Could you use an extra $50? (time sensitive)

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Could you use an extra $50? (time sensitive)
Could you use an extra $50 this week? What about every single week? I believe wholeheartedly that the majority of families in America could make some simple changes in their menu and grocery purchases that could pretty easily reduce their grocery expenses by $50 or more each week! This might seem like a strong statement, but after years of talking to and teaching thousands of families all across America how to lower their grocery bill, I truly stand behind it. Think about it: what could you do with an extra $50 each week? If you could spend an extra 4-8 hours per month and save $200, is that worth it? If so, I strongly encourage you to check out my brand-new ebook called Slash Your Grocery Bill? It’s a comprehensive guide with simple, realistic short-cuts and time-saving tips to lower your grocery bill. It’s for anyone who has ever wished they could figure out the secrets for how to eat well on a small budget. If you follow even some of the tips in it, I can guarantee without a doubt that you WILL lower your grocery bill! Get it for just $7 — through midnight tonight! Slash Your Grocery Bill will usually be priced at $17, but to celebrate the launch, through midnight tonight, you can get it for just $7! Yes, that’s right. Only $7. And I can almost promise you will save twice or three times that much on your very first shopping trip using the techniques I share. So it’s a really fantastic investment that could pay off over and over and over again! Answering Your Questions Now, I know that some of you have written in with questions about the eBook and wondering if it’s really for you. I love how you are carefully evaluating your purchases to make sure you’re not spending money on something that isn’t going to truly work for you or save you money. Let me answer some of the most-asked questions… Is this going to require a lot of time? I believe that you should always see good return on your investment of time. I also know you probably don’t have hours of time to spend chasing deals and clipping coupons. This eBook is for busy women (and men!) who need to cut their grocery bill but don’t have a lot of extra time to do so! We eat all organic. Will your strategies apply to us? Not every strategy in this eBook will work for every family, but many of the strategies in this eBook can be implemented or adapted to work for you — no matter what type of food you eat or stores you shop at! Will I have to clip coupons? Nope! You are welcome to clip coupons if you’d like, but as I’ll show you in this eBook, there are SO many other ways to slash your grocery bill. Are you going to say that we have to eat beans and rice? Full disclosure: I am going to encourage you to consider creative ways to eat less meat or and save on meat costs in one of the chapters, but I promise that this is not just a 99 different ways to eat beans and rice! What if we only have one grocery store in our town? While there are definitely advantages to having more options when it comes to shopping, if you only have one store, I’ll still show you lots of ways you can save. Plus, there are benefits to only having one store: it keeps things simple and streamlined! How long will I have access to this eBook? When you purchase, you’ll have immediate access to the eBook via a link online and a link I’ll send you in your email. And best of all, you will have lifetime access to it! Is there a money-back guarantee? I want you to spend your money wisely and I do not want you to invest money in something that isn’t going to benefit your family and save you money. If you purchase this eBook and discover that you are already doing everything in it, please contact me for a full refund (also, way to go on being such a savvy saver!) What I’ll Teach You… In Slash Your Grocery Bill, you’ll learn: How to strategically plan a menu in just minutes each week Multiple menu-planning methods that have worked well for me How to set up a realistic grocery budget How to determine a grocery budget that actually will work for your family Why you should consider rotating the stores you shop at How practicing the Buy Ahead principle can save you hundreds of dollars each year How to stock your pantry on a limited budget DIY and homemade mix ideas, short-cuts, and time-saving tips Inexpensive and yummy snack ideas Our favorite budget-friendly pantry meal ideas And so much more! Yes! Please Help Me Cut My Grocery Bill! “Slash Your Grocery Bill had something for everyone in their journey to joyful frugality–whether you’re just beginning, or a veteran budgeter. For me, a mom of six who already keeps a steadily low grocery budget, the ‘Aha!’ section was all the ways I could use technology to help. And even though I’ve been doing it on my own for years, Crystal’s printables and other resources are going to make my grocery bill slashing a whole lot easier.” -Faith I promise the strategies in this eBook will work for you! I wrote Slash Your Grocery Bill in the hopes that no matter where you live, who lives at your house, or what kind of food you eat, you will be able to cut your grocery bill. I’ve taught hundreds of thousands of people in a myriad of different seasons and life situations how to save. So I promise that there will be many strategies in this eBook that will work for you. I stand behind my promise – or you get your money back! If you buy the eBook and are already doing every thing it suggests and/or the rest of the ideas won’t work for you, guess what? I will happily offer you your money back! I do not want you to spend money on something that isn’t truly going to save you money and benefit your life! Truly, it’s a no risk purchase! There’s nothing to lose and you just might end up gaining an extra $50 each and every week! What are you waiting for? Go here to grab your copy of Slash Your Grocery Bill for just $7! P.S. This $7 price is only good through tonight! Don’t miss out. After tonight, the price goes up to $17! Hurry and get your copy while it’s this low price! [...]
