Living Richly on a Budget http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:06:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 How I Make Extra Money with Digital Products and How You Can Too http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/make-extra-money-creating-digital-products http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/make-extra-money-creating-digital-products#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:06:01 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15288 Everyone’s tight on money these days. Besides cutting things in your budget, another way to get ahead financially is to earn extra money, outside of a regular job. But how do you do it? How do I do it? Digital products have become popular in the past few years. What is a digital product?  A […] Read more...

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Everyone’s tight on money these days.

Besides cutting things in your budget, another way to get ahead financially is to earn extra money, outside of a regular job.

But how do you do it? How do I do it?

Digital products have become popular in the past few years.

What is a digital product? 

A digital product is a product that can be delivered online, like an MP3, ebook, video, online course, membership site, etc.

What are the advantages of digital products?

There is no physical product to store in a warehouse or ship. Once you create it, it’s always there and ready for you to sell.

With a physical product like a hard copy book, you have to keep printing it. With an ebook, once it’s created, it’s available to sell without you having to “print” a physical copy.

And you don’t have to deal with shipping costs or packaging with a digital product.

Best of all, once you’ve created the product, you can earn money without doing anymore work.

What are my digital products?

My newest digital product is the Living Richly Budget Printables. I also have two Amazon ebooks – Eating Organic on a Budget (which has over 100 reviews) and Eating Gluten-Free on a Budget.

Which one is the best selling product?

The Amazon ebooks sold really well when they were first launched. However, everything with Amazon has changed.

I still earn money from the ebooks each month but it’s not a lot. It’s still something though for not doing anymore work.

What are the challenges?

There’s no such thing as easy money. Once you create a digital product, you have to launch and market them well or else, no one will buy them.

If you don’t have an audience already, it’s harder to sell your product.

I spent a lot of time creating my ebooks. It took me 6 months to write, format, and market each one. And when I launched the first one, I was disappointed when sales were dismal.

So when I decided on a digital product for this year, I wanted something that wouldn’t take as much as time to create. And I came up with the Budget Printables.

I’d like to improve on figuring out the right product, launching, and marketing it better.

create digital products

How do you learn how to create a digital product?

I’ll be in the studio audience of a CreativeLive course by April Bowles-Olin – Create Digital Products That Sell While You Sleep on November 10 – 11, 2014.

Sign up for it and watch it live – it’s FREE! If you watch it those days, it’s free. It’s rebroadcasted at night too for free. Afterwards, you’ll have to pay to access the course.

I’m really excited to be chosen to be in the audience. If you watch, you’ll learn SO much!

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GIVEAWAY: Brew Coffeehouse Drinks at Home in Less Than One Minute http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/brew-coffeehouse-drinks-home-less-one-minute http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/brew-coffeehouse-drinks-home-less-one-minute#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 08:01:09 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15265 I love coffeehouse drinks and I can totally make them at home. However, it does take some time, effort, and afterwards, there are more dishes to wash. So when an opportunity came to try out a single serve automatic coffee maker and give one away, I jumped at the chance! (Giveaway details at the end.) […] Read more...

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I love coffeehouse drinks and I can totally make them at home.

However, it does take some time, effort, and afterwards, there are more dishes to wash.

So when an opportunity came to try out a single serve automatic coffee maker and give one away, I jumped at the chance! (Giveaway details at the end.)

Nescafe has a new single serve coffee machine, Dolce Gusto, that brews coffeehouse drinks in under a minute. It’s so easy to make, that even my 3 year old daughter can make it.

chococino

I was sent 3 flavors to try – Chococino, Cappuccino Ice, and Morning Blend. Above is a photo of the Chococino, which takes 2 capsules (one for hormone-free milk and the other for the chocolate).

As you can see, the milk comes out frothy without having to use a complicated frothing machine. Get the taste and look of a coffeehouse drink with this handy machine.

boxes

The Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio is the most popular in the line with a space saving design. It is also award winning – a recipient of the 2014 Consumer Reports Award and 2014 Gold Edison Award.

The 21 oz. reservoir in the back holds enough water to make 3 cups. The machine has a 15 bar pressure system, comparable to what’s used at coffeehouses. This creates a bolder taste.

The drinks taste creamy and good. No need to wait in line at a coffeehouse when you can make it so quickly at home. And clean up is a breeze!

nescafe dolce gusto

Other reasons why this machine is great to have. You can make drinks when you feel like it. If it’s not every day, you don’t have to worry about keeping fresh milk in the fridge or beans going bad.

When guests come over, you can impress them with coffeehouse quality drinks on the fly.

Check out how easy it is to make a drink in my video.

You can get the Nescafe Dolce Gusto now at select California Target locations, at target.com, and select California Costco locations.

Follow Nescafe:

Facebook
Twitter
YouTube

Giveaway: Enter to Win a Nescafe Dolce Gusto Machine!

Must be 18 years or older and a U.S. resident. You can enter on multiple blogs but only win once. Mom Central will handle prize fulfillment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto, and received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

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30 Real Ways to Start a Small Business http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/30-ways-to-start-a-home-business http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/30-ways-to-start-a-home-business#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 15:00:33 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=13406 For many, it is a dream to start a small business. Being your own boss, having the freedom to try out new ideas and the possibility of earning more than a desk job are enticing. Although having a small business isn’t for everyone, it’s something to think about when you need to earn extra money […] Read more...

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For many, it is a dream to start a small business.

Being your own boss, having the freedom to try out new ideas and the possibility of earning more than a desk job are enticing.

Although having a small business isn’t for everyone, it’s something to think about when you need to earn extra money to pay bills or pay off debt.

