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This is where it all started guys. On a quiet summer afternoon I hit publish on my first post titled 10 Free Activities for Couples Paying off Debt and the rest is history. I thought it fitting to do one for the winter as well, seeing how we spend more money this time of year than any other.
1. Christmas Lights Home Tour
Every city has a neighborhood that really goes all out with the lights. Take a drive to look at them or walk if the weather isn’t frightful. In Florida, the weather is always great this time of year so we have a biking group that does a huge ride through the neighborhoods and ends back at a bar for beers.
You can make a trip out of it too. A city near us was featured on TV for their light displays so I’m looking forward to seeing it this year. Sometimes houses do the same thing every year so it’s fun to switch it up from time to time.
2. Holiday Movie Night
Put on your pajamas and pour the cocoa, there’s nothing better than a Christmas movie! While I’m partial to all holiday Claymation movies I loved the resurgence of quality seasonal cinema of the early 2000’s. For those with Netflix (or borrowing from a friend) here’s a list of movies for your viewing pleasure.
If you don’t have Netflix, channels like NBC, ABC, Freeform, etc always have a good variety (I’m judging you if you even try to add Hallmark Channel movies to that list.)
3. School Holiday Production
Elementary schools always have some type of performance with oodles of cute awkward kids singing carols and dressed like elves. The best part, these events are usually free. If you don’t have friends with kids that can keep you in the loop find some teacher friends with connections. They’ll know when all the good shows are. But word to the wise, don’t do this one if you look like these guys:
4. Live Nativity
These things can range from “plastic baby in a manger” to “drive-through re-creation of the gospels.” Even if you get a bad one there’s usually hot cocoa and cookies at the end so you win either way. The good ones really do bring the Christmas story to life and it’s a pretty cool experience. I highly recommend it.
5. Star Gaze
Winter is a great time for star gazing. Taurus, Perseus, and Gemini are some of the constellations you can find in the winter sky. Yes, I did Google that, so even if you’re not a budding astronomer who doesn’t enjoy looking at shiny things in the sky?
Download an app like SkyView Free and find all the starry patterns. If you’re lucky enough to live by a planetarium see if they do free shows. Ours does two every Friday that the college is in session.
6. Holiday Parade
Was anybody else in marching band? I was and it was absolutely for the parades. There are a lot in December! We have our pick of morning or evening throughout the month. And since we live near the water we even have a few lighted boat parades! Check your cities events calendar and cities around you to fill your weekends with candy canes and Santas!
7. Photo with Santa
Speaking of Santa, how ridiculous are the prices for photos with Santa these days!? I don’t even have kids and I feel like I need to start putting away for their Santa pictures fund. That was until I found out about Bass Pro Shop’s annual Santa’s Wonderland. On select days you can get a free personalized photo with Santa, free wooden picture frame, free crafts for the kids, and more!
And even if you don’t have kids you should definitely put on your tackiest Christmas sweaters and make this years’ card something the family will be talking about til next year. Why not? It’s free!
I included this in my last list but the opportunities for giving this time of year are too numerous not to share again. Aside from soup kitchens and caroling you can hand out Christmas cards at Hospice, collect cans of food from your pantry to give to a shelter, or connect with your local foster care licensing agency to help out a foster family in need. Your money is valuable but your time is just as needed.
9. Go Outside
This is the obligatory “make a snow angel or sled down a hill” spot. But I live in Florida so I don’t know how to do that stuff. Whether you’re in blizzard country or it’s a balmy 70 degrees outside (sorry not sorry) get your butt outside and experience the free entertainment mother nature has to offer. I for one love walks downtown during the day and bonfires with s’more at night.
10. Stay Inside
Okay, outside not your thing? Stay inside… if you know what I mean. When’s the last time you pretended you were on your honeymoon or your favorite vacation with your significant other? There’s never a good time to put on those nighties from your lingerie shower so make the time! Get romantic and see what happens. Hey, it’s free. ?
Any other ideas for free activities this time of year? I’m always looking for new things to try and include in new posts!
Jen Smith is a personal finance expert, founder of Modern Frugality and co-host of the Frugal Friends Podcast. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Lifehacker, Money Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, Business Insider, and more. She’s passionate about helping people gain control of their spending.
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.
On Saturday evening, I had a chance to chat with my friends Wally and Jodie. You might remember them from a reader case study from last August. They’re the couple that wants to get their finances in order but they’re worried because they’re starting with less than zero.
When we chatted in August, Wally and Jodie had over $35,000 in debt. They had variable incomes, but somehow seemed to spend exactly what they earned — about $3000 per month after taxes. Worst of all, they were behind on some payments.
Now, eight months later, their situation has improved.
Over smoked German sausage and beer, Wally and Jodie told me about their progress. (My dog, Tahlequah, was eager to take part in the conversation. Or maybe it was the sausage she wanted?)
Taking Baby Steps
“Based on your advice, we’ve worked hard to increase our incomes,” Jodie told me. “We’ve both been picking up extra shifts whenever possible. And I started a second job that pays pretty well.”
“So, you’ve been able to get a gap between your income and your spending?” I asked.
“You bet,” said Wally. “By working more, we don’t have time to spend much money. In August, we didn’t have any gap between our earning and spending. Our gap was zero. Now our gap is almost $2000! And we’ve been using the debt snowball method to get out of debt. We’ve already paid off a bunch of smaller stuff and now have $438 extra per month for debt payoffs. Plus, we have an emergency fund.”
“This all sounds amazing,” I said. “Great work!”
“It is amazing,” Wally said. “This is the best shape I’ve ever been in financially. But we’re struggling to figure out what to do next.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well,” said Jodie. “We’re getting married in September. We don’t know how much to budget for that. Meanwhile, we still have a lot of debt. We owe about $10,000 on Wally’s car. We had to replace my Mini Cooper last winter, and that brought us another $10,000 of debt. Plus, I still owe on my school loans.”
I did some mental math. While the couple’s cash flow has improved, I was a little nervous that they hadn’t actually decreased their debt since the last time we talked about money. That said, I know Jodie’s old car had been a thorn in their side. And they have paid down nearly $10,000 in miscellaneous debts.
“The real issue is that we can’t seem to find balance,” Wally said. “We’re burned out. We’ve been working so much that we never have time for ourselves. Or each other. It’s affecting our moods and our attitudes.”
“Yeah,” I said. “That’s tough.”
