be thinking, “its impossible, I have too much debt”, “It would be like climbing everest…”

It may sound scary, or even insurmountable, like climbing mount Everest does. But I can assure you, there are people who have had to climb hire, or from lower rather, than you do. And just as you got yourself into debt you can get out of it as well.

Just like climbing mount Everest it takes time and training to get there.

You can’t just decide one day that you’re climbing Mt. Everest, without training, and the right mindset, you will fail. And with that level of failure you don’t get second chances.

No, you must put in weeks, months even, of grueling work to prepare for the ordeal.

And most importantly, you need to commit to doing the work before you even start. There’s no hack that will get you out of this one, and there are no shortcuts.

For more ideas of how to get out of debt quicker or to learn how I paid off $30,000 in just 3 years earning just above minimum wage check out my other article here.

So onto the 10 Reasons You Need to GET THE HELL Out Of Debt!

Reason #1: You Are Paying Too Much for That Debt! 

Interest alone is making you poor, even if you are only paying 3-8% interest that will quickly eat into your returns on your investments. But in addition to interest, most people don’t stop to consider the missed opportunity cost of going into debt.

If you tie up $350 a month in a car payment, and you are paying 10% in interest each month then you are really losing the money  that you you could be gaining in interest IN
ADDITION 
to the money that you are having to pay for that car. So count it as a double tax for being an idiot and buying a car you don’t need…

Stop spending a bunch of money on a fancy cars and instead save up cash and buy an inexpensive car you can afford easily until you have money in excess of your expenses from assets.

And before you start putting money aside into an investment account, thinking that you will get rich by the interest that is in excess to your loan, get your high interest rate debt (credit card and personal loan debt) paid off first so you can truly really reap the rewards of compounding interest. And honestly, I would much rather make 10% on my investments after fees than 4% of a 12% return, after paying the fees and the bank back it’s 8% on the loan.

Reason #2: You Don’t Need That Extra Crap That You Were Going to Buy

You don’t need to buy that extra crap and waste your hard earned money. You don’t need a new electronic gadget, you don’t need a new car, you don’t need new clothes…

If you want to feel good about yourself go to the gym and lift some weights, or join a team sport, start an investing club, or go on a date.

But don’t waste your money on some fancy trinket that will end up getting you more into debt, break, wear down, or bore you after only a couple of months… Avoid the Debt trap at all costs and avoid fancy gadgets that are only going to depreciate (lose their value).

Reason #3: You Don’t Need Another Pair of Shoes… 

This goes for all the ladies. You. Don’t. Need. Them. Put them back, and don’t. Please don’t spend your man’s money for him. One of the number one causes of divorce is money arguments and being able to both provide for yourselves and come together on large purchases is huge.

You will end up resenting him for giving you money anyway, and buying you crap that you don’t need will only lessen your relation not strengthen it. So put them back and clean your shoes you already have, use them till they break, and then, fix them with some gorilla glue.

Reason #4: You Don’t Need a “Get Out of Debt Free Card”

Unless you plan on skipping out on this country or plan to live as a broke ass teacher for 10  years, then don’t count yourself out from having to pay back your debt. And you don’t really want someone to “forgive” your loans, because that is basically a hand out and the businesses that received hand outs always fail.
The folks that are given piles of money from the lottery always end up broke and on the street, just look at any lottery winner. No, instead figure out a way to get yourself out of debt and get FOCUSED on paying it off as quickly as possible. Stop complaining about how your life sucks so much and get to work speedy.

Oh, and if you think, “hmm that teacher thing sounds like a good idea” guess what? You still have to pay your minimum payment each month ALL 10 YEARS AND NEVER MISS A PAYMENT! There have been countless people that have paid back well over $100k in a short period of time and for you to think that it’s not possible to pay off your debt sounds a lot like you’re just giving up.

Reason #5: You Don’t Need To Go to College To Make a Good Living

You can find a job, learn a trade, find a local entrepreneur and apprentice under them, or start  your own business. Trust me when I say this, go to college IF you truly have an interest in the field of study AND you get funded to pay your entire way (100% funded, we’re talking college aid and not debt).

Don’t rely on debt and loans to get you there because it will cost you more in the long
run than your education is actually worth, and will set you back in your retirement goals.

Don’t believe the guise that you have to spend more to earn more, that’s simply a sales tactic to get you to sign up for their programs.

If you don’t believe me use this free calculator on moneychimp.com and see just how much that $5000 a year loan will cost you in your investing career. http://moneychimp.com/features/cheapskate_calculator.htm

Reason #6: Our Parents Were Wrong…

Getting a job and having pension in retirement is the way of the past. Pensions are gone (some of you may not even know what that is…) and aren’t the only way to live a good life…
Starting a business, investing young, and creating value are the best ways to fulfilling life. And in today’s day and age you can do almost all of them with free tools downloaded on your smart phone.

Read this article to learn more about how to start an ebay or amazon business for free. 

That’s right, you can actually earn an income from your phone of all things, you can connect with people on the other side of the world though a site that you can create for free and you can gain investors in your start up or build a tribe using social media.

