Friday, September 22, 2023

Three ways to make a side income


Photo by Maggie Isley: 

Many people strive for a side income for many reasons. It allows you to increase your savings, and improve your financial security, it gives you more flexibility in life as well as options - whatever your reasons, there are very few negatives to making a side income. But the question is, how do you make a side income? 

Side incomes can be done in many ways and very much depend on the amount of money you have available to invest in your side income. For example, you could create a property website and earn money from people staying in your apartments. You could create your own blog and write about something you are passionate about or you could become a freelancer in the evenings. 

Below we dive into three ways to make a side income. 

Invest in property 

To start with, let's look into a way to make money if you have a lot of money available to invest. Property is a great way to make a side income, with many people owning a few properties as part of their portfolio. By investing in a property you will make an income from the monthly rent your tenants will pay (as long as you have a big enough yield) as well as the money you will make in the long term when you sell the property. 

Start up your own blog 

Blogs are great for making a side income. You can make an income from ad revenue, affiliate links, sponsored posts, sponsored competitions, social media collaborations, and more. Initially, it will take time to make an income as the income is generated by the amount of views you get. This is why it's important you write about a subject that you are interested in - such as a marketing blog, a health blog on living a healthy lifestyle, or a blog on food and drink. If you are unsure of how to make a blog, it’s never been easier. There are many affordable WordPress designers out there who can make you one at an affordable price. If you feel confident enough, there are also drag-and-drop builders that you can use with pre-made templates.  

Freelance in your spare time 

Have you considered freelancing in your evenings after work or on the weekend? Many career skills are transferable and can be done in your spare time to help other businesses. If you enjoy web design, you could create other websites, graphic designers can help with branding, whilst accountants could support payroll or a marketing expert help with paid ads - have a think about your skills and see if there is a market there to help others as a freelancer in the evening. Freelancing can be one of the most profitable ways to make money and help get out of debt (if this is a situation you are in) 

Have you got a side income you would like to share with our readers? Which of the above tips did you find most useful? Let us know in the comment box below.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Pump Up Your Sabbatical with a Dash of Eccentricity

 Are you searching for ways to add some flair and eccentricity into your sabbatical experience? This piece should satisfy any desire for something extraordinary if the everyday is boring you - so buckle up and dive right in!

Photo by Andreea Petruti on Unsplash

Become an Artisanal Cheese Connoisseur in France

France, known for love, la vie bohème, and... cheese? Roll up your sleeves, don a beret, and dive headfirst into the world of artisanal cheese! From creamy Camembert in Normandy to potency Roquefort from Southern France - embark on an artisanal cheese journey! Cheese-making workshops, local farm visits, and culminating with an unforgettable cheese-tasting session at a Parisian fromagerie are just the start - your tastebuds won't ever be the same again after participating in such experiences! When you return home, your stories of cheesy adventures will surely make the room buzz with laughter!

Pan for Gold in Canada's Wild West 

Bring out your wide-brimmed hat; we are headed north into Yukon - Canada's own Wild West. Did you ever think your sabbatical could turn you into an avid gold digger? No? Why not! Spend your days knee-deep in sparkling rivers, swirling your pan through rocks and silt to pan for gold - who knows, maybe one or more shiny nuggets await discovery? Once the sun goes down, gather around a campfire with fellow prospectors to share tales of gold panning - you may leave with more than just memories but an Alaskan tan, vial of dust, and stories to tell. Remember: all that glitters isn't necessarily gold; it could also be part of your memorable sabbatical experience!

Explore the Underworld: Caving in New Zealand

Let's travel across the Pacific and experience New Zealand, which boasts beautiful landscapes like its land of the Long White Cloud. Let's move underneath these idyllic sights for a moment to go caving underground! Waitomo Glowworm Caves provide an enthralling journey into an illuminated underwater realm reminiscent of something out of a science fiction novel. Explore dark caverns illuminated only by thousands of tiny glowworms lighting the ceilings - an experience like no other! Waitomo offers something to satisfy every adventurer - from peacefully floating along underground rivers to an adrenaline rush with black water rafting! Whatever your preference, Waitomo offers something suitable. As soon as you emerge from the depths, with clothes soaked and heart racing, memories of an unforgettable underground galaxy will flood back. Kiwi landers refer to this momentous occasion as your "sweet as" moment! No trip to New Zealand would be complete without meeting one or more of these unique glow-in-the-dark creatures!

