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3 Things To Consider When Shopping For A Home Loan

  • November 5, 2020

If you’re getting ready to purchase a new home, one of the most important factors in this decision is the home loan that you acquire. Whether you’re looking to buy a starter home or your dream home, the process of getting a home loan is the same. However, the more time and energy you spend shopping for your home loan, the better the outcome may be for you, both in the short term and in the long run.

To help you with this, here are three things to consider when shopping for a home loan. 

The Financing Category For Your Interest Rate

Because you’re getting a loan to purchase your home, you’re going to end up paying interest to whatever institution to get your loan from. One of the ways that you can save yourself some money or find some peace of mind is by choosing the right financing category for the interest rate of your loan.

According to Andrew Bloomenthal, a contributor to Investopedia.com, people shopping for a home loan can choose between getting a fixed-rate mortgage or an adjustable-rate mortgage. With a fixed-rate mortgage, you’ll be paying the same interest rate throughout the life of your loan. With an adjustable-rate mortgage, you may be able to acquire a lower interest rate at the beginning of your loan when compared to the interest rate of a fixed-rate mortgage. However, you take the risk of having your interest rate increase after the introductory period, which could drastically increase your monthly payment. The decision you make should consider how much risk you’re willing to take on and how much money you may be able to save over time. 

Paying Points Up Front

Ideally, you’ll want to choose the home loan that gives you the best interest rate so that you’re not paying a lot of money in interest back to your lender. 

One thing you can do to help secure a lower interest rate is to pay point up front. According to Sarah Davis, a contributor to Money Under 30, mortgage points are interest that you pay up front on your loan. By doing this, you could lower the interest rate of your loan by investing a bit more money now. 

Getting Your Mortgage Preapproved

To know exactly what you’ll be in for when you’re shopping for your home, Casey Bond, a contributor to Forbes.com, advises that you get your mortgage preapproved before you start looking at actual homes to buy. When you go about buying a home by shopping for a mortgage first and getting preapproved, you’ll be able to know what type of mortgage terms you can expect and better narrow down the homes that you’re in a position to purchase. 

To help make your next home buying process easier, consider using the tips mentioned above when you shop for your home loan.

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3 Tips For Building More Brand Awareness

  • February 20, 2020

branding

If you’re a small business owner, it’s likely that a lot of your business is either going to come from word of mouth or from referrals. In addition to these more traditional ways of marketing, taking advantage of the Internet and creating a strong online presence for yourself can also be very impactful for your business. But unless there’s something about you that your visitors or potentials customers can connect with, you might not be very memorable to them. So to help make growing your business a little easier and more natural for you, here are three tips for building more brand awareness for your small business.

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How to Hone Your Business Accounting, Budgeting, and Taxation for Small Business Success

  • February 11, 2020

Moving from working for someone else to being in charge of your own business is a huge adjustment. You don't have to know just about what you're selling or what you're providing as an owner or manager. You have to understand all of the other details that come with the commercial industry, particularly when it comes to accounting, budgeting, and taxation. Budgeting can be especially difficult if you're running a startup with little to no experience. 

So not only you have to start your business from a product sales perspective, but you also have to do your research on many other professional topics. It's a good idea to learn basic accounting. You need to understand the role of taxation in a business model. You have to put together a business budget to maintain financial fluidity. And, you have to accept that the business world can shift under your feet, and you may have to adapt to it.

Learning Basic Accounting

Before you do too much with your business model, it's important to learn basic accounting. There are plenty of places that you can find the fundamental methods of proper accounting techniques online. Alternatively, you can also buy books that will take you through all of the primary elements. Accounting is a peculiar kind of math, and not everyone can understand it naturally. Typically, the reason that companies have a separate accountant is that it takes a specialized skill to do an excellent job with this style of record keeping.

Understanding the Role of Taxation

When you run your own business, the taxation process is different. There are a few different ways that you can learn about how and why taxes work the way they do. For example, you can take an enrolled agent review course. Even if you're not a tax professional yourself, working your way through this material will give you a good summary of why taxation systems are set the way they are.

Putting Together a Business Budget

Creating a business budget may be one of the hardest things that you have to do as a new business owner. You thought working with a personal budget was hard? Now, there are a million other details that you have to work with, the smallest of which is not going to be the fact that if you have employees, you have to figure out a budget for paychecks, insurance, and a whole slew of new expenses.

