Top 22 Warren Buffett Quotes the Internet Can’t Get Enough Of

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has a net worth of over $78.2 billion and is known as one of the greatest investors of all time. So when he speaks, people take notes. Here are some of the top 22 Warren Buffett Quotes the internet can’t get enough of.

Warren Buffett Quotes Infographic

Top 22 Warren Buffett Quotes the Internet Can’t Get Enough Of

Here are some of the top Warren Buffet quotes found on every list of Warren Buffet quotes around the internet. These quotes range in wisdom on investing to regular life. I try to live by these quotes on my own investment portfolio.

Warren Buffett Quotes

1. Rule #1: Never lose money. Rule #2: Never forget rule #1

One of my favorite Warren Buffet Quotes. The fastest way to grow your money is to never lose it in the first place. This applies from saving on your groceries to focusing on less risky stocks of well established companies.

2. It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently

Think about the Wells Fargo or Equifax scandals. It takes years to build enough trust for someone to have brand loyalty. Warren Buffet quotes it takes 20 years, but it takes 5 minutes or less to destroy all that goodwill you’ve built. People are quick to revolt if you’ve done anything to betray their trust.

It is infinitely harder to build trust than destroy it.

3. Diversification is a protection against ignorance. It makes very little sense for those who know what they’re doing.

Multiple studies show that diversification in the stock market will help protect you against market falls. Or it could be summarized in the old proverb “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. Unless you have insider information that a stock is going do really well, maintain a diversified portfolio to protect you. No one knows what they’re doing all the time.

4. If you aren’t willing to own a stock for ten years, don’t even think about owning it for ten minutes. Put together a portfolio of companies whose aggregate earnings march upward over the years, and so also will the portfolio’s market value.

Unless you’re a day trader (I will never be), you should only be investing in the stock market with the intention to hold those stocks for a long time. You can do really well as a beginner if you’re buying stocks and not planning on selling till you retire. Those are where you get the best returns. Warren Buffett is infamously known for rarely selling stocks.

5. It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.

When you buy a stock, you should think of it as owning a piece of that company. You should be looking at wonderful companies that have a competitive advantage in the industry. Those are the companies that will do well over the long run. You may find a wonderful price on a mediocre company, but really what are you getting? A mediocre company that will likely be edged out of the market by a better company.

Many of the famous Warren Buffett quotes are about investing in strong companies with a competitive advantage and strong brand loyalty rather than cheap companies where you think you can make a quick buck. Warren Buffett is never into buying a company for a quick buck.

6. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.

During the 2008 financial crisis when investors were all exiting the market, Warren Buffett invested in a few large companies even though their stock prices were falling. Those deals made Warren Buffett over $10 billion dollars when the market stabilized and it’s continuing to show dividends. When the market goes upside down during world events, politics, market forecasts, those are the times when everyone else is fearful, that Warren Buffet sees an advantage when the markets crash.

Think about it this way, the New York Stock Exchange has been around since 1817, it has always recovered. Chances are, minus a world apocalypse, that the market will always bounce back. Those who capitalize on those downturns are usually rewarded.

7. The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.

One of my favorite Warren Buffett quotes because it has so many applications. You will see many opportunities in your life and you may want to jump on everyone, but it’s ok to be selective and say no. You’ll burn yourself out if you say “yes” to everything. This also applies to going out on a Saturday night with friends drinking. It’s ok to say “no” to save a few dollars or have a night to yourself to finish your article on Warren Buffett quotes. =)

This also applies to going out on a Saturday night with friends drinking. It’s ok to say “no” to save a few dollars or have a night to yourself to finish your article on Warren Buffett quotes. =)

8. Develop and build the habits you admire in others.

Remember all those times that your parents wanted you to hang out with those “good kids”. The habits of the people you surround yourself with rub off you on, consciously or unconsciously. When you find people like Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, who is one of the greatest investors of all time. You should find out what makes him so successful and learn those traits to improve yourself.

9. Passive investing will make you more money than active trading

Oh my goodness, fees are the WORST! Active trading requires more work and more fees, so more of your money will be paid to your broker. Yet studies have shown over and over that passive investing where you set your money and forget it are far more successful for growing wealth. I don’t plan to ever touch my stocks currently making dividends.

10. There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.

Great quote, people always imagine things are more difficult than they really are. When I first considered starting investing, I thought there were so many hurdles and financial experts I would have to pay. Yet, when I finally decided I wanted to start investing in the stock market, I just downloaded the Robinhood App and started investing. It took 10 minutes to sign up and buy my first stock when I worried about investing in the stock market for over 5 years. Things are often more simple than you think they are.

11. Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you who you’ll turn out to be.

This is similar to the Warren Buffett quote “Develop and build the habits you admire in others”. If you want to be an entrepreneur, start joining local meetups of entrepreneurs. You learn SO MUCH MORE when you surround yourself with the people you want to be like. You can learn A LOT in a book, but you’ll learn even more by surrounding yourself with people you admire.

12. We have long felt that the only value of stock forecasters is to make fortune-tellers look good.

No one can predict the stock market, no one. Not even Warren Buffett. Anyone who says they know exactly how the market works is trying to sell you something. You can lump stock forecasters being as accurate as the carnival fortune-tellers. You know the ones with 3 teeth, crystal ball and you’re going to die in 2083.

13. When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.

If you invest in an outstanding company, even if the stock price goes up, why would you ever sell it? No matter when you sell it, outstanding companies will continually do better and better. Don’t sell until you absolutely have to, otherwise, you’ll just be losing money in the long run. Many of Warren Buffett Quotes are like this, they are all very Anti-Day Trader.

14. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist. Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the guy with 130 IQ.

If you follow the basic principals of Warren Buffett and buy outstanding companies with strong competitive advantages like Apple (AAPL). You don’t have to be a genius. Just buy and hold forever, you literally don’t have to do anything until you sell.

Many Warren Buffett quotes are similar to this because he stresses that anyone can invest in the stock market. The simplest way is just to invest in index funds that follow the market. Set it and forget it. The market sees an average increase of 7% per year and that’s WAY better than a savings account.

15. I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.

Look for companies to invest in that are so strong that they can weather any storm because soon enough they will have to. Think about Apple (AAPL), as long as they keep pushing out iPhones it doesn’t matter who runs the company, they’ll continue to do well. People were worried when Steve Jobs passed because they didn’t know the future of the company, but Tim Cook stepped in and maintained the same Apple legacy. As long as Tim Cook sticks to the secret Apple recipe, they’ll be in good shape.

16. Buy into a company because you want to own it, not because you want the stock to go up.

If you see a company that you think is going to do well or heard will do well, don’t buy it unless you’re willing to hold it for awhile. If something goes wrong and the stock dives, you’re stuck with a company you don’t believe in and will likely sell at a lower price to get rid of it, ruining the reason you bought it in the first place.

17. Wall Street is the only place that people ride to work in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.

This is just a funny Warren Buffet quote.

18. Charlie and I have not learned how to solve difficult business problems. What we have learned is to avoid them.

I’m sure Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger have learned how to solve difficult business problems, but the best way to navigate murky waters is to avoid them all together. The more problems your business can avoid, the better shape you’ll be. You can avoid a lot of problems from being proactive instead of reactive.

19. Long ago, Ben Graham taught me that “Price is what you pay; value is what you get.”

Ben Graham, Warren Buffett’s mentor had this popular quote. I always think about it simply. Price is what you buy a stock for and Value is what you sell that same stock for.

20. It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.

If you can’t tell, Warren Buffett believes in surrounding yourself with the right people. He credits much of his success from surrounding himself with smart, good people.

