Credit Cards

Paying Off Debt With Online Earnings–Part 4

Paying off debt takes time. The more income that you bring in, the easier it goes. Most of us will have a job of some sort, but it will not always be enough to make meaningful progress. This is why I started looking for ways to come up with online earnings.

I’ve been making money every single month for more than six years. Some months, it’s a small trickle. In others, it’s a nice chunk of change. This online income has allowed me to keep afloat during grad school. It’s allowed me to get ahead some months. It also allows me to pay off my debt from grad school.

November was my lowest month in terms of online income for the year, but since my last update on paying off my online earnings, I’ve added $165 to the payoff. While it was a little less than I paid off in October, this is more than double the minimum payment, and it drops my total down below $7,800. I’ve paid off nearly $1,000 in less than six months, just from my online income.

I should be able to pay off even more before the January statement gets cut. My online income allow me to pay this off. Hopefully, I can get the debt paid off quickly.

Online Earnings Also Allow for Investments

I also put a few bucks here and there toward my IRA account during the statement period. While the $15 I saved might not seem like much, and it isn’t, it’s still something. If I can put something to the IRA each and every month, it will add to my dividend income and allow me to make more frequent purchases.

Paying off debt and putting month toward investments each and every month is a worthy goal, and if I can keep it up, I should be able to accomplish this goal within a relatively short period of time.

If you’re wondering about the methods I use to make money online, you can check out some of my previous online earnings reports, like this one from October. I’d love to hear from others who are using their side hustle income to pay off debt over time. Let me know in the comments.

Erasing Debt with Online Earnings
Erasing Debt with Online Earnings

Sign Up For Updates

If you’d like to follow my progress each month, be sure to go to the top of the page and sign up for updates. You can also follow me on Twitter.  I’m now closing in on 350 followers, and I appreciate the support.

Also, if you could share this latest update below via Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, it would be much appreciated. I want to inspire others to improve their finances and show them some easy ways that they can do so.  Just click on the “Share This” link on the sidebar of this post! I appreciate any support that you might choose to provide.

Disclaimer: This site has affiliate links. If you sign up with one of these affiliate links, I may earn compensation. I appreciate any support you might provide.

Credit Cards

Retirement Planning Considerations for All Americans

One thing is sure for those who live to a ripe, old age. These folks are likely to need to slow down at some point and retire. For some, this will be forced upon them by an employer or by illness. Others will have more of a choice as to when they decide to walk away from paid employment. Regardless of when or why retirement comes about, it’s important to adequately prepare for one’s golden years with a bit of retirement planning.

Retirement Planning is a must!
Retirement Planning is a must!

According to one recent study from the Economic Policy Institute, the median retirement savings for all working-age families in the US stands right around $5,000. This would pay for a month or two for a frugal family, but it is well short of what one might need to save up for a comfortable retirement.

Those between 56 and 61 years of age are doing a bit better than the average, but their savings still only reach $17,000 on average. How can you achieve a better retirement? Here are some ways to diversify your finances so that when you hit retirement age, you’ll be able to subsist on something other than dog food. These statistics are some of the reason that I’m saving money in an IRA and building up passive income.

Social Security Should Be Part Of Retirement Planning

Just about every retiree in the US can count on some level of Social Security payment. While the payout to future retirees may be lower than what current retirees can expect, there should be some level of income for those who reach 62 years of age in the future. Social Security should not be your only source of retirement income.

The Social Security Administration recently noted that more than a third of current retirees rely on Social Security for 90 percent of their retirement income. This is scary. This means that you should start thinking about retirement finance as early as possible.

The average social security payment is a little more than $16,400 a year.  This is something, but it’s not going to be enough for most people to live on.

Remember Tax-Advantaged Accounts

The government makes it somewhat easy to save for retirement in addition to Social Security. There are a number of different tax-advantaged accounts that have names with a number in the 400s. These allow people to save for retirement while also cutting down on the amount of federal income taxes that they have to pay. Tax-advantaged accounts should be an important part of any worker’s retirement planning strategy.

The 401k is probably the most familiar of these retirement accounts, but you can also access tax-deferred accounts if you work for nonprofits or governmental agencies. These accounts are  403b and 457b plans. Some employers will actually offer both. The maximum that employees can contribute for each is $18,000 per year.

Use IRAs As Well

You don’t have to have an employer who sponsors a retirement plan for you. It’s also possible  save money each and every year on your own. As of 2017, you can save up to $5,500 each year ($6,500 if you’re above 50 years of age) in an individual retirement account, also known as an IRA.