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You Could Save Money by Ditching These 9 Disposables and Buying Reusables

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You Could Save Money by Ditching These 9 Disposables and Buying Reusables
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners. Saving the planet doesn’t always come cheap. Many of the disposable products we use and love are easy to buy at lower prices than their reusable counterparts. But the convenience of disposable products often comes at a steep cost to the environment. Plastic bags and straws pollute the ocean and end up being ingested by sea animals. Disposable diapers take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills. Reusable products often cost more up front, but you may be surprised to find out how soon they end up paying for themselves since you can use them again and again instead of buying more of the disposable versions. 9 Reusable Products That Will Save You Money Over Time We took nine household products, searched for both reusable and disposable versions on Amazon and compared the costs. Here’s how they stacked up. Editor’s note: The prices in this post are valid as of Sept. 23, 2019. Diapers Diaper prices can vary widely. For example, cheap (read: leaky) store-brand diapers cost just a few cents each, while Pampers can set you back $40 a week. The same is true of cloth diapers.  For this comparison, take a cloth diaper costing $4.50 and 16 disposable diapers at 28 cents each, and the cloth diaper has paid for itself after 16 diaper changes. Multiply that over two years of a child’s life before potty training, and there are major savings to be had by reusing cloth diapers — many of which have different settings that adjust to your baby’s growth. Dryer Balls If you’ve never heard of dryer balls, they’re little wool balls about the size of a tennis ball that you throw in your dryer with your wet laundry in place of fabric-softening dryer sheets. Because the wool can absorb some moisture from your clothes, manufacturers claim they cut down on energy use and drying time. They can also save you some pennies. A set of six reusable wool dryer balls costs $7.97, while a box of 240 disposable dryer sheets costs — wait for it — a buck more. This one’s a no-brainer. Feminine Products Listen up, gal pals. We’re here to tell you that you are not — we repeat, NOT — doomed to pay an exorbitant monthly fee for tampons and liners and pads (not to mention Midol) simply for the privilege of being female. With a box of 40 tampons costing $6.47 and 38 pads ringing in at $6.97 times every month of your adult life, it’s … a lot. So consider this: One pair of Thinx period underwear is $23, and a Diva cup is $24.48. K-Cups Did you even know there was a reusable alternative to those little pods of delectable, life-giving coffee? There totally is!  While a box of 40 Starbucks K-Cups will set you back $28.36 (OUCH), a set of four reusable pods that you just refill with your favorite ground coffee runs $9.95.  Paper Towels One cloth kitchen towel at $1.33 is only slightly more than the cost of one roll of paper towels at a cost of $1.10 per roll. Enough said. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Teaching Your Kids to Save: I am a Bit Confused (HELP) 10/10/19 @ 8:24 AM Traveling All 50 States On a Budget 10/9/19 @ 4:40 PM Acorns 8/14/19 @ 2:00 PM Saving money on pet meds 9/11/19 @ 11:41 AM See more in Save Money or ask a money question Razors Razors are synonymous with disposable. A box of 100 of the plastic ones: $17.90. A single chrome reusable safety razor (that will make you feel like Don Draper): $12.66. You do have to replace the blade on the reusable one. Don’t worry, they’re cheap. A box of 100 is about $7. Straws A stainless steel straw costing $.75, or $5.99 for a set of eight, is equal to the cost of about 19 disposable straws at 4 cents each. That means that after 19 uses, the reusable straw has essentially paid for itself — plus you’ve got seven more left over. Sandwich Bags This set of six reusable sandwich bags costs $9.99, while a box of 280 Ziploc bags runs about $8.38. Think about it this way: The first time you replace that box of disposable bags, you’ve nearly bought another whole set of the ones you could be reusing. Water Bottles One reusable water bottle costing $15.76 is equal to the cost of about 72 single-use water bottles at 22 cents each.  Translation: Refill your bottle 72 times and then you’re done paying for water entirely. That’s a considerable up-front cost, but these products — and really all reusable replacements — are all about long-term savings. Not to mention tossing a little less waste in the landfill. Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Senior editor Molly Moorhead contributed to this report. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Own a Home? This One Step Could Get You a $974 Discount on Insurance

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Own a Home? This One Step Could Get You a $974 Discount on Insurance
