7 Things to Invest in with Your Tax Return

If you’re expecting a tax refund this year, now is the time to start planning where the money is going to go. Instead of treating this money like it’s a gift from the government (hint: it’s not), give this money purpose by investing in things that will give you a positive return value.

  1. Pay Off Your Debt

This is possibly the least exciting option, but it is definitely the one that will put you in the best spot financially when done correctly. If you’re feeling shackled by your debt (especially your high-interest debt), consider taking your tax refund and putting it into paying off this burden.

Other than being great for your future financially, using your tax refund to pay off your debt has the possibility of increasing your credit score – a great added bonus that we would all love to have.

2. Spend it on Something You Need

Is your car slowly starting to break down? Have you forgotten to go to the doctor in 6 years? Consider using your tax return to pay for something you truly need to get done this year to take care of the essentials that you have been putting off for some time now.

3. Invest in Yourself

Taking some time and money to put back into your own well-being is something that we typically do not do often enough. Be sure to take care of your health this year by signing up for a gym membership, finding a mattress that isn’t a hand-me-down from your great grandmother’s house, or even getting a massage (or 5!). A little bit of self-care can go a long way, especially in today’s all-work-no-play environment.

4. Invest in Your Home

Take a good look at the value of your home. Do you have projects that you started two years ago and never finished? What about renovations that you’ve always dreamed of completing but have never even gotten quoted on? Tax season is a great time of the year to evaluate where you home could use some improvements, not only to make you feel happier and more comfortable in it, but to also increase its long-term value.

5. Fund a Roth IRA

Investing in a Roth IRA is a great way to find financial stability for your future-self. Roth IRAs act very similarly to regular investment funds, but they grow tax free and are basically retirement accounts that you can fund with after-tax money.

6. Spend it on Something You Want

You’ve been saving all year, but it’s hard to not feel guilty when we splurge a little bit. If you feel you have been working hard and deserve a nice vacation or a long weekend to the coast, don’t be afraid to take it! Remember – you earned this splurge.

7. Donate to Charity

A great way to spend your tax refund is by giving to those who are less fortunate. By donating to a charity that is close to your heart, you can feel good about where the money is going while also giving yourself the opportunity for larger deductions in the following year.

Sharing your wealth with those that are less fortunate is an important aspect of good money management and can improve the lives of numerous individuals – which can feel just as great as investing in yourself and your own financials.

Elise Morgan

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6 Steps to Ditching Your Debt

Let’s face it — debt sucks! Keeping up with the payments means less cash to do what you really want. And, the interest makes the burden grow, often faster than your payments reduce the balance due. With a solid plan and a lot of determination, you can ditch your debt and get back to having more fun.

Not sure where to start? Here are Charlie’s 6 steps to ditching your debt:

Stop the Bleeding

Unless it’s completely unavoidable (like that student loan for next semester), don’t take on any more debt. Avoid new credit cards, lock up/cut up the ones that you have, and consider freezing your credit. It’s important to take control.

Assess the Damage

Now, it’s time to see what you’re up against. Make a list of all of your debts to include who you owe, how much you owe, the minimum monthly payment, and the interest rate. Then, brace yourself and determine the grand total.  (It’s OK to have a glass of wine, a chocolate cake, or a bubble bath after this step!)

Choose Your Strategy

There are two main ways to tackle debt: the snowball method or the avalanche method. With the snowball method, you pay your debts off from smallest to largest amount owed. This is great for momentum building — you’ll feel like you’re #winning pretty quickly. With the avalanche method, you pay off your debts from highest to lowest interest rate. Ultimately, the math works out in your favor here because you’ll pay less in interest overall. If you’re paying off debt, ignore any haters, because it’s a victory regardless of how you do it!

Tighten Your Purse Strings

Trimming your budget may be painful at first, but crushing your debt will feel amazing. There are some easy places to cut spending first: eating out, shopping, travel, entertainment, etc. If there are things you can’t cut completely, find hacks to spend less. Use gift cards, skip the expensive cocktail at dinner, or shop thrift stores. If you can’t cut these categories any further, consider going more extreme. Get a roommate, sell your car, or move back home. These strategies are hard, and may not be possible for you (or you’re already doing them!), but every dollar helps.

