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5 Ways To Create Passive Income With No Money

Passive income seems to be a Holy Grail of personal finance. When it comes to income, what could be better than earning your money without having to trade your time for dollars?

There are two main paths to passive income – you can either invest money to make it happen, or invest time to make it happen. But there is sort of a third option.

I’ve written about passive income before (you can see over 7 passive income ideas here) but today I wanted to tackle another question that often comes up: How can I create passive income with no money?

Can You Create Passive Income Without A Financial Investment?

Passive income can be earned in two ways. The first is to make your money work for you. This could be done by investing in the stock market, real estate, P2P lending, or into a business.

The second way to earn passive income is to invest your time. For example, you can start a side hustle, read 20 Side Hustles You Can Start Today! for more info.

While it’s definitely possible to earn passive income with no money, it isn’t easy. It requires a lot of initial hard work and comes with no guarantees.

If you want to give it a shot here’s how to create PASSIVE INCOME with no money.

Write A Kindle eBook

A popular way to earn passive income with no money down is to write an eBook and sell it on Amazon through the KDP program.

KDP stands for Kindle Direct Publishing and is Amazon’s program for self-publishers. While you will have to write your book, figure out Kindle formatting and come up with a cover design, it costs you nothing to self-publish a book through Amazon.

If your Kindle eBook is priced at $2.99-$9.99 you’ll receive a 70% royalty on the sale price of each book. When your book is priced below $2.99 or above $9.99 you’ll only receive a 35% royalty.

Ebooks don’t have to be long, so no need to write an opus to make some money. There are several places you can publish besides Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing including, Booktango, and Lulu.

The essential services on most of the publishing sites are free, and you can pay for premium services like marketing and editing.

Sell Stock Photos

If you’re a freelance photographer or just enjoy taking photos and are good at it, you can earn a passive income selling your stock photos online.

If you want to make some extra money for your photos, you could consider selling your images as stock photos. The easiest way to make your images available for sale as stock images is to use a third-party site, such as Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, Alamy, etc.

The great thing about selling stock photos is that one photo can be purchased by many different people.

How much you earn depends on how large your portfolio is, experience level, and the number of stock photo agencies you work with.

Like with investing, diversification is key. The more photos you have spread across agencies, the better your chances of earning passive income.

Blog

Many bloggers write with the intent to make money, and the way to do that is by providing value to your readers, which drives traffic to your site and then monetizing it with affiliate links, ads, or promoting your own products.

Remember, the more niche your website and topics are, the better. When you’re building residual income, the less competition, the better.

You can make affiliate marketing income by linking to Amazon to all of the products you write about on the site.

Part of providing value is building trust. Don’t link to things that aren’t of good quality, or people won’t trust your recommendations.

The other part of making an audience is consistency. It matters less how often you post than how consistently. If you only have time to do one post a month, that post should come out on the same date and time each month.

An excellent way to stay consistent is to write several posts before you release the blog. That means when life gets in the way, and you don’t have time, you have a backlog of material you can consistently publish.

Affiliate Marketing and Ads

Affiliate marketing works well when you discuss products on your blog, or have some kind of social media following.

Amazon Associates is the best-known affiliate marketing program, but there are others like Impact RadiusCommission JunctionClickBank, and Rakuten too.

Google Adsense pays to post ads on your blog. There are two ways to make money with Adsense; impressions which give you cash for every 1,000 page views and clicks which provide you with money when a visitor to your site clicks on a displayed ad.

You can design courses and charge for access to those. Plenty of bloggers sell classes on how to make money blogging.

There are numerous ways to earn money online, but monetizing your site with the above ideas are some of the best.

Digital Product

One of the most common ways people make money on their websites is by selling courses. Platforms like Udemy, Teachable, and Skillshare are making it easier than ever to launch and sell online courses.

You also even create an app or service which, is decidedly harder than making a course but the income potential here is far larger.

Building digital products takes a bit of work, but once the work is done, you can sell it forever so long as it remains relevant.

Passive Income: It Takes Time or Money

There really are no shortcuts to passive income. You’ll find a countless number of people who’ve created solid passive income streams with and without money.

The important thing to remember is that those people who did create passive income without money were willing to put in the hard work it took to create the product that would earn them passive income over the long haul.

5 Commercial Investments for Investors to Consider

What Is Commercial Real Estate?

What comes to mind when you hear the words “commercial real estate?”

For a long time I thought of shopping centers, malls, and skyscrapers. I also pictured industrial complexes like warehouses or factories. But my narrow definitions would have been incomplete.

Even definitions online can be misleading. Investopedia says, “Commercial real estate (CRE) is property used exclusively for business purposes or to provide a workspace rather than a living space. Most often, commercial real estate is leased to tenants to conduct business. This category of real estate ranges from a single gas station to a huge shopping center.” Commercial real estate includes retailers of all kinds, office space, hotels, strip malls, restaurants, and convenience stores.

Commercial real estate can include many assets that some consider residential and more. For the purposes of this discussion, and not at all as a definition, I propose that we segregate residential and commercial real estate as follows:

  • Residential real estate is valued based on comparable prices. Comps. Other houses sold on the street, in the neighborhood, etc.
  • Commercial real estate valuation is based on some pretty basic math.

To really compare lets look at a hypothetical flip you could do. You may buy a home for $200,000 that needs a lot of work. You fix what’s broken and beautify it to the nth degree. You build out the basement and the attic. You add a large addition and the finest landscaping in the neighborhood. At the end of the day, you’ve got $500,000 in this flip home.

Now if this home is in a $250,000 neighborhood, it’s likely going to be a big problem. Because when the appraiser comes, they won’t be able to find comparable properties to support your price. You could easily lose a lot of money, a lot can hinge on the appraisal.

Related:  How to Passively Invest in Real Estate

Commercial real estate is and entirely different “calculation”. Commercial real estate valuation is based on a value formula. That formula is Value = Income ÷ Rate of Return. More specifically, it is Value = Net Operating Income ÷ Capitalization Rate. For more info on calculating commercial real estate and some other approaches that are used check out this page on valuepenguin.com

Commercial real estate investors have the powerful ability to “force appreciation” by increasing the net operating income. And if they’re clever enough, or fortunate enough, a shrinkage in the capitalization rate (cap rate) will multiply their value even further. Leverage just sweetens it more.

So commercial real estate, for the purpose of this article, is real estate that is valued based on math rather than comps. This includes industrial, retail, hotels, office, restaurants, and more.

Overlooked Commercial Investments

Multifamily

There are two classes of apartments: residential multifamily and commercial multifamily. Residential multifamily is financed using a residential loan and the values are based on comps. This is generally buildings with two to four units.

Commercial multifamily is financed through a commercial loan. Many people make another division between small commercial multifamily and large, based on the size needed to hire an onsite staff. This is typically 40-50 units in an urban setting or about 75 units in a typical suburban apartment complex.

Cap rates, the measure of value per unit of income, have been very compressed for multifamily for years since the financial crisis. This means these assets are very pricey (lower cap rate = higher price, since that is the numerator in our value equation). Cap rates in the range of 4% to 6% are common.

Self-Storage

I didn’t think much about this over years past, and apparently the big commercial rating groups didn’t either since there has not been a separate classification for this category in most past reports.

There are over 55,000 self-storage facilities in the U.S., which is nearly the number of McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway restaurants combined. Self-storage has become quite popular in the past decade and the cap rates have shrunk from around 10% or so to the 5% to 7% range, so more expensive.