Working With Changing Times

One of the things that you have to pay attention to in today's business world regarding financial accounting, business budgeting, and local and federal taxation is the fact that the rules are changing. Laws are coming and going, loopholes are appearing and then closing, and the way that money moves around is adjusting to modern cultural norms. Don't get too stuck in one way of doing business so that you can figure out how to adapt to these changing circumstances.

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3 Expenses Your Small Business Can Start Reducing Today

  • October 4, 2019

If you own your own small business, you’re likely always concerned about how much money you have coming in and how much money you have going out. But even with all this financial stress that many entrepreneurs feel, so many are also overspending in areas that they could easily cut back on.

So if you’re having a hard time making ends meet and need some help finding areas where you can afford to save some money, here are three expenses your small business can likely start reducing today. 

Reduce Your Full-Time Staff

One of the biggest expenses that a business pays out is for their employees. From their salary and benefits to hiring and training, bringing on even just one full-time employee can be very costly for a small business.

Because of this, Susan Ward, a contributor to The Balance Small Business, recommends that you take a look at your staff and see if there’s any way you can reduce either the number of people you have as full-time employees or how much money you’re spending per employee. Some options for doing this could include outsourcing some of your administrative tasks, like accounting services, or trying to use interns as an extra hand rather than hiring an actual employee. 

Rethink Your Marketing Strategies

Marketing is another area where many small businesses get in over their heads. While you need to market your business in order to get the word out about your products or services, there are plenty of ways that you can do this for cheap or free in today’s world.

According to Royale Scuderi, a contributor to American Express, some of the ways you can market or advertise your business for very little money include leveraging social media, creating a blog, building your email list, using a referral program with your current customers, and spending more of your time networking face-to-face with people. While traditional marketing strategies may work well in some cases, they simply aren’t worth it if you’re spending too much money and not getting a decent return. 

Take A Look At Your Current Vendor Contracts

In order to effectively run your business, you’ve got to have the right vendors helping you get your product or service to your customers. 

When your business was just starting off, you may have felt like you had to take what you can get with the contracts with your vendors. But once you become a bit more established, Saige Driver, a contributor to Business News Daily, recommends that you take a fresh look at your contracts and see if you can find a new vendor who will help you save more money. 

If you’re looking to cut expenses for your small business, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you find ways that you can do just that.

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For the Best Return on Your Investment for Building Enhancements, Look To Improve Structural Elements

  • September 21, 2019

Everyone is always looking to get a good return on their investment when it comes to home improvements or building enhancements. Home improvement projects are more for where you live, and building enhancement projects are more for where you work if you own your business. 

Specifically, for business matters, improving structural elements and keeping them maintained can make a massive difference in the evaluation of your business finances.

So what are some of these structural elements that you can invest in? First, start with the roof. It is the part of your building that gets the most sun, rain, wind, and abuse from the elements. Having a roof that leaks can cause extensive amounts of damage to your building or your stock as well. 

Second, invest in some parking lot infrastructure. Even if you don't feel like there are immediate financial benefits to this, the fact that you will have happy customers and solid curb appeal will make a difference in the long run. Third, pay close attention to your doors and windows. These are structural elements that not only provide insulation against the elements, but they also make a difference regarding how welcoming your business looks.

Start with the Roof

Especially for commercial buildings, repairing and maintaining a roof is an essential activity. If you drive through an industrial district, you will note very clearly that the places that have a well-maintained roof also look positively maintained elsewhere. One of the first signs of decay or neglect in a building is the top of its structure looking rusted, broken, or in disrepair.

Parking Lot Infrastructure

Make sure your parking lot infrastructure is maintained. That means the pavement should be smooth, and there should be no cracks or weeds growing through in places that look bad. And all of the parking spaces are clearly marked. 

This initial sense of detail orientation will signify to your potential customers and clients that you take their comfort and their judgment seriously. Again, if you compare a business that has a good parking lot with one that doesn't, you immediately can judge the integrity of the ownership.

Doors and Windows

Finally, doors and windows are extremely important structural elements of any business. Beyond the usual type of check that you would make for a residence, have a professional go through and seal the doors and windows, so you know you aren't wasting any money on energy bills. 

Additionally, the areas around doors and windows tend to collect dirt and grime more quickly than other places, and any customers that see this will be less likely to judge you positively.

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Tips For Marketing Your Business Online

  • August 27, 2019

The 21st century demands that businesses have a widespread digital presence online.  Businesses simply don’t make it when they fail to utilize the web as a marketing platform.  

