Free PayPal Money Instantly No Surveys My Financial Hill
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Free PayPal Money Instantly No Surveys

Getting free PayPal money instantly without surveys is an easy way to get some extra bucks in your hands.

The best part about getting this free PayPal money is there's no hoops to jump through.

All you need to do is just go about your normal life and get free money without having to bust your butt!

I earn free PayPal money by playing fun games on my phone while I'm sitting on the couch watching my TV shows, or earn free money when I go grocery shopping, and even shop online.

There's so many different ways you could be missing out on free money but don't worry!

I'll be covering some of the best ways you could get some good PayPal cash in your hands ASAP!

How to earn free PayPal money instantly 

Swagbucks

Swagbucks Welcome Bonus Earn Free PayPal Money My Financial Hill

Swagbucks is one of my favorite places to earn free PayPal money online. It offers a lot of ways to earn extra cash which includes playing games (my favorite), watching videos, or trying different apps, and so much more.

Another thing to mention is that Swagbucks is a reputable company with over 20,000 reviews on Trustpilot with a healthy score of 4.3.

They're currently offering a sweet $10 sign up bonus which is a nice incentive just to try them out.

I've made over $211 by just playing the games with this site while I'm sitting on the couch watching my favorite TV shows. Some games offer 5,000 points which is about $50 in free PayPal money or gift card if you prefer.

Swagbucks is definitely one of the easiest ways you could earn free PayPal money fast.

Sign Up Bonus: $10 welcome bonus

Payment Method: Get your free money sent to your PayPal, form of a check, or with gift cards.

Minimum Payout Threshold: 2,500 points or equivalent which is $25.

Ibotta

Ibotta Welcome Bonus  Earn Free PayPal Money My Financial Hill

Ibotta is another one of my favorite ways to get free PayPal money.

You can basically get free cash back when you go grocery shopping at your local stores like Walmart, Kroger, Aldi, Target, and countless other stores.

Besides grocery shopping, you can get cash back both online and in-store as well.

I mainly use Ibotta when I do my weekly grocery shopping at Kroger or Walmart. It's super simple to use.

If you plan to get free money back with Ibotta, prior to a shopping trip check out the app. Pick your goods and add them to your list. Once you're done shopping, simply scan your receipt and just watch the free money roll in. Oh and by the way, you can still use Ibotta after your shopping trip too!

One of my Walmart trips, I've earned over $8 free cash back which was pretty sweet! Oh and by the way, I've received over $100 cash back using Ibotta too.

If you don't want to waste free money, use Ibotta for your shopping trips to get free PayPal money.

Earn your first $20 sign up bonus when you register with them with this link and use code: Ibotta!

Ibotta is a great way to get your $20 free PayPal money instantly.

Sign Up Bonus: $20 with code YDIGCFJ

Payment Methods: You can get your earnings straight into your PayPal, Venmo, or gift cards.

Minimum Payout threshold: Once you reach $20 in earnings, redeem it and get free PayPal money

Rakuten

Rakuten Welcome Bonus  Earn Free PayPal Money My Financial Hill

Rakuten is another awesome cash back site where you can earn free PayPal money online when you shop. It's also known to be one of the most popular cash back apps to use these days.

If you've been doing a lot of online shopping, you could be leaving free money on the table.

With Rakuten, you could be missing out on free cash back along with good shopping deals.

I've earned over $100 in cash back earnings by simply using Rakuten before I buy anything online so I know for a fact that it's legit and they pay you real free money.

What's even easier with Rakuten is their browser extension which automatically looks for cash back offers when you're doing some online shopping. It makes getting free money so easy.

Earn your first free $10 on them when you make your first online purchase using Rakuten. You could also earn $10 on top when you download the Rakuten browser extension.

Sign Up Bonus: $10 sign up bonus

Payment Method: PayPal cash or check

Minimum Payout Threshold: Withdraw your free money once you reach $5.

InboxDollars

InboxDollars Welcome Bonus  Earn Free PayPal Money My Financial Hill

InboxDollars is a popular company that pays its users real money for doing things like play games, try apps, complete tasks, take surveys and more.

What I like about InboxDollars is that instead of points you'll actually get the real dollar amount when you complete a certain task, so it leaves no confusion in terms of trying to figure out how much you're earning per each task.

InboxDollars is another reputable site that does pay it's users real money.

Signing up will get you a sweet $5 bonus once you sign up and activate your account.

Sign Up Bonus: $5 Sign up bonus

Payment Method: PayPal, gift cards, or check

Minimum Payment Threshold: $30

MyPoints

MyPoints Welcome Bonus  Earn Free PayPal Money My Financial Hill

MyPoints is a site similar to Swagbucks where they reward you for simple things like shopping online, playing games, watching videos, or searching the web.

When you first signing up, you'll receive a free $10 Amazon or Visa gift card when you spend the first $20 at your favorite online store.

Sign Up Bonus: $10 welcome bonus

Payment Method: PayPal cash, Visa prepaid card, gift cards, or travel miles.

Minimum Payment Threshold: Once you earn $3, you can redeem the earnings for free PayPal cash or a Visa prepaid card, choose from 70+ gift cards, or travel miles. 

CoinOut

Coinout Main Page  Earn Free PayPal Money My Financial Hill

CoinOut is a pretty fun receipt snapping cash back app. It's unlike other receipt scanning apps. It's almost too simple to use.

There are no hoops to jump through to start earning money with this app. You can scan any receipt but it just has to show:

  • Merchant name
  • Date - be within 2 weeks of purchase
  • Show all items purchased
  • Total Spent

I earned $.78 for scanning 8 of my receipts when I first tried this app. It doesn't sound like much but it all adds up over time, plus we're talking free money here, who doesn't like that?

Another interesting part about using CoinOut is after you snap your receipt, you'll see a notification telling you how much you've just earned. One of my receipts got me $.14, sweet!

I use a few receipt scanning apps already and this one is definitely going in to my receipt scanning routine.

Payment Methods: PayPal, gift cards, or bank deposit

Minimum Payout Threshold: None for the gift cards but there is a minimum for PayPal which is $10.

HealthyWage

HealthyWage  Earn Free PayPal Money My Financial Hill

If you set a personal fitness goal for yourself and are working on losing weight, then you could be earning free money alongside meeting your goal.

That's where HealthyWage comes in. With this site and app, you set your weight loss goal. During your journey, you'll submit progress photos of yourself and once you achieve the goal, you get paid!

It's a great motivator because not only does it give you cash incentive to reach your goal, there are other people striving for the same goal too.

It'll be a fun way to keep yourself motivated.

Payment Method: PayPal cash or check

Sweatcoin

Sweatcoin  Earn Free PayPal Money My Financial Hill

Sweatcoin is a health app that actually pays you to stay healthy by walking, how awesome is that?

If you're already in the habit of walking or would like to start making it a part of your lifestyle, what better way than to also make money at the same time.

Once you download the app, Sweatcoin tracks your steps throughout the day (like a pedometer or health tracker that's already on your phone).

Sweatcoin will reward you with each step you take. To think of it simply, in U.S dollars every 1,000 steps will earn you around $0.05.

It may not be much and you may certainly not get filthy rich from it but if you're already going on walks or plan to, let yourself make a little bit of side cash while doing so. You never know what that extra bit of money can come in handy.

Payment Method: PayPal, fitness gear, apple watches, iPhones

Minimum Payout Threshold: None-only depends on the merchandise that you're aiming to get.

Paribus

Paribus  Earn Free PayPal Money My Financial Hill

When it comes to fighting to get your money back when you're shopping online, Paribus will be your friend.

Say for instance, you paid $40 for sneakers but later the price of that item dropped down to $28. Guess what, Paribus will monitor that online price drop and get you a refund on that difference.

Another bonus is, if you've ordered an item and it's been shipped late or arrived later than expected, this service will help you negotiate a refund of the shipping cost.

Paribus is free and has saved shoppers well over $29,000,000 so far.

Payment Method: Refunds are processed using what you've used for payment. It could be PayPal or a credit card.

Minimum Payout Threshold: None

Dosh

Dosh Earn Free PayPal Money My Financial Hill

Dosh is another app that gets you free PayPal money without the need of taking any surveys. It gets you money back on your purchases automatically once you've linked up your credit or debit card to Dosh.

This app automatically recognizes when you've made a purchase with one of their participating retailers. You'll then receive points based on the cashback deal they've currently got running - all on auto pilot.

Your info will be safe with Dosh so no worries there, just go about your life, shop as usual and get that free money back.

With Dosh, you can gain enough points to redeem up to $5 per day which isn't too bad at all.

Payout Method: PayPal, Venmo, or direct deposit

Minimum Payout Threshold: $25

Honeygain

Honeygain Earn Free PayPal Money My Financial Hill

Honeygain is another great way to get free paypal money passively. If you have internet connection then most likely there will be excess amount of bandwidth that you're not using.

This is where Honeygain comes in. It allows you to share your idle internet connection securely and get paid passively.

You can use Honeygain to share your internet connection on any PC, cellphone, and tablet.

It's a great way to earn up to $50 a month without you having to lift a finger to earn the free money.

Payment Method: PayPal and Bitcoin

Minimum Payout Threshold: $20

Money App - Cash & Rewards App

Money App Earn Free PayPal Money My Financial Hill

Money App will get you a bit of side money for doing simple things with your phone like completing tasks, checking store displays, be a mystery shopper, test services, play games, try apps, give opinions, among so much more.

Money App also has over 120,000 ratings with an average score of 4.9, solid!

With a bit of time on your hands, you can use Money App to get free PayPal money which will get deposited into your account in 2-3 working days.

When you complete certain tasks, you'll get credits which can be redeemed for payment.

Don't expect to get filthy rich with this app but use it leisurely and next thing you know, you may have an extra $50 or more laying around.

Payment Method: PayPal

Minimum Payout Threshold: 5000 credits which is equal to $5

FeaturePoints

FeaturePoints Earn Free PayPal Money My Financial Hill

FeaturePoints let's you earn money by playing games among other activities like watching videos, downloading and trying apps, taking surveys only if you want to, and shopping online. You can earn free PayPal money fast with this app.

If you have a long commute to work or have some extra time, why not earn some money in the mean time with FeaturePoints.

Payment Method: PayPal, gift cards with Amazon, App Store, Xbox, PlayStation, Starbucks, Bitcoin, and more.

Minimum Payout Threshold: 1,800 points which is an equivalent of $3

AppKarma

AppKarma Earn Free PayPal Money My Financial Hill

If you like playing games then AppKarma is the app to try. With a 4.7 Star rating on Google Play, this app beats a lot of the other competitors out there that pay you to play games.

Besides playing games, you can also take quizzes, receive credit for achievement badges, or for referrals.

Payment Method: PayPal, gift cards from Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Walmart, Target, Xbox Live, Starbucks, Playstation, among others.

Minimum Payout Threshold: 6,000 AppKarma Points which equals $5 in PayPal.

Match To Win

Match To Win is a really fun way to earn a bit of money. It reminds me of candy crush in a way. You'll also get your chance to win real money with scratch cards. I won $.30 within the first 5 minutes of playing the game.

It also helps that Match To Win has over 121,000 ratings in the Apple App Store with an average score of 4.5 which is very good for a cash to play app.

It's a cute game that gets you free PayPal money when you want to play something to pass time.

Payment Method: PayPal or an Amazon gift card

Minimum Payout Threshold: $7

Bubble Cash

Do you remember playing bubble popping video games? Have you ever played them on your phone or tablet? Well, if you love that game then you could be making some money while you play!

Bubble Cash has over 22,000 ratings with an average score of 4.6 in the Apple App Store. It's getting people free money to play one of their favorite games.

When you get started, you'll be playing free games and earn "gems". Once you collect 120 "gems", you can compete in their "Freeroll" tournament which pays the top three players to win anywhere from $1 to $83.

This free money is nothing to pass by especially if you love popping them bubbles!

Side Note: Only available for Apple devices.

Payment Method: PayPal

Wealth Words

If you're more of a crosswords person then Wealth Words is perfect for you. You can play Wealth Words on the PC, mobile, or tablet.

If you love spending time working on crosswords, you can also win some cash prizes with this app.

Payment Method: PayPal

Minimum Payout Threshold: $20

CashPirate Buzz

CashPirate Buzz app is another way you Android users can get free PayPal money by playing games. Besides games, you can also participate in quick picks and take surveys for money.

With CashPirate Buzz, you'll get "coins" which is sort of their point system for trying different apps out and fulfilling the goal for that particular app.

It could be as simple as just downloading it, or finishing a tutorial of the app, and even reaching a certain level of the game. You totally have the option to pick and choose which apps you want to try out.

If you ever get bored and would like to make some money then try this app out.

Some users make over $100 a month with this app, which is a pretty good amount.

Payment Method: PayPal or Visa cards, or a Facebook gift card

Minimum Payout Threshold: 2,500 coins which is the same as a $2.50 PayPal cash payout.

MooCash

Moocash Earn Free PayPal Money My Financial Hill

MooCash is an app that pays you for displaying ads on your lock screen and engaging with it. Another way to earn money with this app is installing apps and trying them out which can earn you $.30 cents to $1.

You're most likely not going to get super rich with MooCash but it can earn you a few extra bucks a month just for interacting with ads when you have some spare time on your hands.

Payment Method: PayPal or gift cards at popular retailers

Minimum Payout Threshold: 5,000 points which is worth $5

ScreenLift

ScreenLift is an app that pays you to display an ad on your phone's lock screen. You don't even have to interact with the ad whatsoever. Once you unlock your phone, the ad disappears.

You can expect to make around $20 a month with ScreenLift. It's a good way to earn free PayPal money which you can use for a free cup of coffee or lunch for the month.

You may be thinking what's $20 a month? If you add it up for the year, it's $240 which can get you some free goodies like drinks or food throughout the year.

Payment Method: PayPal, gift cards for Google Play, Amazon, or Wal-Mart.