Mobile Home Parks

Warren Buffett also in early and owns the largest manufacturer of mobile homes (Clayton) as well as one of the most aggressive lenders (21st Mortgage) and Berkadia (a large lender that finances mobile home parks and more).

Cap rates in this asset class have compressed from the 10% to 14% range down closer to 6% to 8%. Green Street Advisors recently referred to mobile home parks as the darling of all commercial real estate. And in the midst of the COVID-19 stock market meltdown in late February, a Wall Street Journal article trumpeted the power of investing in mobile home parks.

Data Centers

Data centers have exploded in the past several years. Just as retail’s demise is accelerating during COVID-19, data center demand has gone up. Zoom and other online meeting platforms have taxed the limits of the existing infrastructure. Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, 5G wireless, augmented reality, and autonomous cars will also continue the ever increasing demand to new heights.

Many investors haven’t thought about investing in this sector. Unlike self-storage and mobile home parks, there are no mom-and-pop operators to cherry-pick. You could certainly invest passively through a real estate investment trust.

Related:  Best Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms for Passive Income

Senior Living

Multifamily is largely overheated. Even though fundamentals remain strong, many syndicators are looking to dial in on a specific type of multifamily to obtain a better yield. Senior living fits that bill for some.

I’m not talking about skilled nursing facilities specifically, though this sector may include that. I’m talking about independent living communities that are becoming increasingly popular.

Summary

There must be a reason that almost everyone in the Forbes 400 (the wealthiest of the wealthy) invests in commercial real estate. Maybe it’s time for you to get started!

Pros and Cons of Using Property Management Companies

As a real instate investor or rental property owner, you have two options when it comes to managing the day-to-day operations of your property. You can choose to self-manage the property, meaning you oversee maintenance, repairs, tenant contracts, rent collections, and all aspects of the tenant-landlord relationship. You can also choose to hire a third-party professional to look after the property for you. Which is what I choose in my pursuit of building PASSIVE INCOME.

Although there is no right or wrong answer for everyone, there could be a right or wrong answer for your lifestyle. Your individual circumstances may make self-management seem impossible, and we are here to help you understand the benefits and risks of using a property management company to oversee the daily operations of your property. Before you decide, consider these pros and cons.

The Disadvantages

The only disadvantage to retaining a property management company is its effect on your profit margin. The average company will require the first month’s rent as its first payment and then 8% to 10% of each month’s rent after that. This first month’s payment requirement covers their expense for any advertising, showing the property, processing an applicant, credit administrative costs, and other general expenses that come with setting up a new account. If your goal is to have the tenant pay your mortgage with the rent, you will need to factor in the costs of the management company to determine feasibility.

Another risk associated with hiring a property management team is ensuring you hire the right property management team. Similar to any other business, not all hires are good hires. When handing the day-to-day operations of your property over to a third party, you are entrusting that third party to make the right decisions every day on your behalf. From marketing the property effectively to collecting and maintaining payment records ethically, it is important to do your homework to avoid the risk of hiring a bad apple to oversee one of your most valuable assets.

The Advantages

The advantages of using a management company far outweigh the disadvantages. Even if the numbers don’t quite work and you determine you may be supplementing costs to the management company to keep your rental property, it is still a great value.

Property managers are up to date on state and federal rules and regulations with respect to tenant/landlord requirements and responsibilities. You won’t risk a “violation” putting your property and finances at risk by not knowing these requirements.

Property managers will establish the current market rental rate for your property. The rental market is a fluid market. Rates can change from month to month and though you will have a set contract usually for the first year, the company will be able to assess the rents at the end of each contract to ensure you are getting the highest rent possible based on real estate markers

Property managers will do all the communication for you with the tenant. That includes the interview process and managing any complaints or emergencies that may arise day or night. There is nothing worse than having to respond to a tenant at 3:00 a.m.

Property management companies will find the best tenants. It’s not only frustrating but financial suicide to allow an irresponsible tenant into a unit. A quality company has developed a process of screening out risky tenants to ensure a steady monthly income on your property as expected.

Property management companies have connections. If your property has written in maintenance agreements, such as lawn care and gutter cleaning, management companies can refer service companies at discounted prices. Due to the volume of these service providers as they work in connection with the company, they can pass on some savings to you. Their reputation and dependability has already been tested through the management company so you can rest easy knowing they will get the job down without your supervision.

5 Myths About Living a Frugal Life

Frugality is the single most important characteristic in an individual who seeks to attain financial independence.

By being frugal, you work BOTH sides of this equation. Your expenses are reduced, while your savings rate increases, allowing you to invest in assets that provide PASSIVE INCOME we all love.

Frugality may seem like a bad word to some and this is mainly due to the five myths described below.

Myth #1: Frugality makes you “cheap.”

Some key differences between being frugal and cheap are:

Someone who is frugal saves money. Someone who is cheap saves money at the expense of others.

A frugal person focuses their spending on things of value. A cheap person saves in any possible scenario, at all costs.

A frugal person values time. A cheap person values money.

A frugal person looks for value. A cheap person looks for the least expensive.

Essentially, a frugal person does not value material items. They do not try to keep up with Joneses. They are perfectly OK driving their used car or truck, finding deals at Goodwill and other thrift stores, and packing a lunch. However, they do spend money on the parts of life that matter most to them.

Myth #2: Frugality doesn’t allow you to truly live.

This is the funniest one. I get it all the time. “Craig, you need to live a little.” These people clearly don’t know much about me.

As the song “Live Like You’re Dying” goes, I have been sky diving (in the Swiss Alps), Rocky Mountain climbing (in Colorado), and even rode a bull (maybe he was named Fu Manchu?). I’ve climbed volcanoes in Guatemala, scuba dived in the Galapagos, and have been all over the United States.

That’s what “living” is for me. Those adventures and the people I meet doing those things are what I live for. You know what I don’t live for? Crappy restaurant food. “Nice” cars. Superficial clothing. Going to the same bar with the same friends every weekend. You get the idea.

It’s not just me. Talk to anyone who values frugality. Compare them to those who spend more lavishly, and I can almost guarantee the frugal person, the one who needs less to appreciate life, is infinitely happier than the lavish spender. They are more fulfilled, have more things that matter, and acquire less clutter.

“The richest man is not who has the most, but who needs the least.” I don’t know who said it, but I love it!

Myth #3: Frugality is too hard.

This may not be a myth. Frugality is hard, especially in the beginning and especially if you’re used to a life with few financial limits. But it gets easier. Over time, frugality becomes second-nature and it’s the unreasonable spending and excess that become difficult. As the sugary-sweet high of consumerism begins to fade, it’ll be replaced by the joy of living debt-free, living more simply, and with less stress.

Rather than think of ways to save 50 percent or more of your income—which, if done correctly, will likely allow you to “retire” in five to 10 years—you would rather come up with the “it’s too much work” excuse and work 40 to 50 years.

I’m no mathematician. But it seems awfully clear that you are going to be putting in a LOT more work if these excuses persist.

Related: 
Thirty Tips for a More Frugal Lifestyle

Myth #4: Increasing your income is better than being frugal.

This is a half-fair statement. You can absolutely make more money by increasing your income. However, the trap that most Americans fall into is that immediately as they increase their income, they increase their lifestyles. They reward themselves with a new car or live in a more expensive apartment, etc.