There are two flavors of IRA accounts. The traditional format allow you to cut your taxable income in the current year, but requires you to pay taxes on the amount you save and any growth in the account when you access the funds. A Roth IRA does not come with the tax deduction in the current year, but it does allow retirees to withdraw contributed funds and any gains and income tax free.

These accounts come with a 10-percent penalty for accessing the funds before age 59 1/2. The penalty does not apply if your employer lets you go after turning 55. This penalty is in addition to the income taxes that you might have to pay.

Why My Retirement Planning Includes Dividend Stocks

I could sit back and plan to use pensions and Social Security payments for my entire retirement income. I could also wind up eating Alpo. That’s why I’m buying stocks to build up a passive income that comes in when I can no longer work or hit an age when I don’t have to work.

Stocks (at least a broad exposure to them) have tended to grow over time. They also throw off dividends and distributions that are real cash that real companies pay. These dividends tend to grow at a rate that exceeds the level of inflation over the long run. Therefore, my purchasing power should not go down on this part of my retirement income. It likely will for pension and Social Security income.

What does your retirement planning look like? What avenues are you using?

Sign Up For Updates

If you’d like to follow my progress each month, be sure to go to the top of the page and sign up for updates. You can also follow me on Twitter.  I’m now closing in on 350 followers, and I appreciate the support.

Also, if you could share this latest update below via Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, it would be much appreciated. I want to inspire others to improve their finances and show them some easy ways that they can do so.  Just click on the “Share This” link at the bottom of this post!

Disclaimer: This site has affiliate links. If you sign up with one of these affiliate links, I may earn compensation. I appreciate any support you might provide.

Credit Cards

Paying Off Debt With Online Earnings–Part 3

 

Over the past month or so, I’ve been tracking my attempts at paying off debt with online earnings. This is probably going to be a long, drawn out process.

I graduated from grad school with more than $36,000 in debt. Well, it was probably just above $20,000 when I graduated. Then I ran into a four-month gap between the end of my grad assistantship and my first paycheck at my new job. I also had to move to take the job.

Erasing Debt with Online Earnings
Erasing Debt with Online Earnings

Needless to say, the debt grew quite a bit within just a few months. I was not happy. That was a little more than four years ago. My goal is now to pay off this debt in short order. I’d like to have it paid off within the next couple of years.

Even with what I considered a big amount of debt, it’s not nearly as big as what some people have. Student loan debt is around $37,000 for the average graduate. I had some friends who owed more than six figures. This can definitely hamper one’s lifestyle for years to come. That’s why I’m working at paying off debt with online earnings.

I’ve attempted to make money online for the past several years in an attempt to at first supplement my then-meager income as a grad student and then to pay off debt and build my investments so that I can build up passive income.

Paying Off Debt With Online Earnings–Part 3

My credit card statement is about to roll over to a new month. I have all of my debt from my days as a grad student on a 0-percent balance transfer. Before I decided to split my efforts between paying off debt with my online earnings and investing, I was basically paying off the minimum each month. With a debt that was then a little north of $8,000, I figured that I could theoretically take between 8 and 10 years to pay off the debt.

I was investing most of my online earnings, but the debt went down very, very slowly. I want rid of it more quickly. I figured out that paying off $200 a month could make the debt go bye-bye in a little more than three years. In my estimation, three years is much better than eight.

In the last month, I came pretty close to paying off $200. I paid $185 on the last statement. The minimum was $81. My debt is now below $8,000. I could have paid another $45, but I scheduled it to go on the next statement for cash flow purposes. I hope that I can get into the $7,700 range by the time the next statement closing date rolls around.

Keep Up With My Progress

If you’d like to help me achieve my goal of paying off debt with no expense to yourself, you can make your purchases from Amazon through the link below. You’ll pay the same as you normally would, and I’ll get a small commission. Just click the image below:

You can also sign up for the following sites and start to earn points that can lead to PayPal cash, Amazon cards, or even Bitcoin.

GiftHulk (I’ll earn $0.10 if you sign up)
Earnably (I’ll earn either $0.02 or $0.10 if you sign up, depending upon where you live)
Swagbucks (I’ve earned more than $2,000 from this site, and it’s my favorite. I don’t earn a bonus if you sign up, only if you actually earn.)

Earnably

Don’t feel obligated to sign up for anything you see on the site. I appreciate people who just stop by to read and/or comment.

How are you using side hustles in your goal of paying off debt? Let me know in the comments.

Sign Up For Updates

If you’d like to follow my progress each month, be sure to go to the top of the page and sign up for updates. You can also follow me on Twitter.  I’m now closing in on 350 followers, and I appreciate the support.