Minimum Payout Threshold: 1,500 points which is $1

How to get free PayPal money with surveys

Now that we've covered tons of ways to earn free PayPal money without surveys, let's go over a few ways you can earn with surveys if you decide to change your mind.

There are sites out there that'll pay you for taking surveys or getting your opinion about services, products, experiences, and so much more.

A lot of these survey sites will pay you via PayPal or reward you with gift cards.

You may not get super rich off taking surveys but it can definitely get you some nice side cash and it'll come in handy when you need it.

Survey Junkie

Survey Junkie is one of the most popular sites when it comes to getting access to surveys.

Getting started with Survey Junkie is really easy.

  • Sign up to create your account and complete your profile as best as you can.
  • Then you can pick and choose the surveys that offer the most points and answer them on a consistent basis.

If you do like taking surveys, then Survey Junkie is one of the top sites to get paid for your opinions.

Payment Methods: PayPal and e-gift cards.

Minimum Payout Threshold: $5 to start redeeming your points.

Swagbucks

Swagbucks as mentioned earlier is a great site and app where I earn free PayPal money fast on my free time. Swagbucks offers a lot of ways to earn points which can be redeemed for cash. Besides all the other ways of earning points like playing games, trying apps, completing tasks and more, you can also participate in surveys too.

I have actually earned rewards in the form of points by taking surveys with Swagbucks. However, I prefer to stick with playing games through Swagbucks. Whatever you want to do, the choice is up to you when it comes to earning points with them.

Sign Up Bonus: $10 sign up bonus

Payment Method: Get your free money sent to your PayPal, form of a check, or with gift cards.

Minimum Payout Threshold: PayPal is 2,500 Swagbucks or equivalent which is $25.

InboxDollars

Besides completing tasks with InboxDollars, you can also take surveys with them too. 

If you're up for a bit of variety as far as different ways to make a bit of side cash, InboxDollars has multiple options for you to do just that. 

Try it out if you get some spare time for fun to get some extra dollars in your PayPal account. 

Signing up here will get you a sweet $5 bonus once you register and activate your account.

Sign Up Bonus: $5 sign up bonus

Payment Method: PayPal, gift cards, or check

Minimum Payment Threshold: $30

Respondent

Respondent is not a survey site like some we've mentioned but it does involve answering questions if you're up for it.

It pretty much functions like an online focus group. First, you'll create your profile which you can provide details about yourself and views. That way their system can match you into certain target demographics.

Once your profile's been completed, you can then participate in sessions which can range anywhere from 15 minutes up to one hour.

You can earn up to $125 just for answering one hour of questions.

Participating in Respondent can take up some more work and time but the payouts are really good if you're willing to spend some time answering questions.

Respondent could be a great side hustle to make some extra money online in your spare time.

Payment Method: PayPal

Minimum Payment Threshold: $.01

PrizeRebel

PrizeRebel is one of the best ways to make PayPal money fast, they pay within 24 hours. In some cases, people have been paid out instantly.

You can make money with PrizeRebel by taking surveys, watch a video, make internet searches, or refer others.

If you stay active with this site, you can work your way up towards their loyalty system which gets you even more points on the same tasks the higher up you go.

Payment Method: PayPal or Amazon gift card

Minimum Payment Threshold: $5

Vindale Research

Vindale Research is one of many high paying survey sites. You may be able to find surveys rewarding up to $50.

Besides the United States, Vindale allows those from Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia to participate in their surveys as well.

To cash out from Vindale, you'll need at least $50 minimum but that's attainable because of their high payout rate.

Payment Method: PayPal

Minimum Payment Threshold: $50

LifePoints

Next, we have LifePoints which is another great survey site for earning PayPal money fast.

As soon as you join LifePoints, you'll be given bonus points just for joining. From there, you'll get the chance to earn more points for taking surveys which takes about 10-15 minutes to complete.

LifePoints is known to be a survey site, there are times when they'll offer product testing for points. It's another good way to rack up the points.

You can expect to get points credited to your account within 10 days.

Payment Method: PayPal, gift cards to Amazon, Starbucks, iTunes, among others.

Minimum Payment Threshold: $10

Opinion Outpost

Opinion Outpost is another great survey site which gets you free PayPal money instantly. You can expect to cash out your funds within 15 minutes up to 48 hours.

You can expect to earn anywhere around $0.50 to $5 per survey which may take a few minutes to around 30 minutes to complete.

Another way to boost your earnings with Opinion Outpost is being included in quarterly chances to win $10,000 as well as referring your friends.

If you want to earn PayPal money fast, then Opinion Outpost is a good survey site that helps you do just that.

Payment Method: PayPal, MileagePlus Award miles, and gift cards for Amazon

Minimum Payment Threshold: $10

FAQ-Free Paypal Cash

How can I get free PayPal money?

First, you need to open up a PayPal account. In order to receive your free PayPal money, sign up and join any one of those companies mentioned.

Each of those companies offers many different ways in which you can earn points or free money. You have the option of playing games, scanning receipts, getting cash back, fulfilling tasks, walking and so much more.

You can pick and choose which one you prefer. Those points or even the actual money will get credited to your account which you can redeem when you need it.

How can I get free PayPal money with no surveys?

There are a ton of ways to earn free PayPal money without needing to complete any surveys. 

You can earn money playing games on your phone, get cash back from groceries, scan your everyday receipts, complete easy tasks, and so much more. 

Here's a recap of everything that we've covered. 

My top choices for easily earning free money to your PayPal account would be Swagbucks, Ibotta, Rakuten, InboxDollars, and Mypoints because of their sweet sign up bonuses. 

SITE / APP

DESCRIPTION

sign up

Swagbucks

Play games, complete tasks and more

Ibotta

Cash back for groceries and more

Rakuten

Cash back for shopping online

InboxDollars

Play games, complete tasks, and more

MyPoints

Play games, complete tasks, and more

CoinOut

Scan receipts

HealthyWage

Earn while losing weight

Sweatcoin

Earn while you walk

Paribus

Get money back on purchases

Dosh

Get money back on purchases

Honeygain

Share your internet connection safely

Money App

Play games, complete tasks, and more

FeaturePoints

Play games, watch videos, tasks, and more

AppKarma

Play games, quizzes, and more

Match To Win

Play games and scratch free e-tickets

Bubble Cash

Play a bubble pop game and earn

Wealth Words

Play crosswords and win money

CashPirate Buzz

Play games and more

MooCash

Display ads on phone lock screen

ScreenLift

Display ads on phone lock screen

How can I get PayPal money instantly?

The best way to get free PayPal money instantly is by joining the apps and sites that offer a welcome bonus. In some cases, you may be able to cash out right after you complete your profile and answer a few questions.

My favorite way to get PayPal money instantly would be through Ibotta. You'll get a $20 welcome bonus which you can cash out once that amount hits your account.

How can I get a free $100 with PayPal?

The best part about earning your free $100 with PayPal is just how easy it is. You don't have to go out there and work a whole day to earn your free $100.

This simple strategy will get you the $100 fast and without breaking a sweat.

Here are the top 3 sites and or apps to use to get that $100 quick:

So let's see just how this works, shall we?

You can get $40 total for welcome bonuses when you sign up with Swagbucks, Ibotta, and Rakuten. Then, you can refer 2 people to sign up to Ibotta and Rakuten which will give you a total of $60.

$40 worth of welcome bonuses and $60 worth of referral bonuses will give you a sweet $100 of FREE PayPal money instantly, easy breezy!

How can I get $50 for free on PayPal?

In order to get $50 easily straight to your PayPal, you can simply collect $40 worth of welcome bonuses with:

Once you have your $40, you can refer some of your friends to sign up to either company which will get you a nice referral bonus.

Rakuten offers the highest amount for a referral bonus so as long as you refer just 1 additional friend, you'll receive an extra $25.

Receiving $40 worth of welcome bonuses with a referral bonus of $25 through Rakuten will get you more than the $50 of free PayPal money you're looking for.

How can I get $20 right now?

The fastest way to get your $20 right now would be to sign up with Ibotta.

They offer the highest in welcome bonuses which is $20. Once you get the $20 credited to your account, you can easily cash out to your PayPal account or redeem it through Venmo and gift cards too.

Takeaway

We've covered so many ways for you to get some nice free PayPal money online or with your mobile device without really having to bend over backwards trying to get it.

It's practically free money that you could be leaving on the table without using these sites and apps.

You have the option of earning this free money as a simple side hustle, granted you may not be making thousands but a few hundred is still nice to have.

So, if you have a bit of time on your hands, you could be playing games on your phone, get money back when you shop, or even passively earn money by having ads on your lock screen.

There's plenty of ways to get free PayPal money the easy way without taking any surveys.

Personally, I've earned more than $400 with sites like Swagbucks, Ibotta, and Rakuten combined, so I know for a fact these sites are legit and you get real money. Give it a try, they're great!

I hope I've given you plenty of options to choose from so you can decide which site or app to try and start earning some free PayPal cash.

Good luck! 

PS: Besides trying to make more money with PayPal, you can find money even more cash by finding some ways to save. 

Check out my other article 90+ Best Money Saving Tips.

​Read More
5 Tips to Build Your Emergency Fund Fast - My Financial Hill
Money

5 Tips to Build Your Emergency Fund Fast

Life can be so unpredictable. You never know when you can lose your job, when a pandemic will hit, experience a natural disaster, total your car, you get the point. This is why everyone needs an emergency fund.

There’s simple ways you can build your emergency fund up really fast by doing a couple of things like eating at home more than going to restaurants, or switching your electric bill, but we’ll go into all of that shortly. First, let’s take a peek and see what this whole emergency fund deal is about, shall we?

What is an emergency fund?

Have you ever heard the saying “When it rains it pours”? Sometimes the worst things can happen at the worst possible time.

We can never predict when those bad things can happen but the least we can do is prepare for it.

An emergency fund is money set aside to cover you for a set period of time when unpredictable events happen that affect your income.

It can provide a buffer for you in case there are months where you don’t have income or you experience a major expense that zaps all your money.

What is an emergency fund used for?

An emergency fund is money set aside to cover you for unexpected events like a loss of a job, medical or dental emergency, car repair, home repair, or not planned travel expenses.

Why an emergency fund is important

The worst situation to be in is to have bad events take place and not be financially prepared for it.

For instance, if a family relies on 1 person to be the breadwinner and all of a sudden the company they worked for was bought out by another company and laid off a whole bunch of people, what then? Can the sole breadwinner pay their mortgage or rent with a credit card? It’s unlikely,  however there may be ways around that but it’ll cost more!

Or what if you own a home and all of a sudden your pipe burst flooding your whole first floor, you can’t wait for insurance to process it, and you need it fixed right away. All your credit cards are maxed out, then what?

You get the point, it’s always best to be prepared because you just never know.

Why start an emergency fund

Starting an emergency fund can give you a peace of mind when dealing with a crisis.

It’s best to start one when things are good and you actually have the opportunity to save.

Do this for you and your family’s financial well being. When unexpected things occur, you may have some slight relief to know that you have the funds to back yourself up when things get hard.

I wish someone told me this back then. In my 20’s my dog ended up getting hit by a car and needed surgery to fix her leg. I didn’t have any savings at that point so I used my credit card for her surgery. I probably held on to that debt for years paying over $1,000 in interest.

You don’t want to get stuck with having to resort to using credit cards for paying for big emergencies only to end up paying hundreds or thousands of interest over time because you were left in a bind.

What should an emergency fund cover?

An emergency fund should cover at least 1-6 months worth of living expenses. Ideally, it should cover 3-6 months of expenses but it’s great to start saving for your 1 month worth of expenses as soon as you can.

It can cover expenses like:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Utilities + Telecom (Electric, gas, water, phone, cable, internet) $200
  • Healthcare (Medical, Dental)
  • Insurance  (Car, Life, Home, etc.) 
  • Transportation (Gas, Tolls, etc.)
  • Personal Expenses (Childcare, pets, etc.)
  • Minimum Debt Payment

It shouldn’t cover things like:

  • Vacation
  • Clothes shopping
  • Spa treatments
  • Electronics/Games

How should I calculate my emergency fund?

The best way to calculate how much you’ll need saved up is by adding up all your monthly amounts for your living expenses categories.

Example:

Housing$800
Food$400
Utilities + Telecom (Electric, Gas, Water, Phone, Cable, Internet, etc. $400
Healthcare (Medical, Dental)$180
Insurance (Car, Life, Home, etc.)$200
Transportation (Car Payment, Gas, Tolls, etc.)$75
Personal Expenses (Childcare, Pets, etc.)$200
Minimum Debt Payments$400
Total 1 Month Expenses$2,655
$2,655 X 2 Month Expenses$5,310
$2,655 X 3 Months Expenses$7,965
$2,655 X 4 Months Expenses$10,620
$2,655 X 5 Months Expenses$13,275
$2,655 X 6 Months Expenses$15,930

How much emergency fund should you have?

Remember, this is your emergency fund so go with the savings goal that you feel most comfortable with and works best for your situation.

Most importantly, aim to get at least a 1 month emergency fund in your account. Then you can later start aiming for the 2-6 months worth of expenses. 

For me personally, we saved a 3 months emergency fund. We also had a lot of debt, over $120,000 worth so we wanted to get started ASAP on knocking out our debt.

Read more about that here:

How To Get Out of Debt With These 5 Tips

If you want to start your own debt free journey, grab your free debt thermometer and enroll in the free 5-day Debt Free Bootcamp to finally take back control over your money.

5 Tips to Build Your Emergency Fund Fast

5 Tips to Build Your Emergency Fund Fast - My Financial Hill

1. Budget

It helps to give you better control over your finances. You may even be surprised to see that you have hundreds or thousands left over to use towards your emergency fund.

Budgeting showed me that my hubs and I were spending nearly $1,000 a month just on food. That’s a lot isn’t it? You’d be surprised how much those $5 Starbucks drinks or $10 lunches add up to in a month.

Set aside room in your budget to save for your emergency fund.

