Bad Credit Helper: Does Moving Back Home Make Sense.

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There’s a definite stigma against moving back home once you’ve left the house. It’s seen as setback or even total failure if an adult child moves back in with their parents, which is unfortunate, given that whether or not society approves of it, more and more college grads are moving back home.

But what if the alternative is getting behind on your payments? That would leave you with bad credit, and bad credit is not a great place to start your financial journey.

We talked to the experts to find out if a “failure to launch” might just be a chance to refuel. After all, getting more money in the bank and getting ahead of your payments so you aren’t haunted by bad credit for the rest of your life doesn’t sound so bad.

Ignore the haters.

We don’t have to tell you that there’s a stigma attached to moving back home, although we did anyway in the first line of this article. Other people’s opinions about the decision should be the last thing on your mind. The only important question is if it’s the right thing for you.

That’s what we think, and certified financial educator Maggie Germano (@MaggieGermano) agrees: “Sometimes when you fall on hard times financially, the only option is to move home. (Not everyone has this option, so it’s important to keep in mind the privilege of this opportunity.) I definitely think there is no shame in moving home if you need to. It’s a great opportunity to save money in rent and get back on your feet. If your parents don’t charge you any rent, you can end up saving thousands of dollars. You should take advantage of this time to pay off debt, build up savings, and work towards other financial goals. Once you feel more financially stable, it may be time to go back out on your own. There’s no right or wrong amount of time to stay home; whatever works for you and your parents is the right thing.”

Moving back home (if you have the privilege to do so, as Germano clarified) can indeed be a smart financial choice. And we even have the experts with the first-hand experiences to prove it!

Homeward bound.

Phil Risher is the founder of the Young Adult Survival Guide (@yasurvivalguide). He was kind enough to share his personal experience with us:

“I paid off 30k in student loans in 12 months making 48k. After, I saved up and bought my place with cash at the age of 25.

“Without moving back home after college I would not have been able to do these things.

“I always recommend for young adults to live somewhere inexpensive while they are building good financial foundations. If it isn’t at home, it could be a basement or a 1 bedroom, 1 bath apartment.

“I never lived with my Dad until I asked him if I could move home after college. I sweetened the pot by telling him I would cut the grass, clean the gutters, and be an on call baby sitter for my younger siblings. (What a deal!)

“Some steps you can take to get back on your feet are to start budgeting and creating goals. A goal could be when you want to move out again. And a budget is imperative to control your money and reach your goal.”

Kelan Kline of The Savvy Couple (@TheSavvyCouple) wrote about his experience moving back home at Millennial Money Man (@GenYMoneyMan): “We all know moving back home with your parents is not the most glamorous thing in the world. Reverting back to following their rules and having a chore list to complete was not an easy transition.

“The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to remember it is temporary. Most things in life take time and sacrifice to reap the rewards. Be patient. The financial gain you can make while living at home is second to none, trust me!

“I was not only able pay off my student loans ($8,000), but save enough money for a down payment on our first house. My expenses were next to none living at home, and I have always been extremely frugal. You can’t beat free room and board! Almost all my income went straight towards my loans to get debt free as quick as possible. Then I focused on stacking the Benjamins in the bank. My net worth went from -$8,000 to +$12,000, a $20,000 swing!”

But what about the “landlord’s” perspective?

Meet the parent.

So we’ve got the “kids”’ perspectives, but what about a parent’s take on it? Financial coach and fiscally conscious father Brad Kingsley (@maximize_money) gave us the dad’s directive:

“When I’ve tackled this topic in the past it has always been an “it depends” situation.

“The first thing that comes to mind is a recent college graduate coming back home. Sometimes it takes a little longer than expected to land a job that aligns with their education. But working part-time somewhere just to bring in money can hurt them in the job search. In that case moving back in with their parents for a short transition period might be the best short term option.

“The second thing is an older child who wants to come back home. If there has been an unforeseen emergency or life situation outside of anyone’s control, then I’d certainly want to be sympathetic and support that child through the specific challenge.

“In either case there should be a plan though. Having a child move back home should never be an open-ended stay-as-long-as-you-want-for-free type of situation. It can be a bridge from one point to another, but it should not be the destination. And without a plan in place, it can quickly turn into the destination by default.

“I recommend the parents and child agree on timing, responsibilities, expectations, and ‘the plan.’ Yes, the child should share the plan because it impacts the parents and they have a right to know and agree – or disagree and encourage other options.”

In conclusion, moving back home for a while has helped other people and it could help you too. Some people might give you a side-eye, but as long as your parent(s) and or guardian(s) are on board, the side-eyers will be feeling silly when you’re in a better financial situation down the line.


Contributors
Maggie Germano (@MaggieGermano) is a Certified Financial Education Instructor and financial coach for women. Her mission is to give women the support and tools that they need to take control of their money, break the taboo of discussing debt and income, and achieve their goals and dreams. She does this through one-on-one financial coaching, monthly Money Circle gatherings, her weekly Money Monday newsletter, and speaking engagements. To learn more, or to schedule a free discovery call, visit MaggieGermano.com.
Brad Kingsley (@maximize_money) is a certified financial coach helping people create a plan for their finances to achieve big goals like becoming debt free, paying for college, and preparing for a comfortable retirement. Visit his site at MaximizeYourMoney.com.
Kelan and Brittany Kline aka The Savvy Couple (@TheSavvyCouple) are two thriving millennials that are daring to live differently. They started their personal finance blog September 2016 to help others get money $avvy so they can live a frugal and free lifestyle. Brittany is a full-time 4th-grade teacher and Kelan runs The Savvy Couple full-time and works as a digital marketer. You can follow them here: FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.
Phil Risher is the founder of YoungAdultSurvivalGuide.com. Phil paid off $30,000 in student loans in 12 months making 48k. After, he saved up and bought his first place with cash at the age of 25. Phil now speaks with college students and young adults around the country about his 5-Step Guide to help them on their financial journey.

We Made an App Directory Just for You!

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Here at the OppLoans Financial Sense Blog, we want to give you all the tools to improve your financial life. Sometimes that means telling you whether your credit score can affect your job prospects. Or how you can properly discuss your money situation with your significant other. Now and then, we even give you tips to stay affordably healthy, so you’re less likely to run into costly medical bills. And let’s not forget our fun and free personal finace curriculum at OppU. But we’ve never given you a directory of financial apps to turn your phone into a money management machine.

Until now.

screenshots for the opploans app directory

Today, we are happy to present the Official Organic Locally Grown OppLoans App Directory. Go ahead and click the link, and look around the different app categories and pages. Each app page has a description of the price, a short sentence explaining what the app does, a list of features, and a longer description of whether or not you should try the app out for yourself, as well as links to download it. Some pages have interviews with the developers, founders, and other people behind the apps, like Kevin Kirn of Mint (@Mint), Nikki Pierce of Qapital (@Qapital), and Anton Derlyatka of Sweatcoin (@Sweatcoin).

Now we’ll take some time to address questions that are… well they’re not frequently asked, since the App Directory is only launching now, so here’s our App Directory NFAQ:

Is this a review site?

