August 10, 2020Posted By: growth-rapidly Tag: Banking
Bank of America, like most banks, offer several bonuses, either from their credit cards, checking or savings accounts. These deals can be either cash rewards, bonus points, etc. For example, open this credit card then you get a $200 cash rewards bonus. In the past, if you refer a friend, Bank of America would pay you $50 referral bonus. But Bank of America has discontinued the referral bonus when you refer a friend.
CIT Savings Builder – Earn 0.85% APY. Here’s how it works: Make at least a $100 minimum deposit every month. Or Maintain a minimum balance of $25k. Member FDIC. Click Here to Learn More.
Bank of America “refer a friend & cash rewards” bonus program
While Bank of America does not have a cash reward bonus when you refer a friend, there are cash rewards when you yourself get approved for a particular credit card.
Cash Rewards Credit Card:
Receive $200 cash rewards bonus after you make $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. Also, you get to choose how to collect your rewards.
Plus, earn 3% cash back when you shop for: gas, online shopping, drug stores, home improvements, dining or travel.
Get 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs.
Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
No annual fee. Go to Bank of America’s homepage to take advantage of this credit card referral bonus.
Travel Rewards Credit Card
Earn 25,000 online bonus points when you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. You can redeem it for a $250 credit toward your travel purchases.
Earn unlimited 1.5 bonus points for every $1 spent on all purchases.
Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card.
Again Bank of America offers no referral bonus when you refer a friend, but this credit card has great deals and promotions.
50,000 bonus points after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
Earn 2 points for every 1$ spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Get $200 in travel statement credit.
Make sure you take a look at other Bank of America Promotions.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a cash reward deal when you refer a friend to Bank of America, you will not find any at this time. But there are several credit cards with great cash rewards. For more cash back deals, rewards or future referral bonus programs and promotions, check Bank of America’s deals here. The site guarantees no coupons or promo codes. You just activate your deals and go.
Here are other popular Bank promotions deals!
Speak with the Right Financial Advisor
If you have questions about your finances, you can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc). Find one who meets your needs with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.
Clipping coupons is synonymous with saving money. Just mentioning frugal living brings to mind long hours hunched over the dining room table shredding the Sunday newspaper into a mound of money-saving coupons.
But why? What’s so great about coupons?
It may sound blasphemous to some budgeters, but I gave up coupons years ago. Spoiler alert: I still save a respectable amount on groceries, I’m eating healthier, and shopping is a breeze.
Here are the reasons why I hung up my scissors and quit clipping coupons.
1. The cost/reward ratio is low
In exchange for the modest savings it offers, traditional coupon clipping is a demanding taskmaster.
By the time I buy a newspaper, clip the coupons I want, organize them, monitor the expiration dates and find stores that allow coupon stacking, it seems like I should just get the item for free.
2. Coupons are manipulative
It’s no secret manufacturers and retailers want us to use coupons for one reason only: to expose us to products we wouldn’t normally buy, encouraging habitual purchases. Once the savings go away, they expect that demand will stay and the price can gradually increase.
For me, staying on budget means minimizing my wants and needs and shopping with greater intention. Most coupons are distractions that wrap new wants in a package of “savings.”
If I really want to check out coupon options, your time might be better spent accessing manufacturer coupons online.
3. Coupons distract us from better deals
Saving money shouldn’t be an obstacle course. It’s easier and more rewarding to simply stick to store brands, learn which generic products to buy or wait for in-store sales.
Store brands often offer better deals than coupons — without the hassle. Without the overhead of sexy ad campaigns, package designers and product innovators, generics are typically a much better value.
Compare unit prices, instead. You just might never clip another coupon again.
4. Coupons push pre-packaged and processed food
When it comes to groceries, coupons often market convenience foods that are more expensive and less healthy.
Seriously, though, where are the coupons for fresh foods like broccoli or apples? If they exist, they are as rare as a coupon with no expiration date.
5. Coupons encourage over-buying
To take advantage of the savings, coupons often require the purchase of more than one item — “$1 off any three,” for instance. This may be fine for products you know and love, but it’s risky otherwise.
What if you don’t like the taste of the coffee, the flavor of the chips or the scent of the moisturizer? Instead of being out the cost of a single item, you’re out in multiples. Am I really saving if I have to buy more than I need, want or will use?
6. Coupons build brand loyalty
Part of the purpose of coupons is to establish a pattern of buying behavior and build brand loyalty. In matters of love, loyalty is a virtue. But when it comes to shopping, a little cheating can be a very good thing.
Blindly sticking to one brand of yogurt, pasta sauce or toothpaste means you’re likely missing out on better deals or products you’ll like more.
Brand loyalty may make shopping faster, but the benefits end there.
7. Coupons aren’t free
Don’t think those “free” coupons you get with your grocery receipt come without a cost.
Most are generated as part of elaborate loyalty programs that track dozens of data points like what time of day you shop, how much you spend on average, which in-store services you use and whether you have kids.
In addition to using it themselves, stores may sell your information. In exchange for those discounts, you could be handing over a big slice of your privacy.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.
Looking for free diapers and low-cost baby products?
Diapers are expensive and a pain in the budget. Babies need roughly 8000 diapers before they’re potty trained, costing parents $2000 or more.
So we’ve put together some simple and legitimate options to help you save money. When you combine these methods together, you can literally save hundreds of dollars.
Try these easy tactics to get free diapers. It only takes a few minutes to fill out a form or sign up for a program, and the savings you’ll enjoy is truly worth it.
Table of Contents
Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit – free stuff from Target.
Target Baby Registry – Set up a baby registry at Target and you’ll get free diapers and wipes from The Honest Company and plenty more.
You’ll also receive a cool gift bag stuffed with free samples and a $50 coupon book with savings at major outlets like Starbucks and Liz Lange.
Here’s just some of what you get:
Munchkin Latch 4 oz. baby bottle
Baby Aquaphor diaper rash cream
MAM newborn pacifier
Johnson & Johnson Head-to-Toe lotion
A 10-piece sample pack of baby wipes from The Honest Company.
Pampers samples of diapers and wipes.
Lanisinoh disposable nursing pads and breastmilk storage bags
Johnsons’s “Baby’s Firsts” guide to first-year milestones
Babyganics Moisturizing Daily Lotion sample tube
Mustela Hydra Bebe body lotion sample
Zarbee’s Naturals baby immune support vitamins
10% off any nursing bra and/or camisole.
Two: Sign Up for Amazon Family
Amazon Family (formerly Amazon Mom) comes with a free 30-day trial, or you can access it for free if you’re already a Prime member. Just create a child profile to begin and save up to 20% on diaper and baby food subscriptions. You’ll also get additional discounts on other family products.
Amazon Family is part of Prime so all shipping is free.
Refer your friends and get an additional $10 in Amazon credit to use for free diapers.
Three: Get Free Amazon Cards for Diapers
Wouldn’t it be great to get free Amazon cards and then use them for diapers and other baby products?
Good news – Swagbucks and InboxDollars give you that opportunity. Here’s how it works.
Swagbucks gives you rewards points for various online actions, such as using their search engine, taking surveys, watching videos and playing games. Then just redeem your rewards for Amazon gift cards (or cards from other stores) or as cash through PayPal.
Signing up is free and you’ll even get a $5 sign up bonus.
TIP: Download the app and perform many of the tasks on the go. You can easily earn $25 each month in Amazon cards with minimal effort.
InboxDollars is another loyalty company offering rewards for shopping online, taking surveys and watching videos. Redeem your points for an Amazon card to use on anything you want.
Four: Get Free Diapers by Signing Up with Diaper Companies
Diaper companies know that most parents find one diaper brand they like and use them exclusively as long as their child needs diapers.
Naturally, these companies want you to be loyal to their brand, and not to their competitors. So they’ll happily give you free diaper samples to earn your loyalty.
Huggies Rewards program offers free diapers and wipes when you redeem Huggies points. You can get 500 free points just for signing up here.
When you make a purchase of Huggies diapers or baby products, upload your receipt to their site to get more points added to your account.
Huggies recently lowered the number of points needed to acquire coupons for free diapers and baby products so saving money is easier than ever.
In addition to Huggies, check out the rewards programs at the other major brands:
More Free Samples
Honest Company – Jessica Alba’s environmentally safe company will send you 7 premium diapers and 10 baby wipes. The diapers contain no chemical bleaches.
Dollar Diaper Club – Get a free trial and they’ll send you 6 organic diapers and 10 wipes.