2. Cut Unnecessary Expenses

Did you know that you can literally be saving hundreds a month just by switching companies, finding less expensive alternatives, and cancelling unused services? Hundreds a month turns to thousands of savings in a year.

Don’t you want more money in your pockets starting now?

Some things you can look into for savings:

  • Pack your lunches and eat at home more often
    • It’s way healthier and saves you tons of money.
    • We saved $500 a month just by packing our own lunches and cooking at home during the weekdays.
  • Negotiate or change energy providers
  • Shop around for cheaper car insurance or home insurance plans
  • Shop for cheaper home and cell phone plans
    • We saved $1,764 a year just by switching our cell phone carriers from Verizon to Cricket Wireless. The strangest part was that my service worked a whole lot better when I switched. We pay $80 a month for two lines, unlimited data, unlimited text, unlimited calls, plus by hubby got a free smart phone when he came on to Cricket. I was also able to switch my iPhone over from Verizon to Cricket.
    • You could be saving over $1,000 a year just by making a simple switch.

Cricket Wireless

Use this special link to get $25 off your first month

  • There are also other cellphone companies like Metro PCS and Boost Mobile stores which all offer great rates at very affordable prices, check them out.

Read More:

How We Saved Over $1,000 a Year on Our Phone Bill Just By Making These 2 Small Changes

  • Cut cable without really cutting it out
    • Cable TV was something I didn’t want to part with. I love my reality TV shows, don’t judge! Guess what? We were able to cut the cable with our internet/cable provider but still stream our favorite channels with something called Philo. Our internet cable bill went from $152 down to $55 ($97 a month or $1,164 a year in savings) and we don’t miss any of our favorite shows.
    • To use Philo, all you need is internet and a streaming device like a Roku, Amazon Firestick, or Apple TV.
    • PROS OF PHILO
      • Has 61 popular channels including A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, BET, CMT, Comedy Central, Cooking channel, Discovery, Food Network, Hallmark, HGTV, Lifetime, MTV, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, TLC, Travel, VH1, and much more.
      • If you follow a particular show, Philo is going to have all the previous seasons on demand.
      • Live stream your channels just like cable.
      • Ability to fast forward through commercials just like cable
      • Unlimited DVR space
    • CONS OF PHILO
      • No local channels (Use a free service called Locast.org for local channels
    • Overall, there really is not much to dislike about Philo, it’s basically the same as having cable but at more than half the cost. Going with Philo has been one of the best decisions. There’s no reason to give more hard earned money away to companies for no reason. Check them out, you won’t regret it.

PHILO

Streaming service that lets you watch your favorite channels live, all seasons, plus unlimited DVR just for $20 a month.

Sign up for free here at Philo and try it free for 7 days. (That’s what I did before cancelling the cable)

  • Cancel unnecessary subscriptions and memberships
    • Do you have subscriptions to things like monthly makeup bags, monthly goody boxes, and more? Have you really used the boxes to it’s fullest? If not, then go ahead and cancel the subscriptions. It’ll save you hundreds over the long run.
    • I cancelled two of my makeup boxes with Ipsy and Sephora because I only really ended up using just 1 or 2 things from the boxes and the rest started turning into clutter. I ended up saving $22 a month or $264 a year.
    • The same goes for membership programs. If you don’t get much use out of your memberships, then you’re better off saving money and canceling it.

3. Get Cash Back When You Shop

Getting cash back when shopping is a great way to have extra cash to save up for your emergency fund.

Have you bought anything online before? If you haven’t used cash back sites before then you’re missing out on free money for something you’re already doing.

Rakuten

Rakuten used to be known as Ebates. It’s so simple to use.

For instance, if you wanted to buy something online from Macy’s, you’ll go on Rakuten.com and check to see if there’s any cash back offers. Today I saw they had 6% cash back. Next all you have to do is click “Shop Now”. It’ll send you directly to Macy’s where you’ll resume shopping as usual.

The only difference is, Rakuten will get you that promised cash back when you make a purchase. Once, you reach at least $5, you can get the cash back by a check or Paypal.

Don’t miss out on free money.

Sign up today with my special link here and get your $10 welcome bonus + $30 cash back when you spend $30 (It’s like getting $30 for free!) Rakuten won’t disappoint, check them out.

Swagbucks

Swagbucks is a site that gets you money for all sorts of things but they also get you cash back for shopping as well.

Swagbucks also gets you points which convert to cash via Paypal or gift cards to do things like take surveys and polls, play games, try apps, watch videos, complete daily tasks, submitting receipts, and shopping online.

Swagbucks is a great platform to earn a little side cash when you have some free time. I usually earn points while I’m watching some TV at night with the hubby.

Sign up for free here at Swagbucks and earn a $10 welcome bonus

  • Tip: You can get discounted gift cards on Swagbucks, it stretches your money a bit further.

Groupon

If you haven’t heard about Groupon, you need to sign up like today!

Groupon hosts many local businesses near you and they offer major deals and coupons to promote their stores. Groupon has all sorts of local businesses listed on their site from auto, beauty & spas, restaurants, gyms, fitness, home services, meal prep, online learning, personal services, retail shops, salons, activities to do, travel and more.

These businesses offer huge discounts. I’ve seen discounts anywhere from 10%-92% off. I’ve seen deals for Microdermabrasion Treatments which would go for $150 but with a 78% discount it goes for only $32. Or even a $1,650 laser hair treatment going for $120 with 92% off.

What’s great about Groupon is that many people purchase these coupons so they leave reviews for you to go through. You can always check out the ratings of a business before you purchase the coupon. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Sign up for free here at Groupon to start getting your MEGA savings.

Honey

Honey is a browser extension that instantly saves you money by searching all coupon sites to find you the best coupon code when you’re checking out online.

Plus it also gives you cash back offers at your favorite stores in the form of “Honey Gold”. It acts like a point system. Each 100 Honey Gold is equal to $1.

Once you reach 1000 Honey Gold points, you can redeem it for a $10 gift card from places like Walmart, Amazon, eBay, Sephora, Nordstrom, and more.

Join Honey with my link here and you’ll get 500 Honey Gold points after your first online shopping purchase.

Ibotta

Do you buy groceries? If the answer is yes, then you need to try Ibotta. You could be missing out on free money when you shop for groceries.

Ibotta has over 300 stores that participate in their program. Ibotta gives you cash back for shopping at your favorite grocery stores and big retailers. They have all your main grocery stores like Kroger, H-E-B, C-Town, Aldi, Foodtown, Randalls, SHOP ‘n SAVE, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Sprouts Farmers Market, Target, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and so much more. It’s a very simple app to use and you get real money back which you can cash out once you earn $20.

Not only can you get cash back for grocery shopping with Ibotta, you can also earn money back in other categories like grocery pickup and delivery, online shopping, beer, wine & spirits, clothing, health & beauty, specialty, restaurants & bars, convenience, travel, home & auto, kids & baby, pet supply, sports & outdoors, and subscription & delivery. There’s over 300 stores to choose from.

Ibotta also allows combining manufacturer’s coupons to get you more savings.

Sign up for free at Ibotta and use the code YDIGCFJ to get your $20 welcome bonus

I got $8.75 cash back from my last shopping trip at Walmart. Ibotta is awesome for people who hate spending time looking for coupons. It comes in handy for me since I just don’t have the patience to clip coupons.

Don’t miss out on free money for things you may always do like shop for groceries. It’s so simple to use, you’ll love it!

ReceiptPal

Do you ever just toss your receipts when you get them? Turn your receipts into an Amazon gift card.

ReceiptPal is an app where you scan your receipts and accrue points. Once you get enough points, you’ll get an Amazon gift card.

Types of receipts to scan:

  • Gas receipt
  • Restaurant/fast food receipts
  • Shopping receipts from any store
  • Service receipts
  • Pretty much any type of receipt

For every receipt you submit, you’ll get a punch for your card. If you scan 4 receipts, you’ll get 100 points. Once you fill up 5 cards, you will get multiple entries into their sweepstakes for $250. Also, Receiptpal will give you random chances to get entries for their sweeps.

Points System:

Level 1 – 2,200 points = $5 Amazon gift card

Level 2 – 4,000 points = $10 Amazon gift card or 9,250 for a $25 Amazon gift card

Level 3 – 17,250 points = $50 Amazon gift card or 32,250 for a $100 Amazon gift card

Fetch Rewards App

Fetch Rewards is another easy app you can use to earn cash back to redeem for gift cards or magazine subscriptions. Fetch Rewards has over 256 brands that they work with. For instance, if you went grocery shopping and bought anything from brands like Tropicana, Cheerios, Hellman’s brand, and over 250 others, you’ll get points when you scan your receipt.

Once you get enough points, you’ll redeem them for gift cards at Amazon, Target, and others or get free yearly magazine subscriptions.

Another great feature about this app is they accept non-grocery item receipts too. However, you’ll get most of your points with your grocery receipts.

  • Tip: Get free gift cards to give out for birthdays or holidays and you don’t have to spend a dime.

Use the code 7JKFH when you sign up to Fetch Rewards and you’ll get 2,000 Fetch Points ($2.00 in points)
You can also refer others and earn 2,000 points ($2) yourself and your friend/family will earn 2,000 points ($2) as well.

Instead of tossing your receipts, turn them into money.

Overall, don’t miss out on all this free money out there. You could be earning back a good amount of money each month by using cash back sites when you shop, earning free cash on survey sites, and even getting money back for grocery shopping and scanning receipts. These can all help you save extra for your emergency fund as fast as possible.

Read More:

95 Best Money Saving Tips to Start Now

4. Make more money on the side

Another way to quickly build your emergency fund is by making more money. There’s lots of ways to do that without stressing yourself out too much.

Work extra hours

If it’s possible, can you put in a little extra amount of time at work? If you get paid hourly and your company gives you overtime pay, why not? For instance, let’s say you get paid $15 an hour. If you put in an extra hour a week, that’s $60 a month or $720 a year. Not too bad huh?

Ask for a raise

Has it been a long time since you received a raise? Then maybe it’s time you get rewarded for all your hard efforts. Don’t be nervous to ask for a raise. If you put in the time and hard work, then why not? You deserve it! Go for it, you’ve got this!

Getting a raise can get you hundreds or thousands of extra dollars a year! You know what, it never hurts to just try. Sometimes bosses and managers can conveniently forget to give you one so it’s best you remind them of how awesome of an employee you are.

Side Hustle

There are actually tons of side gigs you can do to earn some money. My hubby even drove for UBER once, and he brought in thousands in a few months just driving in the evenings and weekend.

Some side hustles you can try:

  • Start a Blog (unlimited income potential, opportunity to make 5, 6, 7 figures a year)
    • Club Thrifty – Budget Living and Travel – Makes $21,566 a month
    • Just a Girl and her Blog – Lifestyle – Makes $41,700 a month
    • Art of Manliness – Men’s Lifestyle – Makes $33,333 a month
    • Show me the Yummy – Recipe Blog – Makes $46,000 a month
    • My Wife Quit Her Job – Making Money Online – Makes $80,000 a month
    • Sarah Titus – Selling Printables – Makes $250,000 a month
  • Drive for UBER or Lyft – You can make thousands a month
  • Instacart
    • Make up to $25 an hour as a full service shopper (shop for customers and deliver)
    • Make $9-$15 an hour as an in-store shopper (shop for customers and prepare for delivery)
    • Work on your own time whenever you want
  • Deliver Takeout Food
  • Care.com
    • Offers jobs ranging in caretaking, babysitting, tutoring, and more
    • Offers benefits like 401K, dental, health, life, and vision
  • Rover.com – Dogsitting can earn you over $1,000 a month

Side money with survey sites

Do you ever find yourself with a little bit of extra free time like at the end of the night or even when you’re running a load in the laundry? You could be earning free cash during those times with survey sites.

Survey Junkie

Get paid to take surveys online with Survey Junkie. For every 1000 points you’ll get a $10 gift card or cash via PayPal. During your spare time you can complete these surveys to make some money here and there. On top of simple surveys, they even offer phone surveys which can pay $5-$100, Test some products to make $5-$50, and join focus groups that pay anywhere from $25-$150. Realistically, you can expect to make anywhere from $3-$10 a day. If you make $10 a day for 30 days straight, that’s $300 a month. Not too shabby.

Sign up for free here at Survey Junkie and start earning

Swagbucks

Swagbucks is a fun site that let’s you earn points that converts to cash via Paypal or gift cards. I’ve mentioned that you can use it to get cash back for shopping but you can also earn points for things like: take surveys and polls, answer questionnaires, play games on your phone, shop online through Swagbucks’ site to get points, redeem points for buying certain food products, complete daily goals, enter competitions, try out apps, sign up for free trial services, scan your receipts, and refer others.

Swagbucks uses a point system where you get awarded with SB points, you can then redeem those points for cash back via PayPal or gift cards through popular companies like Amazon, PayPal, Walmart, Visa, iTunes, Starbucks, eBay, and so much more.

Sign up for free here at Swagbucks and earn a $10 welcome bonus

InboxDollars

InboxDollars is another survey site where you can take surveys/polls, watch videos, play games, search the web, get cash back by shopping online, and even get paid to clip coupons through InboxDollars. They have paid out over $50,000,000 so far to millions of members.

What to expect when using these survey sites

There are companies out there that need people’s opinion, that’s how these survey sites were born. They offer incentive for people’s opinion on products and services.

With these sites, you can expect to make anywhere from a few bucks to a few hundred a month depending on how often you use it. Keep in mind that it’s not something that’s going to replace your income but it can get you some extra cash each month to throw at your emergency fund. Who doesn’t want free cash?

It’s especially nice to earn points which turn to cash or gift cards for just answering some questions or even playing games during your free time.

One thing to keep in mind is when taking surveys, not everyone will be accepted for certain surveys. Before you take a survey, you’ll be asked some basic screening questions. There is a chance you’ll get disqualified but don’t worry there will be plenty of other surveys to take part of. Plus these sites will generally give you a couple of points for trying.

Read More:

16 Ideas To Make Some Easy Side Money

5. Mindful Spending

A big part of saving up for your emergency fund is by spending more mindfully.