Hustle for Extra Cash

In addition to cutting your spending, try earning some extra money specifically to go toward your debt. Look for side gigs, sell your stuff, or offer freelance services.

Track Your Progress

Ditching your debt is hard work. It takes commitment and willpower. This process could take a long time, so it’s important to track how far you’ve come to keep your motivation level high. Be sure to reward yourself (in a budget-friendly way!) as each account balance hits zero.

Remember: You’re not in this alone. Charlie can help. Just tell him ‘pay off debt’ and he’ll guide you.

Share with Charlie: What’s your favorite debt pay off story? Do you have any tips for the community?

This article was originally published at HiCharlie.com

 

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What to Do When You Miss a Paycheck

You’ve finally got a handle on your budgeting and then the unexpected happens… your paycheck is late.

If the thought is already sending you into a downward spiral, hold up. Yes, missing a paycheck is a less than ideal situation, but you need to have an action plan in place before it happens.

Don’t feel like you have to take out a personal loan or grab your credit card. Go through the following steps first to see what makes sense for your individual situation.

Dance Around Your House

No really. If you’re not a dancer (but c’mon we know you can move it move it) choose another little activity that will dissipate any nasty emotions.

When you panic, you might make a knee-jerk reaction you’ll regret. Yes, you need money to survive, but if you do something like yelling at your employer or borrow money with a high-interest loan, you may be dealing with those consequences years down the line.

Instead, take a few deep breaths and try to relax. The goal is to look at your situation objectively. Once you feel more in control, move onto the next step.

Look at Your Bank Accounts

Seeing where you stand financially will help you set a plan. No matter how you feel (you got this!), looking at the numbers gives you an objective picture of what is going on.

  • Look at all your bills (including debt) and see what you owe and their due date
  • Look at how much money you have in your checking and savings accounts

Once you have those numbers,  you can create an emergency budget to get you through the red.

Tap Into Your Emergency Fund

If you have savings set aside for emergencies, now’s the time to use it. That being said, it’s still a good idea to cut your budget down to the bare necessities just in case. When you start receiving paychecks again, then you can factor in a line item on your budget to replenish your emergency fund.

For those who don’t have emergency funds, now’s not the time to feel shame around it. Take this as a reminder that an emergency fund is there to help you when times are tough. Once your situation is back to normal and you’re receiving a regular paycheck, consider setting aside money in case an emergency fund happens.

As for how much to aim for, most experts agree that $1,000 is a good amount to strive for. Once you’ve reached that milestone, then aim for more — three to six months of your expenses. Charlie can help you set one up.

Make Sure The Necessities Are Taken Care Of

Now is the time to focus on the essentials, literally. Right now, your essentials are shelter, food, utilities, and transportation AKAthe items you need to ensure you still have a place to live and food on the table. If your last resort is eating at home with your parents for a week, you do what you gotta do.

The last step had you list out all of your bills and debt. Go ahead and include expenses and list them in order of importance. Once you have that, look at your emergency budget to see if you’ve allocated money towards the essentials. If not, adjust your budget accordingly.

Let’s say you have $500 in your checking account. Take a good, hard look at what you need to purchase until the next paycheck comes in.. For example, you tend to buy groceries once a month, but you notice that your pantry is pretty well stocked. Can you get creative and make meals based on what you already have? Or can you buy sale-only grocery items?

Slash and Burn Unnecessary Items

Remember — this is temporary. Once your paycheck arrives you can get your subscription services back if it makes sense. It sucks to think about giving up on things like Netflix and meal delivery kits. However, cutting back will help provide some relief when money is tight.

f there are services you can suspend or cancel temporarily, great. If canceling them means paying a hefty fine (like many cable subscription packages), see if you can negotiate with the company to see if there’s anything they can do. Charlie can help you with that! Just say “Help me cut my bills” and he’ll lead the way.