21. If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.

When you analyze a stock based on its historical performance, it’s called technical analysis. Yet past performance does not necessarily mean future performance. Just because you know what the stock has done in the past doesn’t mean it’s going to follow that same trend.

22. You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.

It’s ok to mess up, focus on learning from those mistakes for the next time. It just sounds cooler when Warren Buffett quotes it. Or you can take this as no matter how many mistakes you’ve made in the past, you always have a chance to do more good. It’s one of those life quotes that can go many ways.

Ultimate Lottery Guide – What to do if you Win the Lottery

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Ultimate Lottery Guide – What to do if you Win the Lottery

After the recent big lottery wins, people have been searching for what to do if you win the lottery. The odds are only 1 in 175 million, but it has to happen to someone right. Everyone imagines it and it’s fun to think about, but if it actually happens, here’s what to do according to the Ultimate Lottery Guide.

1. Sign your Ticket

Many people buy Lottery Tickets and stash them in their wallet or purse knowing that it’s their lottery ticket. However, a Lottery Ticket is only owned by whoever has signed the actual ticket. So ALWAYS sign your tickets when you get them. It confirms ownership and the ticket must be signed in order to claim the lottery winnings anyways.

2. Tell No One

It’s big and wonderful news, but you need to think ahead to all the potential long lost relatives, friends and random people that may soon be sitting in your front yard wanting to be your best friend. You don’t want to be the bad person telling everyone “no” so avoid the awkwardness and tell no one. In 1984, Lottery Winner Mike Wittkowski received more than 1,000 letters at his home from strangers trying to tug at his heartstrings to receive money.

It might be fun initially to have 15 minutes of fame, but you may regret it months or years later when people you never met are ringing your doorbell. Stay quiet about it and don’t tell anyone until you come up with a plan with your financial team. The plan should deal with how to handle friends/family/strangers request for money and how to deal with the sudden fame/money.

3. Take Your Time

There is no rush to turn in your ticket during all the hype, you have between 90 days to 1 year from the day of the drawing to turn in your ticket. Each state is a bit different so check them out. You have some time to take a breath, let the hype die down, and get your team of financial experts together before you claim your prize.

  • Powerball, you have 90 days to 1 year to claim your prize depending on the state via Powerball’s website.
  • Mega Millions, you have 180 days to 1 year to claim your prize depending on the state via Mega Millions website.

4. Seek Financial Advice & Hire Finance Professionals

Hiring the right professionals will help you collect the most money from your lottery winnings, help understand tax rules and take care of the gritty details so you don’t have to. Like will you take the lump sum of cash or 30-year annuity? Consider these financial professionals for your finance team.

  • Financial Planner – They will help you set up a plan for your new wealth. They’ll help you understand the benefits of taking the lump sum versus annuity and they will work with you to set up your goals, analyze your assets and set up a budget so you can make the most out of your money and not blow it. A study of lottery winners in Florida found 70% of winners spent all of their lottery winners within 5 years of winning. Don’t be one of these people, consult with a financial planner. To find a good Financial Planner check out the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) Board for a list of Certified Financial Planners in your area.
  • Tax Attorney -There will be a lot of tax (state taxes/federal taxes/gift taxes/corporate taxes and other taxes) issues that come up about Lottery Winnings. Hire a good lawyer to help you with this. To find a good lawyer, check out the reviews on LegalZoom, RocketLawyer, LawTrades and Avvo for lawyers in your area that are highly recommended and have experience handling large sums of money.

    To give you an idea, the government will withhold 25% of your winnings before you even touch it. Then, of course, you’ll have to pay State Taxes as well. Maybe even Municipal Taxes depending where you live. The rest is paid at tax time where the IRS will tax you in the top income bracket at 39.6% (source). In the end, you’ll be taxed nearly 40% on those initial winnings depending on your state.

  • Accountant – This is the person who will have a good idea how much of the lottery winnings you’ll need to set aside to pay off all the taxes. They will help plan throughout the year on the best ways to mitigate taxes and keep the most of your money. Plus with that amount of money, you’ll want someone handling all your taxes for you. To find a good Accountant, check your local Society of Certified Public Accountants directory to find a certified Accountant to help with your needs.
  • Estate Attorney – They will help you with structuring and protecting your assets. They assist people in drafting and implementing legal documents, such as wills and trusts. It’s good to have a plan for your assets in the event of your death. Who will your money go to and/or should a trust be set up for your heirs. As mentioned with finding a good Tax Attorney, check out the reviews on LegalZoom, RocketLawyer, LawTrades and Avvo for lawyers experienced with wills, trusts and large sums of money.

5. Claim your Prize – Anonymously

Here’s the deal, Big Lottery wants to promote you and share with the world that a real, regular person won the lottery. Often times state law mandates sharing your name with the public. However, you can claim your prize anonymously a couple of different ways.

  • 6 States allow you to remain anonymous – Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and South Carolina.
  • 4 States allow a trust to claim your prize – Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont will allow a trust, usually, a trustee (typically a lawyer) to claim the prize without disclosing the name of the lottery winner.
  • 2 States allow you to remain anonymous IF – Illinois and Oregon have made exceptions to making lottery winners names public if the winners demonstrate a high risk of harm by revealing their name.

If you’re not in one of these states that allow you to claim your lottery winnings anonymously. Do what this guy did and hold the check over your head when you receive the lottery winnings.

What To Do If You Win The Lottery - Cover Your Face

You can also sign your first name with your first initial to make it harder for people to track you down.

You may also want to get off social media like shut down all your accounts if you win the lottery. This may sound extreme, but keep in mind that people will start searching for you online, going through all photos, friends, where you work and personal details. They may try to stake out at your favorite bar or harass your friends to meet you.

6. Create a middle man for money request

If people hear about your new winnings, you’ll likely have people from all over asking for money. Addressing all of these can be overwhelming and potentially depressing. Consider setting up a middle man to say “no” for you.

When a long lost friend comes out of the blue asking for money, or with a really great investment idea. Send them to your “middle man”, usually a lawyer, who could review all potential investments for you. You can say that they are better at investing than you, which may be true. So they can say “no” and you don’t have to feel bad telling your friend or anyone no. This will save your sanity and emotions from being the bad guy and help not waste your time/money on bad investments.

7. Pay Off All Your Debt

If you do anything with your money first, it should be paying off all your debt. You are entering a new phase of your life and it should be started off debt free.

Even if you go broke in a couple years, you’ll least have all your debt paid off to pick up your life where you started off.

8. Avoid Sudden Lifestyle Changes

While you shouldn’t be doing anything until you can physically hold the money, even after that you should avoid sudden lifestyle changes for the first 6 months. Buying that Ferrari or Land Rover, second house for your entire family, extravagant vacations can all feel like a nice reward for all your hard work, but these impulse buys could quickly deplete your lottery winnings.

Consider instead renting an apartment in that cool neighborhood you want to live in or doing an exotic car rental for a day to try different sports cars. It’ll take you awhile to understand what you want. Find out what really makes you happy before you go on a spending spree and work with your financial planner to set a budget for frivolous things to buy so that you’re still maintaining a nice nest egg for your family in the future.

9. Live within a budget

Ideally, you should only be spending the interest you’ve made off the lottery winnings. If you do this, you’ll never run out of money. The annual interest of a $100M or more lottery winnings will be more than enough to live off of the rest of your life. Especially with a good financial planner.

Otherwise, work with your Financial Planner to set up a budget live within and understand how long your money will last with your current spending habits.

