10 Easy And Delicious Lunch Ideas For Work

Finding exciting lunch ideas for work is one of the best ways to start saving money on your food spending. That’s because buying lunch at work can really add up if you do it too often.

When I worked as a financial analyst, I tried to bring my lunch as much as possible. But, it was easy to get caught up with others who were going out to grab a quick lunch. The leftovers or sandwich I packed never sounded as exciting as going out.

Sure, it’s fun to go out to lunch from time to time, but it adds up quickly.

I would find myself spending anywhere from $10-$15 when I did go out for lunch. Even just $5 for lunch here and there can add up to a lot of money when you’re trying to cut your budget.

So, to help you save money on lunch, I have some delicious and healthy lunch ideas for work that will get you excited about packing your lunch.

This list is full of healthy lunch ideas for work, including a great vegetarian quinoa bowl with beans, corn, and a lime vinaigrette. There are low carb options like chicken fajita bowls and an avocado chicken salad (this one looks so pretty in the pictures!).

The recipe I’m most excited to try is the chicken hummus naan wrap. It’s packed full of veggies, and if you are vegetarian, you can easily leave out the chicken and still have a great and filling lunch.

One thing I recommend doing with these lunch ideas for work is to make them even easier by doing your prep work on the weekend or spending one night cooking and preparing several days worth of lunches. You can divide them up into containers and label each, which will help you stay organized.

Even if you don’t prepare your lunches in advance, all of these recipes are still easy lunches for work. That means you’ll be even more likely to remember that there is food in your fridge so that you can save money each week on lunch. 

You might even find yourself making some of these for dinner!

Note: If you’re looking for easy weekly meal plans, full of budget recipes, I recommend $5 Meal Plan. $5 Meal Plan is a meal planning service that sends you a delicious meal plan and shopping list every week for just $5 a month. You can even add some of these recipes into your list of lunch ideas for work.

Related: Does bringing lunch to work actually save money?

Other helpful content to read:

Here are 10 easy and delicious lunch ideas for work.

 

1. Cheesy Taco Pasta

Get the recipe here.

 

2. Southwest Quinoa Salad

Get the recipe here.

 

3. Chicken Fajita Meal-Prep Bowls

Get the recipe here.

 

4. Cold Chicken Pasta Salad

Get the recipe here.

 

5. Chicken Hummus Naan Wraps

Get the recipe here.

 

6. Korean Chicken Meal Prep Bowl

Get the recipe here.

 

7. Vegan Curry Ramen Noodles

Get the recipe here.

 

8. Crispy Vegan Potato Tacos with Jalapeño Cilantro Sauce

Get the recipe here.

 

9. Smashed Avocado Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Get the recipe here.

 

10. Avocado Chicken Salad

Get the recipe here.

What are your favorite lunch ideas for work? Do you bring your lunch to work?

The post 10 Easy And Delicious Lunch Ideas For Work appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

from Making Sense Of Cents https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2019/08/lunch-ideas-for-work.html
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How to Take Control of Your Retirement

Retirement Planning 2

Back in the day, it was common for companies to offer pension plans as part of the compensation packages for their employees. However, due to significant changes in the economy, retirement is no longer about working hard till the late 50s and early 60s to enjoy the fruits of labor.

These days, it is about having adequate sums of money, which will help lead a comfortable life. One needs to think about having a sound retirement strategy in place and save for decades, for this scenario to become a reality. 

The key is to remain proactive, which ensures the sources of income continue to grow. Keep in mind that there isn’t one perfect solution to help everyone in the world have a great retired life. People need to take into account several factors that determine how much money they need to set aside.

Given below is a basic guide which will help take control of retirement:

Determine when to utilize the social security benefits

Social security benefits are great because they give adequate financial breathing room during retirement. However, one needs to know when he/she should start using it to enjoy the advantages it offers.

If an individual takes it before the retirement age, he/she won’t receive all the benefits. On the other hand, if one waits beyond this period, this person will receive 8% interest as delayed retirement credit. The key is to understand which one will suit their lifestyle. Is it better if the individual gets a greater number of cheques for a smaller amount or the opposite?

Diversify the sources of income

Preparing for a retired life means that individuals shouldn’t only rely on a single source of income. Most people make the mistake that investing in mutual funds is the best solution. However, if the market drops, the amount they earn will go down significantly. 

Always look for different ways you can diversify your income to avoid the trap of being over-reliant on one thing for improving your financial situation. Follow these simple steps to take control of your retirement.

from Robert Scott Batchelar | Finance http://robertscottbatchelar.com/how-to-take-control-of-your-retirement/
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Is Entrepreneurship The Next Step For You?

Entreprenuer

 

People, at some point in their lives, take a step back and reflect on their careers. Many of us do not want to continue with the mundane 9 to 5 job and yearn to explore other opportunities. It is vital to understand that there are only two ways to go about this – either work for a boss or be the boss.

One might be well suited for entrepreneurship if they like to work independently, have a solution to almost every problem, and love innovation. Apart from having a great idea and the passion to bring it to fruition, many other integral factors come into the picture. Let’s take a look at a few that play a key role in estimating one’s success as an entrepreneur.

Focus on strengths – It is one thing to have an idea and completely another to execute it. If one’s idea does not do justice to their strengths, then it is a lost battle. It is strongly recommended to have a realistic approach to this as it is a big transition in one’s life. Once a clear vision of the idea is established, begin working on a plan of action.

Be self-sustaining – Apart from appropriate skills, finances are crucial for any business. Good financial stability can get one started right away. Having a fair idea about the cost the business will incur is necessary. If one does not have the required amount, alternate methods can be used – take a loan from a bank, borrow money from family and friends, or raise funds.

Networking – The success of every entrepreneur can be determined by their contacts. With their honest feedbacks and sound advice, one can improve their quality of business. Building a reliable network can play a pivotal role in gaining potential customers.

Breaking the monotony in one’s career and taking a bold step towards entrepreneurship can be intimidating. However, with the right mindset, skills, and perseverance, one can be nudged in the right direction of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

from Robert Scott Batchelar | Business http://robertscottbatchelar.net/is-entrepreneurship-the-next-step-for-you/
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21 Ways You Can Learn How To Save Money In College

21 Ways You Can Learn How To Save Money In College #howtosavemoneyincollege #waystosavemoneyincollegeLooking to learn how to save money in college? With ever rising college costs, it can really help your current and future finances if you learn how to save money.

Tuition for an in-state public college averages around $25,290. Private college tuition costs twice as much, at an average of $50,900, according to Value Penguin. If you want to go to an elite, four-year university, the cost jumps to $68,000 per year.

And, if you’re going to college for something like medicine or law, you may end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years that you are in school.

As you can see, college can be very expensive.

However, I want you to know that you can learn how to save money in college so you can get a valuable college degree on a realistic budget.