Not exactly, although there will be reviews on it, like on the Venmo page. The directory is more about providing you with as many resources as possible, with descriptions that should help you decide whether your specific financial needs make the app worth trying out. After all, each app, even ones in the same category, tend to be designed with a different approach in mind, so you should know which approach makes the most sense for your financial life.

What do the different categories mean?

You’ll notice that right now, there are four different categories of financial apps on the main directory page. We’re going to keep adding categories as we continually add new apps, but let’s go over what the current four mean:

Screenshots of Opploans Directory for Rewards

  • Budgeting: These are apps to help you track your spending habits. Some of them automatically categorize your spending, while others require manual input. By using one or more of these apps, you’ll be able to see how you’re spending your money so you can spend it more wisely. Many of the apps will even create cool charts to visualize where your money goes month to month.
  • Money Transfer: These are apps that allow you to send and receive money efficiently. Paper money is so last century. Now you pay for everything, from rent to tickets for the Broadway revival of Rent, on your phone.
  • Rewards: Want to earn some money on the side without going too far out of your way? That’s what this category is for. By answering surveys, playing games, or even just walking around, apps in this category will allow you to earn points towards gift cards, special offers, and cold hard cash.
  • Savings: Spending money can be fun. So if you want to spend less, you should find a way to make not spending money kind of fun too. That’s where this category comes in. Using apps that make saving easy, or even automate the process based off of your spending habits and rules you set up, you can put aside more money that you can use to pay off your debts, fix your credit score, or just get yourself something nice.

screenshot of the Sweatcoin app

Can you give me some previews of those interviews you mentioned?

You could just click through the directory… but we’ll give you a taste! Much like the OppLoans Financial Sense blog, the developers behind these apps clearly care about the financial lives of their customers.

Nikki Pierce, social media manager at Qapital, also showed a concern for their users’ holistic financial being: “Aside from the obvious benefits of adding some automation to your savings, I’ve found the most beneficial reason to use Qapital is gaining control and confidence over your financial life. Feeling out of control can be very debilitating. Qapital…well…capitalizes on your already existing spending and behavioral habits, which truly puts you at the helm of your own savings ship.”

And Anton Derlyatka, co-founder of Sweatcoin, decided to help people financially as a means to improve their physical health: “Sweatcoin delivers a sustainable behavior change: +14 percent uplift in activity levels after 6 months(!) from install. This is due to a unique incentive platform using instant gratification techniques to tackle present bias, a behavioral bug preventing us from focusing on long-term benefits”

Read the rest of these interviews and others in the directory!

So what’s next?

We’ll be regularly adding new app pages, as well as more developer interviews and OppLoans Reviews. There will also be new categories added and videos where we face different apps against each other. We definitely want to hear what kind of apps or content you’re looking to see more of, so e-mail us at appdirectory@opploans.com. Also, reach out if you’re a developer who wants to have their app featured in the directory. We’d love to have you!

So without further ado, start grabbing these apps and bringing your financial game to the next level!

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Contributors
Anton Derlyatka (@Sweatcoin) is an entrepreneur and investor in behavior change, digital health and people technologies — the industries ripe for innovation.  His latest undertaking is Sweatcoin, a digital currency backed by physical movement.  Sweatcoin utilizes insights from behavioral economics to drive sustainable behaviour change, making people more physically active. With more than 100,000 users as of Feb 2017, Sweatcoin makes people move 15% more even 6 months after initial download.
Kevin Kirn (@Mint) is the Head of Product for Mint, the leading personal finance app from Intuit Inc. Kevin is responsible for product management for Mint including web, mobile, platform and bill pay. Kevin’s passion for helping consumers and small businesses improve their financial lives brought him to intuit six years ago. Kevin joined Mint in early 2016 after five years leading the reinvention of QuickBooks Online, Intuit’s flagship small business product. Prior to Intuit, Kevin held several product leadership roles at Microsoft, financed startups with a venture capital firm and advised business leaders with McKinsey.
Nikki Taguilas-Pierce (@qapitalapp) is a Social Media Manager at Qapital, writer, and sketch/improv comedian. Her work has been featured on the Second City Network, Huffington Post, Chicago RedEye, and most recently, the CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase. A feature-length film she co-wrote and starred in, ‘This Afternoon’, was listed as the Chicago Tribune’s “Top 10 Films to See” at the Chicago International Film Festival. When not writing or engulfed in a social platform, you can find her performing throughout the Los Angeles and Chicago storytelling and comedy community.

How to Avoid a Costly Breakdown On Your Summer Road Trip.

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Summer in America is the season of apple pie, baseball, pool parties, and the open road. Driving is cheaper than flying in most cases. Unless, of course, you have a breakdown.

There’s nothing better than driving with the windows down past beautiful, remote scenery, and there’s nothing worse than feeling the car slow down in the middle of nowhere, puffs of smoke seeping out from beneath the hood as your engine gives up its last dying breaths.

Repairing a busted car on the roadside is never fun and never cheap! You’re better off taking the proper steps so you won’t have a breakdown in the first place. That’s why we spoke to our favorite auto masters to find out how you can prepare your car for the journey, as well as the destination.


Beat the heat.

Much like an ice cream cone or a human being, cars can only handle so much heat. But whereas you might be able to get by with sunscreen, water, and an ice cream cone, your car has other needs.

“The summer months are hard on the engines of cars,” Jill Trotta (@RepairPal_Jill), director of the automotive group at RepairPal (@RepairPal), told us. “The extreme heat of summer causes wear on mechanical components of cars. Weather can also cause problems with tires, brakes and the engine. If you want your family to be safe on the summer road trips, it is important to do summer car maintenance.”

One heat-based issue your car can run into is oil breakdown. Trotta gave us the… breakdown:

“Viscosity breakdown is a common problem with engines during the summer months. The heat of an engine begins to cause the oil to breakdown, and it no longer lubricates the engine. As the friction causes wear on parts, eventually your car will breakdown. To avoid viscosity breakdown, it is important that the engine stays cool. The cooling maintenance and checks needed before a road trip includes:

If the radiator has a leak or any hoses are dry and cracked, have them replaced before traveling.”

If you know you’ll be driving under the hot, hot sun, you owe it to yourself and to your ride to make sure it’s prepared for the journey.

Feeling a little tired.

Unless you have a hover car (and if you do, please give us a ride) you’re going to need tires for any road trip.

“Having good tires is one of the most important safety checks that need to be done before summer travels,” Trotta warned us. “Check the air pressure of your tire and make sure it is at the recommended pressure rating. The pressure rating is printed on the sidewall of the tire and will be measured in PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch).  It is also important to check the tire treads using the coin test, which tells you if it is time for new tires. Here are some of the items needed for tire maintenance on the road:

  • Tire Gauge
  • 12-Volt Portable Compressor

Problems with tires often start with a small puncture due to a nail, screw or road debris and here’s what to do about it. Always check the tire pressure and keep an eye out for punctures that need to be repaired.”

Accredited financial counselor Roslyn Lash (@RosLash) echoed the tire concern: “Be sure that your tires are good i.e. proper amount of tread, air/tire pressure”

If your tires aren’t in order, you’ll risk having to “Flintstone” the entire distance of your trip, which is murder on the feet.