10. Protect your Assets

Consider getting Liability Insurance to help with potential lawsuits against you. With your newfound money, you will be a target for anyone wanting your money. Liability insurance will help for trip-and-fall lawsuits, personal injury claims against you like libel and slander, and freak accidents. This provides an additional layer of security.

Want to Take Stock Photos like a Pro? 7 Tips You Must Know

Want to Take Stock Photos like a Pro? 7 Tips You Must Know

We have had a lot of questions revolving around stock photos after Andrew posted his How I made $1.88 Selling Stock in 10 Days article.  One question we have seen a lot is, how do you take a good stock photo? Or, why aren’t any of my photos selling? I thought this was a great opportunity for another article on stock photography.

This article is intended to answer those two questions so you can start making some true passive income through stock photography.

Either if you are looking to just get started or you are an already established stock photographer, these tips can help you get started or improve your sales. If you are struggling with sales, one or more of these tips could be the reason as to why.

1. What’s Trending

You could have the best photograph in the world but if it is about a particular subject that is not in high demand, you will not get many sells.

Selling stock photos is a lot like selling anything else. Let’s say a sporting goods store is looking to sell a new high tech soccer ball that tracks metrics for the player. The retailer will not imediately go out to start manufacturing a million new soccer balls. First, they start off with some market research to see if there is a demand for the new soccer ball.

You need to do the same thing for the subject matter that your stock photo is going to target.

Luckily, both Shutterstock and iStockPhoto both display trending searches on their home pages. These lists will help you start to get some ideas on what people are searching for and purchasing.

finding trending stock photo ideas

2. Is Your Target Market Over Saturated?

An oversaturated market is easy to find within the stock photography world. These are usually the easiest photographs to capture such as clouds, flowers, animals, and so on.

If you try to make money off of stock photos that focus on one of these then you are not going to make any money. Your photograph is going to get buried under the already established cloud photographs.

Instead, find niches under these broad categories. Maybe, you could specialize in cloudscapes during major thunderstorms. Or you could specialize in animals who are playing in the water.

Finding a niche can be tricky but is not impossible.

I start by thinking about a broad category then work my way down to a more granular niche. I think of it as a breadcrumb such as – Animals -> Playing -> Water -> Swimming -> Diving Underwater -> Photo Idea: Take a photo from underneath the waters surface looking up at the animal.

3. Be Unique

Now, after all of your research, you should know what subject your photographs should focus on. Now it is time to go take some photos.

I want these new photos to really pop out on the page for your potential buyers. This is not going to happen if you use the same point of view (POV) as all of the other photographers.

Within each subject matter you chose, take a look at your competition and how they framed their photos. While you are researching start thinking how you can make your stock photo more unique than the competition.

As an example, take a look at these photos of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis on Shutterstock. Notice that the top five are all taken from basically the same POV. Even though these are very pretty photos, they are all essentially the same. When I was in St. Louis, I wanted to take a photo of the Gateway Arch from a different POV. The hotel I happened to be staying in had a high vantage point that looked over the monument. Taking advantage of this unique overlook, I was able to take the fifth photo that comes up in the Shutterstock search results.

Do not follow the crowds for your stock photography. Make your own trends. Be Unique.

4. Image Size

Make sure your images meet the guidelines of Shutterstock or iStockPhoto. The bigger the resolution your image is, the better. That way your photo can be offered for as many possible sizes for your potential buyers.

Shutterstock requires that your stock photography uploads be at least 4 megapixels in size. They accept either JPEGs or TIFFs.

iStockPhoto (also GettyImages) require the photograph to be at least 3 megapixels in size. They allow you to upload as big as 256 megapixels! The biggest thing they stress is no upsizing of your stock photos. This can really decrease the quality of the photograph.

5. Editing

This goes a long with what is trending. As you are researching about what you should take a photo of, you should also be studying the trending styles to mimic.

I know, I said you should make your photo unique. I was talking about being unique the way you frame and shoot your photo. Editing is different.

The way your photos look after editing should have a particular look and feel that the market demands. This might require you to reedit and resubmit your stock photos after the trends change.

editing your stock photo

6. Tagging

Your stock photos need to be found amongst all of the other millions of photographs uploaded. Using the proper tags will help your photos be found by potential customers.

When tagging, try to be as thorough as possible so your photo covers a wide footprint. Do not just put ‘dog’, ‘brown’, ‘animal’ as your only tags. The photo will never be found. Try to be as broad and detailed as possible such as: ‘dog’, ‘brown’, ‘animal’, ‘happy’, ‘running’, ‘grass’, ‘tennis ball’, ‘chocolate lab’, ‘playful’, ‘playing’, ‘sunny day’.

If you are struggling with coming up with tags. Research what others have used. I have done this for every stock photograph I have uploaded.

7. Be Honest With Yourself

This one can be tough on people but is something that needs to be asked. Is your photo really worth paying money for? Do you really think that your photograph is good enough that someone would use for a marketing piece?

If your answer is yes, then go ahead and upload.

If your answer is no, that is fine! Instead of being sad, think about how you can improve your photograph. Think how you can go back out, reshoot it, and make it better. This happens to me all of the time! I will go out and take a photograph thinking it is amazing. When I get back home to take a look at it on my computer screen discovering that the photo looks horrendous!

This happens to me all of the time! I will go out and take a photograph thinking it is amazing. When I get back home to take a look at it on my computer screen discovering that the photo looks horrendous!

When in doubt. Ask someone you know and who will be honest with you if they would buy the photo.

stock photo of silly food

No matter how delicious your food was, do not worry about uploading every single dinner you have taken.

Conclusion

One big pattern you should see within this article is research!

Do your research before you decide to take a photo so you can figure out if it is actually in demand or not. Do your research so you take unique photos. Do your research so you can make trendy edits. And finally, do your research so you can make the proper tags.

Not only do these tips apply to stock photography but they will apply to earning money through several different avenues with your photography. Learn about these other avenues to earn more money in my 5 Simple Ways – How to Sell Photos Online article.

How to Start a Blog – When You Know Nothing About Blogging

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How To Start A Blog

Two of my friends want to learn How to Start a Blog. Justin wants to start a cooking blog and Emma is going to start a travel blog. Since I’ve created over a dozen websites/blogs, I wrote them a guide on How to Start A Blog When You Know Nothing About Blogging. They’ve never set up a blog before, so this is a complete guide (tons of screenshots) for setting up your first blog.

No matter if you want to set up a Finance, Fashion, Travel, Cooking or Photography blog. This guide will set you up with your own unique blog in 20 minutes.

Why Do People Start Blogs?

Both Justin and Emma want to learn how to start a blog so that they can do what they love, write! They want to write about topics they’re passionate about and knowledgeable on. Their goal is to make enough money with their blog, so eventually, they can quit their job and work from home blogging. It’s entirely possible and super easy.

Other popular reasons people start blogging are:

  • Make Money from blogging Anywhere – Many people make a great side income or full income from writing about what they love and know. Plus you can do it anywhere, at home, in a coffee shop or in an RV traveling the United States.
  • Self-Publish Writing – If you have a story you want to tell, but don’t have the resources to find publishers and print hundreds of books. Try starting a blog and share your story immediately. You can start to build an audience and become an expert in your field with a website.
  • Promote a Business – If your business isn’t online, it doesn’t exist. This is how people find if a company is open, what it does and how it affects the community. A blog is a simple and FAST way to get your business online and start reaching customers.

Save time, don’t use third party blogging websites.

Save yourself so many future headaches when learning how to start a blog by NOT using a third party blogging site. Some people start blogging on these because they think it’s easier than setting up your own blog, but it’s not.

