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Finances

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What We’re Doing to Save for Australia

Obtaining a working holiday visa and moving abroad is expensive. For us to move to Australia, it’d cost us about $5,500 AUD which is more or less the same converted to Canadian currencies. The $500-and-something is for the visa application alone. The $5,000 AUD is what the Australian government requires all holiday visa holders to have when they pass through immigration because that 5 grand is supposed to be a safety net for when things go south and don’t work out.

So, that’s expensive. Not to mention the airline ticket to get there!

But, we’re serious about moving to Australia. We’re not renewing our rental lease next year. We’re not looking at adopting a pet. We even skipped out on Black Friday/Cyber Monday TV deals because it wouldn’t make sense to drop $600 on a new TV and not see it for another 2 years or so.

So what else are we doing to further our savings for Australia?

  • Buying Starbucks only 1-2 times a week and substituting coffee with other caffeine filled drinks such as green tea. Dan even makes instant coffee to reduce our spending at Starbucks. I’m trying my best to eventually cut out Startbucks entirely (save for maybe a weekend treat) and have coffee at work instead.
  • We’re only watching movies with promo codes and not whenever we’re just “bored”.My dad’s cellphone provider offers discounted goods and movie tickets is one of them. We get 2-for-1 deals every two weeks! Alternatively, I think we’ll just wait for the movie to be on rental or available on Netflix.
  • We joined Costco to buy bulk and reduce our trips to our local supermarket. Things at Costco are definitely cheaper than our supermarket and we’re so happy to join Costco. We live about ten minutes away to our nearest Costco as well.
  • We always meal prep. I had a bad habit of buying lunches because I was too lazy to cook. Earlier this year, I learned how to cook proper meals and developed the habit of prepping every Sunday. Dan is always on top of his meals since he requires specific calories and foods to maintain his physique and weight.
  • We only order out twice a week (or less) and always below $50. You can still save while indulging and not giving up on everything in life. We had a habit of pretty much ordering every week, and on some weeks, even more than once. We decided that we’re only going to order every second Sunday and our entire meal has to come under $50 (including tips and/or delivery fees).
  • We buy what we need. Long gone are the days where we threw out money on useless crap “just because”. We now stop and critically think whether we need something or not. Most of the time, it’s just another item we could do without and wait until it comes on sale, or when we’re not trying to save for such a big moment of our lives.
  • We seek cheaper alternatives and discounts. This makes us so uber cheap but we’re slowly switching to no-name brands. We look at Groupon and essentially let Groupon decide what to do (if we can’t find anything free to do). I make the time to visit student salons instead of being lazy and visiting the closest salon to me. Did you know I managed to get a $5 student haircut? IT’S JUST HAIR FOR CRYING OUT LOUD – WHY AM I PAYING $20+?!
  • I’m using my credit card more. I shy away from my credit card because of the way I abused it when I was younger but I’ve slowly started using my CCs a lot more and still within budget. I use it so I can rack up points and redeem as a cashback or a flight. Just the other day, I used my points to pay for half my ticket to San Francisco!
  • I’m limiting my nights out. I’ve told all my friends that I’m saving for Australia and it’s up to them if they want to hang out on the cheap. It’s not to say that I say no to every invite I get but if I do go out, I limit myself to a cheap appie, and no drinks (or one drink).
  • We’re selling our crap. Decluttering has helped me curb my excessive shopping habits and now, we’re selling anything of value that we no longer need/use. We chose not to sell everything because my mom is able to keep some of our stuff in her garage and we believe that some of our stuff has no value but could cost us more to buy them back when we move back to Vancouver.
  • Downgrading and cancelling services. We’re not crazy – we’re still keeping Netflix and Spotify but I’ve downgraded my cell phone bill to $15/month; I’ll be cancelling my monthly waxes and switching back to trimming (or maybe I’d take a look at some waxing Groupons); I’ve cancelled my monthly subscription to Pixel Scrapper (digital scrapbooking); shit, I’m evening keeping a free WordPress domain until I’m good to spend again!

