3 Surprising Ways to Find Furniture On a Budget

budget furnitureHave you ever noticed that furniture can be… crazy expensive?

You probably want to have a nicely furnished home, but the prices can be insane.

If you wanted to spend all your savings (you do have savings, right?) on furniture, you could.

And not only new furniture– old furniture can break the bank, too.

Is there no way to get nice, comfortable furniture without destroying your finances?

Of course there is! Here are three ways to buy furniture on a budget.

To Craigslist You Go!

Craigslist is a crowd-sourced, local platform that can be a fantastic way to find good, solid furniture.

It’s especially good if you can be a little strategic about it.

For example, if you live in driving distance to a college town and are willing to make the drive, check the Craigslist for the area toward the end of the school year.

Around that time, many students are getting rid of great furniture for fantastic prices, because they have yet to learn the value of a good piece of furniture.

Craigslist is also awesome because the furniture owners are often trying to clean out their home or apartment as quickly as possible.

Once you find a piece of furniture that you’re interested in, you can always try to negotiate and talk the seller down on the price.

Second-Hand Shops

The next stop? Your local antique circuit.

Local second hand shops are a great next stop on a search for furniture.

And since you don’t have to leave your house to scope out Craigslist, one second hand shop might be the only stop you need to make!

Another reason that second hand shops are a good place to find furniture is that you can get furniture that is older or that comes with a few stains.

For just a little work and a relatively small investment, you can redo the furniture to make it look like new!

(For extra inspiration, just check out Pinterest or popular renovation blogs!).

Large Retailers (Carefully!)

Finally, you can shop at large retailers so long as you do so carefully and on the large scale.

Large retailers such as IKEA offer a staggering amount of furniture at surprisingly low prices.

In addition to mega-furniture retailers like IKEA, more ubiquitous retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart have upped the quality of the furniture that they offer, at prices set to compete with IKEA.

These are great places to include in your furniture search because they have large selections in their store for you to view, and even larger selections in their online stores.

If you accent your second hand pieces with store bought pieces, you’ll be able to put together a collection of furniture that represents your personality but doesn’t break your wallet.

So check Craiglist and second hand shops to see what your community has to offer when you set out to find new furniture.

If you don’t find what you are looking for there, visit larger retailers like IKEA, Targer, and Wal-Mart to broaden your search to find the furniture you want at a price that works for your budget.

5 Easy Things You Can Do To Save An Emergency Fund

save for an emergency fundBuilding an emergency fund is one of the most important financial steps you can make for yourself (or your family).

When you decide on the amount that you want to establish it can feel like a long road before you reach it.

I felt like it took me a long time to build our emergency fund, I wanted that dollar amount in my account but I didn’t have the patience to do it slowly.

I thought if I couldn’t have it all at once in some windfall amount there would be no doing it. I was wrong.

Just Start!

Eventually this is what I did. I just started. Though it didn’t seem like that $20 was going to do anything, within a few weeks that $20 was $100 and I liked that number even more.

I went in with the mentality that if I had enough money for something totally unnecessary, like nail polish or a fancy coffee, I had enough to put in my ER fund account too, if I couldn’t do both I had to pick and ER fund always won.

Delegate Windfall Money

I can’t say I get windfall money often but I did get a few hundred dollars at Christmas time from my boss that I wasn’t expecting.

Since it was unexpected and thus, un-budgeted, I put it all in my savings account for the emergency fund.

The same goes for change in pay. Since I’m paid hourly and not salary, it varies. I do my budget based on an average amount, if there is more, even just $20 I appropriate it to the ER account while I’m building it up.

Sell Something

Though I prefer to just donate things to people in need, sometimes I may have something of value that I can sell.

The only thing I won’t sell and put in my account is if I sell something of my daughters. Since it was something that either we bought for her or someone else bought for her, it wouldn’t be fair of me to sell for my own profit.

I’d put the money in her account instead.

Earn Extra Money

There are a ton of ways to do this from picking up extra shifts at work to earning more through a side-job, of you earn money that isn’t within your regular budget save it until your emergency fund is maximized. Try passive income.

Tax Refund

Though this may go under the windfall money category, if you get a tax refund  good use of it would be to beef up the savings!

Once your emergency fund is at a level you’re comfortable with, delegate any of your extra money towards your next financial priority, whatever that may be but don’t do anything else, additional debt payments and all, until you have a realistic emergency fund in place.

How did you build your emergency fund? How long did it take?

4 Insanely Simple Ways to Make Passive Income in 2015

ideas for passive incomeThis post is an updated version of the 2014 version about passive income ideas.

You know it’s possible to make passive income.

And you want to start making more of it.

But you don’t know where to start. There is so much information out there, and it’s all a bit confusing.

But 2015 is the year that you are committed to conquering the passive income itch.

And I’ll help you make that happen.

In this post, I’m going to show you how I make more than $900/month in passive income.

There are many ways to make passive income, but coming up with passive income ideas can be difficult for one reason: mental blocks.

Mental blocks may include lack of knowledge, the idea that the topic seems complicated, and risk adversity.

In reality, you just need to take the plunge.

Here are a few ways that I make passive income, as well as some popular methods that others use.

Passive Income Idea #1: Peer to Peer Lending

Is Peer-to-peer lending still controversial?

I can’t imagine how – it’s simply lending money to a peer (or an individual/group of individuals) instead of a bank or credit union.

The ethics of banks are questionable to begin with, so many people want to get funding from a peer instead.

For you, this is an amazing opportunity to make passive income.

The main income model from a bank is lending. Whether that’s through credit cards, business loans, or personal loans, they cash in.

And you can, too.

