Creating extra income to manage the ever increasing cost of life

Creating extra incomeLife is not getting any easier due to the economy and high cost of living. The economy is ever in the gutter and cost of living is ever increasing. Despite working harder and harder and studying more and more to make ourselves marketable for better paying jobs, it always seems that we are living in a rat race where the vicious cycle of high costs and low pay are the order of the day.

My wife and I are both working at decent jobs but we cannot seem to make enough money to meet our goals. We are not exactly poor, thank God, but we could do better.

We have been planning to do many things but often our plans remain right where they are; on paper. We cannot seem to be able to manifest our dreams and ambitions and make them a reality thanks to that great enemy, insufficient funds.

When we got married, we had great hopes for our future and we had a pretty well planned timeline that would see us gradually rise to the heights we envisioned. Sadly there were some crucial factors that we had not considered. One was the state of the economy and taxation, and the other was kids… or rather the timing for the kids.

We had obviously planned for kids but we had somehow assumed that by the time kids came we would have moved to the bigger apartment that was first on our wish list. Our firstborn however had other ideas and he came just a year after our wedding and we had not managed to raise enough money to move to the new house. Being new parents, we had also hugely underestimated the costs that we would incur as a result of the children. Soon we were delving into our savings. Bye-bye house.

Our new born, our son, was a great addition to the family. We were so happy with his arrival that we forgot about moving to the new house. We focused on raising the boy. We started making plans for his future and started planning how to save for his education and upkeep. Then the second born came.

The birth of our daughter was the final wake up call. We had to do something. Our salaries were not enough to help us attain our dreams. We needed extra income.

One of the things that I thought of was that we could open a music store and sell music equipment. This was an idea that came easily to me because my father had a similar business. I knew with his help I could start a small store in our town where there were very few specialized music stores. My idea was that I would only specialize on guitars and I would hire someone to run the store.

I loved guitars and I had a Taylor GS mini guitar that I kept from when I was a very young boy. My father had given me the guitar when his hopes had been that I would one day take over the business. Maybe I can give him some satisfaction by opening a branch in my town.

My Small Sister is her Own Boss!

flexible jobsWhen I was pregnant and almost due with my first child, I had to call my sister to stay with me. I was pretty useless and could do nothing on my own. As you would expect, I lagged behind in doing my daily chores and my house became very messy. I am not very comfortable with strangers in my house and despite my husband urging me to hire a help, I could not do it.

We have been great buddies with my younger sister and since she was without any binding attachments, I asked her if she could come over. Without hesitation, she agreed.

My sister Maggie has always been quite the outgoing one in our families. Me being the absolute introvert, I always admired how she had an open minded view of various aspects in life. For example, since she had graduated from college a year ago, she had not bothered to look for employment. She however managed to live in the city meeting all her bills and meeting all her daily needs.

My small sister was very talented artistically and being a very social person, she had a very good network of friends who would hook her up with flexible jobs which she viewed as hobbies. These included party planning, photography and painting, working as a make-up artist, and other related contractual gigs. Being quite the gifted artist, and having majored in the arts while in college, she was quite well paid and had good demand.

Our parents and I were concerned about the temporal nature of these jobs and urged her to find something more permanent and maybe save up some money to start her own business. Calling her to come live with me during this time was also a strategy for me to find time to talk to her.

When she came over, Maggie was her usual vibrant self; zipping around the house full of energy and always chatting about this and that. My home became very lively. I however noticed that she would often be deeply engrossed working on her laptop especially in the afternoons and deep into the night.

After a few days I broached the subject about what she planned for her future. Due to our close friendship, we always confided in each other.

She went ahead to tell me how she just loathed the idea of employment. She told me how she was her own boss doing that which she loved and how rewarding it was. She told me that her demand in the city had grown so much that she was now working strictly according to pre-planned schedule. She was even planning to start a registered business once she acquired the funding.

I was surprised when she told me that her agreeing to come to stay with me was a way of escaping from the city to build her website. The times she was busy working on her laptop she was writing blog articles for her website.

“When did you become a writer?” I asked.

She went on to explain that she had taken up blog writing a few months back and had realized that she was quite good. In fact, this was her second most paying activity after party planning, but she loved writing more since the market for web articles was insatiable. She could also work on blog articles with unequaled flexibility!