Figuring Out A Brighter Financial Future

If somebody asked you how you felt about your financial situation, what would you say? Are you happy, is there room for improvement, or are money worries a continual source of stress or anxiety? If you feel that the future could be a lot brighter, this guide should come in handy. Here are some steps to take today.

Money

Get real about your finances

Be honest. When was the last time you checked your bank balance and your credit card statements? Many of us are guilty of burying our heads when it comes to our finances. If you don’t know how much you’re spending on a weekly or monthly basis, you may be leaving yourself open to unexpected surprises and cash flow issues. If you’ve thrown the last few statements on a pile of letters on the kitchen table or you take cash out of an ATM without looking at your balance first, it’s time to get real about your finances. Sit down with a pen and paper, check all your accounts, and work out exactly where you are. There may be nothing to worry about, but you might also find that you’re living beyond your means.

Try and deal with debt

If you’re in debt, this isn’t necessarily a problem, but you may benefit from trying to wipe the slate clean. If you’ve got debts in the form of a loan or a mortgage, and you’re able to keep up with repayments, carry on as normal. If, however, you’ve got credit cards that are spiraling out of control, you’ve got outstanding bills to pay or you’re struggling to pay your rent or mortgage, it’s time to take action. The sooner you front up to debts you can’t afford to cover, the better. If you’re in a situation where you don’t have the money to pay creditors, the next step is to seek advice. An expert can provide you with advice based on whether you have unsecured or secured debt, how much money you owe to who and how likely it is that your financial situation will improve. There are various options open to people who can’t settle bills and keep up with repayments, including filing for bankruptcy, taking out a debt consolidation loan, and working with creditors to arrange a repayment schedule.

Sticking to a budget

If you’re guilty of overspending on a regular basis, the best thing you can do is start budgeting. When you have a budget, you know exactly how much money you have available, how much you can afford to spend, and what’s left over at the end. Focus on what you need, rather than what you want, and try and put some money aside every month if you have a little spare cash.

If you’re not quite where you want to be in terms of your financial situation, don’t panic. There are ways to get back on track and start looking forward to a brighter, better future. Front up to problems, take advantage of expert help, advice, and support, and start budgeting to encourage you to save more and spend less.

A Fresh Start: 5 Tips for a New Financial Life

Our financial life impacts much of our life. It can limit how we spend our days, the quality of our sleep, and the plans we can make for the future. If we have a good financial landscape, then these things will be positive; if we don’t, then they’ll be negative. It’s as simple as that. As such, if we’re living on the edge when it comes to finances, or we have more debts than we can manage, then we need to make a change; we need to create a new financial landscape. But how exactly do we do that? We take a look below.

Draw the Line

Every day provides a new opportunity to better ourselves. While it’s easy to get hung up on what happened yesterday, the best thing we can do is look to the future, to say to ourselves that our days to come are going to be better than what we’ve left behind. For that to happen, we need to draw a line, and make a conscious mental shift. Every great journey begins with a single step. Take that step today, and you’ll be on the path towards a better future.

Get Rid of your Debts

It’ll be difficult to move on while you’re carrying on mountains of debt, however. So make becoming debt-free your top priority. There are many ways you can do this. You can shift the debt elsewhere and take advantage of lower interest rates; you can curb all non-essential expenditures and solely focus on paying off debt, or you can work with a bankruptcy attorney if the debt is insurmountable. Once you’ve got that debt monkey off your back, you’ll be able to plot your financial life, one that is much more sustainable.

A New Monthly Budget

You’re going to have to make some changes if you’re going to avoid making the same mistakes as before. Step one will involve drawing up a new monthly budget. Most people are guilty of spending far more than they realize, and actually, most of these expenses are entirely avoidable (you could be spending $1000 a year just on coffee, for example). To ensure that you’re not going to repeat the same mistakes, figure out how much you can really afford to spend once all of your necessary expenses have been met.