Wally nodded. “Now I have a friend who wants us to fly out to his wedding,” he said. “We’ve done the math, and we can’t afford it. He’s offered to pay for the trip, but we don’t know how we feel about that. We want to go, but even if we do accept his help, it’ll cost us a few hundred bucks — plus whatever income we lose while we’re gone.”
“What should we do?” Jodie asked. “We thought saving more would reduce the stress, but we’re just as anxious as ever. Well, maybe not anxious in the same way, I guess, but still. We’re worried about money — even with a $2000 gap each month.”
“Trust me,” I said. “The money worry never goes away. Everybody has money anxiety, no matter how much they earn, no matter how much they have saved.”
Worrying About Money
“Do you worry about money?” Wally asked.
“Yes, of course,” I said. “I’m basically financially independent, but I still have money anxiety. In fact, I’m so worried about it that this year I’m tracking every penny I earn and spend. And, just like you, there always seems to be something that comes up for me to spend on. There’s my heart-attack scare, which now looks like it’ll cost me $7500. I just paid a huge tax bill. And there’s all of this travel I’ve committed to this year. It’s always something.”
“Should we fly to my friend’s wedding?” Wally asked. “I haven’t seen him in a long time. I can tell it’s important to him for us to be there.”
“That’s a tough call,” I said. “And it’s an example of how personal finance isn’t just about the numbers. There are relationships and emotions to consider too.”
“From a financial perspective, I don’t think you should go. But it’d be hypocritical of me to tell you that. My cousin Duane is still fighting cancer, but he wants to make another trip to Europe next month. At first, I was reluctant to join him. Like I said, I’m trying to cut expenses this year because I feel like I’m spending too much. But you know what? I’m going. So, you see, my advice and my actions are at odds here.”
I didn’t know how to tell Wally and Jodie, but my biggest concern with their situation is that it seems like they’re getting ready to stop the race when they’ve barely begun. They’re not out of debt yet. They’ve made some excellent progress, but there’s still a long way to go.
They’ve spent eight months on this project. From the looks of it, they have another eighteen months to go — but that’s if they use the gap they’ve created to accelerate their debt payments. If they don’t choose this route, it’s going to take them even longer.
At the same time, I get where they’re coming from about feeling cramped. Sure, there’s a finite amount of time until they get the debt paid off, then they can loosen up. But when you’re in the thick of it, eighteen months can feel like eighteen years.
The key, of course, is to find balance. And I think that’s what Wally and Jodie are trying to do.
They’re not trying to quit the race early. They don’t want to get behind on payments like they used to be. They don’t want to spend their emergency fund or to stop their debt snowball. What they want is to find a balance between today and tomorrow.
I didn’t mention it to them at the time, but I think they should look at the balanced money formula from Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Tyagi’s excellent All Your Worth.
Warren and Tyagi argue that in order to achieve financial balance, your after-tax spending should be allocated like this:
At least 20% should go to Saving (which includes debt reduction).
No more than 50% should be allocated to Needs (which includes housing, utilities, healthcare, basic food, and basic clothing).
The rest — around 30% — should go to Wants (which is everything else).
Warren and Tyagi are adamant that less than half your budget should go to Needs. If you pour too much toward necessities, you don’t have room in your budget for fun or the future.
The authors are just as insistent that you should build room into your budget for Wants. “You should ask yourself,” they write, “are you making enough room for fun?”
Wally and Jodie aren’t spending much on Needs at the moment, but they’re not spending much on Wants either. They’ve been pumping most of their money into Saving (in the form of debt reduction). This is a Good Thing. But maybe it’s too much of a good thing?
Making a Plan
On Sunday morning, Wally sent me an email. After meeting with me, he and Jodie formulated a plan:
Until their wedding in September, they’ll keep their debt snowball where it is today: minimum payments plus the $438 they’ve freed from satisfied debts.
They’ll use an envelope-like budget for entertainment, travel, gifts, dates, and personal items.
With the rest of their monthly gap, they’ll create a dedicated savings account for their wedding. After the wedding, they’ll throw this money at debt.
This seems like a good, purposeful plan to me. It balances today and tomorrow. And you can be sure that I’ll follow up with them in the fall to make sure they’ve stuck to the plan — that they’ve remembered to prioritize their debt snowball again.
In the meantime, I sent Wally this Reddit post in which a young guy realized that by pushing for a 65% saving rate, he was miserable. He writes:
I’m currently shooting for a 55% saving rate and I cannot tell you how much more I enjoy life. I went from feeling like I couldn’t spend a dollar that wasn’t strictly budgeted, to travelling with friends, going to concerts, and enjoying the pleasures of life. That 10% made all the difference in the world
As for me, I still feel anxious. I’ve done a good job of controlling my small, everyday expenses this year, but the big stuff is still stressing me out. I need to heed my own advice and find better balance. That will come, I think, as I consciously make better decisions about future large expenses — and as I work to increase my own income.
A megamansion that Dollar General built possesses everything a family would need for a retreat.
Owned by Cal Turner, Jr., the former CEO and chairman of Dollar General, the home on Evans Ridge Road in Parker, CO, is on the market for $12.9 million.
“It is a very unique property, and certainly one of the larger homes in the country,” says the listing agent, Liza Hogan.
The family built the 45,000-square-foot house in 2001 as a retreat, and it’s in pristine condition two decades later.
“It has never been used as a primary home, so it’s in beautiful condition,” added Hogan.
The mansion occupies 35 acres of land about 45 minutes from Denver. An adjacent 35-acre parcel is also up for sale, offering the potential for 70 acres of fenced-in privacy.
“The location is fantastic. You have beautiful, panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains,” Hogan says.
It’s approached by a long driveway that dramatically circles up to the house.
“When you come through the main gate, you can’t see anything of the property,” she adds.
Conceived as an ideal spot for a family getaway or corporate retreat, the massive house was built with fun and entertainment in mind.
Watch: Frank Lloyd Wright Home Is a Rare Find in Indiana
“It’s got a complete entertainment wing, with everything from a heated pool that looks like it was designed for a Roman emperor, Jacuzzi, steam room, and sauna room,” Hogan explains. “There’s also a home theater, a dance floor with a stage, a bowling alley, a billiard table, a pingpong table, arcade room, and a home gym. Outside, there are ponds that are stocked with fish.”
Guests who are exhausted after all the activities on tap will have plenty of places to sleep and recharge.
The main house offers six bedrooms, including a master suite as well as a one-bedroom apartment with a separate entrance. Two other apartments are on the property.
“You can go outside to get there, but they do connect to the main house. One is a two-bedroom apartment, and the other one is a three-bedroom apartment. That adds five more bedrooms,” Hogan says.