Manage the essential fluids.

Just as blood carries life throughout the body, your car has fluids that are also important. What are those fluids? Don’t ask us, we’re not a car doctor! But Trotta is:

“There are many fluids that need to be checked and changed before a road trip. Change the oil and check the levels of the transmission and brake fluid before you go on a road trip. It is also a good idea to pack extra fluids with the repair kit and tools. Here are the fluids that you want to have with the spare tire in case of an emergency:

  • Oil
  • Transmission Fluid
  • Brake Fluid
  • Power Steering Fluid
  • Coolant

The spare tire compartment in most cars will have room for packing extra fluids. The only fluid that will take up room is the coolant that comes in a larger container. In addition to these fluids, keep an extra bottle of water with the other fluids for emergencies.”

Even though we aren’t a car doctor or a human doctor, we’ll back up Trotta’s water bottle suggestion. You want to keep at least as hydrated as your car is on these long trips.

Pump the brakes.

You could argue the brakes are the most important part of the car. The worst thing that’ll happen if you’re missing the wheels or engine is that you won’t go anywhere. The worst thing that’ll happen if you’re missing your brakes is…. well, let’s not get into it.

But we will let Trotta get into how you can make sure your brakes are ready for a road trip: “The brakes give you stopping power and aid in handling. Before traveling, the brakes of your car need to be inspected. Check the pads, change the fluid and bleed the lines. If the pads do not have much material left, they often begin to make noise due to a metal indicator built into them, which means they need to be changed. Here are the essential brake components that need to be checked before traveling:

  • Pads
  • Lines
  • Fluid

First, check the pads and have them changed if needed. A brake inspection is usually free at a RepairPal Certified shop near you. In addition to the brake pads, check all the lines for signs of wear or damage and bleed the brakes. Lastly, the fluid in the master cylinder needs to be checked and more brake fluid added if the level is low.”

So make sure you don’t pump the brakes… on proper brake maintenance.

Keeping cool.

Summer gets hot. The inside of your car shouldn’t be. That’s why you want to make sure your air conditioner is working properly.

“The maintenance for AC, wipers, and air filter are also important tasks to do before leaving on a road trip,” Trotta told us. Check the AC compressor and have an auto mechanic charge it if necessary. Change the air filters in your car too, which many modern cars have the air filter for the engine, as well as a cabin air filter. While you are checking the AC and changing air filters, check the wiper blades and make sure there is cleaning fluid in the deposit. Check these last few areas of your car before leaving on a road trip:

  • AC and Belts
  • Wiper Blades and Fluid
  • Air Filters

The AC compressor is connected to belts and pulleys on the engine. Turn on the engine and the AC to see if the belts make noise and visually inspect them for damage. It is a good idea to check the wiper blades as well as the wiper fluid. Wipers and wiper fluid aren’t just for rainy days – make sure you can clean off the bug graveyard your windshield turns into on long stretches of highway.

“To avoid car trouble and stay safe this summer, make sure you make a checklist. Before you pack the luggage, take care of any repairs before your next road trip. It is also important to protect against the summer heat. Make sure you have shades to prevent burns from hot car seats, steering wheels and other interior components that get hot in direct sun.”

Non-maintenance stuff too!

Of course, not all of your preparations will be car maintenance. There’s always a chance of a random incident, from an eagle dive bombing your car to some other animal attacking your car.

Karen E. (@Wanderlustingk), a travel blogger at Wanderlustingk.com, advises bringing tools, as well as financial protection: “My number one tip (after many disastrous) road trips is to have the highest level of triple AAA insurance. You have NO idea when you’ll be stranded and need be towed almost 200 miles just to find a mechanic that has the right parts. Similarly, have the right tools in your car, including a tow rope, so those driving by with pick-up trucks can help you if needed.”

Lash also suggests to: “be sure that you have a roadside assistance plan”

Take all of these precautions before your trip, and you’ll lessen the risk a breakdown that will ruin your vacation, as well as your financial life, especially if the repair costs leave you considering a payday loan or racking up credit card fees that could lead to bad credit. That’s one trip you don’t want to take.

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Contributors
Karen E. (@Wanderlustingk) is an American travel blogger and road trip addict who has taken road trips in 11 different countries.
Roslyn Lash (@RosLash) is an Accredited Financial Counselor. She specializes in financial education, adult coaching, and works virtually with adults helping them to navigate through their personal finances i.e. budgeting, debt, and credit repair. She is also the founder of Youth Smart Financial Education Services. Her advice has been featured in national publications such as USA Today, TIME, Huffington Post, NASDAQ, Los Angeles Times, and a host of other media outlets.
Jill Trotta (@RepairPal_Jill) is an automotive professional with over 25 years of professional experience. ASE Certified technician and consultant. She is currently working on the Automotive Professional Team at RepairPal. They do the hard work of identifying technically qualified, customer friendly auto shops and presenting them to consumers. They are working to develop transparency in the Automotive Industry. They also have a very accurate automotive repair price estimator that is available to shops and consumers.

Six Finance Experts You Should Follow Right Now

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When it comes to getting money advice, who is your most trusted source? Is it your dad? Your best friend? That stranger that you follow on Instagram for some reason who likes to post pictures of themselves waving around fat stacks?
(If it’s that last one, we suggest you look elsewhere for advice.)

Well, no matter who you look to for financial wisdom, it never hurts to get a second opinion. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of six bonafide money experts that you can follow on Twitter today.

You can look to them for insight into financial trends, credit, saving for retirement, taxes, and a whole heck of a lot more!

Michelle Singletary – @SingletaryM

Michelle Singletary is the author of “The 21 Day Financial Fast” and a Personal Finance Columnist for The Washington Post. Follow her on Twitter for a plethora of awesome tweets and advice about money and how to manage it.

John Ulzheimer – @johnulzheimer

John Ulzheimer is a nationally recognized expert in credit reporting and identity theft. He’s been working in the credit industry for over 25 years and has held positions with FICO, Equifax, and Credit.com.

Lauren Young – @LaurenYoung

Lauren Young is the Money Editor for @Reuters. She has over 16 years of personal finance experience, covering topics ranging from taxes, real-estate and investing to retirement and saving for college.

Mr. Money Mustache – @mrmoneymustache

Mr. Money Mustache is an early retiree who, according to his blog, “writes about how we can all live a frugal yet badass life of leisure.” Follow him on Twitter and check out his blog for great advice on how to cut back on bad money habits and expensive lifestyle choices.

Tara Siegel Bernard – @tarasbernard

Tara Siegel Bernard is a writer for The New York Times with years of experience writing about Personal Finance and consumer issues. If you’re looking for tweets about current financial issues, she’s a great person to follow!

Chris Hogan – @ChrisHogan360

Chris Hogan is a #1 National Best-Selling Author of “Retire Inspired”, the book that teaches you how to prepare for a successful retirement. If you’re striving to achieve financial success, you’ll probably want to check out his book, and follow him on Twitter!

Are there other financial experts that you like to follow? If so, we’d love to hear about them! You find us (and follow us) on Twitter at @OppLoans.

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Need Cash Fast? Try These 10 Great Side Hustles

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When you’re in a pinch, earning some extra money is a much better option than a predatory payday loan.