You can even start a business with nothing like Seth Kneif did from justonedime.com. By asking people to help him double his dime 20x he was able to turn a $0.10 investment into $100,000+. This is the power of compounding interest! There is literally no limit to what you can accomplish if you just avoid going into debt and use your brain to think of ways to create value in the world.

Reason #7: There is More to Life Than Your Debt and You Need That Extra Money Each Month To Begin Enjoying It

Saving an extra $200 a month can pay for your entire  vacation that year, and over the course of 10 years can fund the purchase of a new car or if invested at 10% can result in
hundreds of thousands more $ in retirement, or could result in enough saved to buy a new house. The sooner you get out of debt the sooner you can reach your saving and investing goals.

To learn more about how much saving even $3.50 can mean for your retirement check out money chimp’s free resource: http://moneychimp.com/features/cheapskate_calculator.htm

Reason #8: Debt Causes Stress

You may not show it on the surface it can show up in other ways like in your mental and physical health. According to a 2015 survey conducted by Suntrust Bank, money was the leading cause of stress in relationships in America and results in fights and disagreements in more than 1 in 3 family homes (35%), read more here: article from CNBC.
If money was an issue in 2015 you can damn well bet that it’s an issue now. With the growing student loan crisis hitting an all time high we are setting ourselves up for a very unhealthy life america.

So do yourself a favor and reduce that stress by eliminating your debt so that you can live a happy and healthy life and be there for those you love.

Reason #9: You Can’t Get Rich Paying Other People Interest 

The only way for compounding interest to work in your favor, the force that Einstein claimed to be the most powerful force in the universe, is for you to be on the receiving end of compounding interest, not the giving end.

If you borrow money from others, you begin to use compounding interest against you
and much like pushing a snowball up a hill, you have to fight the forces of nature (compounding interest).

Instead, wouldn’t you rather be on the receiving end of a money snow ball, assuming that once  it was at the end of the hill and had built its momentum it didn’t kill you?
If you like giving people more and more money year after year then that’s great, keep
pushing that Sisyphean snowball up that mountain and enjoy your debt. But the only way to truly use the power of compounding is to loan out the money and have it return you interest and principle. Give the folks a little snowball and watch it come back to you as a snow mountain.

Reason #10: Aren’t you tired of wasting time on the weekends “partying”?

Having to wake up hung over on a Monday and drag yourself to the local Starbucks and order your double double espresso just to wake up isn’t realistic… Instead of working the whole week to enjoy the weekend why not get out of debt sooner by giving up that drinking vice, if nothing else change your drink of choice to something less expensive…

Most people will read this article and brush it off, probably writing off their bad behavior and debt cycle as “lifestyle design” or “their choice”. But I want to challenge that for a minute here. Is it really only your life that you are effecting? Are you really the only person that you touch daily?

Or are you a mother, a father, a brother or a lover? Are you in touch with friends daily and have a legacy that you wish to leave behind some day? Don’t you want to do something more with your life beyond just “enjoying” yourself?

You owe it to everyone in your life who are important to you to get out of debt as quickly as possible and to build wealth so that you can later give it to those deserving.

In this site I’m going to show you the quick way to pay off your debt, create additional income streams, and finally be able to take that dream vacation you’ve always wanted, to quit your job and travel the world, and to finally get that pesky debt monkey off your back. GET OFF ME MONKEY!

 

10 lessons Learned From Paying Off $33,555 Of Student Loan and Other Debt In Less Than 3 Years Earning Just Above Minimum Wage

If I had known that it will take twice as long to pay back that money AND make the same investments as my peers who didn’t borrow to go to school I wouldn’t have done it. I would have worked each and every summer and have go to a trade school that would have allowed me to get paid as soon as I got out of school and started investing from day one…

Debt is a pain in the ass, and if your in it you’re told to deal with it. If your not then you scream for others to get out of it. The truth is you don’t have to stay in debt, but you and only you can decide to get out.

Update April 15th 2018: It has now been 2 years and 11 months since I committed to paying off ALL my student loan and credit card debt. And I’ll be honest, it has not been easy, it has been a long and difficult journey getting here, but it’s been ABSOLUTELY worth it. Knowing, that if something were to happen to me tomorrow, my family wouldn’t have to carry the dead weight of my debt on their shoulders has been a HUGE relief and proverbial “monkey” off my back. It’s a great feeling.

Ok, If you’re like me, you never saw yourself getting into debt in life, it just “happens” right? Wrong. Debt doesn’t just happen, we will it to happen. For me, it was like quick sand, one minute I’m fine and managing to stay above it all, and the next minute I’m up to my eye balls in itand suffocating me. If you’re there right now, I want to assure you, there is a way out.

In the next few dozen sentences I’m going to  share with you the 10 things you and I didn’t learn in school about money, debt, and investing, and how I used these strategies and tactics to pay off $29,555 of student loan debt and over $4,000 in credit card debt in less than 3 years while earning just above minimum wage.

 Total student loan debt was at it’s highest of $29,555!!!