If you use a third party website like Blogger, you won’t have a custom domain (like WalletSquirrel.com, it’ll be something like www.blogger.walletsquirrel) which comes off odd, then you’ll pay tons for add-ons to get the look and feel you want and you’ll never have complete control over your own blog.

One of the biggest reasons to start your own blog is so you can later make money off of it. You just can’t easily monetize if you use a third party website. Click here to start your own blog on WordPress.

WordPress is the most popular Blogging Platform, use it!

Most blogs use WordPress, in fact, 25% of the websites on the internet are run by WordPress. That’s the ENTIRE internet. Every website I’ve ever built runs on WordPress because it’s SUPER easy and convenient. If you learn the easiest way to start a blog, start your blog on WordPress.

Easy Steps on How To Start A Blog

Here is the basic overview on how to start a blog. It’s really simple to set up a blog in 20 minutes.

  1. Figure out what your blog is about
  2. Decide on a domain name
  3. Choose a web host (I use Bluehost because it’s one of the best, and cheap)
  4. Click 1-button install for WordPress
  5. Start writing for your blog & customize

Easy Step 1 – Figure out what you want to blog about

Whether you’re creating a finance, fashion, cooking, travel, photography or business blog. You want to have a solid idea about what you’re going to write about.

If you’re like Justin wanting to create a cooking blog, it helps if you niche down to a Gluten-Free Cooking Blog or Farm-To-Table Cooking Blog. If you don’t niche down, your blog will likely get lost in the sea of other cooking blogs. When you niche down to a specific cooking blog, your blog will stand out more and be recognized as THAT Gluten-Free Blog or whatever you want to write about.

Also when you’re thinking about “How to Start a Blog”, think about how your blog could grow and make money in the future. If you want to create a Gluten Free Cooking Blog, start thinking about how you could incorporate affiliate links into your favorite recipe books and cooking tools or where advertisements may go in a sidebar.

The better you can visualize and plan what your blog may become, the easier it will be to come up with a name and direction for your new blog.

Easy Step 2 – Decide on a Domain Name

Domain names are what people will type into their website browser to find your website. It’s your online address.

Not going to lie, when I started Wallet Squirrel I had over 100 domain name ideas. I would daily write new domain name ideas in my phone like “MillennialRetirement.com” and search GoDaddy.com to see if they were available. It wasn’t….

I always use GoDaddy to see if a domain name is available because it has a nice and clean search option to find available domains. So think about different domain ideas that relate to your website and use GoDaddy to see if they’re available. A good domain can really help your website. However, don’t buy a domain through GoDaddy. When you sign up for web hosting through Bluehost later, you’ll get a free domain name.

I always chose a (.com) domain because those are the most trusted domain extensions. If I chose “MillennialRetirement.net” it would not only sound cheesy and made up to me. People might be hesitant to click on it because most web sites are (com). You could take a risk choosing a different extension like (.net) or (.co), but I wouldn’t.

Get creative and find a unique (.com) domain that’s:

  • short
  • easy to remember
  • easy to type
  • reflects what you want to write about

Before I settled on WalletSquirrel.com I went through TONS of different domain name possibilities. Here are a few.

Potential Website Names When I Started this Website (Wallet Squirrel)

  1. Dividend Student (.com)
  2. Millennial Dividends (.com)
  3. Get Dividends Monthly (.com)
  4. All Dividend Revenue (.com)
  5. The Dividend Experiment (.com)
  6. Perpetual Dividends (.com)
  7. Dividends Wanted (.com)
  8. Invest The Hustle (.com)
  9. Dividend Army (.com)
  10. Div Push (.com)
  11. Dividend Entrepreneur (.com)
  12. Div Effect (.com)
  13. Dividend Pursuit (.com)
  14. Test Earn Invest (.com)
  15. Dividend Invested (.com)
  16. Dividend Theory (.com)
  17. Div Rule (.com)
  18. Think Dividend (.com)
  19. Dividend Passive Income (.com)
  20. Wallet Squirrel (.com)

You may get the idea that I was pretty focused on Dividends. However, like I mentioned in Step One, think about the future of your site. I considered expanding beyond dividends and the stock market, so I went with Wallet Squirrel with the tag line “Save your nuts”. It was relatable to finance with the word “Wallet” but fun with “Squirrel” and the tag line “Save your nuts” is pretty memorable. This way I would have some flexibility on how I wanted to grow Wallet Squirrel.

When you’re planning how to start a blog, think about how your website may grow. I usually think about my websites like TV seasons. Where do I want my website to be in season 4? Does my domain name idea still make sense?

Easy Step 3 – Choose a Web Host (Important)

This is the virtual cloud that will host your blog. Think of it digital real estate that will house your blog on the internet. Your web host will affect how fast your site is, how much you pay and how good their tech support is.

 

I personally use Bluehost for all my websites (including Wallet Squirrel) because it’s the best price for how fast Bluehost runs my websites (Google ranks faster websites higher) and their tech support is amazing. I just shoot them a text on their website if I have a question and they solve any issue in minutes, it’s the best. You can even just chat with them before you sign up on how to start a blog.

For reading this post, you can use my referral code to get a great discount on hosting and start at $3.95 per month. Plus you’ll get a free website domain (your internet address), which normally costs $12.

 

Other reasons to use Bluehost for your first blog

  • WordPress through Bluehost is free!
  • There is a 1-click button to automatically set up WordPress on Bluehost (EASY & FAST)
  • Bluehost is faster than most web hosts, which will better your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Hosting your own website on Bluehost looks more professional than a third party site like Blogger
  • Their Tech Support works with tons of new bloggers like you, and you can text them rather than calling (I love that!)
  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee. No risk if you don’t like it.

Fill Out Some Info

Select the plan you like (you can upgrade/downgrade anytime) and fill out the general account and billing Info. This is what the General account information will ask you.

It’s really not that intrusive. You don’t have to fill out a social security number or anything too personal. Once you fill out the “account info” you scroll down for the package you want. The “package information” or hosting options seems really intimidating to someone who’s never signed up before, but only because you’ve never done it before. Here are the options.

Here is what I choose for my websites.

  • Account Plan – If you’re just starting off, keep it cheap and choose only 12 months. If you really like blogging, you won’t mind paying for a new plan in 12 months. If you don’t like it, you didn’t spend that much money and you always have your 30-day money back guarantee.
  • Domain Privacy Protection – The internet has a database for which websites are owned by who. Domain Privacy allows you to keep your name off that list so you don’t get bugged by sales people who found your email as the owner of your new website. I usually order this.

Everything else is not really needed. I’d consider adding additional services only once you get more familiar with your website and find a need. There is no need to pay for things before you realize if you need them or not.

You’re Signed up!

That’s it! Once you sign up, you’ll get a confirmation email that will take you to your Bluehost menu. You can start right away, no 3-5 business day set up time.

Easy Step 4 – One Button Install For WordPress

So you planned what you want to write about, you picked a domain and signed up with Bluehost to host your new blog. Now you just need to install WordPress. This part is easy. The menu on Bluehost is called their cPanel. This is the main menu that you’ll be directed to once you click their confirmation email.

Select the “Install WordPress” button. It’s a one-click install button. Once you do that, you’re in the process of installing WordPress, you’ll just need to:

  1. Select your domain name, from the options to install WordPress on
  2. Select Advanced Options and choose a username and password. Remember that websites sometimes get attacked. So choose a username and password that’s long. The longer the password, the harder it is to break.
  3. Select “Install Now”.

At this point, you have a WordPress blog!

Easy Step 5 – Design and Start Writing for Your Blog

From now on, all you have to do is go to your new domain “yourwebsitename.com/admin”. To sign into your WordPress Blog. You no longer have to deal with Bluehost at all. Everything you do from here on out is all on your new WordPress blog.