Same goes for any necessary expenses. Call up your mortgage or insurance provider and explain your situation. Some companies —  though not all — may help provide some relief by allowing you to defer your payments.

Sell Your Stuff

If cash is really tight, consider selling some of your unwanted items. Go through all your goods to see what you can sell — think baby clothes, designer items, books, CDs and even jewelry. There are plenty of resale or consignment stores that will take those items off your hands and pay you cash right away.

You can also consider selling your time and skills, like offering to mow your neighbors’ lawns, walk some dogs, or tutor kids in the evenings. There are tons of ways to put a few extra dollars in your pockets. Get creative and you may be surprised and what you’d find!

Talk to Your Employer

It varies from state to state, but most employers in the U.S. are required to disclose when and how you’ll get paid. Now’s the time to approach your employer to ask what’s going on and when you can expect to receive your next pay. You may also want to contact your state labor agency to find out about your rights. This way, you can keep updated on what’s going on and it might provide some relief.

If you do miss a paycheck, remember that it’s not the end of the world. Breathe, try to relax and look at your financial situation objectively. There are solutions. And if you need to ask for help from friends, family or in the form of a loan, so be it.

You’ve got this.

This article was originally published at HiCharlie.com

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Why Taking Responsibility Could Be An Important Start To Addressing Your Debt

A majority of Americans are carrying some form of debt; approximately 77 percent of them according to Northwestern Mutual’s 2018 Planning & Progress study.The average debt per person has surpassed $37,000 in the last year and more people are finding it difficult to face their increasing debt. While having there are a host of debt management tools and apps available to help you on your journey, the key to resolving it begins with taking responsibility both for your past spending habits, and your future. If one is to become debt free, it takes a good amount of sacrifices, cost-cutting, and self-reflection. The sooner you accept responsibility, the earlier you can begin to make progress in your debt journey. Here are a few ways you can face your debt problems; and why it works.

Change The Narrative

The first step in conquering your outstanding bills is to change the way you view it. Debt can impact much more than your financial health; debt can affect your mental well being as well. Therefore, changing the way you approach it is important for many more reasons than simply being free of repayments or rebuilding a credit score. While it is a financial obligation and can be a source of financial stress, focusing on the end result can be much more motivating than looking at the current problems it presents. So instead of focusing on how little disposable income you currently have thanks to debt repayments, try considering what you would like to do with the cash once it is no longer pledged to repaying debt. Changing your view also means embracing responsibilities for repaying your debt.Being accountable allows you to better yourself and the decisions you make when it comes to your finances; allowing you to truly move forward and become debt free (and remain that way).

Get Comfortable With Your Means

Often, the reason that many of us end up in debt is that we purchase or spend on items that are not within our current means or income bracket. As a result, we end up using credit cards or other financing options and having high-interest charges compounds it further. Instead, get comfortable with your income without any reliance on savings, credit cards or other financing sources. Can you afford your current lifestyle on your monthly income? If not, this is a sign to examine the different aspects of your spending and get to budgeting. It can also pinpoint the problematic areas for you when it comes to debt. Knowing your triggers is a vital part of the battle against debt.

Take The Emotion Out Of It When Dealing With Money

Money worries are the number one trigger when it comes to stress in America. Being emotionally invested when making financial decisions can cloud or influence our judgment. As a result, you may end up choosing not the best option financially. One good example is cutting costs to put extra money towards repaying your debt. Often we may be hesitant to reduce money spent on items or activities simply because it has a meaning to us but it is not necessarily a need in our daily lives. Taking the emotion out of it means being objective and a great way to do this is writing everything down on paper. Focus on the numbers and your debt plan; this will help you stick to your resolve.

Chrissy Helders

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Are you Suffering from a Debt Hangover?

Yup, the holidays are the time when you can get overboard (in every sense of the word). Who can resist shiny bobbles, Christmas markets and an adorable pair of shoes you’ll wear to a holiday party?