Many students take out student loans to pay for college, and it can be very easy to borrow more than you actually need. While student loans do help you pay for college, having those loans hanging over your head can set your finances back by years and even decades.

And if you’re a parent trying to help your child, I’ve heard far too many stories of parents who go to great lengths to pay for school. Some take out a second mortgage, personal loans, or borrow from their retirement to send their children to college. The problem with this is that these parents are making it even more difficult to retire at their planned age. Remember, you can’t take out a loan for retirement!

College is just very expensive, but for many students it’s an important part of how they work towards a job or career they’ve always wanted. But, I want you to know that you can learn how to save money in college.

By cutting college costs, you can lower your student loan debt, or it can help parents reduce the amount they are borrowing or taking out of savings to pay for their children’s education.

Or, with these tips on how to save money in college, you may be able to attend college without racking up any student loan debt. Remember, that is also possible!

Related articles on how to save money in college:

Here is how to save money in college.

 

1. Think about the value each college will offer you.

I know many students who think about which college their friends are going to or which one is ranked the highest. But, you should think about which college is best for you and your specific major.

Sometimes, the highest ranked or most expensive college may not be the best for your actual major, which can hurt you in the long run and it isn’t how to save money in college. 

When thinking about whether or not a college is right for you, here are some things you’ll want to consider:

  • Accreditation- This is especially important if you want an advanced degree, such as medicine or law, because accreditation can determine whether or not you can go on to the next level of schooling.
  • Degrees- Which ones are offered by the college.
  • Cost- This includes the cost of tuition or the program you’re going into, plus whether scholarships or financial aid are available.
  • Location- If it’s close to home, can you save my living at home. But if it’s far away, you will need to think about dorm fees and the total cost of living.
  • Student to faculty ratio- If you need more one-on-one help with your studies, then this may be an important number to know.
  • The expertise of the professors- For me, I always liked having professors who had hands-on knowledge in the fields they were teaching.
  • Networking opportunities- A lot of life is about networking, and this is a must for some professions.

There’s a myth that expensive colleges are always better than the cheaper ones. As if higher college costs means that you’ll automatically get a great job, you’ll have an extremely high salary, and more.

One way of learning how to save money in college is to just stop believing in that myth!

In fact, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal:

From the academics [who have studied whether students from elite institutions outperform their peers or not] we know that in terms of future earnings, 1) your choice of field matters more than your choice of college, 2) after controlling for ability, the earnings differences of graduates from elite and non-elite institutions are small at best, and 3) any earnings advantage that may emerge over the long run is difficult to concretely tie back to the effects of one’s college choice.

 

2. You need to think about the full cost of college.

There is a lot that goes into the full cost of college, and it’s not just the initial tuition cost.

The most expensive school may actually be able to give you more scholarships than a less expensive school. That means the most expensive school may actually be the cheapest in the end, and this is why you need to think about the total cost.

And, there are still many great colleges that don’t come with a high tuition.

There are many factors that determine real college costs, and due to this, you’ll want to think about things such as:

  • College tuition- This will most likely be the biggest expense that you pay.
  • Room and board- Will you live on campus or not?
  • Fees- Whis can include laboratory fees, parking fees, etc.
  • Textbooks- Textbooks can easily cost a few hundred dollars each semester.
  • Financial aid- Will you receive any?
  • Scholarships- Will you apply for any?

Doing those last two things is one of the best ways to save for college, so please apply for scholarships and financial aid!

Considering all of the factors I’ve just listed can help you learn how to save money in college, and when you put them together, it may change your mind on which college provides the best value.

 

3. Remember that college isn’t the only thing that’s important.

When thinking about how to save money in college, you also want to remember that college isn’t the only thing that’s important. Yes, you definitely want to take it seriously and learn as much as possible, but there are other factors that are extremely important as well.

These other factors may play an even bigger role in helping you land the job you want.

Some of the other points you’ll want to keep in mind include:

  • Internships
  • Extracurricular activities such as college clubs
  • Part-time and full-time jobs
  • Leadership opportunities

And more!

With those things on your resume, you may put yourself ahead of others that are applying for the same position. These things are important no matter where you went to college.

Remember, companies want to see that you can apply what you learn and that you actually have experience.

 

4. Taking community college classes is one of the best ways to save money in college.

When you graduate with a four-year degree, the school name on your diploma will be the name of the college you graduated from. It won’t say, “graduated from here but took some classes at community college.” This is because your community college credits are transferred (if you follow the correct steps as outlined by your school).

If you are wondering how to save money in college, this is a great way to cut college costs.

Whether you are in college already or if you haven’t started yet, taking classes at a community college can be a great way to save money.

Community colleges provide an enormous value. However, many think they are too good to save money by taking classes at a community college.

Usually, earning credits at a community college costs just a fraction of what it would cost at a 4-year college, so you may find yourself being able to save thousands of dollars each semester. 

You may only spend $5,000 a year at a community college (most likely even less), which is a huge difference from the costs that were mentioned at the beginning of this article.

There is also a myth that your degree is worth less if you go to a community college. That is not true at all. When you eventually earn your 4-year degree, your degree will only say where you graduated from and it won’t even mention the community college credits. Your degree will look the same as everyone else that attended your college, whether you took a few classes at community college or not. You might as well save money!

I only took community college classes during one summer semester where I earned 12 credits, and I regret not taking more. I probably could have saved around $20,000 by taking more classes at my local community college.

Also, community colleges are great for getting general type credits out of the way, so you’re not missing the interesting and in-depth classes that gives your 4-year college the reputation it’s known for.

If you decide to go to a community college first, always make sure that the 4-year college you plan on attending afterwards will transfer all of your credits. It’s an easy step to take, so do not forget! You should do this before you sign up and pay for any classes at the community college.

Related post on how to save money in college with community college: I Thought I Was Too Good For Community College.

 

5. Take advantage of high school classes that give you college credit.

One way of how to save money in college starts while you’re in high school. See, many high schools offer dual credit classes that allow you to earn both college and high school credits at the same time. Most of the time, these are done right at your high school, so you don’t have to go out of your way to take them!

If you are still in high school, this is something I highly recommend you look into, as it saves time and it might even be the best way to save for college.

When I was in my senior year of high school, nearly all of my classes were dual enrollment courses where I was earning college and high school credit at the same time. I took AP classes and classes that earned me direct college credit from nearby private universities.

Due to this, I left high school with around 14-18 credit hours (I can’t remember the exact amount). I had knocked out a whole semester of college before even starting. I could’ve taken more, but I decided to take early release from high school and worked 30-40 hours a week as well.

 

6. Take all of the credits your tuition allows for.

At community colleges, you typically pay per credit hour.

However, at many universities, you pay a flat fee for your college tuition. So, whether you take 12 credit hours or 18 credit hours, you may be paying nearly the exact same price.