Once you log into your new WordPress Blog, Your Admin Menu will look like this.

How To Start A Blog - WordPress Admin Panel

This is close to what every WordPress Blog looks like, the main options for every WordPress blog are:

  • Posts – These are where you write you daily, weekly, monthly articles for your blog. These are your cooking articles or travel adventures. This is the “blog” portion of the blog.
  • Media – Every image/video you upload to your blog, all those media files live here. You can add images in your actual posts and pages, but all your media content can be viewed here.
  • Pages – These are the “About Me“, “Contact Us“, “Ways to Make Money” pages. These are usually static pages that aren’t your daily, weekly, monthly posts.

Customize the look of your blog

If you want to want to change the look of your blog, you can change the theme under “Appearance”. Themes are like costumes for your blog. Different themes will change the colors, fonts, and style of blog. I personally use the Enfold theme, bought from Themeforest. It’s very user-friendly (plug and play) with tons of documentation.

*Bonus* – Make money with your blog

Don’t come off cheezy placing ads everywhere, instead install a plugin like Viglink for affiliate marketing. Now, anytime you reference a blender (my personal blender) on Amazon, Viglink will automatically track clicks on that link and you’ll receive a commission if someone buys. Viglink is partnered with over 2,000 online merchants (including Amazon), chances are your favorite websites are included. So once you learn how to start a blog, your blog can start making a little money.

Done, You have a blog!

I ran through this (while talking) with Justin and Emma to set up their blog in under 20 minutes. They took it from there and immediately started writing and designing. Again, I set up their blog through Bluehost, which made it a lot easier. You could probably set up a blog on your own (not talking) even faster.

Let me know if you have any questions on how to start a blog! I’d love to help or share more of my experiences!

*Disclosure – I host all my websites on Bluehost and we receive a commission if you sign up through our referral links.

Getting Rid of Distractions for Self Improvement Part 2/4 – Failure is Okay.

So I am a couple weeks behind on this post. It is all with good reason though. Firstly, I wanted to start our new series that fit better into our blogging schedule earlier in the month. The new series highlights other financial bloggers and their income reports, Income Report Roundup (new title is in the works). This is a great opportunity for you and I to see what others are doing to accomplish financial freedom.

Secondly, I failed pretty hard with a lot of my goals in this first month. So I needed to take a step back, be honest with myself, and reset. We will go over more about this next. Since resetting two weeks ago, I have been able to accomplish every goal in the shorter time frame. Pretty awesome!

There is Nothing Wrong With Failure

Failure is not what I am scared of. There is nothing wrong with not figuring something out the first time around, or the second, or the third, or…well you get the picture. What I am really scared of is not learning anything from those failures, getting stuck in a loop trying the same thing over and over.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”   – Thomas Edison

See we can read every self improvement article on the internet but never know what really works for us as individuals. Those articles, like this one give, can give us a starting point. From there it is how we handle the failure because there likely will be. Either we can get frustrated, giving up on the first try saying, “Working out to get healthy just is not for me.” Or we can keep pushing, analyze what went wrong, and make adjustments for the next time around.

For me, there have been many things in my life I have kept trying to fit into my life as a habit. This includes working out. I have tried everything in the book but nothing ever stuck. Over the years I have tried different routines, exercises, times of day, and so on to keep that motivation going. Finally, I have found the routine and motivation to get up every morning (continue reading for the answer).

What habit have you been trying to make stick? Have you found the solution or are you still searching for what works for you?

Last Month’s Goals

So let’s go over the goals I had for last month. These goals were meant to help me get rid of materialistic distractions, technological distractions such as Facebook, and getting in better habits such as working out in the morning. I am not going to explain each goal in detail again. If you are curious about the details of every goal you can read about them in Part One of this series.

Sell extra items that can be a distractions – This one is going A LOT slower than I thought it would go. I have put everything on the market but I have only sold one item. I will continue to post these items, probably cutting the prices a bit to make the items more enticing.

Finish our backyard renovation – Major Success! By the middle of May we had the backyard completed. For more details check out my article about How to Save Big Money on a Home Remodel. I wouldn’t have been able to complete this task without friends and family. Especially my wife who watched our little one every night so I could work on the yard.

Start waking up earlier, 5:00 AM, to work out – This was a major fail in the first four weeks. I partially blame it on how intense the backyard project was. With how much material I had to move around, remove, and move in I was just wiped for the day. But excuses are excuses. I still did not work out for two weeks after that until I did my reset a couple weeks ago. So what changed? Well…

As mentioned already, in the last two weeks, I have woke up every morning at 4:45 AM to work out for 30 to 45 minutes. What really worked for me to wake up so early was prepping everything I need in the morning, the night before. This was the last goal of mine for this month. Turns out it had a cascading affect on other goals.

Stay focused on achieving my goals one percent at a time – I am not sure if I know how to quantify this one but I believe this was a success. I was able to work on Wallet Squirrel and other goals for at least an hour every day after my little one went to sleep for the night.

Set up my next day the day before. Each night before bed – Pass! I spend about 15 to 20 min a night getting ready for the next day. This really sets me up nicely for getting up at 4:45 in the morning to workout. I found a time during the evening that is consistent for me to get everything ready. The trick is remembering to stick with this which enforces the habit. To help you remember, set an alarm or a reminder on your to-do list.

Next Month’s Goals

This coming month I want to continue to build on top of what I started. This makes for an easy first goal…

Continue to build on with what I started last month – Though most of what I set out to accomplish last month was a success, they are still new habits that can be lost very easily. These first month’s goals were supposed to be a foundation for the next goals. To lose them might make it harder to continue in the coming months.

Improve the marketing for Wallet Squirrel – Now that I have completed my initial goals for Wallet Squirrel (SEO, web performance, and content) it is time to reach a wider audience. Even though we have tripled our views in the last three months we still need to increase our viewership. Andrew and I met this past weekend, dividing out our tasks so I know what needs to be done.

Less social media – I talked about this a lot in the first article but I really did not do anything about. This month, I want to get rid of all distracting social media that is not beneficial for my goals. This means that the only reason I should be on Facebook, Twitter, and so on should be to promote Wallet Squirrel. Other than that, who cares.

Close lose ends – There are a couple of tasks that I need to wrap up. They are 95% done but there is only one more item to cross off before the overall task is at 100% complete. One example of an almost complete task is with our web performance. We have done everything to boost it even including the move to Bluehost.  The last piece of the puzzle will be to setup a new caching plugin. Should be an easy one, hopefully.

Review

Remember, failure is okay, as long as you learn from that failure. Do not let that failure get you down and quit. Use it to prop yourself up to get back at it with a new strategy.

Like last month. I challenge you make your own goals for this upcoming month. Let’s check in next month at the third week of July to see how we all did.

If you are looking for ideas on what you could do, check out our Ways to Earn More Money page. Here you might find something that catches your eye.

Are You Considering an MBA? Answer these 2 Questions First!

At the end of last year, I was in a career funk. So I considered going back to school to get my Master’s of Business Administration (MBA). With an MBA, you can advance in your current field or make a switch to a new field, everyone values an MBA.

I was stoked! I considered the possibility of getting an MBA in the past and it was a great time in my life to do night classes. So I began picturing myself adding the letters “MBA” behind my name on business cards and looking up schools.

However, I quickly hit the brakes!

Ask These 2 Questions before You pursue an MBA

Many of my friends are going back to school or currently in school, and I ALWAYS ask them these 2 simple questions that BLOW THEIR MIND. So I decided to test myself to see if I passed my own “Should You Get An MBA” test.

