Hope for your financial life and beyond

Thank You, For One Million Page Views at Luke1428.com

Rarely do I draw attention to the metrics of this blog. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever done it like this (and probably never will again). But I have fun moment that I couldn’t shy away from. Yesterday, some unknown user found their way to my site and triggered the one millionth page view at Luke1428.com. Thank you, mystery reader – I wish I had a prize for you.

Look, I know. In the grand scheme of the web, one million-page views isn’t a lot. Some personal finance sites get that in weeks. Still, it’s a big deal for me, especially when I consider my intentions for this blog.

This site has never been about making me money. I’ve never tried to make it my living as some other personal finance bloggers have successfully done. I basically generate enough revenue here to keep the site running and have a little left over for fun projects.

For the most part, I work on posts and site maintenance in my spare time. Early mornings, at night or on Sunday afternoon while watching football. It’s a part-time deal for me. And at this point, I’m doing two to three posts a month.

Despite my approach, the blog continues to grow beyond what I could have imagined when I first started. In fact, at current pace of growth, I should reach my 2-million-page view mark in the next two years. From there, who knows what happens.

So, if it’s not for a living, why devote effort to a blog in the first place? I’m glad you asked.

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6 Signs You Are Living Above Your Means

Let’s face it. We live in a fast paced, consumer friendly, debt-driven society. Spending money has never been easier.

That might be why more than 60% of Americans deal with credit card debt on a daily basis. Access to credit has never been more available to the general public. Unfortunately, it is a main reason why living paycheck-to-paycheck is an unfortunate reality for nearly half of Americans.

However, that reality doesn’t have to be inevitable. Your situation can improve with some quick refinements to your spending habits. I’ve done it before and so can you. You don’t have to live above your means.

It does come down to a simple choice. But first you must be able to recognize that you have a problem. With that in mind, here are a few warning signs you may want to look out for when you’re worried you’re not living within your means.

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What I’d Tell My 20-Year Old Self about Financial Freedom

the futureEnjoy this guest post today from blogger and website owner Joseph Hogue as he shares his ideas about financial freedom.

The best lessons come from our experiences even if sometimes it’s our biggest mistakes. I’ve made more than a few mistakes in life. Fortunately, I’ve learned from at least some of them.

I think most of us can relate to Brian’s story of getting financially real from a mistake even if it took a while to figure it out. I have a drastically different interpretation of financial freedom now versus what I thought it meant earlier in my life.

It would be great to go back and clue my 20-year old self in. Maybe a quick slap on the head is what would be needed for this stubborn former Marine. I can however be happy that I learned from my misguided idea of financial independence and that it set me on a path to fulfillment in the future.

Before reading how financial freedom has changed for me, ask yourself, what does it mean to you? Then see if it changes after you read my story.

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The Sam’s Club Scan N Go App Is a Shopping Game Changer

Have you ever missed out on something for so long and when you finally heard about it, felt stupid for not knowing sooner? That’s how I feel right now about the Sam’s Club Scan and Go app. I’ve been shopping at Sam’s for about a year now and just learned about this app several months ago. It’s actually been out since 2016.

Sam's Club Scan and GoThe only thing helping me shed my feelings of stupidity is the shopping experience this app provides. It’s that amazing!

One of the challenging things about shopping at warehouse clubs like Sam’s or Costco is the checkout line. First of all, there is the line itself. It’s usually long, especially during peak hours. I’ve easily stood in line for over 20 minutes before on the weekends.

Secondly, it’s just a bear to check out with all your massive, bulky items. You have to unload at the checkout line and then reload carts after the items are scanned. Even the most skilled checkout attendant can take 5-plus minutes if you have a cartload or two. But we put up with this because we are saving money by buying in bulk.

That’s where the Sam’s Club Scan and Go app comes into play. By using it you can bypass the whole checkout line process! Here is how simply it works.

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Make More Than You Think Working From Home as a Bookkeeper

Today I’d like to welcome Tim Chaves, CEO at ZipBooks. Tim previously founded and sold two small businesses, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.  In this article, he’ll share the ins and outs of how you can make money on the side – or as a career – being a bookkeeper. 

bookkeeperWhat would your reaction be if I told you you could make $15/hour or more doing accounting work from home?

“No,” you’d probably say. “I’m not an accountant!”

And you’d be right — about the fact that you’re not an accountant! But not about your potential to earn that money on the side, from home, doing accounting work.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that a trained accountant often does several different types of jobs. They may do taxes, audits, financial planning and bookkeeping.

But here’s the key: not all of the tasks an accountant does require an accountant to do them. And that’s why I want to focus specifically on bookkeeping.

What Is a Bookkeeper?