Also, if you could share this latest update below via Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, it would be much appreciated. I want to inspire others to improve their finances and show them some easy ways that they can do so.  Just click on the “Share This” link at the bottom of this post!

Disclaimer: This site has affiliate links. If you sign up with one of these affiliate links, I may earn compensation. I appreciate any support you might provide.

Credit Cards

Paying Off Debt With Online Earnings

Last month, I started tracking my attempt at paying off debt with online earnings.  I started earning money in pajamas several years ago, largely to supplement my income while I was in graduate school. I earned very little in my job as a graduate instructor. Had I been single, it probably would have been enough, but I had kids.

I still built up around $36,000 in debt because of my schooling. There was a period of about four months between the end of school and starting my new job, as well as a move, that led to major debt. The debt helped me out because it opened some more doors for employment opportunities going forward. However, I…HATE…DEBT. The payments that I have to make toward debt means that I have less money for things that I like, such as saving for retirement and traveling to various and sundry parts of the world.

I had been saving up money for my dividend income portfolio, but then figured that I could keep some of this credit card debt from school for between eight and ten years if I paid only the minimum. I do not like that idea. Therefore, I decided to start using my online earnings for paying off debt (and saving, but saving less).

My Latest Step Toward Paying Off Debt

I earned some money from freelance writing last month, and the biggest payout came last week. I promptly transferred this payment from PayPal into my checking account. From there, I made another transfer to, you guessed it, the debt.

I was able to put $110 toward my debt. This one payment was well above the $81 minimum for the month. If I continued making the minimum payment at $81, it would take more than 8.5 years to pay off the debt. And this is without taking into account any balance transfer fees that add between 3 and 5 percent to the balance each time. I could easily be in debt for 10 more years at that rate.

Paying debt needs to be a priority!
Erasing debt is my goal.

If I were to make $110 payments each month, the payout period drops to the six-year range before taking into account balance transfer fees. I always look for 0 percent balance transfer rates so that I minimize the interest payments to the amount of the balance transfer fees. Otherwise, I’d probably have to pay 13 percent or more on the debt, which is way more than I want to.

This payment dropped my original debt amount of $36,000 below $8,000. I’m pretty excited about this, to say the least. However, I’ll be even more excited when I can pay off the whole kit and kaboodle.

Keep Up With My Progress

If you’d like to help me achieve my goal of paying off debt with no expense to yourself, you can make your purchases from Amazon through the link below. You’ll pay the same as you normally would, and I’ll get a small commission. Just click the image below:

You can also sign up for the following sites and start to earn points that can lead to PayPal cash, Amazon cards, or even Bitcoin.

GiftHulk (I’ll earn $0.10 if you sign up)
Earnably (I’ll earn either $0.02 or $0.10 if you sign up, depending upon where you live)
Swagbucks (I’ve earned more than $2,000 from this site, and it’s my favorite. I don’t earn a bonus if you sign up, only if you actually earn.)

Don’t feel obligated to sign up for anything you see on the site. I appreciate people who just stop by to read and/or comment.

How are you using side hustles in your goal of paying off debt? Let me know in the comments.

Sign Up For Updates

If you’d like to follow my progress each month, be sure to go to the top of the page and sign up for updates. You can also follow me on Twitter.  I’m now above 300 followers, and I appreciate the support.

Also, if you could share this latest update below via Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, it would be much appreciated. I want to inspire others to improve their finances and show them some easy ways that they can do so.  Just click on the “Share This” link at the bottom of this post!

Disclaimer: This site has affiliate links. If you sign up with one of these affiliate links, I may earn compensation. I appreciate any support you might provide.

Credit Cards

Paying Off Debt With Online Earnings

his year, I’ve been keeping up with my online earnings each month. Most months have seen me earn between $300 and $400+ over the course of a 30-day period. Beginning this summer, I decided to start paying off debt with my earnings as they came in rather than trying to draw them out to invest.

I could theoretically take several years to pay off the debt that I currently owe, but I would like to see it go away ASAP. I came out of graduate school with about $36,000 of debt, and it’s now down to just above $8,000. This is what I’ve accomplished in a little more than four years.

My hope is that I can drop more and more over the next year or two. If I could kill off this debt over the next year, I’d be thrilled.

Paying debt needs to be a priority!
Erasing debt is a goal.

In September/October (my statement closes on the 20th), I was able to pay off $135. While this was not as much as I would have liked, it’s more than $50 above the minimum payment. This is definitely a step in the right direction as far as I’m concerned.