Small businesses are inherently risky and may take time to earn a profit. With that in mind, keep your costs low in the start up stages and choose a business that doesn’t require a large investment in equipment or tools.

Most of these jobs don’t require special training and can be done part-time. This is a great way of testing out a small business to see if it is profitable. Then you can decide if it’s worth the risk to transition to full-time.

This is just a short summary of each kind of small business. Please do your own diligence when it comes to adhering to local laws, regulations, and certifications.

30 real ways to start a small business

1. Book Editor

As the self-publishing industry is growing for books and ebooks, there is a growing need for good editors. If you are have strong command of the English language/grammar, excellent attention to detail, and can make suggestions on how to make a book go smoothly from one chapter to the next, then consider this. Reach out to new authors or friends and family members who are writing books.

2. Business Consulting

Do you have a vast amount of business experience and solid business sense? You can help small businesses turn a profit and guide them on how to do it.

3. Catering Service

If your skills are in cooking, food presentation, and organization, have you thought about starting a catering business? There are so many events that hire a catering service, such as weddings, bar/bat mitvahs, baby/wedding showers, corporate events, and more.

Check for regulations in your area about whether or not you can use your own kitchen or need to rent a commercial kitchen. If you’re not ready to invest in linens, tables, and chairs, then you may opt to use the service of a party rental company.

4. Child Care

If you stay at home with your children, the most logical job could be babysitting another child. Start with reaching out to friends and family to see if they need babysitting help. Check out care.com, a website that matches babysitters/nannies with jobs.

Look into regulations, licenses and additional insurance if you plan on having a childcare business at your home.

5. Childproofing Expert

A childproofing expert surveys a home and makes suggestions on how to make it safer for children. They can also install the products for their clients or simply sell the safety equipment.

Childproofing experts have access to safety products not found in stores and can babyproof a house better and faster than parents. Complete childproofing services can cost $300 to $2,500, depending on the size of the home.

Check out the International Association for Child Safety for more info. Look into franchise opportunities too.

6. Cleaning Service

Many households are too busy to keep up with cleaning and require an outside cleaning service. In San Francisco, two house cleaners cost $200 – $280 for the initial cleaning, which could take 3 – 4 hours.

Companies and restaurants need cleaning help too. Focusing on businesses can mean a steady stream of regular, repeat clients.

7. Custom Baby Products

Custom baby products are especially popular now. Can you make diaper cakes, custom hats, personalized onesies, or party favors? This would be perfect for those with arts and crafts skills.

8. Customer Service

When a business needs someone to answer the phone outside of their regular hours because they can’t afford a 24/7 staff, they hire an answering service. With the technology available now, customer service agents can work from home. Other areas included in customer service besides phone are email and instant messaging.

9. DJ (Events)

Providing DJ services can be a full-time or part-time business. DJ’s are needed at weddings, special events, corporate events, and school dances. A professional appearance and demeanor, laptop or turntable, sound equipment, music, and a way to transport equipment are some of the things needed to become an event DJ. Some DJ’s are also MC’s as well so you have to be comfortable speaking to a crowd.

10. Dog Walker

Love dogs? Have you thought about becoming a professional dog walker? This could be a part-time or full-time gig depending on how many clients you get.

You don’t need a degree or a lot of equipment to start small business as a dog walker. You do need to have patience, love walking outside, and willingness to pick up after the dogs. Dog walkers can make $15 – $20 per half hour.

11. Doula 

A doula provides physical and emotional support to a mother before, during, and after birth, as well as keep the mother informed of different options and methods available during labor. You will need to have a flexible schedule as a doula is on-call around the time of their client’s due date. Look into certification at DONA International.

12. Event Planner

Is event planning your specialty? Event planners design and plan out the theme of events as well as coordinate the timing of activities at the event. You can focus your event planning business on weddings and special events, corporate events, fashion shows, and so on.

Can you adjust to last minute changes, work long hours on your feet, and work on nights and weekends? A degree isn’t required to become an event planner but getting certified from trade organizations like the Association of Bridal Consultants and Weddings Beautiful Worldwide or Meeting Professionals International is recommended.

13. Executive Coaching 

An executive coach helps corporate executives become better at their jobs, see themselves more clearly, use their strengths in the best way, and the best way to contribute to their organization’s success.

14. Executive Search/HeadHunter

An executive search consultant recruits candidates for senior and executive positions in organizations. You can specialize in certain industries too.

15. Florist

Do you love putting together flower arrangements and don’t mind working early in the morning? Then look into being a florist.

Flower arrangements are needed for weddings, special events, business offices, and so on. If you want to do weddings and special events, network with other vendors such as photographers, wedding coordinators, and wedding venues.

You don’t need a special degree but if you can train with and assist an established florist, you will gain valuable experience and insider knowledge, such as where the best place to buy flowers at wholesale prices. Also, get a business license so you can buy at wholesale prices.

16. Food Business

This is different than a catering business. Cupcakes, lumpia, and gluten-free cakes are some ideas of food that you can sell to friends and family for special events and holidays.

If you sell to the public, at a farmer’s market, for instance, check to see if there are regulations in your area about using your home kitchen or if you need to rent a commercial kitchen.

17. Freelance Writer

There are so many options for a freelance writer. You can go into copyediting, article writing, ghost writing, blogging, and more.

18. Green Cleaning Service

A green cleaning service is much like a cleaning service except that you use green cleaning products. With a growing number of people sensitive to harsh cleaning agents, people are looking for alternatives, especially if they have children. Research your area to see if there is a demand for green cleaning services.

19. Hair/Makeup Services

A professional hair and makeup business can be done part-time on weekends. Decide whether or not you want to do hair and makeup or one or the other. When I worked in the wedding industry, the going rate in San Francisco ranged from $125 – $500 for both hair and makeup.