Increasing your income is a great way to go about achieving financial freedom. While there is unlimited scalability, however, it is far less efficient.

Back to the financial independence expression:

Increasing your income only allows you to work one side of the equation. Frugality works both! By decreasing your expenses (right side), you are able to invest in more passive assets (left side).

Not only that, but when you cut expenses, you are saving after-tax dollars. Ben Franklin’s quote of a “penny saved is a penny earned” is actually outdated with our current tax system. A penny saved is now 1.33 pennies earned (depending on your tax bracket).

Myth #5: Nobody else is doing it

It can be hard to scroll through Facebook or see your friends and family appear to live “high on the hog” while you’re sitting back trying to find ways to save money just to make ends meet. When you feel that way,  know that one of two things is happening; either your friends are living above their means or they’re making life seem better than it is for social media. Both happen on a daily basis and both have their own dangers associated with them.

Trying to keep up with the Joneses is a great way to kill your finances. Don’t fall victim to the myth that you’re the only frugal person you know, but keep an eye out as well so you don’t attempt to keep up with the people around you.

Mr. Money Mustache (MMM) is the original frugality badass. MMM worked as an engineer for a few years and quickly realized he was among the few that were saving large portions of their income. After “retiring” at 31, he realized he was on to something. This freedom has allowed him to start one of the most successful personal finance blogs in the space, spend unlimited time with his son, and do things he loves to do.

Conclusion

There you have it—five common frugality myths, busted! Now, quit your whining, and take action! Here’s a challenge/action item for you.

Look at your finances, whether you use Mint or Personal Capital, or you just look over your most recent bank statement. Then, determine ONE THING you can cut from your life. This is preferably something with a meaningful impact. Perhaps you can cut your restaurant spending in half? Or maybe you can ditch that silly cable bill.

We can all help fight misconceptions about frugality since we’re all examples of stereotypes that don’t fit in some way or another. Maybe the larger social trend of moderation is here to stay. If so, let’s help shed the thinking that has marginalized thrift and popularized excess. We just may be better for it.

How to Save for a Child’s College Education

The cost of college has more than doubled since 1964, leaving many students buried in student loans. To help your child start off their adult life without a haunting mountain of debt, it’s worth considering which college savings plans can effectively help you save for their education. Of course, like all things money, it’s best to start as early and let time and compound work its magic, but where should you be putting the money? 529 plans are helpful, primarily due to the tax savings, but there are a few things you should know.

What is a 529 plan?

529 plan, also known as a “qualified tuition plan,” allows you to put money away for future education expenses without paying taxes on its growth. As long as the money is taken out to pay for “qualified higher-education expenses,” it won’t ever be taxed. These plans are sponsored by state governments, state agencies or educational institutions.

Some key benefits of 529 plans are they enable tax-free growth, allow for tax-free withdrawals when used for qualified higher-education spending, and can earn you state tax deductions on contributions.

Types of 529 plans

Prepaid Tuition Plans

A Prepaid Tuition Plan lets you prepay the costs of units and credits at participating universities and colleges (often in-state and public) at the current prices. If the prices increase by the time your child starts studying, you save on the costs. A Prepaid Tuition Plan locks in the price of a set list of schools ahead of time.

As for the drawbacks, the Prepaid Tuition Plan doesn’t allow you to use the funds for K-12 school tuitions, and in most cases, the savings can’t be used to pay for room and board expenses when your child goes to college. Additionally, most Prepaid Tuition Plans come with residency requirements and the plan may not be guaranteed by the federal or state governments, which put your funds at risk.

Education Savings Plans

With Education Savings Plans, your money goes into an investment account where it can grow tax-free. Investment options often include a principal-protected bank, exchange-traded fund (ETF) portfolios and mutual funds. The amount of risk you are willing to tolerate will determine your approach.

The Education Savings Plan differs from the prepaid plan in that the “qualified higher education expenses” are more inclusive. You can use the account to pay for tuition and fees along with room and board, books and supplies, computers and required equipment. Additionally, as of 2018, you can pay for up to $10,000 per year per beneficiary for tuition fees at any K-12 school.

Education Savings Plans also commonly lack the residency restrictions of Prepaid Tuition Loans, meaning that you can live in one state and contribute to a plan in another while sending your child to college in another. The bottom line is more risk but much more flexibility.

For those who know their beneficiary wants to stay in-state and who prefer to limit their risk, the Prepaid Tuition Plan may be a good fit. But, more and more so the Education Savings Plan is the choice I’ve seen made.

This type of account has really made a great impact on the ability of many families to grow a bigger pool of money for their children

What can I use the 529 plan for?

The Prepaid Tuition Plan covers college tuition but does not cover the costs for elementary and secondary schools, or anything else really. On the other hand, Education Savings Plans cover more expenses, including tuition fees, accommodations, food, books, materials and K-12 tuition fees at public and private schools. If the money is withdrawn and used for a non-qualified expense, you can generally expect to pay state and federal income taxes and an additional 10% federal tax penalty on your earnings.

How to optimize the 529 plan

529 plans offer tax-free growth, but only when you use the funds to pay for educational expenses that are allowed within the plan’s rules. If the money is withdrawn for non-qualified expenses, it will be taxed. So, it’s worth calculating future education expenses and planning your savings accordingly. You can also roll over the remaining balance from one child to another if the amount is not used by your initial beneficiary.

Keep an eye on costs such as administrative and enrollment fees associated with Prepaid Tuition Plans, as well as maintenance and management fees for the Education Savings Plans. Many states offer Education Savings Plans which you can invest in without paying additional fees if you are a resident of the state that is sponsoring the 529 plan.

The ideal situation is to open an account when the beneficiary is born, that will allow approximately 17 to 19 years of account contributions and growth within the account to maximize before needing the funds for higher education.

Other ways to save for your child’s education

Although a 529 plan is a highly recommended strategy to save for college, there are a few other college funds for kids to consider.

Roth IRA

A Roth IRA is a popular type of tax-advantaged retirement savings account, but it can also be used as a college savings vehicle. Like 529 plans, you contribute after-tax money, and any investment gains can be withdrawn later tax-free — most often after you’re 59 and a half years old, for retirement.

However, Roth IRAs also allow you to take out funds tax- and penalty-free to pay for qualifying educational expenses after five years. That makes it an appealing way to hedge your bets: if your child doesn’t go to college, you can still use the funds for your retirement.

However, there are income and contribution limits. For the 2019 tax year, you can only contribute $6,000 per year ($7,000 if you’re over age 50) and single taxpayers earning more than $137,000 per year ($203,000 for married couples) are not eligible.

Coverdell Education Savings Account

Similar to 529 college plans, a Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) is generally tax-advantaged if the money is used to pay for educational expenses. And, like a 529, it’s also considered your asset — not your child’s — so it will have less impact on your child’s chance of getting federal aid.

Unlike a 529, Coverdell ESAs can be used to cover any educational expenses, including K-12 costs such as private school tuition.

However, there are some limits: You can only contribute $2,000 per year per child, and eligibility starts to phase out for couples earning more than $220,000 a year ($110,000 for singles). Funds not used by the time your child is 30 may be subject to taxes.

UGMA and UTMA Custodial Accounts

These types of accounts, where financial gifts to a minor are held in a custodial account until the child reaches adulthood, offer another option for saving for your child’s education.

They offer some tax benefits, but fewer than 529 plans. And unlike the other saving options, these types of accounts can also be considered your child’s asset, not yours — which means they can affect the amount of federal aid your child qualifies for when filling out the FAFSA.