A large caretaker’s residence has two bedrooms. With this much space, there’s room for all guests to spread out and enjoy themselves.
Hogan tells us that the mansion’s layout is ideal for long-term guests.
“If you have guests that are staying for an extended period of time, whether it’s friends, family members, or business associates, they can have their own quarters,” she says.
Each apartment has its own kitchen, and the main house has a large main kitchen with a catering kitchen nearby. There are also two large dining areas, one more formal than the other.
Owners and guests will have plenty of places to park, thanks to a 29-car garage with space enough for an RV.
The house is being sold fully furnished, with the exception of a few personal items.
“We have had a complete inventory of all the furnishings done by a professional. It’s approximately 60 pages long, with every item, and photos,” Hogan adds.
The sale also includes all of the artwork and all the bottles in the extensive wine cellar.
The home has been on the market for a couple of years and was once listed for more than $20 million.
Hogan says the pool of possible buyers who want this size of house at this kind of price tag in the Denver area is limited.
“This is toward the upper end in Denver,” she says, adding that the current price reflects what the market can bear, rather than its true value.
“The seller probably has at least twice the current asking price into the property. You have to be realistic, and a property has to reflect the market.”
The Turner family isn’t using the house as much as they used to, so it’s time to sell.
“Lives changed, and people go in different directions. Kids grow up, and all the things that we see happen with these large, legacy homes,” Hogan says. “They still use the property, but not the way that they did for many years. It’s just time to move on.”
Although the house is huge, Hogan says it still feels warm and welcoming.
“There are many intimate areas within the house,” she says. “Every time I show it, people remark on the fact that they’re able to find spaces where they don’t feel like they’re overwhelmed with the size, and they can have privacy.”
For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
I hope this list of income-earning blogs inspires you and proves you can make money online through blogging.
15. Making Sense of Cents
Founder – Michelle Schroeder-Gardner Income – $146,498 per month.
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner started Making Sense of Cents to “help improve my finances, keep track of my progress and to help readers improve their finances along the way.”
Well, let’s see — how has Schroeder-Gardner done in these areas?
She’s certainly improved her finances, paying off over $38,000 in student loan debt in just 7 months while growing the site’s revenue year-over-year.
Schroeder-Gardner has transparently tracked her progress in her popular monthly income reports. She says the reports act as a journal for her and keeps her accountable, while also showing others that side income is possible.
And she’s also helping others with their finances by publishing thousands of how-to articles about earning more, saving more, and becoming financially fit. Making Sense of Cents’ primary income comes from affiliate marketing. You can see a complete breakdown of this profitable blog’s earnings here.
#14. Smart Passive Income
Founder – Pat Flynn Income – $152,276 per month.
Smart Passive Income (SPI) founder Pat Flynn is a beacon of light in the sometimes dark and shady internet marketing space.
Calling himself a “crash test dummy of online business,” Flynn transparently shows what’s working and what isn’t working in his business.
His site details his online business experiments and gives readers actionable blueprints to follow and outlines mistakes to avoid.
Flynn didn’t invent the online income report, but he certainly popularized them. He’s been publishing monthly income reports on the blog since 2008, detailing his income sources, revenue figures, as well as his expenses. It’s still one of the most trafficked pages on the site.
Flynn is a great example of a blogger who has successfully branched out into other areas as well.
In 2010, Flynn launched the Smart Passive Income Podcast which is routinely in iTunes top 10 Business podcasts. To date, the show has been downloaded an impressive 33 million times.
He also broadcasts Ask Pat, a Q and A online business podcast, and SPI TV for visual learners.
Flynn is now a Wall Street Journal best-selling author with 2016’s release of Will It Fly?.
And while his individual success has been plentiful and hard-earned, Flynn gives back by serving on the board of the non-profit Pencils of Promise, helping to build new schools for children in underprivileged regions around the world. SPI’s primary income comes from affiliate marketing, with other earnings from podcast sponsorship and products.
Founder – Gina Trapani Income – $154,000 per month
Lifehacker was founded in 2005 by Gina Trapani as part of the Gawker Media network.
From the start, Trapani acted as the sole contributor, writing 8 articles a day. Talk about blogging like a boss!
She impressively launched the site with an exclusive sponsorship from Sony, rumored to be 3 months for $75,000. Yeah, she’s a boss.
Lifehacker eventually added other contributors and the blog continued to grow in popularity.
As its motto claims, the site’s content is about “tips, tricks and downloads for getting things done.”
Trapani moved on from the company in 2009, and Nick Denton has run it ever since.
The site still churns out 18 articles a day, all designed to make you more productive. Lifehacker earns its most of its revenue from advertising and it’s been one of the top-earning blogs since it’s inception.
#12. Timothy Sykes
Founder – Timothy Sykes Income – $165,000 per month
Timothy Sykes is a multimillionaire stock trader who famously earned $4 million while day trading in college.
As a high school student, Sykes took $12,415 of his bar mitzvah gift money and turned it into $1.65 million by day trading penny stocks.
Not stopping there, Sykes has created a hedge fund and starred in the television program Wall Street Warriors. These days, Sykes documents his trades and strategy on his popular blog, TimothySykes.com. His top-earning blog offers a Millionaire Challenge and a successful subscription service where users can get real-time trading alerts and access a vast library of trading videos.
Founder – Collis Ta’eed, Cyan Ta’eed and Jun Rung Income – $175,000 per month
Collis Ta’eed, Cyan Ta’eed and Jun Rung founded Tut+ as a modest blog with tutorials on freelancing and Photoshop.
The site ultimately grew into a network of 15 educational blogs, helping people learn profitable online skills, from coding to videography.
At the center of it all remains Tuts+. In 2014, the group combined all 16 blogs into one central hub called Envato Tuts+.
Envato Tuts+ Premium, a subscription-based membership area offering video courses and ebooks, is the primary source of the site’s income. You can still find plenty of free content to learn creative skills and yes, they still have tutorials on freelancing and Photoshop.
Tuts+ is one of my favorite blogs and it’s inspiring to know it started as a hobby and developed naturally and organically into one of the highest-earning blogs online.
#10. Smashing Magazine
Founder – Sven Lennartz and Vitaly Friedman Income – $215,000 per month
Smashing Magazine is the superb creation of Sven Lennartz and Vitaly Friedman.
The blog debuted in 2006 with the goal of helping people with web design and web development interests.