One of the only legitimate ways to do this is to sign up for a P2P (peer-to-peer) lending plaform.

The most popular lending platform is Prosper.com which will connect you as a lender to borrowers, and as a borrower to lenders, and make it all possible.

The link to Prosper is an affiliate link and if you decide to do P2P lending with my affiliate link, it will give me a small kick-back – which I will use to buy ice cream (ha.. ha..)

Passive Income Idea #2: Investing

Okay, I know you’ve heard of investing.

But if you still haven’t taken the plunge into the investing world, you are missing out.

And so many people are scared of this income generating machine.

But you shouldn’t be!

Tell me: how is it normal that we “invest” $50,000 in a 4 year degree for a career we aren’t sure we’ll love, yet shut down at the thought of investing $1,000 in an ETF and turning that into a compound interest generating machine?

If you do your research and invest intellegently, you can make a substantial amount of money in interest.

Historically, the average return when it comes to investing is around 9-10%, which is 9-10% return – absolutely passively.

Just START. Stop procrastinating. Read a book on investing, and then stop making excuses.

Open an account with eToro – this is the coolest platform becuase you can actually look up other Traders on eToro, see their returns and copy their portfolios with their OpenBook feature.

Then, start by investing $100.

Passive Income Idea #3: Monetizing a Blog

Blogging is, in and of itself, not passive. You have to write articles, comment on other posts, format, learn search engine optimization, have a presence on social media, etc.

Even so, if you are a hobby blogger and are already blogging, you can monetize your blog by adding Google Adsense or affiliate marketing.

I’m not a huge believer in ads by any stretch of the imagination, but I make some decent money by recommending products that I actually stand behind.

And if you want it to be truly passive, hire a team of writers and/or virtual assistants and let it generate money.

Passive Income Idea #4: Become a Landlord

This is definitely not 100% passive, but inreality, nothing really is.

As a landlord, you are at the beck and call of broken appliances, rowdy tenants and the whims of the market. Unless, of course, you are smarter than that (but who can really vet their tenants that well?)

Renting a room out in your house is the most passive, or convert a floor or separate building on your property into a suite.

 

See, it’s not that hard to make passive income. You just have to DO something.

Subscribe to the newsletter and get more ideas on how to make passive income!

Top Advice From Entrepreneurs Who Made It

It turns out that entrepreneurs may not be such a rare breed as we typically think. Following a study by Lloyds Bank Insurance, it has been found that a total of 51% of employees would like to start their own business, to seize control over their work/life balance.

As reported by Champion Accountants, the top recurrent reasons people gave as to why they would like to be an entrepreneur were:

  • 46% want to take on new challenges
  • 41% cited financial reasons
  • 83% said they would be more motivated to work if they owned the business
  • 79% said they would have greater job satisfaction
  • 78% said becoming an entrepreneur would be more stressful

The interesting factor in this data being the relatively low importance people placed on financial benefits, in favour of the greater sense of satisfaction they would gain from self-employment. This is, however, counterbalanced by the low percentage of people who would like a new challenge, which could be seen as the dividing line between entrepreneurs and the rest of us.

We’ve therefore gone ahead and gathered top tips from leading entrepreneurs to advise and motivate those would-be start ups.

Keep Fighting Failure

“Failure does not mean stop, it’s simply a u-turn to keep going.”Lisa Williams – Founder & CEO, World Of EPI, 2013 EY Winning Women. Source.

Failure shouldn’t be seen as the be all and end of your aspirations; failure is a minor roadblock or indication that something isn’t quite right. Everyone who succeeds has failed 100 times before that. The difference is that they learn, develop and adapt to failure, which ultimately turns it into something hugely beneficial.

Find Your Jedi Master

“Surround yourself with great mentors. They help when you reach a plateau in your business cycle and can shave years off your business development and growth through advising from their mistakes and successes.” – Thalej Vasishta – Founder and Managing Director of Paragon Law. Source.

As we’ve covered, everyone has to overcome their own failures but there’s also no harm with finding someone with more experience than yourself and learning from theirs! Who inspires you? Who do you aspire to be? Drop them an e-mail and try to build a dialogue.

The Power of The Humble List

“I have an A4 page a day diary, which is essentially a rolling list of things I am doing in the next 24 hours.” – Patrick Dudley-Williams – Founder of Reef Knots. Source.

The pen is mightier than the kanban board. Never forget that and never underestimate how much easier you can make your day by carrying a notepad and pen around with you to jot down and prioritise everything you need to do. No one can remember everything and this is a simple method for making sure you do.

Risk Taking Is Scary…Or Is It?

“You don’t have to be fearless to make dramatic changes in your life. Transformative change isn’t propelled by raw courage. It’s “sparked” by a series of events that build exposure and experience, both of which help to create asymmetric risk. Through sparking, the upside opportunity is confirmed while downside risk is mitigated. Ultimately, the leap—when it comes—is not one of faith but of experience, even of comfort” – Tim Ferriss - Author of The 4-Hour Work Week. Source.

Risk taking is often romanticised as fearless guess work that somehow culminated in fantastic success. Not so. The best risks are well calculated culminations of the individuals total experience – not a blind shot in the dark.

Build a Great Idea, Then Build An Even Better Team

“A good idea is not enough. Business aren’t just about ideas, businesses are about execution. Don’t get too enamored with your own idea. Other people are going to have that same idea or something similar. You have to build a better team to execute it. You’re only human, nobody has all the skills required to make a business work. [Ask yourself] what people are required to make it work for this idea, for this business?” – Brian Sharples – Co-Founder of Brian Sharples.

Need I say more? If you think you’re on to something great, then gather the talent you need around you and get it built.