The thing about surprise expenses is that they’re impossible to anticipate. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be surprises. One second your car is working fine, the next it’s stalled out on the side of the road. One second your boiler is humming along, the next your basement is filled with smelly, black smoke. Life comes at you fast and it often leaves behind a hefty bill.

The best way to handle these kinds of emergency expenses is to have a dedicated emergency fund. But for some folks, those kinds of savings just aren’t a possibility. Taking out a loan is always an option—but folks whose credit is less-than-great might find themselves at the mercy of predatory payday and title lenders. And while OppLoans offers affordable installment loans that give you a safer, more responsible alternative to payday and title loans, getting any loan isn’t the only option available.

A great way to deal with emergency expenses is to go out and earn the cash to pay for them. That could mean taking a second job with a maid service or your local fast food joint, but there are also tons of side hustles out there that give you a lot more independence.

That’s why we reached out to a bunch of experts for some great ways to earn fast cash. We’ve got recommendations from:

Here are 10 of their top recommendations…

1.   Mystery shopping

If you are great with acting/pretending, this will be a great one for you. You essentially are an independent contractor for market research companies that hire you to go into particular stores, pose as a shopper using a specified scenario script so you can gather information for them. Mystery shopping pays anywhere from $10 to $50 per shop depending on the scenario. All you’re doing is asking questions and noting the answers so you can report back. You can even make it a part of your weekly shopping trips.” – Gertrude Nonterah

2. Moving services

“Make up some business cards ($20 if you get them done) and leave them with local Storage Facilities if people are looking for movers (they always are). You don’t even need a truck. Most people rent trucks from U-Haul and need drivers and loaders.” – Becky Blanton

3. Drop shipping

Kelan Kline (The Savvy Couple) shares this story about the $50K drop shipping (fulfilling retail orders from home) business he started in college…

“When I was fourteen years old going into my freshman year my parents told me to get a job. The three words no high school kid wants to hear. Instead of getting a job I decided I would start selling things on eBay to make enough to make my parents happy.

“After selling anything I could get my hands-on, including things I should not have, I started looking into drop shipping.  I had tried a few drop shipping companies even a couple that provided a free website to sell from with very little luck.

“I kept searching and finally came across Doba.com, it changed everything! I bought a lifetime membership for $1,000 (which they no longer offer). I now had hundreds of thousands of products at my fingertips that I could increase the price and keep the profit from.

“I found that Amazon was the bestselling platform due to their high-volume traffic and deep trust.

“I continued to work on my drop shipping business EpicBuyz throughout high school and got very good at it. In college, my drop shipping business on average took in $50,000 a year in revenue. My profit on my sales would range anywhere from 8—15%, not a bad side hustle for a college student!

“I still continue to sell our used items on eBay and Amazon. I have the mindset if it’s not being used it’s worth money to someone else.

“My drop shipping side hustle really set us up for success in running our blog. We started our blog TheSavvyCouple.com 10 months ago and will reach over 20,000 page views this month. Affiliate marketing is another very exciting online business with unlimited income potential.”

(Check out Kelan’s interview with Doba’s CEO.)

4. Become a lumper

“A lumper is anyone who manually handles freight in a warehouse. They make from $60 to $350 per hour or job depending on the freight. Same day pay. Lots of articles online debate lumping, say you have to register, but most strong, healthy looking hard working men or women can generally find work lumping, and repeat work if they’re good and dependable.” – Becky Blanton

5. Selling on Craigslist

“Old items around my house have brought me around $400 a month before. The key here is to take multiple pictures of the item and describe the item as thoroughly as possible. To find a fair but good price to make it worth your while, you can check out store websites like Walmart.com to gain a good idea of what the item costs at full price.” – Gertrude Nonterah

6. Lawn care with GreenPal

If you have knack for yard work, you could earn money on the side through GreenPal, often described as “Uber for Lawn Care.”

Bryan Clayton CEO of GreenPal, explains:

“Our system has over 500 vendor partners in seven states throughout the county.”

“Many of our lawn care vendors are part-timers. Some are  firemen, some teachers that use our app in the summer to make extra money, others are college students that work afternoons and weekends, and it is the perfect way for them to make extra money.”

“Our average vendor makes around $55 per hour mowing lawns on our system They set their own hours and pick the clients they want to work for,  it is the perfect side job.”

7. Be a driver

“If you have a CDL license you can make money fast moving cars, trucks, rentals etc. around the country. There’s always Uber, Left and other taxi services, but I know people who charge $10-$20 an hour to run errands, deliver groceries, etc. using their personal vehicle. Check your insurance first if you’re hauling people around, but many businesses need delivery for small items.”  – Becky Blanton

8. Avon sales

Brittany Kline had a great experience working as a salesperson for Avon…

“Similar to Kelan, I was told to get a job out of high school as well. After doing research, I decided to join Avon and start selling. I went through the training they provided, but I was never someone who pushed my business on to others. I started with ordering extra catalogs and going around on my bike hanging up bags on my neighbor’s mailboxes. It slowly took off.

“When a woman at my mom’s work stopped selling Avon, it was the perfect in for me. My mom would bring catalogs to work with her and she would collect the orders from her co-workers. When the orders came in, we would bag them together and she would deliver and receive payment. We were a great team.

“I sold to a close circle of friends and their family members for a long time. It was the perfect side hustle to cover my gas commuting to college or to cover my cell phone bill. Selling as a direct sales representative for 9 years was the perfect side hustle for me.”

9. Online yard sales

Yard sales used to be on weekends and you had to drive there, look through crap and hope to find something you wanted or needed. Now you can go on Facebook, search on classifieds or yard sales and your area and find, OR SELL anything online. I make $200 + a month for less than an hour’s work uploading and selling clothes, books, furniture etc. online. ALWAYS meet the buyer at a public place – a grocery store parking lot, etc.someplace where there are people around. If you’re selling electronics, watches, coins or cameras, phones etc. meet INSIDE a store. You’re less likely to be mugged or robbed.”  – Becky Blanton

10) Amazon Flex

“This is something my husband actually started recently and he makes between $200-$400 per week. Amazon Flex is a service that gives people the opportunity to quickly deliver items people have ordered from Amazon’s website (and indicated that wanted same/1-day delivery) from a regional Amazon location. The deliveries are local and so you will not spend a ton on gas. For something that brings in $1000-$2000 per month for my family, I’d say this one is a winner!” – Gertrude Nonterah

If you have a great fast cash side gig that isn’t on this list, we’d love to hear about! You can get in touch with us on Twitter at @OppLoans.