This is why I recommend that students who are paying a flat fee tuition take as many classes as you can. Now, you may want to make sure your classes are balanced because 18 credit hours of demanding courses can take a toll on you. But, this will allow you to take full advantage of high college costs.

If you think you can still earn good grades and do whatever else you do on the side, definitely get full use of the college tuition you are already paying for!

 

7. Apply for aid and scholarships to lower your college costs.

If you want to learn how to save money in college, applying for financial aid and scholarships is one of the most important things to do.

But, according to a study by NerdWallet, for the 2018-2019 school year, students left $2.6 billion of free college money on the table. That was Pell Grant money that students qualify for by filling out the FAFSA, which is easy to fill out and necessary for any financial aid or scholarships.

So, before you start your semester, you should always look into scholarships, grants, and fill out your FAFSA (click here to read my FAFSA tips). Paperwork for the following semester is usually due around spring, so I highly recommend doing this as soon as you can if you are planning on attending college in the fall.

Sadly, many people believe that scholarships are impossible to get. That is just another myth, and it’s probably why so students missed out on so much money last year.

I received around several thousand dollars a year in scholarships to the private university I attended. That helped pay for a majority of my college tuition. The scholarships were easy for me to get because I earned good grades in high school and scored well on tests. I received scholarships to all of the other colleges I applied for as well, just for good grades, so I know you can find scholarships if you do well in school!

And, there are still other ways to find scholarships. You can receive scholarships from private organizations, companies in your town, and more. Do a simple Google search and I am sure you will find many free websites that list possible scholarships.

Tip: Many forget that you sometimes have to turn in a separate financial aid form directly to your college on top of the FAFSA form. Contact your college’s financial aid office and see if there is a separate financial aid form that you should be filling out as well. Don’t forget to do this by the deadline each year!

 

8. Only take out what you actually need in student loans.

Many students take out the full amount in student loans that they are approved for even if they only need half of that amount.

This is a HUGE mistake. If you want to learn how to save money in college by reducing your student loan debt, start by only taking out what you truly need. You will need to pay back your student loans one day, and I know many people who regret taking out more than they need.

I know someone who would take out the max amount each semester and buy timeshares, go on expensive vacations, and more. It was a huge waste of money and I’m still not even sure why they thought it was a good idea.

Just think about it – If you take out an extra $2,000 a semester, that means you will most likely take out almost $20,000 over the time period that you are in college.

Do you really want to owe THAT much more in student loans?

 

9. Search for cheaper textbooks to lower your cost of college.

There are a lot of college costs, and buying textbooks is one of them.

Students usually spend anywhere from around $300 to $1,000 on textbooks each semester, depending on the amount of classes they are taking and their major. Just one textbook alone may cost as much as $400!

When I was in college, many of my classes required more than one book and each book was usually around $200 brand new. This meant if I were to buy all of my college textbooks brand new, I probably would have had to spend over $1,000 each semester.

I learned how to save money in college by renting my textbooks or buying them used. Renting was nice because I only paid one fee and never had to worry about what to do with the textbook after the class was done, as I only had to return it. I didn’t have to worry about a new edition coming out and the book being worthless. Buying used textbooks was nice because sometimes I could resell them and make my money back.

 

10. Don’t bring a car to college.

If you don’t need to commute off campus for work, then you may want to think about whether you may be able to realistically get rid of your car. Not everyone in college will need a car with them, and this can be an easy way for how to save money in college.

By not bringing a car, you may be able to eliminate the monthly loan payment, a campus parking permit, fuel, maintenance costs, and more.

 

11. Use your student ID.

Your student ID is good at many places beyond just your college campus. Before you buy anything, I highly recommend seeing if a company offers a student discount.

Your student ID can be used to save money at restaurants, clothing stores, electronics (such as a new laptop!), at the movies, public transportation, and more. You may receive a discount, free items, and more all just by showing your student ID.

After all, you are paying to go to college and you are paying a lot. You might as well reap all of the benefits of paying those high college costs.

 

12. Learn how to correctly use a credit card or don’t have one at all.

Many college students fall into credit card debt, but I don’t want you to be one of them.

Credit cards can seem like a good option when you are living on such a low college budget, but this can lead to thousands of dollars of credit card debt. That will eventually seem impossible to get out of due to significant interest charges that keep building up.

In order to never get into this situation, you should avoid credit cards at all costs if you think that you won’t use them well.

You should think long and hard about whether you should have one or not. Just because other students have a credit card doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing! However, if you think you will be good at using them, then there are many advantages of doing so.

Related post: 6 Credit Card Myths You Need To Know The Truth About

 

13. Get a free checking account.

If you’re paying for a bank account, you should think again. 

Opening a high yield savings account is one of the best ways of how to save money in college because it’s actually growing your savings. But, most people have their money in accounts with low rates. Unfortunately, that means many of you are losing out on some easy cash! 

With VARO, you can start earning 2.12% with a balance as low as $0.01. Once you have grown your savings, you can earn up to 2.80%.

How does that compare to the national average savings rate? It’s a very sad 0.09%. That is a HUGE difference from what VARO is offering. If you are only getting 0.09%, then you are losing out on easy, passive money.

Savings accounts at brick and mortar banks are known for having really low interest rates. That’s because they have a much higher overhead – paying for the building, paying the tellers, etc. VARO is an online bank, which means they have lower costs, then passing the savings on to you.

Here’s an example that will show you how much you can save with VARO – if you have a $10,000 savings balance, you could be earning up to $280 a year just by having a high yield savings account with VARO. With the national average, you would only earn $9 a year.

Over a 10 year period, that same savings balance with a 2.80% balance would earn you an additional $2,800, whereas a savings account with an interest rate of only 0.09% would earn you a mere $90.

Your money is just as safe in a VARO account as it is with a brick and mortar bank. You’re just earning more interest, which is something that anyone wanting to learn how to save money in college can take advantage of.

To get started and open a VARO bank account, you will:

  1. Signing up is super easy. Simply click here and sign up.
  2. Submit your application, which takes less than 5 minutes.

See, super easy!

Read more at How To Earn Over 20x The National Savings Rate.

 

14. Find ways to make extra money.

While I wasn’t smart enough to graduate from college without debt, I do know of many amazing people who were able to pay for their college tuition on their own while they were in school. They learned how to save money in college with the tips above, but they also found ways to make money that allowed them to pay their college tuition bill in full each month.

I did work full-time all throughout college. That helped me pay my bills, take out only what I needed in student loans, and go without any credit card debt.

Whether you only have one free hour a day or if you are willing to work 40 to 50 hours a week on top of being in school full-time, there are many options when it comes to earning extra money.