Everyday Happy – Receive a free trial box of premium diapers and a package of bamboo wipes.
Simply Right – Sign up on their website and this Sam’s Club brand will send you free diapers and wipes.
Five: Smart Couponing for Free Diapers
Check your local paper and online for diaper coupons and look for diaper sales at your local stores. By timing your coupons with diaper sales, you can really save on diapers, or even get them for free.
Here are a few places online where you can clip baby diaper coupons.
Six: Use Referral Programs for Diaper Money
A couple of companies offer lucrative referral programs that could add up to a lot of free diapers and wipes.
Diapers.com gives you $5 in diaper credit for each person you refer to their site. Sign up for their referral program here.
If you have an active Facebook or Instagram account, ePantry has a referral program. Post to your accounts and earn $8 for every mom you sign up.
Occasionally ePantry runs promotions offering up to $20 per referral.
Seven: Charities and Government Programs Helping with Diapers and More.
The National Diaper Bank Network helps low-income families with free diapers. The non-profit network has chapters nationwide so those in need can pick up diapers locally.
This is a great complement to food stamps and WIC, which do not provide diapers.
NeedHelpPayingBills.com aims to assist the needy with a variety of needs. Here is their free baby diapers resource list of organizations everywhere that are ready to help.
Eight: – Save by using cloth diapers
Washable cloth diapers are an environmentally friendly option for your child.
They can also help you save money, especially if you have, or plan on having, more than one child in diapers.
Nine: Call Pediatrician or Hospital for Freebies
Hospitals often give you stuff you need for your newborn, such as a free diaper bag or car seat. Check with your hospital before your due date to see what is available to you.
Your OB/Gyn doctor and pediatrician are also great resources to consider for free baby diapers, bottles, and formula samples. They can steer you in the right direction and they usually have baby samples right there in their office.
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Do you have high hopes that there will be traveling your family’s future, but not quite sure how you can afford it?
You’re not alone. While Americans will spend an average of 10% of their household income on vacationing this year, a full 74% take on debt for their trips. Each of these tips offers you both an easy and effective way to save a substantial amount of money off your next vacation trip. Use them wisely, and you might even be able to squeeze in some extra travel this year.
1. Make use of grocery store prepared food sections
Some people think it’s crazy to not eat at restaurants for all of your vacation meals. Mostly, they want the entire week off from cooking any food.
I don’t blame them (or you) for thinking this. So, what if I told you that you can still avoid cooking all week, and not actually eat out for every single meal?
While vacationing, find your local grocery store with a prepared food section. You can find hot meals for your family – complete with salads and desserts – for much less than what it would cost to eat out. Plus, there’s’ no need to pay a tip.
2. Plan activities around discount times and coupons
You can easily save a bundle on your vacation expenses by planning your activities around available discounts. This doesn’t have to be as limiting as it sounds, it just means you have to be smart about it. For example, you could:
Buy a local Entertainment book and use the tourist coupons that come with it.
Purchase discounted tickets to local attractions and activities on group buying sites (such as Groupon.com, and LivingSocial.com) by entering the zip code of where you’ll be traveling to.
Plan your trip dates around free museum days (I did this on a trip to France, and got in to see the Louvre on its free Sunday of the month).
3. Change the season you travel in
One of the easiest ways you can save on almost all the costs of your next vacation is by simply changing the season that you take it. The time of year you choose makes a huge difference in how much you’ll pay – it’s a simple illustration of supply and demand.
During summertime when kids are out of school and families want to get their vacations in, you’ll pay more. But if you decide to leave for a trip to Disney World one week before schools traditionally let out? Then you’ll not only save yourself tons of waiting time in lines but a lot of money.
In fact, that’s what personally happened to me over five years ago when my husband and I decided last minute to drive to Disney World. It was May, and there were virtually no people around. No lines, no waiting, and hardly a kid in sight.
We asked anyone we could find what was going on, and they said that it would be all-out pandemonium just one week later when their peak season begins (when the majority of kids are out of school). We had unknowingly hit the jackpot, and our cheap hotel bill reinforced that!
Get creative by using winter breaks, trips during the school year, and long weekends in the off-season to save a bundle without even trying.
4. Rethink traditional hotel stays
Next to transportation costs to get to your destination, hotel costs will make the second biggest dent in your budget. With an average cost of $133.34/night to stay in a hotel, you can see how a 5-night ($666.70) or a 7-night vacation ($933.38) can really add up.
One of the easiest ways to save on vacations is by rethinking traditional hotel stays.
Consider options like these, all of which I’ve done myself:
Staying with family or friends
Share a hotel room with family or friends
Book a rental with local homeowners instead of with hotels (using sites like AirBnB or Vrbo)
Use hotel deal sites to snatch up unfilled rooms (such as Secretflying.com, and TheFlightDeal.com)
5. Consider group travel
Traveling in groups allows you to pool your money for better rates. My husband’s family, for example, likes to go all-in on a beach house for a long weekend in Galveston. We generally get a 5 to 6-bedroom rental right on the beach, and the cost is just $200-$300 per family for 3-4 nights. If we were to travel on our own, we would never be able to afford such a nice place.
Not only that, but if your group travel entails a road trip, you may be able to carpool with someone to save on gas costs. And if you split up meal prep duties between families like we do? You not only have to cook only once or twice per stay, but you don’t have to eat out in restaurants the whole time.
Another way to secure travel savings in groups is by going after group discounts. Whether booking excursions, airfare, or anything else with a travel agent or by yourself, be sure to ask about possible group discounts.
Don’t forget to shop around
Pricing for hotels, airfare, and things to do can vary greatly. Don’t just visit a company’s website and assume that’s the best price. Check a number of sites — including discounters like Priceline — and look for package deals. You should also consider looking for less-traditional sources for booking trip. Warehouse clubs Costco and Sam’s Club, for example, offer deals on travel (sometimes very good ones).
It’s also important to use any discounts you have coming your way. Are you in AAA? Does someone in the family have a trade association membership that offers special deals? Check and you might unlock a special deal. Use these “work smarter, not harder” strategies when it comes to saving money on your next vacation, and you won’t have vacation debt lingering for months after your return.
If you’re looking to make a little extra cash, and help others while you’re at it, you may want to consider donating plasma.
Thousands of Americans across the country are lining up to earn a little extra cash through blood plasma donation. The plasma donation process is similar to giving blood but does take a little longer. Thankfully you can be compensated for your time.
Donating plasma offers the potential to earn $300 to $400 a month. Before you get started, however, you need to be aware of what’s involved to help you make an informed decision.
ABC News that 94% of paid plasma that was used to create medicines around the world, was donated by American donors.
Blood plasma is the part of the blood that’s actually a clear liquid. It consists of water, enzymes, antibodies, and proteins. Plasma donation is different from giving blood at the Red Cross, however.
To obtain the clear plasma, your blood is drawn, then the plasma is separated. The blood is then returned to your body.
There are hundreds of donation centers around the country. However, to donate, you must typically meet some basic requirements.
You must be aged 18 to 69
You must weigh over 110 pounds
You must have proper levels of iron, hemoglobin, and blood
You need to pass a basic physical and be free of infectious diseases
You must have a legal Social Security Card or government ID to prove that you’re a citizen.
The rules can vary according to your home state. Local laws may even override the requirements of the plasma donation center. For example, some states have a higher age requirement than the typical center age of 18.
Some states also have rules prohibiting people with piercings or tattoos from donating. There may also be a minimum number of donations permitted within a specified timeframe.
If you don’t qualify as a plasma donor, you may be given a temporary or permanent deferral. Temporary deferrals occur if you’re sick, your blood, iron or hemoglobin levels are too low, or you’re recovering from a procedure. You’ll be advised on what to do and when you can return to donate plasma for money.
Permanent deferrals typically result from your age, weight, or if you have a medical condition that could negatively affect you or the recipient of your blood plasma. However, if you believe the permanent deferral was given in error, you can obtain a second medical opinion to try to overturn the decision.
How To Prepare To Donate Plasma
In order to donate plasma, you will need to hydrate, avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks, eat healthily, and prepare the necessary paperwork.
Before you visit a plasma donation center, you will need to drink plenty of fluids and eat heart-healthy meals such as vegetables, fruits, and fish. You should also try to avoid high cholesterol, fatty foods.
Being properly hydrated is crucial, so you should drink plenty of water the day before and the day of donation. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol are diuretics, so it is best to avoid them, as they can dehydrate you.
When you arrive at the center, you will need to present your Social Security card, a photo ID and proof of address. Your name and address should match on all of your documentation.