In the Savings Account

Most Americans wouldn’t be able to find $1000 for an emergency if it were required. So when that emergency happens (and they always do), they have to resort to, yes going back into debt. You can prevent this from happening by putting money into your savings account. This won’t just be useful for those emergencies, either; it’ll also provide you savings to call upon in the years to come.

Go Easy on Yourself

The final tip is: go easy on yourself. Finances are not easy, and it’ll be all the more difficult if you’re beating yourself up because of all the mistakes you made in the past. You’ve planned to change, and will, so that’s it!

Can You Make Money Through Your Holiday Plans?

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about vacations?

Salted waves in the sea? A sandy beach? A palm tree casting its cool shadow over your head? A collection of colorful and vibrant bikinis and summer dresses? The sun rising high in the sky and tanning your skin in the hot afternoon?

Let’s be honest; most people cultivate a glamorous image of what holiday means. But there’s something that most holidaymakers refuse to think about for fear of ruining their vacations, and it’s their budget. Indeed, going on holiday – whether you’re a beach lover or a mountain addict – can be expensive. There’s a reason why a lot of people feel more stressed when they’re back to work, and it’s because vacations are always a costly experience. In fact, financial experts agree that the most expensive season to go on holiday is not summer, but the Christmas period, because it’s a time renowned for self-indulgence and generosity. Spending your Christmas away in an exotic location is known for causing debts if you’re not careful with your money! This is followed closely by the summer break, which can put your bank account in the red if you’ve decided to visit a distant destination – after all, if you know that it’s going to be your once in a lifetime chance to experience a new country or culture, it’s easy to understand how you might end up overusing your credit card.

So, it’s important to consider options that can still make your holiday dream come true without breaking the bank. Can you save money – or even make money – through your travel plans? It’s precisely what we want to find out in this article!

How much can you save through smart trip booking?

If you’re not an experienced traveler, you’ve probably heard before that booking your flight in advance is the cheapest option. In reality, it’s worth exploring the idea of early flight or hotel bookings, and especially whether they are truly less expensive than traditional reservations. It’s fair to say that there are peak times that can’t be avoided. It doesn’t matter how much in advance you decide to book your hotel room. If you’re spending Christmas away, it’s still going to be expensive because Christmas is never cheap. So what are the best tips to save money when you need to travel? The cheapest day to fly is Friday, contrary to the conventional wisdom that holds that the cheapest fares are on Tuesday and Wednesday. Flying midweek is more expensive than a weekend getaway, so you can enjoy a weekend away without breaking the bank. However, make sure to come back on a Monday and not the Sunday, as it’s the priciest day to fly. Monday is not only good to fly back home, but it’s also a good day to book your flight as you might be paying 5% less for the same trip. Finally, if you’re looking for cheap holiday packages, February is one of the cheapest months to depart, for instance, saving you hundreds of dollars in the long term.

Admittedly traveling by plane is not always the best solution. Train travels are popular in Europe, but they are under-appreciated in the US. Trains are becoming a cost-saving alternative to planes, especially if you’re traveling a short distance or in an area where train service is fast and frequent. In fact, for US-based trips, you might find that the train is the most competitive options. Of course, taking the train is longer than flying, but you’ve got the advance of enjoying some lovely sceneries along the way and arriving in the town center.

