Budgeting

Passive Income: Make extra money online

Passive Income: What is it and how can it benefit me?

Cash to Computing (photo credit Flickr)

Cash to Computing (photo credit Flickr)

Passive: not actively participating.  Income:  monetary payment.  

Combine them and it means money made without working that sounds too good to be true.  It is too good to be truce, because there is always some footwork to be done ahead of time.

Setting up that webinar takes time so does taking video and editing that YouTube upload.  But once its done set the marketing to autopilot and then let the passive income roll-in!  Yeah, that is wishful thinking too, there is a lot of hard work to be done to keep it up and running.  Also, keeping with the trends can be hard, but the tools below can help you meet your goals.

Make Money Online

Make Money Online

Get Started

This is the most difficult part, it was hard for me too!  The first steps are always the toughest.

Have a long term goal and cut it down into smaller pieces, so you can gradually to achieve this goal

  1. Have an idea for a Webinar?  Use this cool tool to monetize it.  Monetize it means to make money from it, like cash deposited into that PayPal account!
  2. I’ve started affiliate marketing with Share A Sale: Find a sponsor for your web site. Get paid for your great content. shareasale.com.
  3. Also, try this marketing tool: Drive more traffic to your online store using performance based marketing.
  4. Set up a drop-shipping site with a free trial with Oberlo: 30 day trial here:
  5. SpyFu helps find competitors most profitable keywords to make it easy to think these up
    1. Increases web-traffic
    2. Tracking keywords automatically
    3. Make better connections
  6. To help get started here is a Word Press Coupon: AMP for WordPress – WP Engine Webinar with Yoast SEO
    1. What is SEO?  Search Engine Optimization
    2. This basically means when people search a topic your website is actually on the list!  Trust me, its worth the investment!


Automate it:

Whew, the hard part is over.  The site has been created, the Videos are posted, and the articles are written… Now what?  There are endless resources on automating the promotion of your webinar, you-tube videos, or blog articles.

Here is a list of my favorites:

  1. Tailwind:Grab your free trial here
    1. Discover Content: taking the work out of work- they do it for you
    2. Schedule Posts: posts get automatically updated
    3. Monitor Conversations
    4. Amplify Research: can’t think of what to research? They do it for you
    5. Analyst Results: the tools are available here
    6. Perfect for Instagram and Pinterest users
  2. I need hits: This awesome tool boots web-traffic!10% Off 1st Time Orders at iNeedHits.com – Shop Now! Use Code: SAVEINH2012
    1. Get listed in Google
    2. Location Targeted Traffic
    3. Affordable Pricing
  3. Vertical Response
  4. Kolau

Boost your Website Traffic with iNeedHits Today! Shop Now!

Now invest it:

Passive Income can be created by investing into the stock market via mutual funds, individual stocks, or bonds.  Once the cash starts rolling in, now its time to make some smart decisions and use Ally and other investment tools to continue making money.

  1. Open an Ally Invest account
  2. Swell: Investing in stocks that allign with your values
  3. Robinhood:
    1. Easy investing right on smartphone
    2. Free Stock Trading
  4. Acorns
    1. Easy round-up from a credit card or debit card of your choice
    2. Set it and forget it

Good Luck on your adventure into online money making!  Tell me about your webinar in the comments, I’d love to check it out!

Oh yeah, there are affiliate links in this article, but I check them all out before I suggest em!  We are all in it to make the money right?

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Side Money via Drop Shipping

In my quest to find ways to make money online I came across a term I didn’t know well: Drop Shipping.

My thoughts were, what is this, how does it work, is it high risk, what are the rewards, and is it worth a shot?  And can anybody really do it any better than Amazon?  Maybe there is some low hanging fruit here for me.

What is Drop Shipping?

Here is the process:

  1. Receive and order from a customer
  2. Send the order to your supplier
  3. Supplier ships order to your customer
  4. Everyone gets paid!

Sounds easy right?  No, I don’t think so.  First, where are the customers?  Do they just find me?  And how many other people are selling this same product?  Possibly at a lower price too!  Now this sounds like work, but it might be worth it if I can find the right product.

Drop Shipping makes me happy (photo credit Flickr)

Drop Shipping makes me happy (photo credit Flickr)

Who is Drop Shipping for?