Perkins Loan Screenshot
$3,651 at 5% loan from federal government (above)
Student Loan Federal
The other Student Loan: Various interest rates from 3.5% to 7% interest (showing principle and interest as separate line items).

Here are screen shots of my credit card debts.

USBANK_CC_screen shot_2018(2)

USBank_CC_Screen Shot_2018

The credit card I got right out of college was at a 7.99% interest rate and I ended up spending $4,023 on it.

This being said, it’s better to avoid buying on credit when you don’t have the money to repay it immediately. Don’t listen to people who tell you that it will ‘free up capital’. Unless that expense will earn you money then it won’t free up any capital for you, only for your creditors…

Lesson 1: Avoid the Debt Trap…

If you never get into debt in the first place then you don’t have to worry about fighting off debt. It’s one of the easiest ways to get rid of debt, just avoid it. And you may be thinking to yourself “well how am I supposed to avoid getting into debt if I need the money now?”. The same way our ancestors did it way back in the the 1950’s, they SAVED FOR THINGS!

If I had that advice when I was first getting out of high school I wouldn’t have gone to that fancy college or spent my summers traveling on borrowed money, I would have WORKED. That’s right, worked. I would have gotten a job right out of highschool earning $45,000 a year (instead of -$5,000 a year at college) and learn a valuable skill. Sales. 

If I hadn’t gone to college and instead pursued a degree in L.I.F.E. I probably would have learned some of these harder lessons sooner, like not leasing a car without an established business, or how to invest my money for growth, not using credit cards to live off of, or how to save my excess income. Who knows how far along I would be if I had someone like me telling me about all their experiences and mistakes along the way. 

The advantage you have is that, if you’re reading this and you haven’t yet fallen into the sales pitch, ehem*, mindset that school is the only way to get further in life, then you are lucky. Take opportunity for what it is and learn to recognize when there is opportunity. Because it is everywhere.

So if you are still interested in going to college and getting a degree (I’m all for learning, but you don’t NEED school to learn) then by all means, but instead of learning on borrowed money find scholarships, grants, or even just work your way through school. No one cares if you have a 3.4 or a 4.0 in your major, if you showed that you can work during school, didn’t go into debt to get out, and are able to competently do your work and it’s GREAT work, then you WILL be hired by someone. Eventually. But Do not think that going to school is your golden ticket to endless money and fun in life or even that it is the safest bet for income, because quite honestly it’s not.

If you want a safe job then go into the military or work for the government, and invest every single extra penny into stock and bond indexes, you will become a millionaire by the time you are 35 if you start when you’re 18 and if you are older than that you can still become a millionaire AND you’ll have a pension. 

But if you are utterly disinterested in that, then instead pursue what you ARE interested in and WORK your way through school, or even better get funded. 

The less you have when you graduate the faster you can become a millionaire… And yes, it is possible to become a millionaire even on the most modest salaries. If you don’t believe me then you need to read Andrew Hallam’s book The Millionaire Teacher and check out his website http://andrewhallam.com. There are absolutely no excuses why you can’t do what he does but you have to start now.

Lesson 2: You Absolutely Need to Build a Budget…

Budget does not = starving. Budgets are how you plan your money. When I wasn’t planning my money I was broke, in debt, drinking away my problems on the weekend, desperately seeking a way out. When I started planning my money, I was on a mission, a mission to destroy my debt and become FREE. Now, just 3 short years later I AM FREE and it’s a breath of fresh air to say that.

“A Fool And His Money Are Soon Parted”

– Someone 460 years ago-

One of the most important things is knowing what is happening with your money. Know where it is going and where you are directing it. 

“If you don’t know where your money is going then you won’t know where your money went” 

-Dave Ramsey-

Once I started making a budget each month, I soon saw areas where I could cut spending and re-invest the savings into faster repayment of my loans (which meant more money in the future because of the simple fact that money is worth more now only when it is not growing in the future at a constant rate). This accelerated the payback process and caused the repayment to begin to compound on itself, thus snowballing. 

Just like ripping off a bandaid feels less painful when you rip it off fast, so does debt. And you can literally save yourself thousands of dollars not just in interest but in regained investing growth by paying off your debt even 3 years sooner.

To find out how much your debt is costing you plug in your debt amount, interest rate and monthly contribution (the amount you pay each month) into the following calculator: http://www.calculator.net/student-loan-calculator.html

Here’s what mine looked like:

Savings to be had_calculator.net

By paying an extra $1000 a month towards my debt I could have had my debt paid off in just 1 year and 4 months, thus saving $5470 in interest, when invested for 25 years in the stock market ends up being over $55,354 in just 25 years.

Savings Through Quicker Repayment_2018

Thats a brand new MERCADES!

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 10.00.07 AM

So what this teaches us is that the sooner that we can get our debt paid off the better.

Use these loan calculators to find out how much you could be saving when paying extra on your student loans (taking the difference of what you would pay over your term and the amount of interest you pay if you pay early).

Who knows, you could afford to buy yourself a new mercades in retirement or even by a home with all the money you save paying off your student loans early.