Make digital marketing a priority in your business operation, and you’ll quickly begin to understand the opportunity for unlimited visibility.  The world deserves to know about what your business has to offer, and the web is the way to make contact.  

Check out a quick overview of some helpful tips for marketing your business online.  

Integrate the concepts of SEO in your content

Search engine optimization techniques are foundational for a successful online presence.  You’ll build your visibility quicker than anything else with this particular technique.  

The realm of SEO is broad, and there are stipulations for all of the most important elements of your digital content design.  

The stipulations are aimed towards helping content creators place their pages at the top of the Google SERPs (search engine results pages).  If your content is at the top of the SERPs, you will get more web traffic.   

Use your content to build a web of backlinks

Part of the broad spectrum of SEO is building a web of backlinks.  Adding links within your digital content and building backlinks that reference your digital content will raise your domain authority ratings.  

Hire professionals to fine-tune your SEO link building game, and watch your domain authority rating climb.  Raising your domain authority gives your business website a more trusted reputation with the search engines of the web.  

Optimize your content for mobile users

Mobile users are the most dominant force in the whole of the internet’s traffic.  If you’re not reaching out to your mobile audience, then you’re selling your marketing efforts short.  Make certain that all of your digital outreach is catered to the mobile users of the web.  

Focus on fast loading speeds

The fast-paced world in which your business operates requires your digital efforts to have the ability to keep pace.  Work to enhance loading speeds for your digital content, and don’t keep people waiting.  

Today’s web users don’t have the time to sit waiting for your pages to load, so don’t make them.  Invest in speed and efficiency during your designing process.  

Jump aboard the social media train 

Social media is an exponentially large outlet for marketing, as the various platforms grant your business access to millions of web users.  

Make your social media presence a priority, even if you have to hire an individual strictly for the purpose of maintaining your organization’s social media content.  Set up profiles on two or three of the most popular platforms, and begin making new connections as soon as possible.

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3 Tips For Preparing Financially For A Medical Procedure

  • July 10, 2019

While no one wants to have to forgo a medical procedure or medical attention due to their financial restraints, there are many people who have to be very careful about getting medical care just for this reason. 

If some kind of emergency takes place, you’re essentially just saddled with whatever needs to be done for you. But if you’ve got a planned medical procedure on the books, whether it’s for some type of elective or cosmetic surgery or even if you’re planning on having a new baby, there are things you can do to help prepare yourself for the costs.

To show you how this can be done, here are three tips for preparing financially for a medical procedure. 

Get The Best Insurance For You

If you can plan this medical procedure about a year in advance, you might be able to take a look at all of your insurance options and consider changing what you have to a plan that will better match what you’ll be taking on the next year.

According to Stephanie Walden, a contributor to USA Today, certain medical insurance plans will cover more medical procedures than others. The trick here is determining if the higher premiums of these plans will be worth it for you in the long run or if you’d be better off financially just picking up the rest of the bill yourself. The answer you go with will depend on what procedure you’re having done, what your financial situation is, and what insurance options you have available to you. 

Start Padding Your Emergency Fund

One of the smartest things you can do for your financial future is to have an emergency fund that you constantly funnel money into. If you have these funds available to you, you can use them for whatever financial issue comes up, including paying for medical procedures. 

Whether you’re wanting to get a medical procedure done soon or are just hoping to be prepared in the event that something happens in the future, Elizabeth Renter, a contributor to NerdWallet, recommends that you try to maintain enough money in your emergency fund to pay at three to six month’s worth of expenses. This can put a big dent in a medical bill if you’re needing financial assistance. 

Live Off Of Budget Plan B For A While

For many people, they try to create a budget that they can comfortably live within. Because of this, there’s usually space in the budget where you can cut back and limit certain expenses. And if you’re planning to spend a decent amount of money on medical procedures, sticking to a more pared down version of your budget might be a good idea.

To help you save a lot of money, or reallocate money to a different purpose, Miriam Caldwell, a contributor to The Balance, suggests that you create a Plan B budget and live off that for a while so you can save money to pay down your medical expenses. 

 

If you have a medical procedure coming up, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you financially prepare for this event.

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Ways To Save Money For Yourself And Your Family

  • July 4, 2019

Saving money is a necessary evil in life.  If you want to have a financial cushion, your savings is vital to the success of that goal.  Most people don’t have the proper teaching to conquer the financial challenge of successful savings, but there’s always time to learn.  