One more thing to think about: The money belongs to your child, so at age 18 or 21, he or she can use it to pay for college as you imagined — or for something else entirely.

The bottom line

The best way you can currently save for your child’s future is to tuck money away in a 529 plan. If you are risk-averse and have a specific education institution you want your child to study at, you are probably better off opting for the Prepaid Tuition Plan. Alternatively, if you want a more flexible option, go for the Education Savings Plan. Either way, it’ best to begin saving for your child’s education as soon as possible.

10 Steps to Buying Your First Rental Property.

Introduction

For many, real estate investing strategies have been used to diversify portfolios, increase cash flow, and build generational wealth. The beauty of buying your first rental property, is that you will soon join countless others on the road towards retirement savings, achieving investment goals, and inevitably meeting your financial objectives. However, before you can enjoy the latter benefits, you need to first know the 10 steps to buying your first rental property.


Step 1: Know Your End Goal

Understanding your end goal is the first step towards purchasing an investment rental property. This end goal should be based on realistic expectations, your financial capabilities, chosen investment strategy, and the answers to the following five questions:

  1. When do you plan to retire and how much money will you need to cover all of your expenses?
  2. Do you have any current retirement income sources?
  3. How much money do you plan on investing in purchasing rental properties (and other real estate investment opportunities?
  4. Do you need immediate cash flow?
  5. Do you need to diversify your portfolio to reduce risk, maximize returns, or lower taxes?

These above types of questions will help you keep sight of your end goal as you begin to choose an investment strategy that works fits your needs, while considering your first potential rental property investment.


Step 2: Get Advice from Other Landlords

The next step in your real estate investment journey is to speak to other landlords. Talking to a mentor who is investing in the same area (and types of homes) that you are interested in can make all of the difference in the world. When you speak with your mentors / other landlords, it is important that you keep their “investment bias” in mind. Investment bias refers to the landlord’s own experiences, purchasing strategy, and of course end goals. With this in mind, you can begin to find investors with similar goals along with extensive resources, like the BiggerPockets Podcast. During the podcast, expert investors who use different strategies are interviewed, answer questions, and help determine your personalized investment strategy.

See also: 6 Best Money Podcasts to Listen to in 2020


Step 3: Save for the Down Payment

As you begin to explore the possibility of buying your first rental property, it’s important to keep in mind how much money to save for a down payment. Ideally, you’ll want to have a 20 – 30 percent down payment saved before: a) looking for an investment opportunity, or b) apply for pre-approval. The following five tips can help you save for a down payment in a timely fashion:

  1. Pay off any debt that you currently have.
  2. Set up an automatic savings deposit.
  3. Lower your rent.
  4. Drastically reduce unnecessary living expenses.
  5. Take on a second job.

Step 4: Know Your Expenses

While every rental property is different, all have one thing in common … expenses. With this in mind, before you purchase a rental property, it is important that you know all about the potential monthly, and unexpected, expenses that the property will experience. These potential expenses include:

  • Property taxes. When purchasing a rental property, it’s important to remember that some states (as well as towns or counties within certain states) have higher property taxes than others. Additionally, property taxes can be quite expensive, which is why it’s always a good idea to review any potential investment property with your CPA, before deciding to sign on the dotted line.
  • Set aside money for anticipated and unexpected repairs.
  • Keep a rainy day fund. It’s no secret that even the strongest real estate market can dip. Have at least six months in cash reserves saved. These funds will be especially useful if you have to conduct any emergency repairs, or if your property sits vacant for along period of time.

Step 5: Get Pre-Qualified

Pre-qualification will help you better understand what types of investment properties you can afford to purchase. Listed are a few qualifications that must be met before becoming pre-qualified:

  • A credit score of at least 680 (an ideal score is 740 or higher).
  • A two year job history at a U.S. company. Self-employed individuals will need to prove their financial stability and monthly income for the past 3 to 5 years.
  • Have the liquid cash needed for the down payment.
  • Have cash available for at least six months of expenses.
  • Maintain a consistently low debt to income ratio.

Step 6: Research Rental Markets

Research, research, and research some more. In fact, when it comes time to purchase your first rental property, you can never research too much. As part of this process, look for the following indicators of a strong real estate market.

  1. Job Growth. Strong real estate markets and increased job growth go hand in hand.
  2. Population Growth. Population growth is often an indicator of a strong real estate market. The general rule of thumb is as follows, when people from out of state flock to an area, the rental housing market is generally flooded and turned into a seller’s (or landlord’s) market, leading to higher rents and property prices.
  3. City Revitalization. A city revitalization period typically offers an opportunity to capitalize on the real estate market.

Step 7: Do Your Due Diligence

From looking at schools to understanding the own to rent ratio, there are a number of steps you can take to complete your own due diligence. It’s worth noting that the factors used in the previous step will help identify strong real estate markets. Now, as part of your due diligence, it will be your job to look into the actual neighborhoods within these markets. Ask the following types of questions to guide your research efforts.

  • Is the rental property within a good school district?
  • Are their local attributes within walking distance?
  • Speaking of walking, what would the property’s walk score be?
  • How many rental properties are in the area?
  • Is the crime rate low?
  • What is the average household income for the neighborhood?
  • What are the demographics for the neighborhood, and do they align with your identified rental demographics for the local market?

Step 8: Speak to the Property Manager

When it comes to buying your first rental property, it’s vital that you speak with the property manager. Be sure to ask them the following types of questions:

  • How much will a [insert brief bedroom-based description of your potential investment property] rent for in this area?
  • What are the average rents in this area?

Once you have gathered the answers to the above two questions, from multiple landlords, start to cross reference the data against what you can find on popular sites such as Craigslist, Realtor, Zillow, or even Apartments.com. This information will provide good insight on how certain property managers are able to rent out higher than average properties.


Step 9: Choose The Right Financing

Deciding on the right financing to buy your first rental property simply comes down to your real estate investing goals. Are you interested in generating positive monthly cash flow or long-term appreciation? The type of financing you use will absolutely affect your return. For instance, the higher your monthly mortgage payment, the lower your cash flow will be. The good news is, if you do your market research and buy a rental in a growing market, property owners can count on both positive cash flow and long-term appreciation. Another great thing about buying real estate is that it’s generally an appreciating, or growing asset. The longer you hold onto your rental property, the more it increases in value (appreciation), and thanks to inflation driving up rents over time, your monthly cash flow should increase too.


Step 10: Make an Offer

Once you make an offer and it’s accepted, the clock starts ticking. The amount of time you have to close will vary, but it’s wise to act quickly and make sure the deal closes before the agreed upon deadline. At this point, you should have a very solid idea about how much money and time you’ll need to get your property rental-ready. If you’ve decided to hire a property manager, start getting the ball rolling on setting up terms and agreements. The faster you can fill the rental with tenants, the faster you’ll start seeing a return on your investment.


How Minimalism Can Improve Your Finances

Minimalism is more than a fad, it’s a lifestyle of living with less stuff and more meaning, that takes commitment and change of mindset.

Minimalism is a movement that focuses on reducing the clutter in your life. This is done both in physical things and distractions. People who embrace this find ways to eliminate distractions from their lives and this in turn opens up more opportunities for them in other areas. Embracing minimalism does not have to to mean that you stop spending money, but it can mean that you may spend it more deliberately and your focus may shift from making the most money possible to enjoying life.