Can you do makeup on different skin colors? You can even specialize in doing makeup for Asians, if there is a demand for this in your area. Asian makeup takes a certain skill.

Hair and makeup services are needed for weddings, special events, TV studios, theaters, and fashion shows. Build up a portfolio by working on family and friends. Then network with others in the field.

20. iPad Trainer

Is this a real job? Yes, I have family members who have taken a class on how to use their iPad! Your target audience could Baby Boomers who are have basic computer knowledge and want to learn all the functions and features of the iPad and Apple platform.

You should know the iPad inside out, have lots of patience, and enjoy teaching others. Research where you can teach, such as a community learning center.

21. Life Coach

A life coach helps others bring a fresh perspective to life’s challenges, increased confidence, choose the right career, or better manage relationships. You don’t necessarily need special training but it may give you some structure and connect you with others in the field. Check out International Coach Federation for more info.

22. Meal Delivery

Many families are too busy to have dinner ready every night and need the services of a meal delivery service. The client makes the order with you and sets delivery time. You place the order with the restaurant, pick it up, and deliver it to your client.

Think about negotiating a discounted rate with the restaurant since you’ll be giving them repeat business. Then you can add that to your profit. Also, add a delivery fee.

Focus on which restaurants you want to work with, obviously, restaurants that don’t already have a delivery service of their own.

23. Music Teacher

Are you an accomplished musician? You could teach piano, guitar, drums, bass, flute, or any other instrument. Some music teachers teach at their home or rent a room at a music store. Private lessons range from $25-$50 per half hour.

24. Notary Public

There is a need for notarized documents. A notary public witnesses and authenticates documents. The average fee is $10 per page that needs authenticating.

The minimum requirement is to be 18 years or older and a high school diploma. In order to become a notary public, you’ll need to complete state required training, submit an application with a photo and fingerprints, pass an exam, order notary supplies, and file you bond and take an oath.

25. Party Rental

There are so many things you can rent out with a party rental business. Bouncy houses are popular for kid’s birthday parties and are charged at $90 per rental.

Or you can focus on wedding supplies which includes tables, chairs, tablecloth, plates, utensils, and so on. Chair cover rentals, with different options for colored sashes, is another popular rental business. Factor in the cleaning fee for chair covers in your costs.

Think about how you will transport items and whether or not you need a truck. And look into getting liability insurance.

Be mindful that there will be an initial investment in supplies and it will take time to earn your money back.

26. Pet Trainer

The most sought after pet trainer are dog trainers. But there are also specialists like people who train cats to go bathroom on the toilet! That is such a unique skill.

Volunteer at an animal shelter and sign up for pet training classes first.

27. Photography

The options for professional photographers are varied. You can specialize to baby portraits, family portraits, pet portraits, weddings, special events, corporate work, food, and fashion. You don’t necessarily need to go to school to become a professional photographer. However, you do need to hone your craft, be an expert at lighting, know your camera settings to adjust to any situation, and know how to edit photos.

There will be an initial investment in equipment. If you do weddings, you do have to deal with guests who have fancy cameras and block your shot and deal with restrictions at certain venues.

28. Professional Organizer

A professional organizer solves problems, maximizes space and increases functionality, and creates systems to organize files or financial information. Households and businesses need the services of a professional organizer.

29. Videographer

Videographers are needed for weddings, special events, corporate events, training videos, interviews, commercials, depositions, and so on. You’ll need to invest in video and audio equipment as well as the latest computer and software.

There is no degree required (although this is what I studied in college) but you’ll need to how to film, compose a shot, how to best capture sound, adjust to different lighting situations, and deal with different people.

30. Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant can do a range of tasks from making travel arrangements and doing research to performing tasks for blog owners, such as blog commenting and answering emails. If you work for yourself, you’ll make twice as much or more than going through an agency.

Independent virtual assistants earn anywhere from $20 to $100 an hour. But if you go through an agency, you’ll only earn $10 – $12.50 an hour.

Bear in mind that you’ll be competing with overseas virtual assistants who are paid a much lower rate. Seek out clients who want a virtual assistant who lives in the U.S.

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7 Steps to Paying Off Credit Card Debt http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/7-steps-to-paying-off-credit-card-debt http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/7-steps-to-paying-off-credit-card-debt#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 12:00:21 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=7 In order to be financially successful, you must be free of credit card debt. Paying only the minimum amount due on credit cards will get you nowhere. If you’re short on money, pay the minimum amount until you find extra money. It can mean selling stuff, such as electronic items, jewelry, or musical instruments. Figure […] Read more...

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In order to be financially successful, you must be free of credit card debt.

Paying only the minimum amount due on credit cards will get you nowhere.

If you’re short on money, pay the minimum amount until you find extra money.

It can mean selling stuff, such as electronic items, jewelry, or musical instruments.

Figure out a way to earn extra income or cut down expenses. Once you’re ready, follow the steps below.

Start paying off your debt with this 7 step plan to pay off credit card debt.

1. Know how much you make per month.

First and foremost, you need to know how much money is coming in each month, whether it’s from your job, your spouse’s job, unemployment insurance, etc. Track the exact amount after taxes.

2. Set up a monthly budget.

Spending more than you make is easy without a budget. You need to know exactly where your money is going. Track expenses for a month.

Then set up your budget accordingly with this Budgeting 101 Guide. Make sure your monthly budget does not exceed your monthly income. Don’t forget to set aside money to pay off debt.

3. Cut unnecessary spending.

Cooking at home can instantly cut costs. Eating out is expensive and can add up quickly.

