Tag: moving

8 Upfront Costs of Buying a House

Looking to buy a home soon? There will be upfront costs of buying a house.

You may have found a house that you like. You may have been approved for a mortgage loan, and have your down payment ready to make an offer. If you think that, at that point, all of the hard work is over, well think again.

In addition to the down payment, which can be significant depending on the price of the property, there are plenty of upfront costs of buying a home. As a first time home buyer, this may come to you as a surprise. So, be ready to have enough cash to cover these costs. In no particular order, here are 8 common upfront costs of buying a house.

If you are interested in comparing the best mortgage rates through LendingTree click here. It’s completely free.

What is an upfront cost?

An upfront cost, as the name suggests and in terms of buying a house, is out of pocket money that you pay after you have made an offer on a property. They are also referred to as closing costs and cover fees such as inspection fees, taxes, appraisal, mortgage lender fees, etc. As a home buyer, these upfront costs should not come to you as a surprise.

What are the upfront costs of buying a house?

Upfront cost # 1: Private mortgage insurance cost.

If your down payment is less than 20% of the home purchase price, then your mortgage lender will charge you a PMI (private mortgage insurance). A PMI is an extra fee to your monthly mortgage payment that really protects the lender in case you default on your loan. Again, depending on the size of the loan, a PMI can be significant. So if you know you won’t have 20% or more down payment, be ready pay an extra fee in addition to your monthly mortgage payments.


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Upfront cost #2: inspection costs.

Before you finalize on a house, it’s always a good idea to inspect the house for defects. In fact, in some states, it is mandatory. Lenders will simply not offer you a mortgage loan unless they see an inspection report. Even if it is not mandatory in your state, it’s always a good idea to inspect the home. The inspection cost is well worth any potential defects or damages you might encounter.

Inspection fee can cost you anywhere from $300-$500. And it is usually paid during the inspection. So consider this upfront cost into your budget.

Upfront cost # 3: loan application fees.

Some lenders may charge you a fee for applying for/processing a loan. This fee typically covers things like credit check for your credit score or appraisal.

Upfront cost # 4: repair costs.

Unless the house is perfect from the very first time you occupy it, you will need to do some repair. Depending on the condition of the house, repair or renovating costs can be quite significant. So consider saving up some money to cover some of these costs.

Upfront cost # 5: moving costs.

Depending on how far you’re moving and/or how much stuff you have, you may be up for some moving costs. Moving costs may include utilities connections, cleaning, moving

Upfront cost # 6: Appraisal costs.

Appraisal costs can be anywhere from $300-$500. Again that range depends on the location and price of the house. You usually pay that upfront cost after the inspection or before closing.

Upfront cost # 7: Earnest Money Costs

After you reach a mutual acceptance for the home, in some states, you may be required to pay an earnest money deposit. This upfront costs is usually 1% to 3% of the home purchase price. The amount you pay in earnest money, however, will be subtracted from your closing costs.

Upfront cost # 8: Home Associations Dues

If you’re buying a condo, you may have to pay homeowners association dues. Homeowners association dues cover operation and maintenance fees. And you will pay one month’s dues upfront at closing.

In conclusion, when it comes to buying a house, there are several upfront costs you will need to consider. Above are some of the most common upfront costs of buying a house.

Click here to compare mortgage rates through LendingTree. It’s completely FREE.

MORE ARTICLES ON BUYING A HOUSE:

10 First Time Home Buyer Mistakes to Avoid

How Much House Can I afford

5 Signs You’re Better Off Renting

7 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a House

How to Save for a House


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80+ Best Side Job Ideas To Make Extra Money in 2021

Do you want to know, “What can I do as a side job?” 

Today, I have a list of over 80 possible side hustle ideas for 2021. With these side jobs, you can make extra money in 2021.

So, what is a side job? I say side job meaning something that you do on the side of your regular job.side job ideas for 2021

Side jobs are sometimes called side hustles, and the idea is that you put some of your extra time towards making more money. 

You can find side jobs online, side jobs from home, side jobs outside your home, and pretty much wherever else. There are many different options when it comes to finding side jobs for extra money.

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time making extra money through side hustle jobs.

In fact, I paid off my $38,000 student loan debt in just 7 months by side hustling. I did several of the things on the list that you are about to read through.

Learning how to find a side job changed my life in a crazy way — it helped me to stop living paycheck to paycheck, pay off my debt, and leave my day job to pursue my job as a full-time blogger.

And, this is why I talk about making extra money through a side job so much — because I believe that it can change your life for the better.

What I like so much about the ideas on this list is that there is something for everyone. There are really so many different options. While I have included over 80 different side job ideas, there are many, many more out there. You can find something to fit your lifestyle, interests, and the amount of time you have to dedicate towards earning more money.

Whether your goal is to pay off your debt, stop living paycheck to paycheck, start saving for retirement, plan an amazing vacation, or something else, finding a side hustle idea in 2021 can make that a reality.

Making extra money through a side job can help you:

  • Save up for a big purchase, such as for a down payment on a house
  • Pay off your student loan debt, credit card debt, or medical debt
  • Save for retirement and even retire early
  • Leave a job you don’t love to pursue something else
  • Diversify your income sources
  • Save for emergencies
  • And more!

What some people don’t realize about making extra money is that it doesn’t have to take all of your time. You can dedicate as much or as little time to it as you want. I started this blog on the side of my full-time job. It took a lot of work, but I was in control of when I worked. 

That’s one of the reasons I love blogging and many of these other side jobs. Many of them are very flexible and let you pick your schedule. Below you’ll find great options if you work full time, are a parent, are in school, etc.

Besides starting a successful side hustle, there are some great small ways to earn extra money. The point is, there are so many ways to make money on the side with a full-time job that there is no reason not to start now.

Related content on how to make extra money:

  • How To Start and Launch A Successful Money Making Blog FREE Course
  • 12 Work From Home Jobs That Can Earn You $1,000+ Each Month

Below are over 80 different side job ideas.

 

Find an online side job.

There are so many side jobs that can be found online these days. The internet has introduced more possibilities, many of which have extremely flexible schedules.

Working an online side job allows you to create your own business in your spare time or work remotely for a company. These are some of the flexible options for 2021.

For me, I love being able to work online as it allows me to have a flexible schedule, there is no commute, and I simply enjoy working from home more than working in an office.

Below are ways to work an online side job:

  • Create a money making blog – This is the first thing I recommend to anyone interested in learning how to make money with an online side job, and this is because it’s exactly what I did! I have a Free How To Start and Launch A Money-Making Blog Course that you can join, and it will help you start and launch a successful blog! 
  • Answer questions online – Course Hero is a website that helps high school and college students with course-specific questions. Please read How To Make $300+ Weekly Answering Questions With Course Hero to learn more.
  • Get paid to answer surveys – Answering surveys online won’t make you rich, but it is one of the easiest ways to earn extra money online. Even though it’s a small amount of money, you can put it towards your debt payoff or savings goals. Survey companies I recommend include American Consumer Opinion, Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, Branded Surveys, and Pinecone Research. These survey companies are free to join and free to use! You get paid to answer surveys and to test products. To receive the most survey opportunities, it’s best to sign up for as many survey sites as you can.
  • Join a focus group – You can get paid $50 to $100 per hour by joining a focus group with User Interviews.
  • Write an ebook – Writing your own eBook is a great way to earn extra money online, and there is probably something super helpful that you could write about (even if you think otherwise!). In fact, my friend Alyssa self-published her first book and has sold more than 13,000 copies. She is now earning a great passive income of over $200 a day from her book ($6,500 in one month alone!). Learn more at How Alyssa is making $200 a DAY in book sales passively.
  • Run Facebook advertising for local businesses – Bobby Hoyt, a former band teacher who now runs the successful website Millennial Money Man, started running Facebook ads for local businesses to help him pay off $40,000 in student loan debt in only 18 months. In our interview you can learn about how Bobby got started, why businesses want to run Facebook ads, and how easy it is to start this flexible side job.  Also, Bobby has free training on this too. His free email course (you can sign up here) will teach you how to start this business even if you’re brand new, how to find paying clients, and more. Read the full interview at How To Make $1,000 Extra In Your Spare Time With Facebook.
  • Edit content for others – Websites, books, courses, and more all need editors to help them improve the quality of their content. No matter how many times a person reads a piece of content, something will usually slip through. If you’re a grammar-nut, then this can be one of the best side jobs from home ideas.
  • Sell printables online – Creating printables on Etsy can be a great side hustle. Because you are creating PDF files, you can create and sell them an unlimited number of times. You can learn more at How I Make Money Selling Printables On Etsy.
  • Manage social media accounts for businesses – Being a social media manager can be a fun job for the right person. If you have social media skills and don’t mind spending more time on social media sites, then it might be something to look into. Learn more about How I Started a Pinterest Consulting Side Hustle and why it’s more than just sharing random content online.
  • Get paid to search onlineSwagbucks allows me to earn Amazon gift cards with very little work. Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded with points called SB for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough points called SB, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. You’ll receive a free $5 bonus just for signing up through my link!
  • Proofread for a living – In just one year, Caitlin made slightly over $43,000 as a freelance proofreader, while also going on several fun vacations. If you are looking for a new job, or just a new way to earn extra money on the side, this may be something to look into. Learn more at Make Money Proofreading By Becoming A Freelance Proofreader.
  • Help job seekers improve their resume – A few years ago, I interviewed a reader who ran a resume business. She showed me how others can earn money by helping people create the kind of resumes they need to land their next job. Because having a good resume is an important part of getting the job you want, this is an in-demand option. If you are constantly reviewing resumes for your friends because you’re so good at creating them, then you may want to turn your skills into a paying job!
  • Post on social media – If you have social media accounts, even just a personal Facebook account, it’s possible to earn extra money by posting small ads on your account. One popular company that I recommend is Izea.
  • Become a freelance writer – A freelance writer is someone who writes for a number of different clients, such as websites, blogs, magazines, and more. These writers don’t work for one specific company, rather they work for themselves and contract out their writing. Learn more at How I Earn $200,000+ Writing Online Content.
  • Moderate forums – Some online forums will pay you to moderate their message boards. If there is a forum you visit often, you might want to see if they are hiring.
  • Become a transcriptionist – Do you know what a transcriptionist does? They take audio files and turn them into a text format. You can learn more about what this side job takes and how it’s possible to earn extra money on the side as a transcriptionist at Make Money At Home By Becoming A Transcriptionist.
  • Become a scopist – A scopist is someone who works from home and edits legal documents. Yes, this is a skill that you can learn. You can find a free course to learn more about how to become a scopist by clicking here.
  • Become a virtual assistant – Virtual assistant tasks may include social media management, formatting and editing blog posts, scheduling appointments or travel, email management, and more. Basically, you get paid to do any task that needs to be done for someone’s business but doesn’t need to be done by them. You can read more about how Kayla is earning $10K per month working from home as a virtual assistant
  • Become a bookkeeper – Ben, founder of Bookkeeper Business Academy, explains how becoming a bookkeeper may be a possibility for you. Ben helps people start and grow their own online bookkeeping business with his online bookkeeping course. And, guess what? You don’t have to be an accountant or have any previous experience! You can read more about how becoming a bookkeeper at Make Money At Home By Becoming A Bookkeeper.
  • Create an online store – Did you know that you can create your own online store to earn extra money? Jenn, a reader of mine, started her online business a little over four years ago and since then she has developed and grown three successful online ecommerce stores earning an average of $19,000 per month. Learn more at How Jenn Makes Over $10,000 A Month With Her Online Store In Less Than 10 Hours Per Week.
  • Become a Google Rater This is when you help Google improve the quality of their search engine results. You can learn more about this at Help Google Better The Internet And Make $1,000+ A Month From Home.
  • Build a course and teach others what you know – Before you think that you have nothing to teach, I want to tell you that you most likely do! Online courses are extremely popular right now, and you don’t need to have a blog in order to be successful with an online course. I use Teachable for my online course platform, and I highly recommend it. Here’s How I’ve Made Over $1,000,000 From My First Course Without a Big Launch.
  • Podcast editing – Podcasting has grown a lot in the past few years, and it’s estimated that there are now over 850,000 podcasts. Podcasters need help editing their audio and adding music, so if you have audio editing skills, this could be a fun side job. Listing your service on Fiverr could be a great way to find clients who need your service. Learn more at How I Make $1,500 A Month As A Podcast Virtual Assistant.
  • Teach English online to kids – Did you know that you may be able to make money from home by teaching English online to children? VIPKID is a company that allows you to work from home, create your own schedule, and earn $18-21 per hour (many teachers are earning over $1,000 per month) all while teaching English online. You don’t need a teaching degree, but you do need to have a four year degree in something. This is a great option for anyone who has a passion for teaching and looking for ways to earn extra money online. I recommend VIPKID and Education First.

 

What can I do as a side job?

Build a side business (or even a full-time business!).

If you’re looking for a side job, one possibility is to create a side business for yourself.

The ones you just read about above are online side jobs, but many of the ones in this section require in-person work. Not everyone wants to work online, and these side jobs will get you outside of the house and earning money. 

For me, my side business of creating a blog actually turned into a full-time business for myself. And, I am so happy that I made that choice!

Here are some side business ideas:

  • Pick up garbage – This might not be the most exciting way to make extra income, but did you know that you can get paid $30- $50 an hour to pick up trash in your local area? Please read Get Paid $30 – $50 Per Hour To Pick Up Trash to hear more about this side hustle idea.
  • Sell on Amazon – If you want to learn one of the many real ways to make money from home, then you may want to start an Amazon FBA business! Jessica Larrew, of The Selling Family, explains how selling on Amazon may be a possibility for you. She is a friend of mine, and I am blown away by her success! In the first year that Jessica’s family ran their Amazon FBA business together, working less than 20 hours a week total, they made over six figures profit! If you are looking for a new job, or even just a side hustle, this may be something that you want to look into. Learn more at How To Work From Home Selling On Amazon FBA.
  • Maintain and clean yards – You can make money by mowing lawns, killing/removing weeds, cleaning gutters, raking leaves, and so on. Because every season offers the opportunity for some type of yard maintenance, this can turn into a year round job.
  • House sit for others – House sitting is becoming more and more popular these days, and there are many websites out there for house sitting. You may be paid to watch someone’s house, take in the mail, water plants, and so on. House sitting doesn’t just have to be in your own town either. It can be something you do while taking amazing vacations. You can read more about it at How We Became Professional House Sitters In Europe & Saved Over $5,000.
  • Rent out your RV – Many RVs sit unused in storage lots, driveways, and backyards, so why not try to make a little extra money while you’re not using your RV? Learn more at How To Make Extra Money By Renting Out Your RV.
  • Share your car – Did you know that you can share your car with travelers on a daily, weekly, or even on a long-term basis and make extra money? I’m talking about listing your car and making money on Turo, which is like Airbnb for cars. It takes as little as 10 minutes to list your car, and you can earn up to 90% of the trip price.
  • Walk dogs and/or pet sit for extra money – If you love animals, then this is one of the best ways to make money on the side! Walking dogs and pet sitting can be a lot of fun because who doesn’t love animals!? With this side hustle, you may be going over to your client’s home to check in a few times a day, you may be staying at their house, or the animals may be staying with you. Rover is a great company to sign up for if you’re interested in becoming a dog walker and pet sitter. 
  • Groom pets – This is yet another animal related side business, and it could be a good one for you. With a mobile pet grooming business you will go directly to the pets rather than needing to find and set up a permanent business location. 
  • Become a local tour guide – Do you love showing off your city to friends and out-of-town guests? If so, you can earn extra money as a tour guide in your city. You can create any kind of tour you like — touring restaurants or bars, historical tours, bike tours, and more. Tours By Locals is a great site to connect with if you’re interested in learning more.
  • Become a landlord – Whether you rent out a room in your home or start buying up properties to invest in and then rent out, this could be one of the more lucrative ways to earn extra money on the side. Check out my blog post to learn more: How This 34 Year Old Owns 7 Rental Homes.
  • Shovel snow – We no longer need to have our snow shoveled, but it was definitely something we didn’t enjoy doing while we were living in St. Louis. If you get snow where you live, then you may be able to knock on your neighbors’ doors to see if they would like their driveways and sidewalks shoveled. If you want to go a little further, you could even invest in a plow and market your services.
  • Become a TaskerTaskRabbit is an online platform where people list odd jobs that they need done, like assembling furniture, running errands, or cleaning. You can find one-off jobs in your area using TaskRabbit to earn extra money.
  • Babysit and/or nanny children – When I was just 14, I was making $10 an hour babysitting for a neighbor. I babysat 40 hours a week and it was a great way to make extra money! If you have any special skills or can provide extra work, such as cleaning up around the house, teaching the child how to speak another language, picking up the child after activities, and so on, you will most likely be able to charge more than $10 an hour.
  • Become an Uber or Lyft driver – Spending your spare time driving others around can be a great money maker, and many rideshare drivers earn $15-$20/hour. Read more about this in my post How To Become An Uber Or Lyft Driver.
  • Help people fix things around their home – If you are a handy person, this could be a great option for you. Word of mouth is big when it comes to finding clients, but you can also post your services on Craigslist, post flyers to bulletin boards around your town, and more.
  • Clean homes – Cleaning is something that many people dread. If you are good at cleaning and enjoy it, then you may be able to find clients who want you to come to their home to clean. This can pay around $20 an hour or more in some areas. Because cleaning for others is such a personal job, you will often find loyal customers who want you to come back over and over again.
  • Help people move – Moving is another task that many people dislike. Movers can earn a broad range when it comes to hourly pay, but it’s usually somewhere around $25-$50 an hour if you run your own business.
  • Become a photographer – Do you love photography? Then this is a great way to earn extra money while doing something you love to do. Learn more at How To Make $25,000 – $45,000 A Year As A New Photographer.
  • Write and self-publish romance novels – This definitely isn’t something that most people will think about, but it is a growing and profitable industry. You can learn how Yuwanda Black, a freelance writer, started writing and self-publishing short romance novels in this interview. She earned over $3,000 in one month alone!

 

Find a part-time job.

Online side jobs are becoming more and more popular, but you can still make good money with more traditional part-time jobs.

I know many people who have part-time side jobs, and they love that they are low-commitment ways to make extra money. 

You can find a part-time side job on sites such as Snagajob, Craigslist (yes, I’ve found a legitimate job through there before), and so on.

  • Deliver items through Postmate – Postmates is a service that lets people use their phones to order food, drinks, and groceries. Delivering those items is where you come in! Because the holidays are a busy time, many people are looking to make their life easier with delivery services like Postmates. And, you can deliver for Postmates with your car, scooter, motorcycle, or bicycle. How much can you make with Postmates? Postmates says that you can earn up to $25 an hour with their platform. Click here to check out Postmates and sign up.
  • Deliver RVs to dealerships – RVs are huge, and the majority of the time they can’t be transported by semi-trucks because of their size. Due to that, someone has to drive them from the manufacturer to the RV dealership. We met a couple who did this for a living, and they both loved what they did. They were able to travel a lot, earn a living, and got to see new RVs all the time. To make extra income doing this, you can contact transport companies in your area, RV manufacturers, RV dealerships, and more.
  • Find a part-time seasonal job – If you have a job that gives you the summers off (or whatever season), then finding a part-time seasonal job could be a good way to earn extra money during your time off. Employers like Starbucks, REI, and Costco even offer part-time jobs with benefits, which adds even more value to these side jobs. 
  • Bartend – With bartending experience, you may be able to find a bartending job at a bar, restaurant, catering company, and more. Since the hours for this are usually later at night and on the weekends, it could easily fit with your regular 9-5 job schedule.
  • Work at a restaurant – You could be a host, wait tables, bus tables, and so on. You may even get to eat delicious food and receive a discount when dining out at the restaurant you work for.
  • Substitute teach – I know quite a few people who substitute teach both part-time and full-time and love it. Sometimes the schedule can be tricky as you may be called at the last moment, but other times you may secure a long-term position. In some places, substitute teaching can pay around $100 per day.
  • Teach during summer school – If you are a teacher, then spending part of your summer teaching summer school is a great way to make extra money. My brother-in-law is a teacher and he earns around $3,000 for three 4-day weeks of work, and they aren’t even full days. He and his wife use that money to fund their summer vacations.  
  • Work at a hotel, motel, hostel, resort, etc. – There are many jobs in the hospitality industry. If you love meeting new people who are visiting your area, this can be a great way to earn extra money. When we were RVing, we met several RVers who make money at RV parks and campgrounds while they are full-time RVers.
  • Work at a retail storeI worked in retail for over five years and made lifelong friends in the process. The income is okay, but you usually receive a good discount when working in retail.
  • Deliver pizza – Pizza delivery drivers make $15/hour or more delivering pizza in their spare time. It might not be the most glamorous side job, but it’s a good way to make extra money.
  • Lifeguard – You could be a lifeguard at a community pool, a private pool, a water park, and so on. You don’t have to be a teenager to be a lifeguard either!
  • Work as a referee – Did you know that soccer refs for local community centers can make around $25/hour or more? You’ll have to know the rules to work as a referee, and you can learn more by contacting the community or sports center in your area.
  • Deliver newspapers – Delivering newspapers can be a good way to make some side money. You may have to wake up early, but maybe those are the hours you are looking for.
  • Run errands for others – Being someone’s assistant can be an interesting way to earn extra money. You may get paid to do someone else’s laundry, clean their home, pick up their food, answer phone calls, and more.

 

Sell items to make extra money.

There are so many different types of items that you can sell to make extra money.

You may be able to find things around your home that you can sell, or you may even search for items online or in-person to buy and resell for a profit.