Lesson 3: The Best Way To Start is to Start

Well, most people just start out with a pen and paper, and then move into writing using excel to track their income and expenses. I ended up using money aggrigators to check my accounts, like mint.com or personalcapital.com, and honestly they did little more than tell me how broke I was at the end of each month. 

Eventually I heard about budgeting software like youneedabudget.com, from Phil over at theartoffinance.com (check his site out when you get a chance he has some real good knowledge to drop on you about being a starving artist and not having to literally starve) and once I started using youneedabudget I was in the fast lane. 

I was able to pay as much as $3,900 in a single month, using bonuses and overtime pay, and was able to shorten my repayment cycle YEARS using this program. Which if you’ve been following me thus far can be the difference of buying or not buying that dream car you’ve always wanted…

2018-porsche-911-turbo-s-exclusive-first-drive-review-car-and-driver-photo-695623-s-original
BRAND NEW PORSCHE 911 TURBO – MSRP: $161,800

If you don’t already have a foundation in budgeting then just start with writing down all you expenses and your income each month. Here’s a template that I used for the first year of repaying back my debt and getting my finances under control.

Simple Budget_copy

Any extra money that you haven’t allocated to groceries, rent, gas or insurance you can direct towards your loan and debt repayment. You don’t need new clothes every month, you don’t need new shoes, or to eat out every day or even week for that matter. In all honesty, as I talk about in 10 Reasons You Need to GET THE HELL Out Of Debt!, there are a lot of things that we as Americans “think” we need but really just WANT. Don’t let your wants rob you of your investments and your future

Now more on the ‘HOW’, the goal is to pay off the highest interest rate 1st, then roll the excess of that payment (don’t reduce how much you are paying) into your next highest loan until all your loans are paid off. The faster you do this the sooner you will begin investing and the more money you will make in the long run. 

Here’s a screen shot of how compound interest works (investing over the long run).

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 9.22.17 AM
Compounding interest: the earlier you start the more money you will be paid out on your investments. 

It doesn’t matter when you start, the important thing is to start. And the sooner you pay off all your debt the sooner you will begin to invest for wealth.

Lesson 4: Get An Emergency Fund Together TODAY:

Save at Least $1000 and Then NEVER Spend It!

This is called an emergency fund and you absolutely need one. It’s not there just to make you feel comfortable, it’s there to come between you and emergencies!

Things that you will not be using it for include: buying new clothes, new tires for the car, or a bunch of crap to clutter up your house.

This is a brick wall protecting you from catastrophy, like a storm wall, once it’s up it will be there for years and you don’t have to do anything to it except not touch it.

You won’t have to add money to it, to protect it, to water it, to re-plaster it. It just sits there, and you do nothing with it.

Once you have your Emergency fund up you will be able to rest easy each month and know that your budget can be balanced at $0 and you will still have money set aside for true emergencies (unforeseen medical expenses, your car motor goes, you lose your job, etc).

Lesson 5: Living With A Room Mate Isn’t Just For College Kids

All 4 years of college I had a room mate, even when I was in Hong Kong. I moved back home to live with my dad while I figured out how to earn a good income, eventually starting my own business, and that saved me tons of money on rental payments and house payments.

My advice to anyone not starting out with a trust fund and a hearty investment account out the gate is to rent the lowest cost apartment you can. Avoid places that are older than 20 years, and avoid bad neighborhoods with lots of police reports. You don’t want to put yourself in danger just to payback your loans. And definitely inspect the place for roaches…I’ve had that before and they are a pain to get rid of…

Keep utilities use to a minimum by showering at your company gym and building a fire in the winter and layer your bed with warm blankets you bought at the local thrift store. Which leads me to my next point…

Lesson 6: One Person’s Old Shirt Is Another Persons $123,764.05 In Savings

It boggles my mind how much people actually spend in clothes each and every year. I see some of my college friends getting new clothes every month and spending as much as $300 each time. By not spending that money on new clothes it’s amazing how much one can save. 

If we took even a modest spending of say $100 a month on new shirts, pants, shoes and suits and instead invested that in repaying of our debt, or heck even better, investing in the stock market with index funds we would see amazing results.  

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 10.26.35 AM
Here’s Your New Porsche 911 Turbo 😉

Knowing this principle I didn’t buy new clothes for the first 4 years out of college. I bought a suit once for a friends wedding and a belt from Nordstrom’s Rack. And even then I felt like I over spent money on something I didn’t need. 

My philosophy was, If I don’t need it for work and I don’t need it to live then I don’t spend money on it. And if I did need clothes I first looked at local thrift shops and second hand stores to find what I needed. If I still couldn’t find what I needed then I would shop at a nearby budget store like Walmart or target (when they have coupons or sales).

I also read and studied minimalism and learned that by having fewer choices, a 3 pack of black t shirts and white t-shirts, 2 Pairs of shoes (a pair of brown leather dress shoes, and a pair of black Nikes), and just 2 pairs of Jeans I was actually happier, less stressed and had less decision fatigue in the early morning chosing what I wanted to wear for the day. 

Of course I had workout clothes but all together I own maybe 10 shirts and 4 pairs of pants, along with 12 pairs of socks and 5-7 pairs of underwear. 