On average, a couple can easily spend $20 – $30 on eating out at a restaurant. By cooking meals at home, you can bring down the cost to about $2 – $3 per person.

What other ways can you reduce spending? Can you cut cable TV or change phone services?

ways to pay off credit card debt

4. Track your debt.

If you don’t know the exact amount of your debt, the interest rates on your credit cards and loans, the minimum payment amount, or payment due dates, then you cannot begin to make a change.

Put all of your credit card and loan info onto an Excel spreadsheet. If you are low tech, use a piece of paper.

Keep track of every loan and credit card, the current balance, the interest rate, minimum payment, and the monthly due dates. Refer to this sheet every week to keep track of payment due dates.

5. Stop using your credit cards.

If you can’t pay the full amount on your credit cards every month, stop using your credit cards! If you carry a running balance on your credit card, any additional purchases will be assessed a finance charge right away.

In fact, you will be charged a finance charge the same day you make a purchase, every time! You will not receive a 20 day grace period for any purchases (like you do when you pay in full by the due date every month).

You don’t need to incur anymore debt than you already owe. Try to use cash for purchases. Also, don’t use the cash advance checks that come with your statement. Interest on cash advances can be 20% and up. Don’t dig yourself into deeper debt. Dig yourself out!

There’s also the problem of not having enough cash on hand to use. You’ll have to figure a way to get extra cash either by selling stuff or earning extra money. Do what you can.

6. Pay off debt in collections first.

If you have bills from a collections agency, then pay this debt off first. Debt in collections will lower your credit/FICO score.

A low FICO score lowers your chances of being able to rent an apartment, get a cell phone, and qualify for a mortgage loan with a good interest rate. As a result, having a low credit score affects everything in your life. The good news is that you can improve your score by paying off any debt in collections.

7. Pay off the credit card or loan with the lowest balance or highest interest rate.

Gather all of your credit card info – current balance, minimum payment, and interest rate, per card. If you’re bad at math, don’t worry, here is a wonderful free tool that will calculate how long it will take to pay off your debt.

Should you pay off the card with the highest interest rate or the one with the lowest balance? There’s two schools of thought here.

I’ve done both and I have to say that if you have multiple credit cards, getting rid of one card is liberating. Once it’s paid off, you don’t have to track that card anymore and there’s one less payment to make each month. It’s one less thing to worry about.

On the other hand, sometimes you have a loan or credit card with a crazy interest rate. We had one that was $250/mo. for just interest alone! Obviously, we couldn’t pay that off first, but when a windfall of money came along, you bet I paid that sucker off!

It’s up to you. Do whatever works best for your situation.

You can enter multiple credit cards and loans. Enter your balance, interest rate, and minimum payment.

For the interest rate, for example, if it is 22.9% enter “22.9”. It will automatically give you a debt payment plan without you having to use any brain power. Click here for CNN Money’s debt calculator.

Enter credit card information

This is only a visual example. Click on the link above to use the debt calculator.

Credit card name Balance($) Interest
rate(%)
Min. monthly
payment($)
1
2
3
4
5
Have more cards?

Choose a plan

Minimum payments
When will I be debt free and how much will I ultimately pay?
Fixed payments
When will I be debt free if I pay: $
monthly?
Debt-free deadline
I want to pay off my credit cards in:
years and months

Enter the amount you can afford to pay towards your debt each month or your debt free deadline, in years and months, and it will figure out how much you need to pay every month to reach your goal. The debt calculator will apply more money to the credit card or loan with the highest interest and recommend that you pay the minimum payment on the remaining cards.

Seeing the whole picture of how long it will take to pay off all of your debt is liberating in a way. It takes away the fear of the unknown. Soon you will be debt free and that’s a wonderful feeling. Plan some sort of celebration when you pay off your debt!

Photo Credit

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10 Smart Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/cut-grocery-bill-half http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/cut-grocery-bill-half#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 13:00:20 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=14394 The cost of living continues to rise as the number of jobs decline. Many of us are facing a new reality – we have to live on less in order to survive. Food is one area where the cost can get out of hand and get us into trouble. It’s not a recurring bill that […] Read more...

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The cost of living continues to rise as the number of jobs decline.

Many of us are facing a new reality – we have to live on less in order to survive.

Food is one area where the cost can get out of hand and get us into trouble.

It’s not a recurring bill that is the same every month because it’s variable.

But there are many ways to save if focus some time in this area.

cut grocery bill in half

1. Cut down on processed and frozen foods.

Not only do frozen dinners contain harmful ingredients that you wouldn’t normally add when cooking fresh at home, but the portion sizes are notoriously small. That means you’ll probably have a snack afterwards!

It’s not healthy. It costs more than cooking real food. And you won’t feel satisfied.

As someone who grew up not knowing how to cook flavorful dishes (I thought that Mrs. Dash was a good seasoning!), I can attest to the fact that learning how to cook was intimidating.

I was forced to learn how to cook more things when I had severe food allergies. At the time, I couldn’t go out to restaurants or trust anyone else cook my food because of the possibility of cross contamination. As a result, I learned how to cook steak, pizza, and Thai Panang curry chicken.

Once I learned, like really learned how to cook and add good flavor to my food, I felt like I could cook any dish. That meant using real, whole food ingredients and being less reliant on frozen and processed foods, which saves a lot of money.

2. Use digital coupons.

Life is crazy busy for many of us. Who the heck has time to plan grocery trips when we’re struggling to keep it all together?

If I have 5 minutes, instead of checking Facebook, I check my Safeway phone app and add digital coupons, free items, and personalized deals to my account. These items go onto a shopping list that my husband can see. If I don’t have time to shop, I’ll send him to get certain things.