Next thing you know, you’ve swiped your credit card too many times and gone into debt. AKA a debt hangover — when you have trouble sleeping, aversion to checking credit card statements, and even snapping at your loved ones.

It’s not exactly a fun topic, but it’s an important one. Instead of saying bad things about yourself (none of that around here!), grab a cup of hot chocolate, curl up on your couch, and read on to find out what you can do to fix the situation and prevent it from happening again.

What is a Debt Hangover?

Let’s say you go out with a bunch of friends to celebrate the fact you got a fancy new job promotion — you have a new office overlooking the city! You’re so elated you end up buying a round of drink for your friends, then they return the favor. The next morning, you’re a bit sick and wondering what the heck happened last night.

A debt hangover is much like the story above, except that you spent too much money instead of going overboard on drinks. What typically happens is that you’re so caught up in holiday cheer (or another big moment) you go spend-crazy. We’re talking about presents, travel, activities, and food.

It doesn’t stop there. After Christmas shops are notorious for tantalizing deals and sales. Besides, if you received gift cards, you may spend more than the amount on the gift card. New Year’s resolutions can also make you swipe that card more than you should. Like declaring you’ll implement an exercise routine, so you buy new outfits or a yoga mat. Or you’ll eat healthier, so you go and buy a blender to make smoothies.

Come January, your financial ends up suffering. The credit card bills reveal the consequences of your actions, and it may not be pretty.

But you’re not alone. Statistics from the Federal Reserve in October this year show that credit card debt went up over 10%, the highest in 16 years.

No Shame in This Game

If you’re in debt, there is no shame around it. It’s understandable you got caught up in the moment. There’s something about holiday displays, delicious food, and Lifetime holiday movies that can turn anyone into a credit card swiping monster.

The important thing is how you deal with the situation. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you need to feel, then start working on an action plan. If you got yourself into some hot water with your money, there is a solution to get yourself out of it. The first step is to recognize you have debt and refusing to ignore it.

How to Cure Your Debt Hangover

No matter how much holiday-related debt you picked up, acknowledge how much debt and make a plan. As in, tally up all your credit card statements and see how much you owe. It’s OK, take a breath if you’re shocked by the number.

Now you’re ready to take some action:

Start Paying Your Credit Cards

It’s pretty obvious you should pay down your debt (duh!). It’s important to remember that you need to make at least the minimum payments on those credit bills, more if you can. Paying the minimum payments gets you out of trouble with your creditors and paying more will get you out of debt faster.

It’s also a good idea to figure out a debt-free date. The beginning of the year is also a pretty lucky time — you may get year-end bonuses, cash gifts, and tax refunds. (We’re not telling what to do, but you may want to take the extra cash to tackle your holiday debt!)

Enlist Help

We get it. Debt can be overwhelming. Instead of doing it by yourself, see if you can seek support — friends or personal finance tools — that can offer you suggestions to cut out unnecessary costs. Your budget may have seen better days, but now’s the time to see where you may be able to cut back to help pay off that debt.

Think of simple actions you can do like canceling subscriptions you never use or negotiating down bills. You’d be surprised at how a simple 15-minute call can save you hundreds of dollars. (Or, Charlie can do it for you!)

Take on a Side Hustle

If you don’t have enough money to pay down your debt, consider taking on a side job to earn more… There are lots of options — think grocery delivery services to mystery shopping gigs — all you have to do is find one that works around your schedule.

How to Prevent Future Debt Hangovers

As the saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take it as a lesson learned in that it pays to be prepared. It’s never too early to open a savings account to start your holiday spending fund for the upcoming year. And oh yeah, set a budget!

And when you do, make sure to take as much as you can into consideration. Think gifts, wrapping paper, and transportation costs — everything adds up!

It’s not sexy to think about preventing debt, but your future self will thank you when you leave the holiday unscathed and hangover-free.