Lesson 7: Reduce your Auto Expense And Save Yourself A $97,816.58 Headache…

First off, whatever you do DO NOT LEASE A VEHICLE OUT OF COLLEGE. 

I learned the hard way that it is the worst idea for a recent college grade and was given bad advice. 

Thankfully I got out of it, only after it cost me $3,900 to sell it and eat the loss, but it taught me a valuable lesson. If you don’t have the cash to buy the car then you shouldn’t lease it either.

So selling your expensive car or lease and getting a used Japanese car will save you thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars in the long run.

Here’s what I would have ended up paying for a 2015 Mazda 3 hatch back lease over the course of 3 years:  

Now that’s a LOT of money for a recent college grad who is making MAYBE $45,000 a year… I know I wasn’t. So for that guy to sell me that lease, shame on him, but he does have to feed his family. So knowing this if you still go down that path shame on you…

And this mistake cost me nearly $100k in savings over the next 25 years…

Avoid A Lease and Save $97,816.58
How much I would have saved by not leasing my first car out of college…

Now, I invest in vehicles in a totally differet way.

After reading Andrew Hallam’s book, The millionaire Teacher, I learned that buying a used car CASH is the safest way to lessen the blow of depriciation and to not get stuck with a rediculous car payment like my former lease.

Oh and if you are stuck with a stinker like I was get out as quickly as you can, sell the car new and pay off the lease and then take your losses and run!!

I used a service called Beepi, who coincidently also went bankrupt as I was about to be with my stupid lease, to sell my car and get out from a payment costing me more than my student loans each month.

Now, I look for cars following the criteria that I lay out in How To Actually Make Money On Your Next Quality Used Car Buy: 7 Things To Know Before You Buy. If you follow those guidelines BEFORE you pickup your next used car you could avoid my mistake and safe yourself literally THOUSANDS of dollars like I illustrated above.  

But Kristian I don’t have $3,000 saved up to get a decent used car…

Well don’t you think it’s time to start saving then? Only kidding. I get it.

Even if you live in the United States though, which has some of the worst public transit systems in the ENTIRE WORLD, and I should know I’ve been to every major city in the United States and seen all of the shitty systems for myself, for a first world country. Even then, it is still possible to minimize your transit expenses and maximize savings to help pay off debt or start investing.

Get a bike

You can invest in a good used bike with a solid chain with minimal wear from a retail store, thrift store, or even at a garage sale. I got mine as a hand me down bike from my mom’s old cyclocross days and I’ve seen at least a dozen good condition bikes at the thrift stores that I’ve patronized in the past 4 years. 

You don’t have to do this but I chose to ride it everyday to work on any day when it’s above 32 Fahrenheit (if you live in colder climate I am not advising that you follow suit, but you can still afford to ride the bus no matter where you are). 

Find a Carpool or Ride Share with a Friend

Alternatively you can ride share with a room mate, co-worker, or even your significant other in order to save for a decent used car or to just simply save money. Check with your employer to see if they have a ride share network or offer a local bus pickup option near your work. 

Remember, you are doing this temporarily to get yourself to another level, this is not forever. 

Lesson 8: Create a List When Shopping…

One of the best ways to cut down your food costs is to set a monthly spending budget and to stick to it. And one of the best ways to avoid over spending is to make a list, check it twice, then go to the store and shop. And if you’re hungry you will end up buying more food than if you have a snack before you go. Don’t believe me? It’s science… Check it

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According to this study, by researcher Allison Jing Xu of University Of Minnesota, “Xu and her team ran a series of five behavioral experiments that included a total of 379 people…when it came to their desire to actually acquire these items, hungry people wanted to get significantly more of both the food and the non-food items than their better-fed peers…” https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/hunger-makes-you-buy-more-stuff-even-if-its-not-food-180954345/.

Knowing this, when I first started out budgeting I chose to set aside a nominal $183 personal shopping budget for groceries. What I would do prior to going to the grocery store, is write down a list of everything that I need for the week and shop only once per week. A practice that I picked up from reading The Millionaire Next Door By Thomas J. Stanley. 

This exercise forces us to stick to what we need and not what we want in the moment. I’d would also recommend eating something before going to the grocery store. Hungry shopping makes for bigger grocery bills.

Writing down a list of items you need in the grocery store will also help you to save time while shopping, or you can try having a personal shopper do the shopping for you once you have eliminated debt and you have more valuable ways of spending your time (aka you make more money per hour doing that higher value activity than it costs you to pay someone to do your shopping).

Lesson 9: Make Yourself Employable…

Get a hair cut, say yes sir, yes ma’am and smile when you’re at work actually get your job done. They are paying you to accomplish your work, not sit there.

If you were hiring someone to get a painting job done or to finish the roof on your house would you want to see them sitting around doing nothing or rather trying to accomplish the work as quickly as possible, safely?

Do a good job and you will be rewarded with dividends.

I worked some really crappy jobs in and out of college.

I’ve been a waiter, a burger flipper, scrubbed toilets, flown a desk for a number of years, sold home appliances on the road, sold advertising over the phone to people who slam the phone on you, and I’ve worked door to door sales driving all over town.