How Minimalism Can Improve Your Finances

Allows You to Prioritize Your Spending

Minimalism encourages you to embrace the things that are most important to you. This will naturally carry over into how you spend your money. If you are not focused on acquiring certain items but more focused on specific experiences, the way you spend your money changes. Realizing what is most important to you will help with your spending priorities and this can carry forward into the way that you handle your money overall.

Living with less will force you to think twice about what you buy. You learn to distinguish your needs from your wants. And if you’re maintaining a debt-free lifestyle, naturally, you’ll approach your spending accordingly.

Minimalism Discourages Excess

The minimalist lifestyle rejects over consumption and instead encourages you to limit possessions to the essentials. This inherently means buying fewer things and spending less money on cleaning, maintaining, and replacing your belongings.

While you can become and be a minimalist without being debt-free, these two lifestyles often go hand-in-hand. Through the process of shedding possessions and from the desire to avoid excess, many minimalists become and stay debt-free by setting realistic goals.

See also: Debt Snowball VS Debt Avalanche: Choosing the Right Strategy for You.

Limits the Need for Things

With this new shift in focus you will often be limiting what you own. Since you own less or spend less on buying items, it can help you if you need to cut back on your spending to increase your savings or pay down debt. Often since you are not buying as much you can put more money towards other financial goals that can help you focus on experiences rather than things. This may mean early retirement or more and better vacations.

You Need Less Room

While practicing minimalism, you need less room to store everything you’ve collected over the years. If you are able to buy or rent a smaller space, not only will this save you on your rent or mortgage, but it can save you on utilities and free up even more money to spend on the things that are most important to you.

More Focus on Financial Goals

This can benefit you as you begin budgeting and setting your financial goals. Budgeting is a spending plan based on your current priorities. As you discover what is most important to you, it becomes easier to decide when and how to spend your money. This also clears up where you need to change how you handle your money, like the amount that you pay in interest each month on various loans.

Consider Selling Items as You Free Yourself of Them

If you are just beginning your journey into minimalism, a great way to start is you can sell the items you no longer want or need. You can use this money to help you begin to clear up the financial clutter in your life, like your debt. As you rid yourself of the clutter in your life, you can use the money to clean up your financial life as well. Holding a yard sale is an easy way to sell a lot of items quickly, as well as craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.

Helps You Find Ways to Simplify Your Finances

There are several things you can do to make handling your finances easier. You can pay your bills all on one day. You can use cash for everyday purchases which make tracking your spending easier. You may also want to use one of the many apps that simplifies the budgeting process. If you find a mobile app that works for you, you can enter purchases on the go and now where you are with your goals and limits. Investing can also be done in an effective and simple manner, consider The Bogleheads’ Guide to the Three-Fund Portfolio.

See also: The Only 3 Books You Need To Retire Rich

Minimalism Encourages Simple Living

Not only is minimalism about having less, but it’s also about doing less,or at least doing less of the things that don’t matter to you. This lifestyle can mean dropping costly commitments and ones that just eat up your time and take away from family time or whatever brings you joy, and for many that is the simple things in life.

Final Thoughts

Like most things personal finance, I don’t think you have to go all out on this one. If you can apply minimalism in some portions of your life it can help in so many ways, such as relieving stresses, freeing up time and space, and possibly allowing you to retire earlier or see more of the world like you always wanted.

One way we got ride of things we couldn’t sell other than donating, was the buy nothing project which is a really cool group that promotes not throwing everything away using second hand and giving withing a community. There are normally Facebook groups for different communities so try it out!

Do you plan on trying minimalism in any way? Or do you already practice it? Let us know in the comments below.

6 Best Money Podcasts to Listen to in 2020

Whenever I’m doing a task that doesn’t require my full focused attention — think of doing laundry, gaming, making dinner or driving alone — I’ll usually be listening to a podcast. I use my phone to listen to podcasts on all kinds of topics, mostly history, self-improvement, real estate investing, finance and economic issues and of course PASSIVE INCOME. Here are six podcasts I really enjoy that are financial in nature.

BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast

This is the podcast that started started it all for me, it got me hooked to filling my time with more than just music in the background all the time. The focus of the “BiggerPockets Podcast” is real estate investing – everything from single family homes, to building a mobile home empire from out of state. The hosts Brandon Turner and David Greene interview real estate investors with all kinds of backgrounds and different levels of experience, talking to them about their “failures, successes, motivations, and lessons learned.”

There are some interviews with guests who aren’t involved directly in real estate but have expertise that can be useful for building a real estate business. Turner and Greene talk to a best-selling author with two books on what sets successful people in any business apart from the crowd, a podcaster who specializes in networking, and a group of investors who achieved financial independence by building passive income.

BiggerPockets also has a Money and Business podcast. I personally have listened to every episode of BiggerPockets Money Podcast, Scott Trench and Mindy Jensen do a great job interviewing everyday people who overcome sometimes crazy situations other times I think “wow that is exactly where I am right now!” and they really dig into the mindset and how-to’s of how that individual got it done and fixed their financial house.

The Dave Ramsey Show 

Dave Ramsey’s personal finance radio show is hugely popular for a reason. He tackles real-life financial issues with a strong and straightforward coaching voice, with a no-nonsense perspective.

In my opinion, his show really clicks when he interacts with guests, who call in with really relatable ideas and desires. This is a call-in show, so it covers a wide array of money-related issues, including investing, homebuying, retirement, insurance, and how money is affecting marriage. However, there’s a consistent focus on getting out of debt and building a solid financial foundation. You will often hear him saying “Debt is dumb, cash is king” as part of his slogan.

Ramsey is a proud Christian, and has many Christian sponsors. There are times he brings up a callers church or their character in relation to faith and this may be off-putting for some, especially for someone not expecting it.

ChooseFI

Investors Jonathan Mendonsa and Brad Barrett bill their “ChooseFI” podcast as “a finance podcast by the FIRE community and for the FIRE community.”

Episodes are around an hour long and come out twice a week, on Monday and Friday. Typically, the Monday episode is an interview with another member of the FIRE community, such as a blogger, author, or friend. The guests talk about their lives and their journey to FIRE, also their thoughts and strategies on all types of financial issues, such as cutting expenses, investing, and building passive income.

The Friday episode is generally a roundup in which Mendonsa and Barrett discuss their takeaways from Monday’s interview, answer listener questions, share stories from the community, and chat about whatever is going on in their lives and finances. Listening to these episodes is like overhearing a conversation between two friends who happen to talk a lot about money.

The Mad FIentist Podcast 

This podcast focuses directly on a topic near and dear to my heart: retiring early. From the beginning it’s been a part of my plan, even joining the military I knew that getting that military pension and additional benefits may not be enough. So I turned to real estate investing to make up the difference and my wife and I have the goal of retiring before our toddler grows up and goes off the college.

One of my favorite episodes was one of the earliest ones, in which the host and guest JL Collins discussed the issue of “walk away money”. That episode embodies something that has become a big part of my personal finance thinking in recent years, that having enough money that you could walk away from your career is not only a great stress reliever, but it also provides you with a ton of professional and personal opportunities that you would not have considered otherwise.

Part of what really appeals to me about the Mad FIentist is that it tackles a lot of typical personal finance issues from that somewhat different perspective of wanting to retire early, meaning that it is inherently assumed that listeners are very willing to have a high savings rate and want to get out of needing to work for money as early as possible in life. Because of that central perspective, the show can look at a lot of issues from a fresh angle.

