The Laptop Lifestyle


How To Live The Laptop Lifestyle

 

Would you like the freedom of working from home in your underwear? Does sipping something tropical on a gorgeous island overlooking the ocean sound like the ultimate office space? If your answered “yes” to any of these questions, I want to congratulate you. As of today you are one step closer to living the laptop lifestyle my friend!  It’s no secret that earning income while you sleep is the absolute best way to gain wealth. This type of job allows you to focus on the precious things in life such as spending time with your loved ones, traveling the world, volunteering, and making a true difference in the world. If your heart is in the right place, money can certainly buy more happiness.

In case you haven’t heard, creating a blog is one of the easiest and fastest ways to earn a handsome salary. Thanks to the internet gold rush thousands of people are choosing to work smart instead of hard!  What is most amazing about this field is that there is no such thing as competiton when it comes to the world wide web. Fact is, millions of people around the world are constantly typing their thoughts and questions into search engines on the daily. Why not get paid to be one of the websites that pop up as one of the results? All that is required to start earning money online is a good niche, a blog, and a well thought out marketing plan. Below are a few examples of how much money a blogger can make.

Example #1: 100,000 Pageviews A Month, 3 Years Experience 
 

Example #2: 300,000 Pageviews A Month, 4.5 Years Of Experience

Example #3: 4,000,000 Pageviews A Month Food Blogger

Pretty impressive figures am I right? It might take a while to see the same amount of success but wouldn’t making just $40,000 a year doing whatever you want, whenever you want, and wherever you want be life changing? With anything new, you gotta start somewhere. If you pick a good niche, create good content, stay persistent, sell a product or service, and effectively market your brand, the opportunities are truly endless.

Steps To Creating a Successful Blog

 

Step 1: Sign Up For a Web Host

Web hosting is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post a website or blog on to the Internet. It powers your site and if necessary troubleshoots it whenever there is an issue. Although there are free web hosting companies out there, they are often unreliable and load your content at a much slower rate.  If you want your visitors to have a pleasant experience while visiting your site, I recommend starting with cheapest package on Bluehost.com. It’s only $3.95 a month!

(You can write this off on your taxes by the way).

Step 2: Pick Your Domain Name

By signing up for Bluehost, you will also get a free domain name for a year! Before you finalize your domain name be sure to do the following:

  • Pick a domain name that is either fun, has a ring to it, or is easy to remember ex: Loveyourlife.com

  • Pick a domain name that has a key word that people often search for ex: “Financial Freedom”

  • Pick a domain name that is short rather than long. Bad ex: stopwaistingyourlifeonsocialmedia.com

  • Pick a domain name that ends with .com, .org, or .net

  • Ask your most trust-worthy friend what they think of the name

Jot down a few names off the top of your head and then test them out on Google to see if they are already in use. Don’t waste to much time searching however, instead go to Bluehost to see what’s available. After you select the basic hosting plan and sign up for only $3.49/month, you can enter your FREE Domain name! If your desired name is taken, think of some more! Bluehost also gives you suggestions as to what’s available, just steer clear of anything totally random.

Step 3: Hosting Options Package

Once you have picked your package and created your domain name, you will be asked to choose additional options for your account. Domain Privacy Protection blocks anyone from knowing who owns your site. In order to NEVER lose your work, you may want to select The Site Backup Pro for only $1.99 a month. WordPress also provides many free plug-ins that backup your data. Don’t bother with the other options because they are unnecessary.

Step 4: Install WordPress

After doing some serious research on the absolute best platform to use when creating a blog, WordPress took the cake!  It’s most likely the most popular publishing platform because of it’s simplicity. You don’t have to be a computer wiz to learn how to manage your blog. WordPress is super easy to set up and extremely user-friendly. You can customize everything on your blog from it’s theme to it’s SEO with the help of online tutorials.

After signing up with your web host, go back to Bluehost and click on “login” located at the top right of the screen. Click the “cpanel” tab under “hosting” and check your email for the credentials you’ve created.

Install:

 

Pick where you’d like to install WordPress. This is the domain name you

originally picked in step 2.

 

Next choose your WordPress login information.

Keep the box checked for “Automatically create a new database for this installation”.

Step 5: Pick A Professional Theme

If you need help in choosing a free professional theme for your blog,

I recommend using any one of the following:

Talon

Astrid

Flash

Hueman

Newsmag Lite

Step 6: Edit Your Blog Site

There are TONS of Youtube videos dedicated to teaching you how to create posts, pages, categories, menus,  use widgets, etc. Watch an awesome introduction to WordPress below.