So you may be wondering what’s mindful spending?

All you really have to do is think twice before you buy something.

Before you buy that $300 purse, $200 pair of sneakers, $1,000 iPhone, really ask yourself if you TRULY NEED it at that moment.

Not saying you can never have the things you want but you can make a better plan for it.

You can save some money each month and set it aside so that you can buy it at a later time.

One thing to keep in mind is that impulsiveness can get you into a lot of financial trouble.

Just look at us, we managed to accumulate over $127,000 worth of debt by living impulsively in the first few years of marriage.

If you get some extra money, instead of heading straight to the mall, put it towards your emergency fund.

5 Tips to Build Your Emergency Fund Fast - My Financial Hill

Is an emergency fund the same as savings?

Typically an emergency fund is different as savings in terms of intent. The emergency fund is meant to be an amount of money put aside to be used for unexpected crisis.

Savings on the other hand is money set aside for things you want to buy in the future, like a home down payment, car, school, clothes, electronics, etc.

Where to keep your emergency fund

For an emergency fund, you want to have access to the funds right away in case something happens. This is where it may differ slightly from a traditional savings. You want to keep the emergency fund where it’s easily accessible like a checking or a high interest savings account and not locked in any CD’s, stocks, and bonds.

Savings on the other hand can be put into a high yield interest savings account, stock, CD, and bonds because you will mostly likely know when to pull the money out to use it.

Put your money in a High Yield APR Savings Account from Nationwide / Axos Bank. They’re offering 1.05% of interest which is the highest around. Sign up here at Nationwide / Axos Bank to lock in that rate.

When should you start saving for your emergency fund?

You can start saving for an emergency fund right away. The sooner you save up for one, the better prepared you will be for unexpected emergencies.

If you get a raise or get a nice tax refund, put it towards building your emergency fund.

Should you save for an emergency fund or pay off debt?

Sure, paying off debt is really important because it saves you money in interest over the long run. However, having a safety net is even more important, If someone loses their job with maxed out credit cards, then what? How can they pay the rent/mortgage or feed their family? Having that security in place for you and your family is just as important as saving interest on debt.

It’s not to say that you should do one or the other. You can do both.

I do highly suggest saving up for your 1 month worth of expenses first. Then whatever extra money you have left at the end of each month going forward can be divided in half. One half going towards your fund and the other being applied towards your debt.

Keep saving for your emergency fund until you reach the amount you’ll be comfortable with in case you lose a job or something else happens. Once you reach that goal, take all extra money each month to apply it towards your debt.

For us, before we put 100% of any extra money at debt, we saved 3 months worth of expenses.

Can your emergency fund be too big?

If you have an emergency fund larger than 6-12 months, it may be too large.

Remember that since you want easy access to it, you may put it in a checking or high yield interest savings account like the one from Nationwide / Axos Bank.

The interest rates on a saving account is very low compared to stocks or mutual funds.

You don’t want too much of your money just sitting there earning very little interest where it can earn you more money elsewhere.

Should you save for an emergency fund or invest?

This really depends on your personal situation. Most likely, you’ll want to start that emergency fund even if it’s 1 month worth of expenses. However, if your company is offering 401K match, then go ahead and invest up to the match because it’s free money and it’ll accrue interest.

Ultimately, it comes down to your peace of mind. Are you okay with having your emergency fund tied up in investments with a risk to lose money when you need to pull it out for emergencies?

Or you can always just save 3-6 month worth of expenses and anything above that, invest it. Either way, you don’t want so much money just sitting around your savings account barely keeping up with inflation while it can be earning you more.

What to do after emergency fund?

So what’s the plan after saving up for that emergency fund? Well, if you have debt then focus on getting rid of it. Debt, especially those with high interest rates like credit cards are the worst! With interest, sometimes you can end up paying almost double of what you owed in the first place. Getting rid of debt is really important.

You can also start investing your money or saving for investment opportunities. Start putting away money for your retirement, start saving for an investment property, or even capital to start a business.

Don’t forget to put money aside to have some fun. Life doesn’t have to be so serious with saving, paying debt, and investing. Enjoy life along the way, go on trips, try new hobbies, enjoy some concerts. You can still have fun without it costing a fortune or at the expense of your financial future.

Read More:

How to Get a Free Cruise

Las Vegas on a Budget With Free Flights

What’s the difference between emergency fund, rainy day fund, and sinking fund?

The emergency fund is 1-6 month (ideally 3-6 months) worth of essential expenses saved in case something unpredictable happens like job loss, illness, and any of the other reasons mentioned above. It’s meant to keep you and your household financially stable at least for those months while things normalize again.

Emergency fund and rainy day fund

A rainy day fund is different from an emergency fund. The rainy day fund should have anywhere from $500-$2,000 and is only meant for small unexpected expenses. It’s meant to absorb small expenses without tapping into your full emergency fund.

Some examples for a rainy day fund:

  • Blown tire
  • Kid’s braces
  • Minor house repair
  • Unpredictable school expense

Emergency fund and sinking fund

A sinking fund is used to save for predicted expenses. It’s basically money set aside for that particular planned expense so that you don’t have to dip into your emergency fund.

Some examples of a sinking fund:

  • Vacation
  • New computer or phone
  • New car
  • New roof for the home
  • HOA fees

Should you keep the emergency fund, rainy day fund, and sinking fund separately?

It’s entirely up to you if you want these funds separated.

What we did for our situation was keep 1 month worth of expenses in my checking account and keep the rest in a high yield savings account. I combined my sinking fund and emergency fund together but kept track of it on my budget. We figured, if you save your 3 months worth of expenses, you’re bound to have enough for the rainy day fund, sinking funds, and emergency fund all in one.

Takeaway

Building your emergency fund is important, it’ll give you and your family a slight peace of mind when it comes to the worst case scenarios. Cause let’s face it, we’ll never truly know what tomorrow can bring. The least you can do is try your best to prepare for the worst financial situations.

Remember, it’s all about baby steps. Don’t think you have to save for a 6 month emergency fund overnight. It’s a lot of money. Start small. First aim for a 1 month worth of expenses saved then work your way up to a number that fits you and your family’s financial situation.

There’s going to be a lot of ways for you to start saving for your emergency fund as fast as possible. Starting a budget can help you see exactly how you’re spending your money, you’ll be shocked to see how much you’re spending on certain categories.

Next, you can save hundreds a month just by simply switching phone carriers, switching to Philo instead of cable, or shopping around for insurance companies.

Third, earn free money back for things you normally do like shop online or buy groceries, you could be getting back hundreds a year!

Fourth, make some side cash by taking up a side hustle, you never know when it can launch into a full fledged business.

Lastly, always think twice before you buy and create a savings plan for the things you really want instead of buying impulsively.

Hope these tips were helpful and will get you on your way to building that emergency fund.

Let today be the day you make the change to finally start getting out of debt. Begin the process by enrolling in the free 5-day Debt Free Bootcamp.

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Debt, Debt Free Story, Lifestyle, Money

How This Couple Was Able To Retire Early In Their 40s To Travel The World

Let’s be real here, working can be very stressful at times. Following directions from superiors, managing employees, dealing with office politics, keeping up with deadlines, appeasing customers, I can go on and on. The worst part is that people often get stuck working for decades and well into their 60’s or 70’s to make ends meet. What if you didn’t have to settle for that lifestyle? Meet Eric and Katie who broke that stigma and was able to retire early in their 40’s and live a nomadic life traveling the world.

Eric-and-Kate-Retired-Early-My-Financial Hill

Meet Eric and Kate who retired April of 2019 to follow their passion-Love of Travel. They live a life full of adventure, traveling the world and experiencing different cultures. Currently, they are in Danang, Vietnam and will most likely be there for 6 months before moving on to the next new location.

Eric and Katie shares helpful tips on how they were able to retire early. Eric retired at 42 and Katie retired at 41. Truly amazing! That’s more than 2 decades worth of work they were able to shave off. They saved up $1,000,000 which they fund for their nomadic lifestyle. Eric and Kate shares how they were able to do just that. Check out Eric’s site Bonus Nachos where he documents all the countries he’s been to during his retired nomadic lifestyle.

Eric and Kate’s Early Retirement Story

Eric, 42, Retired Accountant made under $50,000 a year

Katie, 41, Retired from the Hotel Industry made around $50,000 a year

Resides: Previous residence in Silicon Valley now lives in Danang, Vietnam

Saved: $1,000,000

Retirement Age: Eric, 42 and Katie, 41

1 | Was there any specific moment that motivated you to retire early?

We had recently moved from the Midwest to California and I had to find a job during the Great Financial Crash.

While I was happy to be able to find work, the job only offered 2 weeks of paid vacation. I previously was spoiled with 5 weeks.

Work suddenly felt a lot more oppressive.

I knew that there had to be a better way. It wasn’t too long after this that I discovered popular early retirement blogger Mr. Money Mustache.

I had always thought about early retirement as an abstract concept, but until this point hadn’t realized how accessible it really was.

2 | What was your income range? Did you do any side hustles?

I never earned more than $50k/yr until I was 37 years old.

Katie always earned a little more than me, except for a couple of glorious months in 2015. 🙂

But neither of us ever made 6 figures, so our early retirement is much more a product of low spending than high earning. We never earned any other money, preferring to savor our time away from work.

3 | When did you start saving and investing?

We both started contributing to our 401k accounts immediately upon getting our first professional jobs.

This was before we had even met, so the idea was independent of one another. And from there, we would each increase our contribution percentage with every raise that we received.

Later we opened up IRAs and stashed money into a taxable account as well, but we mostly just focused on our 401k accounts until our early 30s.

4 | Did you have any debt? If so, what did it consist of?

Not really. Some minor credit card debt as young adults, but nothing much to speak of.

We were careful to avoid it. This certainly helped us get to early retirement more quickly.

5 | Were there any programs/tools that helped to achieve early retirement?

As a former accountant, I love Excel spreadsheets. I use them for everything from tracking expenses to retirement projections.

I have always preferred to track my finances manually as opposed to using automated trackers like Mint or Personal Capital.

I felt it gave me more control and allowed me to customize it to my personal situation. Which is somewhat ironic because when it comes to investing, I’m completely hands off.

I think it’s much, much more likely that an individual investor will make a mistake and suffer a setback than pick the next greatest company.

As such, I believe the best way to go is to invest solely in index funds.

To help explain why, I’d recommend two books. The first is The Bogleheads Guide to Investing by Taylor Larimore. The second is The Four Pillars of Investing by William Bernstein.

Both are excellent books that are written for the non-professional investor. They are also popular enough that they’re likely available at your local library.

6 | Were there any habits that helped you retire early?

Most of our habits were developed to spend less money.

We focused our spending on what brought us the most happiness and tried to cut out the rest.

We cooked at home almost exclusively.

We split one older car, so one of us was always commuting by public transit or by bike.

We lived in a small cheap apartment.

On the flip side, travel was something that we have always loved so we made sure to take as many vacations as work would allow.

By not living in a fancy place, driving a new car (let alone two) or eating out often, we were still able to do the things we liked best while also saving lots of money

7 | Do you think you had to sacrifice a lot in your life to retire early?

I don’t think sacrifice is the right word.

Instead, I prioritized. Not spending every dollar shouldn’t be viewed as a sacrifice.

I would actually argue the opposite, that spending all of your money is a bigger sacrifice because you’re giving up compound investment gains that only increase over time.

I like the saying “You can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything.”

While I may not have been buying a million dollar house or driving a luxury car like many of my neighbors, I did get my passport stamped a lot.

Prior to retirement, I had been to Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Czechia, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Aruba, and Mexico multiple times. There was lots of domestic travel too, including Hawaii, NYC, and many national parks. Travel has always been my priority.

8 | Did you ever receive a large sum of money that helped to propel you financially?

Well, the S&P 500 did go up over 20% in 2017 when we were already well on our way to early retirement. Does that count? But no start up windfalls, inheritances, or other things like that.

9 | What does your retired life consist of?

We now get to travel the world, experience different cultures, and eat lots of local delicacies. It’s not like our previous vacations though.

Prior to quitting, our longest stop in any one location was 10 days. So far, our shortest stop has been two weeks, but we prefer to stay longer. That really allows us to soak in the flavor of the area.

We get to frequent local markets and eat exotic produce. We swim in the ocean, explore cities and neighborhoods, visit temples and museums, and watch birds. We have nearly mastered the art of the leisurely breakfast.

I even occasionally write a blog post. And the best part is that it’s way cheaper than our previous life. We spend about half of what we did when living in Silicon Valley. I report all of our spending on the blog as well.

Things have been a little different since COVID-19 became a pandemic. However, for the moment, we’ve paused our travels as we wait to see how countries will deal with opening their borders and when/if a vaccine will be available.

We are currently waiting it out in Danang, Vietnam and will likely live here for at least 6 months. It’s a pretty nice city and there are definitely worse places that we could be. Vietnam as a whole did a great job handling the outbreak so there’s little risk of infection here.

10 | If you could offer any valuable advice to readers to retire early, what would it be?

Track your expenses. There’s nothing more powerful than that.

Once you know where all your money is going, it’s easy to figure out what spending is worthwhile and what is not providing value.

Then you can redirect that less than optimal spending towards investing. And once you get that investing ball rolling, it will pick up a lot of steam over time.

Einstein once called compound interest the most powerful force in the universe. Make sure it’s working for you.


Eric and Katie fulfilled their dream of being able to retire early. Their journey teaches us that no, you don’t have to earn a six figure income to achieve early retirement.

Compound interest is very powerful indeed and they used it to their full advantage by investing when they first started their careers.

They also focused investing primarily in index funds without the stress and hassle of handling single stocks. They read books like The Bogleheads Guide to Investing and The Four Pillars of Investing to familiarize themselves with how investing works.

Everyone dreams of the ability to retire early but often times we don’t implement the right steps to help us achieve the goal.

Eric and Katie is a prime example that it is possible simply by investing early, keeping track of your money, not comparing your life with others, set aside funds to still enjoy life, spending less money, and saving where you can.