What’s Involved In Donating Plasma?
If you’re a first time donor, you should plan for your visit to the center to take up to two hours. When you arrive at the center, you’ll be asked to complete a health history and go through a basic physical. This can include a heart check, urine test, and reflex test. They will also prick your finger to test your iron, blood, and hemoglobin levels.
Once they are ready for you to begin donating, you’ll be sat in a semi-reclining chair. The actual process looks similar to standard blood donation. However, as the process is more involved compared to donating blood, the actual donation part takes up to an hour.
When your blood is drawn, the center team separates the plasma using a plasmapheresis machine, and the blood will be returned to your body.
If you choose to donate again, the process will be quicker. Future donations typically take an hour, since you only need to confirm nothing has changed about your medical situation.
If you plan on donating plasma regularly, bear in mind that there are limits. Generally, you can donate no more than twice a week, but you need to leave 24 to 48 hours between donations. This allows your body enough time to replace the lost plasma. However, drinking plenty of water can assist in this process.
One common concern is if it will hurt to donate plasma. However, the discomfort involved is similar to donating blood.
In addition to the finger prick, the technician will use an IV and needle to draw your blood and return the plasma free blood to your body. When the blood is returned, it is mixed with saline. This can make it cold, which can cause a little discomfort. So, it is a good idea to bring a jacket or blanket.
Obviously, if you start to feel very uncomfortable during donation, tell the technician immediately.
How Much Can You Earn Via Your Plasma Donations?
If you choose to donate twice a week, there is the potential to make up to $400 a month or up to $50 per donation. That’s not too shabby, given that it will typically take 60 to 90 minutes per visit.
There are factors that will determine your earning potential for plasma donation, however. In addition to how often you donate, your weight, the quantity of plasma you donate, and which donation center you use will influence your earnings.
Typically, if it is your first time donating plasma, you’ll make more. Many centers have incentives for new donors, and since the process takes longer, you’re compensated accordingly.
Additionally, the FDA requires that plasma donations correspond with body weight. So you’ll get paid more if your body weight is more, since you can donate more plasma. Generally, the weight ranges are split up in ranges similar to this:
110 to 149 pounds
150 to 174 pounds
175 to 400 pounds
Also, you may have a certain type of protein that’s in high demand. If you carry this type of protein in your plasma, the center may offer you more money.
Some centers also offer “frequent flyer” incentives. So, you’ll receive more per donation if you regularly visit the same centers.
Where Can I Donate Plasma?
A great place to start when looking for the highest paying plasma donation center near you is to check out the website DonatingPlasma.org. It has an easy to use search tool where you can plug in your city/zip and it will show you centers near you.
Although the FDA inspects donation centers to ensure compliance with the laws, it does not own or manage them. These centers are operated by third-party for-profit companies, and there is no central organization that receives plasma. You’ll need to either use a site like DonatingPlasma.org or search Google for “plasma donation near me” and ensure you choose an FDA compliant location.
Highest-Paying Plasma Donation Centers
Plasma donation is a competitive business. It is worth comparing the earning potential if you have multiple centers in your local area. You may even find you can obtain higher than typical payouts.
A good starting point is to look for first-time plasma donor bonuses. Many centers promote bonuses on their websites (many of which you’ll find below). This could allow you to earn $500 in your first month rather than $300. Donation centers also run promotions where you can earn more if you return to donate again. Although it can feel strange to see promotions and coupons on a donation site, this is how the industry works, so be sure to take advantage of the best deal.
Here are some of the trusted donation centers in different states and what you can expect to be paid.
B Positive Plasma
B Positive Plasma is one of the highest paying plasma donation centers out there, but they currently only have locations in MD and NJ.
You can earn up to $500 a month, and they sometimes have promos for first-time donors where you can get $50 per donation for your first five donations.
You’ll get paid fast via a Visa Debit card and you can earn even more by referring a friend!
Biolife operates in 28 states in the USA, including AZ, AR, CO, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY.
New donors at certain centers can earn bonuses, which offers the potential to earn up to $600 in your first month. Centers also run local promotions. The typical rate is up to $50 per donation. Payments are made with a Biolife prepaid debit card.
Biotest Plasma Center
Biotest Plasma Center has locations in AR, FL, GA, IA, NC, NE, NM, OH, PA, SC, SD, TX. You can earn up to $50 for the first five donations, and subsequent donations will earn you $35 to $45. There are also sweepstakes and bonuses when you refer a friend, which can boost your earnings. Payment is made via a Mastercard prepaid debit card.
BPL Plasma has centers in AR, AZ, CO, FL, IL, KY, ME, MN, MO, NC, NM, OH, OK, TX. They offer up to $50 for your first five donations, but there are seasonal promotions to boost your earnings.
However, BPL Plasma requires donors to be 18 to 65, rather than 69 and not to have had any tattoos or piercings in the last 12 months.
CSL Plasma has locations in AL, AZ, CO, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NC, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, WA, WV, WI. There are also multiple locations within the same state. For example, in Alabama, there are Birmingham, Auburn, and two Montgomery centers.
You can earn up to $50 per donation, with a potential for up to $400 a month. There are also monthly promotions. You’ll receive points that you can redeem for prepaid debit cards or merchandise.
GCAM Plasma has locations in CA, ID, IN, TX, WA, and you can earn up to $25-$40 for each donation. Payment methods vary, so you would need to contact your local center.
Grifols has more than a hundred locations across the U.S including AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MS, NC, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI. This company owns a variety of centers, including Biomat USA, Talecris, Plasma Biological Resources, and Interstate Blood Bank.
You can expect to receive up to $25 per donation via a prepaid debit card. However, Grifols also operates a refer a friend program for additional bonuses.
Immunotek has locations in 8 states including AL, FL, MS, NC, PA, SC, TN, TX.
The amount you can earn isn’t listed on their website, and pay rates for donations vary from location to location.
They do offer a $20 referral bonus when you refer a a friend who donates.
The Interstate Companies has locations in 14 states including FL, IL, IN, KY, MD, MO, MI, MS, NC, OH, PA, TN, TX, WI.
While they don’t list how much you can earn on their website, users online have stated they pay $50 each for the first 5 donations, and anywhere from $25-35 per donation after that.
KEDPlasma has centers in 11 states, including AL, FL, GA, LA, NC, NY, SC.
You can earn up to $50 for your first five donations. However, returning donors may qualify for a $20 lapse bonus coupon”. You would need to leave at least 14 days between donations.
This company also operates Kedrewards, a loyalty rewards program, which creates an opportunity to earn additional bonuses. The payment methods can vary according to location, but typically you’ll be offered a prepaid debit card.
Octapharma has more than 100 locations across the USA including AL, AR, CA, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NV, OH, OK, SC, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI.
You can earn up to $50 each for your first five donations. There are also frequency bonuses and a New Donor bonus. For example, you may earn extra if you donate more frequently in certain months. This is usually when there is a high demand for plasma but few donors.
You’ll be paid via prepaid debit card, but you can also accumulate reward points that can offer sweepstake entries and other discounts.
The Tax Implications Of Donating Plasma For Money
Most plasma donation centers will load your payment onto a prepaid debit card. You’re unlikely to be provided a tax form that reports your taxable income as you would with a day job.
However, not getting a 1099-MISC IRS form will not let you off the hook. You’re required by the IRS to file a return if you make more than $400 from “gig work”. Donating plasma does count as gig work, so keep a track of your earnings.
You will be responsible for reporting the income made from donating plasma when you file your taxes. So, it is a good idea to set aside a few dollars of each payment to avoid a nasty tax surprise.
The Side Effects And Potential Risks Of Plasma Donation
Of course, you should not try anything without being aware of the possible side effects and potential risks. Fortunately, plasma donations are considered relatively safe. It is a well-understood process, but there is a possibility of side effects.
Many of the possible side effects are similar to donating blood. Since needles are involved in the process, you may experience tenderness or bruising around the injection site. There could be discoloration, pain, or swelling, but these should subside relatively quickly. You may also have a reaction to the disinfectant used. This is often iodine, so if you know you have an iodine sensitivity, mention it to the center.
Some donors can also feel faint or experience dizziness. This is due to fluid being removed from the body, which causes a reaction to this stress. You can minimize your risk of this by drinking plenty of fluids the day before and the day of donation.
In less common cases, you may experience a citrate reaction. This is an anticoagulant that they use, so the blood doesn’t clot during collection. You may experience a reaction to the citrate, which often presents as a tingling in the fingers or around the mouth and nose. In severe cases, it can cause shortness of breath, shivering, twitching, or a rapid or slowing pulse.