 

Step 7: Make Money With Your Site

 

The main ways to make money blogging are:

  • When someone clicks on an ad (CPC ads like Google Adsense)
  • When someone clicks on your banner add (CPM)
  • Selling someone else’s product through an affiliate program
  • Consulting opportunities
  • Freelance opportunities
  • Selling your own products such as an eBook, photos, artwork, online course, or workout program.
  • Getting payed to publish a sponsored post from another blogger
  • Getting hired by a company to be their brand ambassador
  • Getting hired for public speaking gigs
  • When a larger site wants to buy your site

Step 8: Filing a DBA (Doing Business As)

If you are planning to sell anything on your site such as a product or service, it is important that you understand the legal side of things. If your plan is to ONLY make money by referring your readers to products (AKA affiliate marketing), you do not need to complete this step. However, if you’re planning to sell your very own products or services and are NOT using your full name as your domain name, you must file a DBA form. This is so the IRS understands where you are receiving your income from. Please don’t try to be slick by skipping this crucial step. Always remember, if you want to make the REAL big bucks, you gotta play by the rules 😉

  1. Plan a visit to your local county clerk’s office or agency in your state that handles DBA registrations. Before you do so be sure to give the Small Business Administration a call to ask a few questions regarding your business. Ex: Can I run an online business from my home? Do I need to file a DBA? What are the requirements for me to do so?

  2. After submitting the required forms and paying the small fee, you must publish information about your new DBA in at least one local newspaper for at least four weeks. This can be done online in most states.

  3. Consider getting a P.O. Box online for you business address. This is so your personal information isn’t just wandering around. You can apply for a P.O. Box online through UPS. The price depends on the box size and length of contract.

  4. Consider getting an EIN(Employer Identification Number) for free here. It’s equivalent to your Social Security Number and eliminates you spreading your personal identification around on various business documents.

  5. Set up a separate bank account using the name of your business. ex: “idratherberichnotfamous.com”.  If you’re looking for a recommendation Capital One Spark Business is nice because there are no fees or monthly limits on transactions. Keep in mind that they only operate online however.

  6. Set up a PayPal Account for your business.

Step 9: Build an Audience

Contrary to belief, you don’t have to have thousands of friends on FB in order to make money on the internet. Just follow these 5 simple principles below in order to quickly build an audience!

  • Write solid content from experience and share your personal opinions and stories
  • Create a consistent publishing schedule. Write at least one post per week.
  • Build a supportive community by posting on material your readers actually want.
  • Guest post on popular blogs in your niche. You should form a relationship with these bloggers before reaching out to them via email by commenting on their sites and sharing their posts on social media.
  • Comment on larger blogs in your niche and be sure to leave a link-back to your site.

 

Step 10: Stay Focused and Stick With It

The best advice I can give you when starting your online career is “no hurry, no pause”. Don’t add the unnecessary stress of trying to make a ton of money within these next few months of your blog launch. Why taint the true potential of a promising career? Be smart and be nice to yourself. Think of the laptop lifestyle like “The Tortoise and the Hare” race. If you come busting out the gate like a crazy person, you WILL burn out. I don’t necessarily advise you taking a slow approach because that leaves too much room for procrastination…Find a happy medium! In order to keep a steady balance I recommend that you keep your day job in the beginning. The beauty about the laptop lifestyle is that it offers complete flexibility. Many entrepreneurs will tell you that we have 80 hours of work in us per week. I can certainly confirm this myself! If you use your free time wisely you will be able to keep tabs on your progress while still paying your bills on time. Until you start making more money with your blog than you currently make at your day job, do not quit. I repeat, DO NOT QUIT YOUR DAY JOB. Furthermore, don’t create a bunch of websites every time you think of a good niche. This will stretch you thin and you will most likely fail in misery. It is so important to focus on one idea at a time. Once your first site becomes a steady 6 figure success, you can feel free to move on to the next idea. Just don’t get crazy 😉

 

Laptop Lifestyle = Financial Freedom

Think back to how you were living and what you were doing 3 years ago for work. Were you happy? Debt-free? Satisfied with the flexibility of your schedule? Excited about the future? Now envision where you’d like to be 3 years from now. Are you traveling the world? Driving your dream car? Buying your first home? Making the world a better place? These are the type of questions we must ask ourselves in order to understand where we currently are and where we want to be. As individuals we have the power to do and receive any and everything we have ever dreamed of. Long ago I decided that punching-in for the rest of my life in order to make “a decent living” was just not for me. I’ve always wanted to help change lives on a grander scale and in order to do this I knew making a lot of money was more than necessary. Today I am blessed to say that I am well on the way to living out my dreams in full thanks to the laptop lifestyle! My only regret? Not starting sooner. Click here to start your website today!

Need a Laptop To Get Started?