Afford Anything

Paula Pant is a real estate investor, blogger, and author of the e-book “Escape,” which is about ways to break free from the 9-to-5 routine. Her podcast, takes comes from her slogan, “You can afford anything, but not everything.” The show centers around her philosophy that living the good life is all about figuring out what matters most to you and then devoting your limited resources, your time, money, and energy, to that.

Episodes of “Afford Anything” usually run between 60 to 80 minutes. In about half the episodes, Pant interviews experts in fields such as investing, psychology, and behavioral economics.

In other episodes, Pant answers questions from listeners on all things money-related. For instance, she advises them on how to invest in real estate, earn extra income, catch up on retirement savings, and talk to skeptical friends about FIRE. These episodes are mostly just Pant talking solo, with recordings of listener questions added. Pant’s bubbly personality makes listening to her never grow tiresome.

Smart Passive Income

Pat Flynn has already developed online businesses that earn him millions every year without needing his full-time attention, be backs this claim by regularly posting his monthly income on his website. His podcast, “Smart Passive Income,” aims to help you do the same. It has a following of over 150,000 listeners who either have, or want to have, an online business or side hustle.

Flynn consistently stresses that earning passive income isn’t the same as getting rich with no work. You have to put in a lot of effort upfront to create a business that can keep generating money month after month. But he also emphasizes the advantages of having an online business that isn’t a full-time job, freeing you to spend more time on the things that matter most. He starts off each episode of his podcast with the slogan “It’s all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later.” This guy really hit’s close to home, it’s why I invest, why I buy real estate, why I build passive income, to be able to spend more time with my family and not be tied to a normal job when I get out of the military.

Episodes of “Smart Passive Income” range from 30 minutes to an hour in length. Most of them feature interviews with other successful online business owners, such as Tim Ferriss, Ramit Sethi, and Chalene Johnson. Flynn talks to them about how their businesses got started, what their sources of income are, and any particular areas of expertise they can share with listeners.

Final Word

These are my most recommended podcasts on personal finance and investing, but this is only six out of hundreds of shows on the subject. There are podcasts devoted to earning, spending, saving, investing, and understanding your relationship with money. Try them out and you will none of these really connect with you, don’t give up on them there are way too many out there for a few to not be tailored for YOU! There is a boat load a great information to learn and get you thinking from podcasts.

So if the particular financial topic that interests you wasn’t included in this list, that doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. No matter what you want to learn about money, with a little digging, you should be able to find a podcast that covers it.

Did the money podcast you listen to not make the list? Tell us about it in the comments.

Home Buying Vs Renting: How to Make the Right Choice

Given the large upfront costs that come with the purchase of a home, most young people begin their independent lives renting an apartment, or more and more so move back in with their parents. As they finish college or trade school and go on to start their careers, save money, and start families, many choose to buy a home. On the other end of the age spectrum, homeowners nearing retirement may choose to sell their family homes, downsize, and become renters once more.

Regardless of the big-picture economic forces that affect homeownership rates, determining whether and when to purchase a home is a personal choice that demands careful consideration and planning. This decision varies from market to market – what makes sense in small town, USA might not work in San Diego or NYC and vice versa. Also, because American culture idealizes homeownership to a certain extent, emotional and social pressures can affect the decision almost as much as financial concerns.

Are you a renter interested in buying a home, or a homeowner wondering whether renting makes more sense at this point in your life? It’s time to evaluate the relative costs, benefits, and drawbacks of owning versus renting your home.

There’s no doubt that buying a home is a major life decision, but is it right for you? Of course, there’s no singular correct answer as there are pros and cons to both renting and buying. A major factor in anyone’s decision-making process comes down to finances. In most cases, renting seems to be the more affordable option.

However, that’s not always the case. Your decision can boil down to several lifestyle considerations such as whether you want flexibility or stability, what your career goals are and whether you want a place to truly call your own.

Read on to find out what you need to consider before deciding to rent or own your next home. Let’s first start with a list a Pros and Cons:

Renting Pros And Cons 

PROS

  • Mobility/freedom to move around
  • Landlord pays for maintenance
  • Doesn’t require expensive closing costs
  • No fluctuation in monthly housing expenses
  • Allows you to test-drive different living spaces

CONS

  • You don’t build any equity
  • Limited ability to customize your living space
  • Rent could go up over time
  • Landlord might sell or decide to stop renting
  • Limited sense of home stability/permanence

Buying Pros And Cons 

PROS

  • You build equity over time
  • Home value may increase over time
  • You may reap tax benefits
  • Unlimited freedom to customize your living space
  • Sense of home stability/permanence

CONS

  • Closing costs can be prohibitive
  • Responsibility for maintenance and repairs which requires time and effort
  • Less flexibility to move (at greater difficulty/expense)
  • Home value may decrease
  • Recent tax laws could hamper tax benefits

Rent Vs. Buy: How To Decide

1.  How Long Do You Plan To Live In The Same Place?

In other words, are you planning on putting down roots raising your family and growing into the local community for a many years to come or do you desire more flexibility in where you live?

If you feel certain you’ll stay in a home for at least 5 years, buying a home can really start to make sense. This is because it could be both a good fit financially and emotionally – you can tailor it to your personal liking and really make it feel like it’s yours, like HOME.

On the other hand, renting is the better option if you move more often, such as in the military or you’re open to new jobs and opportunities all over the country. For example, let’s say you’re really hoping to get that job promotion but it’s halfway across the country. You may not want to have to deal with the hassle of selling a home while transitioning to a new position. Or perhaps you’ve moved to a new area and renting would give you some time to get to know the area and different neighborhoods before settling down somewhere.

Sure, you can buy a home and then sell it within a few years, but the costs are hardly worth it. Aside from initial closing and moving costs, you may be paying more closing costs when selling a home in addition to other costs such as repairs and renovations that would make the house sell for top dollar. Lastly you’re assuming your home will appreciate and that by no means is a guarantee.

2.  Estimating The Cost Of Renting Vs. Buying

In many cases, renting can be cheaper than buying a home because of the upfront costs involved. This includes a down payment, closing costs, moving costs, any renovations and other home maintenance tasks.

With that said, just because you can afford a mortgage payment doesn’t mean you can afford a home; all the other expenses of home ownership add up. In addition to a monthly payment that’s more than the principal and interest on your mortgage, you’ll also have property taxes, homeowners insurance and (in some cases) mortgage insurance as well as homeowners association fees.

See also: 7 First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes You Can Avoid

On the other hand, buying a home can be cheaper in the long run and it offers you an opportunity to build equity. In most areas of the U.S. buying a home is actually cheaper according to a ATTOM Data Solutions report that  shows that renting is more affordable than buying a home in 69 percent of the counties in the report that have a population of at least 500,000 or more.

Not only that, but there are tax savings to being a homeowner. (Though with the recent tax changes there may be limits as to how much mortgage interest, state and local property taxes you can write off). As always contact your accountant or financial expert for up to date tax advice for your personal situation.

That’s not to say you should dive right into home ownership. It’s completely fine to rent for a few years, save up and purchase a home if you’re dead set on having a place of your own. The savings in costs of being a homeowner also assume you’ll stay in a home for the long term and may not factor in maintenance costs. However, if you do pay off your mortgage and continue to live in the home, the savings can be significantly cheaper even with home maintenance costs.