  • Flip items – Melissa’s family was able to make $42,875 in one year through buying and flipping items for sale, and they were only working about 10-20 hours per week. Learn more in How Melissa Made $40,000 In One Year Flipping Items.
  • Sell/donate eggs and sperm – Yup, both of these can be sold for a price, and you can definitely earn extra money by doing so. Depending on your characteristics, women can earn anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $10,000 or more for their eggs. Egg donors are typically under the age of 30 and healthy. African American women and Asian American women usually make the most money as there is a larger need for their eggs. This is not easy money, though. There are a number of doctor visits, and extracting the eggs requires a medical procedure. For sperm, the average donation pays anywhere from $50 to $100, and some men donate as often as 2-3 times each week.
  • Sell items on eBay – Whether it’s clothes, a car, electronics, and so on, eBay is a great place to sell all sorts of things online. eBay also has a worldwide reach, which can be great if the market in your area isn’t large enough for what you specialize in. I know many people who earn extra money selling on eBay, and it’s very easy to get started.
  • Sell items on Craigslist – Craigslist has gotten a bad rap in the past, but I have always had great success when I have bought or sold things through this platform. Craigslist can be a great way to sell your items, while often earning a higher value for them too. However, be safe, because you will have to meet with strangers to complete the transactions.
  • Sell things on Facebook Marketplace – Facebook is a great place to sell your items to earn extra money. You can find buyers in your area, but for larger items, like cars and furniture, buyers are often willing to travel. Plus, because you are probably already on Facebook, this is one of the easiest ways to sell your stuff, and it’s free.
  • Sell on Poshmark – Poshmark is one of the most popular places online for people to buy and sell gently used clothing, shoes, and more. You should always be honest in your listings, take great photos, and ship items out as soon as they sell.
  • Sell to second hand stores – There are many second hand stores out there that will take your clothing and shoes. Stores like Plato’s Closet, Hut No. 8, and Buffalo Exchange will pay you upfront for on-trend young adult clothing, and they take all of the legwork out of selling items, which is really helpful. There are also second hand stores for designer items, women’s clothing, children’s items, and more. Some pay upfront, whereas others may not pay you until after the item has sold.
  • Sell your gently used sports gear – Play It Again Sports is one of several second hand stores that buys and resells sports equipment and workout gear. These kinds of items also sell well on eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace.
  • Sell on Etsy – Etsy is a great place to sell handmade items, vintage finds, and craft supplies. If you are a crafty person, definitely check out this website if you are looking for ways to earn extra money.
  • Sell your gift cards – If you have gift cards that you aren’t going to use, why not sell them to earn extra money? There are many, many websites out there that will pay you cash for your gift cards. Gift Card Granny, Cardpool, and Raise are just a few. 
  • Sell items through a garage sale – A garage sale can be an easy way to make extra money because people come straight to your house. The only downside is that you usually don’t make as much for your items as you would if you were to sell them on sites such as eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace.
  • Sell your old books – Back when I was in college, I sold my textbooks as soon as the class was over. This helped me regain the amount that I originally paid for the book. You can sell your books online, and most university bookstores have a buyback option.
  • Flip cars, mopeds, or scooters – In addition to teaching summer school, one of the ways my brother-in-law makes extra money is from buying vintage moped and scooters, fixing them up, and selling them for a profit on online marketplaces, like Facebook or Craigslist. In one flip, he made more than $900 profit. This is a very specific skill, but worth looking into if you know what you’re doing. 

 

 

Make extra income at the day job you already have.

If you’re already employed and not interested in starting a side hustle, by starting an online business, or taking on a part-time job, you can still learn how to earn more at your current job.

  • Work overtime – One way to earn extra money at your job is to see if your company will allow you to work overtime. In many cases, overtime is welcomed, and you can earn a decent amount of money by doing so. Plus, what’s an extra hour or two when you’re already there?
  • Ask for a raise – Asking for a raise may be the best way to earn extra money at your current job, as the work is the same and you most likely won’t be adding additional hours to your work week. Many people never ask for a raise, which means you might be leaving money on the table. Over numerous years, this can add up to a significant amount of income! If you’ve just successfully completed a big project or taken on new responsibilities, then it might be time to ask for a raise.
  • Get a promotion – If a raise is not possible, then you may want to try for a promotion that comes with a pay bump. Sometimes companies can only pay you so much for the job you currently have, but perhaps a promotion with different and/or additional job duties, a possible move, etc. may result in an increase in pay.
  • Earn bonuses – Depending on the industry and the company you work at, you may be able to earn bonuses. Bonuses often come in large chunks which makes them ideal for paying off large amounts of credit card or student loan debt. Or, you could even invest your bonus to earn even more in the long run. 

 

Miscellaneous ways to make extra money in 2021.

Of course, I can’t include every single side job in this blog post, as there are way too many options to list in one place. But, here are some more that didn’t fit one of the categories above.

  • Cuddle with strangers – Did you know that you can get paid to cuddle with people that you don’t even know? Surprisingly, there are many cuddling companies out there, and this option seems to be growing more and more each year. Some people even make a few hundred dollars a day by cuddling with others. 
  • Scoop poop – Okay, like picking up trash, this isn’t going to be the most glamorous job, but someone has to do it. 
  • Place advertisements on your car, home, or even on your body – Yes, there are companies out there that will pay you to place an advertisement on your car, home, or even your body (such as a tattoo on your forehead). If there’s space on your car or fence that you don’t mind placing an ad on, then look into this! Carvertise is one company I recommend checking out if you’re interested in advertising on your car — they pay around $100/month.
  • Help crew a sailboat delivery – Because you need sailing experience to do this, this won’t be for everyone. But, if you know your way around a boat, then you may be able to earn extra money delivering sailboats. Wes actually helped out on a couple of sailboat deliveries in the past few years, and he traveled to many amazing places along the way, such as visiting several European countries. 
  • Be an extra in a movie or TV show – If there’s a movie or TV show that is being filmed near you, you can apply to be an extra to make some money on the side. You won’t have to do much, and it could be a lot of fun, especially if you are able to meet someone famous!
  • Start investing with spare change Investing through platforms like Acorns makes investing even more approachable. You simply link your bank or credit cards and Acorns rounds every transaction up to the next dollar. Read more at How To Start Investing With Little Money.
  • Sell breast milk – Only recently did I realize that some women do this as a side job. If you are breastfeeding, then you may be able to sell your breast milk to make extra money. Breast milk often goes for $1 to $2.50 per ounce, and sometimes it sells for as much as $4 per ounce. There are many people who are looking to buy breast milk, not just mothers. 
  • Receive bonuses and rewards for using a credit card – There are many credit cards out there that will give you cash back just for using them. If you are good with credit cards (please skip this if you are not), this is something to look into as you can make money without having to do much. Read more at How To Take A 10 Day Trip To Hawaii For $22.40 – Flights & Accommodations Included.
  • Take part in medical research studies – Medical studies allow you to help with the research and study of diseases, medicines, treatments, and more. To find paid medical research studies, I recommend checking out your local Craigslist, contacting universities in your area, and seeing if there are any medical testing companies around you. Most cities have these options, and you just have to look for them.
  • Enter contests and giveaways – There’s no guarantee that you will win anything when entering contests, but if you get lucky, this would be a really fun way to earn extra money. You may win cash, gift cards, vacations, electronics, and more. The key here is to enter as many as you can. And, many stores and restaurants post drawings and giveaways at the bottom of your receipt.
  • Mystery shop – Yes, you can actually get paid to shop at stores and eat at restaurants. A few years ago, I mystery shopped a lot to earn extra money. I made anywhere from $150 to $200 a month mystery shopping and received free meals, makeup, and more as a mystery shopper. I used Bestmark for mystery shopping, so I know that they are a 100% legitimate company. Learn more at Want To Make An Extra $100 A Month? Learn How To Become A Mystery Shopper.
  • Use InboxDollars – InboxDollars is an online rewards website I recommend if you want to find ways to earn extra money on the side. You can earn cash by taking surveys, playing games, shopping online, searching the web, redeeming grocery coupons, and more. Also, by signing up through my link, you will receive $5.00 for free!
  • Travel the world and be an au pair – In 2016, my sister was an au pair in Italy. It was an interesting experience, and she shares how you can become an au pair and travel the world in her blog post How To Become An Au Pair And Travel The World.
  • Open a high yield savings account. Savings accounts at brick and mortar banks are known for having really low interest rates. That’s because they have a much higher overhead — paying for the building, paying the tellers, etc. Betterment Everyday is an online option, which means they have lower costs, then passing the savings on to you. Simply click here and sign up.

 

How do I make an extra $1000 a month?

How do I make an extra $1000 a month?

If earning $1,000 a month or more is your financial goal, there are lots of different approaches. 

