January 2018 10
Almost a quarter of Americans (24%) consider saving for a vacation as their top financial goal for 2018. That response beat out “paying off credit card debt,” which was named by 23% of respondents to a survey of 1,150 U.S. consumers conducted by Credit Sesame.
Here’s what to avoid
Credit cards are rather important items in our financial lives. About 70% of us have at least one credit card, according to Federal Reserve data, and with about 250 million adults in the U.S. recently, that amounts to more than 175 million card-carrying Americans.
It’s no surprise, then, that we’re likely to make mistakes regarding our credit card use now and then. Since such mistakes can be costly, here’s a look at a bunch of common ones. See which ones apply to you.
Have you already made your financial plans for 2018? Did you cut off from the list your next vacation just because after these holidays you can barely keep your head above water? You better write that destination again! Even better…you can double your time in your exotic destination without tighten the belt.
Whatever your goal is, we will help you reach it! Without a hint, it’s hard to figure out from where you can save several hundred or a few thousand dollars, so we’ve made a list of 19 simple ways you can save and make some money to move toward your goal.
Take advantage of these ideas and you will never regret it!
1. Do Gigs on Fiverr
No matter what type of service you offer, you can likely offer it on Fiverr. This is terrific for digital services such as graphic design, web design, short audio or video clip creation, editing services, writing and so on. If you have a bit of extra time and have decent command of the English language – you can make some good extra cash just from writing a few articles.
Fiverr has expanded beyond just the $5-per-gig model. Fiverr Pro pools the best talent on its platform. Depending on your skills, you could do considerably well on here. There are even some people making 6 to 7 figures a year just from Fiverr!
2. Negotiate A Better Mortgage Rate With HARP
If you’re a homeowner and you want to save yourself thousands of dollars this year, there’s a government program that you might be able to take advantage of called HARP. The Home Affordable Refinance Plan (HARP) could help hundreds of thousands of Americans reduce their monthly payments by as much as $3,500 in their first year.
The program was set to expire in 2017 but has been extended to 2018 for the time being. In order to qualify for HARP you’ll need good or excellent credit, so if you don’t have a very good credit rating then this probably isn’t for you.
To check if you qualify visit HARP Approvals, and fill out the short quiz (take 2 minutes). If lowering your payments, paying off your mortgage faster, and having an extra $290 a month in HARP savings would help you, then this could be the easiest money savings tip you take.
3. Drive For Lyft
Need a fun, flexible way to earn money this month? Try driving with Lyft! Demand for ridesharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down. To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.
We talked to Paul Pruce, who’s been driving full-time with Lyft for over a year. He earns $750 a week as a driver. Best of all, he does it on his own time. You can work days, nights or weekends — it’s up to you! Work 40 hours a week for one month, and you could bank up to $2,400. Just remember to include the cost of gas and car maintenance in your profit calculations.
4. Answer Questions on JustAnswer.com
People looking for expertise online. JustAnswer (and several sites like it) allow doctors, lawyers, engineers and others with enhanced knowledge to earn a small income merely answering questions from people who would otherwise have to pay a hefty sum for those answers.
5. Get Paid To Take Online Surveys
Let’s face it, a lot of us have a bit of extra time on our hands that we just spend watching TV. What if you could get paid a little bit of extra pocket money just for taking a few online surveys? Would you do it? There’s a new website called Survey Junkie that allows you to do just that.
You provide them with a bit of information about yourself and they’ll match you up with to surveys that you can complete for big brands. You then earn rewards and virtual points that you can redeem for Paypal or e-Giftcards. You won’t make a ton of money doing this, but it could help pay for a few things every month and it’s easy to do.
6. Get a Lower Auto Insurance Rate
You might think you’re already paying a low auto insurance rate, but recent research shows that only 5% of Americans over the age of 30 are paying less than $50 per month for car insurance. If you’re currently paying more than $50 per month, and have had no accidents or tickets in the past two years, you can probably secure a much lower car insurance rate.
The best way to do that is to compare quotes from multiple insurers – let them compete for your business. In fact, there’s a new website that allows you to do just that – it’s called Best Quotes Auto Insurance. Once you fill out the form on their website they’ll provide you with multiple quotes you can choose from. If you’re still not satisfied, you can always call up the major car insurance companies and let them know you’re looking for better offers and see what they say.