Today, Smashing Magazine is a go-to site for anyone looking to acquire these lucrative skills, with an enormous amount of informative and actionable content.
Not surprisingly, the blog receives 5 million page views a month.
The site now hosts frequent web development conferences and full-day workshops all over the world, to help both professionals and amateurs improve their craft.
This top earning blog’s main income comes from their membership area, where users can learn from an impressive number of tutorials covering everything from coding, web design, mobile app development, UX design, graphics and WordPress.
Founder – John Lee Dumas Income – $223,000 per month
I’m convinced John Lee Dumas never sleeps.
He operates EOFire.com, short for Entrepreneurs on Fire, delivers a daily business podcast, and in recent years has published two best-selling journals — The Freedom Journal and The Mastery Journal.
But his bread and butter is the EOFire podcast, which is fantastic. In 2012, he noticed none of his favorite podcasts were podcasting daily, leaving him wanting more. So he launched his daily podcast interviewing entrepreneurs, and the rest, as they say, is history.
JLD, as he’s affectionately known, has now interviewed over 1600 entrepreneurs, including Tim Ferriss, Barbara Corcoran, Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk.
In 2013, EOFire was named Best of iTunes.
His journals wrote the book (no pun intended) on how to run a successful crowdsourcing campaign. And through a partnership with Pencils of Promise, Dumas is parlaying the success of his journals into the creation of schools in underprivileged countries. You can see one of the schools Dumas made possible here. EOFire earned a gross income of $595,936 in February of 2016. That’s an incredible feat for one month and well-deserved for JLD.
It’s always good to see good people doing good work and succeeding.
Founder – Peter Rojas Income – $325,000 per month
Peter Rojas is so awesome he’s on this list twice.
Rojas created Gizmodo to cover technology, entertainment, politics, science and science fiction.
Gizmodo launched in 2002 as part of the Gawker Media network run by Nick Denton with Rojas as Editor in Chief. The blog quickly grew in popularity by partnering with a variety of international firms to deliver translated versions of its content in Europe.
When you visit the site’s home page, one of the first things you notice is an above-the-fold banner that is larger than most. As you scroll down, you’ll find Gizmodo does a great job of showing a lot of content with only a couple of display ads along the side, with one of them being the same advertiser found at the top of the page. When you finally scroll past all the content (there’s a lot!) and reach the bottom of the page, you’ll find another large banner just above the footer, and yes, the advertiser is the same as in the other two spots. Gizmodo’s home page has a great balance of being heavily content-focused but still being able to make a tidy profit with ads. The ads are unobtrusive but still get noticed, and because of the repetition, the advertiser gets noticed too. It’s a win-win advertising model for other sites to emulate.
#7. Perez Hilton
Founder – Perez Hilton Income – $575,000 per month
Perez Hilton is a great example of a successful blogger who capitalized on other opportunities outside of blogging. He’s also a television personality, nationally syndicated host of Radio Perez, and author of a children’s book.
But what he’s most famous for is his celebrity gossip blog PerezHilton.com. Millions visit his site every day to revel in his brand of snarky gossip entertainment. Hilton, born Mario Armondo Lavandeira Jr, started his blog as a hobby and decided to focus on Hollywood “because it was something I was inherently curious about, and fascinated with. And, let’s face it, celebrities — a lot of them — are crazy.”
This profitable blog earns its revenue from advertising banners on the site.
Founder – Brian Clark Income – $1,000,000 per month
With Copyblogger, Brian Clark created an audience-focused content marketing machine.
In fact, Forbes recently called it “the most influential content marketing blog in the world.”
Copyblogger has been helping people write better, sell more, and get more traffic since 2006.
The site’s original tagline was “Internet Marketing For Smart People.” In other words, they’re not selling snake oil and get rich quick schemes.
Now the tagline is “Words That Work” and boy, do they ever. Clark and his team are outstanding at writing copy.
When I read they’re sales copy, I’m always compelled to buy. In fact, this site operates on their Genesis Framework and a StudioPress blog theme. Based on their audience research and communication, they’ve strategically added tools and platforms to help content marketers and digital entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
Founder – Pete Cashmore Income – $2,000,000 per month
Mashable was started in 2005 by Pete Cashmore, a 19-year-old who still lived at home with his parents in Scotland.
He began by documenting the latest news about social media and emerging Internet technologies.
His work resonated with lots of folks and Mashable became an immediate success, attracting 2 million readers within the first 18 months.
Mashable has come a long way since those early days. It’s no longer just Cashmore contributing Mashable’s content (they’re hiring!), and they are now headquartered in New York City. Mashable is positioned to be one of the top-earning blogs online for some time.
The blog is still growing with over 45 million readers a month and the content has expanded to cover business, entertainment and lifestyle and now offers 5 international editions.
Mashable’s income primarily comes from advertisements on the site.
Founder – Michael Arrington and Keith Teare Income – $2,500,000 per month
Michael Arrington and Keith Teare started TechCrunch in 2005 to cover technology industry news.
The blog has grown immensely and now features big-name columnists in the startup and venture capital industries.
AOL bought TechCrunch in 2005 for a rumored $25 to $40 million.. TechCrunch earns revenue from display advertising on the blog Specifically, they charge between $19.25 and $36.50 per CPM (Cost Per Thousand views).
According to the site, they receive 12 million visitors per month and 35 million page views per month. With such a high CPM, you can see how this top-earning blog makes its considerable income.
Founder – Rand Fishkin and Gillian Muessig Income – $3,300,000 per month
Moz is the go-to place for all things SEO. Search engine optimization pros check out Moz daily to see what’s happening in the space.
They also come to use their tools and resources to help them rank their sites and extend their visibility.
Rand Fishkin co-founded the site with Gillian Muessig, who happens to be his mother. The two initially operated a web design shop and Rand had to learn SEO to promote the business. He shared what he learned in SEO forums and quickly became known as an authority in the field.
Frustrated by the secretive world of SEO, they started SEOMoz in 2004 as a way to openly share the knowledge. In fact, the Moz part of their name is a direct nod to the open-source sharing philosophy made famous by the Mozilla Foundation and Dmoz Web directory project.
These days the profitable blog and community simply go by Moz, and Fishkin jokingly refers to his title as “Wizard of Moz.” Moz earned $42 million in 2016, primarily from its paid membership area, which offers valuable tools and services for the avid search engine marketers.
True to the name, Moz still offers numerous tools for free and even the membership area comes with a 30-day free trial.