I currently have a 0% rate through about the middle of next year. However, an “average” credit card bill of $10,000 with a 16% annual interest rate would take nearly 28 years to pay off if a cardholder only pays the minimum each month.  That would leave me in debt longer than my mortgage would.

This is why I’m paying off debt at an accelerated rate.

Why Am I Paying Off Debt So Slowly

It may seem that only $135 is a small amount to pay off. It is. There are many people who are able to pay off debt much more quickly.

What’s wrong with me? The answer to this is nothing. Most of the people who pay off massive amounts of debt who cover their journey online are singles or DINKs. I’m neither as I have a wife and kids.

I can’t easily share a frat-like house with four other people and pay $150 in rent each month. I could theoretically eat ramen noodles every day for every meal, but my family has to eat as well.

My Latest Payment

Tonight, I made my latest payment. I’m trying to make payments as often as I get a bit of online income. I cashed out $25 from Swagbucks, and I paid $20 of that toward my debt. I’m going to have some more money coming my way later this week from some freelance writing, so I might be able to make another payment or two before the end of the month.

This will add to my payment for October/November and get me even closer to my ultimate payoff of the debt I accumulated from graduate school.

If you’d like to help me achieve my goal with no expense to yourself, you can make a purchase from Amazon. You’ll pay the same as you normally would, and I’ll get a small commission. Just click the image below

You can also sign up for the following sites and start to earn points that can lead to PayPal cash, Amazon cards, or even Bitcoin.

GiftHulk (I’ll earn $0.10 if you sign up)
Earnably (I’ll earn either $0.02 or $0.10 if you sign up, depending upon where you live)

Don’t feel obligated to sign up for anything you see on the site, as I appreciate people who stop by to read and/or comment.

Keep Up With My Progress

If you’d like to follow my progress each month, be sure to go to the top of the page and sign up for updates. You can also follow me on Twitter.  I’m now above 300 followers, and I appreciate the support.

Also, if you could share this latest update below via Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, it would be much appreciated. I want to inspire others to improve their finances and show them some easy ways that they can do so. Just click on the “Share This” link at the bottom of this post!

Disclaimer: This site has affiliate links. If you decide to sign up with one of these affiliate links, I may be compensated. I appreciate any support you might provide.

Credit Cards

Earn Free Money: Ibotta App Review

Just today, I redeemed another $20 through Ibotta (This is a referral link. I may be compensated). This is the third time that I’ve been able to redeem through the Ibotta app, and I’ve earned more than $65 overall in about three months. While I’ve not gotten rich by any means, getting $65 for doing pretty much what I’d do anyway is pretty cool. This review of Ibotta will hopefully show you how you can make money with the app.

If you sign up for Ibotta through my referral link, you can get a free $10 after making your first purchase (excluding “Any Item” rebates). You can literally buy a pack of gum, get a $0.25 rebate on it, and earn $10 for the trouble as long as the first purchase takes place within 7 days of your signing up. You’ll then be a little more than halfway to redeeming your rebates for some money.

The Ibotta app pays off.
Here’s the basic concept for Ibotta.

What Is The Ibotta App?

Simply put, the Ibotta app is a shopping app that offers users rebates for making purchases. I signed up via another blogger’s referral link, and started by buying strawberry milk mix for my kids. This purchase gave me a $1 rebate and then triggered the $10 sing-up bonus. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to start redeeming on the app:

  1. Sign up for the Ibotta program and set up your account
  2. Download the Ibotta app from the Google or Apple app store
  3. Sign in with the account information (email and password) that you gave for Step 1
  4. Look for rebates at your favorite brick-and-mortar or online retailers (you might have to watch a short video or answer a survey question to do so). Once the rebate shows a green check mark, you’re good to go.
  5. Make the purchase on your next trip to Wal-Mart or another retailer
  6. Scan your receipt. The Ibotta app itself will take a picture of your entire receipt or a QR code that’s found at the bottom of the receipt in the case of Wal-Mart. You can also link your loyalty cards for some retailers and skip this process.
  7. Scan the UPC code for most of the items you’ll want to redeem. You don’t have to do this step for the any item rebates.
  8. Wait for the app to verify the purchase. The rebate will  show up in your account within a day or so (usually quicker).
  9. Cash out with PayPal or Venmo when you reach $20 (or redeem for a gift card to leading retailers or restaurants).


That’s it. It’s a pretty simple process that probably takes less than an hour overall to cash out for $20 or more.

Why Should You Get The Ibotta App?