In researching this further I found that Drop Shipping is for the first time sellers, its low risk but also low reward.  I found a few sites that let you start up as low as $67.  Like  SaleHoo

Oberlo is another site that lets you do a “free” trial, but we all know nothing is free.  My thought is why not try it out and see how it goes.  I’ll update this if I drop it or end up paying for it.

Drop Shipping is also good for the supplier who wants to test out a new product.  Drop shipping allows for a nice test market.

Also, if a new supplier wants to get their product out there but doesn’t have the capital; drop shipping would work for them as well.


Drop Shipping Tips:

  • Don’t sell what you think will work, or selling on a hunch, because realistically you are selling blind then.  Decisions need to be based on facts.  Utilize Google Keyword Planner, Look at Google Trends, search for your potential products on Amazon or E bay to see what the competitors are selling it for.  Check to see if are there any reviews for your product at the Better Business Bureau.
  • Don’t sell what everyone else is selling, because they will beat you out on pricing and then you are left with nothing
  • Don’t sell stuff that nobody wants – duh!
  • Sell things that lots of people want but not what other people are selling: Here are ways to research this:

Now, I just need to find some customers, a product, and a supplier...

Good Luck on your Quest!

 

Blogging: Hobby or Business

Is your blog a hobby or a business?  Blogging everyday but not making any money?  Blogs can make some big money and others fail.  Here is how to properly report that hobby income and report the offsetting expenses so the auditor stays away.

Audit Keyboard

Audit keyboard from Flickr

Disclaimer, this is not to be referenced as legal tax advice, this is just a helpful guide if your blog is being audited~

How to report income from a hobby:

Yes, its time to admit it, your blog is a hobby.  That $601 you made last year gave you enough to receive a 1099 from Google and now how do you report it?

It would be nice to be able to take all of the expenses and have a nice loss to offset that day job wage… but chances are Uncle Sam will find it and reverse it, then you’ll be stuck with a bill + penalty + interest.

    1. Income:  This is reported on the Form 1040 Line 21 of the 2016 tax year.

      If Google sent you a 1099 for $600 chances are the government received a copy of that, so yes it needs to be reported somewhere on your taxes.  The location varies by business entity, so I’m speaking to the newbie that does not have a partnership or corporation set up.

    2. Expenses:  This is reported on Form 1040 Schedule A Line 23 of the 2017 tax year.

      As noted in income, location of these expenses can vary by business entity.  So, basically this is for the 1040 guy or gal out there.

      1. Include a portion of internet costs (not full amount because Netflix doesn’t count as a business subscription)
      2. Subscription costs for researching articles
      3. Costs of the blog
      4. Pinterest add costs
      5. Costs for photo editing
      6. Costs for sound editing
      7. Cost of photos

CyberChimps LLC

Note the Expenses amount cannot exceed the income reported.  If $750 was reported as income, then the expenses are limited to $750, even though there may be more expenses incurred.  But, if there were only $400 of expenses then you have to list the $400, making up additional expenses is not allowed.

9 “Hobby Loss” Factors:

    1. Manner carry on Activity: This is why its important to keep track of how often blogging is happening.  If there is a day job they want to say there isn’t enough time to blog, but who isn’t thinking about what they are going to blog next when they are sitting in the cubicle jail, uh, I mean office.
      1. Were new techniques developed?
      2. How are the books and records maintained?  This is where a separate bank account is important.
      3. Keep track of expenses, try to show where turning a profit.
      4. Blogging business plan would be helpful here.
      5. Then show where using records to make decisions and changes in business operations.

All Themes Package

  1. Expertise: Noting any other websites used to base the blog on can be helpful. When decisions are made what is behind them?  This can be important in showing that research was completed and any growth in the blog audience.
    1. A list of advisers can be helpful, I’d use a list of other bloggers of same niche.
    2. New techniques used are documented here too.
  2. Effort Expended: We all know there isn’t enough time in the day to blog, work, and live, but this is where it gets tricky.  Can I really say between phone calls at work, I’m promoting my blog via Twitter or Pinterest?
    1. They want to nail down hours worked on the blog vs all the hours available in the year.  Keep track of time spent:
      1. Posting to Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook: Promoting Posts
      2. Writing
      3. Researching Topic
      4. Photo-editing
      5. Following up with tribe (aka followers)
    2. To overcome the alternative passive activity make sure the time exceeds 500 hours for the year.
  3. Assets appreciate in value:  So, is your blog actually worth something?  Could it be sold to a third party?  Even thought there isn’t land or equipment don’t rule out the value of the website itself.
  4. Success in similar activities: The day job might be the major income provider for household, but what other activities like the bog have brought in cash?  And make sure it has been reported elsewhere!
    1. Maybe there is a second blog
    2. Could have a YouTube site
  5. History of Income and losses: This is hard to overcome if the blog isn’t making any money.  These are just cold hard facts here.
  6. Occasional Profits: If the blog is going to sell for big bucks next year this could impact this factor.  THe sale of the blog might overcome all the incurred losses.
  7. Financial Status:  If the day job is paying big bucks, this might be a hard one.  If you are a broke blogger (like me) then this would be in your favor!
    1. Why?  The hobby of a blog is really to offset other income?  Or is it really to make a profit?
    2. Are there tax savings by having the blog?
  8. Personal Pleasure:  Blogging can be fun and it is work!  All the tasks to get from the original idea to the final post and everything that goes behind posting it will show how much hard work we all really do!