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners. Homeowners: What if we said you could save $974 on your homeowners and auto insurance this year? Wait! Before you roll your eyes and mutter “Yeah, right,” hear us out. One of the easiest ways to save on insurance is to bundle your homeowners and auto insurance policies. But before you pick up your phone and call your current provider, we have an easier — and more effective — solution: Use a free online service called Gabi, which will automatically find you the best prices. The Best Way to Bundle Your Insurance (It’s Not What You Think) When it comes to bundling, your first inclination might be to pick up the phone and call your current insurance provider — “Hey, tack on my auto insurance, will ya?” But that’s not always the best approach when it comes to saving money. For starters, when’s the last time you explored your insurance options? You might be able to find a better deal if you switch companies. Instead of calling up dozens of companies — or worse, getting quotes online and subsequently wading through an inbox full of spammy emails — you can get a free quote comparison with Gabi. It takes all of two minutes. We’ll walk you through the process really fast: Head over to Gabi's website. Answer some basic questions about yourself, and connect your insurance accounts or upload a PDF of your policy details. By doing this, Gabi can better understand your coverage and give you a true apples-to-apples comparison — without shorting you on coverage. Explore your options. Find something you like? You can easily buy the new policy directly through Gabi.  Here’s another cool part: If Gabi finds that you can actually save the most money by splitting your homeowners and auto insurance between two companies (not bundling), it’ll let you know. Oh, and if you already have the best price? Gabi will tell you that, too. Then it’ll continue to keep an eye on other options and let you know if something better pops up. Using this strategy, Gabi says it’s saved its users an average of $974 each year on auto and home insurance. Think about it: That could potentially cover your mortgage payment for this month. Go ahead and grab your free quote. You have nothing to lose — except potentially hundreds of dollars to your current insurance providers. Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Corda powered SWIFT GPI Link could be a game-changer in global trade finance

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Corda powered SWIFT GPI Link could be a game-changer in global trade finance
In September, SWIFT – the inter-bank messaging firm, announced the successful proof of concept (PoC) of the “GPI Link” platform in collaboration with R3. The SWIFT Global Payments Innovation (GPI) platform has previously trialled Hyperledger without much luck.  However, with R3’s growing network of corporates, the pilot seems to have gone better. The pilot also […] The post Corda powered SWIFT GPI Link could be a game-changer in global trade finance appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Got Perkins Loans? Here’s How 5 Years in Public Service Could Wipe Them Out

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Got Perkins Loans? Here’s How 5 Years in Public Service Could Wipe Them Out
The Perkins loan program may be history, but that doesn’t stop it from haunting your present. Perkins loans were student loans designed for undergraduate and graduate students who showed exceptional financial need — the loans charged 5% interest, and you had 10 years to pay them off.  The program ended on Sept. 30, 2017, but you’re still on the hook for paying off any of the Perkins loans you took out.  But if you’re working in public service, you could potentially have your Perkins loans canceled.  Like other student loan forgiveness programs, obtaining Perkins loan forgiveness is not an easy or quick process. But if it could mean the difference between paying back thousands of dollars in student debt, it could be worth your effort. How to Find Out If You’re Eligible for Perkins Loan Forgiveness To be eligible for Perkins loan cancellation, you must be working full time in a qualifying public service role (we’ll explain the discharge option a little later) and your loans cannot be in default. To default on federal loan repayment means you’ve failed to make your monthly payment for 270 days (nine months). Additionally, if you refinance or consolidate your Perkins loans, you are not eligible for this forgiveness program. We’ve broken down the options into categories based on how much of your loan can be forgiven and type of service. 1. Up to 100% Forgiveness The most comprehensive in terms of job options is for up to 100% loan cancellation for five years of service. The amount forgiven is granted in increments: 15% for the first and second years. 20% for the third and fourth years. 30% for the fifth year. This category includes the following professions: Teacher. To qualify for the Perkins Loan Teacher Cancellation, you must either teach at a low-income school or teach one of the following subjects: mathematics, science, foreign languages, bilingual, special education or another subject area that is facing a shortage of qualified teachers in your state. Employee at a child or family services agency. Faculty member at a tribal college or university (for service that began on or after Aug. 14, 2008). Firefighter (for service that began on or after Aug. 14, 2008). Law enforcement or corrections officer. Librarian with a master’s degree working at a Title I-eligible elementary or secondary school or at a public library that serves Title I-eligible schools (for service that began on or after Aug. 14, 2008). Nurse or medical technician. Professional provider of early intervention disability services. Public defender (for service that began on or after Aug. 14, 2008). Speech pathologist with master’s degree working at a Title I-eligible elementary or secondary school (for service that began on or after Aug. 14, 2008). If you’re an educator at a pre-K or licensed childcare program (for service that began on or after Aug. 14, 2008) or a Head Start program, it will take seven years to forgive the loan, which is granted in the following increments: 15% for the first six years. 