If you experience any symptoms during the donation process, it is important to let the center staff know. You should also follow instructions following the donation. For example, you may be told to remain seated and have a drink after donation. This will help your body to recover from the stress of donation.
Donating Plasma After COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on the economy and it may be the reason why you’re considering donating plasma to make extra money. Fortunately, it is possible to donate plasma even if you’re recovering from COVID-19.
In fact, the FDA is encouraging people to begin donating after a negative COVID test and “complete resolution of symptoms”.
President Trump came out with statements this week encouraging people to donate plasma after having COVID-19 so that the medical community can get plasma with the antibodies to help patients who are still struggling with the disease. You will need to wait at least 14 days after your symptoms are resolved before you can make a donation, but giving your plasma with antibodies can be very helpful, and life-saving, for those in need.
Donating Plasma Is A Legit Way To Earn Some Extra Cash
Donating plasma is a legit way to earn some extra cash while helping others with life-saving plasma.
You only need two or three hours a week to donate plasma and you could make $300 to $400 a month. Anyone can do it as long as they meet the guidelines, and as long as they have no qualms with being stuck with a needle and sitting in a chair for a few hours a month. If that sounds like you this could be an easy way to earn some extra income.
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of donating plasma for money, you can still donate for free. You can visit your local Red Cross Center to donate blood plasma. The Red Cross allows donations every 28 days, so you can still help people and potentially save lives.
Have you gone through the process to donate plasma for money? Tell us how it went!
Let’s face it. Most of us, at one point or another, have been faced with a financial emergency, or a plain, old-fashioned cash crunch. It’s definitely not a fun spot to be in. While there are steps we can take to avoid such situations (more on that later), that’s often the last thing on our minds when we need to come up with money — quick.
To assist, I’ve compiled the following list of money-making ideas. While some of the items included are more lucrative than others (you’ll never get rich taking surveys, for example), they all share a common theme: making money fast. Ready? Let’s dive in.
And before anyone mentions it, yes we’re aware of the irony of publishing an article about making money fast at a website called Get Rich Slowly.
Sell Your Old Stuff
I’ll kick off the list with an obvious one: selling your old stuff. After all, is there a faster way to make money? If you walked a few steps to your basement right now, or stepped outside to the garage, I’m willing to bet that you’d find some junk lying around that someone else could use:
Old computers and video games.
Sports equipment your kids have grown out of.
That extra bike that’s never ridden.
Your old collectibles. (J.D. sold his comic books. You could sell your baseball cards.)
Once you’ve come to grips with parting with your junk, selling it is as easy as taking a few pictures, and posting an ad on Craigslist, or your local Facebook Buy and Sell. If you need some inspiration, here’s a list of 12 surprisingly valuable things that are lying around your house.
Taking online surveys isn’t going to make you rich, but that’s not your goal here. You need to make money fast, and paid survey sites like Survey Junkie will help you do just that. In fact, you can start earning within a few minutes of signing up, and get paid as soon as you accumulate $10 in rewards.
Survey Junkie will pay you for each survey you complete, in the form of Paypal credits or gift cards to your favorite retail stores. The more surveys you take, the more you’ll make. The best part is that you can take surveys while doing other things, like watching TV, or listening to music, making it an easy way to earn some quick cash.
Swagbucks is similar to Survey Junkie, but they take things a step further, by giving you more ways to earn cash and rewards. In addition to completing surveys, Swagbucks will pay you to browse the internet, play games, and shop online. They’ll even send you a daily survey, and a daily poll, as a way to earn rewards faster.
With Swagbucks, you won’t have to wait before redeeming your rewards. While you’ll need $25 worth of Swagbucks to move cash to your Paypal account, you can redeem points for gift cards worth as little as $1. In fact, when I checked out the Swagbucks rewards page, I noticed $3 Amazon gift cards advertised.
Remember your goal – to make money fast. When you sign up for Acorns using my exclusive link, you’ll receive a $5 credit to kick off your account. Now, I wouldn’t suggest that you go to all that trouble for $5, but with Acorns, you’re getting so much more. Acorns is an investment app that makes saving money easy. You can open an account on your mobile phone in a couple of minutes, collect your $5, and be on your way to building that emergency fund, or saving for your next special purchase.
Open Your Acorns Account and Earn $5
To help you get there, Acorns uses an innovative feature, called round up savings. Acorns syncs to your debit or credit card and then rounds up the “spare change” whenever you spend. For example, let’s say you buy a pack of gum for $1.25. Acorns will round to the nearest dollar, and set aside .75 into your Acorns investment account. Because the amounts are so small, you’ll hardly notice the money leaving your account, but you’ll be surprised how quickly the savings adds up.
Acorns works so well, in fact, that it’s my top choice for investment app for 2020.
Drive with Uber
If you have a clean driving record, a reliable vehicle, and enjoy being around people, driving for a rideshare service like Uber is a great way to make some extra money, and fast. One perk to this job is the flexibility it offers. You decide when, and how much you want to work.
Once you’ve signed up with Uber, most drivers report that it only takes about 3-5 days to be approved.
Here’s more about the pros and cons of becoming a rideshare driver.
Deliver Food with UberEats
If driving for Uber sounds enticing, but you’d rather not spend your time making small talk with strangers, you could decide to deliver food with UberEats. You use the app to select deliveries that are in your area. The best part is that you decide when you want to work, and how much. Keep in mind, you will make more money during peak periods.
Rent Out Your Ride on Turo
Take advantage of your car’s downtime by renting it out to someone who needs a ride. Turo is a peer-to-peer car-sharing app that makes it easy to rent out your car. I’ve used Turo as a renter multiple times and believe it will continue to catch on, so they’ll need an increased supply of vehicles for rent. Once you’re set up through Turo, list your car on the app, wait for a request, and be ready to accept or decline. Keep in mind, your car will need to meet Turo’s vehicle requirements, and the nicer it is, the more money you can charge.
Rent Out a Room With Airbnb
If you have a spare bedroom in your home, you can rent it out to a short term guest, on Airbnb. Some people will even rent out their entire home, if they have another place where they can stay.
Not only is this a great way to make money quick, but if it’s something you enjoy, you could turn it into a regular income stream. A great perk with Airbnb is having the flexibility to decide when your space will be available, and how much you’ll charge.
Employee Referral Programs
Any recruiter will tell you, it’s tough for companies to find good people these days. As a result, many organizations will pay their own employees a bonus for successfully referring new talent.
Depending on the role, and the demand for the position, you could be eligible to receive hundreds, even thousands of dollars by bringing in a new employee. Not only is this a quick way to make money, but it requires almost no effort on your part. You’re simply connecting to parties.
Babysitting or At-Home Daycare
In today’s society, most families are dual income, with both parents working outside the home. Because of this, there is a constant demand for reliable childcare. If you’re a natural caregiver, and enjoy being around kids, you can make good money by offering to provide childcare within your local community. Whether it’s babysitting or an at-home daycare, it won’t take long to find your first client. Use your friends and family to get the word out, or notify your Facebook community, and you’ll be making money in no time.
Teach English with VIP Kid
If you enjoy teaching, consider putting your English skills to good use by becoming an online tutor. Websites like VIP Kid source clients for you, and the pay is pretty good too. It’s not uncommon to make $20-30/hour teaching online.
Tutoring is something that can be done in person as well. In fact, during the school year, there’s no shortage of students in your community in need of help with their studies. Check with your local high school, or get the word out on your community Facebook page.
J.D.’s note: For eighteen months, I met with a Spanish tutor three times each week. Aly had moved to the U.S. from Peru, and she found that tutoring was a fantastic way for her to make money.
Rent Out Your RV With Outdoorsy
If you own an RV, Outdoorsy will match you with people who are looking to rent a trailer or motorhome, for their next summer adventure. At rates as high as $150/day, or more, this is a great way to make money fast. Head to Outdoorsy, and find out how you can get your RV making money for you.
Collect Rewards With Drop App
Money doesn’t always have to arrive in the form of cash. Drop allows you to earn points when you shop at your favorite retailers, then redeem your rewards for gift cards at places like Starbucks, or Amazon. Drop works by syncing to your debit and/or credit card, and keeping track of your purchases. You don’t need to worry about clipping coupons, or scan receipts to receive discounts, Drop does all the work for you.
Download the free app to start earning with Drop!