You can run Facebook ads for small businesses, deliver food for Postmates, start a freelancing side job, and more. Or, you can combine several smaller side jobs.

If you are willing to put in the work, starting a blog is something that can help you earn $1,000 a month or more. It takes time to grow your blog, but with time and effort, you can well exceed $1,000/month in blogging income.

 

How can I make money on the side?

There are so many different ways to make money on the side in 2021, and I just gave over 80 different ideas. 

Look through the options above and make a list of the ones that interest you. Think about what skills you have, how much time you want to dedicate to your side job, and how to get started with each option.

There are honestly options for anyone, no matter how much time you have to spare. And remember, even just a $100 extra a month can begin to make a dent in your debt, can be invested for your future, or help you stop living paycheck to paycheck.

 

Have questions about finding a side job?

If you have any questions about finding a side job, I recommend heading to 10 Of The Most Common Questions About Having A Side Job.

Some of the questions I answer in that blog post include:

  • How do you find a side hustle?
  • How much money can I make from a side job?
  • How do you get paid with a side job?
  • How can I find time for my side job idea?
  • How can I balance my day job, side job, and life?!
  • How can I grow my side income? How can I find clients?
  • What is a good side job?
  • Should I tell my boss about my side hustle?
  • Do I have to pay taxes on a side job?
  • How do I avoid side job scams?

Out of the side jobs listed above, which one interests you the most? Which side job would you like to learn more about?

The post 80+ Best Side Job Ideas To Make Extra Money in 2021 appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

Source: makingsenseofcents.com

50 Ideas To Help You Get Out of Debt!

The post 50 Ideas To Help You Get Out of Debt! appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

When it comes to trying to get out of debt, I’ve seen and heard it all.  From the person who gets three jobs to the guy who sold his dream car – just to make it all happen.  It got me to thinking – what are some of the craziest ideas out there to help you find your way out of debt?

find money to pay off debt

I decided to make a fun post about the craziest ideas people have tried just to try to get their debts paid off.  The funniest thing is that these really do work!  Who knows?  Maybe one of these will inspire you too!

If you are struggling  with paying off your debt, these folks may be able to help:
Call 866-948-5666.

50 IDEAS TO HELP YOU GET OUT OF DEBT

SELL ITEMS

Things are that – just things.  They don’t define us, and they don’t always make us completely happy.  My husband and I sold so many items when we were trying to get out of debt that we were able to raise more than $1,000.  The thing is – I can’t even remember what we sold (which proves that they were things we obviously did not really need).  Here are some unconventional ideas of things you can sell:

1. Hair.  This may sound bizarre, but people will pay for long hair!  Crafters often use it for making dolls, so they will pay to buy it.  You will need to have at least 10″ or more to sell, and the price will vary greatly. You can visit eBay to learn more and get started.

2. Toilet paper / paper towel rolls.  Have you been on Pinterest and seen the number of craft projects which require a paper towel or toilet paper tubes?  They are all over the place!

You can get onto local sites such as Wallapop, Craigslist or even visit eBay and list your products for sale.  It may sound crazy, but it actually can work.

3. Gift cards.  If you get a gift card for any reason, be it a return or even a gift, you can turn around and sell the card.  You won’t get quite face value for it, but you also can at least get paid cold hard cash.

They don’t have even to have the full value on them.  For instance, if you had a $100 gift card to your favorite sporting goods store, but you only have used $26.48, you can still sell your card, and another person can use the remaining balance.

Visit Raise.com to learn more about placing your gift cards up for sale.

4. Daily Deal vouchers.  Did you buy a deal on LivingSocial and haven’t yet redeemed the voucher, you can sell it.

5.  Sell things you don’t need.  Use eBay, Craigslist or LetGo to sell the stuff you do not need anymore.  Go through your home and decide what you need and what you could sell to raise some quick funds to pay off your debt!

 

SIMPLE IDEAS

These are things that just make sense and most people think about…but you may not have thought of every one of them!

6.  Budget.  Of course, it seems this should go without saying, but it is not always obvious. If you don’t have a budget, you have no control of your money.  Learn How to Create a Budget.

7. Coupons.  Start using coupons to save as much as you possibly can at the grocery store.  Then, use the amount you save to pay towards your debt! Read more about How to Use Coupons.

8. Change where you shop.  If you live near an Aldi, start to buy groceries there.  Skip the clothing store and find consignment stores to find gently used clothes.  Read more about How to Shop at Aldi.

9. No more dinners out.  This is a tough one, but it works.  Best of all, its not something you will have to give up forever!  Just think, if you spend $100 or more a month dining out that is more than $1,000 to pay towards your debt in just one year!

If you do have dinner out, skip the soft drinks and go for water instead, which is free!  Make sure you also pass on the appetizers and consider splitting a larger entree to pay less.

10. Give up your hobbies.  If you are an avid golfer, you might give that up for some time and use the monthly dues to pay towards debt.

11. Menu plan.  By planning your meals, you not only know what you will have for dinner, but it also helps you plan your shopping trip.  That ensures you have all you need on hand when you get ready to cook all of your meals – saving you from running to the store for that “one item,” which often leads to more.  Read more about How to Create a Menu Plan.

12. Ask for rate reductions.  Contact your creditors to see if they would lower your interest rate at all. This is not always something that works, but it is definitely worth a few calls to see if it won’t work for you. Learn the tricks to asking for a rate reduction.

13. Avoid paying monthly fees.  If your bank charges monthly fees, ask them to waive them.  If they will not, consider moving to another one which offers free banking.  Even $5 a month is $60 a year that you are giving to them, just to have your account.

14. Keep the change.  I always use cash.  I don’t even pay with change.  If the total is $6.42, I hand over $7 and keep the change.  I roll all of this once a year and usually have quite a nice amount saved up.  Best of all – I never miss it!

15.  Overbudget.  This is a fun way to get extra money.  We may budget $300 for groceries every two weeks, but I will do what I can to keep my shopping way under this amount.  Then, I take anything left over at the end of that two weeks and save it (you could use it towards your debt). It’s a fun way to challenge yourself to see how little you can spend!

16.  Change insurance.  Make some calls to find out of you can get a better rate on your auto and home (renter’s) insurance.  You can sometimes find a better deal by bundling or even by increasing your deductibles a bit.

17.  Skip the evening movies.  If you love to visit the movies try the matinee instead!  You can usually pay less by catching the afternoon show. Make sure you pass on the snacks too, as those can add up quickly!

18.  Don’t buy books.  Instead of buying books, visit the library or get free Kindle books.  No need to buy them at all, when there are ways you can get them for free!  Find out more ways to get free books.

 

EXTREME IDEAS

These are ideas which do not work for everyone, but have worked to help others get out of debt very quickly!

19. Stop retirement contributions.  If you are in debt, you might want to take that 15% you were saving for retirement and throw it all towards your debt.  As soon as you are debt free, you can start that contribution again (and maybe even do more than that to other accounts).

20. Cancel cable completely. If you really want to go drastic, you need to take all steps necessary to do so.  Cable can run more than $100 (or even more than $150) per month.  If you can cut out cable entirely, you might quickly free up $100 or more every single month!

21. Sell your car.  If you are leasing a vehicle, that is a simple way to throw money away, as you will never own it.  Turn in the vehicle and then take out a loan to purchase a much older car, where you will pay less per month.  Best of all, you will own it in a few short years!

If you have an expensive vehicle, you can also sell that and then purchase an older car, which will reduce your monthly overhead (and possibly taxes and insurance).

22. Move.  If you are renting or even if you own your home, consider downsizing to pay less each month.  I know many people have opted to sell their home and use any income to pay towards debt, and then they rent until they are debt free.  Then, they save to get the house of their dreams, which they can purchase debt free!