1. What is the EXACT dream Company and Job Title you want after graduation?

You should know this. Most people will get an MBA because they want to do something in business. They think they need MBA to for future promotions and career growth.

However, you should FIRST figure out what your dream job is. You can’t just say “something in business”. If you are going to spend $80,000+ on an MBA and years of your life. You should identify the exact company and job title you want before you even start school. Come on, it’s your DREAM job.

This is a role you will potentially be doing for the rest of your life. You should have a clear idea of what it should be. This will guide every future decision you make while in your MBA program, affect the electives you take and the networking events you attend.

What’s the point of getting an MBA if you don’t know what you’ll do with it? Seriously? So write down your dream job title and company.

2. Have you reached out to your dream company yet?

Once you can identify the exact company and job title you want, you should reach out to that company and ask what they look for. This should be less intimidating than looking at a future $80,000+ student debt bill.

Usually a company’s Human Resources department would be willing to meet with you if you share with them that you’re considering going back to school to gain the skills necessary to work at their company.

When you meet with your dream company’s Human Resources Department, you should ask them some of these questions.

My dream job at your company is a Marketing Manager (or whatever it is), what is the salary range they get paid?

You should ABSOLUTELY know how much your future job pays because that’ll tell you how long it’ll take you to pay off your newly acquired student debt. Plus it’ll give you an idea of what lifestyle you can expect once you graduate with an MBA.

It’s not all about money, but you should be aware if all your hard work in school will result in nightly ramen noodles once you graduate. Are you OK with that?

What degrees or education do your current Marketing Managers have? (or whatever your dream job is)

This will give you an idea of the education level of their current employees. Some of their employees may have MBAs and some may not. You should probe deeper to what the HR team looks for in your dream position. Perhaps you don’t need an MBA and you have the necessary experience to apply today.

If you need to get an MBA for that position, ask if they have a preferred school or partner with any specific schools. If your dream job regularly partners with a local university and hires pretty exclusively from there, that university may need to be on your radar for potential schools.

Does your dream company offer internships?

Yes, you’re getting an MBA but knowing if your dream company has an internship program is huge. Many companies will hire interns who are working towards their degree and help them grow into the position. There is no reason to wait till after you get your MBA to apply to your dream company. You should use every opportunity you can to start making connections.

What does career growth look like at that company?

If your dream job is to be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), they won’t just hire you out of school. What entry level roles will you need to start off with and how does one become a CEO? How did the current CEO get his role and what did they do before that? Some jobs aren’t attainable right out of school, even with an MBA. You need to understand what your career path would look like moving up to your dream position. You should understand what this looks like.

When I considered an MBA, I failed this checklist

Last year when I considered getting my MBA, I went full-throttle and visited 3 different universities. I dropped in classes and met with professors. I received all the brochures, met with all their “advisors” and compared costs ($39,000 – $80,000). I did soft applications and confirmed I would be accepted to each of them. So I was freaking close to full out applying.

I knew I wanted do something in finance because I LOVED writing about finance. So I figured I’d get an MBA with a focus in finance (hence why I write for Wallet Squirrel). This is how most people start the MBA journey. They love the idea of a degree, get an education THEN figure out where they want to work.

I did that when I choose my college degree. I went into Landscape Architecture without actually knowing if it was my dream job. I just thought it would be fun to draw and select plants. I didn’t learn till after internships and after graduation that they spend most of their time looking at a computer, drawing parking lots. UGH, so NEVER again.

So I asked myself these two questions and I failed.

There were some finance positions like Financial Planner, Mutual Fund Manager, Financial Analyst that sounded interesting but I wasn’t drawn to them with such vigor that I could stomach another $80,000 in student loan debt.

One position DID sound fun, but they earned even less than I was making now. So I had to ask myself if I would be willing to gain more debt for lower paying, nicer job? I didn’t like it that much.

Do the Math on your Future Tuition

According to Investatopia, the average MBA program costs $140,000, with higher ranking school costing more. They’re factoring in tuition, living arrangements, books (use ebates to save) and peripheral expenditures. That’s more than the evening only MBA programs I was looking at.

Now factor that $140,000 student debt at 6.8% interest which is the average Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan according to Federal Student Aid. Having that kind of student loan debt is similar to buying a house.

However the common response to seeing these numbers is that you’ll be paid more after your MBA. That is likely true. The average salary of MBA graduates in a full-time program was $126,919. This was taken from US News when they interviewed companies mainly on the east/west coasts which usually provide a higher salary than the Mountain States and Midwest.

Conclusion

Most people like me had to make an insane decision in High school to pick a college major before entering college. So at the same time I was focused on rehearsing for the school musical and wondering if the homecoming queen, Val liked me (she didn’t). I had to choose a degree that would affect the rest of my life. I was not ready.

Going back to school for your MBA doesn’t have to be like that. There isn’t any timetable, no matter what the college recruiters tell you about the deadline for an upcoming semester. You have all the time in the world to choose if an MBA is right for you.

So if you’re considering going back to school for an MBA to improve your future, you should have an idea of what your future will look like by identifying your dream job at your dream company. This is your opportunity to do WHATEVER you want in the world, have a plan that extends after graduation.

May 2017 Income Reports Roundup

Income Reports Roundup

There are so many great financial blogs on the internet that we all can learn from. All of them provide great advice and deserve some recognition. Andrew and I want to give that recognition by starting a new series highlighting some of the other financial blogs around the web. After some thought we decided that I should write these highlights around their latest income report (Some blogs are a month behind compared to when I post this article). These income reports show exactly how others are making money. Hopefully this will give you some amazing ideas on how you can expand your own little empire.

I want to highlight people from all phases of their financial freedom journey. This is why you will find big wigs like Pat Flynn and Michelle Schroeder on this list but you will also find lesser knowns such as Nadya from Living Off Cloud. I also want to show a wide variety of how people are making their extra money. You will read of people using affiliate marketing, dividend income, niche websites, and so on.

I look forward to updating this list every month for all of us to learn something new together. This list will not be the same every month as I might find a different blog with something new to share. As always, I am open to suggestions.

Oh yeah! Do not forget to keep up to date with Andrew’s Income report by reading his May 2017 Income Report!

Alright, enough with my rambling. On to the income reports!

Pat Flynn – Smart Passive Income – $102,915.99 (April 2017)

Compared to March, Pat had a rough month. He dropped from a $212,111.33 income in March to $102,915.99 in April. That sounds horrible but he explains that in March they launched two new online courses, Smart From Scratch and Power-Up Podcasting that gave their income a surge. In April, that surge settled and he is now back to normal numbers.

In April, Pat made most of his money from affiliate marketing such as Bluehost and Market Samurai. He also makes money through books sales, consulting, his podcast, niche sites. It looks like Pat has also made it into the software and WordPress theme development business as well. Just off of his Smart Podcast Player Licenses and the SPI Pro Them from StudioPress he made a whopping $12,706.32.

Pat really has diversified since I started following him a few years ago. Seeing what he is accomplishing really motivates me to diversify Wallet Squirrel!

Michelle Schroeder – Making Sense of Cents – $120,104.93 (May 2017)

I found Michelle’s blog about three months ago and check in on her updates a couple times a week. Michelle provides excellent content that highlights real life events allowing her readers from all walks of life to connect. Each month I check in for her income reports they have gone up and up. Sadly in May she broke that streak by bringing in $120,104.93 compared to $131,448.35 in April. This is still really impressive even if her numbers dropped slightly.