Join a Monastic Community in Bhutan

Step away from everyday stressors and immerse yourself in Bhutan's peaceful mountains for an inspiring Buddhist monastic community experience - Land of the Thunder Dragon. At our forth eccentric adventure, we introduce you to a world of introspective solitude - joining a Bhutanese monastic community. Devoid of the incessant demands and noisy distractions of modern life, this experience provides you with a chance to engage in mindfulness practices, consider life's profound questions and potentially discover your own form of Zen. Time can often seem fleeting in our world of constant distraction, yet here you will be encouraged to stop, breathe and simply be. Perhaps this could even be your 'Eat, Pray, Love' moment without all of the pasta pounds! Not everyone may appreciate a visit to Bhutan's peaceful monasteries; but those willing to embrace the experience may find a stay there could provide just the spiritual boost you were searching for. So are you ready to exchange your smartphone for a prayer wheel?

Conclusion: Welcome the Eccentric

So there you have it, courageous souls! The world is your oyster when it comes to exotic experiences that can make your sabbatical truly extraordinary. Remember that life is too short to settle for mundane adventures; embrace eccentric experiences - because why not?

Thursday, September 14, 2023

4 Things To Consider When Choosing Your Next Building Contractor

 4 Things To Consider When Choosing Your Next Building Contractor

Revamping your home can be rewarding but involves several factors to ensure success. That includes getting a professional building contractor on board. They bring safety, ensure quality, and help you to significantly save time. But in a sea of contractors, how do you know which one’s your best option? It’s a question that every soon-to-be homeowner grapples with. So, this article highlights four things that will steer you toward the ultimate building contractor for your dream project. 

  1. On-time delivery is a must

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Time is precious, and delays can be a real buzzkill, not to mention costly. You cannot afford to play the waiting game when you have a deadline to beat. So, when your contractor outlines the start and finish dates, you want them to stick to their word like glue. Do thorough research on their track record to determine if they usually miss deadlines or drag their feet during projects. You can also look out for an on-time guarantee, indicating that the contractors you’re considering can deliver on time

  1. Choose skilled pros who know their stuff 

When you’re gearing up for your home project, you want the A-team. That means having experienced folks on the job - whether they’re wielding hammers, laying tiles, or fixing wires. Some crews have specialists for every job, while others might zero in on a select few. Having a one-stop shop can be useful - think about cost savings, top-notch communication, and a safer worksite with fewer faces in the crowd. But here’s the catch - you don’t want a “jack of all trades, master of none” situation. Go for the real deal, the experts with the skills to give you value for money. 

  1. Think about safety 

As the client, you also have a crucial role in site safety. You can ensure safety by letting your building contractors bring all the right papers and certifications. It’s all about ensuring they conform to the rules and regulations so you don't get caught in a sticky situation. 

Meanwhile, if you’re concerned about financial security and assurance during your building project, you can consider a surety bond to guarantee your contractor delivers as specified in the agreement. Safety’s the name of the game, and you want a partner who knows the ropes and keeps everything on the up and up. 

  1. Remember that customer satisfaction counts

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Ultimately, what truly matters is how happy you are with the project’s management and the final result. Pick a contractor who values customer service above everything else. Ensure they listen, appreciate your needs, and fulfill their promises. After all, decisions will be made and further details communicated from start to completion date and within a specified timeline. It would help if you were to discuss any concerns you have at every project. Also, determine if your contractor relies on an independent firm to gauge customer service performance. 

Considering the above factors when selecting your next building contractor will help you make the best choice and ensure a seamless building project.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

It's Not Just Inflation. Here Are The Other Reasons Your Finances Are Suffering

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While the rising cost of living is putting pressure on people’s pocketbooks, it isn’t the only cause of financial suffering. Many other factors are contributing to the fact that only a small subset of the population seems to have any money. 

The good news is that you can take this information and apply it to your life to prevent you from falling into the same traps that affect other people. Here’s what you need to know. 

Stagnating Income

Ideally, your income should rise over the course of your lifetime, in line with your productivity. That’s one of the reasons senior workers earn significantly more than junior ones – they have more experience, so can provide more value with the time available.

However, stagnating income is a risk in many professions. Not being able to earn beyond a certain threshold makes it more likely you will fall foul of the cost of living trap. 