I gotcha covered! Below are the best deals on MAC and PC laptops . Shop smart 😉

Wishing you success and happiness,

Jasmin

 

Be Your Own Boss

How To Be Your Own Boss

There are many reasons why people choose to be their own boss rather than work for someone else. For me, working for myself has always been a way to let my creative mind run wild. I have a lot of energy and tend to get bored working a particular job within 6 months. This explains why I waited on tables at more than 8 restaurants from the age of 19 to 24. I am addicted to change and because I know this, I only choose work that allows me to be free. My first job as a self-employed contractor was with Lyft back in 2014. I would drive every other week in San Francisco making an average of $4000 a month. After experiencing how liberating this was, I couldn’t imagine working a job where I had to not only answer to someone else, but also make much less money doing so.

When my car was totaled on August 16, 2015, it was back to the drawing board. After moving back home I became stuck on what I could do for flexible income. Due to my hectic schedule of school, taking care of my niece, and working at the nursing home, I craved a job that payed at least $20/hr and allowed me to work whenever I felt like it. After typing “work from home” into Google one day, I came across a blog post titled “62 Side Hustles“. My life changed FOREVER. There were so many opportunities I had no idea even existed! The very next week I started working as a mobile bartender for private parties. I also became a Brand Ambassador by signing up with over 30 agencies nationwide via Facebook!

Fast forward to present day and the bulk of my work is doing internet marketing and web design. This is a skill that I’ve had for over 13 years but never bothered figuring out how to make money from it. I WAS SLEEP! Now that I am woke I make it my duty to help others reach the same success I’ve acquired.

What’s so great about being in charge you ask? For me it’s having the flexibility to make my own schedule, choose what type of work I do, avoid sexual harrasment, and hand select my clientele. I get to attend all of my niece’s extracurricular activities, I never get bored with work, I am able to surf at a least 3 times a week, and most importantly I make more money sleeping than I’ve ever made working a corporate job.

Are You Meant To Be Your Own Boss?

I can sit here all day and tell you how amazing it is to be the head honcho. However, if you don’t naturally have some of the characteristics listed below, you might be comfortable working for someone else…at least for now that is.

Self Motivation

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” ―Thomas Jefferson

To state the obvious, when you work for yourself there is no one there to tell you what to do and when to do it. It is up to you and only you to take charge of your work load. You don’t work, you don’t eat. If you are the type of person who feels they need direction in life, you may not want to quit your day job.

Organization

“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” ―Anonymous

Do you write everything down? Is your life scheduled on a calendar? Do you keep a clean house? If you are the type of person who stays neat and organized, transitioning to boss life will be a piece of cake!

Focus

“What you stay focused on will grow.” ― Roy T. Bennett

When you work for yourself there is a lot of time spent producing from home. This means you will be subject to many distractions such as the internet, your phone, your roommates, the neighbors crying child, and your adorable pet. If you have the ability to resist temptations, tuning out distractions won’t be an issue.

Discipline

“First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you.” 
Rob Gilbert

If you constantly procrastinate and think it’s cute, don’t bother working for yourself. Since no one will be there to create deadlines, you will most likely put off work until the last minute. This will create much unnecessary stress, decrease your productivity, and ultimately empty your bank account.

Patience

“Patience is not just about waiting for something… it’s about how you wait, or your attitude while waiting.” Joyce Meyer

Depending on your skill set it might take a while to get the freelance ball rolling. Before you can build a steady workflow you must build a good reputation. Although there are many effective ways to go about this quickly, you should always be prepared for bumps in the road. If you have patience with both yourself and the process involved in building a strong income, you will be reaping the benefits in no time.

Flexibility

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ― Albert Einstein

Just as the seasons change, your work opportunities will as well. There are times when you’ll have to turn  away work because you are so busy. There will also be times when work opportunities come few and far between. In order to survive it is important to have a couple of back-up plans. As long as you create a system where you can thrive no matter the season, you will do just fine.

Productivity

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” ― Bruce Lee

For those who struggle with putting their ideas into action, are lazy, or just can’t seem to get out of the bed, deciding to work for yourself might not be best idea. This is until you seek proper help of course. It takes a special kind of drive to produce work in a timely manner. Due to the fact that you only get paid once a job is complete, productivity is the ultimate key to becoming a success!

Freelancer vs Employee

So now you’re officially pumped because many (if not all) characteristics of being your own boss fit like a glove! In most cases you’ve always dreamed of being your own boss but needed help figuring out where to start. You’ve come to the right place my friend! According to Brian Rashid, “there are 53 million freelancers in America today. By 2020, 50% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers (this does not mean they are all full-time freelancers, but one of every two workers will be freelancers in some capacity). This on-demand work, instant gig economy is moving more and more into independent professionals that are using mobile and technology to create ecosystems of work they enjoy. Who says you can’t drive an Uber in the morning, design websites all afternoon, and cater your own food company at night? The old economy would lead you to believe that you should pick one job, work hard for the next 40 years at that company, and then retire. Not the new economy. The more diverse your skill set, the more opportunities come your way.” Read more here .