Thank you Eric and Katie for sharing your inspiring story with us. Through your story, we see that it’s possible to retire early by implementing the right steps and having the right mindset to achieve a goal.

Don’t forget to check out Eric’s blog Bonus Nachos to see how they’re enjoying retired life traveling the world.

Are you ready to start your own debt free journey? Get started by grabbing this free Debt Thermometer and join us in the free 5-Day Debt Free Bootcamp to pay off $500 worth of debt in your first month.

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Tips On How To Get A Good Credit Score To 800-Woman Holding Phone and Credit Card Yellow Glasses-My Financial Hill
Lifestyle, Money

Tips On How To Get A Good Credit Score To 800

There are many benefits to having a good credit score. From qualifying for low interest rates for a mortgage, car loan, top tier credit cards, get approved for rentals, better insurance rates, and more. Having a great credit score can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest. While there are many benefits to having great credit there are simple ways you can implement to get a score over 800. I’ll show you the exact tips I used to get a good credit score to over 800.

What is a credit score?

A credit score is basically a 3 digit number which is a financial institution’s version of a report card that assesses your overall credit risk. Basically, it determines how likely you may be to pay back a loan.

This is why lenders, landlords, or employees may check your credit score. It gives them an idea of the overall risk involved when lending you money, renting you an apartment, or even giving you a job.

All credit scores are not created equal. There are different companies that created their own credit scoring model which may yield different results. However, the most well known type of credit score is the FICO.

A FICO credit score is calculated based on 5 factors:

  • Payment History 35%
  • Amount Owed 30%
  • Length of Credit History 15%
  • New Credit Opened 10%
  • Type of Credit 10%
Tips On How To Get A Good Credit Score To 800-FICO Chart-My Financial Hill

Is a credit score and a FICO score the same?

Usually, when people think of a credit score, they may be referring to a FICO score which is the most well-known type of scoring system.

The FICO score was created in 1989 by the Fair Isaac Corporation. It was meant to streamline the lending process and make it fair and consistent, it is used by more than 90% of lenders.

Over time, other scoring models were created by other companies to serve as competition to the FICO score. It will be good to familiarize yourself with the idea that there are other credit score models out there. Another scoring model that may be more commonly used second to the FICO score is the Vantage Score Model.

Vantage Score Model

The Vantage Score Model was created in 2006 by the three well-known credit bureaus-Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

It has a very similar model compared to a FICO score which consists of:

  • Payment History 40%
  • Age and Type of Credit 21%
  • Credit Utilization 20%
  • Total Credit Balances 11%
  • Recent Behavior/Applications 5%
  • Available Credit 3%
Tips On How To Get A Good Credit Score To 800-Vantage Score Chart-My Financial hill

Other Credit Scoring Models:

  • FAKO Scores
    • Free scores referred to as “educational” or “equivalency” scores for consumers knowledge only. It is not used during the lending process.
    • FAKO score range can be very similar to your FICO score.
  • TransRisk
    • Based on data from TransUnion which determines risk of newly opened accounts rather than existing ones.
    • Not widely used due to it’s limitations in assessment.
    • TransRisk scores have been known to be lower than a FICO score.
  • Experian’s National Equivalency Score
    • Can be obtained for free at Credit Sesame or Credit.com
    • Score ranges from 360-840
  • Credit Xpert Credit Score
    • Developed to help approve new accounts for businesses.
    • It was created to help detect inaccurate information on credit reports to help raise scores fast.
  • CE Credit Score
    • Free and available at Quizzle to give consumers a transparent and accurate depiction of their score.
    • The scoring ranges from 330-830

What are the ranges for a credit score?

Credit scores have numerical ranges. For the FICO score, it goes anywhere from 300-850 at the highest. The chart below is based from the information provided from Experian. For simplicity purposes, we’ll cover the two major credit scoring models: FICO and Vantage Score Model.

The FICO credit score ranges from:

  • 300-579 Very Poor-16% of the American population
  • 580-669 Fair-17% of the population
  • 670-739 Good-21% of the population
  • 740-799 Very Good-25% of the population
  • 800-850 Exceptional-21% of the population
Tips On How To Get A Good Credit Score To 800-FICO Score Range-My Financial Hill

Vantage Score Model ranges from:

The Vantage Score Model is very similar to the FICO Score Model. It has a range from 300-850. According to White Jacobs, the data below indicates which percentage of the population falls within the credit score range.

  • 300-549 Very Poor-17% of the American population
  • 550-649 Poor-34% of the population
  • 650-699 Fair-18% of the population
  • 700-749 Good-13% of the population
  • 750-850 Excellent-30% of the population
Tips On How To Get A Good Credit Score To 800-Vantage Score Range-My Financial Hill

Where can I get a free credit score?

If you want to check your credit score, there are plenty of sites that can give you a glance for free. It’ll be good to know where you stand.

FICO

  • Discover Credit Scorecard
  • Experian
  • Bank of America
  • Barclays
  • Citibank
  • Chase
  • Wells Fargo

Vantage

Why do I need good credit?

Tips On How To Get A Good Credit Score To 800-Woman holding credit cards and wallet-My Financial Hill

People often rely on credit for many big financial decisions in their lives. We often need credit to borrow money for purchases like a car, home, credit cards, personal loans, student loans, apply for rentals, or even to pass employment checks.

Having good credit can often save you more money and simply just make your life a bit easier. There are 6 great reasons to bump up your credit score and maintain great credit.

1 | Savings On Interest

Those who have great credit will generally be eligible for lower interest rates than those with poor credit. This can save you a lot of money over time! Check out the example for different interest rates applied between poor credit to good credit below:

781-8504.69% Interest$25,000 Loan Amount60 Months$28,094$3,094 Interest Paid Over Time
601-66010.91% Interest$25,000 Loan Amount60 Months$32,546$7,543 Interest Paid Over Time

When any money is borrowed from banks, interest is applied. You want to aim for the lowest interest rate as possible so it can save you money in the long run.

In the example provided above, a person within the 781-850 credit score range pays $3,094 over 60 months compared to paying $7,543 if they had a 601-660 credit score. The person with the better credit score would save $4,449 over time.

It’s best to always aim for a high credit score to benefit from the lowest interest rates available. This can be applied to all types of loans from mortgages, personal loans, car loans, and more.

2 | Better Credit Offers

Those with good to excellent credit can be eligible to apply for great credit offers. There are credit cards that offer significant amount of bonus points for travel based on a spending limit usually. These travel cards will often require Good to Excellent credit in order to be approved. Some of the travel cards are:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card– $1,200 Bonus Points Value
  • Capital One Venture Card– $700 Bonus Points Value
  • American Express Gold Card– $700 Bonus Points Value
  • Delta SkyMiles Card by American Express-$580 Bonus Points Value
  • Alaska Airlines Visa Card-$820 Bonus Points Value

Ever since we paid off all our credit cards, our credit score has skyrocketed. Now we always get approved for the best travel rewards credit cards. Find out how we got a free cruise or free flights to Las Vegas below.

Read More:

How We Got Our Free Cruise

How We Got Free Flights to Las Vegas

3 | Better Rates For Car Insurance

Having a higher credit score will often give you better premiums for your car insurance. While you may not be turned down for having poor credit, having a good credit score will certainly get you lower premiums.

4 | Increase Chances of Approval for Rentals

Landlords can check your credit report and credit score to determine if they should approve your tenant application or not. It’s up to the Landlord whether or not they want to approve you based on the information.

If you have poor credit, they may not turn you away depending on the situation. However, they may require a higher security deposit or have a co-signor in order to approve you. On the other hand, if you have great credit they may be quick to approve you.

5 | Waive Security Deposit

There are instances where security deposits may be waived.

Some utility companies that may check your credit history. If you don’t have the best credit, they may ask for a security deposit or a letter-of-guarantee which a family member or friend may pay your bills if you’re unable to.

Cell phone companies may also waive a security deposit to those with good credit and also offer a discounted price of phones.

6 | Employment Hiring Process

Did you know that some companies check your credit as part of the hiring process? They check credit as a means to verify someone’s financial responsibility, verify identity, and background.

In some instances, companies may find it necessary to run a credit check on individuals who will be assigned to managing other people’s funds. They can’t have people who aren’t able to handle their own financial matters properly to take care of client’s finances.

What are the steps to get a good credit score to 800?

Tips On How To Get A Good Credit Score To 800-Good Credit-My Financial Hill

For as long as I can remember, my credit score has never broke 800 until last year. My credit score even dipped down to the 600’s while I was in school. My score has passed the 800 mark and I’ll show you exactly what I did to get it there.

Pay Bills on Time

Late payments can hurt your credit score and it accounts for 35% of your FICO rating. The bad news is that late payments, more than 30 days late, can stay on your credit report for up to 7 years! Yikes.

This is one thing that I always tried to keep up with. I tried to always pay my bills on time even if it was minimum payments. However, there were occasional times when bills may slip through the cracks.

There were times when I didn’t set my auto payment for a credit card and missed a payment here and there. The great part is, it’s easy to get this issue resolved with credit card companies.

You can usually call them and explain your situation, most of the time they will reverse any late fee charged on your statement.

Usually, credit card companies won’t report the late payment if it’s a few days late. If it passes an entire billing cycle, they will usually report it to the credit agency.

If you’ve missed a payment, make sure to pay as soon as you can.

Another huge downside to missing payments for credit cards is when they’re able to remove a promotional interest rate offered to you. Say, you were getting a promotional rate of 0%, well if you miss a payment, they can change that interest rate to their original rate of 18% or higher.

Suggestions:

  • Set reminders to help you pay your bill on time
  • Set up auto pay
  • Call creditors as soon as you notice you’ve missed a payment

Keep Your Debt Balances Low

Your overall debt to credit ratio accounts for 30% of your FICO score. It’s beneficial to have a higher credit to debt ratio. If you owe too much money compared to your credit limit, this can have a negative impact on your score.

This is the main area that has significantly boosted my credit score to over 800. My current FICO credit score below:

Tips On How To Get A Good Credit Score To 800-My Financial Hill 836 Current Credit Score

My credit score had always toggled around the upper 600’s and mid 700’s. Especially when I was in school, my credit rating plummeted because I wasn’t working to pay off my credit cards.

I noticed that as soon as we started attacking our credit debt, our credit scores shot up. When my husband and I first started our debt paying journey, we used the Snowball Method and paid off all our credit cards.

Paying off our credit balances dramatically increased our credit availability limit. Since this category makes up 30% of a FICO score, it was the factor that helped me get into the 800 score club.

Suggestions:

  • Pay off your credit cards using the Snowball Method
  • Try using only 1 credit card to pay off the balance in full each month
  • Call creditors and ask for a credit limit increase

Read More:

How To Get Out of Debt With These 5 Tips

Snowball Method

How to Budget Your Money For Beginners

Want to start getting yourself out of debt? We knocked out over $100,000 in just 24 month and you can find out some great tips to get yourself started too. Grab your free Debt Thermometer and join us in the free 5-Day Debt Free Bootcamp.

Credit Inquiries Impact Credit Score

Credit inquiries can make an impact on your credit score by a few points. If you were to open up many credit cards around the same time frame, it can affect your score significantly.

There are hard inquiries which directly impact your score and soft inquiries which doesn’t have an affect on it.

Hard inquiries generally can stay on your credit report for a little over two years.

Hard Inquiries on Credit

  • Opening up a cell phone plan
  • Applying for a mortgage
  • Applying for an auto loan
  • Opening up a credit card
  • Applying for a student loan
  • Requesting for a credit line increase
  • Getting a rental car with a debit card (possibly hard inquiry pull)
  • Applying for a personal loan
  • Applying for rental apartments

Soft Inquiries on Credit

  • Credit card companies automatically raising your credit limit
  • Pre-approval offer from a lender
  • Checking your own credit report

Suggestions:

  • If you need a loan for a car or mortgage, it’s better to shop around during a short time frame. Some scoring models will consider the multiple inquiries as a single inquiry if it’s done under a small time frame.
  • Check your credit report to make sure there are no other hard inquiries that you are not aware of. You may be able to have them removed if you didn’t authorize the credit pull.
  • Only apply for credit if you really need it.

Length of Your Credit History Matters

The length of your credit history has a 15% impact of your FICO credit score. The longer you have a credit line opened, the better it will help your score over time. Especially, if you’re making payments on time. It’ll be best not to close out any credit cards you have, even if you don’t plan on using them.

When we started paying off all our credit cards, I didn’t cancel our cards. Some of my cards are over 10 years old. All we did was pay off all balances and just leave them alone.

My husband actually canceled 1 credit card which he had for years not knowing it would impact his score. Next thing we knew, his score dropped and it hasn’t reached the 800’s as I have.

Monitor Your Credit

It’s always important to keep tabs on your credit report. There may be things on there that can have negative impacts on your score.

I check my credit report at least once a year just to make sure everything is in good standing and there are no errors.

One time, my information was associated with a completely random address. I had to correct that right away because that property had a lien associated with it. It was bizarre.

You can also check all your accounts to see if there are any delinquent payments posted. One of my student loans actually reported a 30-day late payment to the credit bureau without my knowledge. Delinquencies have a negative impact on your report and score and can stay on your report for up to 7 years.

I called up the student loan provider and had them reverse that initial report.

Suggestions:

  • Check your free credit report and score on Credit Karma
  • Get your free annual credit report on Annual Credit Report (only credit report, no credit score)
  • Fix any discrepancies on your credit report
  • If there are any delinquent payments, reach out to your loan provider and see if they can help you remove it

Give Your Score a Boost

If you’re looking for a boost to your credit score, you can give Experian Boost a try.

If you pay for your cell phone bills or utility payments through your checking account, Experian Boost considers that as on-time payments.

Since payment history makes up 35% of your FICO score, this can significantly help your credit score.

How Do You Use Experian Boost?

First, you sign up for free with Experian Boost. Link your bank account that have been used for paying utility and cell phone bills on time.