If you’re not sure where to begin when the subject of savings is on the table, take heart.  Here are a few creative ways for you to save money that will help you to support yourself and your family in the future.  

Setup a special savings account

Placing the funds you want to go towards your savings into a designated savings account is step one to formulating a financial plan for your future.  You may want to explore the option of a term deposit savings account, as the unique setup allows for the holder to make money by successfully saving money.  

Setting up a traditional savings account is also a reliable option.  You can draw a small amount of interest on your funds as you save if you deposit them into a structured savings account.  

Cut costs whenever possible

Get creative with your savings.  You can make your own cleaning products.  Grow your own veggie garden, and cut the cable.  Television doesn’t have to be expensive anymore. You can spend less than $20 a month on unlimited streaming entertainment.  

When you purchase staple items like groceries and toilet paper, invest in a coupon app to help you get the lowest price possible on your buys.  Whatever it takes, save, save, save. 

Purchase things with cash 

Using cash for purchases is a great way to keep yourself out of debt.  You may have to practice some self discipline to save for all the expensive things you want in your life, but it will teach you something special about handling your finances.  

Credit cards and other credit-based spending options could lead to a terrible financial histproy later on in life.  Make a simple rule: If you can’t easily afford to make a recreational purchase, then you don’t need it.  

Live your life on a budget

A frugal existence is helpful to your savings goal in life, but living life by a set budget is an even better way to keep yourself on track financially.  

Use one of the many budgeting apps available online to give you a template for laying out all the ways you spend your money, and you will have a more accurate picture of where your money really goes.  

Minimize the clutter in your life 

You can save money by minimizing your material possessions in life.  This isn’t as easy to achieve if you have a family with little ones running around, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.  Living a minimalist lifestyle will give you a better shot at long-lasting financial security.

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3 Financial Things To Consider Before Getting An Elective Surgery

  • June 20, 2019

3 Financial Things To Consider Before Getting An Elective Surgery

If you need an emergent surgery, there’s not much time for you to heavily weigh the pros and cons and create a plan for how you’re going to afford this type of medical procedure. But with elective surgery, like many forms of plastic or cosmetic surgery, you have to luxury of being able to figure things out completely before you go under the knife.

To help you know whether or not having this surgery is going to be a smart financial decision for you, here are three things you should consider or take care of before undergoing an elective surgery.

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5 Unconventional Ways To Make Some Extra Money

  • May 16, 2019

Some people simply don’t do well in a traditional 9 to 5 office job, and some just want to find new ways to draw in more money each month.  Whatever your intention, there are plenty of unconventional ways to make an extra buck.

If your mind is granting you little to no imagination at this time, you’re in luck.  Here is a quick look at some of the coolest, most unconventional ways to make some extra money.  Boost your income by doing something enjoyable for a change.

Gather and charge those pesky scooters

If you live in a big city, then you’re likely very familiar with all of the many different scooter companies that popped up seemingly overnight.  Rental scooters are all over the place in nearly every large city in America, and they’re electric.

Someone has to recharge the scoots each day, so the host companies can continue making money.  Some people even make a living out of gathering and charging scooters, but you don’t have to work full-time to make some extra cash.  

Busking can be a lucrative gig

If you’re a musician, there’s always a way to make money with your craft.  Take your talent to the streets of a bustling city, and become a busker. Even if you only have time to busk on the weekends, you can make a considerable chunk of change by simply doing what you love.  

Get to work on perfecting a handful of songs, and go try your hand at busking.  Stars like Ed Sheeran, Sheryl Crow, and Tracy Chapman all started out busking on the streets.  

Become a professional mermaid

If you’re over the age of 18 and you can swim 400 yards in under 15 minutes, then you can try out for the job of being a mermaid at Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida.  It isn’t the easiest way to make some extra fundage, but it just may be the coolest.  

Deliver people’s stuff through Postmates

Postmates gives regular folks like you the chance to make a regular income by delivering products to others.  Unlike most of the other apps that pay you to complete a simple service, Postmates lets you take home 100 percent of your earnings.  

You can work for Postmates with your car, a bike, or even on foot.  Go check out the Postmates website, and dig deeper into what they offer individuals who choose to do the footwork.  

Spend time interacting with easy money offers

It’s not the most invigorating experience, but you can make a little extra cash each month doing the monotonous jobs.  Taking surveys, watching videos, and testing out mobile apps will help you bring in a couple hundred dollars a month.

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