There you have it! Times are changing and for those who agree to be creative and flexible, many opportunities await. Listed below are just 7 of the many freelance opportunities up for grabs along with their average hourly rates. Download The Ultimate Guide to Building Wealth Young for the full detailed list!

weddingfreelance

appprogrammer

mobilebartender

graphicdesignerbrandambassadorwriter webdesigner

Hot dignity dog! With the many unique freelance opportunities available, I am sure there’s at least one area that you can dominate. Take it from me, the Jill of All Trades…it takes just 6 months to master a new skill. You’d be surprised at how much you can accomplish when there is passion involved. By adopting a mindset for success, you will be landing your first gig in no time!

17 Steps to a Successful Freelance Career

Before you get started in your new career, I advise that you do some research in your area of future expertise. Listed below are the steps most freelancers should take in order to run a successful business.

1. Make a Plan

I do not recommend quitting your job until you have planned out every aspect of your future freelancing career. The chances of you being swamped with work opportunities tomorrow are very slim (depending on your career choice). In order to prevent yourself from being overwhelmed, you should make sure your finances are safe by taking your time to create a plan. Pick a day to brainstorm on what services you would like to offer and to whom.

2. Decide Your Worth

If you’re like most people, choosing your rate can be a confusing task. In the beginning you might not think your skills are worth charging the highest rate. Don’t let your insecurities hurt your pockets though! The fact is that your services are obviously needed so people are willing to pay what you ask for. I recommend researching what others make in your field before deciding what to charge your clients. You should want to earn as much money as possible, while still being competitive in offering good value.

Click here to use this awesome rate calculator!

3. Build a Resume/CV

Before you can begin your exciting career as a freelancer, you will need to create a resume/CV that demonstrates your skills to your potential clients.  “But Jasmin, I’m just starting out and I don’t have any actual experience yet! ” Not to worry! There are plenty of ways to go about this…

1. Use your own personal work as experience

2. Offer a free or discounted service to your friends, family, classmates, or Meetup groups

3. Intern at a company for a couple of months

4. Exaggerate the details

Click the links below for help!

Freelancer CV Examples

7 Powerful Steps for Creating the Perfect Freelance CV

4. Invest In Your Equipment

If you have crappy equipment and expect to make a decent living freelancing, think again. Both hardware (computer, phone, and printer) and software(online tools that make make running your business easier) need to be purchased and updated. I strongly recommend buying an external hardrive to backup all of your work. Take it from me, nothing hurts more then when your handwork is flushed down the drain due to negligence. You will cry and fall into a deep depression. Do yourself a favor and skip the drama by investing in any new equipment you may need in order to produce quality work. PS: As a freelancer, you can write off these expenses on your taxes!

5. Find Clients

If you want to make money freelancing, one thing is for sure….you need clients! You should get to know the type of people who will eventually hire you for your services. The easiest way to find your first clients will be through the relationships that you already have. Reach out to your friends and family to see if they know anyone who could use your services. Don’t be shy, also contact your previous bosses and old co-workers. You’d be surprised how many people want to see you succeed at being your own boss!

6. Network

Whenever there is a networking opportunity locally, try your best to be there. Be sure to join relevant groups on LinkedIn, attend Meetup groups on the regular, and search for anything happening with EventBrite.

7. Consultation

Before you accept a gig it is crucial that you sit down with your client to build an understanding of their needs. This is so everyone is on the same page with all aspects of the process regarding the project. This can be done in person, over the phone, or online. Make sure that you lead the conversation so that the client doesn’t dictate what’s favorable to them. Know your practice so that you can manage expectations as early as possible. During this conversation be sure to discuss your fees, availability for the project, a schedule for revisions, and the project deadline. Be sure to write ALL of this down so that you can refer back to it when needed.

8. Pitch

After consulting with your client, it is now time to formulate a pitch. A pitch can take several forms. It can be a physical presentation of your preliminary work such as a pilot. It can also be in the form of a detailed brief. This is how you will show the client just what it is that you intend on doing. Your hopes and wishes are to get them to agree on your draft. Keep in mind that your client will want to be involved in the creative process. Instead of waiting until the product is finished, you should give your client as much input at the pitch stage as possible.

Checkout “How to Write A Freelance Pitch That Get’s Clients”

9. Agreement

Up until now nothing has been set in stone. Once you are hired for the job it is important that you draw up a letter of agreement. Some organizations that are more established will have a standard contract for outsourcing. In most cases the majority of your clients will depend on you to provide this document. Included in the agreement should be everything you intend to do regarding the project. This entails the amount of work you plan to commit to, deadlines that you’ve agreed on, how you will deliver the work, all fees for the work, the maximum payment period (usually 21 days), and what you plan on charging if additional work needs to be added to the agreement.