Here are some things you can do to pay for those high college costs:

  • Find a part-time or full-time job.
  • Look for a paid internship.
  • Make money online such as creating a blog, becoming a virtual assistant, etc.
  • Become an Uber or Lyft driver – Spending your spare time driving others around can be a great money maker. Read more about this in my post How To Become An Uber Or Lyft Driver
  • Take online surveys. This is something I did in my early 20s. Survey companies I recommend include American Consumer Opinion, Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, Pinecone Research, Opinion Outpost, and Harris Poll Online. They’re free to join and free to use! You get paid to answer surveys and to test products. It’s best to sign up for as many as you can as that way you can receive the most surveys and make the most money.
  • Maintain and clean yards. You can make money by mowing lawns, killing/removing weeds, cleaning gutters, raking leaves, and so on.
  • Move furniture and find jobs on Craigslist. Movers can earn a broad range when it comes to hourly pay, but it’s usually somewhere around $50 an hour if you run your own business.
  • If you love animals, then you may want to look into how to make extra money by walking dogs or pet sitting. With this side hustle, you may be going over to your client’s home to check in a few times a day, you may be staying at their house, or the animals may be staying with you. Rover is a great company that you can sign up with in order to become a dog walker and pet sitter. Learn more about this at Rover – A Great Way To Make Money And Play With Animals.
  • Babysit and/or nanny children.
  • Sell your stuff.

Learn more at 100+ Ways To Make Extra Money.

Related tip on how to pay off student loans: I highly recommend Credible for student loan refinancing. You can significantly lower the interest rate on your student loans which may help you shave thousands off your student loan bill over time. 

 

15. Sign up for birthday freebies.

Everyone has a birthday, and you may be able to score a lot of free birthday stuff by simply showing your date of birth date on your driver’s license or by signing up for a company’s email club to receive a coupon for your birthday. 

This is a really fun way to learn how to save money in college and it’s easy and free for everyone!

Here are 31 Birthday Freebies You Should Sign Up For.

 

16. Switch to a more affordable cell phone plan.

Most people overpay for their cell phone plan – they can easily cost over $100 per month.

I know that once you find a provider you like, it can be hard to switch. But, once you know how much you can save with another company while still having great service, this is a no brainer.

If you are looking for a more affordable cell phone plan, then check out Republic Wireless. They have monthly cell phone plans for as low as $15 per month.

I have several family members who are now using Republic Wireless and they love it!

Please read Saving Over $2,000 A Year With Republic Wireless Review for more information.

 

17. Make a budget.

Budgets help people manage their money better. It’s that simple.

Budgets are great and one of the best ways for you to learn how to save money in college because having a budget will keep you mindful of your expenses and how much money you have in the bank. With a budget, you will know exactly how much you can spend in a category each month, how much you have to work with, what spending areas need to be evaluated, among other things.

You can download a free budget printable here.

Budgets have helped people reach their goals, pay off debt, make more money, retire early, and more. This is one of the college savings tips that will completely shape and change your financial life for the better.

Learn more at The Complete Budgeting Guide: How To Create A Budget That Works.

 

18. Visit the library.

When you’re in college, the library can often feel like your second home (and not always in a good way). But, did you know that your college or local library can also be a great way to have fun without spending any money.

You can check out the latest bestseller, a classic you’ve been wanting to read, or borrow movies, music, and more. There are actually a lot of libraries now who let you borrow things like cameras, GoPros, even telescopes, and more.

This is definitely one of the best ways to save money in college as all you need is a library card.

 

19. Find a roommate.

If you decide to live off campus, then finding a roommate is going to be one of the best ways for how to save money in college.

My husband and I have had roommates in the past. While that’s not really as possible now that we split our time living on a sailboat and an RV, I still recommend that anyone with an extra room in their house think about giving it a try.

If you find a roommate while in college, you can save a good amount of money on housing costs. And, depending on your situation, you might even be able to earn a little side income.

If you are interested in renting out a spare room on a short-term basis (such as for vacations), I highly recommend that you check out Airbnb. I know people who are making thousands of dollars a month by renting out rooms on this website.

Related blog post with more saving tips about this topic: A Complete Guide To Renting A Room For Extra Money.

 

20. Read personal finance books.

This is something you can and should start doing at any age because reading personal finance books can help you in so many ways. Since many schools don’t go in depth on things related to personal finance, books are a great way to improve your financial knowledge.

Personal finance books I recommend reading are:

You can find the whole list of personal finance books I recommend here.

 

21. Other ways you can help your child get through college.

If you’re a parent and you’re reading this, then you may be wondering how you can help your child in college but not go broke yourself.

If you cannot afford to pay for your child’s college costs, or if you decide that you just do not want to, there are many other things you can do to help them. You should also read this You Don’t Have To Go Broke For Your Kid’s Education.

I believe that parents should only fund their child’s college education if the parent is on track for retirement.

This is because there are many ways to pay for college (paying for it with cash, student loans, grants, scholarships, etc.), but there is only one way to fund your retirement.

Remember, you cannot take out a loan for your retirement!

This means you should not wreck your retirement plans to help your children through college. You should analyze your financial situation first and where you are on your track for retirement to see if helping your children through college is possible. If it’s not possible, be realistic with yourself and your child. 

There are many ways to help your children with college costs that don’t involve paying for their college tuition.

You can:

  • Help your child understand personal finance. Helping your child create a budget, use credit cards correctly, and understanding college costs, will help them greatly in life. I recommend reading How To Create a Budget.
  • Support them and help them make a plan. Even if you are not offering financial support for college, you can always support your children in other ways. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with what they do, rather help them by giving advice and coming up with a solid financial and college plan.
  • Help your child find ways to make money. There are tons of ways to make extra money, and helping your children find ways to do so can help them pay for college and their living expenses.
  • Inform your children about affordable college alternatives. For example, your child may only think they should go to an expensive private university, but it’s important for you to inform them on how to save money in college with more affordable alternatives, such as going to a community college or a state university.
  • Help your child apply for scholarships. There are numerous scholarships that your child may qualify for. Some may require them to write essays, whereas others are based on high school grades. Most take very little effort and are given away by the college itself, this makes applying for them a no brainer!
  • Help your child in other ways. For some reason, there is this myth that helping your child go to college means you need to pay for everything. Instead of paying for their tuition, textbooks, food, dorm, car, and everything else, set limits on the college costs that you’ll pay for. You can help by giving them emotional support, letting them stay in your home while they are in college, helping them find ways to save money for college, helping them cut their college expenses, and more.

What other ways are there to learn how to save money in college? How much student loan debt do you have?

The post 21 Ways You Can Learn How To Save Money In College appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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How To Make $300+ Weekly As An Online Tutor With Course Hero

Are you looking for a flexible side hustle as an online tutor? If so, read through this Course Hero review to find out how you can start earning around $300 a week as a Course Hero tutor, with top online tutors earning $500 a week. And, it’s all from the comfort of your home.