7. Cut The Cord on Cable Forever
Millions of Americans are completely cutting the cord on their monthly cable costs, allowing them to save $100+ per month in unnecessary fees. Many of them are switching to Netflix or Amazon Prime Video subscriptions, but there are also other ways you can get cable channels without needing to pay a monthly fee. All your local news, weather, sitcoms, cooking shows, kid’s shows, sports and thousands of movies are available for free with an antenna. In fact, most broadcast stations offer additional regional programming, absolutely free.
The TVFox antenna simply attaches to your current TV’s antenna jack (all TV’s have them), and then you get to enjoy Free Broadcast TV. It supports 1080p HDTV and has up to 30 miles of range, so it’s nothing like the “rabbit ears” you used in the past. If you find you’re not watching as much television as you used to, this could be the perfect solution for you and can save you a lot of money every month.
8.NEVER PAY FOR HOME REPAIRS AGAIN
Many homeowners don’t have the extra cash to shell out for repairs when something in the house breaks. You most likely have homeowners insurance right? But what about if your washing machine of 10 years breaks down? Or your dryer just stops working one day? Homeowner insurance won’t cover those repairs.
That’s why getting setup with a Home Warranty Program can actually end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. It will cover any unexpected repairs to your appliances, plumbing, water heaters, heating and other electrical systems.
They also will replace anything that they can’t fix. Make sure you shop around for rates on a home warranty program – this website will give you quotes that you can then choose from. A home warranty program should be a minor cost that can end up saving you major money.
9. Walk Dogs
There are networks devoted connecting dog owners with dog walkers. Rover is one of the largest networks of dog walkers out there. Of course, you could also use social media or just knock on neighbors doors to advertise your services, but you can easily use one of these services. Not only will this help your bank account but it will also help keep you fit!
10. SELL ON CAFÉPRESS OR ETSY
If you can design digital items, you can sell them for a share of the profits on a site like CafePress. You can do this with nothing more than some design software. They can include custom logos, inspirational sayings and other topical or trending designs appealing to the masses.
You could hire a designer to assist you with this, but you still need to come up with the ideas. This works best if you understand design yourself but requires no overhead. Items are printed and delivered on-demand. You simply receive a share of the proceeds. Similarly, you could sell items on Etsy as well.
11. INSTALL A HOME ALARM SYSTEM
This money saving idea is also for homeowners, so if you’re a renter you can skip this one. Did you know that homes without security systems are 2.5 times more likely to be targeted by burglars and intruders? But installing a home alarm system isn’t just to stop burglars and intruders, it can also save you big money year after year. A house alarm will save you money on your homeowners insurance policy (which is generally mandatory if you own a home).
In fact, on average installing a home alarm system will give homeowners a 10-20% discount on their insurance by having a high functioning home alarm system installed. The good news is that these home alarm companies are pretty desperate for customers at the moment so you can get a good deal.
For instance, one of the best alarm system companies – ADT is currently offering over $800 in savings if you just pay the installation fee. That means you basically get a free alarm system for over a year, just by paying a $99 fee.
Parents are always willing to invest in their children’s future. If you have a great deal of knowledge in subjects such as math, science or computers, you could tutor for cash.
Both Indeed.com and Care.com offer opportunities for tutoring local students. You could opt for either of these platforms or simply find your clients through your personal network or social media.
13. RENT A SPARE ROOM ON AIRBNB
AirBnB is a terrific platform for renting out a spare room. You can make some good money, especially if you live in a tourist destination. If you don’t mind the neighbors, then this is definitely an option. You can crash with friends and family and rent out your entire house if you’re really desperate.
There’s a variety of platforms online that you could tap into for doing this, or you could simply scour your neighborhood or post on social media. You could use Amazon’s Home Services for this as well, or you could create your own simple, one-page website to advertise.
Either way, this is a terrific way to make upwards of $20 per hour or more doing a job that’s often in high demand. You could easily make this a long-term gig if you perform well and don’t cut corners.