23.  Turn off your home phone.  This can run $30 or more a month.  Just use your cell phone and cancel your home service.

24. Downgrade your cell phone.  Try to reduce the data you use to see if you can’t lower your monthly payment on your cell phone.  Stick with your home internet for most of your data usage, and you can use your phone less and less and rack up the savings.

25.  Swap services.  Instead of paying for babysitting, exchange time with another couple.  You watch their kids for free, and they can do the same for you.  You might be able to swap your tutoring for haircuts or your lawn mowing for handyman repairs.

26.  Make gifts.  Instead of buying people gifts for birthdays and holidays, consider making them yourself.  You could even offer a “service” gift where you will babysit once a month for a year, etc.  Find a way to give from the heart instead.

27.  Budget bill your utilities.  If you can, arrange for budget billing with your services.  This can make it easier to include your budget and will avoid those swings in the summer or the winter when certain utilities may be more expensive.

28.  Drop the gym or country club.  If you have a membership of any sort, just cancel it.  If you work out at the gym, try to find free videos you can follow at home or create your own workout plan. If you like to golf, go with a friend instead of paying for your membership.

29.  No more coffee trips.  Make your coffee at home each morning and cancel that run through the drive-thru.

30.   Take your lunch.  It is great to go out to lunch every day, but pack your lunch, and you’ll ensure you eat up leftovers.  Not only will you waste less food, but you’ll also save a nice chunk of money every month.

31.  Carpool.  Take turns driving to work and save money on fuel and also wear and tear on your vehicle.

32.   Set up no spend months.  This is a tough one, but see if you can go a few weeks without spending anything more than you need to survive.  That means no dining out.  No entertainment.  No clothes.  Just food and fuel and that’s it!

 

MAKE MONEY

This is a bit different than working from home.  These ideas help you make a bit more money just doing things you might already do – like search the internet, shop, etc.  These sites will pay you money to do just that.  Then, turn around and apply anything you make towards your savings.

33. Swagbucks. Use this site to get paid for doing searches and other things you normally do online!  Click HERE to learn more about Swagbucks.

34. Sell crafts on Etsy. If you are good at crocheting, woodworking or anything at all, look at selling your wares on Etsy. It is a simple platform and the costs are very low, which allows you to keep most of what you make from each sale.

35. Rent a room in your home.  If you have a walk-out basement, consider renting out the space to make more money.  Just check with your local laws and homeowner’s association to ensure this is allowed before you jump in to start this one.

36. Sell stocks.  If you have investments, considering selling them and using the proceeds to pay towards your debt.

37. Give music lessons.  If you know an instrument or you can sing, consider selling your time to help teach others.

38. Tutor.  Find your expertise and teach others.  You never know who you might be able to help!

39. Start a blog.  You may not get rich with your blog, but it can turn into a nice stream of income!  Learn more about How to Start a Blog.

40.  Visit garage sales and upcycle.  Find items very inexpensive at a yard or garage sales.  Put in some elbow grease, paint and creativity and turn them into something you can sell for a profit.  Check out flea markets and farmer’s markets for larger items and for places where you can sell your items.

41.  Find holiday work.  When the holidays roll around, many stores hire employees for a short 6 – 8 week period.  Sign up and put in some extra time after your regular job and make some extra cash you can use to pay down your debt.

42.  Become a mystery shopper.  This is a great way to get some things for free.  This is not a way to get rich but is an excellent way to get some of the things you need for free (which allows you more money to pay towards your debt).

43. Become an eBay master.  Purchase items on clearance or at deep discounts and then sell them for a profit on eBay.   You can still offer prices which are less than in the store, but more than you paid.

44.  Ask for a raise.  Don’t be afraid to ask for one.  Make sure you share the additional work or responsibilities you’ve taken on as a reason why.  Or, if it has been a while since you last had a raise, you can mention that too.  It never hurts to try.

45.  Sell an eBook.  If you are an expert in any field, or if you love to write, create a book you can sell on Amazon!

 

MENTAL

While there are things that you can physically do to save or to make money, you need to get your brain into the right mindset too.

46.  Make your goal visible.  If you want to get out of debt so you can afford to save for a vacation, tape a photo of the destination where you see it each day.  It could be on your office wall, bathroom mirror or the refrigerator.

47.  Learn to be happy with less.  Sure, a new TV might be fun to own. It could be enjoyable to go out to dinner.  However, do you need those things?  Probably not.  Find a way to be happy spending time at home spending no money at all, and you’ll realize how much those things don’t matter.

48.  Learn to say no.  You may need to tell friends you can’t go out to dinner.  It may mean telling the kids that they can’t get that treat at the grocery store. You may need to say to yourself that you do not need to grab that afternoon latte.  Learning to say no can easily keep more money in your pocket.

49.  Give more.  This may seem crazy, but it actually works.  When you give more of yourself to others, you feel better.  Best of all, giving is not always financial. It can mean your time or even your prayers.

50. Surround yourself with the right people. If your friends encourage you to spend money, then you might want to distance yourself from them (at least until you can get better control over your finances and self-control).  Find other people who think like you do so that they can encourage and build you up.

There you’ve got it.  Fifty ways to help get you out of debt!  Which are you getting ready to try?

ideas to help find money to pay off debt

The post 50 Ideas To Help You Get Out of Debt! appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

Source: pennypinchinmom.com

Dear Penny: My Sister Moved in With Dad, Says She Can’t Be Evicted

Dear Penny,

I am a 30-year-old who has built a stable and happy life after growing up in a family that was often unstable emotionally and financially. I love them, but as I become more successful, my family needs more and more of my support. 

My sister and her son moved into my father’s one-bedroom apartment in July, which is against the lease. I was very against this living situation because it’s way too small for two adults and a rambunctious child. My sister said she had no other options because she has terrible credit, little savings and an eviction. She was laid off for not having child care and is collecting unemployment. My father was struggling to pay for his apartment, as well. 

Their relationship has deteriorated. I don’t think they can continue living together. My aunt  co-signed for my father’s apartment and says my father can stay in her spare bedroom if he works with her to fix his finances. My aunt has been trying to help me, as she knows I am overwhelmed mediating their arguments and finances.

I told my sister we will need to find another place for her to live after April, and that I would co-sign if she sat down with me to go over her finances. She cried and said it would be impossible to find a place being unemployed, and that no one cares about her ending up homeless. 

She said she will refuse to leave the apartment if management doesn’t let her take over the lease. She believes that since she is a single mother with a child, they won’t be able to evict her. I’ve explained there could be negative consequences on her tenant record and for my aunt since she’s the co-signer,  but my sister says everything will be fine. 

I don’t want to hold my sister’s past mistakes against her, and COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted single mothers. She has been better with her money the last three months, but she has been very irresponsible in the past. (Example: paying for breast implants.) She can’t stay with me because I’m a head of house in my alma mater’s dorm, which grants me and my partner a free apartment. 

How should I proceed with my sister? Am I being too supportive, or not supportive enough? I feel guilty even having my own financial goals when my family is struggling. 

Sister Struggles

Dear Sister,

When someone tells you they’re about to behave terribly, listen. I don’t care if your sister has been more responsible for three months. She obviously doesn’t plan to be responsible moving forward. She’s also made it clear that she’s up for a fight. Please don’t co-sign for her and let her take down your credit in the process.

This is a problem between your sister, your dad and your aunt. I certainly feel for your aunt. I get that you’re both trying to help each other work through this mess. But you’re both ascribing magical thinking to your fix-it powers for your dad’s and sister’s financial messes. Nothing in your letter suggests that either one is interested in help.

If I were your aunt, I’d talk to an attorney who specializes in tenant law ASAP. You can suggest she do so. You also need to tell your sister you’re no longer in a position to co-sign. She’s going to cry and scream about how you’re ruining her life. Tell her by phone so you can hang up if things get out of hand.