Experian Boost then pulls all your on-time payments to apply. The boost to your Experian score can take as little as 10 minutes.

What Bills Can You Use For Experian Boost?

Experian Boost won’t work for credit card bills. It has to be payments made from a checking or saving account.

On time payments:

  • Utility (gas, water, electricity)
  • Cell phone/Land line
  • Cable

Experian Boost gathers your on-time payments and applies it towards your payment history giving you a credit score boost.

What to Consider When Signing Up For Experian Boost

Experian Boost can definitely help your credit score. According to Experian’s website, 86% of users with a FICO score of 579 and below saw an average increase of 21 points.

Although, the service can help boost credit scores, it doesn’t have the same effect across the board for all.

  • Can only use a checking/saving account for assessment of on-time payments
  • Need at least 3 months worth of bill payment history
  • Must have at least one credit card or a loan on your credit report.
  • Experian Boost is 64% more effective with very poor to fair FICO scores compared to only 3% effectiveness for those with very good to exceptional FICO scores.
  • Just because your score increased doesn’t mean your lender will use the same exact FICO scoring model as the one from your report.
  • Adding on-time payments to your credit file with Experian won’t transfer over to TransUnion or Equifax.

Is Experian Boost Worth It?

It’s a free service that can potentially help your credit score and it doesn’t take long at all to set up. If your credit is within the poor to fair range, it may be more worth while to try it out. Just keep in mind that if you are applying for a loan, check to see if the lender uses Experian.

Bottom Line

Having great credit will only help you financially and in life. It can save you thousands of dollars in interest, help you get approved for jobs or apartment rentals. You can improve your credit score and get it up to the 800’s as I have.

Most importantly, creating a budget has helped me tremendously in making sure I have enough funds for bills. Set up auto payment if your bad with paying bills on time. It’s very important to not be late with payments since it has a very large impact on your credit score.

Check your credit history and score at Credit Karma and dispute any discrepancies on your report.

Don’t cancel long term credit cards as it will have a negative impact on your credit score.

Keep your debt balances low by using the snowball method to pay off your debt, especially your credit cards. I think this has been the major reason why my credit score broke the 800 mark and is now 836. What I do now is use only 1 credit card and pay it off in full each month. Having a large credit to debt ratio will help your score out significantly!

If you need a fast credit boost, you can try Experian Boost.

I hope you found some helpful tips here and you can also be on your way to the 800 score club, thanks for stopping by!


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Debt, Lifestyle, Money

How To Start Your Own Free WordPress Blog With Bluehost

Has the thought ever crossed your mind that it may be awesome to have a blog to call your own? Maybe you’re really passionate about something, or you want to share your knowledge, and even maybe you’ve read blogging success stories of people making thousands of dollars a month from blogging. Well, what are you waiting for? You won’t know if you can succeed if you don’t try. I’ll show you how to start your own free WordPress blog with Bluehost.

Starting a blog can be a great hobby or it can also earn you major income. It all depends on which direction you want to go in. Either way, blogging can be very fun. There are days where I can spend hours working on my blog but it doesn’t feel like a drag, time definitely flies by way too fast. I guess when you enjoy doing something, it doesn’t feel like work at all.

The best part about starting a blog is how very inexpensive it is. You can start a FREE WordPress blog starting today. It’s really that easy. You may be wondering what is WordPress?

WHAT IS WORDPRESS?

WordPress is a blog and website creation tool where you can create and customize your content. It may be a website you want to create for your business or creating blog posts for your personal blog page.

To think of it simply, WordPress is like a house where you can customize and renovate it and add furniture (content) to your heart’s desire. However, a house sits on land. That’s where Bluehost comes in.

Keep in mind that you want WordPress.org and not WordPress.com. You can start your free WordPress blog or site through Bluehost (web hosting provider).

Why you want WordPress.org

  • Customize your site to your heart’s desire
  • Able to make money off your site by placing ads
  • Able to install any plugin you want
  • It is your OWN site and can’t be deleted at a whim

No need to worry about this at the moment. When you sign up with Bluehost, WordPress.org is what you will be using.

WHAT IS BLUEHOST?

Bluehost is a web hosting provider. Think of it like the land where the house sits on. Through Bluehost you choose your domain name (website name). Once you sign up with Bluehost, WordPress is then free to be used as your platform. The best part about starting your own free WordPress blog with Bluehost is that the fee is extremely inexpensive!

I’m talking about LESS THAN A CUP OF COFFEE a month. Yes, I’m serious! You can start your own free WordPress blog with them for as little as $3.95 a month. That’s incredibly affordable for creating something that can change your life.

I absolutely LOVE Bluehost! I mean it! Their customer service rocks! If I ever had questions about my site, I can chat with a representative at any hour of the day or night. Just the other day, I reached out to a rep at 11:30 at night and had my question answered.

Bluehost reps are the ones that helped me get my site up and running when I first started out and had no clue what I was doing. They’re really amazing. For $3.95 a month to start a blog/website/e-commerce page it’s totally worth it plus more!

Bluehost Benefits

  • Low rates– Starting at $3.95 a month to host your website (plan I still use till this day)
  • Awesome customer service
  • Easy setup and integration with WordPress
  • Free WordPress site included

HOW TO START A FREE WORDPRESS BLOG ON BLUEHOST

First you need to head to Bluehost site to register your domain name and sign up for your website hosting. Bluehost if offering a 50% discount at a very low rate of $3.95 a month compared to $7.99 a month for this service. For their level of service, easy-to-use platform, plus a free WordPress site, it can’t get any better than that.

Sign up at the discounted rate of $3.95/month with Bluehost-Click Here

How To Start Your Own Free WordPress Blog With Bluehost-Bluehost Main Screen-My Financial Hill

Next, pick your plan

How To Start Your Own Free WordPress Blog With Bluehost-Bluehost Pick Plan-My Financial Hill

If you’re just starting out, choose the basic plan. That’s what I started out with and still use till this day. You always have the option of upgrading your plan later if you need to. The basic plan should be more than enough.

Choose your domain (website) name

How To Start Your Own Free WordPress Blog With Bluehost-Bluehost Set Up Domain-My Financial Hill

You can choose your domain (website) name at this point, or come back to it if you can’t think of a good name yet. Also, you always have the option of changing your website name later if you’re not happy with what you chose to begin with.

Create Your Account and Pick Your Plan

How To Start Your Own Free WordPress Blog With Bluehost-Bluehost Create Account-My Financial Hill

Within the basic plan, you can sign up for a 12 month plan, 24 month plan, or 36 month plan. When I first signed up with Bluehost, I chose the 36 month plan because I wanted the cheapest monthly cost possible. That is basically $3.95 per month, $47.40 for the year or $142.20 for 36 months. I pay triple in my cable bill for one month compared to what I pay for in a whole year to run my blog.

If you’re not sure about a 36 month plan, you can always try it for 12 months which will be $5.95 a month or $71.40 for the year. That’s still a really good price to run a website that you can call your own.

To get the cheapest rate, signing up for the 36 month plan would be the best option.

How To Start Your Own Free WordPress Blog With Bluehost-Bluehost Package Information-My Financial Hill

After choosing your plan, there may be some ‘Package Extras’ that could be automatically checked off. I wouldn’t sign up for those tools just yet. First, get your website up and running and you can always download free ‘Plugins’ to meet your website maintenance needs. You can always sign up for those recommended programs by Bluehost later if you need to.

Install Free WordPress Blog

After signing up with Bluehost, your free WordPress blog and website will be automatically installed. That’s another reason why Bluehost is awesome, everything is very simple to use on their platform.

How To Start Your Own Free WordPress Blog With Bluehost-WordPress Themes-My Financial Hill

Choosing Your Theme

First, you will be prompted to choose your theme. There will be lots and lots of free themes to choose from. There will also be premium themes available at a cost. You can choose the theme that you like the most.

When I first started my free WordPress blog, I chose a free theme but quickly ended up with a premium theme. Surprisingly enough, using a free theme was actually a lot harder than using a premium theme.

I found that I had to manually try to “build” a page having to customize every single thing which made it extremely difficult for me since I was completely new to the coding/web page building world.

A premium theme was incredibly easy to use. Everything from the home page, posts, contact pages were already beautifully styled and all I had to do was change wording around.

For people that are new to blogging/website creation, I HIGHLY recommend a premium theme. Save your time, frustration, and energy to create what’s valuable which is your content!

For my site I use the Newspaper theme which you can get get HERE.

Envato Market-Theme Forest-Newspaper Theme-My Financial Hill

Type in “Newspaper” in the search bar and make sure to get Newspaper by tagDiv.

I highly recommend getting Newspaper, a premium theme, because it is so simple and easy to use. They have over 100+ beautifully designed themes within Newspaper. For instance, Newspaper has ready-to-go themes for EVERYTHING from architectural websites, lifestyle blogs, beauty blog, fitness, book club, car enthusiast, construction site, dental website, gadgets site, gaming site, home decor, travel blog, and so much more!

All you do is preview the theme that you want and if you like it, go ahead and install it on your site. All your pages and posts will be already customized and ready-to-go for you. This will save you hours upon hours trying to build your website from scratch. *Ahem, speaking from experience

Besides Newspaper, there will be other premium themes available, scroll through and pick one that will fit you best. I’m just recommending Newspaper because that’s all I’ve been using and know. Totally up to you to pick a theme that you like best.

Navigating WordPress

How To Start Your Own Free WordPress Blog With Bluehost-Welcome to WordPress-My Financial Hill

Once you arrive at the “Welcome to WordPress” page, click on “Business” or “Personal” depending on what you want your site to be about. For blogs, I would choose the “Personal” option.

Awesome, now you’re all ready to get started creating great content!

Just to familiarize yourself with the platform, let’s go over a few things you may see on your navigation bar on the left.

  • Posts– Primarily used for your blog content.
  • Media-Upload your pictures, videos, and other media files for your site
  • Pages– This is where you go to create your homepage, contact page, about me page, and more.
  • Comments-Check recently posted comments on your site.
  • Appearance-This is where you can go to customize the layout of your site by changing themes or adding in widgets.
  • Plugins-Offer extra add-ons to your site if you want specific forms, back-up programs, gallery display, number counters, calendars, graphs, and so much more. There’s a plugin for EVERYTHING. You will find all sorts of plugins specific to your site’s needs.

There you have it, now you know how to start a free WordPress blog through Bluehost. It’s simple and easy to sign up. Bluehost has awesome customer service and they will help you with any concerns you may have. $3.95 a month is so worth having your own beautiful blog and website to call your own.

If you have any questions at all, I’ll do my best to help you out. Reach out to me here.

Alright, now you’re ready to put yourself out there and share with the world!

​Read More
Debt Snowball Method and Free Worksheet Printable-MyFinancialHill
Debt, Money

Does The Debt Snowball Method Really Work?

Having debt can be overwhelming. Sometimes it may feel like a never ending abyss of bills upon bills. Working hard, earning money, yet at the end of the month there’s nothing left in your bank account. Did you know that 4 in 10 people live paycheck to paycheck? I was in the same position where I thought I could never get out of debt. My husband and I had $127,229 worth of debt, ridiculous, I know. We got serious about wanting to get debt free since September of 2018. We tried to find the best debt payoff strategy and came across the debt snowball method. You will find out if this method has worked for us or not.

What is the debt snowball method?

It’s a very simple and easy debt payoff method which targets the loans with smallest balances first while keeping up with minimum payments for all other debt besides the mortgage payment.

Over time, as each debt gets eliminated, your monthly payment applied towards the next debt item grows larger and larger.

Your “rollover” money essentially becomes a “snowball” as it grows into a larger payment being applied to your debt items.

How does the snowball method work?

The debt snowball method was so easy for us to implement into our debt repayment strategy. It didn’t require any special calculations or special programs. All you really need is a pen/paper/or computer.

Step 1

List ALL DEBT (excluding mortgage). Debt with the smallest balance should be listed on the top.

Debt Snowball Method-My Financial Hill- Free Debt Snowball Worksheet Printable

Step 2

Pay minimums on all debt to stay current

Step 3

Any extra money (after budgeting, extra income, savings, etc.) is applied to Debt #1 on the list.

Debt Snowball Method-My Financial Hill- Free Debt Snowball Worksheet Printable

Step 4

Once Debt #1 has been paid off, take the minimum amount for Debt #1 and apply it to the minimum amount for Debt #2.

After Debt #2 has been paid, take the *New minimum amount for Debt #2 and apply it to the minimum amount for Debt #3, and continue until you reach your DEBT FREE GOAL.

Debt Snowball Method-My Financial Hill- Free Debt Snowball Worksheet Printable

The debt snowball method worked extremely well for our debt payoff progress. We went from having $127,229 worth of debt down to $37,250. We’ve paid $89,979 worth of debt so far since September 2018.

September 2018

8 Credit Cards
1 Car Loan
2 Medical Loans
2 Student Loans
1 Personal Loan + 1 Personal Loan From Family
Credit Score Upper 600’s-Low 700’s
$127,229 Total Debt

June 2020

1 Student Loan
1 Personal Loan From Family
Credit Score Mid 800’s
$37,250 Total Debt Remaining

The snowball method helped pay off debt very fast. We paid down more than $50,000 within the first 10 months all thanks to implementing the debt snowball method. It was awesome going from 15 debt items to 2 now.

Try your own debt snowball method with the free printable below!

Does the debt snowball method really work?

Yes, it does! It’s definitely worked for our situation. We went from having 15 debt items down to the last two remaining.

It felt as if we were able to pay off debt very fast with the snowball method. We were able to pay off more than $50,000 in 10 months with savings, extra money earned, and also finding money saved in our budget.

The snowball method is also a very motivational way to help pay off debt. As we started seeing the small debts get knocked out, it definitely encouraged us to keep going.

There’s nothing better than to work at something and see results fast.

The snowball method definitely was so easy to apply while getting the results we needed to keep us motivated.

Give it a try with the free printable above. Let us know if this method has helped you to start knocking out debt.