3. Mobility Vs. Putting Down Roots: Which Is More Important To You?

Look, life happens. Even with the best of intentions it’s hard to predict what can happen next. If you intend to stay in one place for a long time and have the financial means to do so, buying a home may make the most sense. 

However, it’s important to take a look at your current life situation and think about whether or not it’ll change within the next few years. Because if it does, your housing needs could also change.

For example, you and your long-term partner may have just gotten engaged and plan on getting married in the next 2 years. In this case, buying may not make sense because you two want to figure out how to combine your finances and work out your budgeting routine before adding a home into the mix.

Or let’s say you and your spouse just got married and you aren’t sure if you want to start a family quite yet. If you have any inklings that you might want to have children soon, you shouldn’t buy a home that’s not going to accommodate a growing family in a few years.

In both these cases, it might be a good idea to rent for the time being so you have time to figure out what you want in a home, what your budgeting needs are and what kind of home might be the best fit for the lifestyle you hope to have in the future.

4. Weigh The Risks

As mentioned above, there are risks for both renting or buying a home. Although you can build equity when buying a home, there are some financial risks. For one, you could lose money if there’s a downturn in your local real estate market (Here is more info on housing market cycles, Biggerpocket.com). Or, if you sell your home sooner than you want, you may not be able to make up for what you spent in closing costs or renovations.

Let’s not forget maintenance costs. These are expenses you’ll need to pay to keep the home in top condition. Think checking air filters and vents, testing fire alarms, landscaping, fixing plumbing issues, among other things. There’s always something that comes up that needs fixing.

If you’re focused on other things in your life like a career that requires you to travel often or you have multiple young children to attend to, adding home maintenance to your list of responsibilities may not be a top priority to you.

On the flip side, renting means you won’t have the opportunity to build equity like you would with buying. Your rent could go up at any given moment. You’re also at the mercy of your landlord, such as being asked to move out or having to deal with maintenance requests being deferred.

5. Assess Your Financial Situation

It’s important to note that you need to be realistic about your financial situation when deciding between renting and buying. Once you estimate the costs of renting versus buying, be honest about whether you can afford other upfront costs like a down payment, repairs, moving costs and buying new furniture. Consider using a mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly payments as well as how much home you can afford.

Consider these questions:

  • Do you plan on having children? Do you know where you want to raise them or where you want them to go to school? What is the home-buying landscape like there?
  • Do you see yourself changing jobs in a few years or are you committed to your city for the foreseeable future?
  • Are you prepared to trade your weekends of leisure — biking, hitting breweries, brunching — for fixing sinks and mowing the lawn? Because that’s what homeowners do. Signing closing papers is the wedding, move-in day is the honeymoon, and homeownership is the actual marriage. There will be work and rough days, and it’s not as easy to bail if things get really bad like when you were “dating” a rental home.
  • What is it about owning a home that appeals to you? Is it having a physical place to make your own, to really invest in personally, not just financially? On the flip side, are you mostly looking to make a financial investment? Is it just a status thing? Do you feel like you should buy a home at this point in your life? Where is that urgency coming from?


The most important thing to remember is that buying a home isn’t the be-all-end-all of financial adulthood. Renting is not inherently a sign of an immature financial life. For a lot of people, renting could totally be the best move, at least for a period of time. And that’s okay.

In either case, do some careful budgeting right now so no matter what you choose you’ll be able to afford a home or rent.

Rent Vs. Buy: Final Thoughts

There isn’t always a clear answer to the question of whether to rent or buy. Depending on your life situation and finances, the answer might change over time. There are other options such as rent-to-own property where you start out renting then move onto becoming a homeowner. No matter what decision you make, it’s crucial you make an informed decision based on your financial situation and lifestyle. 

This matters too. When it comes down to it, if the cold numbers still leave you a little on the fence, but emotionally you are honestly in love with the idea of truly owning a home, then go with that. When it comes to home buying, let your logic clear a path for your emotional fulfillment. A home isn’t just a thing you own — it’s a place you live your life. It’s more okay to weigh your feelings as heavily as you want.

Smartassest.com has a handy calculator that weighs the known costs (both financial and time) associated with renting and buying. Although this calculator can help you decide what makes the most financial sense in a particular situation, it can’t help you evaluate all the subjective, non-financial factors that affect your ultimate decision. Only you and your loved ones can make the final choice, so as you work toward an ultimate decision, keep an open mind. Remember that it’s better to wait and make the right call than rush into a choice you come to regret.

Are you deciding whether to rent or buy your home? Let us know in the comments below.

20 Side Hustles You Can Start Today!

By now, most people know what the term side hustle means. Side hustles are something people do in addition to their regular jobs to make a little extra money. But if you choose the right side hustle, you can make a lot more than a little extra money.

I’m a huge fan of earning more money, and I think everyone should have a side hustle. Side hustling can allow you to earn that little bit of extra money that can help you achieve your financial goals faster – whether it’s paying off student loans, saving for retirement, or building PASSIVE INCOME!

Most of these are side hustles are from my own experience or from what I’ve personally seen work first hand with a sprinkle of online examples. All of my adult life has been in the Navy living around military bases so keep that in mind. Think higher population areas, higher than average turnover in tenants (we typically move every few years), a lot of single dudes ordering out and drinking all the time, needing sober drivers you get the idea, so my list plays into this and can be used to fit where you live just be creative, you’ve got this!

We’re all given the same 24 hours in a day, (25 Hours a Day if you’re Nick Bare) and what we do with that time can set us apart from the crowd. He, like myself, has a military background and I’ve been following him for years. In his book he talks about embracing the suck,the mental pain, and learning to enjoy it, even turning it into a strength and living like you’ve got an extra hour in the day. Some of us have more demanding jobs or home lives, but thankfully, with today’s technology you can take on a second or third job and do it on your own down time.  Or decide to start a business and all of a sudden you have a business. You can get a website up and running in hours if you’re so inclined and you can find customers all over the world faster than ever before. Technology has made so much possible for us, I want you to take advantage of all the opportunities that are out there if you’re looking to beat debt once and for all.

Side hustles are something people do in addition to their regular jobs to make a little extra money. If you choose the right side hustle, you can make a lot more than a little extra money. I’m a huge fan of earning more money, and I think everyone should have a side hustle. Side hustling can allow you to earn that little bit of extra money that can help you achieve your financial goals faster – whether it’s paying off student loans, saving for retirement, or building PASSIVE INCOME! #sidehustle

1. Uber/Lyft

Drive in your spare time. Nights or weekends are usually the big money and busiest times and some drivers report making somewhere between $15-$25 an hour on average. Be sure to account for your gas mileage, too many people get burned on this.

2. Buy And Resell Stuff

This was one of the first side hustles I ever did. I would go to garage sales, estate sales and flea markets (which were a little harder because the best stuff had been picked thrugh by the people selling in the first place) and then start selling the items on eBay or Amazon. 

Today, the technology has improved so much that there are a lot of people who make this their full time job. Search for flippers on YouTube and you’ll see all kinds of people who are hustling and reselling stuff.

Ok, so this is crazy, but I’ve seen people make some serious BANK on buying things people can’t wait to get rid of and touching them up, cleaning them up or just reselling them at a huge profit! Look theres some legwork, but if you like to surf sales, deals and estate sales, this might be the side gig for you.

3. Deliver Food And Groceries With Postmates

Making deliveries is one of the easiest, most accessible side hustles of 2020. It might not be the most lucrative, but it can provide you with a steady stream of income delivering food, groceries, and supplies to customers.