Course Hero is a website that helps high school and college students with course-specific questions.

Using the website, students connect with Course Hero tutors on a wide range of subjects and classes, which makes this a great side hustle for people with different educational backgrounds and experience.

Tutors earn an average of $3 for each question they answer on Course Hero. Earning between $12-$20 per hour, Course Hero tutors earn an average of $300/week.

It’s very flexible because you can answer questions whenever you please.

I love finding flexible ways to make extra money. That’s exactly what I did when I was working to pay off my student loan debt. I found ways to earn money outside of my normal job, in the evenings, weekends, and even during my lunch hour. 

Finding flexible side hustles, like becoming a Course Hero tutor, can change your life in some really great ways, such as helping you with:

  • Paying off your debt.
  • Saving up for big purchases, like vacations.
  • Getting out of a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle.
  • Retiring earlier than you had originally planned.
  • Realizing that your job isn’t the only option out there, especially if you are currently feeling stuck.
  • Help you to become more diversified and make money in more ways.
  • Travel more, or even full-time!

As you can tell, I am a big believer that learning to find new ways to make money can completely change your future for the better, which is why I am really excited to tell you more in this Course Hero review.

Related articles on how to make extra money:

Course Hero Review – What you need to know about becoming a Course Hero tutor.

 

What is Course Hero?

Course Hero was founded in 2007 and is an online learning website where students can access study resources. Students can search by their specific school to find study guides, videos, practice problems, class notes, and step-by-step explanations.

The idea is to help students succeed in the classes they are taking.

There are already over 25,000,000 study resources that have been contributed to Course Hero, and they have a community of 10,000,000 students.

But, Course Hero offers more than just the resources I’ve listed above. If students are struggling with specific problems or subjects, they can ask questions to get tutoring help. Course Hero wants to keep the turnaround fast (why they are always looking for more tutors), and quickly getting answers to questions is one of the things students love about Course Hero. 

Here’s how Course Hero tutors work:

  1. You apply here to become a Course Hero tutor.
  2. When you are available to answer questions, you do so on the Course Hero website.
  3. You get paid.

 

What subjects can you tutor on?

With Course Hero, you can tutor on subjects such as:

  • Business
  • Finance
  • Economics
  • Math
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • History
  • Management
  • Psychology

And more!

What might surprise you to learn in this Course Hero review is that you don’t have to be a certified tutor, a professor, or a teacher in order to become a Course Hero tutor.

However, you will need to share information that proves you have an expertise in the categories which you would like to tutor.

 

How much money can you make as a Course Hero tutor?

As a Course Hero tutor, you earn $3 for every question you answer successfully, that means you are giving correct and valuable information. You can answer as many questions as you would like, and I know I’ve said this already in my Course Hero review, but all the work is done on your own schedule. 

Considering that you can make between $12-$20 per hour, working as a Course Hero tutor is a great side hustle opportunity that makes the most of your time. Course Hero tutors average $300/week, and the top tutors earn around $500 a week.

The way you are paid to answer questions is that students pay for access to Course Hero study resources and tutors. Because you are helping them get the information you need, Course Hero pays you for your time and knowledge.

 

Can anyone become a Course Hero tutor? What are the requirements?

To become a Course Hero tutor, you must:

  • Have a Bachelor’s degree from a U.S. or Canadian University (any major, it does NOT have to be in teaching).
  • Live in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom.

 

What’s the schedule like for Course Hero tutors?

The schedule is whatever you want it to be, as you work from home and answer questions when you are available. There isn’t a minimum number of hours each week to work, and you don’t have to answer a set number of questions each week.

To earn the most, you will have to not only provide valuable information, you’ll need to answer as many questions as your schedule allows. Even so, this is still a very flexible side hustle that lets you earn extra money from the comfort of your home.

Please click here to check out Course Hero.

Are you interested in becoming a Course Hero tutor online?

The post How To Make $300+ Weekly As An Online Tutor With Course Hero appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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Home Buying Tips You Need To Know Before You Buy

Looking to buy a house? Here are my home buying tips that will help you sort through all of your options, understand the real cost of each home, and make the right choice.  #homebuyingtips #stepstobuyingahouse #homebuyerguide #buyingahousetipsIf you are looking to buy a house, I have a bunch of home buying tips that will help you sort through all of your options, understand the real cost of a home (and help you save money), and make the right choice. 

Buying a house is a huge purchase.

In fact, it is usually the largest purchase a person will ever make.

The median U.S. home value is $226,800 and the median price of homes currently listed is $291,900, according to Zillow. And, there are some areas that have much higher average home prices, like four to five times more.

Purchasing a house is a huge commitment, and it’s easy to get excited and forget to think about some very important things before plunking down a huge amount of money. There are just so many factors to think about, and not everyone will have the same concerns. 

To help you through the home buying process, today’s post is going to be like a mini first time home buyer guide. I’m going to cover some of my best home buying tips, like:

  • Whether or not you should rent instead of buy
  • How to set a budget (one of the most important steps to buying a house)
  • Deciding what you want in a home
  • How to research the true cost of a house
  • Thinking about how long you’ll live in an area (recouping your costs)
  • How to avoid feeling rushed
  • Do you really need the house you’re about to buy

Whether you are a first time home buyer or if this is your second house or more, these are all things you should be thinking about.

Actually, these are the exact same things me and Wes have thought about before buying our sailboat and RV. They might not be “normal” homes, but they are what we live in. Plus, they are still very large purchases that need to be carefully thought out.

The home buying tips that I’m about to give you are to help you analyze what’s best for your situation – whether that’s a 5000 sq. ft. house, a 500 sq. ft. tiny home, an RV, a condo, etc.

I’ve said it already, but buying a house is a large purchase! And, everyone has felt that dreadful feeling that comes after making a large purchase and realizing that you have made a mistake. Perhaps you don’t realize for months or years later, but you eventually understand that you should have thought out your purchase a little bit more.

No one wants to feel this way after buying a house!

Articles related to buying a house tips:

Here are my best home buying tips.

 

Should you rent instead?

Before we started RVing, we sold our house and rented one for a little while. This raised quite a few eyebrows and led to questions about renting vs. buying from nearly everyone.

I even had several people tell me that I was making a stupid mistake.

I wasn’t surprised, though. Many people believe the myth that if you are renting a home you don’t know how to manage your money and that buying is always better, no matter what.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Sometimes buying can be the better decision, but there are times when renting can fit a person’s situation much better.

Buying a house can have a lot of positives, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right step for everyone.

To determine if renting is better for you, you’ll want to think about things such as:

  • How long you think you’ll live in the area.
  • Whether or not you’re ready to purchase a house, financially and/or responsibility wise.
  • Buying a home sometimes may be cheaper than renting, and the other way around.