10. Time Management

In order to keep chaos to a very minimum as you aim to complete your project on time, I suggest you use an online service such as Todoist or Producteev. These online tools help you break down each project into a list of smaller tasks. You are then able to check off each task from your list, giving you an instant feeling of progress. Yay for technology!

11. Preparation

Depending on the type of service you’ll provide to your client, you will want to make sure everything that is needed to complete your project is working and available ahead of time. This may include booking studio time, arranging meetings, completing storyboards, sketches, and creating wireframes. If you skip this step you can almost guarantee that it will come back to haunt you in the near future.

12. Creativity

Now comes the fun! This is the part you were trained to do. As you can see, using your creativity is just one part of the process. Be sure to enjoy it to the fullest! If you master all of the other steps to leading to a successful freelancing career, your clients will cherish your creativity even more.

13. Delivery

This goes back to your original agreement with the client. You should have set a resaonable date for the project to be completed in full. Whatever you do, don’t miss this date! If you want to be sure this never happens, schedule a personal deadline a few days ahead of time. Being early will put you on a whole ‘nother level! Get ready for some booming business because your client will feel obligated to refer your services to everyone they know.

14. Review

After you submit your work to the client it is now time for them to address any of the changes they want made. Expect for this to happen and try not to let it frustrate you. After all, you want your client to absolutely adore the finished product. Take into account the criticism, whether it be constructive or not.

15. Revision

In order to prevent getting locked down with endless revision requests, be sure to stick to your original agreement. You should have specified the exact number of revisions you would be willing to make, as well as any added on payment for revisions beyond that point. You want to make sure the client is happy with your work, but not at the cost of your sanity.

16. Book Keeping

If you don’t fancy hiring an accountant to handle your book keeping, there are many free and inexpensive online services available. For $5 a month, CurdBee is one of the most comprehensive and cost-effective entries. You can track time on a project and export the data onto a spreadsheet. There’s also Due, a much simpler online invoicing tool that uses email and mobile so that your client can receive, review, and pay an invoice online immediately. A free option is PayPal, if you sign up as a business user you will be able to generate your own invoices on the platform.

17. Payment

“It’s my money and I want it now!” The time has finally come where the project is finished, the client is happy, and your hard earned money is soon to arrive in your bank account. With any rewarding job however, downfall may arise. If a client hasn’t payed you by the date you specified in your agreement, resubmit your invoice with a letter restating your original terms. If you are stern with your payment details in the very beginning, you can usually avoid this problem altogether. Be sure to include in your agreement that you will charge interest for every day that the client is late in payment. This should light some fire underneath that tush.

Be sure to checkout “The Best Invoice Payment Terms to Get Paid Fast” and

Freelancing 101: 7 Legal Documents All Freelancers Need

Where to Find Work

Below is a list of sites that offer plenty of work opportunities for freelancers.

Build your profiles today!

Upwork

Thumbtack

Toptal

Fiverr

Guru

Freelancer

Leaf Group

Project 4 Hire

People Per Hour

Craigslist

College Recruiter

Tax Time

Don’t let having to file self-employed taxes scare you away from the liberating world of freelance work. Trust me, it only seems complicated because it’s new. Once you read a few articles explaining the details, you will easily gain an understanding of how to go about filing taxes like a pro. Also, considering the fact that you will be making a decent amount of money freelancing, hiring someone to do your taxes for you could be a better option. Check out this article “7 Tax Tips For First time Freelancers”

Benefits

According to Julia Ingall’s article “Millennials Guide: Be a Freelancer vs. an Employee”, the majority of people who choose to work full-time for a company tend to really value their employer provided benefits. This includes health insurance, 401(k) plans, sick days and paid vacation time. Lucky for us freelancers, Freelancersunion.org has our backs! On this site you will find plenty of resources to match the same type of benefits offered to those who find comfort in working for The Man. 😉

Off To the Races You Go!

Congratulations! You have made it to the end and are officially ready to make the biggest change regarding your future. Kudos to you for realizing your worth and understanding that you hold the key to all of your success in life. Gone are the days where work has to actually feel like work. Financial freedom let’s go! Get ready to free up your Mondays and enjoy all that the world has to offer. After reading the details of what freelance life is all about, I hope you are now inspired to become your own boss. On that note, I leave you with these 6 Inspirational Quotes from Leading Freelancers:

“You can think of freelancing as volatile and risky, or as flexible and opportunity-rich. Doesn’t having multiple sources of income and multiple moneymaking skills sound less risky than putting all your eggs in one employer’s basket? Freelancing lets you shift gears when the world does.”

Sara Horowitz
Freelancers Union, Author of The Freelancer’s Bible

“Remember, nobody is hiring you just because you can design, write, market or code… they’re hiring you because they have a business problem. Your service (in their mind and yours) provides the solution to that problem, so focus on that rather than skill-jargon, buzzwords and vague lists of qualifications.”