The thing that hasn’t changed in any of these roles is the fact that people pay you when they receive value. If you do a good job in those roles and you deliver real results, consistently, you WILL be noticed and you WILL be given more responsibility.

Having your budget set and your investing in alignment will mean that you will eventually not need to work any of those jobs, unless you truly enjoy them, but for now we MUST work a job to reach our financial goals.

Or, find another way of bringing value such as starting your own business.

Which leads me to my next point…

Lesson 10: Why Not Start Your Own Business?

This is never as easy as bloggers and online advertising makes it seem; however, it is totally possible to start your own business and change your financial future.

The biggest advice I can give you is don’t listen to big ticket courses or fancy talk about being able to own a business where you don’t have to do any work. This is a sleazy sale technique that marketers with no scruples will try and use to get you to buy their overpriced courses.

The truth is, you have to have some sort of valuable skill or process that can be sold or marketed. House cleaning, is a skill which can be sold and marketed.

Writing valuable sales copy is a skill, which can be sold or marketed.

Analytics. Accounting. Contracting. Writing. These are all skills. Heck, teaching is a skill as well.

Some of the best advice I have every gotten on the subject of “where to start” was to start where you have knowledge. If you’re a nanny, start with that, focus on writing, educating, and training other people on how to be a better nanny.

If you are a 16 year old kid with a lawn mower, why not start there? If you’ve been keeping the books for a big company 9-5 why not then start keeping the books for some of your family or local businesses around town who could use some help on the weekends.

If you are offering a valuable service that people need and are willing to pay for then they will beat a path to your door. Start by simply telling people about what you do. Post your occupation on facebook and reach out to your network and let them know that you are starting a business in X.

I wouldn’t go for MLM’s unless you really want to learn sales and marketing and you are comfortable with a high turnover sales force that you have to constantly be training.

Dave Ramsey goes over a lot more of these concepts in his best selling book “EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches”

Start a blog…

Something like this where you can share with other people what you know, refer a few products to your readers and earn a little affiliate commission each month.You can start out with a free service like Blogger.com, WordPress.com, or even Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Tumblr.

If you are ready to commit to starting, and running a blog full time, then you can head over to Blue Host, Host Gator, Name Cheap or GoDaddy and setup a Domain name and WordPress managed site that will host all your content.

The benefit to having your own managed site is that you can start marketing and advertising from day one, rather than having WordPress ads on your site or the branding of the blog host on your site (usually found at the bottom of the page). This option is good if you have an existing business that you wish to transition online from day one.

If you are brand new to running your own business, don’t have a lot of working capital to invest, or aren’t sure where to start, consider setting up a free WordPress or blog and just start writing and sharing content. Be sure to link to your other social media and don’t have expectations of replacing your income in year one.

Point is, this doesn’t require a sizable investment of $300+ and you are only required to put in the time and work. I know many people earning a couple hundred dollars each month from their blogs and a few that are making a full time income ($40 – 70k a year) from their blog or site who started virtually free

You don’t need $10,000+ dollars to invest anymore to start an online business. You just need to constantly be learning and growing, and if you are starting with little capital to invest then you must put in sweat equity.

If you don’t have experience in SEO (optimizing how your site comes up in the search engines), web design, or online marketing then you can either buy a bunch of courses or look for something all in one like what SBI offers. For anyone who is looking for a crash course in how to design websites that earn you an income, not just pretty sites that don’t work, I suggest taking the SBI course. The goal with SBI is to get a profitable site up that provides value to your customers and the search engines (such as google) rank extremely high.

A good example is raw-food-health.net. Andrew Perlot started as a journalist who also enjoyed raw foods and who’s health benefitted greatly from taking on a raw food diet. Andrew’s site is now one of the top ranking authorities on raw food and health.

If you are serious about starting an online business then SBI is a very good course for your to learn everything you need all for one low price. (insert affiliate link).

Leverage Affiliate Marketing To Earn Residual Income…

The one component that you will need to have in order to make a website work and make a small to very large income, is some type of offer. You will need to offer something of value that your readers can buy. This can come in the form of your own products, affiliate products that you market for others, or even trainings and content that you sell.

One of the quickest ways to begin earning an income online from a site, blog or any other marketing medium (facebook, email, text, blog) is to sign up for free affiliate marketing programs that pay a commission upon referral. The important thing here is to make sure that your offers align with your audience.

In otherwords, know your audience. Avoid marketing sewing machines to people reading your article on personal finance unless you know that your audience is mostly people who enjoy sewing machines. Instead, try writing a site about sewin as a hobby and then marketing that low, medium, and premium sewing machine to those customers. If you imagine your site or your online presence like a store, a physical store, what type of a store is it? An arts and crafts store? A Thrift store? An electronics store? Sports and out doors?

If your customer walked into your sports and outdoor store and found cooking supplies for their home kitchen do you think they would be inclined to buy? Probably not. If they walked into a CPA firm trying to get their taxes for their business done would they want to know about sporting goods? No.