10% for the seventh year. 2. Up to 70% Forgiveness AmeriCorps VISTA or Peace Corps volunteers can get up to 70% of their loans forgiven for four years of service. Cancelation is also granted in increments: 15% for the first and second years. 20% for the third and fourth years. 3. Forgiveness for Military Service Those who serve in the U.S. armed forces in a hostile fire or imminent danger pay area qualify for Perkins loan cancellation according to the following classifications: Up to 50% for four years for borrowers whose active duty service ended before Aug. 14, 2008. Up to 100% for five years for borrowers whose active duty service includes or began on or after Aug. 14, 2008. 4. 100% Discharge Discharge and forgiveness essentially mean the same thing — they wipe out your student loan — but a discharge is due to circumstances, while forgiveness is dependent upon your line of work. The following conditions are eligible: The school closed before the borrower could complete the program of study (applies to loans received on or after Jan. 1, 1986). The borrower is totally and permanently disabled. The borrower died. (Read more about a student loan death discharge here.) The borrower filed for bankruptcy — but only if the bankruptcy court rules that repayment would cause undue hardship. (That’s rare.) FROM THE DEBT FORUM Credit card debt 7/29/19 @ 5:18 PM F How to pay off medical bills? 8/29/19 @ 2:39 PM N Student loans!! 8/9/19 @ 1:07 PM J Payday loans - essential or evil? 2/27/19 @ 4:52 PM F See more in Debt or ask a money question How Do I Apply? To qualify for a Perkins loan cancellation or discharge, you’ll need at least one year of professional experience before applying (or one academic year for teachers).  Because your school is considered the lender (the federal government subsidizes the loan), you should contact your school (or its loan servicer) to obtain the forms and instructions for your Perkins loan forgiveness. Pro Tip Schools must automatically defer loans during periods when you are performing service that will qualify for loan cancelation — you do not need to apply for concurrent deferment.  Every school has its own application, but in general, you’ll need to fill out your personal information, your type and length of service, and certification from your employer. What Happens if I Receive Forgiveness? If you’re approved for Perkins loan forgiveness, the principal amount of your loan will be canceled incrementally according to the schedule associated with your forgiveness classification. Any interest that the loan accrued during that year will also be forgiven. What Happens if I Don’t Receive Forgiveness? If you’re denied Perkins loan forgiveness, all is not lost, particularly if you have other federal loans to consolidate. Consolidation disqualifies your loans for the Perkins loan forgiveness program, but by consolidating your Perkins loans, they then qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. However, keep in mind that your Perkins loans must be paid in 10 years, so there’s a good chance you’d have your loans paid off before you reached the 10 years of service the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program requires.  Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then catch her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Live in Seattle? See How Much Money Your Home Could Earn For You This Summer

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Live in Seattle? See How Much Money Your Home Could Earn For You This Summer
Look. We get it. Your home is your sanctuary. Your place to be alone. Some days, you don’t even want to have your own family over — let alone people you don’t know. So, the idea of listing your place on Airbnb is daunting for a lot of folks. But if you’re willing to give it a shot, you could make some serious extra income. You can share a spare room — or list your entire place if you’re headed out of town. Yep. You’d basically be making money for going on vacation. Hollis Giammatteo, a writer and Airbnb Superhost in Seattle, has been listing her downstairs guest suite since 2015. She says it’s a great way to earn extra money — and to capitalize on living in a city that’s so popular with tourists. Seattle has come a long way from the slow-moving port and manufacturing town Giammatteo remembers it being when she first moved there in 1979. Today, it’s known for its big businesses and major tourist attractions — something she says works in her favor as an Airbnb host. With Pike Place Market, the Space Needle and professional sports galore, there’s always a demand for space. In fact, Seattle is a top summer travel destination, and there’s a shortage of hosts. If you’re starting to come around on the idea of becoming an Airbnb host, see how much money you could make by listing your place. How Much Could Your Place in Seattle Fetch? First things first: list your property on the Airbnb website. You’ll want to create a listing that stands out from others so potential guests will take notice. You can adjust or change your information and settings at any time, so you’re not committed to anything permanently. Yep. You’re not locked in. Try hosting and see if you like it — if you’re curious, it’s worth a shot. Use Airbnb’s price calculator to see how much money you could make in your area. We’ll walk you through the process with some insider tips from Giammatteo. How to Create the Best Airbnb Listing in Seattle The first step to becoming an Airbnb host is to check your local laws and prepare your space for guests. (We’ll get into that later.) We’ll show you everything you need to know to make your place stand out from others, with some