Nearly everyone says that a house is a good investment. Many people will even go as far to say that doing anything other than owning a house would be a complete waste of money.

However, I don’t agree with that at all.

Buying a house isn’t for everyone. You shouldn’t just jump at the opportunity to buy a house, especially any ol’ house. And, you should think about all of the factors before deciding that buying a house over renting one is the best and only decision for you.

For home more renting vs. home buying tips, please read My Opinion Of The Great Renting vs Buying Debate for more information.

 

Set a budget before you look at homes.

One of the first things you will want to do is to set a budget – you can’t go very far in the home buying process without one. It’s how you will know what you want to be pre-approved for, and a realtor will need that information to really help you shop for homes.

You will want to set yourself a budget when it comes to the home as well as all of the other expenses that go along with owning a home.

You will want to look at your overall financial situation and analyze:

  • The income you earn.
  • The stability of your job.
  • The amount of money you have saved for the down payment, other home expenses, etc.
  • Your credit history and credit score.
  • The total monthly amount you feel comfortable paying for a home. Make sure you look at all the costs involved!
  • Your total amount of debt.

When buying a house, it takes realizing all of these factors to understand what you can truly afford and be comfortable with.

However, many people justify buying a house that is over their budget, but that is a bad plan. 

See, banks often pre-approve people for a mortgage payment that is higher than what they can afford to pay. You pre-approval number is not a good gauge of what you can afford because it doesn’t factor in the total cost of the house. 

What you can afford takes that above list into consideration, not just the number a bank gives you. Because of that, it can be a very bad idea to go over the number the bank pre-approves you for. You should always stick to an amount that you can afford.

When determining what you can afford, you will want to think about ALL of the costs that come with buying a house and living in it. This means that your research should not end with the purchase price of the house – it actually goes way past that, as discussed in a later section of my home buying tips. 

 

Think about what you want in a home.

If you are like most people, you’ve spent years thinking about what you want in a home.

Now is the time to make a list of those things.

Buying a house can lead to a crazy amount of new feelings – happiness, stress, excitement, and more. This can sometimes make every house you look at seem like the perfect one, and that’s because they all seem so new and exciting. This even happens with houses that don’t have everything you need. And, it definitely happens with ones that have more than you need.

Before you put an offer on a house, you should think about the reasons for why you want a specific house. This is one of the first steps to finding a house that’s right for you, as this can make sure you are getting exactly what you want and need, rather than just being happy with any home.

I recommend creating a wish list that includes all of the things you want in a home. Your wish list could include things like:

  • The square footage of the home
  • Size of yard
  • If you want a fenced in yard
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms you desire
  • The age of the home
  • The quality of the schools
  • The parking situation and whether or not there is a garage
  • The size of the kitchen
  • Pool or no pool
  • Style of home
  • Whether you want to be in the country or the city
  • Your budget, and this one is extremely important!

And, you’ll also want to create a list of things that you want to stay away from, such as if you don’t want a place with a pool, a home with a lot of yard maintenance, a home that is a fixer upper, and so on.

By having this wish list on hand, you’ll know exactly what you should be looking at, and what you should avoid.

 

Research all of the expenses.

Like you just read, the listing price of a home is not all that you should look at.

When you find a home that you think is right for you, you need to make sure that you can afford all of the costs that come with that home. 

Just because you can pay the monthly mortgage payment doesn’t mean that you can afford everything else that goes with it. There are ongoing costs when buying a house, which is something that many homebuyers forget about. 

In fact, U.S. homeowners, on average, spend more than $9,400 per year in hidden homeownership costs, and maintenance expenses cost homeowners an average of $6,300 per year in unavoidable hidden costs, according to MarketWatch. These include things like homeowners insurance, property taxes, and utilities. So, this is one of the best home buying tips to help you stay out of a bad financial situation.

Before making a home purchase, you should think about how much the home will cost you in the long run. There are many ways to think of this, such as:

  • Property taxes. These vary widely from town to town. You may find yourself looking at two similar houses with similar price tags, but the property taxes may vary by thousands of dollars annually. That is a LOT of money. While it may seem small when compared to the actual home purchase price, remember that you have to pay property taxes annually, and a difference of just $3,600 a year is $300 a month.
  • Gas. Many homes use gas to run the hot water heater, the stove, and so on.
  • Electricity. Generally, the bigger your home, the higher your electricity bill.
  • Sewer. This isn’t super expensive, but it is generally around $30-$50 a month.
  • Trash. This isn’t super expensive either, but it does cost money.
  • Water (and possibly irrigation).  Depending on how you use water and where you live, water bills can vary widely. I know many who live in areas where the average water bill is a few hundred dollars each month.
  • Home insurance. Home insurance can be cheap in some areas but crazy expensive in others. Don’t forget to look into the cost of earthquake, flood, and hurricane insurance, and know that it can add up quickly depending on where you live.
  • Maintenance and repairs. No matter how old your home is (even brand new homes), repair and maintenance costs will eventually come into play. In fact, U.S. homeowners pay an average of $3,435 per year in annual optional costs, including house cleaning, yard care, gutter cleaning, carpet cleaning, and pressure washing. But, don’t forget about things like needing a new roof or other repairs that may come up! Those are big expenses that you will need to be able to save up for.
  • Homeowners association fees. This can also vary widely. You should always see if the house you are interested in is part of an HOA. Often, the fees are high and involve rules you may not like.
  • Home furnishings. Furnishing your home can be done cheaply, but I know some who buy huge homes and can’t afford to put anything in them, such as a table, a bed, and so on. Why own a $500,000 house if you don’t have any furniture?

Always remember to add up the total cost when deciding to buy a house!

 

Estimate how long you will live in the area.

This is one of the home buying tips you might not think of because you are so anxious to be moving. How could you possibly think about moving again already?! 

Here’s why this is important to think about – it usually takes around five years to recoup the costs you paid to purchase a house. If you only live in a house for one or two years, then you may lose money on closing costs, due to the volatility of the real estate market, and more. Plus, it usually takes some time and legwork to buy a house, so you may not want to do it again so soon.

This is why you’ll want to think about how long you’ll be living in the area before you purchase your home.

You’ll want to make sure that the house will be suitable for you for at least five years, so you’ll want to think about things such as:

  • Are you happy with the area?
  • How are the schools?
  • Is the house big enough if you plan on starting a family?
  • Do you plan on working in the area for at least 5 years?

And so on. 

You really need to think about your future when deciding to buy a house.

 

Don’t feel rushed.

This is one of the home buying tips that is hard during a seller’s market, which is what’s happening in many areas right now. Knowing that homes are selling very quickly, you may feel rushed to find a house and put an offer in. 