Liam Veitch
FreelanceLift.com/1m-Freelancer-Book

“Position yourself as more of a consultant and less of a freelancer. Freelance work tends to be transactional, where you’re delivering directly on a service that a client had asked you to provide. The client asks you to complete a project, you deliver on that project. The difference with being a consultant is that you are looking to deliver value to a client. This approach can mean a large difference in the value a client sees in your work and the fee you get paid.”

Ben Matthews
BenRMatthews.com

“As a freelancer your biggest advantage is that you only need a handful of clients to succeed. Most companies need to find thousands of customers. You only need to find one at a time.”

Robert Williams
LetsWorkshop.com

“In order to shape the industry for the better, you have to create high standards and stick to them no matter what. As a business person, it’s your responsibility to know your core values and to pass them along to anyone that works with you. You might feel obligated to give into a client’s request for the sake of landing the job or to get paid. You might fear that you have to do absolutely anything to stay ahead of your competition. But the secret is – you don’t have competition!  As a freelancer, there will always be someone beneath you charging next to nothing for the same services you offer, but the clients that go to those people aren’t clients you should want to work with.”

Brent Galloway
YourFreelanceCareer.com

“Don’t freelance to make a living – freelance to make a life. Money is important – but when you hit ruts, work 16 hour days and get that tough feedback, it’s going to be something else that motivates you. You need to remember why you started and keep it in focus.”

Joel Klettke
BusinessCasualCopywriting.com

Wishing you success and happiness,

Jasmin

Budgeting 101

Let’s Talk About Money



Ever wonder where all of your hard earned money goes after pay day? Do you often fantasize about financial freedom but have trouble escaping the shackles of DEBT?  Do you take pride in looking rich while truthfully being BROKE ASS?  If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, you should seriously consider taking control of your finances today!

According to the “Habit Formation and Learning in Young Children” study, a child learns their spending habits by the young age of seven years old. Think back to all of those toy commercials on Nick Jr. that had you screaming “Mommy, I NEED that toy!!!”. Today, an average child will accumulate 238 toys by the time they are 10 years old, but only play with about 12 of them. Meanwhile, roughly 1 in 5 children in the United States are living without a roof over their head.

Poor Education: We never stood a chance…How in the world can an adult understand the importance of saving money after being brainwashed for decades to spend it all on BS? The sad reality is that we live in a country oozing with greed and ultimate deceit. Not only does our educational system make most kids afraid of numbers, but they don’t even bother offering a class teaching the basic fundamentals of personal finance.
Society pollutes the airways with “BUY NOW” and “MAKE IT RAIN” while only 1% of our nation actually follows these 3 rules for financial success:

      1. Make more money than you spend

      2. Invest the difference

      3. Understand where you are and where the money is going

Price vs Value: How can a broke surfer dude living on just enough money to handle shelter and 2 meals a day be happier than an Atlanta house wife who sits on a 24k golden toilet? Simple, money doesn’t define happiness. It gets tricky though, if money doesn’t buy happiness then how come we feel happy when we buy stuff? To find the answer to this question we have to understand what fake happiness is versus real happiness. One is temporary and often used as a front, while the other is permanent and abundant.

Without a doubt the entire entertainment industry is responsible for some of the worst brainwashing to date. Who grew up watching TV thinking “Man, I can’t wait to be RICH so I can spend it all on X,Y, and Z? Truthfully speaking, a huge part of measuring success in the United States is done by tallying up how much stuff we own. If you compare our spending culture to other parts of the world, the amount of things belonging to each person is extremely excessive. We waste our hard earned cash AND our borrowed money on depreciating values such as sneakers, clothes, electronics, alcohol, albums, concert tickets, cosmetics, cars, take-out food, fake jewlery, tattoos, weave, etc. We do this without thinking twice because we are programmed. We are taught the price of things rather then the value of them, and in turn we worship other peoples creations rather then creating our very own.

 

Budgeting 101

“It isn’t what you earn but how you spend it that fixes your class.” ― Sinclair Lewis

Unless you had the luxury of growing up in a financially savvy home where creating a budget was taught by your parents, you might not know where to start. Despite the lack of education, each individual’s financial health all depends on a well thought out strategy. I think we can all agree that one needs motivation, structure, and discipline to overcome any major obstacle in life. Waiting around for that fat to magically disappear off your body without changing your diet or hitting the gym will not work. Ignoring a problem now will only bring disaster in the near future. In order to make a change of any sort you must first admit you have a problem, and secondly take action. With that being said, whip out your pen and pad folks cause we’re about to get deep! Allow me to explain the 6 fundamentals of creating a solid budget.