The beauty here is that your living situation legitimately gives you a reason your sister and nephew can’t move in. I’d urge you to hang onto this arrangement as long as you can so you can develop firm boundaries. It’s OK to use dorm rules as an excuse while you get comfortable making it clear that you’re done bailing out your family.

Your signature probably isn’t the only thing standing between your sister and homelessness. Maybe she’s eligible for public housing, or she has friends who will let her couch surf. I’m not going to waste any energy exploring these options, though, because this is not your problem.

But here’s the trade-off: You don’t get to have an opinion even if you’re “very against” whatever living situation your sister comes up with. The second you weigh in, you’re throwing your sister a lasso. Don’t allow her to drag you back in.

This may seem like a money problem, but deep down it isn’t. Yes, life would be easier if you could buy your dad and your sister separate homes on opposite sides of town. But I suspect they’d still leave you emotionally drained. Emotional vampires always do.

Your financial goals are completely unrelated to your family’s struggles. The sooner you can separate the two, the better off you’ll be. Please don’t feel guilty for using your money to make good decisions for yourself instead of enabling your family’s bad ones.

Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to AskPenny@thepennyhoarder.com.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

How to Run a Virtual Brainstorm that Actually Works

Fun fact about pandemic life: Zoom fatigue is real. And not just real, but “widely prevalent, intense, and completely new,” according to Psychiatric Times.

Although we might be avoiding Zoom these days when an email or even a phone call (is it 1986 again?) will suffice, there's one place where video conferencing still shines, and that's the good ol' brainstorm.

Old school brainstorming was creative and connective and interactive—all things difficult, but not impossible, to recreate virtually.

When I picture brainstorms of years past, I see images of big tables full of candy and fidget toys and pens and Post-Its galore. Old school brainstorming was creative and connective and interactive—all things difficult, but not impossible, to recreate virtually.

Today we’ll talk about some virtual brainstorming strategies I’ve seen work really well. And then hopefully, you’ll give one a try. 

Choose your occasion wisely

brainstorms shouldn’t be a catch-all for any group conversation.

Back when our biggest workplace woe was a vending machine out of Diet Coke, many of us took brainstorming sessions for granted. But in a virtual world, it's harder to organize, facilitate, and get people engaged.

That's why brainstorms shouldn’t be a catch-all for any group conversation. (Often what you’re looking for is just a meeting.) Brainstorms are a very specific brand of discussion in which a collective of creative voices, ideas, and opinions are necessary inputs to achieve a valuable output.

Because of challenges like Zoom fatigue and burnout, I urge you to be stingy with your brainstorming sessions. They're a fabulous enabler of ideas and solutions, so do use them. But do so strategically and with clear intention.

Because of challenges like Zoom fatigue and burnout, I urge you to be stingy with your brainstorming sessions.

What are some great occasions to host a brainstorming session? Use them when you need to:

  • Add or refine product features
  • Define a path in a sticky situation
  • Solve a complex problem

These and many other scenarios call for a variety of perspectives in which there are no right or wrong answers, but only ideas.

In contrast, many other occasions don’t call for a brainstorm. Like when you need…

  • Approval or alignment
  • Receipt of a message or direction
  • Feedback on a mostly baked idea

These are not brainstorm moments—they're meetings with a much more defined outcome. See the difference?

Figure out the specific problem you want to address

Okay, so you've figured out that your situation calls for a brainstorming session. Now, it's time to make sure everybody who comes to the brainstorm is on the same page before you begin by creating a statement that lays out the specific problem and how you need to tackle it.

Your problem statement might be something like:

We’re losing market share on X product, and we need to define new features to attract Millennial customers.

And here's another example:

This client wasn’t happy with our last deliverable and we need to redefine how we’re engaging with them.

One of your goals is to keep the session short (because fatigue) while maximizing what you take away from it. A clear problem statement allows you to invite your brainstorming participants to get the creative juices flowing ahead of the actual session.

Assign some prework to get things rolling

Now that you've stated the problem or opportunity, it's time to let participants know you’re looking forward to a collaborative discussion and invite them to jot down some early ideas and send them your way.

You can then do some analysis ahead of the session. Did you spot any common themes? Any particular ideas you’re interested in having the group build upon?

Share your findings at the beginning of the brainstorming session. This will give you a strong foundation from which to build.

Get creative with tech 

Love it or hate it, video conferencing technology is definitely your friend in a virtual brainstorm. It allows you to create a purposeful connection amongst participants. But you have to understand how to engage them.

When I used to run in-person meetings with leadership teams, I was always intentional about switching up the activities every 30 minutes or so. I’d facilitate a breakout, and then we’d do a quick poll, and then I’d have people plot Post-It notes around the room, and more.

Keeping things changing and moving is a great way to keep adults engaged. According to the Harvard Business Review: "If you don’t sustain a continual expectation of meaningful involvement, [people] will retreat into that alluring observer role."

So take the time to learn the features of whatever platform you’re using, and make the session engaging. Some tactics you might try?

  • Use polls to test out early ideas
  • Use small group breakout sessions to create mini-competitions between your participants
  • Use a whiteboard to replicate a poster board people can plot virtual Post-It notes on
  • Use voting to prioritize or stack rank

Of course, talking is part of any brainstorm. But using technology can keep participants from slipping into the shadows without contributing.

Establish norms that serve your purpose

A brainstorm isn’t successful because of how smart its participants are, but because of how much freedom and space their voices are given.

A client once told me this story about a packaging company that was struggling with productivity. Their products had to be wrapped in newspaper before being shipped. But often, as employees were packaging product, they’d accidentally start reading the newspaper, losing precious packing minutes. These minutes added up to lost productivity.

One day the leadership team was brainstorming solutions to this distraction problem and one executive said, “Well, what if we just poked their eyes out?”

Of course, he wasn't serious—the question was absurd and meant to add a little humor. But it triggered a new line of thinking. Eventually, the company established a partnership with a non-profit organization that finds jobs for blind people.

Is this story true? I’m honestly not sure. But it’s a great illustration of the importance of free-flowing ideas.

A brainstorm isn’t successful because of how smart its participants are, but because of how much freedom and space their voices are given.

As the facilitator, what norms can you put in place to ensure that all ideas get voiced without judgment and everyone has a chance to speak?

Here are a few you might consider:

  • Use the improv rule of “yes, and.” It means that ideas are never knocked down, only built upon. (Don’t worry, they can get voted down later, just not during the brainstorm)
     
  • Use the two- (or one- or five)-minute rule. Ask people to limit themselves to two minutes at a time, even if they need to stop mid-thought (they can finish on their next turn). This challenges people to be concise and ensures that everyone gets a chance to speak.
     
  • Use a round-robin technique. Circle around the Zoom participants, calling on each person as you go. If someone isn’t ready, they can pass. But this is a great way to prevent introverts from getting overlooked.

What other norms will keep you on track?

Close out thoughtfully

Save a few minutes at the end of your scheduled session to check in on the process. How did it feel for everyone? What worked well and what might you skip next time? Do they have other tactics to recommend?

The best answer to “How do I host a great virtual brainstorm?” is the answer that your own participants give you.

When scheduled for the right occasion and with the right people, brainstorms are a fabulous tool. Don’t be intimidated by them. Just be open to learning as you go.

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

Moving Across the Country with Branden Harvey

After moving from Nashville, Tennessee to Portland, Oregon, Branden Harvey shares his experience of moving from one side of the country to the other. From talking about the good, the bad, and the ugly of moving and how Homes.com can help you, Branden gives you advice for making the leap.

The post Moving Across the Country with Branden Harvey appeared first on Homes.com.