So be mindful of who is reading your content, aka what you are writing towards, and then offer them goods and services in alignment with that content. Likewise if you have an online store (such as Shopify or wix commerce) and you sell motorcycle helmets then write content for that audience that applies to the goods you are selling and the sport that you are catering to. Your audience is motorcyclist, not stay at home moms. Do some of them ride motorcycles? Sure! It’s possible, but do MOST of them? No.

So keep it relevant for your audience.

Now, If you aren’t aware of affiliate programs and what they pay out then just simply do a google search for “affiliate program ________” and you should land a few good ones.

Here are just a couple programs out there that you can get started with today:

Amazon Associates – https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/home

Rakuten – https://www.rakuten.com/

Commission junction – http://www.cj.com/

Turn Pennys Into Hundred Dollar Bills Garage Sale-in’…

This is one of my favorites. You can easily get on eBay and Amazon by setting up a free account and start using their FREE seller apps right now to make money selling things you find around your home, at local garage sales, estate sales, book stores and even your friends house (if they want to sell it) for money, sometimes big money.

Here’s a screen shot of one of my accounts and the profit that I made on just 4 items my girlfriend and I found garage sale-in’:

IL Screen shot_Product Sales
Screen shot of one of my accounts and the sales of a knife, book, computer game, and another book.

As you can see, you can start with very little upfront capital and start earning income on the side, this weekend, scanning and sending in games, books, dvd’s, even gently used electronics (old tv’s with a vcr sell best), and open boxed toys that just need to be resealed.

If you aren’t sure where to start, just start with books, and if you’re still lost then check out the proven book sourcing course at provenbooksourcing.com. It’s a very simple but effective course that teaches you everything you need to know how to buy books and flip them on amazon and ebay for a very good profit. By the end of the course you will be able to profitably scan books and flip them online for a very decent profit.

Most other items you find at garage sales and estate sales can be resold in new condition. If the box was opened and the item was never been opened then you can take that home, reseal the box and send it in to Amazon to sell it, usuallyfor a great profit.

For a complete A-Z guide of how to sell online check out the Proven Amazon Course.

Learning to sell online will require you to learn a bit more about how to actually evaluate certain things, but start out with something you know.  I started with used  electronics (televisions, VCR’s, video games, etc) and books. I’ve found used iPhone’s at garage sales for $10 and sold them online for hundreds of dollars. I’ve also bought used stereo equipment for less than $50 once and it sold for over $500.

One of the best resources I know of for online selling is Seth Kniep’s youtube channel, as of this writing he steps you fully how to source and sell for private label online and even gives you access to a free tools called Amazeowl which is a compete product research tool in one. It’s what I use and it’s what I recommend any newbie start out with.

Once you start making about $500 a month from your business then I would look at investing in a coach or in a program but don’t do that until you are profiting at least $2000 total.

In Conclusion

Using these strategies I was able to pay off $33,555 in student loan debt and credit card debt even though my rent rate went up, my job income started at only $10 bucks an hour and I was $33,555 in debt.

If I can do it, so can you. And you have the advantage of learning from my mistakes too.

I hope that some of these strategies truly help you and that you find them to be profitable and beneficial for your financial life. For some of us the pathway to financial freedom is a short one that is a fairly easy path to walk, for others (myself included) it’s a multiyear process with some bumps along the way and some bruises.

If you are down on your luck right now or struggling with the process then know that you are not alone. There is help. You just have to know where to reach out to get it. I’ve included some resources in the “resource tab” of the site if you are struggling with getting your finances straight or are struggling in life in particular.

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6 Strategies to Fund Your Travel Lifestyle

If you’re like me, you hate being stuck in one spot in life, whether that’s physically or mentally, it eats you up inside. You are constantly striving for change in the form of growth and one of the best ways I know of to grow and change is with environmental shift. Pick up and move to another country, heck why not another continent? The shift brings you pleasure and a sense of freedom where for others the thought of leaving everything behind gives them anxiety. Not you though.

But you may be left wondering, how can I do it? How will I actually fund a lifestyle abroad if I can’t take my job or career with me? The simple answer. Get a new job or career. It’s not rocket science (unless that is your field of research…) you just apply online for roles that meet your skills or you look for something new. Be a nanny and enlist teacher, work on a cruise ship, go teach English in China, Singapore, Korea, Japan or Taiwan, or even start a blog like this one. Whatever it is there is opportunity for work anywhere you go. But you first have to ask the question Why.

Most people talk a lot of smack about going off and traveling the world, but most never end up doing it. In this article I’m going to talk about a few of the strategies I’ve used to make long term travel a possibility. 

Method 1: Work Hard, Save Harder.

The easiest way to start with is to simply save more than you spend and work extra to make this happen. Cut back on excess spending by creating a budget and noting down everything that you spend money on. Become a miser and don’t spend a penny on something that is outside of your travel or Jiu Jitsu spending.

220px-Labor-Pearce-Highsmith-detail-1

This is probably the simplest and fastest way to fund your travels. Rolf Potts did it with teaching English in Korea and so can you. You can just move to Korea, teach English for 2 years and you too can save enough money to actually travel the world for 18 months. So long as you eat at local eateries, couch surf, and only eat rice and boloney sandwiches for 2 years prior to your trip. Oh, and no going out to parties or bars for that 2 years either.