You can easily pick and choose the hours you work and everything is done through an app on your smartphone making it straight forward to earn money. Making deliveries as a side hustle is not going to make you rich, but you can save the money you earn to launch your own company and increase how much money you’re able to make.

4. Pet sitting and walking

Create a profile on Rover.com or Care.com and start up your own pet sitting service. Do you know that Americans spent $69 BILLION dollars on their pets last year? Most of us treat our pets just like children, so it’s no surprise that people will spend good money to have their dog well cared for while they are away.

5. Babysitting

It’s not just for teenagers anymore. The going rates for babysitting in most markets is $15-$25/hour depending on the number of kids, city, hours, requirements, etc. What about offering to watch a friend’s child in your home? You can likely save them on daycare and bring in pretty good money for a day. Some of the “Stay at home wives” make serious money doing this part time. They also get to charge a premium because EVERYONE is looking for a babysitter in and around military housing. Maybe it’s the same in areas near you?

6. Help People Move

If you have the ability to help people move, you can easily make money in your spare time. Maybe you have a truck, or are strong and can lift heavy furniture.

There are people all over that pay for help moving – from moving their own houses, to when they buy furniture and need someone to help get it home. 

If you’re just the muscle, you won’t earn as much, but if you have a truck too, you can really earn a lot. 

Dolly – An app that connects people looking for help moving. It’s only available in certain cities so check their map.

7. Sell on Etsy

Etsy is the go-to marketplace for everything handmade including jewelry, clothing, and home decor among other things. If you’re good at making things that people want to buy, setting up your own shop on Etsy can be one of the most lucrative side hustles available today.

There’s a $0.20 listing fee and a 5% transaction fee whenever you sell something. If the sale comes through an advert hosted by Etsy, there will be an additional 15% charge but this is optional in most cases. It’s a small price considering the new potential customers you gain.

8. Mowing lawns

Invest in a mower, hedger and a few other small pieces of equipment and you have yourself a fantastic business! You can make about $20-30/hour on average doing lawn maintenance, it just takes hard work and sweat equity.

9. Detailing Cars

You may need to get a little practice in on your cars, friends, family, neighbors to develop a system and get good idea of how long its takes to finish different types of vehicles. For best results advertise, this can be a sign, online, in the paper just get some deals coming your way and word of mouth can be very powerful from there. This can easily scale into big money with buying your own equipment, going mobile, hiring help, and having multiple price options like the car washes do (you know normal wash all the way up to full detail and tire shine)

white porsche 911 parked near white house

10. Sell Your Photos

Some people already have thousands upon thousands of pictures just sitting there, and some of them are OUTSTANDING and BREATHTAKING! They don’t have have to be personal, family or anything like that, it can be simple designs, buildings, landscapes and nature, people need images for all manner of things, including blog posts, magazines, and websites.

Selling your photos has two benefits. It’s a great side hustle you can do from home and a form of passive income. You only have to take and edit a photo once but you can sell that image an infinite number of times.

Upload your photos to Shutterstock,or any of the many other similar sites and every time that photo is downloaded by a customer, you make some extra income.

11. Tutoring

Pick up some extra hours after school tutoring kids in your home, at the library or make a deal with a local shop to use their space. Let’s face it, there are a lot of kids who need extra attention and teachers have a special gift. The parents of your students will appreciate that they can use a tutor that their kids already know and love.

12. Become a Virtual Assistant (VA)

Not everyone has time or certain skills to do things in their business. So a VA is someone who typically can be an extra arm for a business owner or specializes in one thing, like social media. There are so many ways to start a VA business, find your passion and specialty and start asking around for who needs help.

13. Deliver pizzas

You’re working for someone else, but the money can be pretty amazing for a side gig. I had to put this in, near military bases and colleges holidays and weekends alone can easily surprise you how much these drivers can bring in. Those cash tips can add up really quickly.

14. Work Odd Gigs

This is one of my favorite ways to make money if you really have no idea what you want to do. Have you ever noticed people doing odd gigs around town – maybe working an event, or helping at a fair, or something that’s just a one-off.

Well, you can find these gigs online and get paid to do 1 or 2 day random events. If you go to Craigslist -> Gigs, there are a bunch of listing for people looking for help with a random event.

It’s not consistent work, but it’s quick and easy to get paid. 

FlexJobs

FlexJobs is a job board that specializes in remote jobs across dozens of fields including advertising, event planning, graphic design, and business development. There are part-time and full-time jobs, employee and freelance jobs, and on-site jobs that offer flexible and alternative schedules.

A lot of people would like to work from home but are reluctant to look for a job that allows it because there are so many work from home scams out there. You don’t have to worry about finding a scam job on FlexJobs. Each post is researched and vetted, and all of them have an element of flexibility, whether it’s the ability to work entirely from home or to create your own work schedule.

15. Flip furniture

Chalkboard paint and antiquing is very in as well right now, as well as plain old sanding and refinishing. It’s a small investment in paint and the proper supplies as well as learning techniques, but once you make the initial investments of learning, you can take almost any piece of unwanted furniture and turn it into a desired treasure. I haven’t taken any of the courses available on techniques, but I watched a YouTube video and made my son’s dresser from nice, albeit scratched dresser for $100 total he was born. It’s a special piece me and the wife did together and it’s solid cherry and will last a very long time, and well heck it didn’t turn out half bad. I was tempted to sell it because similar pieces were going for $400-600 on Facebook Marketplace in our area.

16. Online Freelancing

There are so many ways to make money online freelancing. If you can read, write, program, make videos, or are open to learning a variety of skills, you can make money freelancing online. You could even do bookkeeping for other businesses online!

Some areas that are easy to get started with are online transcription work (think of all the podcasts that need thins), online virtual assistant services, and even online social media management.

The bottom line is that the potential is limitless if you are even a little tech savvy or have writing skills. 

17. Rent your vehicle out on days you’re not using it

If you go to Fluid Truck, Turo, GetAround or similar sites, you can list your vehicle for rent by the day or hour, depending on the vehicle and the demand.

18. Cleaning houses

Do you enjoy cleaning and making a place smell and look good? There are a lot of services out there, but people like to use people they know and trust. You can start with as little as $20 in minimal supplies from the Dollar Tree or Walmart and get started. Make a few calls around your town or city to get the going rates.

19. Air B&B an extra room, your basement or loft space

I suggest both using Air B&B to save money when you go places as much as I do renting your own space out on the platform. Like anything else, it might be hard to get started, but provide excellent customer service, ask for reviews and you’ll be booked in no time.

20. Become a notary

While it may take an application, course, and exam, once you’re a notary you can charge people a fee to witness them signing documents. I thought about this one long and hard, but sure to check your states laws. I backed out because of all the free options available to the military on and off base in the area. This is something that can have a whole lot of upside if you are willing work odd hours and weekends when everyone else is closed. Nationalnotary.org is full of information to include the process and specific information on your state and links to their laws and regulations.

Side Hustle Wrap Up

Anyone one of these can be huge in helping you come out on top during the turmoil in today’s economy, as well as beat down any kind of debt you have or simply accelerated your wealth building and path to early retirement. Who knows, many of these have the potential to grow into a business of their own if that is what you’re looking for. The $100 Startup is a great book full of examples of people who started small with as little as $100 and went on to make a living doing what they loved. For a lot more free information online on side hustles I recommend www.sidehustlenation.com