Earn $50 per Year With the Nielsen Ratings App
For decades, Nielsen has been tracking TV ratings. But did you know that they will pay you to download their app to your computer or smartphone? Doing so allows them to compile data by tracking your internet usage. No need to worry however, your anonymity is guaranteed, and according to Neilson, the app won’t slow your device’s performance in the least.
Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? There is a BIG caveat, however. You must be selected by Nielsen. That’s because Nielsen families are chosen using a scientific process. That said, it’s good to know about this easy money-making opportunity, in case you are ever approached by Nielsen.
Take Advantage of Bank Signup Bonuses
This is a great way to make some quick money. Banks everywhere are in a constant battle for new customers. The financial services industry is highly competitive, and companies know that if they can secure your day to day banking business, they’ll have a shot at your mortgage and your investments as well.
While these promotions come and go, it’s not uncommon to be offered a few hundred dollars when you open a new checking account with a bank, providing that you meet the qualifying criteria. This usually includes hooking up your automatic payroll deposit and completing a couple of online bill payments, that kind of thing.
Earn Credit Card Rewards
I’m a big fan of credit card rewards, but I’ll be the first to admit that using credit cards as a way of making money can be dangerous, and definitely isn’t for everyone. If you’re not paying off your credit card balance in full each month, or if using a credit card creates a temptation to overspend, then having a rewards credit card will cost you more money than you will ever make.
That said, a cashback, or travel rewards credit card can be a great way to make extra money. Many premium cards come with a welcome bonus, such as a couple hundred dollars cashback upfront, or enough travel points to get you a free flight somewhere. Have an upcoming trip planned? This could be a great way to subsidize the cost. Head here for more information on the best credit card rewards.
Make Money as a Freelance Writer
If you have interest, or experience in a specific area and love to write, there’s a good chance you can make money online as a freelance writer. What I love about this side hustle, is that it’s something you can do on your own schedule from the comfort of your living room. Not only that, but you can make good money. The website Problogger has an active job board, where you can browse, and apply for, freelance writing gigs across a wide range of niches.
Note: Many former Get Rich Slowly staff writers have gone on to become professional freelance writers with lucrative careers.
Advertise Your Freelance Services on Fiverr
In addition to writing, there are no shortage of services you can offer as a freelancer. Graphic design, bookkeeping, social media management – these are all services that small businesses will pay you to provide. One of the best ways to find clients and start making money is by joining a freelance marketplace like Upwork, or Fiverr.
Teach Music Lessons
Who said that a musician needs to live like a starving artist? If you are skilled on any number of musical instruments, you can make good money teaching private lessons. Ask your local music store if you can post an ad on their bulletin board, or advertise through Craigslist or Facebook. Early September is a great time of year to get started, as students are back to school and looking to start up music lessons after the summer break.
Earn Cash Back With Rakuten (Formerly Ebates)
Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, makes it easy to earn cashback when you shop online at top retailers, such as Amazon, Kohl’s, and Microsoft. Sign up with Rakuten, and gain access to hundreds of partner retail stores via links directly on their site. Rakuten will keep track of your cash rebates, which can be as high as 40%, when you factor in limited time offers. The best part? Receive an automatic $10 bonus when you sign up for Rakuten, and earn an additional $25 when you refer friends or family.
Deliver Food With DoorDash
DoorDash is one of a number of app-powered food delivery services that have popped up in recent years. If you need to make money quick, becoming a delivery driver for Doordash may be the perfect solution. In fact, the signup box on their website reads, “Get Your First Check This Week”.
Ask for a Raise
Perhaps the fastest way to make extra money is by leveraging the job you already have. Unfortunately, many people don’t think about this, and instead feel like they need to take on something extra. I’ll finish with a few ways to increase your 9-5 income.
You’ve probably heard it said, “If you don’t ask, the answer will always be, no”. To most companies, a valuable employee is worth their weight in gold. Part of this is due to how much time and money it takes to hire and train someone new. Chances are, your employer is willing to pay you more, but you need to ask. If you’re able to effectively communicate your value to your boss, you may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.
Since the early says of Get Rich Slowly, we’ve advocated learning how to negotiate your salary. It’s one of the best ways to boost your income — now and in the future.
Apply for a Promotion
When was the last time you considered applying for a promotion? Not only is a new job a great way to make more money, challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone will further develop your skills, and help you grow as a person. If you’re having trouble getting promoted at your current company, you may decide to go to take your skills somewhere else. Here’s an article that gives 10 reasons successful people change jobs more often.
Take Advantage of Any Unused Benefits
If you’re not taking advantage of all of the benefits your employer is offering, you may be leaving cold hard cash on the table. Far too many employees don’t take the time to understand what’s available, and as they say, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Read through your employee benefits package, or speak to an HR representative if you have questions. There’s money to be made, from health spending balances and 401K matches, to affordable insurance coverage and employee discounts.
Ask to Work Overtime
Not every job offers this opportunity, but if yours does, consider volunteering to work overtime, if you’re needing to make more money fast. Overtime work saves you from having to start something extra in your spare time, such as a second job, or a time-consuming side hustle. Remember, the goal is to make money fast. Either way, always strive for a healthy balance between time at work, and time away. The last thing you want is to feel burned out.
Final Thoughts on Making Money Fast
At the outset of this article, I mentioned that there are ways to avoid finding yourself with a shortfall of cash. While we can never be prepared for absolutely every emergency (nor should we try to be), we can make life a little easier with some advanced planning.
My best advice is to build an emergency fund. This can be as little as $500, or enough to cover several months worth of expenses, it’s up to you. Having an emergency fund will not only reduce your stress level, but it will also decrease your odds of having to use a credit card to cover a financial emergency, and that is a good thing.
In the meantime, my hope is that you feel more confident about making money fast, should the need arise.
Planning budget-friendly date nights can keep your relationship and your finances healthy.
Whether you’re cozying up on the couch together with a bottle of wine or headed out to the trendy restaurant everyone’s talking about, date night is an essential part of most relationships.
“Date nights are important because they give new couples a chance to get to know each other and established couples a chance to have fun or blow off some steam after a rough week,” says Holly Shaftel, a relationship expert and certified dating coach. “Penciling in a regular date can ensure that you make time for each other when your jobs and other aspects of your life might keep you busy.”
There’s just one small snag. Or, maybe it’s a big one. Date nights can get expensive. According to financial news website 24/7 Wall St., the cost of an average date consisting of two dinners, a bottle of wine and two movie tickets is about $102.
When you’re focused on improving your finances as a couple, finding ways to spend less on date night is a no-brainer. But you may be wondering: How can we save money on date night and still get that much-needed break from the daily grind?
There are plenty of ways to save money on date night by bringing just a little creativity into the mix. Here are eight suggestions to try:
1. Share common interests on the cheap
When Shaftel and her boyfriend were in the early stages of their relationship, they learned they were both active in sports. They were able to plan their date nights around low-cost (and sometimes free) sports activities, like hitting the driving range or playing tennis at their local park.
If you’re trying to find ways to spend less on date night, you can plan your own free or low-cost date nights around your and your partner’s shared interests. If you’re both avid readers, for example, even a simple afternoon browsing your local library’s shelves or a cool independent bookstore can make for a memorable time. If you’re both adventurous, check into your local sporting goods stores for organized hikes, stargazing outings or mountaineering workshops. They often post a schedule of events that are free, low-cost or discounted for members.
2. Create a low-budget date night bucket list
Dustyn Ferguson, a personal finance blogger at Dime Will Tell, suggests using the “bucket list” approach to find the best ways to save money on date night. To gather ideas, make it a game. At your next group gathering, ask guests to write down a fun, low-budget date night idea. The host then gets to read and keep all of the suggestions. When Ferguson and his girlfriend did this at a friend’s party, they submitted camping on the beach, which didn’t cost a dime.
The cost of an average date consisting of two dinners, a bottle of wine and two movie tickets is about $102.
To make your own date night bucket list with the best ways to save money on date night, sit down with your partner and come up with free or cheap activities that you normally wouldn’t think to do. Spur ideas by making it a challenge—for instance, who can come up with the most ideas of dates you can do from the couch? According to the blog Marriage Laboratory, these “couch dates” are no-cost, low-energy things you can do together after a busy week (besides watching TV). A few good ones to get your list started: utilize fun apps (apps for lip sync battles are a real thing), grab a pencil or watercolors for an artistic endeavor or work on a puzzle. If you’re looking for even more ways to spend less on date night, take the question to social media and see what turns up.