For this reason, it is critical to engage in life-long learning. You need to keep your skills up to date to ensure you are in the best position possible to earn top salaries. 

Bad Financial Habits

Your income might also be stagnating because of poor financial habits. If you regularly splurge or buy things that are expensive to run, you could be depriving yourself of a better life in the future. 

The worst spending habits are those that cause you to go into debt. Not only do these deny you the opportunity to save, but they cost you more money than if you had simply purchased them out of income. 

High Healthcare Costs

Another problem many people encounter is high healthcare costs. The price of insurance is rising, and a lot of people don’t know how to manage it. 

One approach is to go to a health insurance broker. These professionals can check prices for you and introduce you to the best deals. 

The other approach is to adopt healthier lifestyle behaviors and communicate these to your insurer. Doing this can lower premiums significantly if they believe you are lower risk. 

Investment Losses

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You can also seriously damage your long-term finances by taking huge investment losses. Capital takes a significant time to accumulate, but when you lose it, you not only lose the principal but also all the interest it could accrue during the time you are building it back up. 

That’s why it is critical to make wise investment decisions. Don’t simply follow the crowd. 

Educational Expenses

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Another source of poor finances is educational expenses. Many people go to college, believing it will set them up for a prosperous life, only to find that suitable positions are unavailable when they enter the job market. This reduces the return on investment and saddles them with debt

If you are considering education, ensure you only choose options likely to result in financial returns. Avoid the myth that education is valuable for its own sake. Financially speaking, it is not. 

So there you have it: some of the reasons your finances are suffering that don’t have anything to do with inflation, and what you can do about it. 

Friday, September 8, 2023

How to Build a Custom Home the Right Way


Photo by Pixabay

Are you about to move out of your old home and are ready to experience the joy of having your own home? Before you can pack up all your furniture on a moving truck and head out on the roads with your belongings in tow, there's a lot you need to consider. 

If you are ready to put down roots somewhere and plant your feet firmly on the ground, then it's a good idea to consider a custom house. When you build  you can take everything that is in your imagination and make it reality. 

You can create a home that visitors and friends will enter with eyes and mouths wide open in surprise and awe. Here's how to get this reaction.

Get the Right Lot

Finding the right spot to put your new abode is one of the biggest aspects of the entire process. 

You want to find a lot that makes you feel as if you are back from a long vacation. It should  literally make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. After all this is where you will be planting your dreams.   

In real estate it is often said that location is everything. It's important that you look at the neighborhood closely too, make sure that it has all those little perks that you're going to need to make your life a lot easier to sail through. 

You can try prefabricated homes as well as the cost-efficiency of prefabricated homes have been well documented.

Design the Right Way

Let's face it, designing is half of the fun of this type of project. 

It's time for you to go wild and bring out all the things in your imagination that you have thought about. Now is not the time to hold back, unleash everything and see if it still works once you take it out of your head. 

The bottom line is that you should let every thought you have ever entertained no matter how out of this world be put on the design table. 

It's a good idea to hire an architect to assist you with this stage of the process. You can make a rough sketch of your design but you should get someone to vet it for you, so that it is achievable.

Think of Your Budget

If building a custom home makes you fearful of breaking the bank, then you should know that there is reason to be concerned. Building a custom home can run way over budget if you're not careful and you need to make sure that your finances do not become a runaway train that you can't stop. 

This means that you should craft a budget from the very beginning and try to stick to it as much as possible. It's a given that unexpected expenses will arise but it shouldn't become so overwhelming that you don't know where your next meal is coming from. 

The bottom line is that you have to be careful when you are building this type of home as you don't want to put huge dents in your wallet.

Select a Great Contractor

Choosing a great contractor is a necessity when you are building your dream home. You have to make sure that you choose the right person. The person you select should be someone who you are comfortable with at all times. 

There is a lot of teamwork that will go into making sure that the home looks and feels the way you want it to. This means you have to have a certain "vibe" with the person who is in charge of building your home. 

To get this level off of workmanship and compatibility you're going to have to make sure that you ask the right questions in the entire interview process.

Some questions you should be asking are: How much experience do you have? Are you licensed and certified to perform your job? Can you provide me with some references? 

How long do you estimate the project will take? Will I be able to make important contributions to the project and get regular updates?