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Contributors
Becky Blanton (@BeckyBlanton_) is a TED Global speaker, blogger, ghostwriter, and founder of The Homeless Entrepreneur – a nonprofit that offers Suitcase to Briefcase, a training program that teaches those experiencing homelessness how to start their own business.
Bryan Clayton (@YourGreenPal) is the CEO of GreenPal, an online marketplace connecting homeowners with local lawn care professionals. Bryan is a serial entrepreneur in the lawn and landscaping industry having built and sold Peach Tree Inc., a Nashville based landscape group, growing the firm to over 120 employees to ultimate acquisition by Landscapes USA.
Kelan and Brittany Kline aka The Savvy Couple (@TheSavvyCouple) are two thriving millennials that are daring to live differently. They started their personal finance blog September 2016 to help others get money $avvy so they can live a frugal and free lifestyle. Brittany is a full-time 4th-grade teacher and Kelan runs The Savvy Couple full-time and works as a digital marketer. You can follow them here: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Gertrude Nonterah (@GeeNonterah) is a research scientist trying to save premature infants by day and blogger/freelance writer by night. She is also the founder of MyOnlineBizJourney.com – an educational website that focusses on teaching people how to plan and launch their own side hustles using online tools and skills they already have.

What to Do When You Lose Your Job

What to Do When You Lose Your Job

Getting fired is the worst, even when you know it’s coming, and if it hits you out of nowhere, that can knock your entire life off the rails. Picking yourself back up again can feel impossible.

But for your own sake and the sake of everyone you care about and everyone who cares about you, you’ll have to find some way to overcome it. And we’re here to help. We spoke with some experts to give you a roadmap to get back on track!


Don’t wait until you’re fired.

If you’re reading this because you were just fired, feel free to skip to the next section. But if you came across this while you still have a job and are concerned that you might be getting fired or laid off, the time to start preparing for that possibility is now.

Career coach Jeff Altman (@TheBigGameHuntr) put it this way:

“The ideal set of circumstances is to have a plan in place in case you lose your job. It is something that you can keep in your desk drawer that can be created in a time when your mind is more peaceful and not when you are experiencing the stress/fear of job loss.

“However, if you have not done that, one of the first things I encourage people to do is to review their expenses to see which can be proactively reduced, and in what sequence. After all, one of the most important assets a job hunter has is capital, in the more that you have the more financial staying power you have if your search lasts longer than you hope it will.

“Thus, proactively looking at your expenses and taking action NOW is the smart approach to take.

“For example, contacting your bank about deferring principal payments on your mortgage or payments altogether about your mortgage will bide time for you in case your job search runs longer. The same is true if your children are in private school. Speak with them and create a plan for deferring payments now while you face this challenge.

“Look at your bills, particularly your credit card. Your expenses are not frivolous, but some are more important than others. Take action now to eliminate the less important ones because every dollar saved buys you additional time for your search to avoid going into debt and stressing you out for your interviews.

“If you wait until the money is starting to run out, your fear and desperation will leak out on interviews. You are far better to be proactive than reactive.”

But assuming you came across this article because you were Googling what to do after you lost your job, you might need to save that advice for next time. In case you weren’t prepared, here’s what you should do right now…

Avoid getting down.

The very first step is holding yourself together. Losing your job is one of the most stressful things the average American can go through, and it’s all the worse if it comes as a surprise. While you get your finances in line, you need to make sure you’ve got your day to day life in order.

“It is very easy to sink into a depression after you have been fired or lost your job,” explained marriage counselor Caroline Madden, PhD (@CMaddenMFT). “This is due to not having a schedule and not seeing other people during the day.”

Madden went on to explain how you can protect yourself from depression:

“Wake up, shower, have coffee by 8 am. Make sure every day you have to get out of the house and see someone. Not that you are just going to leave the house to do an errand (if you’re procrastinating running an errand when you literally have nothing else to do, you will feel bad about yourself). Meet up with another human being. This is a great time to meet that friend for lunch across town now that you have the time. Network.

“By having to see someone you structure your day. When you are just home alone, Mondays mesh into Tuesdays that mesh into Wednesday. You can’t tell one day from another.”

And if you live with a significant other?

“Also, if you have a spouse… do yourself and your marriage a favor. Get up when your spouse does. Make the coffee/breakfast, maybe jump into the shower with them. Even the most understanding of spouses begins to get resentful if they have to go to work and you are sleeping in until noon.”

You’ll also need to keep a close eye on your expenses. Accredited financial counselor Roslyn Lash (@RosLash) has been through it before: “I lost my job in 2015 so I am personally familiar with these steps!” First, Lash suggests you “Prepare a budget and reduce debt. Powerpay.org is an excellent resource that allows you to strategically reduce debt.”

Next up? “Eliminating all unnecessary expenses i.e. downgrade your cable or phone package, take your lunch to work, prepare home cooked meals.”

And Lash knows losing your job doesn’t just impact your financial life: “Exercise! Starting a workout regimen that will help you to reduce stress. In addition, you’ll meet new people!”

But of course, while you’re getting your home and financial life in order, you also need to actually start looking for a new job.

Figure out how you can take what you know and apply it to what you’ll do.

However long you’ve been working, you’ve developed some skills now, so you have something you can show to potential employers.

“From a job-seeking perspective, it is important to have some type of continuity in your career,” Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, owner of Feather Communications (@Feathercomm), told us. “It’s always easier to find a new job when you are already employed. To find a new job as soon as possible, it’s vital that you identify transferable skills that can be utilized toward a new career opportunity. Be sure to update your resume and emphasize achievements that align with future career positions. Use numbers, percentages, sales amounts, and quantifiable information whenever available. Network with professionals in your line of work and develop relationships that can lead to future offerings. There is an old saying that says ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,’ and it’s true.”

Self-reflection may also be necessary. “If you’ve lost your job, take a moment to put aside your anger and make an honest assessment of why this happened,” suggested leadership coach Elizabeth McCourt (@ecmccourt). “This will help you possibly address your issue and come up with how to appropriately address it in your interview process.  Anger or bad mouthing a prior firm will not make you attractive.”

You should also consider looking into new skills. According to Lash: “Now is the time to learn a new skill! There are many online classes, and classes offered at local universities or technical schools. Enrolling in a certification program can lead you to your new career.”

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Everyone needs help sometimes, and one of those times is definitely after losing your job. And you should be willing to seek whatever assistance you need, be it governmental and friend or network-wise. As career coach Jessica Sweet (@wishingwellgift) advised: “If you have just lost your job, apply for unemployment if you qualify. To get a job as soon as possible, let people know you’re looking for work. Don’t hide in shame. Your best chance of getting a job quickly is to get out there and network. Don’t sit behind your computer sending out resumes. Actually go into the world and meet people.”

Lash also suggests networking and applying for aid if necessary: “Network! Let everyone that you meet know that you’re looking for a new opportunity. Apply for Subsidies. Many organizations offer services on a sliding scale such as child care, YMCA, etc.”

And McCourt echoed the call to start making moves: “Network and ask for help getting your resume out there.  Sitting home and sending resumes is a passive strategy.”

It won’t be easy. It might be one of the toughest things you’ll ever have to do. But we know you’ll be able to do it, and you’ll come out stronger than ever!