3. Alternate paid date nights with free ones
If you’re looking for ways to spend less on date night, don’t focus on cutting costs on every single date. Instead, make half of your dates spending-free. “Go out for a nice dinner one week, and the next, go for a drive and bring a picnic,” says Bethany Palmer, a financial advisor who authors the finance blog The Money Couple, along with her husband Scott.
4. Have a date—and get stuff done
Getting stuff done around the house or yard may not sound all that romantic, but it can be one of the best ways to save money on date night when you’re trying to be budget-conscious. And, tackling your to-do list—like cleaning out the garage or raking leaves—can be much more enjoyable when you and your partner take it on together.
5. Search for off-the-wall spots
If dinner and a movie is your status quo, mix it up with some new ideas for low-cost ways to save money on date night. That might include fun things to do without spending money, like heading to your local farmer’s market, checking out free festivals or concerts in your area, geocaching—outdoor treasure hunting—around your hometown, heading to a free wine tasting or taking a free DIY class at your neighborhood arts and crafts store.
“Staying creative allows you to remain flexible and not bound to simply doing the same thing over and over,” Ferguson says.
6. Leverage coupons and deals
When researching the best ways to save money on date night, don’t overlook coupon and discount sites, where you can get deals on everything from food, retail and travel. These can be a great resource for finding deep discounts on activities you may not try otherwise. That’s how Palmer and her husband ended up on a date night where they played a game that combined lacrosse and bumper cars.
There are also a ton of apps on the market that can help you find ways to save money on date night. For instance, you can find apps that offer discounts at restaurants, apps that let you purchase movie theater gift cards at a reduced price and apps that help you earn cash rewards when shopping for wine or groceries if you’re planning a date night at home.
7. Join restaurant loyalty programs
If you’re a frugal foodie and have a favorite bar or restaurant where you like to spend date nights, sign up for its rewards program and newsletter as a way to spend less on date night. You could earn points toward free drinks and food through the rewards program and get access to coupons or other discounts through your inbox. Have new restaurants on your bucket list? Sign up for their rewards programs and newsletters, too. If you’re able to score a deal, it might be time to move that date up. Pronto.
8. Make a date night out of budgeting for date night
When the well runs dry, one of the best ways to save money on date night may not be the most exciting—but it is the easiest: Devote one of your dates to a budgeting session and brainstorm ideas. Make sure to set an overall budget for what you want to spend on your dates, either weekly or monthly. Having a number and concrete plan will help you stick to your date night budget.
“Staying creative allows you to remain flexible and not bound to simply doing the same thing over and over.”
Ferguson says he and his girlfriend use two different numbers to create their date night budget: how much disposable income they have left after paying their monthly expenses and the number of date nights they want to have each month.
“You can decide how much money you can spend per date by dividing the total amount you can allocate to dates by the amount of dates you plan to go on,” Ferguson says. You may also decide you want to allot more to special occasions and less to regular get-togethers.
Put your date night savings toward shared goals
Once you’ve put these creative ways to save money on date night into practice, think about what you want to do with the cash you’re saving. Consider putting the money in a special savings account for a joint purpose you both agree on, such as planning a dream vacation, paying down debt or buying a home. Working as a team toward a common objective can get you excited about the future and make these budget-friendly date nights feel even more rewarding.
Follow these four steps to financially prepare for your maternity leave.
Prepping for a new baby’s arrival might kick your nesting instinct into high gear, as you make sure everything is just right before the big day. One thing to add to your new-baby to-do list is figuring out how to financially prepare for maternity leave if you’ll be taking time away from work.
Lauren Mochizuki, a nurse and budgeting expert at personal finance blog Casa Mochi, took time off from work for the births of both her children. Because she had only partial paid leave each time, she says a budget was critical in making sure money wasn’t a source of stress.
“The purpose of budgeting for maternity leave is to have enough money saved to replace your income for your desired leave time,” Mochizuki says.
But the question “How do I budget for maternity leave?” is a big one. One thing’s for sure—the answer will be different for everyone, since not everyone’s leave or financial situation is the same. What matters most is taking action early to get a grip on your finances while there’s still time to plan.
Before you get caught up in the new-baby glow, here’s what you need to do to financially prepare for maternity leave:
1. Estimate how long you’ll need your maternity budget to last
To financially prepare for maternity leave, you need to know how long you plan to be away from work without pay.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave from work per year for certain family and medical reasons, including for the birth of a child. Some employers may also offer a period of paid leave for new parents.
When estimating how long you’ll need your maternity budget to last, Mochizuki says to consider how much unpaid leave you plan to take based on your personal needs and budget. For example, you could find you’re not able to take the full period offered by FMLA after reviewing your expenses (more on that below) and how much you have in savings.
Even if your employer does offer paid maternity leave, you may decide to extend your time at home by supplementing your paid leave with unpaid time off, Mochizuki says.
Keep in mind that despite all of your budgeting for maternity leave, your health and the health of your baby may also influence how much unpaid time off you take and how long your maternity leave budget needs to stretch.
As you’re financially preparing for maternity leave, make sure your spouse or partner is also considering what benefits may be available to them through their employer. Together you should know what benefits are available for maternity or paternity leave, either paid or unpaid, and how to apply for them as you jointly navigate the budgeting for maternity leave process. You can then decide how to coordinate the amount of time each of you should take and when that leave should begin.
Contact your HR department to learn about your company’s maternity leave policy, how to apply for leave and whether there are any conditions you need to meet to qualify for leave. Ask if you’re able to leverage sick days, vacation days or short-term disability for paid maternity leave.
2. Babyproof your budget
When budgeting for maternity leave, make sure you review your current monthly budget to assess how budgeting for a new baby fits in.
In Mochizuki’s case, she and her husband added a category to save for maternity leave within their existing budget for household expenses (e.g., mortgage, utilities, groceries).
“We treated it as another emergency fund, meaning we had a goal of how much we wanted to save and we kept working and saving until we reached that goal,” Mochizuki says.
As you financially prepare for maternity leave, consider the following questions:
What new expenses need to be added to your budget? Diapers, for instance, can cost a family around $900 per year, according to the National Diaper Bank Network. You may also be spending money on formula, bottles, wipes, clothes and toys for your new one, all of which can increase your monthly budget. And don’t forget the cost of any new products or items that mom will need along the way. Running the numbers with a first-year baby costs calculator can help you accurately estimate your new expenses and help with financial planning for new parents.
Will any of your current spending be reduced while you’re on leave? As you think about the new expenses you’ll need to add when budgeting for maternity leave, don’t forget the ones you may be able to nix. For example, your budget may dip when it comes to commuting costs if you’re not driving or using public transit to get to work every day. If you have room in your budget for meals out or entertainment expenses, those may naturally be cut if you’re eating at home more often and taking it easy with the little one.
3. Tighten up the budget—then tighten some more
Once you’ve evaluated your budget, consider whether you can streamline it further as you financially prepare for maternity leave. This can help ease any loss of income associated with taking time off or counter the new expenses you’ve added to your maternity leave budget.
Becky Beach, founder of Mom Beach, a personal finance blog for moms, says that to make her maternity leave budget work—which included three months of unpaid leave—she and her husband got serious about reducing unnecessary expenses.
Cut existing costs
As you budget for maternity leave, go through your existing budget by each spending category.
“The best tip is to cut costs on things you don’t need, like subscriptions, movie streaming services, new clothes, eating out, date nights, etc.,” Beach says. “That money should be earmarked for your new baby’s food, clothes and diapers.”
Cutting out those discretionary “wants” is an obvious choice, but look more closely at other ways you could save. For example, could you negotiate a better deal on your car insurance or homeowner’s insurance? Can you better plan and prep for meals to save money on food costs? How about reducing your internet service package or refinancing your debt?
Find ways to earn
Something else to consider as you budget for maternity leave is how you could add income back into your budget if all or part of your leave is unpaid and you want to try and close some of the income gap. For example, before your maternity leave starts, you could turn selling unwanted household items into a side hustle you can do while working full time to bring in some extra cash and declutter before baby arrives.
Reduce new costs
As you save for maternity leave, also think about how you could reduce expenses associated with welcoming a new baby. Rather than buying brand-new furniture or clothing, for example, you could buy those things gently used from consignment shops, friends or relatives and online marketplaces. If someone is planning to throw a baby shower on your behalf, you could create a specific wish list of items you’d prefer to receive as gifts in order to offset costs.
4. Set a savings goal and give every dollar a purpose
When Beach and her husband saved for maternity leave, they set out to save $20,000 prior to their baby’s birth. They cut their spending, used coupons and lived frugally to make it happen.