1. Check Your Credit Report

Before you begin a proper budget it is crucial that you know exactly where your credit stands. Even if you’ve never owned a credit card, don’t have student loans, are not the owner of your vehicle, or have never opened up an account in your name, it is STILL important to run your credit report every year. Why you ask? People are SHADY that’s why. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of someone suffering from identify theft. Their biggest regret? Not checking their credit report sooner. Don’t be that guy! The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax) to provide you with a FREE copy of your credit report once every 12 months.

 

What’s On Your Credit Report?

Identifying Information: Your name, address, Social Security number, date of birth and employment information.

Trade Lines: Your credit accounts. All lenders report on every account you’ve established with them such as an auto loan, bankcard, mortgage, etc.

Credit Inquiries: When you apply for a loan you are authorizing a specfic lender to receive a copy of your credit report. The inquiries section contains a list of everyone who accessed your credit report within the last two years.

Public Record and Collections: Credit reporting agencies collect public record information from state and county courts. Public record information includes bankruptcies, foreclosures, tax liens (failure to pay your taxes) and civil judgments (debt you owe through the courts as a result of a lawsuit). Information on overdue debt from collection agencies is also included.

2. Figure Out Your Net Worth

 

A net worth statement is simply a personal balance sheet showing where you stand financially. It provides a summary of your assets minus your liabilities. Said in another way, your personal net worth is calculated by listing everything that you own, and then subtracting that from everything you owe to get a net number.

Assets vs. Liabilities

Assets: Things that create cash-flow directly to your pocket. It’s something that gives you money.

Examples: Income generating properties such as cash, stocks & bonds, property, jewelry, and equipment.

Liabilities: Things that take money out of your pocket. These are things that you need to pay for, things that you owe, and things that you need to buy.

Examples: Your car, student loans, house, clothes, gym membership, cable tv, car insurance, cell phone bill, etc.

 So How Much Do You Owe?

The first step in calculating your net worth is to gather all the necessary financial documents including your recent bank and loan statements. Once you have all the required information, visit the Net Worth Calculator and start the calculation by listing all of your assets with their values. Once you’ve received the dollar amount of which you owe, you should work out a plan to pay off your debt. Which ever obligation has the highest interest rate, pay this off first while making the minimum payments on your other accounts. If you have student loans, you may want to be on an income-contingent repayment plan. Call your student loan servicer an explain your situation in order to find the best option for you. Keep in mind that there is such a thing as federal student loan forgiveness. 😉

 

3. Organize Your Finances

They say you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. Well gosh darn it I’ve been broke and sure as hell ain’t going back! Fact: The people who remain wealthy in this world constantly stalk their finances. Label me weird but I seriously get a high every time I pay a bill ahead of time, check my checking/savings account, and view my investment portfolio. In order to keep tabs on your finances, I strongly recommend downloading these free Apps below. Each one is a true game changer, get use to opening them up on the regular. 😉

Mint Bills 

Mint Bills is an award-winning app that stays on top of your bills and money for you. Just set it up once and the app goes to work – proactively staying on top of your bills and monitoring your bank accounts and credit cards, all in one place.

Daily Budget

Daily Budget is a clean and easy budget app that also helps you save money and is actually fun to use!
Once you enter in all of your reoccurring expenses, the app will give you a daily allowance on what you’re allowed to spend before seeing red!

Free .XLS Budgeting Templates

Monthly Budget

 College Budget 

Daycare Budget

4. Negotiate Your Life

One day after listening to an episode of the Tim Ferris Show I decided it was time to ask for my money back. How so? Through the power of NEGOTIATION. First up was attacking my ridiculous car insurance rate. From the car accident I was involved in late 2015, my insurance policy went up to a whopping $335 per month! Why was I so content in paying this absurd rate for 18 months? It was because I had no idea I could negotiate such a service. Action: With a ton of confidence and politeness I made two 5 minute phone calls, one to my current provider, and another to a competitor. The results? I am now currently saving $1,718 a year on car insurance! After crying tears of joy I was excited to continue this effective process. Next on the list was my cell phone bill. I called T-mobile and asked if there was anyway we could lower my monthly bill down from $110.76. This was “due to hard times“. The lady over the phone was nice and even expressed sympathy for my situation. In under 5 minutes my new rate was $97.50! After completing this identical process for all of my bills, credit cards, and loans, I was on a high. I called up my Bro and asked if I could negotiate his bills for him. Due to the shocking results we received we decided it was time to spread the word. You a reading this paragraph today because I learned first-hand just how powerful negotiating can be! This skill is everything when it comes to respecting your worth, time, and money. Take control of what’s rightfully yours today! Click here to read from the exact same negotiating scripts ya girl used. Big shout out to Ramit Sethi!