15. FIXD – Save Thousands on Car Repairs!
Have you ever gone to an auto repair shop for an oil change, only to have the mechanic say you need a new transmission? Or has the mysterious “check engine” light come on, and next thing you know the mechanic has a list of expensive engine parts that need replacing? Unfortunately, mechanics know taking advantage of people is easy, given their lack of knowledge about car maintenance needs.
But there’s a new device you can carry with you in your car to tell you exactly what’s wrong with it. If you own a car built after 1996 then you can use this brilliant new device called Fixd to instantly diagnose any car problems. This means the next time your “Check Engine Light” happens to come on, you’ll know exactly what the issue is and the Mechanics won’t be able to lie to you! In the United States alone, this product did over $50,000,000 in sales in 2017.
16. Trade Cryptocurrencies (Forget About Bitcoin)
Many people have grossed over a million dollars in only 2 years. Others have started with $20,000 and found $256,000 in their account only 4 months later (That’s a whopping 1,280% ROI). One thing is for sure, trading cryptocurrencies is HOT! Bitcoin, Ethereum, and smaller coins are making people hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.
17. Get Money Back Instantly For Stuff You’ve Already Bought
Do you love getting refunds? How cool would it be to get money back on stuff you’ve already bought without having to do a thing? Paribus is an app that lets you find out if stores you’ve shopped at online owe you a refund. It’s free to sign up. Paribus connects to your email account and checks your receipts. If they find out a retailer has dropped their price they file a price adjustment claim for you automatically. Try out Paribus.
Paribus works with a huge number of merchants that you probably already shop at, including Walmart, Amazon, Costco, Best Buy, Target, Apple, Kohl’s, and more!
18. Home Organizing
You could easily do home organizing for people. If you’re a tidy and organized person yourself, and you’re good at organizing spaces, why not offer your services to people around you? You’d be surprised at how many people, even on your own social media feed, might take you up on doing something like this.
Again, a site like Care.com also helps to connect home organizers with people looking for this type of service. It all depends on whether you want to go through a professional company or pitch it yourself to people that are already in your personal or business network.
19. Freedom Checks (Better Than Social Security)
Here’s something millions of Americans have never heard of. Apparently, thousands of Americans are now signing up for “Freedom Checks”, these are checks that make social security and every other government program look insignificant. In a special video presentation, Financial Expert Matt Badiali reveals how anyone can start collecting these checks.
BIG MONEY, BIG WASTES
Most of us make money mistakes, but they’re nothing compared to the wastes of money perpetrated by state organizations, private companies, and elite billionaires every year. So as 2017 comes to a close, let’s review the most staggering instances of financial waste in the past year—some that made headlines, and some that are still flying under the radar.
Click ahead to see the biggest wastes of money in 2017.
Millennials tend to get a bad reputation from older generations as entitled, self-centered, and periodically lazy. Not all millennials fit those categorizations, however. In fact, 3.2% of the ultra-wealthy global population falls within the millennial age range – not bad considering their relatively young age and the time it takes to accumulate such great wealth. These 30 millennials did not inherit a business from his or her family – they are all self-made entrepreneurs.
Mark Zuckerberg is the quintessential example of a now wealthy millennial who hit the ground running from an early age and ended up scoring big. Creating Facebook in the comfort of his dorm room at the age of 19, Zuckerberg is now worth some $74 billion — he is not only the richest millennial, but also the fifth richest person in the world. Several other booming businesses such as Airbnb, Instagram, and Snap Inc. were created by millennials who are now world-renowned billionaires.
To identify the richest millennial entrepreneurs in the world, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a slew of credible sources, most notably Forbes, Bloomberg, and Wealth-X, to find people with the greatest to-date net worth. We used Pew Research Center’s definition of a millennial — those born between 1981 and 1997. Those above the age of 36 years old were not considered.
401(k) investors should break out their rally caps and root for stocks to keep going up in January.
The reason: How equities fare in the first month of the year often signals how they will perform for the full year.
And, so far in 2018, stocks are in rally mode.
They have closed higher the first four trading days, raising the hopes of 401(k) investors for more gains ahead, following a 25% return for the Dow Jones industrial average in 2017.