In Beach’s case, they chose $20,000 since that’s what she would have earned over her three-month maternity leave, had she been working. You might use a similar guideline to choose a savings goal. If you’re receiving paid leave, you may strive to save enough to cover your new expenses.
As you make your plan to save for maternity leave, make sure to account for your loss of income and the new expenses in your maternity leave budget. Don’t forget to factor in any savings you already have set aside and plan to use to help you financially prepare for maternity leave.
Once you’ve come up with your savings target, consider dividing your maternity savings into different buckets, or categories, to help ensure the funds last as long as you need them to. This could also make it harder to overspend in any one category.
For instance, when saving for maternity leave, you may leverage buckets like:
Planned baby expenses
Unexpected baby costs or emergencies
Mother and baby healthcare
“The purpose of budgeting for maternity leave is to have enough money saved to replace your income for your desired leave time.”
Budgeting for maternity leave—and beyond
Once maternity leave ends, your budget will evolve again as your income changes and new baby-related expenses are introduced. As you prepare to go back to work, review your budget again and factor in any new costs. For example, in-home childcare or daycare may be something you have to account for, along with ongoing healthcare costs for new-baby checkups.
Then, schedule a regular date going forward to review your budget and expenses as your baby grows. You can do this once at the beginning or end of the month or every payday. Take a look at your income and expenses to see what has increased or decreased and what adjustments, if any, you need to make to keep your budget running smoothly.
Budgeting for maternity leave takes a little time and planning, but it’s well worth the effort. Knowing that your finances are in order lets you relax and enjoy making memories—instead of stressing over money.
Everyone wants to have more money, less debt, and greater financial freedom, but very few will attain it. Simply telling yourself that you’ll earn more cash and clear more debts isn’t enough to realize those goals, but writing those tasks down, setting realistic targets, and steadily working towards them can significantly increase your chances.
Nothing is guaranteed, but someone with clearly defined financial goals has more chances of attaining financial freedom than someone without.
Types of Personal Financial Goals
Financial goals come in many forms, but they all revolve around money and acquiring as much of it as possible. Some of the most common short and long-term goals include:
Establish a Budget
The first step to fixing your finances is to create a budget. It’s a short-term goal and it’s also one of the simplest, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Many Americans underestimate how much they spend and overestimate how much they earn, making a budget essential for adding a little clarity.
Clear Credit Card Debt
Americans have an average of $38,000 worth of debt excluding mortgages. A small percentage of this is allocated to credit card debt, but it often carries the highest interest rate and has the worst terms. Clearing this debt is an honorable and sensible goal for anyone with mounting debts.
Save Money for a Big Purchase
The average American family under the age of 35 has between $2,500 and $4,000 in savings. That’s barely enough to cover a used car, let alone a mortgage down payment or college education, which is what most families are saving towards.
Save for Retirement
This is the ultimate long-term financial goal. Saving for your retirement will give you something to look forward to and make life easier as you enter your old age. Many retired Americans regret not saving more money, with some experts recommending that you have at least $1 million tucked away to cover you for an average of 18 years.
That’s a lot of money, but it comes from a lifetime of saving and means you can enjoy plenty of cruises and vacations when you call time on your career.
Fix your Credit Score
Next to your Social Security Number, your credit score is one of the most important numbers you have and one you need to pay close attention to. Build a good score and a world of opportunities will open for you, making it easier to get low-interest loans and secure high credit limits.
Create an Emergency Fund
You can never underestimate the benefits of an emergency fund. It’s essentially a savings account without an end goal and it’s used to cover you in the event that you’re hit with an unexpected bill or expense. It will also help if you lose your job or become ill.
Improve your Financial Situation
This incorporates many of the goals discussed above, one can be both a short-term financial goal and a long-term one. The most common goal is simply to have more money for an easier life or an early retirement, but there are also those who save so they can move abroad, start a dream business or simply become a millionaire.
These goals are a little harder to achieve than simply clearing debt or have some extra money in your pocket, but they’re not unreasonable. If you have a detailed plan and work hard to realize it, there’s no reason why those lofty long-term financial goals can’t be realized.
Why Should You Set Personal Financial Goals?
Goals give you direction and purpose. They provide a detailed outline of what you need to do, what you have achieved thus far, and what remains. This adds a sense of accountability that simply wouldn’t exist without those goals.
If you simply tell yourself that you’re going to do something, you’re more prone to procrastinating and moving the goalposts whenever it suits you. If you write all your goals down and separate them into clear and manageable chunks, there’s no room for denial or deviation.
Think of it as a visit to the grocery store. If you have a list, you buy what you need, don’t forget anything, and are more inclined to focus on the purchases that are within budget and will actually be eaten and enjoyed. If you visit without a list, you’ll end up with a bunch of unnecessary foods you bought just because they were on offer and will forget all the things you went there to buy.
Our minds need direction, purpose. When the road is long, it’s easier to traverse if there are milestones, checkpoints, and clearly defined borders; without all that, it’s just a chaotic mess and you’ll never make it to the end.
Short vs Long-Term Goals
A short-term goal spans days, weeks or months; a long-term goal stretches things out over several years and even a decade. It’s important to have both, but short-term goals should have priority as long-term ones can get lost and forgotten about.
As an example, let’s suppose that your goal is to save a lot of money for your retirement. A long-term goal would be as simple as:
Save $500,000 before retirement
This doesn’t really help. However, if you break it down into multiple short-term goals you can focus on each of these in turn, ticking them off as you go and motivating you to keep going. As an example:
Increase Debt-to-Income Ratio
Cancel unused subscriptions
Sell unwanted items
Ask for a pay rise
Get a part-time job
Clear credit card 1
Clear credit card 2
Repay student loans
Repay personal loan
Open a savings account
Save $500 a month
Make a sound investment
You can break these debts down even further and focus on making extra cash every single day. If that’s what gets you up in the morning and pushes you towards your long-term goal, that’s what you need to do.
How to Track Your Progress
As the saying goes, there is an app for everything and where financial goals are concerned there are actually multiple tools and apps to help you out:
Mint: Track activity in real-time after connecting bank accounts and credit cards. Monitor spending, create budgets, and learn how to manage your money. Mint is one of the highest-rated budgeting and financial management apps on the market and is well-deserving of the praise it has received over the years.
Wally: A great little budgeting tool that can keep track of your savings goals and tell you when certain bills are due. It’s free and if your goal is to save and cover your debts, it does everything you need.
Every Dollar: A simple but useful app designed to help you escape debt and manage your finances more effectively. It literally lets you see where “every dollar” is being spent.
Clarity Money: A useful app to help you manage your subscriptions. The average consumer has dozens of subscriptions and it’s easy to lose track, but Clarity Money keeps everything in one place.
Spendee: Manage family finances with this shared budgeting app. It’s ideal if you’re saving along with a partner or want to keep track of what everyone in your household is spending.
How to Meet Your Financial Goals
Whatever’s on your to-do list, just set a goal and start working towards it. Take a look at these tips to help you:
Debt is crippling and the less you repay, the more damaging it becomes. Credit card debt, student loans, medical debt; it creeps into your life, it grows, and it never seems to go away. Before you focus on your savings and build towards a brighter future, you need to focus on clearing those debts.
Debt relief methods can help you with this, including consolidation, debt management, and debt settlement. In the first instance, however, you should try debt payoff strategies like Debt Snowball and Debt Avalanche, both of which rely on you generating extra money to meet more than your minimum.
Every time you meet the minimum payment on your debt, you’re paying a lot of interest and a little principal. The interest compounds, the debt grows, and if you keep sticking with just the minimum payments it will take forever to repay. When you repay more than the minimum, however, you’ll clear more of the principal, reducing the compounding interest, amount, and term.
It doesn’t matter how substantial your net worth is, how much money you have in the bank and what sort of long-term financial goals you have, it always helps to have an emergency fund.
An emergency fund is a sum of money put aside for a rainy day. Unlike a savings account, which might be used for retirement, a vacation or college tuition, an emergency fund has no predetermined purpose and is designed just to sit, grow, and wait for a rainy day.
An emergency fund can help you if you lose your job or have a medical crisis. We live in times of uncertainty and exist under one of the costliest healthcare systems in the world. A short stay in a hospital can bankrupt you if you’re not insured and even if you are, there are still costs to consider.
Budget to save and invest but keep some money aside to build an emergency fund and make sure you’re prepared.