Well, in one word, the answer would be…money! Everybody has to eat, and unless you starred on Duck Dynasty, you’re probably going to go to Wal-Mart or some local grocery store. Dollar General, Love’s Travel Center, and Casey’s are also retailers that you can use to redeem rebates. Since you have to eat or get gas, you might as well get some money back for the trouble.

Additionally, you can actually stack your Ibotta rebates with manufacturer’s or store coupons. This allows you to basically double dip and stack rebates when using the Ibotta app. You can effectively multiply your savings this way.

Additionally, there are some rebates that come just from buying literally anything. I’ve redeemed several $0.25 rebates for “Any Item.” Additionally, there will sometimes be rebates for any brand of white milk, bananas, and other staples. Keep in mind that these rebates will not qualify you for the $10 signup bonus that I noted above. You have to buy an item from a specified manufacturer for this bonus.

The Final Verdict

While you’re probably not going to get rich with it, the Ibotta app is definitely worth it! You can earn money in pajamas (because I’ve seen people shopping in their pajamas in public–although I don’t do it, nor do I really recommend it).

Again, you can sign up for Ibotta here. I’ve already earned $65 by shopping and watching out for bonuses that you can earn through Ibotta. I even have friends who have redeemed more than $200. They are on my “team”, and there are some team bonuses that can kick in and supercharge your earnings.

If you’d like to find some other ways to make money online, you can check some out on my page that gives several ways to make money online without spending a penny.

Be Sure To Follow And Share

If you’d like to follow my progress and my reviews each month, be sure to go to the top of the page and sign up for updates. You can also follow me on Twitter.  I’m now above 300 followers, and I’d like to get more than 400 by the end of summer. You can help!

Also, if you could share this latest update below via Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, it would be much appreciated. I want to inspire others to improve their finances and show them some easy ways that they can do so. Just click on the “Share This” link at the bottom of this post!

Disclaimer: This site has affiliate links. If you decide to sign up with one of these affiliate links, I may be compensated. I appreciate any support you might provide.

Credit Cards

Do Small Investments Add Up? A Johnson & Johnson Case Study

One of the concerns that many people have when it comes to investing is the concern that they don’t have enough to build up any amount that’s worth the hassle. Why would anyone want to invest $50 or $100 a year? Is that even worth it? Do small investments add up?

The answer to this question would be, yes! It is worth it. While you’re probably not going to get wealthy by investing $100 a year, you can start to build up a nice holding if you choose a solid company. You could even do better if you pick out the next Amazon (AMZN) or Apple (AAPL).

To show some steady growth that’s around 11 percent per year when accounting for dividend reinvestment, this case study will look at how a small investment in Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) would have paid off over a 20-year period.

Methodology

This case study, as noted, will focus on a small investment in Johnson & Johnson. Our hypothetical investor, let’s call him Bob, purchased one share of JNJ stock on the first trading day of the year starting back in 1997. He then proceeded to purchase exactly one share of JNJ on the first trading day of the year in every year since.

To get the purchase price of each share, I went to the Johnson & Johnson investor relations page. I then looked for the highest price on the first trading day of the year. Therefore, Bob was pretty unlucky in the regard that he invested at the worst time of the day. I did not account for any transaction charges in this analysis. That would undoubtedly add some cost unless Bob chose to work with a direct purchase agency like Computershare, but even direct purchases would have some minimal expenses.

This means that Bob made 21 separate transactions over a 20-year period, counting 2017. Johnson & Johnson stock split back in June 2001, so he, in effect, bought two shares for the first five years.

I then looked at the dividends that JNJ paid out over the past 20 years. Counting the dividend that’s anticipated in September 2017, Bob would have received a cumulative $34.36 in dividend income on the first share of stock that he bought. This would obviously go down on each subsequent share, as the length of time that he was invested in the later shares was less.

Finally, I looked at the value of each share if Bob decided to reinvest his dividends into more shares. The DRIP value came from the calculator that’s available at Don’t Quit Your Day Job. Here are the totals that my calculations came up with.

Case Study Results: Small Investments Add Up

If Bob had bought only one share a year between January 1997 and January 2017, he would now have 26 shares because of the split in 2001. The annualized dividends per share on his original purchase would have grown from $0.425 per share to the current level of $3.36 per share.

The 26 shares that he would now hold without dividend reinvestment would throw off $87.36 in income each year without accounting for any additional dividend growth going forward. This is more income than the share price he would have paid in all but seven of the years in which he bought shares, and it would be more than his average annual investment of $74.56.