In May Michelle made just over half of her income from affiliate marketing such as Bluehost and Ebates. Another major income source is from her Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course. This course helps bloggers increase their income by tapping into their own blogs affiliate marketing potential.

Andrew and I have talked about creating a course ourselves but have not yet sat down together to bring that to life. Have you thought about creating one yourself? What is holding you back?

Stefan Sharpe – Millennial Budget – $11.06 (May 2017)

Stefan had an awesome May! He is our first of several income reports that focus on making extra money each money from dividends. Dividend income is special to us at Wallet Squirrel because dividends are at its roots. This is why Andrew started the blog a couple years ago.

Stefan was able to double his dividend income compared to his February report where he made $5.78. He made a killing after purchasing PAYX, Paychex Inc. This purchase brought in an extra $4.60 in May alone.

Keep up the good work Stefan! Learn more about what dividends are and dividend investing.

Investment Hunting – $47.58 (May 2017)

Now, to be fair, this is not an income or dividend report from Investment Hunting. This is his month four report on how his experiment with Lending Club is going. I thought I would share Investment Hunting’s story here because it is looking like a great way to earn some extra money. Lending Club is a lending network that is funded not by the banks but by regular people like you and I.

Investment Hunting started his experiment by investing $5,000 into people on the network. He had a really good month in May by getting a total of $158.38 back. This included receiving back $110.77 in principal and $47.58 in interest. Throughout the four months he has made $134.27 off of the interest.

Andrew has a great article on getting started with this unique way to invest, Lending Club Review, My Experience With Them.

Lanny and Bert – Dividend Diplomats – $275.54 (Bert’s May 2017)

Lanny and Bert are, “Two 20 something dudes who are blogging about #Investing, #Frugality, Passive Income & attempting to Reinvest Our Dividends to Financial Freedom!” Just like Andrew and I, they are two best friends that are striving for that ultimate goal of financial freedom.

This month Bert shares his dividend income summary for the month of May. He and his family (his wife contributes as well) made an amazing $275.54 in May. This is a 61.90% compared to May 2016 or a 14.41% increase if you take out his wife’s portfolio who hadn’t joined the cause yet last year.  Either way, this is some impressive growth!

Bert’s wife was the biggest reason for the enormous increase of income in May. We are only as strong as the woman next to us, right Bert? I must say, my wife helps out so much in the background so I can be a part of Wallet Squirrel for which I am so thankful for.

Keith Park – DivHut – $584.38 (May 2017)

Keith is another one of our featured dividend income gurus. All in all he had a very strong May 2017 compared to May 2016. He increased his dividend income by 11.3% compared to last year. This helped him rake in $584.38 just off of dividends. That is really impressive!

Overall in 2017 he has made $2,672.69 just off of dividends. This really goes to show you that dividend income can help bring in some extra income for your family. It seems like he has a really healthy curve of growth going. Let us all hope that this growth continues for Keith in the second half of 2017.

Keith shows that dividend investing can be very beneficial. If you are interested at getting started here is Andrew’s Dividend Investing Strategy.

Nadya – Living Off Cloud – $1,672.04 (May 2017)

Nadya is new on my radar for bloggers to follow. Her blog really caught my eye because of all the niche sites she manages. It is really impressive that she is able to keep up four niche sites. She does not name her sites by name but gives them a code name instead such as Elephant, Horse, Rat, and Honeybee.

What really intrigued me is that she does not make these sites from scratch like most people, she has purchased them! I did not notice this until I realized that she mentioned that she has just paid off the Elephant site after purchasing it. She was able to pay it off by using its own income. Way to go Nadya!

Overall she made $1,672.04 in the month of May. This income mainly came from her Elephant and Horse websites through Amazon affiliate and Adsense.

Check out some more Affiliate Marketing sites in Andrew’s, 50 Amazon Affiliate Website Examples article.

Sarah Brooks – The Frugal Millionaire – $2,716.75 (May 2017)

Like Nadya, Sarah is another new blogger on my radar. I really liked her site, it is very clean and well organized. The only thing that really annoyed me was that little ad at the bottom of the screen in the blog post that stayed with you no matter where you scrolled. I guess that might be why she made $356.09 just off of ads in May!

Sarah makes most of her income off of affiliate sales, totaling $2,232.70 in the month of May. This is very impressive as we do not come even close to that. It makes me wonder what Andrew and I can do to get Wallet Squirrel to that level. Well done Sarah! Keep up the good work!

Outcomes

I personally learned a lot from my research to find other bloggers to write about. Looking at what other people are do has me think about where I focus my energy when working on Wallet Squirrel. Lately I have been so focused on SEO items. Which is good and we are seeing massive organic traffic growth. Now I am thinking that I need focus on marketing and getting more people to the site.

Hopefully these income reports give you some more ideas on where real people are making more money and what the next steps are for your site.

Do not forget to take a look at our comprehensive list on ways to make more money in 2017.

The sprinklers running after seeding the yard.

How You Can Save Big Money On a Home Remodel

Home Remodel Savings

A home remodel can be a very stressful time during home owner ship. One of the reasons is because of the enormous costs that come with any home renovation.

Over the past month, my wife and I decided to do a home remodel to our outdoor living space, the backyard. And, yes, landscaping counts as a home remodel. 😀 I believe it counts because it does affect your overall home value. If you do not believe me, just look at the before photos below. The yard used to have astroturf, ASTROTURF! Who puts in basic astroturf when they own two big dogs? It smelled so badly!

Before photo of the side yard.

Before photo of the side yard.

The main backyard before the home remodel

The main backyard before the home remodel

Another view of the backyard before the renovations.

Another view of the backyard before the renovations.

A Quick Backstory

This renovation consisted of some major work. The previous owner put rock in the backyard. All rock! This was nice on the water bill but no fun for us or the dogs. We wanted to get some grass in the yard to soften things up a bit. So we set out to clearing EVERYTHING out of the backyard.

This required moving 11 tons of rock, brick, astroturf, timber, and then more rock out of the yard. Once cleared out I spent an evening moving in 9 yards (about 4 tons) of better soil for the garden and grass areas. Because of the savings, I was able to put in a sprinkler system to help water the new grass and garden.

Overall, I had $4,000 budgeted for our backyard. In the end we came in $400 under that budget. This is even after adding in that sprinkler system to the project scope.

How I saved over $4,000 on Our Home Remodel

As you can see this home renovation required a lot of work. Below you will find many different ways that I used to save over $4,000 on our own home remodel. Hopefully some of these you can apply to save on your own home remodel.

DIY – $3,600 in Savings

Labor cost are a massive cost to any home remodel. When I was a landscape designer we typically would double the material costs to figure out the labor costs. Overall, our project cost us $3,600 so by renovating the backyard instead of hiring someone else, we instantly saved $3,600.

Doing the project can save tons of money but you need to be careful. There are projects you should hire a professional for such as electrical work. Thankfully for our project, I was the professional with several years of residential landscape design and construction experience.  If you are uncomfortable with a piece of your project, do not attempt it. The mistakes you make could cost you more in the long run.

This being said, you do not have to hire out the whole project. Let’s say you are having your kitchen redone. Communicate with your contractor so you can do pieces of the home remodel yourself. You could lay the hardwood floor on the weekend or painting the walls in the evening. Doing pieces of your home renovation can still save you tons.

$60 in Pizza and Beer Costs – Totally Worth It!

Along with DIY projects comes the need for additional help. The need for me came when I had to wrap up the demo work of the backyard. It was time to phone in some friends and family.

Food and beer are amazing currency to get friends and family to help out. I had a lot of assistance from both during the project. During the demo stage Andrew and my brother came over to move the remaining six tons of material out of the back yard. Later on I had my step dad and brother help with the copper work to get water from the house to the sprinkler. Then my Dad came to help me set up the sprinkler lines.