added insight from Giammatteo. Answer Some Quick Questions About Your Space/Amenities To set up your listing, you’ll start by answering some basic questions, such as how many guests your space can accommodate and what amenities are included. It’s fine if you don’t have an entire house or apartment available for guests. You can rent out one floor or even just a room. Giammatteo has made her downstairs area available as a guest suite, which gives people the feeling of having a one-bedroom apartment to themselves. Set the Scene with Photos Put yourself in your guests’ shoes. What would you want to see in the photos of an Airbnb listing? The platform offers some basic photo tips, which include utilizing natural light, avoiding flash and shooting in landscape mode from the corners of rooms, so you add perspective. Of course, you’ll want to include pictures of the bedrooms, kitchen and backyard. But Giammatteo knows from experience that guests also like photos of items that may seem like small details but can actually be game changers. “Guests typically want to know about such amenities as washer/dryer, ironing board, Wi-Fi, parking,” she says. Think about the details that make your home inviting. Maybe you own a nice ironing board guests can use, or you boast both a drip coffee maker and a Keurig. Capture those amenities. People might not take the time to read about them, so providing pictures could capture guests’ attention. Write a Description Now that you’ve provided stellar images for potential guests, it’s time to describe your place. You’ll want to highlight what makes it unique. Do a little market research by browsing Superhosts’ listings in your area to see how they describe their places. (They’re Superhosts for a reason, right? Their descriptions draw guests to their homes!) Giammatteo’s main advice? “Never be too wordy.” She has a point — this is the internet, after all. People like to skim. In fact, in Giammatteo’s listing, her description is a mere two sentences. She explains how guests can relax and rejuvenate in various parts of the spacious suite. She’s obviously pinpointed her audience: people who want to take it easy on vacation. Another big tip? “Be as honest as possible about the glories, and limitations, of your space,” Giammatteo says. “Don’t oversell, and don’t omit.” If the master bedroom has a window with a great view of the Space Needle, let potential guests know. On the other hand, if sound carries throughout the house, give readers a heads up. You don’t want a negative experience to surprise them, resulting in a bad review. Giammatteo’s home was built in 1948, so there are lots of squeaks and creaks. She lets guests know ahead of time that they will hear her when she walks around upstairs. Name Your Listing “Like choosing a color for your new car, naming your space is a tortuous journey,” Giammatteo says. She’s right — naming your Airbnb listing might seem like a shallow detail. But it matters. When guests scroll through places to stay on Airbnb, the first details they see are the pictures and name of your property. The title should provide an accurate description of the space, catch people’s eye and draw them in. Giammatteo recommends combining information about both your listing’s location and atmosphere. Her accommodation is listed as “Secluded Spa Retreat with Woodland Garden Deck in Queen Anne.” “Our space was designed to be a sanctuary, really — to envelop guests in the comfort of high-quality materials, plentiful lighting and a spa/luxury bathroom,” says Giammatteo. Think about what type of traveller would enjoy your home. (You might better pick up on this once you have your first few guests.) Is it set in a quiet part of town where people won’t be disturbed? Is it in the middle of everything, perfect for thrill-seekers? Giammatteo also made sure to include Queen Anne in the name, because the neighborhood is walking distance from downtown and a prime spot for festivals and trendy shops. Think about what your home’s location offers guests. Is it close to a lot of high-end restaurants? Does it provide a view of Mount Rainier? Is it near a Light Link Rail stop or the Seattle Art Museum? Let your guests know. Set House Rules Airbnb has a set list of rules you can opt into if you’d like them included in your listing. A few of these include: suitable for pets, no smoking allowed, and no events or parties allowed. You also have the option to write in additional rules. Giammatteo sets pretty standard rules for her guests, such as banning smoking and requiring people clean up after their pets. Like many Seattleites, she takes recycling seriously, so she requires guests to read and follow her recycling instructions. Set Up Your Calendar You’ll arrange a calendar of when guests can stay at your listing. This step is important, because Airbnb will charge you a fee if you cancel after guests have booked time at your home. Here are some questions you’ll answer: How often do you want to have guests? How much notice do you need before a guest arrives? How far in advance can guests book? What time can guests check in? How long can guests stay? You can change your calendar settings down the road, so you aren’t married to the dates and times you set now. Price Your Space Airbnb has a Smart Pricing tool. If you choose to use this, Airbnb will automatically adjust your pricing based on demand. For example, if the system notices that a lot of music lovers are booking Seattle spots for Bumbershoot or tourists are flocking to town in August in attempts to avoid the rain, it will likely increase the price of your listing at these times. You can set a price minimum and maximum so your h [...]