What if I don’t report anything?

Yeah, that is another option, what’s $600 to Uncle Sam anyway?  Well, truth is they have automated a lot of the crosschecking and they know there is $600 not reported.  They’ll automatically send out a letter adding it to your return and adding interest and penalty on top of that.  It won’t break the bank, but it can be scary and annoying to get random letters from the government.

I don’t even make $600 from my blogging, so whats less than a hobby?

Still planning your expenses, check out my Midyear Tax Planning article here.

If nothing else, just be sure to file a tax return:  Save 30% at E-file.com
yX Media - Monetize your website traffic with us

FreeTaxUSA Box 728x90

Bad Habits (its killing your budget)

These Time Savers are Ruining your Budget

  1. ATM Fees:  Just don’t do it!  These fees are killer and they aren’t worth it.  Most banks have apps that will show you where your closest ATM is.  Some banks waive fees, its worth checking into.
  2. Other Banking fees:  Check those bank statements!  Be sure to check if there are any fees associated with your account.  If there is anything weird call the bank right away to get them sorted out.
  3. Bottle Water: Go with the Eco-friendly travel water bottle or buy them in bulk.
  4. Pizza Delivery: We’ve all been there, its so nice to have them deliver a pizza to the door.   Try take-n-bake or buy frozen in bulk.
  5. Coffee Shops: Just bring it, There is extra sugar in the latte anyway!
  6. Prepared Fruits and Veggies: Planning ahead is hard to to, but it will save you a buck or two (oh, that rhymes).  Wash, cut, and separate food upon returning from the grocery store.  This makes it easy to grab and go.
  7. Vending Machine Items:  It is so easy to just plug in a few coins for a needed snack!  Just don’t do it!
  8. Fast food @ Convenience Stores:  Ah, the gas station, heat lamp, burger.  Its not healthy and not cheap!  Its time to start brown bagging it.  Bring a lunch or snack to make it thru the day.
  9. Soda from checkout cooler: Marketing, they know what they are doing.  Don’t fall for it.  Buy in bulk and plan ahead.
  10. Drink more water not soda:  This one is a bit odd, but stay with me on this one.  If soda isn’t on the grocery list then money saved!  Many reusable water bottles have built in filters now too.

Is money on your mind? Click Here!

My Budget killer is an expensive coffee… What is your go to time saver that costs you?

 

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Credit Checkup: Managing your Credit Score

Credit Score Management

Credit Score Management

How is your Credit Score is it time for a credit checkup?  Here are a few items to ensure you don’t pay extra interest due to a poor credit score.  But it can be more than just an interest rate hike, a credit score might effect insurance rates, apartment rental, or a potential new job!

What is a credit score?  Dictionary.com says that credit is:

confidence in a purchaser’s ability and intention to pay, displayed by entrusting the buyer with goods or services without immediate payment.

There are a few different credit scores, but I’m focusing on the FICO score as it is most widely used by banks or major lenders now.

A FICO Credit Score can generally fall between 300 and 850, the latter being the better.  Or a high score wins in this case.  It is predicting the likelihood of your intention to pay the bills or loans on time.