Successful savings goals are built on careful planning and sacrifices. If you want a new home, you need to say no to luxury purchases, eating out, vacations, and other expenditures.
The average American family wastes about $1,500 a year on uneaten groceries, $3,000 on restaurants and takeout, up to $500 on gambling, and thousands more on vacations, smoking, unused subscriptions, and more.
You don’t need to eliminate these expenditures entirely, just look for cheaper and more sustainable alternatives. Save on wasted groceries and dining out by going for a picnic; swap an expensive vacation abroad for a family fun staycation.
Once you eliminate these expenses, you can start saving towards whatever goal you have, be it a retirement fund, a car or the down payment on a house.
Achieving a Huge Net Worth
It’s okay to scoff at this one as it does seem a little far-fetched. However, it’s a dream that countless Americans have and one that is very attainable. Of course, it’s easier if you have a talent or you’re young enough to develop one, but providing you have a good work ethic, don’t spend your days procrastinating, and have the right mindset, you can build a sizeable net worth.
It’s about making smart financial decisions, acquiring lots of knowledge, adopting careful investment strategies, and working endlessly. Here are some tips to help you accomplish this lofty goal:
Don’t Spend Frivolously
The world of the rich and famous is awash with stories of people who adopt unbelievably frugal lifestyles despite having millions or billions in the bank. There are stories of Warren Buffet going to great lengths to use coupons to buy fast food, even though he’s one of the richest men in the world.
This kind of frugality is a little extreme, but it comes from the right place. Rappers, rock stars and sports stars like to throw money around when they have it, but they’re the ones declaring bankruptcy and being arrested for tax debts when their careers enter a slump. That’s not a sustainable lifestyle for anyone, even the super-rich.
Learn how to manage money properly and accumulate as much as you can. Don’t scoff at the end of saving a few dollars just because you have a few hundred; don’t throw away a few hundred just because you have a few thousand.
Adopting this frugality will hasten your journey to becoming a millionaire. It will also allow you to manage your money effectively when you eventually make it, preventing you from being one of many sob stories of people who came into lots of money and then blew it.
Treat Life Like a Business
To become rich and successful in a way that doesn’t rely on good fortune, you need to treat your life like a business. A business, for instance, is very wary of accumulating expenses and will instead try to invest additional cash into assets. These assets increase the value of the business, whereas expenses reduce it.
As an example, let’s assume that you’re 18 and have a talent for writing. A good investment would be an education in literature or creative writing, a laptop, a writing course, even a home office. An expense, however, would be a holiday, a flashy watch or lots of designer clothes. None of these things will grow your wealth and most will hinder it.
Take a look at our guide on good debt vs bad debt to learn more.
Read, Learn, Fail
Read as many books as you can on your chosen subject and on similar subjects. You’ll learn about the world, the English language, and more. All these will help to improve your reasoning, logic, and knowledge, which will help with your goals.
Learn New Skills
Knowledge doesn’t just come from books and it shouldn’t be limited to specific subjects. If you want to be rich and successful, you need to devote every minute of your spare time to working, learning, and acquiring new skills.
Learn a language, adopt a craft, research into a niche subject—all these things can broaden your horizons and increase your earning potential.
Find a Specialty and Stick with It
While it’s good to read many different subjects and learn many different things, when it comes to actually making money, you need to stick with a single subject. The world is filled with wannabee millionaires who spend their days writing music, books, and screenplays, and their nights trying to juggle freelance careers and businesses.
Specialize in one thing, be the best you can be, and once you have the money and the success you can start venturing into other areas.
Stop Making Excuses
Generally, people who dream of becoming rich and successful will fall into one of two categories. In the first, there are those who spend their days dreaming, partying, and procrastinating. They assume that being rich is simply a case of having a great idea and then waiting for the riches to descend. In the other group, you’ll find people who work every minute of the day and are always willing to take risks and make sacrifices.
If you want to accomplish great things, you need to work for it. Don’t assume that all the rich and successful people you see on social media have it easy. If they’re not working every minute of every day, there’s a good chance they worked that much to get where they are.
This weekâs Mint audit introduces us to Selena, 48, a mom of two living in San Antonio, Texas. She is a community college director and her husband, 51, is a full-time graphic designer who also manages a booming side hustle in the same industry.
Selena and her husband have already achieved some impressive financial accomplishments, thanks to tracking their finances on Mint, leveraging coupons and shopping at thrift stores. Theyâve paid off $52,000 in student loans and invested in a piece of land next door for $26,000, which they believe has appreciated by nearly 40% since purchasing it a few years ago.
But with retirement looming and two children (currently ages 9 and 12) to possibly put through college, Selena wants to learn about additional money moves that could better prepare them for future expenses. She would also love to pay off the familyâs 30-year mortgage before she retires in the next 10 to 12 years. Currently theyâre on track to pay it down by 2030.
First, a breakdown of their finances:
His: $40,000 plus an additional $40,000 in freelance work
Total: $136,000 per year
Just paid off student loans and a property loan (for the lot next door)
Credit Card Debt: $0
Mortgage: $163,000 (Monthly payment, including real estate tax, is $1,985)
Car note: $5,300 (should be paid off within the year)
Selenaâs teacher pension: Roughly $5,000 per month at retirement if she retires in 12 years ($3,800 if she retires in 6 years).
Various IRAs between the two of them: $65,000
Estimated social security payments: $2,500 to $3,000 (combined)
Husband does not have a 401(k)
RAINY DAY SAVINGS
In an emergency, the family has at least six months of expenses saved up or roughly $35,000.
Selena and her husband havenât specifically saved for their childrenâs college education. Theyâre concerned that a 529-college savings plan might limit their childrenâs options, if they didnât choose to attend a traditional college program.
Leverage the Side Hustle
All in all, I think the familyâs finances are in solid shape. But if theyâre interested in further securing their future, I would suggest investing the annual side hustle income (which currently sits in a bank account earning no interest) to advance retirement savings and carve out an account for their two children.
Starting that side hustle was a very smart money move because it effectively boosted the familyâs net income by 40%. And according to Selena, the business, which they operate out of their living room, is only growing, with profits expected to grow another 30% in the future.
Income from side hustles is how I managed to pay off debt in my 20âs and boost savings. Today, itâs more prevalent among working Americans. More than 44 million Americans have a side revenue stream, according to a recent survey by Bankrate. âHaving a side hustle is fiscally responsible,â says Susie Moore, founder of the program Side Hustle Made Simple and the new book, âWhat If It Does Work Out: How a Side Hustle Can Change Your Life.â âIt’s an economic hedge that mitigates disruption to wealth building and future planning. There is no such thing as a fixed income,â she says.
So, letâs do some math and see how far this $40,000 per year side revenue stream can go using a compound interest calculator.
The coupleâs retirement nest egg is not too shabby. Not including their existing IRAs, the couple has about $8,000 a month coming to them in retirement between social security and Selenaâs pension. That amount, alone, basically replaces their current full-time income. (And I do recommend Selena wait 12 years before retiring so that she can take advantage of the maximum pension payment.)
But with all the uncertainty around social security and future health care costs, it canât hurt to save a little more, right? By placing $6,500 in a Roth IRA each year for the next, say, 15 years (Selenaâs husband can qualify for the catch-up contribution since he is 5- years old), theyâll have an additional $142,000 for retirement that wonât be subject to taxes. This assumes an average annual return of 4%. They can open a Roth IRA at any bank.
Future Savings for Children
While a 529 plan may not be the best fit for this family, Selena still would like to carve out savings for her kidsâ future endeavors, be it to start a business or attend an alternative school. For this, Iâd recommend opening a 5-year certificate of deposit or CD and placing $25,000 in it this year. The going yield right now for a 5-year CD at that deposit level is averaging a little more than 2%.
Then, every year, as income rolls in from the side hustle, create a new 5-year CD and deposit $25,000 in it. Do this for the next four or five years. All CDs will have matured by the time her youngest is starting college (or pursuing something else). And theyâll have at least $100,000 plus interest reserved for their kids. If they do choose to go to college, the familyâs prepared to help pay for in-state tuition at one of the fine Texas universities.
After funding the Roth IRA each year ($6,500) and the annual CD contribution ($25,000), the familyâs left with $8,500. They could choose to put this toward the mortgage principal to knock a few years off their payoff schedule. Or, they may want to just hold onto it for that annual family vacation. And if Iâm being honest, Iâd say, go for the vacation! They deserve it!
The post Mint Money Audit: Making the Most of a Side Hustle appeared first on MintLife Blog.