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Live in San Diego? You Could Make Money With This Side Gig All Year Long

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Live in San Diego? You Could Make Money With This Side Gig All Year Long
So you live in San Diego, the land of beaches, beautiful weather and a bunch of tourist attractions. Have you thought about becoming an Airbnb host? In a region that’s so expensive to live in, home sharing can be a great way to supplement your income. Thousands of Airbnb hosts list places in and around San Diego, according to data from the home sharing platform. “There’s so much to do here — the beaches, the harbor, all the microbreweries. Within one hour from here, you could be in the mountains or the desert,” says JoAnn Jaffe, a 60-year-old Airbnb Superhost. “It’s just a great place to be. There’s always something going on here.” Between the beaches, attractions like SeaWorld San Diego, and annual events like San Diego Beer Week, there’s a demand for space year-round. If you’re curious to see how much money you could make by listing your San Diego space, use the Airbnb calculator: Then, follow our step-by-step guide to set up a listing in the San Diego area. How to Create the Best Airbnb Listing in San Diego Before becoming an Airbnb host, you’ll want to check your local laws and prepare your space for guests. (We’ll get into that later.) Creating a listing itself is simple, but you’ll want to put some thought into it, so your space stands out from all the others. We’ll walk you through the process, plus share some pro tips from Jaffe, a yoga instructor and nonprofit organizer who lists a three-room suite in her historic home near the San Diego Convention Center. She’s been hosting since 2014. Answer Some Quick Questions About Your Space/Amenities In this first part of setting up your listing, you’ll answer some basic questions about your space, which could be anything — an apartment, an extra bedroom or house, a campsite, yurt or even an RV, depending on your local laws. Basic questions in this section include the number of guests your space can accommodate and the included amenities. If you don’t have an entire place, list your spare room. Set the Scene With Photos With Airbnb listings, photos are everything. “Have a good photographer,” stresses Jaffe, whose listing highlights the beauty of her restored historic Victorian home and its remodeled kitchen. The platform offers some basic photo tips, which include utilizing natural light, avoiding flash, and shooting in landscape mode from the corners of rooms, so you add perspective. Think about what makes your space and your location appealing, and illustrate those elements through photos. You might also include photos of the surrounding neighborhood and nearby tourist attractions. If you’re near the beach or the San Diego Zoo or the Gaslamp Quarter, include a picture of that!  Write a Description Once you hook people with your photos, continue to lead them through your listing with the description. Here, you’ll be able to highlight what makes your space unique — in Jaffe’s case, it’s the historic nature of her home and the availability of a three-room suite.  If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at other Airbnb listings in your area to see what other hosts highlight. In San Diego, hosts’ listings often make a point of noting exactly where in San Diego they’re located. So you’ll see titles like “Small Room Gaslamp/SeaWorld” or “RV near Mission Bay.”  After you host several guests, you’ll get to know your audience, so you can lean into that.  Name Your Listing This might seem like a small task, but naming your listing is just as important as nailing your photos. Airbnb urges hosts to create a title that highlights what’s unique about the space. Jaffe’s listing is named “San Diego Historic Victorian Private 3-Room Suite,” which highlights the most appealing things about her property. A three-room suite isn’t always easy to find on Airbnb, and the historic nature of her home appeals to certain travelers. Set House Rules Airbnb has a set list of rules you can opt into if you’d like them included in your listing. A few of these include: suitable for pets, smoking not allowed and whether events or parties are allowed. You also have the option to write in additional rules. Jaffe, for example, prefers to be present when her guests first arrive. “I’ve chosen not to have anyone come here when I’m not here to greet them,” she says.  Set up Your Calendar Taking time to set up your calendar is important, because if you cancel on your guests, Airbnb will charge you a penalty fee. A few questions you’ll answer include: How often do you want to have guests? How much notice do you need before a guest arrives? When can guests check in? How far in advance can guests book? How long can guests stay? You’ll be able to adjust these settings as you go, so you can find out what works best for you. Price Your Space Airbnb has a Smart Pricing tool, which you can opt into to automatically adjust the price of your listing according to demand. For example, when the demand spikes during San Diego Beer Week every November, Airbnb will likely increase the price of your listing automatically. You can set price minimums and maximums, so your listing won’t dip below a certain amount or spike to something unrealistic. Although Airbnb will suggest these amounts when you’re signing up, Jaffe urges new hosts to do their own research. Here are a few tips to help you determine these numbers: Consider your expenses, i.e. utilities, cleaning and any maintenance requirements. Be realistic. Search other Airbnb listings in your area and price just below those. When you’re starting out, you’ll want to price your place lower, so you can get guests in and accumulate reviews, which will help increase bookings in the long run. Note Your Local Laws You’re almost done setting up your listing! Now Airbnb will remind you to familiarize yourself with your local laws. San Diego officials have long debated restricting short-term rentals in the city, but there currently are no clear restrictive rules. In the city of San Diego, you have to get a Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate, which you can do online. You also have to pay a 10.5% tax on your rental income, which Airbnb collects and remits on behalf of hosts. Also Consider… In addition to hosting laws, you’ll also want to check with your homeowners association or landlord to make sure short-term rentals are permitted. Also note that short-term rentals could invalidate some homeowner’s insurance, so check these policies with your provider. Airbnb also includes liability insurance for up to $1 million, but Jaffe suggests setting aside some money for damages.  As you start booking guests, you’ll also want to keep tabs on expenses and revenue for tax purposes. She also reminds hosts to take advantage of tax deductions. Because she has guests staying in her space, she can deduct many charges as business expenses, including utilities, furniture, home improvement, even electronics — basically anything guests will also benefit from or use. Listen to Feedback from Your Guests If there’s anything about your guests’ experience you need to improve, they’ll let you know. All you have to do is listen. “Guests would tell me things, and I would accommodate them,” Jaffe says. “Someone would say, ‘You need a hook for the towels right by the bath,’ or ‘You don’t have enough wine glasses.’ So I went out and bought wine glasses.”  “I didn’t take the comments personally. I used them to inform how I was going to be a good host.” Ready to Give This Whole Hosting Thing a Try? How are you feeling? Like we said, listing your place on Airbnb is simple — but it does require some creativity and strategy. The good news is you can adjust or change your information and settings at any time, so you’re not locked into anything permanently. Jaffe’s favorite part of hosting has been all the interesting people she’s met. “Everyone who comes here has been genu [...]
