Six Questions To Know More About You

Six Questions To Know More About YouHello everyone! I hope everyone is having a great week. I recently realized that I haven’t done a Question and Answer post with all of you in a long time.

As always, I love hearing more about all of you.

Answer the questions below (skip any if you would like) and lets all get to know each other a little bit better.

1. What’s your name, and what do you do for a living?

Well, I’ll start off with an easy question. In case you didn’t know, my name is Michelle. For some reason, people don’t think that’s my real name, but it is! Even though I started off “anonymously” blogging, I always used my real name.

I am currently a full-time freelancer.

I have been freelancing for a few years now, but I just recently switched to only freelancing in October of 2013 when I left my day job to pursue this full-time. I provide a wide range of services. These include: managing my own websites (I have several); managing websites for others; staff writing; social media management; and more.

2. Do you want to follow your passion? If so, what is your passion?

This is my passion. I really enjoy what I do and I’m still happy that I left my day job to do this full-time. I don’t ever see myself going back and working for someone else again! :)

Read Pursuing What I Love or What Brings in the (Stable) Money if you are interested in hearing more about this topic.

3. How much debt do you have?

My student loans are completely paid off (thanks to side hustling), but we do still have a mortgage.

We are not trying to pay it off quickly though because we do plan on buying a home within the next 2 years. I believe our mortgage right now sits at around $112,000. We live in St. Louis where housing is very cheap.

4. Where do you want to live? Do you live in your dream location?

Right now, we live in St. Louis. Around one year ago, we were looking to sell our current house and buy a second one in the St. Louis area, but we decided to stop.

While we do love the St. Louis area, we have been thinking a lot about moving to a different state.

At first, we were thinking about moving to Florida (Florida is still at the top of our list), but now we are really interested in Colorado. We went on a 2 week road trip and saw a lot of Colorado, and it made us really interested in moving to the state. There are just so many amazing outdoorsy things to do there and the weather is wonderful.

What’s your favorite town in Colorado? If any of you live there, where would you recommend?

We want a place with a nice view, a place that is safe, good schools in the area (we do plan on having children in the future), and somewhat nice weather. We’d prefer it to not be 30 or 40 degrees in the summer time! :)

5. What are your summer vacation plans?

We have done a good amount of traveling so far this summer. We went to Colorado for two weeks in June, and we just got back from an 8 day cruise to the Caribbean in July.

Wes is going on a week long hike with a friend on the Colorado Trail (they’re not doing the whole trail as it’s around 500 miles), but they do plan on doing as much of it as they can.

Then, we are going to Belize to meet with a potential client of mine in the next few weeks.

Lastly, we have FinCon which is in the middle of September in New Orleans. Wes is coming with me because he is in the beginning stages of creating his own website. I am excited to share his blogging journey with all of you and I can’t wait to share his website.

I’m loving all of the traveling that we have on our calendar for the next few months. We will be quite active. However, I am a homebody and I usually get home sick haha!

6. Would you rather have a part-time job or a side hustle?

The other day I published an article about why I started a side hustle over a part-time job. Different people have their own preferences, but for me, I am happy that I started a side hustle.

My side hustle eventually led to me freelancing online full-time, and I am now having the best time of my life. I wouldn’t change a thing!

Read my article on my other blog Why I’d Rather Have A Side Hustle Than A Part-Time Job.

Answer away!

How to Pay Off Your Overdraft Without Even Noticing

How to pay off your overdraft without even noticingHello! Today, I have an article written by a blog friend. Enjoy!

Not so long ago, I used to watch miserably as my hard earned monthly salary got sucked into my overdraft at the start of the month, leaving me with a credit balance of not much over zero.

I was a slave to my overdraft, having fallen into the habit of overspending every month until I had reached my overdraft limit of $3000 right before payday (sometimes I ended up over the limit too).

It was so depressing!

I made a good income, but my debts were out of control through spending carelessly and not paying enough attention to what was going on in relation to my bank account. In addition to the overdraft, I had all sorts of other debts too which were out of control.

I was a bit of a financial mess to say the least. But I did actually manage to pay off my overdraft right before I got serious about the other debts I had. And I paid my overdraft off in such a way that I barely even noticed.

I was actually quite surprised when I checked my overdraft one day (I didn’t check my bank all that often back then) to find that I’d reduced it by 50% without really trying all that hard. I was soon to realize that this was the first step I’d successfully made in my long and often challenging journey to get out of debt.

For me, having an overdraft that was maxed out bothered me even more than the debt I had accumulated through credit cards and loans. I just felt like I was working really hard at my job every day and then when I got paid, I didn’t actually see any of it because I owed my monthly wages to the bank instead!

Once I’d cleared my overdraft, I felt more in control of my finances almost instantly. I was able to see where my money was going and felt in a better position to tackle my other debts.

 

Here’s how I paid off my overdraft without really noticing

I set myself a challenge of cutting down my spending by $100 per month.

I achieved this through doing really tiny things like catching the bus home from a night out rather than getting a cab and I swapped clothes occasionally with my friends instead of buying something new. I was a spendy person back then and thought nothing of a new outfit two or three times per month and a luxury gym membership to boot.

I made a few more changes like having a girls’ night in on a Friday night rather than going out. It was nice to catch up with my friends and save money at the same time by having a movie night with wine and popcorn rather than an expensive night out. I also stopped buying lunches at work and took my own salads or sandwiches to work instead.