If you don’t have time to clip or print coupons, this is a smart option. CVS and Safeway both have digital coupons connected to their websites.

Sign up for their rewards or membership program, download coupons and deals straight onto your club card, then get the deals when at checkout when you scan your card.

3. Go to the farmers market during the last hour.

Farmers have to get rid of their inventory so they will reduce the price on remaining items up to 50% off! If you’re not picky, you can find good deals on what’s left.

4. Regrow kitchen scraps.

Onions, potatoes, ginger, scallions, and garlic can all be regrown without seeds. You can use a portion of the vegetable to regrow back to full size.

5. Shop your pantry first.

I am guilty of this. Sometimes when I’m in a rush and haven’t planned out my shopping trip, I’ll buy something that I already have a home. Right now I have 30 eggs sitting in my fridge because I forgot that we had eggs and bought more!

If you take the time to check your food supply first to see what you have and figure out what you need, it will save you money, of course, and save you from stocking up on not shelf stable items that may go bad before you get to use them, like eggs!

Plus, you probably have perfectly edible food that’s hiding in the back of the cupboard or fridge, that you can pull together a meal without having to go out to buy anything. Right now, I have 10 packs of various Asian noodles that I found when we moved. I can add baked chicken to make a cold noodle salad or a hot noodle soup.

6. Use less meat.

Why not make sushi with avocado and cucumber, a salad topped with avocado and egg, or a sesame noodle salad? Beans, lentils, avocado, quinoa, and cheese are good substitutes for meat. Eggs are too.

7. Buy staples in bulk online.

We eat gluten-free so many of these products don’t have coupons or go on sale often at the grocery store. So I buy my pizza crust mix, cereal, and baking mixes at Amazon.com or Vitacost.

Amazon.com has digital coupons on grocery items and Vitacost offers $10 off for first time customers and really good deals on health foods. The gluten-free pizza crust I buy is $4.69 at the health food store and only $3 at Vitacost or $2.82/box when buying a 8 pack on Amazon.

8. Make your own snacks.

A bag of chips or popcorn may cost a few dollars but the cost adds up over time. A small bag of popcorn kernels cost just $1 and can make several batches of popcorn.

9. Store food properly.

Meat does not keep well in the fridge for more than a day or two. So I freeze them if I won’t be cooking them in the next day. Here are more food storage tips.

10. Buy in season.

Lastly, buy what’s in season and cook dishes according to what’s on sale. In season produce will always be on sale. Check out the full list of what’s in season and on sale year round.

* If you’re struggling with putting food on the table, look into temporary help from a food bank or see if you qualify for food stamps.

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20 Legitimate Ways to Make $100 in a Day http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/20-ways-make-100-day http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/20-ways-make-100-day#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 13:00:47 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=14659 If you had a way to make $100 in a day, would that help with bills? What about building an emergency, retirement, or college fund? Stay positive and open to different opportunities and you’ll find that it’s not hard to make extra money. You have the power to earn more money than you think. And you have […] Read more...

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If you had a way to make $100 in a day, would that help with bills?

What about building an emergency, retirement, or college fund?

Stay positive and open to different opportunities and you’ll find that it’s not hard to make extra money.

You have the power to earn more money than you think.

And you have inherent skills to get you there.

You have try different things to figure that out and know that you can do it.

It’s not impossible. It is possible!

Once you earn that first $100, the next $100 won’t be that hard, will it?

You’ll be shocked at how much these ordinary side jobs can earn real money. Here are 20 legitimate ways to make $100 in a day.

ways to earn 100 in day

SERVICES

1. Babysitting

Most people don’t think of babysitting as a viable way to earn money. Change the way you think about it and you can earn over $100 in a day.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, babysitters earn anywhere from $10 – $30 an hour. Two of my friends who work in childcare full-time, have babysat after hours or on weekends for the kids they take care of during the day at school or daycare. They have earned $30 an hour because the parents trust them over other babysitters, since their kids know them well.

If you decorate your house or apartment to look like a daycare, with lots of toys and child-friendly decor, and people know you are good with kids, you can charge $15-$20/hour. Babysit 2 kids for 3.5 hours and you will make over $100.

There is a real need for childcare. Even busy stay-at-home-moms need extra help.

Start with offering your services to friends on Facebook.

2. Pet Sitting

Pet owners treat their pets as their own kids. They need to find people they trust to take care of their pets when they are out of town.

If you love animals, this is for you. Check out sittercity.com.

3. House Cleaning

Believe it or not, cleaning houses can earn $100 a day. It’s not glamorous but it’s a service that people are willing to pay for.

When I was moving out of my apartment, I paid $250 for 2 people to clean our 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, and living room.

They cleaned the blinds and windows too. And it took them 4 hours.

I gladly paid this because I didn’t have time to clean as I was still moving stuff out. If I did this myself, it would have taken me over 8 hours!

It’s a lot of hard work but anyone can do this – you included! All you need is cleaning products, rags, broom, and a vaccuum cleaner.

4. Photography

Photography is a popular hobby nowadays. If you already own the equipment and can shoot professional photos, you can earn extra income.

Do one portrait session for 2 hours and you will earn $100.

5. Painting Rooms

Know how to paint rooms? There is a need for this service, especially for landlords who are changing tenants and new homeowners.

Earn $100 – $200 per room and charge for the cost of the paint.

6. Gardening or Yard Work

Gardening and yard work are much needed services. Do 2 to 3 jobs in a day and you’ll earn your $100.

7. Graphic Design

Businesses need logos, brochures, flyers, and other materials designed. You can charge by the hour or a flat rate. See here for tips on how to price your work.