Founder – Peter Rojas Income – $5,500,000 per month
We last saw Peter Rojas at #8 with Gizmodo and while that blog focuses on many topics, with Engadget, it’s all about tech.
Rojas created Engadget to give sound advice and detailed reviews on technology and consumer electronics. From the beginning, the site has employed numerous writers and editors to contribute to its content machine.
Engadget is now run by AOL, who acquired the blog in 2005. The lesson here is if you ever want to sell your blog, it’s best if it is a brand on its own and not a personal brand.
The company earns massive revenue from advertising on the site.
Founder – Arianna Huffington Income – $14,000,000 per month
In 2005, Arianna Huffington launched the Huffington Post with the goal of becoming a political counterpart to the popular Drudge Report. The blog provided a liberal view of politics and lifestyle and quickly gained a strong following.
The site has grown year after year and in 2011, Huffington sold the blog to AOL for $315,000.
Huffington received $21 million-plus stock options in the company as part of the sale and stayed on as Editor-in-Chief. She resigned from that post in August 2016, and now devotes her time to a new startup Thrive Global, a health and wellness site.
The site has rebranded and is now known simply as HuffPost.
It is the #1 most popular political blog according to a study by eBizMBA. Alexa Global, Compete and Quantcast.
The top-earning blog is an enormous success, earning $14,000,000 in revenue in 2016, and it is estimated to be worth $1 billion currently.
Sponsored advertising revenue provides the majority of HuffPost’s income. The site provides banners and other ads across it’s variety of channels.
What do you think?
I hope this list shows you what is possible and inspires you to follow your own path to the top.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think
15 Top Earning Blogs Making Money Online Infographic
As always I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think
As always I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below. What did you think?
Between Santa shenanigans, special foods, long-distance travel and treats, holiday spending adds up quickly—and so does holiday debt.
In 2019, shoppers in the US spent 3.4% more than they did in 2018. Unsurprisingly, they also ended up owing 8% more—roughly $1,325 per adult in 2019 versus just over $1,000 per adult in 2018. Unfortunately, holiday credit card debt lingers far longer than leftover turkey. About 25% of parents surveyed by YouGov in November 2019 were still paying off expenses from the previous holiday season.
If you don’t—or can’t—repay holiday debt promptly, it’ll accumulate over time. In this article, we’ll talk about some of the best ways to pay credit off quickly.
How to Pay Off Holiday Debt
There are lots of ways to pay off holiday debt. Some people make single lump-sum payments to minimize interest, while others go for interest-free repayment plans or consolidate their credit cards. Here are seven solid ways to reduce seasonal debt.
1. Pay Debt Off Early
If you pay holiday debt off early, you’ll pay less in interest and save money overall. Pay off as much of your credit card balance as you can every month—and carry on until you’re home free. Interest charges accrue daily, so make those payments early in each statement cycle.
Remember that average $1,325 debt balance from the 2019 holiday season? Let’s imagine it’s all on a single credit card with a 21% APR:
If you pay $50 a month, it’ll take you three years to pay off your full balance, including $471 in interest.
If you pay $100 a month, it’ll take you 1 year and 4 months to pay off your full balance, including $196 in interest.
If you pay $200 a month, it’ll take you just 8 months to pay off your full balance, including $96 in interest.
Check out Credit.com’s credit card payoff calculator to figure out your own holiday debt repayment schedule.
2. Apply for a Balance Transfer Card
Balance transfer cards make everything simpler. If you have a good enough credit score, move your debt to a low or zero-interest balance transfer credit card to minimize interest charges. Here’s why:
You can use a 0% introductory APR to pay your holiday debt off over time without incurring any interest charges.
Some cards offer a 0% option for 12 or 24 months, giving you up to two years to pay down holiday debt.
TD Cash Credit Card
0% Introductory APR for 6 months on purchases
12.99%, 17.99% or 22.99% (Variable)
0% Introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers
Snapshot of Card Features
Earn $150 Cash Back when you spend $500 within 90 days after account opening
Earn 3% Cash Back on dining
Earn 2% Cash Back at grocery stores
Earn 1% Cash Back on all other eligible purchases
$0 Annual Fee
Visa Zero Liability
Instant credit card replacement
Card Details +
3. Give Up One Expensive Thing
Expensive habits can make it hard to pay off debt. If you want to make a bigger dent in your balance, think about giving up a couple of luxuries each month. Consider making the following changes—just for a little while:
Cut your cable bill and trim other entertainment expenses
Cook meals at home instead of eating out
Consolidate errands so that you drive less and spend less on gas
Forgo a few luxuries at the grocery store
Go out for drinks fewer times a month
Should I go on vacation or pay off debt?
Everyone loves a restful vacation. If you’re struggling with high-interest debt, however, you might be better off staying at home until you get your payments under control. Concentrate on paying off debt now, and you can reward yourself with a truly relaxing vacation later.
4. Spark an Avalanche or Snowball Your Debt
Personal finance experts swear by two distinct methods when it comes to debt repayment—the snowball and the avalanche. Here’s how they work:
The Snowball Method
The snowball method builds motivation and helps build up to the toughest balance. In a nutshell, you pay off your smallest debts first to give yourself a boost, and then move onto larger and larger debts.
The Avalanche Method
With the avalanche method, you make minimum payments on all debts and use any leftover money to pay down high-interest debt. Over time, this method will save you a lot of money in interest charges.
>> Try these debt management apps
5. Go for Debt Consolidation
If you want to lose the plastic altogether, think about applying for a debt consolidation loan. Go for a loan with a low interest. Then, avoid putting any more money on credit cards until you’ve paid off most of the consolidation loan.
How Can I Get Out of Debt with No Money?
If you’re in a financial rough patch, don’t panic. First, call all your lenders and tell them what’s going on. Many financial institutions offer deferments, temporarily lower payments, low-cost structured repayment plans and other reassuring options—but only if you ask.
Meanwhile, nix unnecessary monthly expenses, create—and stick to—a strict budget, and don’t create any more debt. You could also:
Put together a realistic debt-repayment plan
Increase your income with a better-paying job, or ask your boss for a raise
Ask your lenders for a lower interest rate
Consider consumer credit counseling
Concentrate on one debt at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed
>> Download our free budget template to get started.
6. Use Financial Planning Apps
Financial planning apps make life much easier, whether you’re saving or repaying holiday debt. Tally, for instance, can help you get a handle on your outgoings, save money on interest payments and create a solid debt-reduction plan.