It’s also tempting to jump on a house the minute you find something you like, but if the purchase can wait 24 hours, then you may want to delay it. This will allow you more time to think about the purchase, go over your budget again, let any butterflies you have about the home purchase go away, and so on.

You will be able to make a much more rational decision if you think about your decision for at least 24 hours.

Plus, for all you know, you may even realize that you don’t want the house at all!

 

Do you really need or want that home?

Finally, the last of my home buying tips is to think about whether or not you actually need the house you are about to buy. It sounds easy enough, but many people do not even think about asking this question. When in fact, it is one of the most important questions to ask when buying a house (or any large purchase for that matter).

Really dig deep and ask yourself this simple question. Sure, you might think you want the house, but have you also been able to spend time thinking about the rest of my tips? 

Do you know the full cost of the house? Are you okay spending that much? Does the house have everything you need? 

Purchasing a home is a huge investment, and it deserves a lot of time and thought for you to make the best decision.

Have you bought a home recently? What other home buying tips should people think about?

The post Home Buying Tips You Need To Know Before You Buy appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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3 Super Common Legal Mistakes Bloggers Make (and How to Fix Them)

When you start a blog, you may have ideas and a list of what you want to do. But chances are the legalities aren’t high on that list. Here are 3 common legal mistakes bloggers make.  #howtostartablog #bloggingHey everyone! Today, I have a great article from Liz Stapleton. A licensed attorney since 2012, and a blogger since 2014, she has spoken at both virtual and in person conferences, including FinCon (my favorite blogging conference), on the importance of legally protecting your blog and business. She is the founder and voice behind Less Debt, More Wine – a personal finance site, and ElizabethStapleton.com, where she helps readers earn more money while making sure they are protecting themselves and their businesses legally. Enjoy!

When you first decide to start a blog, you are filled with ideas and inspirations and a long list of what you want to do. But chances are the legal compliance and protecting your blog aren’t high on that list if they’re on there at all.

After a while you realize there are probably some things you need to do to either protect or blog or to have it be compliant with the law.

Unless you went to law school, you’re probably stressing about what those things are and perhaps how much it would cost to hire a lawyer.

Well, I’m excited to be here to help you understand some of the most common legal mistakes bloggers make and what to do about them so that you and your blog are keeping things legit and your income is protected.

But before we get to it, a necessary disclaimer:

While I am an attorney, I am not your attorney and nothing in this post is to be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship. Additionally, nothing in this post or resources made available are to be considered legal advice. Content and resources provided are meant for educational and informational purposes only. The author is not liable for any losses or damages related to actions or failure to act related to the content in this website. If you need specific legal advice, consult with an attorney who specializes in your subject matter and jurisdiction.

Related content:

Now, that’s out of the way, lets get to it….

 

1. Not Having a Privacy Policy

The purpose of a privacy policy is to inform your site’s visitors of what personal information you collect and for what purposes.

Privacy policies can also be required by law. Perhaps the most well known law that caused a big splash in the blogging world in 2018 is the General Data Protection Regulation also known as GDPR.

GDPR helped to bring the law up to date with technology, but that also meant a lot more work for website owners and a potentially hefty fine for those that didn’t comply.

The purpose of GDPR is to allow people to have better control over their own personal information aka data.

For people to control their data they need to know how sites are collecting and using it. Enter the privacy policy and likely a cookie notice.

GDPR came out of the European Union, so does it even apply to you?

While there is some debate about the reach of the law, the strictest reading suggests that if someone in your audience is located anywhere in the European Union, then it applies.

But it’s important to know that GDPR isn’t the only law out there requiring sites have a privacy policy. If you’re located in the United States there are lots of state laws relating to online privacy.

There are also parts of federal laws that relate to data privacy, meaning while there is no specific federal law requiring a privacy policy, all the various parts of other laws basically amount to privacy policies being necessary.

Not having a privacy policy could make you vulnerable to fines or lawsuits. Neither of which as a blogger (especially a new blogger) are something you want to deal with.

And if you think you don’t collect personal information, then you probably need to think again, do you….

  • Use Google Analytics?
  • Allow comments on your blog posts?
  • Have a contact form?
  • Have an email list for people to sign up to?

Any one of these are examples of ways you collect personal data, and as you can imagine there are a lot more.

So how do you put together a privacy policy?

There are three main ways that you can get a privacy policy together for your site:

  1. Do a ton of research and write your own
  2. Buy a Privacy Policy Template written by an attorney and customize it for your site
  3. Hire an attorney to write a custom privacy policy

Now, which path you take likely depends on your budget….

 

Doing the research and writing your own Privacy Policy

While on the surface this may seem like the cheapest option, it kind of depends on how you value your time.

Writing your own policy doesn’t require any out of pocket expense but it would require several hours of your time.

Chances are your time could be better spent….

 

Privacy Policy Templates Written By an Attorney

This option does have out of pocket costs, but in most instances you would be able to implement a privacy policy on your site in a matter of minutes.

Additionally, a template written by an attorney likely doesn’t cost as much as you’d think and is sure to cover all the basics. You can purchase them at a wide range of prices.

But in most instances the best bang for your buck is going to be purchasing a template bundle, that includes all the basic policies you’ll need for your website (disclaimers, terms and conditions, disclosures, etc.).

For example, I offer my Privacy Policy template for $79 or you can get my Website Legal Templates Bundle which includes a Privacy Policy template, for just $147, less than what two templates would cost you and it comes with 4 different templates.

Grab the Website Legal Templates Bundle Now.

 

Hiring An Attorney

If you can afford it, hiring an attorney to craft a custom privacy policy is going to ensure your site is covered, but it comes at a much higher price tag.

There are some great firms that specialize in helping creatives, online blogs and businesses like WilkMazz or Hashtag Legal.

The Fix: The best option is to purchase templates written by an attorney (like these) or hiring an attorney to craft custom policies for your site.

 

2. Violating Copyright (Using Images Without Proper Permission)

Graphics are an important part of blogging. Whether you are creating featured images or social share images or just headings to break up the page, there is always a need to create graphics.

Often times these graphics require photos but where you get those photos from and if you’re allowed to use them matters.

First, you cannot just pull images from Google images to use in your blog post, doing so means you’re likely violating the copyright of who own those photos.

Some other instances where it’s not okay to just share someone’s photo without permission include:

  • Regram on Instagram
  • Including an image of theirs in a roundup post
  • Using stock photos that don’t have proper licensing for blog posts
  • Using stock photos that don’t have proper licensing for products

So let’s break these down a bit more to make sure you understand what I’m talking about…

 

Why You Can’t Just Regram Someone’s Photo on Instagram

In Instagram’s terms of use they explain that user’s own the copyright to their photos, which means you can’t just share them without permission.

I actually had this happen to me, a user was taking my posts, which were just simple questions and posting them to their own Instagram. I actually didn’t know they had been doing this until they started using Regram which tagged me.