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Money

60 Best Mother’s Day Gift Ideas Under $50

Mother’s Day is coming up and what better way to show your love and appreciation for the person who’s raised you! Put a smile on your mom’s face by getting her something special. If you’re stuck and have no idea what to get her, don’t worry. You’ll see below 60 of the best Mother’s Day gift ideas to get her all for under $50. There are lots of unique gifts you can get her from all different categories ranging from jewelry, things for the home, spa related gifts, beauty products, things for the garden, and books. You’ll be sure to find her something she’ll adore for Mother’s Day.

JEWELRY

Get your mom some special jewelry she can wear that will remind her how loved she is. She will be sure to love these special jewelry pieces. They vary from essential oil bracelets, specially engraved or customized necklace to symbolize your family, and more!

HOME

If your mom loves decor, get her something around the home that will remind her how special she is. 

SPA

Pamper your mom with spa gifts so she can indulge in a little Rest & Relaxation at home. Have her wind down with some sweet smelling candles, beautiful flower soap, colorful and fun bath bombs, hand treatment, and more.

 

BEAUTY

Treat your mom to some beauty products that will help keep her looking beautiful, healthy, and flawless. Keep her looking great with beautiful eye shadow, jade face roller, face masks and gold under eye treatment, facial exfoliator, hair curling iron, and more.

GARDEN

Surprise your mom with outdoor gardening decorations to put a smile on her face. Does she have succulents? Use these cute and decorative pots for propagating succulents.

BOOKS

Get your mom some books if she loves to read or color to remind her you’re thinking of her on Mother’s Day

Show your mom some love on Mother’s Day, give her a hug, thank her for all those years she raised you to become the wonderful person that you are. Find her something special from this list of 60 best Mother’s Day gift ideas under $50 to make her smile on her day. You can still make your mom feel special without spending loads of cash. Would you like to find out some more money saving tips? Check out the post below.

Related: Best Money Saving Tips to Start Now

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Money

How To Deal With Being Poor As A Teenager

Let’s face it, being a teenager is hard. Especially when so many aspects of life is out of your control like your financial situation. There are ways to deal with financial circumstance and how you perceive it. We’ll dive a little deeper into how to deal with feeling poor as a teenager in this day and age.

Teenage life should be full of fun, building friendships, and socializing. Sometimes that may not be the case at all. Some teens may have very stressful lives filled with feeling insecure, inadequate, low self esteem, often times resulting from not having sufficient financial means. Sure people say all teens should focus on is school. But school is the place where many teens feel inadequate because they tend to compare themselves to their peers.

Growing up poor as a teenager could be one of life’s hardest things to endure. Your life and especially the financial situation you may be in is completely out of your control. If you want the best clothes, newest phone, makeup, or shoes, you most likely have to ask your parent/s. Depending on their financial status depends on whether you can get those items.

If you’re reading this and you are a teen who thinks you are “poor”, try not to be so hard on yourself! Most importantly, do not let material objects define you as a person. Stay strong because there will come a time where you will earn your own money and eventually lead the life you desire. Until then, there are ways you may be able to make some side money to buy certain things and to save! Let’s look at some ways that can help you deal with being poor as a teen.

Cover Your Basic Necessities

How to Deal With Being Poor as a Teen - MyFinancialHill
Photo by Eea Ikeda

First and foremost, you have to make sure that you have food and proper shelter. If you’re enrolled in school please talk to a school counselor or even a mentor. If you belong to a religious organization, reach out to any of the leaders. They will have information in regards to guiding you to the right people to help you with basic necessities like food and shelter.

If your family’s struggling to pay bills, put food on the plate, or keep up with rent/housing payments then reaching out for some help is the best solution. There’s a lot of programs out there that can definitely help you and your family out in times of need.

Jobs For Those Who Are Not Old Enough

If your household is struggling financially, the last thing you want to do is go to your folks to ask them for money. Sure, as a teen you should focus on school and playing with friends. If you ever find some spare time, why not make the most out of it? Make some cash!

If you’re at least 13, there’s small jobs you can do to earn some money. You can earn some bucks on Swagbucks, earn some money around the neighborhood, and even come up with a great idea for YouTube.

  • Take surveys online
    • Swagbucks – Minimum age is 13, you most likely will need your parent’s permission before joining. Get a $10 welcome bonus. You earn points by taking polls, surveys, watch videos, play games, complete daily goals, and by referring others. Those points convert to cash via PayPal or gift cards through Amazon, Walmart, Visa, iTunes, Starbucks, eBay, and more.
  • Babysitter
  • Dog Walker
  • Lawn Care
  • Clear out snow
  • Sell crafts you make
  • Sell lemonade/baked goods
  • Are you talented? Post a YouTube video of your talents (if underage, ask your parents to post it for you)

Find Ways To Save Money

There are little ways you can help your family without sacrificing your childhood. You and your family can get cash back when grocery shopping or online shopping.

Ibotta

With Ibotta, you get real cash back when you grocery shop or shop online. They have over 300 stores that participate with them. For example, do you or your family shop at places like Kroger, H-E-B, C-Town, Aldi, Foodtown, Randalls, SHOP ‘n SAVE, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Sprouts Farmers Market, Target, Trader Joe’s, and Walmart?

You and your family could be losing out on free cash back shopping at those places. Ibotta is really easy to use.

  • 1. Look for the store you plan to shop at.
  • 2. Scroll through the items you and your family plan to buy and add it to your list.
  • 3. Get your store receipt and scan it.
  • 4. Get money back!

Sign up for free at Ibotta and use the code YDIGCFJ to get your $20 welcome bonus

Checkout 51 Cash Back App

Checkout 51 is very similar to Ibotta. You and your family can get cash back from groceries and hygiene products. Just upload your receipt and redeem for cash once you hit $20. What’s great about Checkout 51 is that your family can get cash back at the gas pump too and they offer a digital Prescription Savings Card which can save up to 80% on medications.

Checkout 51 has multiple items that also allow manufacturer’s coupons as well.

Sign up for free and get your $5 bonus at Checkout 51 to start earning cash back the easy way.
Tip: Earn $2 when you upload your first receipt and $1 for each receipt three times after that which gives you a total of $5 bonus cash.

GetUpside Cash Back App

GetUpside is another easy cash back app to use. You can get money back on restaurants, groceries (Washington D.C. area), and gas.

Your family can earn cash back from getting gas and also from fast food places like Burger King, Popeyes, and more.

You can see savings as much as 35% at restaurants, 15% at grocery stores, and 25c/gal of gas.

It’s very easy to use, all you have to do is claim the offer presented, simply upload your receipt, and get cash back. Once you hit $15, you can get cash back via PayPal or reach $50 to get a cash payout.

Download GetUpside and use the promo code U5NBX to get $7 cash back on your first purchase

Fetch Rewards App

Fetch Rewards is another easy app you can use to earn cash back to redeem for gift cards or magazine subscriptions. You can certainly use the gift cards for yourself or give them out as presents during holidays and birthdays.

All you need to do is scan your receipts from most grocery stores, pharmacy, convenience store, and big retailers. You will then earn points which you can redeem for gift cards or magazine subscriptions.

Use the code 7JKFH when you sign up to Fetch Rewards and you’ll get 2,000 Fetch Points ($2.00 in points)
You can also refer others and earn 2,000 points ($2) yourself and your friend/family will earn 2,000 points ($2) as well.

Rakuten

If your family ever does any online shopping, then they could be missing out on free money.

Rakuten gets you money back via PayPal or gift cards when you shop online via their site. They have over 3,000 major stores listed on their site along with how much money back they’re offering.

Some of the stores they have listed are Kohl’s, Walmart, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, JCPenny, Target, and 3,000 others.

When you and your family buy something online, always go to Rakuten first to see if there’s any cash back offers. Then, click on “Shop Now” from Rakuten and you will be forwarded to the retailer’s site to shop as normal. After the purchase, you’ll get cash back to your Rakuten account.

Sign up today with Rakuten to get $10 in a welcome bonus and be on your way to start earning cash back for online purchases. Don’t miss out on FREE MONEY!

Groupon

Groupon is an awesome site that can get you and and your family some major savings. I’ve seen deals as much as 92% off.

For example, if you and your family wanted to enjoy a manicure day but can’t afford the high costs, checking out Groupon can help you all find some major deals in your local area.

Just the other day, I found a deal on Groupon for a women’s haircut at $9 which was 50% off. There are tons more.

Sign up for free here at Groupon to start getting your MEGA savings.

You and your family can save a lot of money by using the right apps and sites. Why not get cash back, it’s free money. The more savings you all find, the more you’ll have in your pockets. Plus, most of these apps and sites are offering you sign up bonuses which can get you over $40 in total. That’s not too bad just by doing what you all normally do.

Find out 95 more ways you and your family can save tons of money.

Read More: Best Money Saving Tips to Start Now

Where To Get Clothes For Cheap

How to Deal With Being Poor as a Teen - MyFinancialHill
Photo by Felipe Galvan

If you made some extra money doing any one of those jobs listed above then you can buy some extra clothes you think looks nice.

No, you don’t have to go straight to the mall and buy a $50 top or a pair of hundred dollar sneakers.

Check out thrift stores or low cost retailers! There are some great thrift stores out there that sell real designer clothing at a fraction of the cost. Some items may be worn and you can even find some that still have tags (never worn). You can easily find local thrift stores near you with a simple Google search or check some out online.

Popular Online Thrift Stores

You can also find stylish and name brand clothes with huge discounts at the following retail stores. You’ll get way more for your money compared to shopping at the mall.

Popular Low Cost Retail Stores

  • Ross Stores
  • Kohl’s
  • TJ Maxx
  • Marshall’s

Where To Get Nice Cellphones For Free

Being a teen is all about fitting in. There are ways to do that without needing to spend tons of money. If your family is strapped for cash and can’t afford to get you a nice cellphone, look into Cricket Wireless, Boost Mobile, or Metro by T-Mobile.

Affordable Cell Phone Carriers to Look Into:

  • Cricket Wireless
    • Unlimited talk, text, internet – 1 line $55 and 2 lines $80
  • Boost Mobile
    • Unlimited talk, text, internet – 1 line $45 drops to $35 a month after 6 months and 2 lines $80
  • Metro by T-Mobile
    • Unlimited talk, text, internet – 1 line $55 and 2 lines $80

These cellphone carriers have ridiculously cheap cell phone plans with no hidden costs plus they offer a wide array of super nice cellphones for free! Ask your parent/s to look into these companies.

Changing Your Mindset

How to Deal With Being Poor as a Teen - MyFinancialHill
Photo by Peter Fogden

The most important aspect of who you are is your mind!

Don’t let your current situation get you down! Your financial situation of not being able to get all the things you want now doesn’t mean that you will live that life forever. Remember, it’s only temporary.

Most importantly, who you are today does not predict who you will be tomorrow. You will change, your circumstances will change, ultimately you will live your own life as an adult in a few more years.

“Who you are today does not predict who you will be tomorrow”

One thing to keep in mind is to change your mentality. Very important!

Don’t compare yourself to others and what they have. That kind of thinking leads to money problems later on in life. That is why most Americans are in debt. Now, that is something you don’t want.

An example of having debt is when people borrow money from banks and credit cards to get what they want and don’t really need. Having a lot of debt leads to money problems. It’s important to understand how to properly handle money. It is called budgeting and you are never to young to understand how to properly handle money so that you can learn how to be smart when you actually get money coming in.

Related: How To Budget Your Money For Beginners

Budgeting will teach you how to properly spend your money. Let’s say you made $200 babysitting, you can plan to spend $100 on nice clothes at less expensive retailers and thrift stores and plan to save the other $100 in a savings account. Learning how to properly spend your money wisely will help you tremendously in your life whether it be as a teen or in your adult life.

Change Your Future

As mentioned before, your current money situation does not define who you are as a person. You must look towards the future and take steps to be the person who you want to be. Let’s look at a few famous people who changed their life paths and reached financial success. I’m sure you will know who these people are, they grew up in poor households yet became millionaires and billionaires. If they can do it, so can you!

Oprah Winfrey

Estimated net worth 2.9 billion

I’m sure you know who she is! Well, she was raised from humble beginnings. She grew up without having running water or electricity as stated in an interview with Barbara Walters. She didn’t let that stop her, she pursued her dreams to work in radio and television. Now, according to Business Insider, she has an estimated net worth of 2.9 billion! She is a prime example of someone who didn’t let her past define who she was going to be in the future.

“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work”

Oprah Winfrey

Jan Koum

Estimate net worth 9.1 billion

Jan Koum was born in Ukraine and moved to California when he was 16. He and his mother lived in government housing. He swept floors at a store to make enough money to get by. He later taught himself computer skills and ultimately co-founded WhatsApp which is the world’s most popular messaging service. Facebook later bought the messaging service for $22 billion in 2014.

Celine Dion

Estimate net worth 37.5 million

Celine Dion was one in 14 children. Her family struggled to support her and all her siblings. Growing up, she said there were 3 or 4 siblings who had to sleep in the same bed. She didn’t let her situation define her. She chose to go after her passion of singing. She was the artist behind her top songs “My Heart Will Go On” from the Titanic and “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”. She is now estimated to have a net worth of 37.5 million.

Howard Schultz

Estimated net worth 3 billion

Howard Schultz was 3 years old when his family moved into a public housing project in Brooklyn, NY. His family struggled with money due to his father getting injured and being laid off without any benefits. Howard says he worked and obtained loans just to get through school and even sold his blood for cash to get by. After college, he worked at jobs and eventually got linked to Starbucks where he took charge in the 1980s and launched the brand into the world’s most recognized coffee shop. Now his net worth is at 3 billion.

Takeaway

Let these famous people be your role models and help you to aspire to achieve your goals. Whatever those aspirations may be whether it is a talk show host, entrepreneur, singer, tech creator, and more. There are no limits to what you can achieve.

Don’t let your current situation hold you back from achieving your dreams. What you have in your possessions doesn’t define who you are inside. Sure, things may seem difficult but know that it won’t stay that way forever.