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Contributors
Jeff Altman (@TheBigGameHuntr) is a career coach who has helped organizations achieve their objectives by hunting down leaders and staff as employees or consultants since 1971.
Roslyn Lash (@RosLash) is an Accredited Financial Counselor. She specializes in financial education, adult coaching, and works virtually with adults helping them to navigate through their personal finances i.e. budgeting, debt, and credit repair. She is also the founder of Youth Smart Financial Education Services. Her advice has been featured in national publications such as USA Today, TIME, Huffington Post, NASDAQ, Los Angeles Times, and a host of other media outlets.
Caroline Madden, PhD (@CMaddenMFT) is a Marriage Therapist and author of several books on relationships including, “How to Go From Soul Mates to Roommates in 10 Easy Steps” For more information, please visit CarolineMadden.com or follow her on Twitter: @CMaddenMFT
Elizabeth McCourt, JD, MFA, CPCC, ACC (@ecmccourt) is the President of McCourt Leadership Group.  She has been a financial services recruiter for 17 years and is also an executive coach, certified by the Coaches Training Institute (CTI), in addition to certifications in the Hogan Leadership Assessment and in Systemic Team Coaching. She works with high level individuals looking for both a practical and holistic approach to advancing their communication and leadership capabilities.
Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish (@Feathercomm) has a BBA in management from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, an MBA from Lakeland College, and a Ph.D. in Organization and Management from Capella University. She LOVES helping people position themselves for today’s job market. She can help boost your confidence by creating a resume that helps you land your DREAM JOB.
Jessica Sweet (@wishingwellgift) is a career coach and a licensed therapist. She helps creative, ambitious midlife professionals and executives figure out what work they truly care about and want to be doing – and then helps them land or create those positions. She is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council and a contributor at Forbes.com and The Huffington Post. Her work has also been featured in places like CNBC, Business Insider and HayHouse Radio. You can get her free resources here and visit her website at wishingwellcoach.com. When Jess is not coaching, you can often find her giggling with her two little girls.

How to Throw a Cheap Pool Party (That’s Still Awesome)!
cheap pool party ideas

Whether you’re lucky enough to have a pool, know someone with a pool, or are planning to jump a fence in the middle of the night, there’s no party like a pool party! But you don’t want to wash away all your savings on one fun evening.
Which is why we’ve talked to only the chillest of pool party professors to get you the tips you need for affordable fun in the sun.

Don’t go overboard on decorations.

Depending what kind of party planner you are, you might not even want decorations. You might just set the ambiance with a jammin’ pool party playlist, but if you want a treat for the eyes as well as the ears, there are decoration options you can choose that are cheaper than hanging streamers of dollar bills around the backyard.

Natasha Rachel Smith, personal finance expert at TopCashBack (@TopCashBackUSA), advises you to say “no” to expensive decorations: “Everyone aims to have an Instagram-worthy party, but that doesn’t come cheap. Shop around for pool games and floats and decorations at discount stores such as Walmart and FiveBelow. Instead of paying from $20 to $100 per item, you can snag goodies for a little as five bucks.”

David Bakke (@YourFinances101), a financial expert at MoneyCrashers.com (@MoneyCrashers), offered another cheap option, “For any decorations for the party, get them at the dollar store. You’ll likely just discard them afterward anyways.”

Wait thirty minutes.

Any great party needs food, and the pool variety is no exception. Whether you’re a grill master, a snack supplier, some combination of those two, or an option we haven’t even considered, there’s no reason you have to overspend on your party food.

Smith suggests focusing on a few options: “While you might want to please everyone’s palates, don’t go overboard with the menu. Stick to simple items such as sandwiches, grilled food, and beverages. Consider buying items in bulk to help save money, since you’ll most likely use them again this summer. Don’t be afraid to buy hot dogs or hamburgers in large quantities with the intention to freeze any unused food for subsequent events. If you live in a household with a lot of mouths to feed, I often recommend purchasing wholesale store memberships as they tend to pay for themselves in the first few months. Make all big quantity purchases at wholesale stores such as Costco or BJs to take advantage of their notorious buy-in-bulk offers. You’ll earn up to three percent cashback by doing so through TopCashback.com.”

Bakke also recommended using coupon options, as well as shopping smart and limiting your guest list: “For the grocery shopping, be sure to use coupons. There are plenty of mobile apps that have digital coupons and they’re in the newspaper as well. You could probably get away with a few generics or store brands as well on your food and supply purchases, the quality is usually equal. If serving alcohol, stick with just beer and wine, and ask your liquor store if they offer a discount for buying in bulk or paying in cash. You may want to limit the guest list as well—the fewer attendees, the less you have to buy. You could also make the party of a potluck variety, where each guest brings a drink, dessert, or side dish. That’s an excellent way to cut costs. Check your credit cards for the best cash back program to use for your general purchasing as well.”

Obviously, you can’t force guests to bring stuff, but if you’re the one providing access to a pool, it’s really the least they can do. Put a big BYOB at the bottom of the invitation. And speaking of invitations…

Invitation to the future.

Paper invitations might seem classic, but it isn’t Victorian times anymore, and aside from the trees you’ll save, there’s no reason to spend money on paper invites. These days, all the coolest invitations are happening online.

Jennifer Skarakis, founder of Sendomatic Invitations (@Sendomatic), told us how her online invites can be a great party option:

“Electronic invitations are drastically less expensive than paper invites. Some are free and some services charge a minimal fee.

“Here are some of our free Pool Party email invitations.

“There many benefits from using digital invitations including RSVP management, calendaring, ticket sales and guest communication. We have found that party throwers also use polling to collect even more information about guests.

“Since 1999, we have seen a steady increase of digital invitations usage for all sorts of summer parties and events: BBQs, Reunions, Father’s Day, Weddings and 4th of July. Email invitations have become increasingly more popular and easy to use. Some including even sound and animation! Email and text message invitations are easy to set up and a great way to invite friends and family to events.”

Smith also recommended getting on the electronic invite train, saying, “Pool parties should be merry, stress-free and simple, so don’t complicate it by overspending on fancy invitations. Using Evite or creating a Facebook event page is a great way to showcase the anticipated fun in the sun to your guests. Both offer free services or you could opt for Evite’s premium designs. Paying for them via TopCashback will cut more than a third (35 percent) off the cost.”

Party box!

Too busy to do the work of planning a party? Asher Weinstein, marketing manager at Birthday in a Box (@BirthdayInABox) and Costume SuperCenter (@CostumeSC), suggested pool party planners try out Birthday in a Box and offered some additional planning tips:

“We created a great resource of pool party ideas that you can find here.

“Some ideas include:

  • Create a summer pool party music playlist
  • Have a photo booth for your guests to capture all of the fun moments. Include silly props.
  • Play games like Marco Polo, limbo, and sharks and minnows
  • Fun desserts to keep things cool!”

Now that summer is in full swing, use these tip to get your pool fun on for less!

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Contributors

David Bakke (@YourFinances101) is a finance expert who started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called ““Don’t Be A Mule…” Since then he has been a regular contributor at Money Crashers.
Natasha Rachel Smith (@topcashbackusa) is a personal finance expert at TopCashback.com. Natasha’s background is in retail, banking, personal finance and consumer empowerment; ranging from sales to journalism, marketing, public relations and spokesperson work during a 17-year career period. She’s originally from London, UK, but moved to Montclair, New Jersey, USA, several years ago to launch and run the American arm of the British-owned TopCashback brand; a global consumer empowerment and money-saving portal company.
Jennifer Skarakis (@Sendomatic), an accomplished Brand & Graphic Designer, has built a name for herself and her company Sendo Invitations in the Event Planning & Management industry. This successful entrepreneur and mother of three continues to grow her company while hosting community events with her husband Chris in their refurbished barn. Jennifer has a BA in Graphic Design and Interior Architecture from UC Davis.
Asher Weinstein is the marketing manager at Birthday In A Box (@BirthdayInABox) and their sister site, Costume SuperCenter (@CostumeSC). There isn’t a birthday party supplies website on the internet that can help you plan a party as quickly and easily as Birthday in a Box. Our site offers a ton of party ideas, themes and low priced party supplies for any birthday or event.