8. Website Design/Set up

Many small businesses need help with setting up a simple website. If you are a WordPress pro, then this could be an option for you.

9. Driver

Have you heard of Lyft and Uber? As a part-time driver, you can earn up to $35/hr. Within 3-4 hours, you will earn $100.

Check to see if it’s available in your area.

10. Hair and Makeup Services

Are you talented with creating hairstyles and applying makeup? In our area, hair and makeup services for weddings cost $125 – $500.

11. Return Past Purchases

A quick way to get $100 is to return something you recently purchased. As long as you have the receipt, the products still have tags and are new, and you’re within the return period, you’re golden! Return the items and use the money for your bills.

12. Bartending

Bartenders for weddings and special events earn $100 per gig. If you are good at making drinks and love parties, this is for you.

13. Home Repairs

If you can do home repairs, you can easily earn $100 in a few hours.

14. Garbage Removal

Do you have a truck? Earn money by hauling junk to the dumpster.

15. Tutoring

Professional tutors make anywhere from $30 – $50 an hour. In a few hours, with a few clients, you can make $100.

16. Rent Out a Room

If you live in popular cities like San Francisco or New York and live near top tourist attractions, it won’t be hard to rent out a spare room or house to tourists. Check for restrictions from your landlord (if you’re a renter).

Airbnb has made this very popular. Check out potential guests carefully as some have used these spaces for seedy purposes.

SELL STUFF

17. Garage Sale

Holding a garage sale is a quick way to not only earn extra cash but get rid of clutter.

18. Sell Old Cell Phones

Sell your old cell phones for cash at gazelle.com. They even take broken iPhones!

19. Resell Unused Gift Cards

Do you have gift cards that you know you’ll never use? Check to see how much they’re worth at cardpool.com.

Earn up to 92% of the value without having to mail the cards. It’s done electronically.

20. Sell Stuff on craigslist or eBay

Don’t forget the old tried and true way of selling things. Items that are rare and in demand will sell quicker and for more money.

Finally, use these as ideas and think about your skill set. What have you done to earn extra cash?

Photo Credit: 401k Calculator

 

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9 Top Reader Tips for First Time Home Buyers http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/9-top-tips-for-first-time-home-buyers http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/9-top-tips-for-first-time-home-buyers#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:00:26 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=13567 The American dream is to buy a home. But is it realistic for you? I’d love to buy a home one day, but right now, it’s not in our budget. We live in one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation, the San Francisco Bay Area. For example, a 2 bedroom/1 bathroom house can […] Read more...

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The American dream is to buy a home.

But is it realistic for you?

I’d love to buy a home one day, but right now, it’s not in our budget.

We live in one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation, the San Francisco Bay Area.

For example, a 2 bedroom/1 bathroom house can range from $680,000 to over one million dollars!

I’m perfectly content with renting as I don’t have to worry about maintenance issues, mortgage insurance, property taxes, and water and garbage is included in our rent.

I have also seen all of the work throughout the years, that my dad has done to maintain his house. After more than 30 years, it is still a work in progress.

Since I am not an expert in home buying, I reached out to my Facebook fans for advice. I was blown away by the brilliant responses.

What I’ve learned is that YOU have the best advice and tips. Thank you for those of you who shared your top tip on home buying! I mentioned you after your tip.

If you are a first time home buyer, check out the sage advice from current home owners.

1. Work with a Good Realtor.

A good agent is everything (just helped a good friend buy his first house by hooking him up with a trusted friend who is an agent. He was amazing for my friend!) but the biggest tip I could give? Never, ever feel rushed. read EVERYTHING at closing – and if you don’t understand something, get a lawyer. My husband found huge mistakes in the paperwork on both houses he has bought! – Sarah K.

Work with a great Realtor. Not only do we have access to houses as they hit the market, we are a wealth of knowledge that is absolutely free for buyers (at least it is here in NJ). Tap into our resources, use our negotiating skills, we will also recommend great mortgage resources (your local bank isn’t always best) and guide you through the entire process. Best of all….it’s FREE when your using us as a buyers agent. – Carol V.

Find an awesome Realtor (like me! haha) who can show you homes the moment they come on the market (and often times BEFORE they hit the market). If you only go visit open houses you are only seeing the houses realtors’ buyers have already passed over. If you only look online at Trulia, Zillow, Etc you are missing out on the first few days a house is listed. They have a 2-3 day lag time. Ask friends for referrals and find yourself a buyer’s agent. Doesn’t cost a buyer one cent to be represented. The service is totally free to a buyer. – Wendy W.

first time home buyer tips

2. Calculate the total cost.
Don’t forget down payment, closing costs, moving in/settling in costs, mortgage insurance, property taxes, electric/gas, water/garbage, maintenance, and HOA fees (if it’s a condo).

Know that your mortgage is only one of the many expenses associated with a house and plan your budget accordingly. – The 20-Something Budget

Know what you can afford to pay monthly. That may not be the figure you are approved for. – Alice H.

Know what your budget says you can afford, not what the lender tells you that you can afford. The lender simply looks at your credit score, income, and debt, so they may not have the full financial picture. You know your finances best. We just bought a house in June, so we have just been there, done that. – Jennifer of Live Simply, Live Thrifty, Live Savvy 

3. Can you afford the house on only one salary?

Make sure you can afford it on one salary if there are two of you. Don’t be a slave to owning a home. #Overrated – Jennifer C.

4. Compare the 15 year with the 30 year mortgage.

Look at the 15 yr term vs. the 30 yr. term. Can you afford the 15? Then take the 30, and always faithfully pay what you would have paid if you took the fifteen, just pay it towards the principle every month. That way, if your income ever gets cut, job loss, divorce, other major life event, you have room to adjust without losing your home. – Brenda P.