Bob’s investment of $1,565.76 in Johnson & Johnson would now be worth $3,466.40, which is a nice return in and of itself. If he had decided to roll over all of his dividends into more shares, he would now hold 36.3255 shares. This means that he would have added more than 10 shares of a great company by doing nothing more than choosing not to spend his dividend income.

Dividend Reinvestment Ramps Up Returns on Small Investments

The value of his holdings in JNJ would be up to $4,842.55. This would effectively mean that his investments would have cumulatively tripled over time. Additionally, his holdings under the DRIP scenario would now throw off $122.05 in annual income.

The total return with dividend reinvestment included shows an 11.01 percent CAGR based upon the calculations from the Don’t Quit Your Day Job calculator. This is important to realize in light of the fact that the cost of a share of JNJ went up by just above 10 percent between January 2002 and January 2012.

In spite of this nearly sideways trading range for a decade, the long-term return on JNJ is still quite good over a 20-year period.

What About A Big Initial Investment?

This case study focused upon how much a single share a year would have added up to. What if Bob had instead had $1565.76 to invest back in 1997 and reinvested dividends? He would now have an investment that would be worth $13,479.25. This would equal to 100.9833 shares of stock which would now be providing $339.30 in dividend income each year based upon the current payout of $3.36 a share.

This is without any additional investments throughout the 20-year period, which shows that buying early and then reinvesting allows for a much greater level of compounding

Conclusion

You might think that an investment in one share each year is pretty pointless. These are small investments, but hopefully, this case study shows that this is not the case. A little more than $3,400 is not a huge sum of money, but it’s more than double what Bob actually invested. It’s definitely more than he would have had had he not decided to invest at all.

Also, it’s important to note that you could multiply this by any number you want to include. You could multiply the total by 5 if you to look at 5 shares a year, or 10 if you wanted to look at 10 shares a year. The numbers show that a small investment in a boring large-cap company can build up over time (when I was growing up, JNJ was known for Band-Aids and baby powder–pretty boring stuff).

The study also shows the importance of starting early, as a bigger investment early on allowed for much higher returns, even if no additional investments were made in subsequent years. Also, it’s important to note that there are no “typical” investments. If Bob had invested all of his money in Enron, he’d have nothing to show for his efforts. Therefore, it’s important to diversify and choose companies with solid long-term growth in revenue and income.  Then, even small investments will add up over time.

Be Sure To Follow And Share

If you’d like to follow my progress each month, be sure to go to the top of the page and sign up for updates. You can also follow me on Twitter.  I’m now above 300 followers, and I’d like to get more than 400 by the end of summer. You can help!

Also, if you could share this latest update below via Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, it would be much appreciated. I want to inspire others to improve their finances and show them some easy ways that they can do so. Just click on the “Share This” link at the bottom of this post!

Disclaimer: This site has affiliate links. If you decide to sign up with one of these affiliate links, I may be compensated. I appreciate any support you might provide.

Credit Cards

5 Reasons Why You Need An Emergency Fund

This site uses affiliate links. I may be compensated should you sign up with one of these links. I appreciate any support that you might provide in this manner. 

5 reasons why you need an emergency fund
Photo via Pixabay, CCO, edited by author.

 

You need an emergency fund. A recent study showed that a majority of Americans,  57 percent in fact, cannot handle an unexpected $500 expense. That’s a pretty sobering statistic.

This means that nearly 3 in 5 Americans lack a savings account with at least $500 in it. If you’ve already saved this much, you’re actually ahead of the masses.

Keep in mind that the median household income is about $53,000 and the 60th percentile for income is around$66,500. This means that people who earn more than $60,000 quite possibly have less than $500 easily accessible for an emergency.

Reason #1 Why You Need an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund can take care of unexpected expenses.

Unexpected expenses happen. No one really likes a busted radiator or a leaky pipe. However, these problems are likely to happen at some point in our lives. If you’ve not had one of these issues arise yet, you’re likely to experience them in the near future.

The problem with unexpected expenses is the fact that they’re…well…unexpected. You can’t figure on your sewer pipe collapsing today. It’s actually happened to me, and since it was outside the walls of my house, insurance didn’t take care of most of the expense. Had I not had some money stashed away, this could have been an even bigger problem.

If you have an emergency fund, you’ll be more likely to be able to handle these problems when they arise. Many financial experts, like Dave Ramsey recommend that you start with an emergency fund of $500 to $1,000.

Reason #2 Why You Need An Emergency Fund

An emergency fund can keep you out of debt.

I hate debt. Unfortunately, I’ve been in debt to some degree or another for a while. Of course, most of this is related to purchasing a house. I don’t want to go into debt for everyday purchases like food.