Need Money Advice? These 6 Twitter Accounts Are a Must-Follow

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While you’re celebrating America’s independence, take some steps to achieve financial independence!

Hopefully, you’re taking next Monday off and enjoying a nice, loooong 4th of July weekend. In between the barbecues, the fireworks, and arguments about politics that you promised yourself you wouldn’t get dragged into but now you’re two beers in so let’s do this (ahem), you should probably find some time to sit down and take a look at your finances.

After all, 2017 has just passed its halfway point, so now’s as good a time as any to review your financial goals for the year. How are you doing on those New Year’s resolutions to spend less, save more, and start contributing to your 401(k)? If you’re like a lot of us, you certainly haven’t exceeded your goals, and there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve fallen well short of them.

And that’s totally okay! This weekend you can take the time to reassess, regroup, and start tackling your finances anew. And if you’re looking for some financial expertise to guide you, then boy oh boy have we some great recommendations for you.

Below you’ll find the Twitter accounts for six of the best experts, orgs and publications in the personal finance business. Take a few minutes and give them all a follow before you head off to your 4th of July festivities. Don’t worry! All their awesome money wisdom will be waiting for you when you get back.


1. Farnoosh Torabi – @Farnoosh

Farnoosh Tobari is a best-selling author, finance expert, and TV host. Check out her Twitter page for great personal finance advice! Whether you’re looking to save money, spend wisely, or even invest, Farnoosh has the answers.

2. Kimberly Palmer – @Kimberly Palmer

Kimberly Palmer is a personal finance expert and author of Smart Mom, Rich Mom and The Economy of You. She tweets regularly about money, retirement, and entrepreneurship. Check out her feed if you need some tips on personal finance.

3. Kelli B. Grant, CFP® –  @Kelligrant

Kelli Grant is a Certified Financial Planner and Consumer Reporter for CNBC. Her Twitter account is full of great facts and advice about improving your financial well-being. Follow her and you’re guaranteed to learn a lot about money.

4. EARN – @EARN

Earn is a micro-savings non-profit organization, and a great Twitter account for anyone who has to stick to a tight budget. At Earn they believe that saving even very small amounts can help your future financial situation. Keep an eye on their Twitter feed, and check out their website to learn more!

5. The Billfold – @TheBillfold

The Billfold is a finance blog that shares personal stories about struggles and successes in personal finance. If you feel like no one can relate to your financial situation, then it’s time to check out some blog posts on The BillFold. Their motto is, “Everything you wanted to know about money but were too polite to ask. We like to get real.”

6. Money Under 30 – @MoneyUnder30

Money Under 30 is a website that offers simple strategies for saving and spending. You’ll get advice on credit cards, debt, investing, and more. Their website and Twitter page promise to deliver “simple, honest strategies to find success at any age.”


And don’t forget about us! To keep up on all our articles, tips, and financial expertise, just give us a follow at @OppLoans. Have a happy and safe 4th!

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Meet Our Latest OppU Achiever: Tyler Stock!

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OppU Scholarship Winner Tyler Stock

Name: Tyler Stock

School: University of California, Berkeley

Concentration: Business

Degree: Economics

Expected Graduation Date: Spring of 2021

Congratulations to Tyler Stock, our latest recipient of the OppU Achievers Scholarship! We loved his essay about the importance of financial literacy and are thrilled to offer him $2,500 to help pay for his upcoming college tuition. Well done, Tyler! 


Tyler just graduated from Hinsdale South High School (@HinsdaleSouthHS) in Darien, Illinois (Go, Hornets!). In addition to making Dean’s List and being named an Illinois State Scholar, he is active in the Chicago business community. He co-founded a startup his sophomore year and later worked for an up-and-coming company that helps employers pay the student loans of their employees. Nice!

At OppLoans, we believe in the power of the individual to create opportunity. That’s why we award the Achievers Scholarship four times a year and provide free financial literacy courses at OppU.

In his essay titled “Built to Rise,” Tyler discusses why it’s so important for college students to learn about personal finance. The way he sees it, people are pretty similar to buildings: the stronger their foundation, the higher they can rise.

“Most people like to imagine living at the top…,” he writes. “(B)ut they forget about the grit, effort, and financial literacy it takes to build the floors to get there.”

Tyler has demonstrated exceptional hard work and achievement. We’re confident he’s got a great foundation beneath him, and we’re excited to see him rise at the University of California, Berkeley (@UCBerkeley).

Congrats, Tyler! We wish you the best.

Here’s Tyler’s essay.


Built to Rise

Reflecting on the past couple of years, I could not help but think that people are constructed like a building: the stronger the foundation, the higher it can rise. Most people like to imagine living at the top, but they forget about the grit, effort, and financial literacy it takes to build the floors to get there. The integral floor of one’s building begins with a strong sense of financial literacy. If a person is considered the architect of their own building, financial literacy is the planning and materials that help them create a sustainable structure.

As I previously helped lead the growth of a startup named Peanut Butter (@peanutbutterget) in downtown Chicago, I’ve had the opportunity to witness first-hand how financial literacy can build new floors, tear down existing ones, and help dream up new ones for recent college graduates. Peanut Butter is a software service that provides the setup, employee enrollment, and payment routing so companies can make monthly contributions to pay down their employees’ student loan debt. Founded in August of 2015, Peanut Butter has been written about by Inc., Forbes, HR.com, Recruiter.com, Built In, and Chicago Inno. Companies are adopting the student loan repayment benefit as an innovative way to improve their recruiting, retention, and financial well-being efforts among their workforce.

The numbers and the implications of financial illiteracy are a real problem for college students like me. Growing debt balances, rising interest rates, and prolonged realization of dreams are some of the implications that students who are financially illiterate may face. Over 70 percent of students from the class of 2016 graduated with more than $30,000 in student loans. Financial literacy is important for college students because financial literacy is freedom. Financial literacy is taking risks, capitalizing on opportunities, and building sustainable futures. However, according to research by PricewaterhouseCooper, “only 24% of millennials demonstrated basic financial knowledge (numeracy and mortgages) and only 8% demonstrated high financial literacy (basic asset pricing, inflation and risk diversification).”

The effect of this personal financial knowledge shortage can result in decreased happiness levels, delayed dreams, and fewer opportunities because one is at the mercy of their debt, not their dreams. However, this self-fulfilling cycle of financial illiteracy, delayed dreams, and decreased happiness can be remedied. When one decides to commit themselves to learning about personal finance, they put themselves in control of the construction of their own building.