This article was originally published at HiCharlie.com

 

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Debt And Digital Nomadism Are More Compatible Than You Think

In a world where we are overwhelmed by credit offers and related debt from college, the idea of selling off most of our physical possessions and having an adventure can be intensely appealing. Excluding home mortgages, the average American currently carries nearly $40,000 in personal debt, a crushing financial and psychological burden for many adults. Most studies do not consider the home mortgage when evaluating debt burden, but selling a property is actually one of the most effective ways to put a huge dent in your debt quickly.

Liquidating home equity usually results not only in the elimination of the mortgage payment but additional funds that may be put toward other debts as well. However, most homeowners argue the cost of rent will be equal to or greater than their mortgage payment. For the digital nomad, however, this is not the case. If you have the option to simplify your life by choosing to travel affordably and forego ownership of most of your larger, debt-carrying possessions, you could operate on a very reduced budget. This would allow you to allocate your “adventure savings” to paying down student loans or other debt instead.

Adventure Is Waiting

If buying a one-way ticket to a foreign country, loading up your backpack, and never looking back sounds like the adventure of a lifetime to you, you could be a digital nomad just waiting to find your true calling. While historically the “backpacking across Europe” phase of most adults’ lives happens in their early or mid-20’s, the internet has facilitated a digitally nomadic and fully sustainable professional lifestyle. That experience can last, literally, the span of their working life. In fact, many freelance workers find they can actually reduce or pay off their debts and travel the world at the same time by fully embracing this lifestyle. Most leave the lifestyle to “put down roots” eventually, but their lives are enriched and their perspectives immeasurably broadened by their previous nomadic existence.

This Lifestyle Is Fully Accessible

Many people assume that digital nomads either are independently wealthy and fund their travel in this way or are painfully impoverished and often have nowhere to stay other than an airport lounge while they wait for a standby flight home. The truth is far different. Most digital nomads are freelancers and work as much or as little as they want from anywhere they wish to stay. Software developers, writers, graphic designers, and even travel nurses find digital nomadism an appealing and viable option. There are a variety of customer-service oriented career options for digital nomads as well, and many companies, including loan consolidation organizations, offer online training programs tailored to the specific needs of service organizations.

Budgeting For Affordable Nomadism

Digital nomads traveling professionally quickly learn that it is not just affordable but also necessary to avoid hostel living. While cheap on the face, hostels can be noisy and usually are priced per-night. This makes them far more expensive for long-term nomadism than short-term rental options on platforms like Airbnb. These rentals usually provide a more affordable, all-inclusive stay that does not usually require separate payments for wi-fi, utilities, or parking. Many hosts will negotiate a discounted rate if you let them know how long you plan to stay.

Digital nomads should plan to live in walkable areas and utilize public transit rather than staying in a location that will necessitate car rental or even regular use of ride-sharing options. Of course, your food budget can be kept to a serious minimum by eating in and keeping that grocery list of local fare on the low end of the spending spectrum.

Income Expectations And Demands

Your income as a digital nomad will depend on the amount of time you dedicate to working, if you are paid hourly, and the rate of pay or scope of projects you take on. If it sounds a lot like working in an office, that is because this part of your digitally nomadic life will be largely unchanged. Do not be discouraged, however. This is a good thing. It will enable you to exert control over your income and create a predictable model for your living expenses, including paying down your debts.

If you are a freelance software developer, for example, you may earn an annual income of around $130,000. That is assuming you are working basically full-time. If you worked in any of the “best cities for software developers,” such as San Francisco, Seattle, or San Jose, then you would face living expenses that would dwarf your six-figure income. Living as a digital nomad, however, you could live in Lisbon, Portugal, and spend just about a tenth of your salary each month on living expenses. If tiny, exotic islands are more your style, then you might consider San Pedro, Belize. There, you would spend only about 9 percent of your monthly pay on living expenses!