Before you dive in headfirst with any contractor you must know the answer to these questions. If you get into a contract with someone who doesn't have the best qualities or your best interests at heart the entire project can be in for a bumpy ride.

Pay Attention to Minor Details

When you're building a custom home it is the smaller details that can make or break the project. This means that you should be paying attention to details such as the finishes on your cupboards, doors as well as light fixtures. 

Paying attention to these little details is the best way to ensure that your home gives off a specific energy and feel. The good thing about this is that picking out these little details is a lot of fun because there are so many different ones available. So that you can get your home looking amazing in no time.

Choose Colors Wisely

Another thing that will make your house sparkle and come alive is the use of colors that make your eyes pop. When the house is finished painting you want to stand back from it and truly say "wow" because of how great it looks.

Your curb appeal is something that you should never compromise. When people take a glance from the curb, a grin should go across their face as they recognize the beauty of the colors that were used to paint your home.

Use the color wheel to pull off this project without any setbacks. Don't try to select your colors with your naked eye. 

You will fall flat on your face in most cases. There's nothing worse than a hideous paint job on a beautiful house.

Choosing colors is a bit like setting out an adventure. In many cases you will have a hit and miss situation on your hand. The best thing you can do is to test the colors. This way you'll be able to see which one gets that jaw dropping, eye catching effect on a budget. 

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Can You Afford an Electric Car?

 Electric cars have become more and more desirable. This has also meant that they have become more affordable over time. Now many more people can afford an EV without having to have a huge budget. But you might still be wondering whether an EV is within your reach or if it's still outside of your price zone. Even if you have a smaller budget for your next car, you might still be able to afford an electric car if you know how to save money in the right ways. There are several options for seeking out an EV that fits your budget so you can be a greener driver for less.

Look at Both New and Used Options

If you want to save money on a car, one of the best ways to do it is obviously to look at used models. Used cars can cost you a lot less than a brand new car, even if they're barely used. You can find EVs that have hardly any miles on the clock but with price tags much lower than cars that have just driven off the lot. That's because cars often have a high depreciation rate, so having just one owner for a short amount of time can make them much more affordable.

Image from Pixabay - CC0 License

Know Which Makes Are More Affordable

Not all EVs are the same. Sure, you could get yourself a Tesla if you're willing to splash out, but there are also more affordable makes for you to consider. As EV technology has developed and become cheaper to manufacture, you can find more and more options that are affordable to the everyday person. Makes such as VinFast offer you EVs at reasonable prices so you can drive an eco-friendly car even if you're on a budget. Do your research to find out what's available and which makes are best for you.

Don't Forget About the Cost of Charging

It's not just the cost of the car itself that you need to take into account. The cost of charging your car is also important. Charging your EV can actually cost you less than fueling up a car powered by fossil fuels over the course of its lifetime. But something you might want to think about is how you're going to charge your car at home. You can just use a standard power socket, but it's more efficient to have a dedicated charger. Installing this will cost you money too, so you'll need to include it in your budget.

Look for Help with Costs

If you want help to be able to afford an EV, you might want to see if you can find any grants or loans that help you to pay for it. You can discover some local government grants that are designed to help you install a charging point or might help you get some money off your new or used car.

An electric car could be more affordable than you think. With different ways to save, you could get an EV that meets your needs.

The Worst Types Of Bad Debt & How To Avoid Them


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Bad debt and good debt are two completely different things. Despite what you might think, some debt is good. There are times in life when you need to go into debt to see long-term gains. A prime example of this is buying a house. You need to be in debt to get a mortgage loan so you can buy the house. Eventually, you repay the debt and make a profit by selling your home. 

As a result, we usually classify good debt as any debt that yields benefits in the future. Student loans can be another example, providing you with the educational qualifications you need to have a good job. 

On the other side of the spectrum, bad debt is debt that isn’t advantageous in any way. You owe lots of money to different organizations or people, with hardly anything to gain in return. Avoiding bad debt is crucial if you want to maintain financial independence and stability. Some people think this is harder than it sounds, but is that true? 

No! Avoiding bad debt is very easy. All you have to do is avoid situations that land you in massive amounts of bad debt. Today, we’ll look at some of these situations and explain why they land you in debt and how to avoid them. 

Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is one of the most common types of debt in the US. Millions of people end up with credit card debt every year, and it can become a significant problem. This type of debt has massive interest rates attached, so it keeps getting bigger and bigger. The longer you go without paying it off, the more debt you’ll be in. 