I immediately reached out and told them they needed to take my images down or I’d report them to Instagram.

The reason why I did this is because unlike on other platforms, there was zero advantage to me for her using my images, she was just stealing them.

The Fix: If you want to reshare someone’s photo on Instagram, ask their permission first. If you don’t get their permission, don’t share it.

 

Including Someone’s Image in a Roundup

Unlike the Instagram example where there was no advantage to the image owner, in a roundup post you’re likely linking the image to their content, which they’d want right?

Maybe not. And there could be lots of reasons why they would or wouldn’t give you permission.

They may be fine with it, but you won’t know unless you ask first.

They may not be fine with it because they are restricted by the licensing of the photo, if for example it’s a stock image and they only purchased with a limited license. (In which case you may be able to go purchase the same image).

Alternatively, some bloggers have a policy listed on their site for having images included in a roundup post, check their terms and conditions on their website.

The Fix: Check their terms and conditions to see if they have a policy on images being used in roundup posts. Don’t see anything on their site one way or the other? Get permission, it’s just that simple. Ask.

 

Stock Photos and Licensing

Stock photo sites sell images with certain licenses attached. You may have to pay more to be able to use the image in the way you want.

For example, I get most of my stock photos from DepositPhotos and they offer two different licenses:

  1. Standard license
  2. Extended license

The default license granted for purchasing photos on their site is the Standard license which allows me to create blog graphics.

However, what I can’t do is re-sell the graphic or use it in something free where the image plays a major role and adds value.

An example would be using the image in a Pinterest Image template, whether it’s free or not, using the image in that way would be in violation of the standard license granted.

However, I could purchase the image with an Extended license which does allow it to be used for creating products or freebies where the graphic plays a role and adds value.

If you’re still using free stock photo sites….

Like Pexels or Pixabay they have some similar license restrictions. Under the free license you can:

  • Use the image for personal or commercial purposes
  • Without attribution (aka giving credit to who took the photo)
  • Modify the photos

But you cannot:

  • Sell or redistribute the images (for example, as a wall paper aka where the image plays a major role and adds value)
  • Use them in a way that is misleading in relation to a specific brand or service

The Fix: Pay attention the license you are granted when getting photos from stock photo sites.

 

3. Not Having or Incorrectly Using Disclosures & Disclaimers

There are lots of reasons why you would need to have certain disclosures and disclaimers and each blog is different, but some common ones include:

  • Affiliate disclosures
  • Professional disclaimers
  • Testimonial/Earnings disclaimers

Let’s tackle these one at a time….

 

Affiliate Disclosures

If you’re on this site, chances are you know a bit about affiliate marketing, afterall, Michelle is an absolute pro at it (it’s why I bought her Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course).

But affiliate marketing is not without it’s rules. The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) requires that you disclose affiliate relationships and has rules on how to do so.

Michelle covers all this in her course, but the basics are this, disclosures must:

  • Be placed before the link
  • Clearly convey the relationship
  • Be easily visible
  • Should not encourage clicking to support the site

Chances are you’ve seen some disclosures that do not adhere to these rules. So what is the potential fall out for not complying?

First, you’ll likely be kicked out of whatever affiliate program you were promoting and could face consequences for not complying with their terms and conditions.

Second, you could be fined the amount of money you earned, basically you’d have to payback your affiliate income to the government.

Generally, the goal with affiliate marketing is to earn money, so let’s make sure you get to keep that money by doing it right. Here are some common mistakes I’ve seen bloggers make with affiliate disclosures and how to fix them.

 

Placing the Disclosure in the Wrong Place

Some common places for disclosures that don’t work include the footer of your site or the side bar.

Hopefully, it’s obvious to you why the footer doesn’t work – it would never be seen before the affiliate link.

However, the sidebar placement is less obvious. While on a desktop the disclosure would likely be seen before an affiliate link could be clicked on, mobile use is on the rise…

And what happens to a sidebar on a mobile device?

It gets pushed under the content, which means the disclosure would not be seen before the affiliate link could be clicked on.

The Fix: Either place it at the top of your content like Michelle does or within the first few paragraphs.

 

Using Incorrect Language

The disclosure has to be easy to understand. A general rule I tell people that if your Grandma wouldn’t understand it, it’s not clear.

You also can’t say things like, “clicking on affiliate links helps to support this site.” because it encourages superficial clicks. Kind of how you can’t get paid for clicking on display ads on your site.

The Fix: Inform but don’t ask for clicks. A simple, “this post may contain affiliate links, meaning I receive a small commission if you click, at no cost to you” will suffice.

 

Professional Disclaimers

Professional disclaimers are necessary if you are or are not a professional writing in a certain niche.

For example, at the beginning of this post I put a disclaimer about my being attorney but disclaiming and attorney-client relationship and explaining that the post is informational only. It’s just one example of a professional disclaimer.

Michelle, has a similar disclaimer on her site about the content not being professional financial advice.

If you are a specific professional you need to state that the information provided is not “official” advice, as that can only be rendered if you know the details of what an individual is dealing with.

If you’re not a professional and you do write in the space, then you need to explain that too so those are some reasons why you would use Professional disclaimers.

The Fix: Add a professional disclaimer to your site’s “Legal” Page.

 

Testimonial/Earnings Disclaimers

Testimonials and income reports can be a great way to generate more revenue. Testimonials have the power to sell your products for you and income reports can be a great way to show readers what is possible.

But if you are using those things you need a disclaimer explaining that you cannot guarantee they will have the same results.

I think you’ll agree that when it comes to income reports, Michelle’s are #goals, but she can’t guarantee you or I will have the same results and she says as much here.

Earnings disclaimers are just explaining that such results take work and you may or may not achieve the same level of results.

If you want to learn a bit more about earnings and testimonial disclaimers as well as get an earnings disclaimer template, I created a bonus lesson inside Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing that goes more in depth and provides a template example.

You can enroll in the course here.

The Fix: Add a testimonial and earnings disclaimer to your site’s “legal” page and any outside pages that use them (for example, sales pages on Teachable or similar platforms, or webinar software where you include testimonials in your webinar)

 

Bottom Line

There are lots of potential legal issues that can come up when blogging, but it’s not very hard or difficult to address them and make sure you are protecting your blog and complying with the law.

Hopefully you’re now feeling confident in what to do about these three common legal mistakes bloggers make.

And if you want to learn more, you can head over to ElizabethStapleton.com also be sure to grab my free checklist of 10 Things You Need to Include on Your Site’s Legal Page.

What legal mistakes have you seen bloggers make? What questions do you have?

The post 3 Super Common Legal Mistakes Bloggers Make (and How to Fix Them) appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

from Making Sense Of Cents https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2019/07/3-super-common-legal-mistakes-bloggers-make-and-how-to-fix-them.html
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