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Here’s How You Could Get Homeowners Insurance for $25/Month (Seriously)

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Here’s How You Could Get Homeowners Insurance for $25/Month (Seriously)
Fires, lightning and hail. Windstorms, vandals and burglars. If you own a home, you need insurance to protect it from threats like these. Heck, if you have a mortgage on your home — like almost all of us do — you’re required to have homeowners insurance. And if you have homeowners or renters insurance, it’s a fact that you might be paying too much for it. That’s because insurance companies are notorious for charging wildly varying rates. Try shopping around. Start by getting a free quote. You literally have nothing to lose by doing this. We recommend checking out the online insurance company Lemonade, where renters insurance starts at $5 a month and home insurance starts at $25 a month. While homeowners insurance starts at $25, that doesn’t mean you’re skimping on coverage. Your ultimate price will depend on factors such as your home’s size, location and age; and the coverage amounts you choose. It’s just that Lemonade starts out at an affordable level. Here’s how easy it is to get a quote. You can do it all online, and it won’t hurt your credit score. Click “Check Our Prices.” Meet Maya, Lemonade’s friendly bot, who will ask you a few questions. Once you complete the application, you’ll receive a quote within a minute or two. Lemonade is a Transparent Beverage Beyond affordable rates, Lemonade adds a layer of transparency you don’t often see in the insurance world. Instead of profiting extra when it doesn’t have to pay out claims, the company keeps a set 20% of your premium for itself, and 80% goes into a pool for paying claims. Money left over after paying claims each year goes to a charitable cause of your choice. That also means Lemonade isn’t going to be conflicted about granting customers the claims they deserve — because the money isn’t going into its pockets. Homeowners insurance covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home if it gets damaged by fire or the kind of natural disaster insurers call “acts of God.” When you borrow money from a bank to buy a house, it’ll require you to insure that asset. Renters insurance covers the cost of replacing your possessions if they’re stolen or damaged by fire or vandalism. Most don’t cover flooding. Exactly what it covers depends on the policy. Here’s what else to know about Lemonade: There are no insurance agents. You do the whole thing online through Lemonade’s website or through its Apple or Android apps. You sign up and make claims online. It’s available in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin. You can get discounts for having safety equipment, such as fire and burglar alarms. It’s easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy. Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. When life gives him lemons, he squeezes them in people’s eyes. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Shopping Around for a Mortgage Could Make You $30K Richer

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Shopping Around for a Mortgage Could Make You $30K Richer
When you purchase a home, the wheeling and dealing typically begins when you put an offer in. But home buyers who think the only opportunity to save big comes during those negotiations may miss a relatively effortless way to pay significantly less. Comparing lenders is something just 50% of home buyers do, according to our... Elizabeth Renter is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: elizabeth@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @elizabethrenter. The article Shopping Around for a Mortgage Could Make You $30K Richer originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Got Credit Card Debt? Paying Biweekly Could Save You Hundreds on Interest

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Got Credit Card Debt? Paying Biweekly Could Save You Hundreds on Interest
It happens every month: The credit card bill is due. You dutifully send your minimum payment on the due date — but watch the balance grow ever larger. But what if you could pay half that amount every two weeks instead of one payment every month? More payments, you say? Thanks, I’ll pass. But what if the new payment schedule could save you hundreds of dollars? Biweekly payments are a simple way to reduce your balance and the amount you pay in interest. Here’s what you need to know. How Do Biweekly Payments Work? You may have already heard of — or received offers for — biweekly payment plans for debts like your mortgage. Here’s how one works: Let’s say your monthly payment for a debt is $500. If you pay that amount each month, you’ll make 12 payments each year for a total of $6,000. If you make biweekly payments, you pay $250 every two weeks. But because there are 52 weeks in a calendar year (thanks to that wacky Gregorian), you’ll make 26 half payments or 13 full payments each year, for a total of $6,500. That reduces your principal by $500 in one year and thus reduces the amount of interest you’ll pay on the remaining balance. Depending on how much you owe and how your debt is structured, you could shave months or years off of a payment plan. An amortization schedule is a table listing regular payments for the life of a loan. Each amount includes a little more toward principal and a little less toward interest as your balance goes down. You can check out your loan’s amortization schedule and online biweekly payment calculators to see just