Breaking Down “The Boring Stuff”

As a digital nomad, you have the opportunity to live a life of high adventure. You can take the time to see amazing and new things every time you shut down your laptop and close up shop for the day. However, there are a few “boring” details to consider, like paying taxes, dealing with healthcare, and handling insurance issues. As far as your taxes go, you may qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion that allows you to exclude certain income from your taxes and deduct some foreign housing amounts. If you are self-employed, you will still owe self-employment taxes, however. You should certainly consult a tax professional about your eligibility for these savings.

As far as healthcare and health insurance goes, it will be important for you to distinguish between travel insurance, which will not apply to you if you remain abroad long-term, and international insurance. International healthcare plans provide coverage and access to providers if you plan to live abroad for a year or more. These plans range in cost from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Clearly, your health will play a big role in determining your digital nomad’s budget!

Putting A Dent In Your Debt

Digital nomads’ budgets are just like any other household budget; it’s just that your household moves from place to place. Also unlike a traditional household,  you can move your home to wherever meets your budgetary needs without putting a property on the market or breaking a lease. Your digital nomad lifestyle actually lends itself to extreme savings, so make paying down your existing debt a significant part of your monthly budget. Those savings can go toward a financially free future while your adventure funds the process.

Chrissy Helders

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Enhancing Your Physical Health Can Increase Financial Health

You know how the saying goes: “Health is wealth.” Well, according to one of the largest banks in the country, that’s actually true. Their findings showed that 81% of respondents felt that their goals were much easier to achieve when their finances were in order, with 70% of respondents stating that good financial health had a positive impact on their physical health. Because engaging in physical activities and fitness routines require you to also engage in emotional and mental training, it’s no wonder why finance experts recommend physical activity as a way to get your life in order, debt and money management included.

Combine Financial and Fitness Goals

Climbing out of debt often seems like an insurmountable mountain when you look at it as one big problem; the same goes for losing large amounts of weight or completely changing your eating habits. This is normal, and it’s something both fitness and finance experts recommend to avoid doing. Take large issues in small bites and set small, actionable goals that you know you can accomplish. In this regard, it helps to combine your fitness and financial goals in order to make them work together for you. Start by committing to being mindful, both of what you eat and what you buy. Then, get rid of clutter, both in your personal life and in your finances. Avoiding purchases that you know you don’t really need will help you begin to cultivate the same habits regarding unhealthy foods or costly supplements that are more harmful than they are good.

Decrease Stress to Increase Productivity

There’s no doubt that financial stress can lead to other health problems. In fact, 30% of Americans report to feeling “constantly” stressed out about money. What this type of stress does is prevent you from being able to effectively achieve goals and give 100% of your physical and emotional energy into doing your job, or jobs, adequately in order to pull yourself out of debt. Focusing on your physical health, therefore, can help with this problem as it is a great way to relieve stress, clear your head, and ensure that the financial pressure you feel isn’t damaging your body in irreparable ways. If you can focus on cultivating a semi-strict diet and exercise routine, you’ll find that organization carrying over into other areas of your life. Your body will feel great, your mind will be clear and you’ll be able to sit down, craft a budget and feel motivated to stick to it.

Optimizing Financial and Physical Health

Making an effort to organize your debt is easy when you learn how to optimize your spending habits, just as you would optimize your eating habits and exercise routine. Doing so will help ensure that your financial health is in just as good shape as your physical health, and seeing as both are directly related to each other, combining both goals into one is not only practical, but it’s a great way to build physical and mental strength that will carry over into every area of your life.

Chrissy Helders

 

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Your Hobby Can Help You Out Of Financial Difficulty

A typical American household with credit card debt has an estimated $6,929 in money owed carried from one month to the next according to a NerdWallet’s annual analysis of U.S. household debt. This is the type of debt that comes with high interest rates and is difficult to pay off. If you cannot pay off your debts, a debt collector may either start legal proceedings against you or opt for arbitration. The agreement reached during arbitration may force you get a second job in order to pay off your credit card debt. Your hobby could be the second job you need to help you get debt relief.