Visit a wonderful place with a mobile accommodation

The best way to save on flights and hotel stays – without mentioning dinners out – for a medium to long-term vacation is to go frugal and embrace your inner camper’s soul. If you enjoy camping, you can save tons of money and still have a fantastic holiday. For a start, you’ll be pleased to know that you can find dispersed campgrounds and areas on public land that are completely free to camp in. That should beat any hotel fee! However, do make sure to read about their camping duration limit, as these places tend to offer no more than 7-14 days in a row. Admittedly, free camping means no service, so you’ll have to pack in all your supplies. But if you love the sensation of freedom and tranquillity, it’s a great place to begin the day! If you have a military past, you can be granted a free annual pass to national parks, which are ideal for wilderness camping. Many experts suggest ideas on how to make the most of the food available – either the supplies you bring with you or the local resources – so that you don’t need to add extra expenses while on the road. However, if you’re not comfortable camping, you will not appreciate any of the practical solutions they offer! No worries: There are other options!

Have you thought of sharing the travel costs?

If you’ve got an Uber car, you’ve probably noticed that there’s always a way to make a little money wherever you’re going. The same argument is valid on holiday. You can pay back for your travel costs if you choose to travel by car. Indeed, there are lucrative days everywhere for Uber and Lyft drivers, such as July 4th. If you live near the beach, you’ll notice that a lot of holidaymakers want to celebrate the weekend by the sea. You can maximize your earnings if you know how to make the most of your time. if you’re holidaying in France, for instance, July 14th is a great day as it’s French Revolution Day, so you’ll find plenty of people looking for firework displays and party in town. You can make good money by rising your fares on spêcial days, but be careful, though. If it’s too expensive, nobody will want to book you. Additionally, you can also find online platforms where you can enter your travel dates in advance to share the driving costs with people traveling in the same directions. This is especially useful for long distance journeys.

Is hostel always the cheapest solution?

Where should you stay once you’ve reached your destination? It’s fair to say that many backpackers and young holidaymakers prefer hostels because it’s often the cheapest accommodation option in town. Just like with camping, not everyone would be happy to stay in a hostel, so you need to figure out what’s right for you. As a rule of the thumb, hostels tend to prefer dormitory rooms and shared bathrooms, while you can enjoy more privacy in a hotel. However, some hostels also have private bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. You should find out more on their websites and through the guests’ reviews. With a hostel comes a natural security concern, especially if you’re sharing a dorm. Can you be sure your belongings will still be there when you wake up? Most hostels have deployed effective solutions to protect their guests, though, but you might feel safer in a hotel room.

Can your holiday accommodation make money?

What if you own a holiday home? It’s fair to say that you won’t be spending much time looking for accommodation if you already got one. If you’re still in the process of looking for a property – in an investment context, for instance – you’ll need real estate experts such as PropertyGuru to help you find the perfect home away from home. The advantage of owning your holiday accommodation is that you can let the accommodation pay for itself through rentals. There are also significant tax benefits for holiday lettings, assuming the property is available for letting to the public for at least 210 days a year.

Can you rent out your home?

When you live in a beautiful area, it’s easy to understand how the best kind of holiday could be staycations in the comfort of your own home. Alternatively, you can rent out a spare room in your house – if you live in a touristy area – to finance your future vacation. Most hosts on AirBnB and similar services have found that they enjoyed the interaction with their guests. What better way to pay for your holiday than to help others organize their holiday plans? Welcoming students, if you live next to a campus area, is always a profitable strategy.

Staying for free

For young and solo travelers, there’s a form of hospitality exchange that can make your travels a lot more enjoyable. Services such as CouchSurfing can let you stay with locals and discover their culture and history. Most hosts don’t charge travelers, and you can get to meet amazing people on the way. Admittedly, this solution is best for backpackers, enthusiastic solo holidaymakers and anybody who’s comfortable getting to know people.

Just get paid to travel

Last, but not least, you could get paid to travel. Wedding photographers can get paid up to $10,000 to record the big day to memory. Influential travel bloggers are paid to stay in luxury hotels and share their experience. And many more!

In the end, going on holiday doesn’t have to break the bank. From the moment you decide to plan your trip to the booking of your accommodation, there are many solutions to pay less – or even make money – for your holidays!