When the radiator busts, you need to fix it or have your car blow up. You probably need a car to get to work. You also need to eat. The physical necessity of food does not go away just because your refrigerator decides to die.

If you have $500 or $1,000 saved up for emergencies, you don’t have to go into debt to get a serviceable refrigerator or fix a radiator while also eating. Which logically brings us to the third reason why you need an emergency fund.

Reason #3 Why You Need An Emergency Fund

An emergency fund can minimize stress.

Have you been in a situation where you had a financial need and a lack of cash to pay for it? I know I have. This typically leads to debt. If you look up to reason #2 above, you’ll see that I HATE debt. I want it gone.

If I can easily take care of a $500 or $1,000 expense with some funds that I’ve set aside t o deal with the unexpected, I’ll probably have less stress in my life. The reasons for this are related to the stress that financial catastrophes bring.

People who are living paycheck-to-paycheck are more likely to have marital problems. They are more likely to have short tempers with their kids.

If you have an emergency fund built up, the little unexpected expense can roll off you like water off a duck’s back.

Reason #4 Why You Need An Emergency Fund

An emergency fund can help you through a job loss.

The fourth reason why you need an emergency fund is the fact that it can help you through a job loss. Dave Ramsey calls the $1,000 emergency fund a baby emergency fund.

After you’ve built up the $1,000 emergency fund, most financial gurus recommend that you save up between 3 and 6 months of expenses. Why? Job losses happen, and they’re one of the biggest financial catastrophes that most people can experience.

Usually, some unemployment insurance will kick in, but it will be far from enough to meet your expenses in most instances. This is where the 3- or 6-month e-fund can bridge the gap between jobs, which will help with reason 3 above–cutting down on stress!

I would point out that there is an outlier when it comes to amount you need. Suze Orman actually recommends having 8 months of expenses squirreled away in an emergency fund. Regardless of whether you stick with 3 months or 6 months or 8 months, if you have a nice emergency fund set up and you lose your job, you’ll be happy to have the money!

Reason #5 Why You Need An Emergency Fund

An emergency fund can help you build up financial confidence!

I can remember the first time I went golfing. Hitting the links used to be one of my favorite hobbies. Today, I rarely play, but the first time I went to hit the ball, I completely missed it! When I finally hit the ball, I actually hit what is referred to as a worm burner. The ball scooted a few yards along the ground before settling in the rough. Not good.

On that first time out, however, I was able to hit one really good shot. It was enough to get me to come back. I played quite a bit in college and into my mid-20s, and I got pretty good and got to where I could usually beat all of my friends. I even broke into the 70s for a couple of rounds.

So…I say that to say this–a little bit of success can usually lead to enough confidence to lead to bigger successes. Once you’ve saved up $500 for an emergency, you now know how to succeed on a small level.

You can then use that knowledge to build up the next $500 in savings. You can then build up to a month, then two, and so on. If you never get started saving toward an emergency fund, you may never build the discipline and the confidence to achieve financial success, much less financial freedom.

If You’re Ready To Start An Emergency Fund

Looking to start an emergency fund? It’s probably a good idea to start a budget (AKA a spending plan). It’s also a good idea to start looking for additional ways to make some money.

If you’re looking to build up some additional income, you might want to check out these ways to make money online without spending a penny. Even $20 a month could add up to nearly $250 a year. This could go a long way toward building your up your e-fund.

Do you have any other reasons why you might want an emergency fund? Let me know in the comments!

If you’d like to follow my progress each month, be sure to go to the top of the page and sign up for updates. You can also follow me on Twitter.  I’m now above 300 followers, and I’d like to get more than 400 by the end of summer. You can help!

Also, if you could share this latest update below via Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, it would be much appreciated. I want to inspire others to improve their finances and show them some easy ways that they can do so. Just click on the “Share This” link at the bottom of this post!

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Get Excited About Pennies

It's time to get excited about pennies!
Pennies add up to build dollars, and dollars add up to build wealth

My kids get excited about pennies. If they find one on the ground, they are sure to pick it up. I think that most kids are like this. I know that I was when I was their age.

As we get older, however, that excitement tends to fade. A penny by itself will buy pretty much nothing. Most adults tend to think of pennies as being pretty worthless. They are anything but. I’ll admit that pennies still excite me!

Disclaimer: This site has affiliate links. If you decide to sign up with one of these affiliate links, I may be compensated. I appreciate any support you might provide.

Pennies are important building blocks. Five of them make a nickel. Ten make a dime. 100 make a dollar. When we get to dollars, we’re talking real money. Each and every penny that we find and pick up or earn in some manner is building block towards a better financial state of being. That’s why it’s important to get excited about pennies.

