Hope for your financial life and beyond

How to Save One Thousand Dollars in a Month

Are you serious about getting out of debt and building a strong financial future? If so, then you must save money on a regular basis. The best part is you don’t have to begin with much. All you need to do for starters is to save one thousand dollars. That will give you some cushion and breathing space which you can then build on.

Speaking of building, when I worked construction I learned that every building requires a solid foundation. For your financial life, that foundation is savings. Without adequate savings you will struggle to get out of debt and will always be susceptible to emergency situations.

save one thousand dollarsNow I know for most people the process of saving money isn’t a sexy financial move. We’d rather spend money on gadgets or entertainment or experiences that give us an emotional high. Saving money and leaving it in the bank is an emotional blah.

To save one thousand dollars in a month may or may not sound like a daunting task. Some of you may be struggling to pay your basic bills. To save one thousand dollars may as well be like saving one million in your eyes.

But be encouraged. You can save one thousand dollars quickly. In fact, you can do it in only one month. Here’s how.

[Read more…]

How Much We Pay Our Kids For Chores

If you’ve ever wondered how much to pay kids for chores you are not alone. It’s a question my wife and I have wrestled with again and again. I’ve mentioned before why we don’t give our kids allowances. I’m not giving them money just for existing. It seems like that is what an allowance implies. Kids need to feel the burden of work so they can experience the joy of its rewards.

how much to pay kids for choresIn addition to earning some money, doing chores around the house is teaching them responsibility. The home is where they should begin to learn basic life skills. When I was in school, I knew some college freshman who couldn’t do their own laundry. All four of my children have been doing their laundry since they were nine.

Over the years my wife and I have adjusted how much we pay our kids for chores. The amounts started out small and increased as they got older. And then when we started having teenagers, specifically when they turned 16, we made another radical turn. Before I get to that though, here is some background information that helped us decide on how much to pay kids for chores.

[Read more…]

20 Flexible Part Time Jobs For College Students

Every fall about this time, parents are gearing up to send their kids back to school. In some cases, that means sending them to college. It’s an expensive proposition putting a child through college. But there are so many part time jobs for college students that can help bring in some extra spending money.

part time jobs for college studentsMore than likely, students have figured out how to finance college tuition, student fees and room and board. However, there are so many hidden costs of college for which students don’t prepare. These little incidental items can certainly add up. So, unless an endless stream of cash is flowing from mom and dad, students will need to secure some extra spending money.

The big question though is, what part time jobs can reasonably be done by college students? Yes, you could work a full-time job and attend classes but that’s not what most students are looking for. The average student just wants enough spending money to go to parties, put gas in the car and pay for their books.

With that in mind, here is a list of 20 part-time jobs and activities that could earn a college student a little bit of extra spending money.

Part Time Jobs for College Students: On Campus

[Read more…]

How to Manage Your Side Hustle and Family Life So You Don’t Go Insane

There may come a time in your life where you want to or need to create a side hustle to earn extra income. It can be many things depending on your skills and the depth of your need. Regardless of what you choose, it will be something you do on the side (apart from your day job) to bring in additional money to the family budget.

Side hustles can be a financial blessing. They can help you build up your savings account or pay off debt or meet any a number of financial goals you might have.

side hustle IIIHowever, while the additional income of a side hustle is welcome, there is a dark side that many are unprepared for. Side hustles, done improperly, can be a curse on family life.

It’s one thing to have a side hustle if you are single. I remember talking with a blogging friend who told me how he’d work his 9 to 5, take a 30-minute dinner (maybe) and then work till past midnight writing and networking. I’m not saying that’s necessarily an easy schedule but it’s not like you have anyone else to account for. It’s just you.

When a spouse and/or kids are in the picture side hustles take on a whole different dimension.

There is a tension that immediately surfaces the minute one member of the family begins a side hustle. What was a normal life is no longer normal.

You know the side hustle must be done to improve your financial life. But you also know family life matters. How can you manage it all and not go insane?

Here are a few strategies I’ve used over the years as I’ve managed a career, side hustles (my blogs) and family life.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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?

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]