Mobile banking option Chime includes a plethora of tools designed to make your financial life much easier. Chime Savings Account has two automatic savings options: One feature rounds up transactions and saves the change every time you spend, and the other lets you easily save a percentage of your paycheck every time you get paid.
>> Read our full Tally review
>> Read our full Chime review
How much debt does the average person owe?
According to credit bureau Experian’s 2019 Consumer Credit Review, we are accumulating debt at an average of 3% per year. The average debt load is broken into the following categories:
$6,194 on credit cards
$1,155 on store cards
$16,259 on personal loans
$19,231 on auto loan debt
Not all consumers have mortgages or student loans, of course, but those who do have an average $203,296 mortgage balance and a $35,620 student loan balance.
7. Check Your Credit Score
Winners keep score—and they stay on top of their credit scores, too. Regularly checking your credit report will help you understand your finances and can give you a benchmark for improvement. You’ll also be able to respond to discrepancies and add missing information. Don’t know your credit score? Check out your Credit Report Card at Credit.com for free or sign up for ExtraCredit to crunch the numbers.
Tackle Holiday Debt Now
Try to save ahead to reduce the amount of debt you accrue each holiday season. If you opt for a credit card, choose a low-interest option with rewards—and try to pay off your balance quickly. To avoid interest charges in the medium term, transfer your balance to a low APR card or go for a debt consolidation loan. Above all, create a realistic budget and stick to it to avoid unnecessary holiday debt. After all, the best gifts—expensive or not—come from the heart.
As more Americans turn to home cooking and entertaining, the functionality of a kitchen is more important than ever when choosing a home.
Over the past half-century, kitchens have become somewhat fetishized; a place to display high-tech appliances and high design cookware, a social hub for friends and family, and a continuation of home style that showcases elegance and considered design choices. Pare it back to basics, though, and today’s kitchen is still essentially what it always has been: a place to prepare food. And homeowners, spurred recently by stay-at-home orders, but also inspired by home-cooking television shows, health concerns and the rising expense of dining out, are increasingly relying on their kitchens in times when eating out is not an option, as well as using their kitchens as additional entertainment space; somewhere to try their hand at cooking for their friends and family. For house hunters who relish the opportunity to regularly entertain and prepare food for guests, it pays to know what to look for when assessing kitchen space during your house search—and the best person to ask is an expert.
Edouard Massih is a private chef and caterer in New York City. He hosts intimate dinners in his own home, giving local diners the experience of enjoying his food in a less formal, more personal way. Massih, who was born in Lebanon, found his love for cooking in his grandmother’s kitchen. Sharing food and creating community has always been the driving force behind Massih’s cooking, and he has discovered a way to do that in his own backyard—literally.
“I wanted to invite people into my backyard, because I had a very unique space in Brooklyn, and not a lot of people [in New York] get to have dinners in a backyard,” Massih says. To bring to life his vision of cooking for the community, Massih extensively renovated his Greenpoint backyard, creating a lush urban escape where guests can enjoy the exquisite food that he prepares in his own kitchen—each dish enhanced by a dash of his grandfather’s olive oil, all the way from Lebanon.
Having worked on his kitchen to ensure that it had everything that he needed to support his at-home dining experiences, Massih has the knowledge of both a professional chef and a home cook. We asked him for some tips to help aspiring culinary hosts to choose the right kitchen space, starting with the five kitchen elements that he finds to be indispensable. First, Massih says, is “the right fridge, or the right fridge space.” Part of taking the pressure off yourself when entertaining, he says, is making sure that you’re prepared in advance. “Entertaining is all about making it simple for yourself when people are there— being able to prep ahead and batching the drinks; having the pitchers of water ready in the fridge; and having everything ready to go. Maybe serve more cold stuff than hot. You can do a pasta salad and an orzo salad, and make it two hours in advance.”
Preparing food in advance, chilling drinks and ensuring that all of your produce is fresh all comes down to having the right fridge. And while interactive fridges with weather forecasts and recipe databases can be useful, the main thing is space—and plenty of it. If you want to get fancy, you could go for a hot-water dispenser and temperature-adjustable drawers, both of which assist in various cooking processes; just make sure that you have enough shelf space to hold all of the food and beverages that you’ve prepped for your guests.
Because you can’t make a lot of food without creating a lot of mess, Massih insists that having two sinks is vital: one dedicated to food prep, and one to cleanup. You can keep your prep equipment near your prep sink (think bowls, colanders, appliances), and dishes near the cleanup sink (which should ideally be close to the dishwasher). In addition, having two sinks creates more flexibility for multiple cooks, and streamlines the flow while you’re cooking.
The third must-have for Massih is “a lot of prep area—lots of counter space.” You need space for laying out, preparing and organizing ingredients, which most people consider when thinking about counter space; but if you’re planning on entertaining groups of diners, you also need enough counter space to plate all of the meals at once. Nobody wants to be balancing plates on top of kitchen stools because there’s not enough room for everything on the countertop.
Fourth for Massih is storage, in terms of both kitchen cabinets and a decent pantry. You want plenty of space, and also space that complements your cooking flow. Pots and pans should be as close to your stove as possible—either on a rack above or in a cabinet below—and serving utensils like spoons and tongs should be close to where you do your plating, to minimize the number of steps you have to take to collect your cooking tools, which helps with efficiency when you’re cooking for a group of people. A walk-in pantry is ideal, with various shelf sizes and storage options for appliances that are not in regular use. For chefs, there’s nothing worse than a cluttered cooktop.
Lastly, Massih emphasizes the importance of, as he calls it, “legit trash.” “You want a trash can that’s near the sink or accessible around [where you’re working], and not one of those little tiny trash barrels that fits nothing,” he says. “Otherwise, every two minutes, you’ll have to take the trash out when you’re prepping.” Massih also spends a lot of time cooking in other people’s kitchens as part of his catering and private-chef business, and the one feature that he is always delighted to see is a back kitchen.
“What is really nice about some of [the private homes that I cook in] is they have a back kitchen, like the ‘help’ kitchen,” he says. “That really does help a lot. If I [had the resources], and I was looking for a house to entertain in a lot or to do a lot of dinners in, then that’s definitely something that I would look for. “A lot of these kitchens nowadays are very open-plan, because the idea of it is that it’s really fun. But it gets annoying when you’re [hosting] a formal dinner, and you can’t do dishes [or hide them away] while your guests are eating. Having a small back kitchen really helps, because then you can hide all of the stuff that you don’t want people to see.”
