How to Make the Most of Your End-of-Summer Garden

garden

Summer is sadly coming to an end in just a couple short weeks. The mornings and evenings are cooling down, the sun is setting earlier and school is about to start again. This does not mean that you garden doesn’t still have a little life in it though.

Having a garden helps to save money, but as the season ends, your plants’ characteristics begin to change. The good news is that there’s still hope for your vegetable patch, and you can prolong their life and productivity. If you’re hoping to have a garden that is in good shape next year as well, now is a great time to do some prepping.

The following are just a few ways you can make the most of your end-of-summer garden:

Take flowers inside

Geraniums, annuals and some perennials can be moved into pots and brought inside the house for winter. For geraniums, pull them in the fall and replant in the spring. You’ll want to make sure they are in an area where they can receive direct and full sun in the morning with less light in the afternoon.

Certain annuals, like begonias and impatiens, can be brought indoors during those cold months. If you do not have the necessary light source for these plants, you will want to look into artificial lighting.

Before bringing them in and placing them in pots, though, you will need to cut them back, also known as pinching back, and placing the healthy shoots you’ve cut into new clean soil. When you go to plant them in your garden again in the spring, you will cut back again.

While your plant containers can be recycled season after season, the soil you use in them should be replaced each year.

Time to trim

A perennial is a plant that lives for two or more years. Examples include strawberries, tomatoes, basil, onions and potatoes. If you have these in your garden, you’ll want to cut off the dead foliage from the plant a few inches above the ground this fall. This won’t harm the plant because the roots will survive, which is why the plant will return in the future.

Annuals are plants that typically only last one season, so if you have these in the mix, you’ll want to remove them, roots and all, once they are spent. The same goes for your seasonal vegetables.

Be sure to also spend some time weeding and cleaning out leaf debris to avoid diseases and pests from developing over winter.

Up your watering game

To ensure your garden is getting enough to drink, water your plants frequently and even more in order to fight against the summer heat. Although fall is right around the corner, humid and dry days are still among us. If you’re leaving for the weekend, see if someone will water your garden for you or look into self-watering options.

Start composting

If you do not already compost, this is something you should add to your to-do list. It is not only helpful to the environment, but compost is great for your garden’s growth and health as well. Use those spent annuals and vegetables that you’ve cleaned out from your garden and add to your compost pile.

As you do add to your compost stash, make sure to only include the healthy stuff. Anything that was diseased or contained pests will want to be directly tossed out instead of reused.

Most of all, don’t let any of those goods go to waste that you’ve been growing. If you have a surplus of cucumbers that you don’t know what to do with, think about pickling them. As for tomatoes, this article has some awesome recipes for your end-of-summer tomatoes.

Hopefully these tips help you with your green thumb adventures. By keeping your garden healthy each year, you can also help to save yourself some money in produce. I’ve been able to grow arugula and spinach earlier this season, and now I have some hearty squash growing in my growing for the season’s end.

Did you have a garden? What did you grow?

Why Aren’t Millennials Investing?

millennials investing

Why aren’t millennials investing?

Millennials investing seems to be a scarcity in this decade, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t. So what’s the problem? Why aren’t we millennials investing more?

I can’t speak for everyone, but I know personally, my top reasons for not investing in earlier years are as follows:

 

  • Lack of funds. When I first graduated college in 2009, I was feeling the recession along with many other freshly graduated college students.
  • Lack of knowledge. I never felt confidently enough to invest. I thought the risk was much too large and that the return would reflect this.
  • Lack of skill. I did not create a steady budget for myself nor did I have any type of savings. My personal finance skills were nonexistent.

Over the years, I’ve educated myself and learned the importance of investing. I’ve also improved my personal finances by taking the time to grow my savings and seek out financial opportunities. But, despite the improvement of the economy over the years, the rate of millennials investing is still low. Why is this?

Various studies show similar reasons as mentioned above as to why the amount of individuals that dedicate time to invest is lower than in previous generations. If parents were not encouraging or enforcing the investing, it seems to have rarely happened on its own. Or rather, it takes longer for it to happen on its own.

We need answers.

While this age group tends to be stereotyped as self-centered and entitled folk who are focused on instant gratification and all things digital, these studies portray a different (and more accurate) light. In addition to simply a lack of investing confidence, Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking and Investment Group’s survey on millennials and money shows that this generation is very careful in making investment choices. They want to be “shown the math.”

We want more control.

Merrill Lynch’s survey also found that trust is a big issue for millennials investing. In fact, 72% of the 153 young Americans surveyed stated that they are “self-directed in their investing.” We’d rather be the ones making the decisions than having an adviser we don’t trust working with our cash. We want to invest with people or resources we personally trust rather than just any certified professional.

We’re more conservative (when it comes to investing).

Millennials, in terms of money, have been compared to post-Great Depression era. We not only watched what happened to our parents in the early 2000’s due to the stock market crash and recession, many of us experienced it ourselves after college. Jobs were harder to come by, and therefore, our focus has shifted. We are just as concerned about our parents and their future as  they are with us. UBS Investment Bank’s 2014 survey confirms this notion. We do our research and are much less willing to take high risks with our money. Although high risk investments do often yield high returns, we are typically holding more than half of our assets in cash, according to the research.