Source: homes.com

3 Big Reasons Your Home Offer Was Rejected—and How To Play It Right Next Time

handing over keysNatee Meepian/Getty Images

For first-time home buyers, finding the perfect place to settle down is hard enough. But then to have the offer you’ve made on it rejected? You might be tempted to start reconsidering this whole homeownership thing altogether.

But hold on! Having your home offer rejected doesn’t have to mean it’s back to renting. In fact, if you play your cards right, you might just be able to turn that rejection around—or at least learn from the experience and come back a stronger candidate the next time.

The most important aspect of a rejected offer is understanding why it was rejected, and for that we turned to the experts. Here are a few common reasons your home offer might have been rejected, and a few helpful tips on what you can do about it.

3 common reasons sellers reject home offers

Home offers are rejected for myriad reasons. Here are some of the most common ones, as explained by the experts.

1. Your offer was too low

The first and most obvious reason your home offer could have been rejected is if the dollar amount didn’t meet the seller’s expectations. This might mean your offer was insultingly low, or that it was just low compared with other offers.

Often, buyers “believe the best way to start a negotiation is with an offer that’s lower than what they’re willing to pay,” says Colby Hager, owner of CapstoneHomebuyers. “This can work, but it can also backfire. When a seller is considering multiple offers, the low offer seems less serious and could indicate further negotiating headaches down the road.”

Keep in mind that sellers are looking for a good deal just as much as you are, and you should plan on working with your real estate agent to make sure the sellers at least feel like they’re getting one.

2. Your earnest money deposit was too ‘cheap’

If there’s one part of the offer you shouldn’t cheap out on, it’s the earnest money deposit. This deposit (also called an EMD or “good faith” deposit) basically signifies how interested you are in the home and that you plan on moving forward with the deal, all the way to its closing.

“Believe it or not, there are buyers who get cold feet and walk away from a transaction days before closing,” says Shannon Hall, broker and owner of Dwellings by Rudy & Hall. “The EMD should be enough to let a seller know you’re very interested, and also uncomfortable with the idea of leaving it on the table.”

Since many contracts stipulate that a seller can keep the earnest money deposit when a buyer walks at the last minute, you should feel certain about the house—and then convey this certainty by leaving a significant deposit.

Hager recommends putting down at least 1% of the purchase price to show sellers you mean business.

3. You asked for too many contingencies

Sellers don’t just want the best price for their home; they also want the easiest deal—which means no complications.

“Sellers like the least number of contingencies,” stresses Hall.

“But that’s not to say that a buyer should waive the due diligence period,” she adds. “Make it shorter, but don’t waive it. And if you need multiple contingencies, that’s fine; but look for a home that’s been on the market for at least 30 days.”

Since sellers are generally more willing to make concessions on a home they’ve been trying to sell for several weeks, this is a good approach to take if you’re a picky buyer with multiple contingencies.

“Sellers also don’t like to give away their money to help someone get into a home,” says Hall.

Make your deal an easier and more appealing one for sellers by sticking to the fewest number of contingencies possible, getting due diligence done quickly, or targeting homes that have been on the market for longer.

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Watch: 5 Things You Should Never Do When Buying a Home

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What to do if your home offer is rejected

The first step is understanding why the offer was rejected in the first place.

“If an offer was rejected, a buyer can try again, depending on the reason it was rejected,” explains Karen Parnes, broker and owner of NextHome Your Way.

“If you need a certain home sale contingency, for instance, and can’t remove it, then move on,” Parnes says. “But if you can pay more and the market warrants it, resubmit a better offer.”

How to avoid future home offer rejections

Although rejection is sometimes unavoidable, there are things you can do to increase your chances of making a successful home offer.

For instance, “a buyer should come into the market already aware that he or she will have competition,” Hall says.

In addition to putting your best foot forward, you should be sure you’re working with an agent who has the skills to close the deal.

“A good real estate agent can help by guiding the buyer on the expected norms of offers in their area,” says Hager.  “A real estate agent will also know the market and help you figure out if starting with a lower offer is advisable—or if a strong offer out of the gate will get the best results.”

One final bit of advice: Work with an agent who understands seller interests.

“The buyer’s agents who most often win the day are the ones who reach out to sellers before submitting an offer,” says Hager. “They have the best chance of not being rejected because they took the time to understand the seller’s situation.”

And if your home offer still gets dismissed, don’t be too disappointed. In a seller’s market, “buyers are bound to have their offers rejected,” says Parnes. “Homes are coming off the market quickly, and sellers’ expectations are high.”

If your offer gets rejected, work with an agent to fix it or simply move on to the next home. Then make an offer the seller can’t resist.

The post 3 Big Reasons Your Home Offer Was Rejected—and How To Play It Right Next Time appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

Does Your Small Business Need a Blog? Blog Writing Services Can Help

If you have a business, the next step to taking it further is to build and grow a connection with your customers. Simply providing a service or product is no longer enough. In a world that is always moving and full of change, people crave meaningful interactions. And that need extends to the products and services they use. Customers want to be surrounded by things they can identify with. If a business with great products or services is also able to provide some kind of added value for someone, that person is more likely to become a loyal patron. 

As a business owner, providing that added value can feel like a huge task. This is where the value of blog writing services can really shine. Not only can these services create more connections between you and your customers, but they can also make your life easier through a smoother workflow. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get started.

What are my goals?

Ultimately, you probably hope to increase your sales. However, modern consumers expect personal connections. Set a goal for providing helpful facts that engage new readers. Establish a goal regarding how many new readers left comments on your blog. Consumers are more likely to complete sales when they feel that you hope to improve their lives. 

Do I even need a blog?

Yes. According to studies conducted by the Pew Research Center, people regularly turn to blogs and internet articles instead of using their televisions for news and information.

How can I connect with customers?

A blog allows businesses to connect with customers in many ways. Blogs provide answers to consumers' questions. They make your brand seem approachable and friendly. Blogs encourage readers to interact with your company and maintain meaningful connections. In addition to providing a blog, reach out through social media to invite readers to visit your website. 

Who are my current customers?

If you aren't sure about the needs, motivations, and concerns of your existing customers, it will be easy to miss out on meaningful connections. As you respond to comments on your blog posts or on your social media sites, you'll learn more about the needs that drive sales. While copywriters will spend time researching your current customers, it's also helpful for you to develop relationships with them.

Who is the target audience?

Who benefits most from the goods or services you offer? These people are your target audience. Take a look at the demographics of your existing customers to identify the new audience you want to attract. Remember to focus on how your offerings can improve the lives of your existing customers to understand how to attract people from your target audience. 

How busy is my schedule?

Building and maintaining a blog with a consistent schedule takes a lot of work. Some people make the mistake of underestimating the time commitment that goes into planning, design, and content creation. When your workday is already pushing beyond the 9-to-5 schedule, you don't really have time to produce consistent, fresh content. 

There are a lot of potentially great blogs out there that consist of just one or two posts … last updated eight months ago. If you want to have a blog that builds and sustains an audience, a consistent schedule is critical. Without a schedule, it can sometimes be impossible to ensure posts are written and content keeps flowing. If you have loyal followers and you disappear for several months, you may very well be forgotten! Using blog writing services makes this a non-issue. When someone else writes your content, you can tend to your life and work without having to worry about losing customers.

Can copywriters really represent my voice?

The task of finding someone to accurately portray your company should not be taken lightly. After all, writing in a business or brand's voice is a critical part of the copywriting process.

It is equally important to understand the value of professional copywriters. There are many factors involved in the process of creating great copy that leads to increased sales, and copywriters must understand and use these strategies. With research into your subject and your target consumers, talented copywriters can represent your voice. 

Source: quickanddirtytips.com