Good Credit can Fly

Good Credit can Fly

The modern society has simplified the way we do a lot of things; the way we talk and communicate, the way we travel, the way we eat, and even the way we sleep. All these activities are convenient thanks to the masterminds who discovered a little something called the credit card. Now, we all know there are several companies that offer credit cards out there. Because of this stiff competition, we now have offers made on credit cards. These offers are very useful if only you know how to make them count for your own good. Well, this article is meant to give you the knowledge you need so that next time you have a credit card that offers travel miles; you’ll actually know how to use it.

This is how you do it folks!

Now, before you go ahead to use the advantages offered by travel miles, you might want to know what your credit card rewards can do for you. Say I have signed up for a credit card with Virgin Atlantic I do not have the luxury to enjoy the services offered by American Airlines. Why? All these might be U.S. carriers but the existence of the word competition nullifies the benefits. What does this mean? As much as both the Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines will offer you huge bonus points on sign-ups, the use of these travel points is limited only to the respective companies. You, therefore, need to ensure you get a credit card that offers you flexibility. All the same there’s just much you can do with your credit card offered travel miles.

  • Use them to pay for your flights; traveling with airplanes can be quite a hassle if you have a limited financial budget. The best way is to make use of airline branded credit cards. These offer huge bonuses on points depending on the number of purchases you make. You can convert these points to travel miles and travel for free.
  • You can pay for accommodation; look for hotels that have bonus points on sign-ups; otherwise you could actually convert your points to a one night stay in a hotel of your liking.
  • You can also use your travel miles to pay for the food, visit attraction sites or acquire transportation in a foreign city or town. All, you have to do, is tap into the life and benefits of travel miles offered through any credit card you may have.

Cash back credit cards are also a great way to earn something extra for using a hotel or an airline credit card. Just make sure you are familiar with the policies of these companies. The best way, to get the best out of any cash back rewards, is to make use of redemption values always redeem cash for cash, miles for miles and other cards for gift cards. Ensure you use your cash back rewards before they expire; some companies will render your points useless after a period of time.

Good Credit can Fly Credit Picture License: EJP Photo via photopin cc

Student Loans: How to Get the Load Off Your Back

College Students

The cost of higher education is at an all-time high. This, coupled with the high cost of living, makes college or university education a dream. At first, it falls on the individuals seeking higher education and their families to secure means such as scholarships or more commonly financial aid. This, without a doubt, greatly reduces the inevitable burden of higher education.

There are two types of student loans. To be on the same page, let’s begin by understanding the main differences between subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

Subsidized Loans vs. Unsubsidized Loans

  • During times of deferment either due to economic constraints or the common in school deferment, the federal Government is responsible for the interests accumulated during the said period. As such, they cater to the interest. Needless to say, this happens to be one of the differences between the subsidized and the unsubsidized loans. The federal government is not liable to the interest accumulated during a deferment when it comes to an unsubsidized loan.
  • For persons with subsidized loans, the federal government sorts out the interest as it increases. This means that the payment of the Principal loan amount and the simple interest are meanwhile suspended until completion of studies i.e. up to the time of graduation. On the other hand, (unsubsidized loans) the interest undergoes capitalization. In that it is added to the balance. This is more or less the same as compound interest.
  • The above type of arrangement differs from the forbearance. The forbearance is whereby the interest accrued on the loan is a responsibility of the borrowers be it subsidized or unsubsidized loans.
  • The last but not least difference is the unique ways in which the two sets of loans handle their interest rates and their loan limits. During a students’ freshman year, the subsidized loan has an annual limit of approximately $4000 and increase of $ 500 during their sophomore year and a further $1500 to the freshman amount during the junior year and the years that follow. The allowed limits for the unsubsidized loan; however, includes any amount landed that is beside the subsidized amount but can never exceed the $2000 amount.

In conclusion, let me briefly explain to you the best way you can pay for your liberal arts degree.

First of all, the average annual tuition fee is approximately $1300. Add $1000 for books, and there you have about $3500 on the higher side. The best way to pay for your Liberal Arts College would be through the ‘friendly’ subsidized loans. This, as you can see from the loan limits I showed you above, will comfortably cater for your years in college annually all through to the time you are graduating. Remember, the loan won’t be so hard to pay up once the Grace period before the interests start rolling in is over…this is because the average salary, a professional liberal artist earns annually, is about $54000.