If you’re concerned about money at the moment, you can make some money even if you’re 13 years old. Also, learning how to save money can keep more in your pockets. It’ll be one of your greatest skills growing up to be an adult.

Most importantly, always think of your future. Dream of where you want to be as an adult and take the small steps to get there. Overall, try to enjoy being a teen. Have fun with your friends and family, enjoy all the great happy moments. Once you grow up, you’ll actually miss those days a lot.


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Money

How To Budget Your Money For Beginners

Do you work hard for your money only to find that at the end of the month, you have no idea where it all went? What that means is you don’t have control over your money. But how come you don’t control your money? I mean, you or your household busts your butt to earn money right? Well, if you don’t have a system in place, then it’s hard to keep track of how you spend your hard earned cash. I’ll show you how to budget your money that even beginners can do. 

What Is A Budget?

To put things simply, a budget is a plan you set on how to spend your money over a certain period of time.

For instance, you can create a monthly budget which tracks your income and all your planned expenses for the month.

Sure, you can create a weekly or yearly budget. I really recommend sticking with a monthly budget. It’s not too time consuming as a weekly one or too lax in case of the yearly budget.

What Is The Purpose of a Budget?

A budget helps you take control over your money.

Don’t be scared off by this concept. You’ll be surprised, budgeting can really help get your financial situation in shape.

Also, just because you budget doesn’t mean you have to cut all the things you want out. No, not at all!

You can still buy the things you want, go on trips, and still have fun while getting your finances right. It’s all in the planning.

Why Budgeting Matters

So, budgeting helps you take the reigns of your finances. But, why does that matter?

Are you struggling financially? Have debt? Can’t seem to save a penny? Live paycheck to paycheck? Can’t afford that nice vacation? Working so hard but don’t feel like you have anything to show for it? Over drafting on payments? Always getting hit with late charges on bills? The list goes on and on.

Having a budgeting plan will help you to finally see what you can do with your money. Think of a budget as a way to help you:

  • See Exactly Where Your Money is Going
  • Pay Down Debt
  • Save Money
  • Have Money to Invest For Your Retirement
  • Start Keeping Track of Bills
  • Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck
  • Buy The Things You Want
  • Take That Nice Vacation
  • Saves You Stress From Finances

Budgeting matters because it gives you the reigns over your financial life. You get to control how to spend your hard earned money. Don’t you want to be in control?

Zero Based Budget

There’s a lot of budgeting systems out there. The one that I prefer to use is called a Zero Based Budgeting system.

Zero Based Budgeting is my favorite because it’s very simple to understand and implement.

Basically, all you do is take your monthly income amount and plan all your expenses for the month.

For example, let’s say your household brought in $4,000 for the month. You’ll take that amount and start planning to set spending amounts for categories like rent/mortgage, utilites, food, etc. See example below. You pretty much want to make sure that you’ve planned every single dollar towards a spending category.

Zero Based Budget MyFinancialHill

The whole idea behind this budgeting method is that you’ll do your best not to go over your set budget amounts. It’s super easy.

You can easily do this with a pen and paper.

Jot down your income and on one side go ahead and think of all your spending categories for your household.

Budget Items

When creating your budget, it’s important to list as many budgeting categories as you can.

List all your monthly expenses along with savings, and future expenses.

For example, start by listing all your necessary expenses for the month which may include:

  • Mortgage/rent
  • Electric, water, gas
  • Phone
  • Cable/internet
  • Car loan/insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Medical payments
  • Debt payments

Then you can add budget items for your savings fund which can be:

  • Emergency fund (3-6 month worth of expenses)
  • Cushion (1-2 month worth of expenses)
  • Retirement account

Next you can add items for future expenses which can include:

  • Kid’s braces
  • Furniture
  • Vacation
  • School tuition
  • Car maintenance

Every month, you can plan to set aside some money for each of budget line item within your own customized budget.

Keeping Tabs on Your Budget

Now that you’ve created your budget, it’s super important to keep track of all your budget items.

For instance, if you planned to set aside $500 a month for food and groceries, how will you know if you’ve spent more than $500 or less than $500?

This is why you’ll have to keep track of what you’ve spent for the month.

Then you can compare what you’ve actually spent to what you originally planned to spend for your budget items.

It’ll be a good idea to aim to stay within your budgeted amounts.

Evaluating Your Budget

At the end of the month, you’re going to see how you did overall.

Did you overspend in your budget or did you have a lot of money left over?

This will help you determine which budget line items to change and which ones you should leave alone.

For instance, did you plan to spend $600 on food but only spent $300? Then you can easily change your budget amount for food to $300 going forward.

If you’ve overspent on certain budget line items then you may have to make adjustments to accommodate the higher amount for the next month’s budget.

Overall, your budget is not set in stone and you can definitely customize it as you go along. But the whole point is to always make sure you’re trying to stay close to the budget.

Takeaway

Overall, budgeting can really change your life. It’ll help you see things you’re spending money on unnecessarily. It can also help you find tons of savings.

Once you set up your initial budget, it should be easy peazy from there. All you have to do is check in on your budget once or twice a month.

I highly recommend budgeting to help stay on track of your finances. It’s been so important in our debt payoff journey. We’ve paid off over $100,000 in 24 months and I accredit that to keeping a proper budget and saving money.

Do you need some more guidance when it comes to budgeting? I walk you through from A to Z and show you exactly how to create, set up, and use a budget monthly with one of my printables which is editable and does calculations for you. It’s part of My Financial Hill Budgeting Kit which also comes with tons of other resources that can help you finally take control of your money and get out of debt.

You can also get started by grabbing your free Debt Thermometer and join us in the free 5-Day Debt Free Bootcamp which will help you knock out your first $500 worth of debt within the first month.

 


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How Buying A Used Car Can Save You Thousands | Money Saving Tips
Money

Buying a Car Used Can Save You Thousands

B uying a car used can save you thousands! Who doesn’t want that brand spanking new car? You’ll be shocked to see how much money you can save by making the choice to buy a used car instead.

One thing you’ve got to keep in mind is that a car is considered an asset that loses value over time for the most part. Well, that’s unless you have one of those super rare beauty’s that you never drive around. Realistically, the average person buys regular cars that typically lose it’s value and that’s called depreciation.

How much does a car depreciate over time? 

Did you know that your brand new car starts to lose value as soon as you drive it off the lot! According to Car Fax, it’ll most likely lose 10% of it’s value during the first month as you happily drive it off the lot!

It’ll continue to depreciate and after the first 12 months the value will drop by 20%. It’ll keep losing it’s value year after year by 10%.

Think twice before deciding to buy a new car.

You can find used cars in excellent condition with much of the depreciation already taken place so you can get it at a fraction of the original cost. Check out Edmunds to check your car appraisal and to look for used cars.

First Year – New car can lose 20% to 30% of it’s value

By the Fifth Year – New car can lose as much as 60% of it’s original sticker price

How will car depreciation affect me?

Let’s look at a scenario with our fictional character Joe who landed a good paying job out of college. He’s a bachelor and living the prime of his life. Joe always wanted a smoking hot mustang so one day he went out and decided to get one.

First Scenario – Joe Got a New Car

Joe went to a dealership and found a nice looking one mustang for $40,000. It seemed like a lot of money but he figured if he finances it, he can certainly afford the monthly payments  He saved a couple thousand already so he put that money towards his down payment, financing fees, taxes, etc. 

Fast forward up to 5 years later, Joe met his wife and now is happily married. Joe’s wife Kate also has a small car. They’ve been managing just fine with two small vehicles. One day, Joe and Kate decide to have children. It turns out Kate is pregnant with twins and about to give birth in a few months! They decide that their two small cars just won’t cut it especially with twins on the way.

Joe and Kate decide that they need a new car preferably a much larger minivan or SUV. Joe finally paid off his mustang. He loves his car but they need a new vehicle plus some cash to start his new family.

JOE’S 2014 MUSTANG$40,000
4.21% FINANCING INTEREST$4,427
FINANCING FEES, TAXES, DOCUMENTATION, ETC.$1,800
TOTAL PAID IN 5 YEARS – 2019$46,227

Since Joe and Kate needed a new car, they decided to get a trade in value estimate for both their cars. Kate’s car had a trade in value of $1,800 and Joe’s car had a value of $16,000. Unfortunately, they both decided to sacrifice Joe’s beloved mustang due to the higher trade in value. Let’s calculate how much Joe lost in 5 years once he trades in his new car.

TOTAL JOE PAID FOR HIS MUSTANG + INTEREST + FEES$46,227
TRADE IN VALUE IN 2019$16,000
TOTAL LOSS IN 5 YEARS-$30,227

Can you believe that Joe lost roughly $30K in 5 years? That’s an equivalent of throwing $6,045 a year down the trash just to drive the new car. Now, let’s see how Joe’s situation turns out if he bought a used car instead.

Second Scenario – Joe Got a Used Car

What if Joe first bought a used mustang and ended up trading that in? For instance, let’s say Joe bought a used mustang for $18,000 with 65,000 miles on it instead of the brand new one for $40,000. 5 years later when it came time to trade in that car, how much would he lose with the used car vs. the new car?

JOE’S USED MUSTANG WITH 65,000 MILES (ALL FEES INC.)$18,000
TRADE IN VALUE AFTER 5 YEARS OF USE WITH 130,000 MILES$11,000
TOTAL LOSS IN 5 YEARS-$7,000

Ultimately, Joe would save roughly $23,000 if he buys a used car rather than a new car. Depreciation is REAL and it hits hard, especially with new vehicles.

TOTAL LOSS IN 5 YEARS – JOE’S NEW MUSTANG$30,227
TOTAL LOSS IN 5 YEARS – JOE’S USED MUSTANG $7,000
TOTAL SAVED IF JOE BUYS THE USED MUSTANG$23,000

Saving $23,000 in 5 years sounds pretty good to me. That money can easily go towards getting out of debt, savings, or retirement accounts. It’s easy to lose track of how much we’re TRULY spending when buying new cars over used cars.

Another aspect to keep in mind when buying new cars are financing fees. Let’s be real here, a majority of people do not have $25,000-$60,000 lying around. Most people will have to finance their new cars.

Not only do you have to pay a hefty amount for a new car, there’s interest tacked on for financing plus loan fees. This can tack on thousands of dollars more to owning a new car.

Do you want to find out how much your car would be appraised for? Go to Edmunds-Appraisal Tool to find out how much it’s worth if you’re deciding on selling it.

Financing Burden

Financing a car whether it’s new or used can significantly add on more costs to owning a car. When taking out a loan for a car, there are certain major factors to consider.

  • Loan origination fees
  • Interest rates from 2%-15.24% (even higher)
  • Need full coverage car insurance

Who doesn’t want a nice and brand new car? Are the extra factors of depreciation and financing all worth it in the long run? I don’t think so!

I had a co-worker who financed a brand new Nissan Maxima. She was paying $500-$600 a month for the car and an extra $350 every month for the full coverage insurance. That is almost a whopping $1,000 a month! Just for a car that’s depreciating in value! 

You can be wasting a lot of extra money on unnecessary costs when financing a car. The best choice would be to buy a used car in full so that way, you can avoid all the extra fees that comes along with financing.

Is Buying a Used Car Worth It?

Buying A Car Used Can Save You Thousands - My Financial Hill

When we look at Joe’s comparison from buying a new car vs. a used car. He would save an upwards of $23,000 in 5 years if he were to choose the used mustang. That’s a lot of money I’d say. New cars can depreciate nearly 60% after 5 years.

Not only can you use a lot more money from depreciation, you can waste even more by financing a car.

Buying a fully paid for used car is the way to go!

Buying used doesn’t mean you have to get a broken down car. There are TONS of used cars out there that are in perfectly excellent condition and much more affordable. When I bought my used car for $14,000, it was 2010 and already had about 40,000 miles on it. Yes, I financed it because I had no choice at the time. Now it’s fully paid off now and I will not finance another vehicle. My used car is still running great! In the 5 years I had the car all I did were oil changes, 2 new tires, and a tune up. That’s it!

Another great part about buying a used car is that although it will depreciate over time, the majority of the decrease in value already took place. So by the time you buy it, the price should be a lot more reasonable with all the depreciation that’s taken place. You could get more bang for your buck.

What to Consider When Buying Used

When buying used cars, there are other precautions that can be taken to make sure that you will not end up with a lemon. 

When purchasing your used car at a dealership, most of the time they will provide you with a carfax report. You can also have the used car inspected prior to purchase. Most often, test driving will also be allowed.

Also, if you go to a reputable used car dealership, they will fix any minor repairs that you uncover in the allotted time frame. One thing to keep in mind when it comes down to the actual purchase of the car is that you can do quick research on the make and model of the car on Kelley Blue Book. If the dealership marked up the price significantly, there is room to negotiate if you can find comparable prices of what the car should actually cost. 

Buying a used car from a private seller will in most cases be sold as is and they will not fix anything for you once you drive it off. However, the price of the used car will usually be less than dealerships. 

Buying a used car from a dealership may offer you better protections than buying from a private seller.

Takeaway

Most of us rely on cars. It helps us get to work, grocery shopping, picking up the kids, run errands, and so much more. A car can be a blessing or a financial burden.

Don’t let buying a car seep more money out your pockets when you don’t have to.

Buying a used car over a new one can save you thousands. Plus, it may be better to avoid financing any car. If you can, save up and pay for the car in cash. There’s lots of reliable used cars out there which can last you 10+ years.

And remember, money saved is money earned. Don’t give other people/companies/banks your hard earned money when it’s avoidable.

If you found this tip about saving money on cars useful, check out my other money saving tip posts.

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How we Saved Over $60 a Month on Our Cellphone Bill

How We Paid Off $50,000 Within 10 Months

Did you know that getting out of debt can also be saving you hundreds of extra dollars a month. We’ve knocked out over $100,000 in 24 months using these tips from the free 5-Day Debt Free Bootcamp. Start your debt free journey with this free Debt Thermometer to begin.


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