The gains have been powered by optimism that the economy and corporate earnings will benefit this year from tax cuts engineered by Republicans. Those positives are offsetting challenges, like a pricey market, an expected rise in interest rates and signs that investors are getting too optimistic about the market’s prospects.
Getting off to a good start on Wall Street is often the difference between full-year success and failure, according to The Stock Trader’s Almanac.
In fact, 401(k) investors’ odds of making money in stocks again in 2018 will rise dramatically if the market can notch what the Almanac calls a performance “trifecta” this month.
We’re not talking about a horse-racing trifecta, where bettors win when they correctly pick the order of the first three finishers in a race. A Wall Street trifecta is when the stock market does three things: It posts gains in the seven-day “Santa Claus Rally” that straddles December and January; it rises in the first five trading days of a new year; and it ends January with gains.
Of the 29 times since 1950 in which the S&P 500 stock index rose in all three of those periods, it finished the year higher 27 times, or 93% of the time, according to The Stock Trader’s Almanac. Following those trifectas, the large-company stock index posted average full-year gains of 18%.
More: Dow closes above 25,000, extending milestone-breaking run for blue-chip stock index
More: 18 stocks that could rise 25% in 2018
More: 401(k) savers: Where the stock market is headed in 2018
Those statistics back up the saying coined by the Almanac, “As January goes, so goes the year.”
So far this year, odds favor another good year for stock investors. The S&P 500 was up 1.1% during the Santa rally, which ran from Dec. 22 to Jan. 3. And it has risen the first four days of January, gaining 2.6%. If stocks stay in the black through January 31, it would be a bullish signal.
“A positive first five days and January would certainly boost prospects for full-year 2018,” noted Jeffrey Hirsch, the Almanac’s editor.
The first five days of the year is dubbed an “early warning system,” while the full-month market watch is known as the “January Barometer.”
There are a few reasons why a strong January often leads to further gains, says Sung Won Sohn, professor of economics at California State University Channel Islands.
Stock price trends and investor psychology are big factors.
“Once the bullish sentiment builds, it does not dissipate right away,” Sohn tells USA TODAY.
Still, Sohn warns that too much of a good thing might eventually be a negative.
“The market always overreacts in both directions, creating booms and busts,” Sohn says, adding that investor enthusiasm is getting overdone. “We are in the ninth inning of the (rally). I would be cautious and raising cash.”
There are two key reasons why stocks tend to rise early in a new year, says David Kotok, chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors, a Sarasota, Florida-based investment firm.
Investors that were selling stocks late in the prior year for tax purposes finish that process, he explains. In addition, fresh cash becomes available for investment as the calendar turns.
Kotok expects the early-year stock strength “to continue for awhile.”
He sees stocks being bolstered for the rest of 2018 by tax cuts.
“Short-term, I’m bullish,” he says.
Funny thing about our federal system of government: There’s that complicated tax code that Uncle Sam keeps and the IRS enforces.
Then there’s an even larger patchwork of taxation schemes crafted by 50 state legislatures, all coming up with new ways to extract coin from their citizenry (or create social policy through tax breaks). Some of these regimens are, well, quirky.
We’ve found ten of the strangest ways states tax you and cut you a break—plus a few creative tax dodges—from across the land.
These days, it’s hard to stretch a dollar very far, but if you shop wisely, you can still get serious bang for your buck. From the perfect snack for you to one for your cat, they can all be had for $1 or less. Check out these tips!
You’ve found your style, you’ve witnessed some of the best music ever created, and you can even live in Margaritaville. But for you, the fun has only just begun.
Do you dream of retiring your days of freezing winters after exiting the full-time work world? The following retirement destinations offer warm climates that, even in January (the coldest month for much the U.S.), rarely see temperatures drop below freezing. In July, the average high temperatures in these locations range from 80℉ to 102℉.
Spoiler alert: Yes, this list includes places in Florida and Hawaii (where the coldest lows are just 52℉ and 64℉—a midsummer night’s dream in the winter for many). But some of our warm-weather retirement destinations may surprise you. Others you might expect, such as in Arizona and Georgia, can actually get pretty cold in the dead of winter, so they didn’t quite make the cut (but they still offer great places you might consider for your retirement).
Check out the following 10 hot spots for a warm retirement.