Surprisingly, the results of these surveys show that it is more about being careful and not as much about student debt. We are still feeling the effects of the financial crisis, and this generation needs more education on the topic in order to confidently create a diversified financial portfolio. Millennials tend to have more short-term investments instead of long-term, and we also tend to care more about life experiences than substantial wealth.

The good news is that there are more online tools and resources to help educate and guide millennials on investing. WiseBanyan and Acorns are just a couple of examples of investing sites to get a beginner started. Additionally, if nothing else, young Americans should at least focus on a retirement account as their form of investing, whether it be a workplace 401(k) plan or a Roth IRA.

Knowing the importance of investing is the first step in this process, and it’s one that we need to know we can truly benefit from with the right tools and knowledge.

Are you a millennial who invests? What routes do you take?

 

How to Make A Living As A YouTube Star

make a living from youtube

I previously discussed ways to make money using your personal brand. This week, I want to get a little more specific.

The ever-evolving internet continuously creates new opportunities for people of all ages. From philanthropic efforts to social media management, the world wide web is flowing with money. Being able to make a living from YouTube is just one way to cash in online.

Becoming a YouTube professional is more than about how many times your videos have been watched. Having a million viewers does not equal a paycheck. So, how do you actually make a living from YouTube?

The first thing to know and realize is that there isn’t just one determined avenue that generates money from your videos. While YouTube is now making it easier for individuals to monetize their content, guidelines still need to be followed before you can start making money.

Getting Started

To get started, your channel needs to follow the YouTube Partner Program guidelines to ensure it is eligible. In order to qualify, your content needs to be advertiser-friendly, complies with the terms of service and needs to have the permission of artists to use their music and the like. You can see more details of their Partner Program here.

Once you’ve determined that your channel follows the program guidelines, you can begin to set up your account to make money. There are four steps to take to do this:

  1. Enable your channel for monetization by simply clicking “Enable” under Monetization through the Status and Features section of your account.
  2. Connect to an approved AdSense account. AdSense functions by matching ads to your site based on your followers and content.
  3. Recognize which type of videos that are approved for monetization and upload accordingly. For instance, anything that may contain violence or copyright materials may not be eligible. You can also pick the different YouTube ad formats that are available. If you have a preference across the board, you can set it up to be your default setting.
  4. Decide to enable one or more than one video to include ads. When you upload individual videos, you will select “Monetize my video,” or you can select multiple videos at once to monetize once already uploaded. This can also be set to default settings in your account.

Tips to Be Successful

If a large following does not exist on your account, this should be your primary focus. Here are a few quick tips to grow your following:

  • Focus on the audience first. What do people want to see? Go into your videos knowing that people generally want to be entertained or informed. Create videos based on the consumer first and foremost.
  • Be consistent. If you are irregular about uploading videos, it will be harder for an audience to want to subscribe. Think about your favorite TV show. You expect a new episode to air at certain times once a week, correct? The same practice should be followed for your channel.
  • Be original. If you have an idea for subjects that you’ve never seen before or is not common, consider giving it a  try. Who would have thought that millions of dollars could be generated annually by showing yourself playing video games online and providing commentary? Well, Sweden’s Felix Kjellberg did it.
  • Love what you do and have fun with it. Viewers can tell when you’re being genuine, and to make the best connection with your audience, pick to capture something you love to do. Involve your audience by talking to them not at them. Whether it is making people laugh or crafting, be you. But remember, you need to grab people’s attention quickly so get creative.
  • Create quality videos. Even though some low-quality cell phone clips have pulled in millions of viewers simply because of the content, you’ll want to have higher quality images to improve your YouTube income. Smart phones have improved videos and images over the years, but there are also useful apps to help with editing. Tools like iMovie and Vimeo are great, but YouTube has its own editing tools as well. This basic editor and this one for creatives are just a couple options.

Going Beyond Ads

Relying on only ads will prove to be difficult to make a living from YouTube. Plus, before you can be paid from ads, you have to meet a payment threshold of a $100 minimum.Some of the most successful YouTube stars are able to make a living by going beyond the ads. In addition to monetizing their channel, they create opportunities with brands by featuring their products once they’ve built their online empire (if you will). A few ways to expand your revenue include but are not limited to:

  • Sponsorships. Find your own sponsorship to help alleviate costs of video creation if you are planning on thinking and going even bigger with your content. Bringing on your own sponsors helps to cut out the middle man, bringing in more money to your new-found business venture. The process is not simpler, though, so buyer beware.
  • Merchandise. As you begin to grow a large fan base, you can start to sell your own merchandise. If you already have merchandise or services you sell that you think your audience may be interested in, you can use your channel to promote those as well.
  • Work with brands. Partner with companies and brand names that fit your style and channel. Many brands are often looking for new spokespersons to help promote their products or company name, especially those with a large online following. Do some of your own personal outreach to open up new opportunities for your YouTube career. Try to keep in mind audiences can become discouraged by product placement, so find clever ways to incorporate these into your videos.
  • Do events. As you start to become YouTube famous, you can be hired for speaking events or create your own based around your channel.

In summary, the key to make a living from YouTube is to create quality content, grow your audience and recognize opportunities as they arise while simultaneously producing your own. It’s also important to recognize that high wages as a YouTube star is the exception, not the rule. If you are hoping to turn making videos on YouTube as a full-time career, my recommendation would be to study those who have been able to do it, like this list of 23 YouTube celebrities. 

Regardless, YouTube could still be a great source of secondary income. You just have to play your cards right.