Think Of Pennies As Stepping Stones

I’ve already noted that pennies are building blocks. They can be important stepping stones to getting where you want to be. A while back, I read an article that got me thinking in this direction. Rather than pennies, it stated that millionaires are made $10 at a time.

Sometimes, we can make lots of pennies really quickly. This happens when we’re at work. When I started working, minimum wage was $4.25. I had it figured out that I made about 7 cents a minute at that rate. This meant that I earned a penny about every 9 seconds. I’d annoy some of my co-workers by stating things like, “I just made $0.21” after three minutes on the clock.

While $0.21 is not much to get excited about, the addition of many $0.21s over time started to build up. So much so that I had about $7,000 in the bank after a couple of years of working at a minimum wage job. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I was in college and living at home. Still 7 grand for working part-time for minimum wage at McDonald’s wasn’t bad.

Many of my coworkers complained about the poor pay, and it was poor. However, I looked at my income in an optimistic manner. It gave me some freedom to do the things I wanted to do. It did’t take much for me to get excited about pennies.

The more pennies we make, but more pennies we can save. It was Ben Franklin who said that a penny saved is a penny earned. While pennies were worth more in Franklin’s day, the basic premise still holds true.

Get Excited About Pennies: They Help Build Passive Income

I’ve stated many times that my favorite type of income is passive income. I think this is the case because passive income comes to me whether I put in any effort or not. It’s just keeps rolling in.

Passive income trickles in whether I’m sleeping or working hard. My passive income from dividends started out at $0.02 a day when I first started tracking it. Rather than get frustrated that I only made $0.64 in a month, I looked at the $0.02 a day that I made as the start of something great.

Now, I’m making much more in terms of passive income, even a dollar or two a day in most months. It takes time and, yes, pennies, to build this passive income. My passive income growth is documented by my monthly dividend income posts. It’s been growing at a good clip.

Dividends are usually stated in pennies. With the exception of companies with really high stock prices, most quarterly dividends come in at less than $1 a share. As an example, I own some shares of AT & T. These pay me $0.49 a quarter. That’s 49 pennies, quarter in and quarter out.. The dividends from one share won’t pay for much, but if reinvested, these pennies can start to build momentum into something pretty amazing.

Those who own as few as 180 shares of AT & T could pretty much pay for the lowest priced cell phone plan from Cricket Wireless (owned by AT & T), which is $30 a month. That’s a pretty awesome concept, if you ask me. This would effectively constitute free cell phone service, all from a buildup of pennies.

Over time, enough pennies could actually fund your entire lifestyle. That’s really something exciting.

How To Make A Few Extra Pennies

Now that you’ve read up on how pennies are important stepping stones to the life that you want, you might wonder how you can make even more. There are pretty easy ways that you can make a few extra pennies online in your spare time if you don’t want to get a part-time job flipping burgers.

I’ve written several articles for the online freelance site Textbroker. For most of these articles, I’ve earned 1.4 cents a word. These pennies have added up to several thousand bucks over the past five years or so. Many times, I can average more than $20 an hour if I find jobs that I can complete easily.

Not everyone can write coherently though. I also have recommendations for these folks. There are many ways that you can make money online. Two of my favorites are Swagbucks and EarnHoney. I can earn by searching the web and answering some easy surveys on Swagbucks and by letting videos play passively with EarnHoney. It’s a few pennies here and there, but I cash out some of these pennies each and every month.

With the money I’m bringing in from letting videos play, I’m buying shares in stocks like AT & T that pay me even more pennies. I’ve also put this money toward paying off debt in a more accelerated fashion. This is what allows me to get excited about pennies. I’m improving my financial situation with each and every penny I get.

I’d urge you to get started looking for ways to pick up a few dollars worth of pennies each month. How much could an additional $25, $50, or even $100 each month help you out? It takes a new mindset to think of pennies as worth the trouble. Get excited about pennies!

Be Sure To Follow My Updates

If you’d like to follow my progress each month, be sure to go to the top of the page and sign up for updates. You can also follow me on Twitter.  I’m now above 300 followers, and I’d like to get more than 400 by the end of summer. You can help!

Also, if you could share this latest update below via Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, it would be much appreciated. I want to inspire others to improve their finances and show them some easy ways that they can do so. Just click on the “Share This” link at the bottom of this post!

Disclaimer: This site has affiliate links. If you decide to sign up with one of these affiliate links, I may be compensated. I appreciate any support you might provide.