To avoid credit card debt, you need a fundamental understanding of how credit cards work. 

In essence, they’re like mini loans you get each month. When you sign up for a credit card, you get a card with a credit limit. This stipulates how much money is on this card each month. You can buy stuff with your credit card and then pay the bill at a later date - usually the next month. If used correctly, you will pay your credit card bill in full every month, clearing any debt. 

Unfortunately, most people don’t do this. Credit card companies set a minimum payment on credit card bills, which is the minimum you can pay. If you do this, you’ll have to pay the rest of your balance plus interest at a later date. Already, you can see how this easily spirals out of control. You start owing more money, yet keep meeting the minimum payments, so everything piles on top of each other. 

The key to avoiding credit card debt is two-fold: 

  • Only use as much credit as you can afford to repay

  • Pay your monthly credit card bills in full to avoid excess payments

Set up a direct debit via your bank account to pay the credit card bill in full. It’ll automatically take what you owe from your account each month, eliminating any interest payments. That’s why it’s critical to only buy what you can afford with a credit card, ensuring you have enough money in your bank to pay the bill. 

You will not end up with mass amounts of bad debt - and you actually see the benefits of credit cards, which include improving your credit score and spacing out payments to help manage your finances. 

Bail Debt

Bail debt is far less common than credit card debt, but it can be more devastating. This refers to instances where you may get arrested for a crime. It doesn’t have to be a serious crime, but you could still be arrested for things like excessive speeding in your car or disturbing the peace. 

When this happens, the local court will set bail for you. This is the amount of money you have to pay to be allowed out of prison before your proper trial. Sometimes, bail amounts can be extremely high, meaning you have to either take out a loan or seek out bail bonds

Most individuals opt for the latter, in which case a bail bond agency fronts the bail for you and charges a fee for the service. If you attend your court dates and don’t get convicted, your bail is returned and no money is lost. Problems happen when you do get convicted or miss your court dates. You’ll have to pay the full bail amount back to the bail bond agency, leaving you in serious debt. 

To avoid this situation, follow these simple rules: 

  • Don’t get arrested and always follow the law

  • Make all of your court dates if you do get arrested

Obviously, being a good citizen and not breaking the law eliminates this situation from ever occurring. But, if you do get arrested for whatever reason, be sure to adhere to the terms of your bail and attend every appointment necessary. This stops you from forfeiting bail and prevents a lot of debt. 

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Short-Term Loan Debt

Sometimes referred to as payday loans, short-term loans provide some of the worst debt out there. In some ways, this is similar to credit card debt in that the interest rates are ridiculously high. If anything, short-term loans are considerably worse as you don’t get the benefit of avoiding interest rates by meeting monthly payments in full. 

You get a loan to help cover the cost of something and then need to pay it back with interest. The interest is so extortionate that you struggle to make the necessary payments and fall quickly behind. Before you know it, you’re in thousands of dollars of debt

There is an obvious solution to avoid this type of bad debt: 

  • Dont take out any short-term loans

In all honesty, there is never a reason in life why you should need a short-term loan. A lot of the time, when people get these loans, there are better financial products to choose from. For example, if you want to buy a new car, look for an auto loan or a PCP finance deal. These days, lots of websites and businesses offer the chance to pay for expensive things in installments too. So, if you desperately need a new washing machine, you can usually split the costs up with better interest rates and a more manageable payment schedule. 

Short-term loans are the worst financial product out there as they feast on the unwealthy. They’re almost specifically designed to capture the poorest people in society and encourage them to get some extra money. In reality, all they do is slap massive interest rates onto things and lead to bad debt. 

Manage your finances and create a budget for every month. This will help you control your spending and save a lot of money too. Saving money is crucial as it prevents you from needing short-term loans. If emergencies happen, you should have some cash to fall back on to cover unexpected costs. Likewise, it pays to get as much insurance as possible. Things like health insurance, house insurance, and auto insurance protect you in case bad things happen. Again, you minimize the potential need for short-term loans and can avoid this type of debt. 

There are other types of bad debt out there, but these three are the worst. Why? Because they have the potential to land you in serious debt that’s very hard to get out of. Follow some of the tips outlined in this guide to avoid getting yourself in these situations, reducing the amount of bad debt on your shoulders. 

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