There’s nothing wrong with a kitchen as a style statement, and most people whose interests lie in kitchens will admit to some fetish-like reverence. Just keep practical concerns in mind, particularly when you have culinary aspirations; remember, you can have a waterfall countertop AND legit trash. That’s what we call the best of both worlds.
For more information on Edouard Massih and his home-style cooking, visit www.edouardmassih.com.
Paying yourself first is a budgeting strategy that suggests individuals should contribute to a retirement account, emergency fund, savings account, or other savings vehicle before spending their paycheck on anything else.
The pay yourself first method is a pretty simple concept to understand, but actually applying to your own finances can become a little more complex. To help our Minters put this plan into practice, we’re breaking it down step-by-step and revealing some of the advantages and drawbacks of paying yourself first.
If you already have a solid grasp on the topic, use the links below to navigate throughout the post, or read all the way through for the full picture.
What does it mean to pay yourself first?
Pay yourself first definition: The pay yourself first method, also known as reverse budgeting, is a savings strategy that says individuals should save a portion of their paycheck before spending any other money on bills, groceries, or discretionary items.The amount saved is typically predetermined as part of a larger savings goal, and is often funneled into retirement funds and/or savings accounts.
Many financial experts and individual consumers who subscribe to this method choose to have funds automatically redirected into their elected savings account(s).
For example, if you want to put $200 of every paycheck toward your 401k, you could set up an automatic contribution rather than physically transfer funds each pay period. For many savvy savers, this makes it easier to commit to a monthly goal, because the amount never actually reaches your checking account, but is rather allocated directly toward your savings.
Note: There are several options you can employ to make the pay yourself first strategy work for your finances. If you prefer to make the transfers on your own instead of automatically, that’s totally okay! This budgeting style is really all about consistency — contributing a set amount each month to your retirement plan or savings account can really pay off over time.
Advantages of the pay yourself first method
Like any financial decision you’ll make in your lifetime, you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of subscribing to the pay yourself first philosophy.
The primary benefit of setting aside savings first, is building the amount you have saved over time. This strategy forces you to live within, or below your means — so long as you don’t start swiping your credit card recklessly instead.
Here are a few other potential benefits you could reap if you employ the pay yourself first strategy:
You can save up for big purchases, like a home, car, or dream vacation. Or, put your hard-earned dollars toward an emergency fund, personal savings, or retirement.
Contributing to accounts that earn compound interest allows your money to continue growing the longer you leave it untouched.
Many retirement funds and other savings options are considered “tax-advantaged.” This means that your dollars may be exempted from tax, or in the case of IRAs and 401ks, tax-deferred; so you’ll pay taxes later on when you make a withdrawal.
Drawbacks of the pay yourself first method
In addition to the positive aspects a pay yourself first budget may offer, there are some potential drawbacks that could ensue under certain circumstances. Put simply, the strategy simply does not work for everyone. As you learn about the pay yourself first method, consider how it fits into the context of your personal finances.
Here are a few examples where paying yourself first may not work to your benefit:
Without following careful money management advice, you may find yourself scraping for change to make ends meet. Before you commit to a monthly savings goal, use a budgeting calculator to determine how much money you can reasonably afford to save each month.
While prioritizing your savings can help you boost the balance in your savings account, it may be worth paying down debt first. Because interest compounds over time, waiting to pay off a credit card or a student loan, for example, means that you’ll pay more interest the longer there is an outstanding balance.
As you consider the various strategies you can use to build your savings, remember to take a close look at the potential pros and cons you may encounter. There are plenty of saving styles you can leverage, so don’t count yourself out if this one isn’t the best fit for you. For more help creating a budget and savings plan that meets your needs, check out how Mint can help!
How to Pay Yourself First
Now that you know what it means to pay yourself first, and have had a moment to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks, let’s take a look at how this strategy actually plays out, step-by-step.
1. Evaluate your monthly income + expenses
Before you decide on the amount you want to save each month, take a look at both your fixed and variable expenses. Your fixed expenses are those costs that stay consistent month over month, like your rent or mortgage payments, student loan bill, and health insurance, for example.
Your variable expenses, on the other hand, aren’t always the same amount each time, and sometimes you don’t incur them at all. Entertainment costs, vehicle maintenance, and groceries are all examples of variable costs, and so, their price tag may vary from one month to the next — just do your best to estimate these.
Once you can project your monthly expenses, subtract the amount from your monthly income to see what’s leftover. Depending on your savings and greater financial goals, you can tweak some of your spending to free up more cash.
2. Identify your savings goals + commit
Now that you have a better understanding of your income and expenses, you can set some savings goals!
If you’re not sure where to start, consider the 50/30/20 rule.
The rule says…
50% of your budget should go toward essential expenses such as housing, food, utilities, an minimum debt payments
30% should be reserved for wants and lifestyle expenses
20% should be funneled into your savings and any extra debt payments
If you don’t want to crunch the numbers on your own, try out our 50/30/20 calculator and we’ll do the heavy lifting for you!
In addition to setting forth a savings target, you’ll also want to think about where you want your reserved cash to live, and hopefully, grow. If you want to save up for retirement, a 401k or an IRA might make sense, whereas traditional savings accounts might work better for those wanting to save up funds for a shorter length of time.
3. Review + reevaluate
Whether you’re using the pay yourself first method or another savings strategy, it’s important to remember that your budget should never be static. As life changes, your finances follow. A better salary or a reduction in your living expenses could present more opportunities to save, while a pay cut or recently incurred expense could have the opposite effect.
To keep your budget optimized and up to date, take the time to review and reevaluate it on a regular basis, and when significant changes arise.
The pay yourself first budgeting style can be a favorable way to boost the balance in your savings account, retirement fund, or other savings goal. However, budgeters should reflect on their unique financial situation to assess whether this strategy suits them. In most circumstances, it would be in your best interest to pay down debt before you start making monthly contributions to your savings.
If you subscribe to the pay yourself first philosophy, follow these three steps:
Evaluate your monthly income + expenses
Identify your savings goals + commit
Review + reevaluate
Need some extra guidance to find the right budget for your lifestyle? Mint gives you a data-driven perspective, helps you launch and track savings objectives, and empowers you to actualize your greater financial goals.
Miriam Schaeffer, a former executive at nail polish giant OPI Products, is looking to sell her Italian-style villa in Beverly Hills, CA — and won’t settle for just any amount.
The nail polish mogul — who is also the former wife of George Schaeffer, founder of the popular nail polish brand — is asking a hefty $33 million for her opulent home set in one of the most sough-after streets in the area, Roxbury Drive, a historically popular address among celebrities.