Entrepreneurial Essentials For Startups

So, you want to start a business? If so, you are in very good company. However, while many people believe they have the entrepreneurial spirit, the reality is that ‘spirit’ alone isn’t enough to make a business a success. There are plenty of nuts and bolts that you need to know beforehand, and this essential knowledge for entrepreneurs should be the bare minimum you learn before starting a company. Let’s take a look at what it takes to ensure your new company has the best possible chance of surviving – and thriving.

A passion

First and foremost, passion is the fire that will ignite your business. If something consumes you every single moment of the day, it’s usually a good sign. Passion isn’t the be-all, of course, but it is a vital cog in the wheel. If you are just trying to start a business to make money rather than tap into your own passionate interests, the chances are you won’t make it.

A personality

Make no mistake about it – starting and running a business is tough. You need to be optimistic, full of initiative, and have a big vision that you can explain to others easily. You also need drive, persistence, and incredibly thick skin – rejection and failure is a large part of becoming a successful entrepreneur. Do you like taking risks, but can you also rein in your emotions when things are uncertain? If so, perhaps you have a chance of success.

Practical skills

It’s fair to say that as a business owner, you need a well-rounded skill set. Can you plan and organize, or could you benefit from finding a cofounder that can? Do you have a good general knowledge of the business world, or would you benefit from taking an operations manager degree online? And finally, do you even have the time? Becoming an entrepreneur will take up every hour of the day, and is incredibly hard work. If you have a young family, are you prepared to lose all that precious time with them?

Communication skills

Are you able to communicate with all types of people, from workers in your business all the way through to investors and potential clients? If not, you had better get practicing! Part of the art of running a successful business is being able to explain what you want and what you mean. You have to sell your vision to get people behind you – and

A network

Even though you are going it alone, the entrepreneurial world is no place for people that hide. Put simply, you have to get yourself out there. Networking will play a vital role in the success of your business, so if you are the shy and retiring type, you had best work out some tactics to deal with the inevitable. Of course, you don’t have to be a loud, crazy extrovert to be a successful business person – in fact, many top entrepreneurs are introverts. But you do need to find a way of getting out there and networking.

Passion Pays: Let Me Show You How

You might think that your passion is simply a pastime or a hobby. But it can be so much more than that. It can be a way to make money, either as a second income or even your main source of money. It’s worth looking into this possibility as you can even easily increase the money coming into your account each month or make sure that thirty percent of your life is spent on something that you actually enjoy and may even love. So, let’s look at how to make this a reality.

Social Media Is Your Friend

If you have a passion, you might want to consider basing your social media around it. This could be anything from Twitter to Youtube or even Facebook. Once you have set up your account, rather than using it to post about random things, you can post about your passion. This could be music, film, celebrities or fashion. Whatever your passion is start posting and transform your social profile into a source of news on that subject. This will make it valuable to followers interested in learning more about a shared passion or interest. You can learn about how to do this on the video below.

Once that happens, you can start making a lot of money. You’ll get sponsors, advertisers and you can essentially monetize whichever social account that you have chosen. If you want you can make sure that you are using all your social accounts for the same purpose linking them together to create a brand.

A Passion As A Service

You might have a passion that you would like to take on full time. That could be playing music, art or writing. Rather than simply completing these activities in your spare time, you can instead turn it into a full career. For instance, you could teach your skill. To do this, you just need to get the equipment you need. Let’s say that you’re going to teach piano. The Musician’s Paradise has advice on the right digital piano that you can buy for your home that you can use to teach.

A Business Venture

Or how about setting up your own business around a passion that you have. The simplest example of this would arguably be a blog. You can spend your days writing articles and creating content around a passion that you have. For instance, you might love superhero movies. You could create an entire blog dedicated to this concept. Build a readership and eventually, you will find that you build a following, quickly gaining interest from fans. This allows you to make money though be warned, it will take a while to be large enough to treat it as a main income. Still, it can certainly put some extra cash in your pocket.

As you can see then, there are various ways that you can make money off a passion.