Your hobby’s money making potential

One of the first things that will cross your mind is whether your hobby can help make you significant money. Search online and see how much other people sketching or drawing designs or making greeting cards or doing whatever your hobby is are making.  If your hobby is drawing faces, ask yourself how many face portraits you can draw a day and what type of face portraits are likely to sell. You may be very talented but only a few people appreciate that talent. Your hobby money making gig must not interfere with your normal work routine.

Believe in yourself

You cannot turn your hobby into a money making activity if you do not have faith in your skills.  Your customers need to be able to trust that you can do the job and do it right. Sometimes people who are really creative develop what is called impostor syndrome.  This syndrome basically means you feel like you are an inadequate and incompetent failure. You may start feeling that the people who really like the products you make only tell you they are great because they are either family or friends.  Have faith in your skills and your ability to make money off of those skills.

Use the internet

Go on websites like Craigslist.com to find people looking for the services you provide. You can also set up an ad for services on the same website. Don’t stop there, instead browse the internet to find blogs written by people who provide similar products or services you provide. Find out about the challenges they face and the new trends that can help you make more money through your hobby. Remember to start your own fun social media site that can help in lead generation, which will then act as a funnel to bring people to your website  so that they can buy what you sell.

As you pay down your debt, decrease your expenses on entertainment, cable, clothes, utility bills and more.  The money you save from this can then be added to the amount you save every month to pay off your loan.  Remember to stick to the debt settlement plan that was agreed on during the arbitration process because agreements made in arbitration are legally binding.

Chrissy Helders

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How Side Hustle Agency Work Can Help Pay Off Debt

Due to mounting financial pressures and student loan debt, 51% of millennials report having at least one side hustle that they rely on for income outside their primary job. Among the many pieces of advice that debt relief professionals give to individuals looking to relieve or diminish their debt is to find unique ways to put more money towards paying off your debt, and a side hustle is one of them. While this might include taking on additional hours at work, it can also include seeking other job opportunities on the side or, even better, signing up with an agency who will find you work when you need it.

Benefits of Agency Work

Aside from being a great way to expand your professional abilities and learn something new, deciding to work for an agency allows you to work pretty much as much as you like. This provides you with more flexibility, meaning you can make it work around your existing work schedule or within the hours that you need according to your lifestyle. While agencies sometimes take a portion of your pay for their services, you will often find yourself working fewer hours for better pay, which is great when you’re trying to save money in order to increase your debt payments. By working fewer hours for, generally, more pay, you will be able to make more than the minimum payment on your debt, which has actually been shown to only prolong a debt payoff strategy.

Think About What You Love

Generating income from a hobby is everybody’s dream, and it’s a dream that is easier to reach than you might think. If you are going to try and monetize a hobby or gain income from a side hustle, it’s important to first figure out what exactly you’d like to do. The work will be easier and more engaging if you are pursuing something you love to do or are already making a career out of. This is easy to do as agencies exist for pretty much every industry nowadays and can even specialize in particular areas, such as agencies that help travel nurses find the right fit or ones that will pitch you to potential employers according to your particular skill set.

Pay Off Your Debt Wisely

Assuming you have already created a budget and know how much you need to save in order to increase your debt payments, you will want to be smart about how you spend the extra savings. One strategy is to increase the frequency of your payments to weekly or bi-weekly in order to immediately put it towards debt instead of leaving it in your bank account where you might be tempted to spend it. Another strategy is to put all of your bonuses towards paying off debt, and if you are freelancing, working with an agency or earning money from any type of side hustle, it’s smart to consider this “bonus” money. Ensure you are able to meet your basic needs with your normal job’s income and use all of the additional money for debt payments.

Working Smarter Not Harder

Finding work through an agency that specializes in your career path, or even with one who will find general, temporary work for you, is a great way to increase your cash flow in order to pay off debt faster. Agency work provides you with flexibility while also ensuring you’re developing your professional skills in a way that will help you long after your debt is paid off. Be sure to budget wisely and make more than the minimum payments and you’ll find yourself progressing professionally while also reducing your debt. It’s a win-win for you and your career.

Chrissy Helders

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