Credit Score Tips:

  1. Pay those Bills!  Preferably pay them on time.  Set up bill-pay with your bank, then no cost of stamps or forgetting to mail that bill.  Additionally “Payment History” is weighted as 35% of your FICO score.  Lenders are concerned about ability to pay that loan that you are about to take out and the credit history is the best indicator they have of receiving future payments.  Unfortunately, younger lenders will have lower scores because they do not have history.
  2. Review your own credit report: Some credit card companies offer this on the monthly statement.  This is free and an easy tool to monitor what is happening with on that credit card.  There are free sites out there that offer credit reports:
    • CreditKarma.com
    • Creditsesame.com
    • LendingTree.com
    • Quizzle.com
    • Discover credit card shows a monthly FICO score with your bill.
    • Caution: IF a site asks for a credit card number or provides your credit with a fee, this might become a recurring fee, beware that this isn’t the case before you check your score!  Equifax shows some good tips on monitoring so it may be worth the price.

Debt Payoff:

  1. Pay down credit cards:  “Debt Level” is weighted at 30% of your FICO score.  Which ironically enough if you keep your credit at about 30% of your credit limit or less this will help you score go up (which is good).  For example: If my Home Depot credit card has a credit limit of $500, then I should keep the balance at $150 or less. ( or $500 x 0.30=$150)
  2. Use Credit: But be smart about it.  Zero interest for 6 months is a no brainer, but pay the balance off within those six months.  Use bill pay to your advantage here.  Auto payments for six months and done!
  3. Monitor Credit Report: Different from reviewing your credit report, as monitoring means re-visiting the credit report to ensure there isn’t any weird.  For example, and strange loans or new credit cards need to be investigated.
  4. Mix of Credit: the “Mix of Credit” is weighted at 10% of the FICO score, but its not worth it to run out to get an auto loan or personal loan to go with your credit card debt.
  5. Other options:  Be caution of items that can hurt your credit like Debt Settlement.
  6. Get Equifax Business Credit Monitoring Now!

Don’t Do This:

  1. Don’t close old credit cards:  This can play into the “Length of Credit History” which is weighted at 15% of the FICO score. Additionally, getting into credit cards at a younger age can be a double edge sword.  I fell into this at college, signing up for a credit card and buying those books, only to pay more in the long run with high interest rates.
  2. Limit applications for new credit: “inquiries” are weighted at 10% of the FICO score.  Each time they run a credit check it is an application for new credit.  This means any application for an apartment, auto loan or new in store credit card are inquires.  These all have an impact on your credit score.

Use these tips wisely.  Do you have any other tips to boost that credit score?

 

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Fast, Fresh, Affordable

This may sound like a Millennial thing, but we are all looking for fresh local food, local produce, organic choices, low prices, and more convenience.

Do we go super sized, Costco or Sam’s Club and get convenience with bulk?  Boxed Meals or Meal Delivery services now offered by several local groceries.  Or, is there another option?

If you do have to go to the local grocery store here are some common ideas about saving money.

  • Look Up Look Down: Eye level items pay a premium to be there.
  • Use Discount Apps, my favorite is Ibotta (I’m not adding an affiliate link, you can find it on Google Play yourself).  I’ve heard a lot about Flipp as well, I’ve just begun using this one and I’m trying to make a decision on it still.  I’m also a fan of the store app, especially Target Cartwheel.  Yes, I know big data, but if it saves me some money I’m OK with that.
  • Navigate the store:  Flipp or Cartwheel will help you make that trip to the store in one easy route, not the usual… you know go to the dairy, then produce, then back to the dairy, both while walking past the bread, then back to the bread isle.
  • Calculate: Keep track of the cost of the bill as you go thru the store.  Also, use that smart phone to figure out the cost per unit when comparing items.

What is your favorite app while at the grocery store?

Other Options:

  • CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Deliveries: Locally organic grown fruits, vegetables, or eggs delivered fresh right to a central drop site.  We pick-up our vegetable delivery at our local food co-opp.  These have been some of the best vegetables we’ve ever had and some we’ve never seen!  Last year they gave us a yellow watermelon, the red part was actually yellow!  It tasted just like a watermelon, and it was easy to get over the color difference.  We also found some new vegetables we’ve never had before, luckily our CSA sends us an email on what is in our box and suggestions on how to prepare them (very helpful!).
  • Organic boxed meal deliveries are another option.  You might have to do some footwork to see what is available in your area.  This is worth a try, we might get into it again in the winter as our CSA deliveries stop around October-November.
  • Off the path: Farmers markets, natural food stores, Food cooperatives, or direct from roadside stands.  Some of the best fresh corn on the cob is from a roadside stand, and your money is going directly to the farmer!
  • Coming soon: Amazon delivering fresh food to your door.  It’s only a matter of time people…

What is your preferred location or method to get groceries?