5. Will this be an investment or a home?

Answer this question for yourself: Are you buying an INVESTMENT or a HOME?

You’ll be surprised at what you can live with if it’s the former and what you can’t live without if it’s the latter. How much are you willing to spend on each will usually differ, too.

We just purchased our third house, for more than the asking price, although it was reasonable since it was a HUD home. We knew this was more HOME for us than investment only so it has been worth all the updating and improvements (although we are trying to stick to a budget! – Carolyn G.

6. Think about heating and air conditioning costs.

Consider heating and maintenance costs yearly. We bought a house 5 yrs ago…very old and drafty, at a good price for the local and real estate prices at the time…and have had to heat with scavenged wood to afford heat in the winter.

While working to close up air gaps in the house. We cannot afford the hydro bill without free wood heat. And we are barely getting by with the costs on our fixed disability income if 28,000 a year. – Ril G.

7. Don’t settle.

Really know what you want and don’t settle. Also helps if you like or get along with your realtor and have patience. – Jessica R.

8. Consider buying a home on auction.
Research this option thoroughly first.

Wait on auctions..they are always cheaper and make sure you inspect the place before buying. – Evelyn K.

9. Don’t buy impulsively because you feel like you’ll miss out on a good deal.

Don’t buy a house because you think the prices will go up and you’ll miss out a good deal. Buy when you can comfortably afford it and you’re ready.

There will always be deals if you watch and wait. I just found an affordably priced condo in my neighborhood. – Fanny

Photo Credit: WorldIslandInfo.com

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Budgeting 101: How to Get Started http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/personal-budget-worksheet http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/personal-budget-worksheet#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=3437 It’s important to live on a budget and not overspend these days. The best way to do this is to use a personal budget worksheet that you refer to every month. Putting together a personal budget is not hard. It’s staying within your budget that’s challenging. The goal is to spend less than you make. […] Read more...

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It’s important to live on a budget and not overspend these days. The best way to do this is to use a personal budget worksheet that you refer to every month.

Putting together a personal budget is not hard.

It’s staying within your budget that’s challenging.

The goal is to spend less than you make.

And hopefully, you have a little leftover for savings and other financial goals.

The key is to know how much you make, how much you spend, and how much you owe. Recording this info onto a personal budget worksheet gives you a good picture of your financial position.

Once you have a budget worksheet filled out, you can refer to it month to month to see where to make adjustments, if needed. A budget worksheet isn’t set in stone. Chances are, you’ll be like most people who will have to make changes to their budget.

As your life changes – you go to college, move out on your own, get married, have kids, retire, so will your budget.

Let’s explore the things that will go into your budget worksheet, starting with income. Think of all the ways you earn money.

monthly budget planner image

Sources of Income

  • Salary
  • Bonus
  • Commissions
  • Sales
  • Freelance Work
  • Blogging Income
  • Child Support
  • Rental Property Income
  • Interest Income
  • Social Security
  • Pension
  • eBay income

Pre-Tax Budget Items

  • Retirement plan contributions (eg. 401K)
  • Health insurance premiums (Medical, Dental, Vision)
  • Contributions to HSA or FSA
  • Employee stock purchase plan
  • Union dues and other job-related expenses
  • Child support
  • Disability Insurance

Bear in mind that adjustments to pre-tax items will affect your personal budget differently than items paid with your net income. Let’s say you decided to take $50 from your retirement (pre-tax money) and put it into groceries.

budgeting 101: how to get started

When your paycheck comes, you’ll notice that the extra $50 that you thought you were getting, will actually show up as a smaller amount because taxes will have be taken out.

After-Tax Budget Items

Savings
  • Savings Account
  • Vacation Savings
  • Saving for a house or other financial goal
Housing
  • Rent or Mortgage Payment
  • Home or Renter’s Insurance
  • Property Taxes
  • HOA fee
  • Home Repairs
  • Household Items
  • Furniture
  • Housecleaning Service
Utilities
  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Garbage
  • Gas (for heat and cooking)
  • Internet
  • Landline Phone
  • Cell Phone
  • Cable
Debt Payments
  • Credit Card Payments
  • Student Loans
  • Other Loans
Food
  • Groceries
  • Eating Out
  • Coffee
  • Bar
Transportation
  • Car Payment
  • Car Insurance
  • Gas
  • Smog Check, License Renewal, and Taxes
  • Car Maintenance
  • Parking
  • Toll
  • Public Transportation
Personal Care
  • Clothing
  • Salon or Barber Shop
  • Toiletries
  • Laundromat/Dry Cleaning
  • Gym
  • Massage
  • Doctor and Dentist Visits (or include in your Health Savings Account budget, if applicable)
  • Prescriptions (or include in your HSA or FSA budget, if applicable)
Family
  • Childcare/Babysitting
  • Baby Supplies – Diapers, Formula, Wipes
  • Lessons/Activities
  • Allowance
Education
  • Tuition
  • Books
  • Fees
  • Supplies
Entertainment
  • Movie Tickets
  • Concerts
  • Music Purchases
  • Video Games
  • Magazine Subscriptions
  • DVD Rentals
  • Pay-Per-View
Miscellaneous
  • Tithe
  • Gifts
  • Charity
  • Pet Supplies and Vet Expenses
  • Free Spending Money or Personal Allowance
  • Contingency Amount

You may have to adjust your budget every month until you can find out how much you really need to allocate in each category. Spending changes month to month so don’t be afraid to make changes.