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Your Best Investment Ever Won’t Be In The Stock Market

What is the best investment you’ve ever made? Historical analysis suggests an investor in the U.S. stock market can reasonably count on an average annual return of 8-10%. There will be good years and bad to live through, but that’s a pretty good return for your money.

best investmentWhile the stock market is known as the great creator of wealth, it’s not the best investment you can ever make. It’s also not land, rental properties, CDs, bonds, or commodities. None of those will bring the level of return needed to really succeed in your life, in your career and with your finances.

One investment outshines all these in terms of total lifetime return. That’s the investment you make in yourself. Nothing will move you forward quicker, push you farther and have more lasting impact than the time and money spent on oneself. Here’s how.

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6 Special Reasons Why I Love Having a Travel Budget

travel budgetI love having a travel budget! For my wife and I it was a priority from the beginning of our marriage. We both went on family vacations growing up and wanted to carry on that tradition with our kids. And never was that ideal more driven home than on a hot, summer afternoon at a tourist beach in St. Maarten.

This is no ordinary beach though. It’s Maho Beach, situated just yards away from Princess Juliana International Airport. Oddly enough, people don’t come to this beach for the beach. They come to watch the planes land.

It’s 1:00 pm in the afternoon and dozens of tourists are standing on the beach looking out over the water. The chalkboard at the nearby restaurant lists the daily landing times. As we looked, right on schedule a tiny speck appeared out over the water.

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How to Turn a Hobby Into a Career

Ever want to turn a hobby into a career? Maria Cannon at HobbyJr.org did just that with her love of quilting. Now she is trying to help others do the same. In today’s guest post she shares some practical tips that can help you get started.

Many people these days are looking for a new career. There are many ways that can be accomplished without going back to school. One such way is to use an existing hobby to make money.

It’s a valid path to pursue, especially for those who feel like they’ve hit a lull within their jobs and want to try something different. Starting your own business is a wonderful option when you’re ready to branch out. However, it’s not without its challenges. Done poorly it could blow up in your face and leave you worse off than you are right now.

So, the question is, “Where do you start?” If you already have a hobby that could be a potential moneymaker such as sewing, baking, or making jewelry, you’re already halfway there. If not, you’ll need to think of ways you can earn money while doing something you love.

Here are a few tips on how to get started.

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A Spring Cleaning To-Do List For Your Finances

Do you love spring cleaning? I used to think that I loved to clean. Now that I’ve had some more time around the house as a stay at home dad, I realize I don’t love the process of cleaning. It’s something else.

spring cleaningWhat I actually love are the results and satisfaction that come from cleaning. For few brief moments of my life that space I just worked on is perfectly in order. It’s fresh, purified and clean. It’s organized and pleasing to look at.

During this time of year I usually embark on the spring cleaning of something. I’m working on our garage right now. What an organizational task!

In my mind, spring cleaning serves several purposes. First, it’s a purging process – getting rid of what you don’t need. But I also use spring cleaning to get organized and freshen things up a bit. And if I get really ambitious, I tackle those hidden places in the house where dirt and bacteria thrive.

The house isn’t the only place though to work on spring cleaning. You can’t forget to look at your finances. Granted, it’s not something that you might naturally think to do during the spring. But this area of your life also gets a little messy from time to time. So while you are cleaning everything else, why not give it a look as well.

To get you started, here are places where you should give your finances a good spring cleaning checkup.

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10 Tidbits of Financial Wisdom on My 45th Birthday

Forty-five. That’s the age I turn today – March 7, 2018.

A lot has changed in our world since 1973. Almost every area of life I can think of has made advancements. Mostly these have been for the good of society and have ushered in new eras for technology, medicine, science, politics and sports just to name a few.

One thing really hasn’t changed though. And that is our need for money. We need it now just as much as my parents did when I was born. Money provides us with the means to secure the most basics needs for our survival – food, clothing, shelter, utilities and transportation. If any one of those key areas is missing in the equation, then we are more or less suffering to some degree.

I’ve been blessed in that I’ve never had to worry about meeting these needs. However, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a challenge at times. But both my parents when I was young and now myself leading my own family have always been able to manage. I’ve truly been blessed in that way.

In my 45 years of life, I’ve learned some valuable lessons about money and finances. So today I’d like to give you 10 quick bits of financial wisdom that have helped shape me over the years. I won’t get bogged down in the details about how I learned these lessons. If you want to read more details, click on the links I’ll provide.

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Refinance Your Mortgage Now While Rates Are Still Historically Low

A home purchase is one of the most exciting and expensive financial transactions a person will make. Because homes cost so much, most people choose to buy one by getting a mortgage. They borrow money from a lender at an agreed upon interest rate for a designated length of time. When the loan is paid off, the house is legally theirs.

refinanceThe rate lenders charge for interest on a mortgage does not stay the same. They fluctuate, sometimes even from day to day. Because they can change frequently, Person A may end up getting a lower rate than Person B. It seems unfair that one person could get a better rate and save money just because they had better timing on their home purchase.

That’s where refinancing comes in to play. If done properly, it can end up saving homeowner’s money in the long run.

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