Located on N. Roxbury Drive, the property has a rich history and has been considerably upgraded and expanded in recent years. In fact, Schaeffer invested heavily in the property, expanding its footprint by roughly 40% and significantly boosting the amenity roster.
Originally built in 1926 by the architectural firm Camduff and Camduff as one of the partners’ own homes, the architectural masterpiece was revamped by renowned architect Richard Manion in 2016. The current owner worked alongside the architect to add amenities like a media room and a wine cellar, and to expand the beautiful grounds.
The combination of Spanish, Italian, and Mediterranean revival architecture is probably why this property is also known as Casa California. It’s a perfect representation of relaxed California living, featuring a long list of fun amenities that includes a fitness studio, a media room, a spa, and a swimming pool.
The property offers roughly 210 feet of frontage along N. Roxbury Drive, also known as ‘street of the stars’ (a highly popular destination for celebrities living in Beverly Hills), but it also offers privacy from prying eyes via a gated and hedged entrance.
The mansion has 7 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, and an impressive total of 13,765 square feet of living space. The rear grounds are home to the pool, the spa, a guest house, and a fitness studio, all surrounded by complete privacy and tranquility.
Inside, a two-story entry greets visitors, leading to a living room with a stunning fireplace and doors that open to the front grounds. There is also a state-of-the-art chef’s kitchen, complete with a breakfast room and a wood-paneled family room that opens to the pool.
Upstairs, there is a gorgeous master suite that incorporates a sitting room, custom-made closets, and a terrace with fabulous views. There’s no shortage of space for family or friends, as the upper levels also include no less than 5 guest suites.
Additional amenities include a wine cellar, an elevator, an entertainment room, and a bar, making this house perfect for any type of entertaining.
This luxurious N. Roxbury Drive property is marketed by The Agency, with Jacob Dadon handling the listing. The current owner is Miriam Schaeffer, the former wife of George Schaeffer, who founded the popular nail polish brand OPI.
Schaeffer bought OPI (then Odontorium Products Inc.) in 1981 in Calabasas. At the time, the company was in the dental supply business, but Schaeffer and partner Suzi Weiss-Fischmann turned the brand into a global nail polish giant. The brand’s products were used in movies like Legally Blonde 2 and Alice in Wonderland, and they are known for their chip-resistant formula and bright colours. The company was acquired by Coty, Inc. in 2010, and Schaeffer stepped down as CEO in 2013.
Miriam Schaeffer, George Schaeffer’s ex-wife, once worked as an executive and treasurer for the brand. She reportedly purchased the opulent house in 2012 for $14 million, according to Mansion Global, and invested in expanding its footprint by nearly 40%, alongside architect Richard Manion.
More beautiful homes with famous owners
Chrissy Teigen & John Legend Buy $17.5M Beverly Hills Mansion After Cashing Big on Previous Home Morgan Brown Re-Lists Stunning West Hollywood Home Amid Split from Actor Gerard Butler Kendall Jenner Gives Us a Tour of her Peaceful, Art-Filled Home For $35K/Month, You Could Join the Ranks of the Hollywood Celebs Renting This House in Malibu
The cash envelope budgeting method can be a very effective way to control your spending.
The premise is simple. You come up with spending limits for your variable expenses, like groceries, eating out or entertainment. Next, you fill up envelopes with cash to match what you’ve budgeted for each category.
As you shop throughout the month, you can only spend the amount of money in your envelopes. Once you’ve run out of cash, you’ve got to freeze spending until it’s time to fill the envelopes again.
There’s one significant flaw in this budgeting method though: What if you don’t shop with cash? Many people opt for online shopping or use a debit or credit card rather than dollars and coins.
Fortunately, there are ways to adapt the cash envelope budget for cashless shoppers. One of the solutions is to use a budgeting app, like Mvelopes.
In this Mvelopes review, we’ll explain how this app works to help you keep your spending in check.
What Is Mvelopes?
Mvelopes is a budgeting app from Finicity, a fintech company owned by Mastercard. It’s based on the cash envelope system, so all of the categories you set up in your budget are essentially your digital envelopes.
Mvelopes syncs to your financial accounts, so whenever you pay a bill, shop online or swipe your debit card, that transaction shows up in the app. The app uses bank-level encryption to keep your information safe.
Once you assign the transaction to its appropriate envelope, you’ll automatically see how much money you have left to spend in that category. And if you do happen to use cash for something, you can manually enter that info in the app.
How to Get Started with Mvelopes
You can download the Mvelopes app for your Apple or Android mobile device — or you can create an account and manage your money straight from your computer.
Mvelopes offers three tiers of service. Mvelopes Basic costs $5.97 per month or $69 per year and lets you set up your budget by syncing to all your financial accounts. The next step up is Mvelopes Premier, which costs $9.97 per month or $99 per year and includes access to the Mvelopes Learning Center and Debt Reduction Center.
The Mvelopes Learning Center has online video lessons on topics like mastering your spending, creating an emergency fund, insuring your future, home buying and how to have stress-free holidays. With the Debt Reduction Center, you get support to create a tailor-made debt payoff plan.
The app’s top tier of service is Mvelopes Plus. This plan connects you with a real-live personal finance trainer for one-on-one virtual sessions four times a year. You’ll also get higher priority customer service support. Mvelopes Plus costs $19.97 a month or $199 a year.
Although there is no free version of Mvelopes, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial of Mvelopes Premier — the app’s most popular option — to test out the service with no financial commitment.
The Pros and Cons of Mvelopes
Mvelopes can sync with over 16,000 financial institutions, so most users can track their spending with minimal effort. Keeping your spending in check means you can free up more money to go toward saving or debt.
According to the company, Mvelopes has helped users save an average of $6,175 and pay off an average of $17,425 of debt.
One disadvantage of this app, however, is that it’s not free, like the budgeting apps Mint or Clarity Money. Also, if you’re looking for a tool that tracks more aspects of your financial life, such as your net worth and where you stand with your investments, you might want to consider an app like Personal Capital.
Who Is Mvelopes For?
The Mvelopes app is a great option for fans of the cash envelope method who are looking to digitize their money management.
It is also a good choice for people looking to nix overspending, because the app keeps you up-to-date with how much funds you have left to spend in each budget category.
Additionally, Mvelopes can help you boost your personal finance knowledge via online courses or pay down debt with a tailored payoff plan.
By signing up for the free 30-day trial, you’ll have a month to decide whether Mvelopes is the right choice for you.
Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.