Movie production budgets typically set aside a contingency amount of 20%. It’s not a bad idea to leave yourself a little extra for those unexpected purchases you’ll run into. It doesn’t have to be 20% but figure out what works best for you.

For items that you don’t pay for every month, such as car insurance, divide the total cost per year by 12. This will give you a monthly cost to add to your budget worksheet.

Get started now with my Monthly Budget Planner!  For those of you who want a printable worksheet and something more fun to look at, this is the Monthly Budget Planner I created as part of my Money Management Kit.

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Expand Your Wardrobe without Emptying Your Wallet http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/expand-wardrobe-without-emptying-wallet http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/expand-wardrobe-without-emptying-wallet#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 08:01:40 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15246 I’m on a tight budget now but I also need to expand and update my professional wardrobe. I wear the same few tops every week and don’t have many options for work-related events. Yesterday, I attended an event and seriously, didn’t have anything to wear. Seriously! And there were pictures taken of me. =( So […] Read more...

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I’m on a tight budget now but I also need to expand and update my professional wardrobe.

I wear the same few tops every week and don’t have many options for work-related events.

Yesterday, I attended an event and seriously, didn’t have anything to wear.

Seriously! And there were pictures taken of me. =(

So I checked out ThredUP, an online consignment shop. I bought from them last year and still wear those items today.

If you don’t know, ThredUP sells gently used, designer clothes for women, juniors, and kids.

thredup

It’s not 100% perfect to buy clothes online because they don’t always fit right. From my last purchase with them most of the items fit. And the ones that didn’t fit ended up fitting later when I subconsciously lost weight.

You can return items if they don’t fit. However, some sale items are final sale only.

With a $10 off coupon, I was able to get 3 tops for only $22.89! And that includes shipping! So a lot of tops are $8 – $10 during this sale.

There are even designer purses like Coach for $50!

The only thing I had to watch out for was overspending. I had to remove a cute pink wool J. Crew blazer from my cart!

The sale ends TODAY!

>>Click here for a $10 off coupon on your first purchase<< (affiliate link)

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The Top 5 Places I Buy Groceries http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/top-places-i-buy-groceries http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/top-places-i-buy-groceries#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:34:18 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15237 Eating healthy and saving money are important to me. Plus, my daughter has food allergies so that makes it a priority for me to cook her food from scratch and opt out of boxed and frozen foods. Because of that, I don’t buy a lot of processed foods. I focus more on getting the freshest […] Read more...

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Eating healthy and saving money are important to me. Plus, my daughter has food allergies so that makes it a priority for me to cook her food from scratch and opt out of boxed and frozen foods.

Because of that, I don’t buy a lot of processed foods. I focus more on getting the freshest quality food possible.

Since I don’t buy processed foods, most coupons from the Sunday paper are not useful to me. And I don’t coupon for groceries.

Instead, I find deals elsewhere and you can too. You don’t necessarily have to coupon in order to save money.

1. Farmers Markets

My new favorite place to get organic produce is the farmers market. I always find the freshest, sweetest fruits here at better prices than the grocery store.

In the past few weeks, I discovered the sweetest, juiciest plums from this one farmer. It’s a special breed that tastes noticeably different and better.

And my family loves them! That means everything gets eaten up.

The vegetables I get from the farmers market stay fresher longer. The broccoli crowns are bright green, not purple, and stay fresh for a week.

One farmer has $1 bags of organic produce! They’re either overstocked or “seconds” (not-so-pretty) vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, or green beans.

I always swing by to see what they have. I’d pay $3 – $4 for these organic veggies elsewhere.

where i buy groceries

And there’s this gourmet rotisserie chicken from a food truck, that is THE best rotisserie chicken ever! Their French fingerling potatoes bathed in rotisserie chicken drippings, is amazing. My daughter and husband will eat that up in one sitting.

If you’re ever in San Francisco, you have to try Roli Roti Gourmet Rotisserie.

I do splurge on this a few times a month because a rotisserie chicken means that I don’t have to cook, it lasts for several meals, and I use the leftover bones to make bone soup. Plus, it costs about the same as a rotisserie chicken from a gourmet grocery store.

2. Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s is known as the poor man’s Whole Foods in some circles. It doesn’t matter what it’s called because they have competitive prices for comparable items found in natural food stores.

What I buy here: organic chicken (best price and is the freshest), cereal, apple juice, snacks, nuts, goat milk (again they have the best price), coconut oil, eggs, cheese, gluten-free items (bread, waffles, pancakes, brownie mix, cookies, almond flour, pasta), and dairy-free items (coconut milk ice cream, pancakes).

3. Costco

I try not to go into Costco because often I’ll see something that I “need.” Instead, I’ll order these items and have them delivered by Google Shopping Express, which is a shopping delivery service in beta testing in our area. Shipping is free to several stores for the limited time.

What I buy here: toilet paper, paper towels, avocado oil (no more GMO oil for us), diapers, baby wipes, lemons, chicken apple sausage, Basmati rice, and eggs.

4. Vitacost

I love, love Vitacost! They have the best deals on gluten-free foods and supplements and they deliver within a few days.

Certain items are half off here! That’s like buying something and getting one free without having to coupon.

And they have sales all the time, like Buy One Get One Half Off.

What I buy here: gluten-free items (pizza mix, pasta, brownie mix, soy sauce), supplements,and personal care items.

Get $10 off your first order. Must be redeemed within the first few months after you receive the coupon code.

5. Asian Grocery Store

I’m very thankful to live near several Asian grocery stores, like 5 minutes away. I feel more connected to my family and culture when I shop here.

What I buy here: Asian vegetables (bok choy), Chinese herbs, rice noodles (they are the cheapest here), rice flour.

Photo Credit

 

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