According to EverFi and Higher One, organizers of financial literacy programs, the number one reason college students fail to improve their financial literacy rate is because “students don’t believe they need to budget because they don’t have any income.” Furthermore, in a study of 65,000 college students, they also found that “after just a semester at college, students were more likely to have at least one credit card and to have paid the bill late.” Although college students may not have an income, many of them will be taking on increasingly large amounts of financial responsibility in the coming years. Starting with bad habits such as paying credit card bills late on menial purchases can compound into avoidable interest payments and other negative impacts such as a lower credit score that could cost one thousands of dollars in interest on larger purchases in the future.

Starting early and starting often in terms of financial education are some of the best solutions on the journey to becoming financially literate. The most important reason my peers and I should care to become financially literate at a young age is because it gives one the freedom to pursue the opportunities they want to. College students will be able to pursue their ambitions, spark a career built on passionate foundations, and save for the future. While many students enter college seeking to learn skills that will allow them to earn money, poor financial management skills are one the few skills that can literally cost money. By becoming financially literate at a young age, students can utilize their knowledge for any decisions that may arise and be sure to choose the right one. Without financial literacy, one doesn’t know if they are asking the right questions, leaving something on the table, or potentially losing money. The foundation of every college student’s skyscraper should be marked by a sense of financial literacy that can guide their efforts sustainably into the sky.

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4 Tips for Managing Your Mental Health Care on a Budgetsuit and tie with a dollar sign

We’ve written a few guides about keeping up your physical health without making your wallet sick. But your mental health is, of course, just as important too. Chronic stress can have all manner of consequences on the body, from your heart to your bones, and everything in between.

And financial troubles are a major contribution to stress. So a lack of money leads to stress which leads to expensive medical issues which can lead to debt and bad credit which makes the money issues worse… it’s a terrible cycle. Which is why affordable mental health care is important. Of course, some mental health issues will require more than self-care tips, but for keeping your stress down day to day without making your bank account anxious, turn to the advice from these experts.


1. Get some sleep.

The more work you have to do, the harder it is to find time to sleep. And stress can make falling asleep that much more difficult.

“Getting a good night’s sleep is important for good self-care and it doesn’t cost a penny,” Alisa Kamis-Brinda (@SerenityAlisa), psychotherapist and owner of Serenity Solutions Therapy, advised. “The keys to getting a good night’s sleep are to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night, making sure where you are sleeping is dark enough, quiet enough, comfortable enough, and not too hot or cold. It is also important to avoid caffeine after noon as it can interfere with a restful sleep. Turning off devices an hour before bedtime is also important, as the blue light emitted from these devices can interfere with a restful sleep.”

Therapist Kimberly Hershenson (@kimhershlmsw) also warned against too much tech before bedtime: “Turn off the TV, computer and your phone an hour before bed. Technology stimulates the brain causing our minds to stay active and unable to wind down. Turning off technology allows us to slow down and prepares the body for rest.”

Aside from helping to keep your stress under control, proper sleep can also have all sorts of physical benefits, including a reduction in your risk of any number of diseases.

2. Manage your time well.

So we’ve established that getting the proper amount of sleep is important, but do you even have the time for that? You could drop whatever you’re doing and go right to sleep promptly at 10 PM, but if there was work you still had to do, that might only make you more stressed. That’s why time management is so important. And it can lower your stress in other ways too.

“Time management is important for good self-care to avoid feeling overwhelmed,” Kamis-Brinda told us. “The keys to good time management are to prioritize and delegate tasks, say ‘no’ as needed, and schedule down time for yourself to relax or do something you enjoy.”

That time for yourself is important whenever you can manage it. In the long run, you’re not going to be better off burning out.

3. Super exercise.

While you’re managing your time, be sure to dedicate time for exercise. Elaine Taylor-Klaus, parent coach and cofounder of ImpactADHD (@ImpactADHD), vouched for the importance of regular exercise on your mental health: “Hands down — BEST way to start managing depression and/or anxiety with limited funds is to start exercising regularly—20 to 30 minutes a day—and start watching what you eat.”

Hershenson also advised adding options like exercise to your morning routine, saying “Have a morning routine where you have time to yourself—whether it’s going to the gym, having your daily coffee while reading the newspaper or stretching for 10 minutes. Doing something just for yourself every day is crucial to mental stress.”

Kamis-Brinda joined in on the exercise suggestion: “Exercise is great for self-care. The better you feel physically, the better you will feel emotionally. Additionally, for people with anxiety, exercise lowers the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol which are elevated when someone is feeling anxious, stressed or overwhelmed.  Walking, running and hiking are free. In the summer, many cities have free pools and low-cost bike rentals.”

And those weren’t the only sorts of exercise Kamis-Brinda advocated, saying people should try “ “relaxation exercises, mindfulness and meditation are also great free self-care activities. There are many free apps that have free recordings of how to practice these coping strategies.”

4. Eat right, feel right.

Eating well is another subject we’ve tackled in our blog several times before, and it’s also a vital part of affordable mental heath care. As Taylor-Klaus told us, “Nutrition can do a lot, though nutritional supplements can cost more than medication, so start with a focus on eating healthily. If you find accountability difficult, find an accountability partner in your world, someone who will help you out or agree to talk with you about it regularly.”

Here’s what Kamis-Brinda had to say about healthy eating: “Eating healthy is also important for good self-care. Healthy eating doesn’t have to cost more. It’s just about the choices that you make when you are hungry. Avoiding caffeine and sugar helps with anxiety, as these ingredients mimic the biological processes of anxiety, making people feel anxious even when they are not. Foods high in protein and fiber help to keep sugar levels in the body stable, also helping to stabilize anxiety. Foods high in complex carbohydrates including whole grain cereals, breads and pastas, help to promote serotonin in the brain which regulates mood, sleep and appetite.”

Hershenson advised what she calls “mindful eating,” saying “At your next meal, chew each bite thoroughly before taking another one. Notice the colors and shapes of your food. Close your eyes and smell the aroma of your food.”

Money troubles can make stress worse. So do yourself a favor and invest time and energy into your self-care. Your body, mind and wallet will thank you!

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Contributors
Alisa Kamis-Brinda, LCSW, LCADC, (@SerenityAlisa) owner and primary psychotherapist at Serenity Solutions, LLC in Philadelphia, PA, helps overwhelmed, stressed out professionals and new moms learn how to slow down anxious and angry thoughts so that they can be in the present moment, relax and enjoy life again.
Kimberly Hershenson (@kimhershlmsw) has worked successfully with clients who have experienced problems such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, personality disorders, and difficult relationships. Her aim is to create a warm, supportive, and safe space for her clients to help achieve their personal goals. She believes that, together, they can work on understanding feelings and behaviors regarding clients’ areas of concern while helping them to practice healthier coping mechanisms in order to fully participate in life.
Elaine Taylor-Klaus, PCC, CPCC, is the co-founder of ImpactADHD® (@ImpactADHD), an award-winning global resource helping parents to stay sane while raising complex children. A writer, parent educator and coach, Elaine works with parents internationally, online and on the phone. She is the co-author of Parenting ADHD Now! Easy Intervention Strategies to Empower Kids with ADHD, the co-creator of the behavior management program, “The Sanity School Course for Parents,” and is first and foremost the mother in a complex family of 5.