I began to save even more than I’d originally planned and I found that making small changes was no hardship really, it just involved being organised and thinking ahead.

I still had cable TV and for some reason, I still kept the gym membership – maybe that was my inner voice whispering to me (quite wrongly I should add) to keep up appearances – but the point is that I managed to save money just by making those small changes. By saving money each month like this, my overdraft started to decrease automatically.

When I realized that I’d managed to regain some control over my overdraft and I’d had chance to relish the fact that I was actually in the black rather than the red (until the middle of each month at least), I decided to call my bank to get them to reduce my overdraft.

When I called my bank to ask them to do just that, they asked me a series of questions to find out “if I was sure” and “wouldn’t the original overdraft be better to keep hold of just in case” as I might not be guaranteed an extension again.

I was a bit surprised because I had to actually convince my bank that this was what I wanted! I still get emails and calls from them even now offering to extend my overdraft because they obviously want to make a bit more money from me.

After I paid off my overdraft, I started to tackle the main bulk of my debt which meant giving up a whole lot more, but I’m fine with that – it definitely needed to happen that way for me.

 

In summary

If you want to cut down your overdraft without giving up everything, you could try:

  1. Making small savings in areas where you don’t mind cutting back.
  2. Calling your bank when you’ve reduced your overdraft by a certain amount and get them to reduce your overdraft facility straightaway before you’re tempted to use it again.

 

Have you ever been in trouble with your overdraft before?

 

Author Bio: Hayley is a freelance writer who currently blogs about debt and money matters over at her website Disease Called Debt. There you’ll find Debt Success Stories, debt help resources and money saving tips. You can also follow Hayley on Twitter.

 

The image above can be found here.

Sales Tactics You May Be Falling For

Sales Tactics You May Be Falling ForWe’ve all done it. We’ve all bought something because of a sales tactic. It might have been a small $1 purchase, or it might have been something as big as a house or a car.

Next time you are about to buy something, I want you to think about the possible sales tactics that are surrounding you. There might just be one sales tactic, or there may be hundreds. Below are common sales tactics that you may be falling for.

 

Only thinking about the monthly payment.

Whether you are about to buy a car, a house, an appliance, or something else, many companies try to sell their customers on the monthly payment. This is because the monthly payment usually sounds much better than the overall payment.

Paying a monthly payment of $100 sounds better than an overall price of $10,000.

Or, some stores even break your payments into a weekly payment, such as $25 a week. This makes people think that this is much more doable, even though they are actually just paying the same amount of money.

Before you get so focused on the monthly payment, you really need to think about the overall cost. How much will that car actually cost you if you have an 84 month loan? How much will that laptop cost if you are paying for it weekly? How much more money in interest will you be paying?

Once you think about the overall cost, you may think twice and decide not to buy the item.

 

A limited-time sale.

Some stores like to create a sense of urgency and make their customers feel like this is the only sale that they will ever have.

However, that is usually not the case. Usually stores have revolving sales that are timed, so you don’t HAVE to buy something at that time, because there will most likely be a sale again.

There is a store in the St. Louis area that used to always have a “Going Out Of Business Sale.” This sale happened every month for what seemed like a decade!

Instead, only buy an item if you actually need it. If you are only buying it because it’s on sale, is it really a good value?

 

Relying on the mirror at a clothing store.

Have you ever bought a clothing item, think you look great in it, only to get home and try it on again and think that it looks horrible?

Yup, this happens a lot.

Many clothing stores have “special” mirrors or weird lighting that will make you look better in their store. This way you will buy the item and then they’ve made the sale.

If this has happened to you, don’t be afraid to return the item. I know so many people who hate returning items and just lose money because of this. Just return it!

 

Buying an extended warranty.

For many expensive products, an extended warranty is offered. These usually cover the product after the original manufacturer’s warranty is over. Extended warranties are usually significantly overpriced, and you may not even have the product anymore when you actually need to use the extended warranty.

We made a mistake buying an extended warranty before: We bought a lawn mower a few years ago and decided to buy the extended warranty as well since we always have bad luck with expensive items. We paid extra for the warranty, and the lawn mower actually broke after the FIRST use.

We brought the lawn mower back, and it turned out that the original warranty nor the extended warranty covered what happened. The extended warranty only covered the repair if we would have replaced all the wiring after EACH time we used the lawn mower (which was once). It was ridiculous. Many extended warranties have weird clauses like this, so always make sure to look into that before purchasing an extended warranty.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes an extended warranty is a great idea. However, other times they are just a huge waste of money. If you do decide to buy an extended warranty, always try to negotiate the price of it, because it can most likely be negotiated (whether you are at a car dealership, Home Depot, or somewhere else – it does work).

One time we were offered a warranty when buying a dryer. We said no, and then the salesperson dropped the price significantly. We ended up buying it because I think it was around $12. It was probably still a waste, but at $12 it was hard to say no on an expensive appliance.

 

Getting items for “free.”

Have you ever bought something because you would get another item for free?

Maybe you fell for a B1G1 sale. This is where you buy one item and get another for free, but you probably don’t even need that second item.

Or, maybe you are told that if you bought a $15 item that you would get an extra $25 in free product.

This is a sales tactic that MANY places use. Before you fall for it, determine if you actually need the product and all of the extras.

 

What sales tactics have you fallen for? Have you ever regretted a purchase because of one?

Are you in debt because of a certain sales tactic? Tell us!