how much you’ll save by paying off principal early. How to Decide if a Biweekly Payment Plan Is Worth It There are three questions to ask about your debt before switching to a biweekly payment plan, according to Brian Walsh, Certified Financial Planner and manager of financial planning at SoFi, a personal finance company: 1. What is the interest rate on the debt? Before you start planning out a new payment schedule, you should first know if it’s worth your effort. That starts with knowing how much interest you’re being charged on a debt. “We consider good debt as anything with an interest rate below 7% and bad debt, anything with an interest rate above 7%,” Walsh said. Rather than paying off  “good debt” early, you can often put your money to better use by investing in IRAs, 401(k)s and other accounts that offer a higher interest rate than the one you’re paying. Pro Tip Considering biweekly payments for a student loan? Current interest rates on direct federal loans for undergraduates is 5.05%, while Direct PLUS Loans for parents or graduate students is 7.6%. So if you have a mortgage charging 5% interest and an IRA earning 8%, you’ll make more money in the long term by continuing with your current monthly debt payment plan and putting that extra money toward your IRA. But if you have an auto loan charging 9% interest, you should consider a biweekly payment plan to pay down that debt faster. 2.  Are there any prepayment penalties associated with the debt? Before starting a biweekly payment plan, review loan contracts to be sure it doesn’t include a prepayment penalty. If it does, you’ll be charged extra for paying off a loan or a large portion in a single payment, which could offset any benefits you reap in interest savings. 3. Can you apply the extra payments toward principal? This question typically requires you to simply tell your lender — via phone, email or letter — that you want extra payments applied toward your principal amount, not the interest. That allows you to pay down the debt faster and avoid paying extra in interest. When it comes to meeting all three criteria, there’s typically one debt that’s a clear winner, according to Walsh. “Whenever we come across credit cards, to me, that’s a no brainer,” Walsh said. “People should be setting up biweekly and more frequent payments when it comes to a credit card.” Why You Should Set Up Biweekly Credit Card Payments If there’s ever a chance you’ll carry over a balance from month to month on your credit card, biweekly payments can save you hundreds in interest, according to Walsh. A grace period is the time between when a statement closes and the due date. The 2009 Credit Card Act requires that if a credit card company offers a grace period, it must last at least 21 days. The problem with credit card debt is that unless you pay off the full balance every month, you lose the grace period credit cards typically offer and start accruing interest on a daily basis. By making biweekly payments, you’ll not only knock out more of the balance, you’ll avoid accruing additional interest in those 14 days between payments. Why Biweekly Mortgage Payments May Not Be Worth It So credit card biweekly payments may sound all well and good, but what about knocking out most people’s biggest debt, the mortgage? Not so fast, say the experts. Using a biweekly payment plan to pay down your mortgage typically isn’t the best financial decision, according to Jason B. Ball, a certified financial planner with Ball Comprehensive Planning in West Linn, Oregon. To illustrate this, Ball offered a scenario using the example of a house purchased for $300,000 with a down payment of $50,000 and an interest rate of 4.2%:   Traditional Monthly Payment Biweekly Payment Payment Amount $1,256.97 $628.49 Total Interest Paid $182,510.84 $153,169.81 Pay-off Date 30 years 25 years, 8 months Here’s how much you can expect to save by making a biweekly payment as opposed to a traditional monthly payment: Interest: $29,341.03 Time: 4 years, 4 months “In our example, it looks to save about four years,” he wrote in an email. “It is also interesting to note that most people do not live in their home that long. The typical buyer could be expected to stay in a single-family home roughly 12 years before moving out.” Yes, you’d save on interest (although not as much if you move out before you finish paying off the mortgage), but Ball notes that at 4.2%, you could put your extra payments to better use by investing that money in higher yielding investments like a 401(k). And although it might make you feel better about not having a mortgage hanging over your head (and there are other benefits to paying off your mortgage early), there’s a good chance a paid-off house won’t help you out that much financially even if you do decide to stay there when you retire. “If you put all your money into your mortgage, you may be house rich at retirement, but you need to look at how you will turn that asset into a monthly paycheck at retirement,” Ball wrote. “Typically, pre-paying the mortgage yields a lower probability of retirement success than other options.”   FROM THE DEBT FORUM What is the best way to consolidate my credit cards into one payment 6/5/19 @ 7:03 PM My townhome is just a money pit 6/4/19 @ 4:48 PM Senior Couple drowning in debt 1/22/19 @ 9:44 AM B Great Student Loan payoff apps. 5/8/19 @ 4:44 PM See more in Debt or ask a money question Should You DIY Biweekly Payments? So you’ve weighed the pros and cons, and you’re ready to put yourself on a biweekly payment plan. Now what [...]
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