Student Loans: How to Get the Load Off Your Back Credit Picture License: US Department of Education via photopin cc

IRA, Roth, 401k: What Will Serve You Better?

Convert-IRAWhen you retire, you need money so that you are able to live a comfortable life. While Social Security is an option, it is not meant to provide for a full lifestyle. Because of this, you need to start saving for your retirement early in life. IRAs, a 401k and Roth IRAs are all options that you can look into. You want to understand what these savings options are so that you can choose the best one for you.

What is an Annuity?

An annuity is an interesting type of savings. A financial institution sells this product and it works to take and grow your funds. Once the annuitization occurs, you will get regular payments at some point. These work well to ensure that you have a steady flow of cash when you are retired. It works similar to a regular paycheck, but they often pay out on a monthly basis. You can choose between several different factors and details to make sure that the payouts work in a way that allows you to live comfortably.

Annuities can work well when you structure them properly. However, you want to look into things like fees and other things that could impact how much you end up getting upon retirement. You also want to choose between an immediate annuity and a fixed annuity based on the associated fees and your needs.

Exploring IRA Options

When you are exploring IRA options, you will find the traditional IRA and the Roth IRA. A traditional IRA is a type of investment account that you can place money in annually. There are penalties if you withdraw any money before your 59.5 birthday. If you withdraw early, any other withdraws that you make will be taxed when you decide to make the withdraw.

A Roth IRA works similar to a traditional IRA, but to contribute, joint filers must earn less than $156,000 per year and single filers must earn less than $99,000 per year. There are no penalties if you withdraw money before age 59.5, but if you do this, those earnings are fully taxable.

What is a 401k?

When you start a 401k program, you are able to put a percentage of each of your paychecks directly into an account. This percentage is determined and removed before taxes, allowing to put back a little extra. In many cases, an employer will also contribute to this account with a matching provision. This will help to increase how much you can accumulate between now and retirement. If you choose to withdraw your 401k before you turn 59.5 years old, penalties can be applied.

After you choose the right type of savings method, it is important to get started as soon as possible. After adults retire, they have approximately 20 years to live without a regular income. You need enough money put back to make this come to fruition so that you are able to live comfortably throughout your golden years.

The Financial Perks Of Certain Fields!

mortgage-rateWhen you work in certain fields, you know that there is a higher potential for income. Naturally, when you earn more money, you are contributing to a higher net worth and a more financially free life. However, you want to know how all of these tie in together so that you can best determine things like your savings for optimal budgeting.

Your Career and Your Average Net Worth

Common methods to increase net worth include savings and investments, real estate and working to avoid debt. Since your career has a major impact on your ability to pay off debt, purchase real estate and save money, it has an indirect role in increasing your net worth. If you want your career to factor into your net worth in an impactful way, you want to pursue a career with a high annual income.

While the highest paying jobs can change each year, they remain generally the same. For 2014, the following are the highest paying career fields:

a)     Surgeons

b)     General medicine doctor

c)     Psychiatrist

d)     Orthodontist

e)     Dentist

f)      Petroleum engineer

g)     Air traffic controller

h)     Pharmacist

i)      Podiatrist

j)      Lawyer

Of the careers on this list, surgeons earn the most and lawyers earn the least. All of these professions earn more than $100,000 per year.

Using a Net Worth Calculator

You can use different calculators to determine how you stand financially and to figure out what you can afford for large purchases. A net worth calculator can determine what you are worth after subtracting any liabilities. This helps you to figure out how much you have that is not tied up in various debts.

How Your Career Affects Your Mortgage

When you get a mortgage, you need it to fit into your budget so this means that you want to get a low interest rate. Your credit score plays a major role, but your income is also important because lenders want to see that you make enough to make your monthly payments without any issues. Lenders will look at your income and your monthly debt to create a ratio. For example, if your monthly debt is $1,200 per month and your monthly income is $2,000 per month, this leaves you with $800.00 for entertainment and other non-monthly expenses. Unless your mortgage was very low, lenders may not see this as a favorable ratio.

In general, you want a solid ratio and a credit score of at least 740 to get a good interest rate. How much you need to borrow and your personal assets also factor in.

What you do for a living impacts all areas of your life and it can also determine the type of mortgage you are eligible for. It may also affect things like your rate and other terms. When you are doing your homework for a new mortgage, make sure that you are mindful of the impact that your career has so that you go into the lender’s office fully prepared.