You can read more about his adventures in his book Vagabonding if that sort of minimalist living tickles your fancy.

Vagabonding By Rolf Potts

Method 2: Sell Stuff Online

Just go out to a local garage sale or thrift shop and look for stuff selling well on ebay or etsy, with amazon look for stuff that is selling well in NEW condition.

MSOL_Ebay_AmazonBuy it cheap, take it home, create a free account with ebay or amazon, and then list it. Once it sells, do it again. Once you’ve sold your first thing do it again. Find stuff cheap on craigslist, thrift stores, and at garage sales and then flip it on ebay and amazon. Do this enough and you could pay for a trip to Costa Rica round trip with surf camp for a week. That’s what I’ve done to make over $5000 in my first year on the side. Once you have a good solid handle on that you can move to method 3, of starting your own business.

Method 3: Start a Business:

There are more online businesses than you can count and each of them has their merits.

If you’re not living in the united states then it’s a bit different. You would need to register an LLC in the states and then do something like Drop shipping or Amazon Merch to make a location independent business.

Probably my favorite method is merch since you don’t even need a business registered (though it will certainly provide you more protection) you will really only need an internet connection, and a design background. Personally I only have one of these… but I’m still using this model. Just one of my internet income spokes.

Sign up for your free merch account here: merch.amazon.com

Method 4: Start a blog, like this one:

You may not make much money off it, but you can sure use it to report your travels back home to friends and family and help keep everyone in the loop. After some time if things really take off, you can hire a designer to build you a fully optimized website and run SEO on it to help pull in more traffic and lead ultimately to more sales.

For the best sites to checkout I like just using the free stuff while you’re getting setup and used to how they work, then you can always migrate your content or pay someone to do so for you later. WordPress.com, blogger.com, tumblr.com are just a few examples of free sites that you can use and require no startup cost. Now just like merch it’s easy to undervalue these services; however, if your focus is on providing great content and delivering it to a global audience then these are a great place to start.

You can of course get into paid hosting sites. Every blogger is going to have their own affiliate link (and thus be biased), but really they all do virtually the same thing. They all have dedicated customer service, and all cost money to host on their platform. I suggest that you start out free on one of the afore mentioned ones and then move to a paid for site once you have an audience.

Method 5: Start Creating Valuable Content

One of my other new favorites of the free startup space is amazon’s Create space website. You can create content (though good content will usually sell better), and upload it to create space. When it sells, Amazon writes you a check.

Again, I like this because it’s passive. Sure you aren’t making 100% of the sale, but do you really want to walk around and try and hand out your shitty book to people on the streets? No, of course not right? So why would you try and sell it on craigslist or Facebook or anything other than the largest market place in the world -> amazon. Again with this you can register an LLC and register for free even if you are not a US citizen. Seriously consider this one.

Method 6: Start a Youtube or Instagram Account

When it comes to youtube. You won’t make all your money there, you can use it to build a relationship much like what email is or Facebook messenger.

This is just a way of connecting with your audience and to help them with solving their problems and offering value to them. You of course can make money referring people to affiliate programs and selling other things like coaching, merch, and create space books and such. Or just simply the PDF through your email autoresponder like nomadicmatt.com does. 

Bonus Method: Learn Email and Affiliate Marketing

This one takes time and effort, so if you’re one of those get rich quick folks you should probably stop reading now. This isn’t for you.

You can take what you know about talking with people and find an area of explicit interest, such as travel, and then offer a solution to a problem you find in this space. Such as funds.

So when you hear someone talk about how they “can’t afford to travel” you can simply offer ‘6 ways to fund their travel’. Then when they are interested in learning more about what you mean you can direct them to your website where they can learn from your almost decade + years of travel experience and mistakes, feel as though they’ve received value and that they would like to continue receiving value and click “find out when there are updates” button on your site to stay in touch.

Over several months and years you can develop a relationship with them and then 6 or 12 months from now they will buy something that you offer on your site and in your emails to them.

The only problem that most people have with this method is that they are trying to sell something too early. They push and push and ask upfront and they fail to understand how this business works. You have to provide value, insight, wisdom, entertainment, and then people feel that they wish to reciprocate only once they feel they’ve been understood. Not when you wish them to buy.

To Wrap Things Up

So there you have it. 5 Strategies to go out and start funding your travels.

If you’re like me you probably get overwhelmed with too much information, so how’s this. Start today. Sign up for merch, look at your local garage sales, and start working a second job. If you do all three of those things today, and you really start learning ANY of these skills then you can start seeing your travel funds grow and your travel experiences with it.

What you need not do is worry about which one is right for you, pick any of them, but don’t get discouraged, just start. It took me almost 6 years to get from reading books like ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’ to actually sitting on a beach in Central America and enjoying surf lessons all week long.

Just go out and get started, even if you fall flat on your face with a couple of different strategies it’s ok because it cost you very little.

If you found this interesting or valuable information please share it with your friends and family on your favorite social media.