5. Shop Smart

If you are going to make a purchase of any sort, it is imperative that you spend the least amount of money doing so. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take up coupon cutting as a new hobby. Costco is awesome if you’re buying things in bulk such as water and toiletries. Aldi is absolute LIFE when it comes to the best deals on groceries. Your local dollar store is great for dish soap, sponges, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, etc. The more minimalistic you live, the more money you will start to see in your bank account. Lucky for us there are plenty of Apps and websites out here dedicated to helping us save. Ever since I adopted the discount lifestyle, I roughly save about $235 a month! Checkout the list below and save big time. 

Ibotta

Get $10 for FREE here after downloading Ibotta! This app is my baby! They save you cash on things you buy everyday by having you scan your products barcode and your grocery receipt. It’s simple to use whether you’re buying groceries, shopping, dining out, or even using your favorite apps.

EBATES

Get another $10 for FREE here when you sign up with Ebates! I no longer purchase anything online without going through Ebates first. Why you ask? You can earn up to 40% Cash Back when you shop at your favorite stores such as eBay, Bed Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom, Sephora, JCPenney, Home Depot, Walmart, GNC, Macy’s, Office Depot, Overstock, Under Armour, Walgreens and many more.

GasBuddy

Boy oh boy did I use this app religiously while driving Lyft in the expensive streets of San Francisco! With GasBuddy you can find the cheapest gas near you, search gas stations by distance or price, report gas prices to help others find cheap gas, and earn points and achievements for participating. You can also enter to win $100 in free gas every day!

Amazon Subscribe&Save

If you don’t have a car but want to shop for bulk items like detergent and paper towels, Amazon Subscribe&Save is legit as ever! I recommend this for the average college student because the annual fee of Amazon PrimeStudent is free.99!

Amazon PRIMEStudent

College kids where ya at? Sign up with Amazon Prime to get free two-day shipping, unlimited access to over a thousand audio books, original audio series from Audible, and instant access to thousands of movies and TV shows at no additional cost.

6. Automate Your Savings 

People who make a habit of living paycheck to paycheck will spend their entire life throwing away money instead of saving it. Why? Simply because they lack structure and discipline. In order to stay ahead of the game you have to think about the “what if’s” in life. In order to prepare for the worst, experts suggest saving 36 months of living expenses. What’s the easiest way to achieve this number? By enrolling in a free automatic savings account! Furthermore, having a savings account separate from your checking account will eliminate the temptation of transferring on a regular basis. I strongly recommend downloading the Digit app. Within the first month of signing up I saved $300 bucks without lifting a finger!

How Digit Works

Every day Digit sends you a friendly text on the exact balance of your checking account. After checking your spending habits, they automatically transfer a few dollars from your checking account to your savings account. You have complete access to your savings and can withdraw the funds at anytime in case of an emergency. It’s also free for the 100 days, and just $2.99/month afterwards so sign up today!

 

Well, there you have it! Financial freedom starts with knowing exactly where your money is coming from and where you plan to take it. After recieveing your free credit report, you can figure out your net worth and organize your finances. By negotiating every single bill you have (including your credit card APR) and adopting the shop smart mentality, you will start to see hundreds of dollars appear out of nowhere. This extra cash can be used to pay back your debt as well as funnel into your automatic savings account.

Sometimes it takes a devastating wakeup call to knock us out of a vicious cycle of financial turmoil. It did for me anyhow…After spending the majority of my life wasting thousands of dollars on meaningless swag, I finally realized that I was playing into societies twisted game of morbid consumerism. Who did I learn my spending habits from you ask? It was my beloved mother who taught me at an early age how to spend money without a conscious. This should come as no surprise considering that the average woman makes 301 trips to the store annually, spending close to 8.5 years shopping during a typical lifespan (NY Daily News). However, as an adult in my mid-twenties, no longer could I use the excuse of my mothers shopaholic upbringing as my own financial downfall.

Two years ago I got myself into over $4,000 of credit card debt while living the hollywood lifestyle. That “fake it till you make” saying was engrained deep within let me tell ya! Once I cleared my debt after moving back home I vowed to NEVER put myself in such an unhealthy state again. After doing a lot of reading I had set a goal to pay back my student loans in full and buy my first house by the time I turned 28. In order to achieve this goal I had to not only increase the amount of money I was making, but most importantly decrease the amount I was spending. After completing my research on how to be a financial success, I became extremely inspired! It wasn’t enough for me to share my finding with just my friends and family, hence the reason why you’re reading this blog today. I decided to make it my duty to help kids and young adults around the world reach financial success just as I did. After you get your budget straightened out you can next move on to the really exciting part…making your first 6 figures! In closing, I leave you with these words of wisdom:

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” – Albert Ellis

PS: Before leaving to start on your budget, checkout this mind-blowing Ted Talk titled “Consumer Kids” by Agnes Nairn.

Wishing you success and happiness,

Jasmin