Manual Labor vs. Renting Machines – $190 in Savings

I must confess, I did not know about Fluid Market until Andrew wrote about it in his Fluid App Review – Make Money Renting Your Stuff Out Instead of Selling It. If I had known about this sweet app, I could have rented a tiller or trencher for an a lot better price. Oh well. Maybe for when we redo the front yard.

Instead, I opted out for good ole’ manual labor. Initially the plan was to rent from Home Depot a tiller and a trencher. To rent both of these would have cost me $200. This is when I decided to manually do the work these machines perform and to purchase a $10 bottle of Ibuprofen saving me $190.

The trenches are dug!

The trenches are dug!

Offer It Up For Free – $135 in Savings

To save on haul away costs post unwanted items on Craigslist or Nextdoor (see Andrew’s post on How to Sell Something on Craigslist for help). For the home remodel I rented a giant dumpster for $300. Sadly I was limited to only five tons to put into it or else I would suffer a $45 fine per ton. Looking at the backyard, I knew we had WAY more tonnage than that.

This is when I decided to move some rock to the side of the house instead of throwing it out. It is dead space anyways so it worked out perfectly. There was also the issue about the three tons of brick that needed to go. In the past I had heard of people giving up items on Craigslist or Nextdoor for free as long as the items were hauled away by the recipient.

So, I hopped on Nextdoor to offer the brick for free. After a day, two people wanted to come pick up the material. I gave it to the first person who contacted me. At first I was really nervous about this but it turned out to be an amazing experience. We got to meet some awesome neighbors who ended up taking the timbers as well.

Find Recycled Items – $297.65 in Savings

The side yard is complete!

The side yard is complete!

During the process, I tried to recycle as much material as possible.

Firstly, there were about two tons of river rock that I was able to recycle. This river rock costs $38.95 per ton and delivery would have been $76 resulting in about $153.90 in savings. Also, recycling the rock saved $90 in haul away penalties.

On top of recycling the rocks for the home renovation, I was able to recycle twelve cinder blocks costing $1.65 each.

Finally, I was able to pull about a cubic yard of good dirt from the side yard when regrading it. This saved me $33.95 of dirt to buy.

Overall I saved $297.65 by recycling these materials.

Patience – $440 in Savings

Sometimes there are ways to save a lot of money by just being patient. We had the choice of either seeding our new lawn or using sod. I chose to use seed because it would save nearly $500. Instead of having the instant gratification, I chose to save money with patience.

This one is still up in the air as the grass has not even began to grow yet. Also, since the rains have come in over the last 15 days a lot of rock has floated to the surface. So, I might end up getting sod after regrading/removing all of that rock. I’ll keep you posted on this!

Energy Efficiency or Water Wise Rebates – $100 in Savings

When shopping around look for components to your home remodel that might have rebates for being energy or water efficient. These rebates can be sponsored by the federal government or even your local city government. Many times there will be rebates when putting in a new heater or air conditioner. I found one sponsored by the city and county of Denver for our new B-Hyve sprinkler timer.  This rebate covers the whole cost of the timer because it is water wise. It connects to NOAA and knows if it should delay the sprinkler schedule based on the forecast. This in the long run should save us more money on our water bill.

The sprinklers running after seeding the yard.

The sprinklers running after seeding the yard.

Totaling Up the Home Remodel Savings!

Overall, we were able to save $4,702.65 on our home remodel! All of this was done by some good hard work, help by friends and family, offering unneeded items for free, and recycling other materials. It feels good to have this project done! Now we just have to wait for the grass to come in. It feels good to have checked off a goal from my Self-Improvement – Get Rid of Distractions Right Now article.

Now it’s your turn to go save money on your own home renovation.

Missed Opportunities In Savings

I did not do any couponing or price shopping during this project. I only bought items from Home Depot and because of the season everything was fun price. This would have been a grand opportunity to grab pieces on Amazon and saving using the Honey Application, see my Couponing at Its Best Using the Honey App article. Or I should have been using some of the applications I talked about during my 7 Ways to Save Money on Groceries article.

This was a huge mistake that I made. It might have only saved me $10 or it could have saved me another couple hundred dollars. We will never know.

At least you can learn from my mistake.

Do you have any home remodels coming up?

Self Improvement – Get Rid of Your Distractions Right Now – Part 1/4

Self Improvement – Get Rid of Your Distractions Right Now – Part 1/4

I am going to try something new for a self improvement article that has not been done here on Wallet Squirrel yet. Starting this week I am going to do a little mini series about getting rid of distractions within my own personal life. This series will go for the next 3 months with an article being released at the beginning of each month. It will be during the same week when Andrew releases one of his awesome income reports.

This will not be one of your typical self improvement articles where I list off a bunch of things for you to try. No, this is a list of items for me to go out to personally experience it for you! Over the years I have been reading article over article about self improvement, and do not get me wrong, there are some good tips out there. The issue is most of the writers have never tried these “self improvement” tips themselves so how do we know if they work?

Getting rid of distractions is key to self improvement. Without those distractions you can work on what you truly love.

Getting rid of distractions is key to self improvement. Without those distractions you can work on what you truly love.

One of my favorite writers about self improvement is Z from Zero to Skill. He often writes about his own personal experiences on becoming a better and more productive person. One article I loved was his Ultimate Guide For Waking Up Early. He walks through what helps him and what did not work out to help him get up in the morning after years of trial and error.

This personal touch is what I want to bring to this mini-series. My goal is to give you several ideas throughout the series on decluttering your life to for self improvement and increase your productivity.

The Beginning – Part 1 of 4

Today we will talk about the foundation as to why and what I plan on doing over the next three months. Today we will talk why we should all get rid of distractions in our lives. Then I will lay out some goals that I want to accomplish. Then I will set out for a month using several techniques I have researched about over the years. Part 2 of the mini-series will talk more about those techniques and what did or did not work out.

Let us begin!

Why Getting Rid of Distractions is Beneficial to Self Improvement?

Just this past weekend my pastor at church talked about work during his sermon. One thing he mentioned really resonated with me. He talked about what if everyone would cut back on all extra clutter in life (ie. Playing on the Xbox, watching Netflix, looking at Facebook, etc)? Then he asked, what if everyone took that time/energy and put it into their passions instead? Think about how much more productive and successful those individuals would be.

Now this is not the first time I have heard these questions about people spending more energy on their passion rather than only being consumers of unhealthy distractions. Sadly, I cannot remember those other examples but this is my most recent encounter with the thought.

The Fear

The thought of removing all of this extra clutter in my life seems really scary at first. I think, “What if a better video game such as COD: WWII comes out?” Or, “What if I miss some big important message or video of a cat saving a dog’s life on my Facebook feed?” This fear is FOMO, the fear of missing out. Just recently, I have only begun to understand that this stuff does not really matter in life. What I should be worrying about is my family, my friends, hiking in the Colorado mountains, along with other passions such as working on websites.

After coming to this realization I was able to clearly see that there are so many materialistic items in my house that I really did not use anymore. The only reason I am holding on to them is because of that “What if” moment. For the first time, I was free to let go of those items.

Question: Go ahead, take a look around your house. Do you have any of these items in your house? What is your goal by getting rid of distractions for self improvement?

For me, it is all about getting rid or minimizing these distractions so I can become more financially free from debt. This will be accomplished by replacing Facebook, the Xbox, as well as reducing Netflix to spend more time on Wallet Squirrel, Adam Olson Photography, and other side hustles. This will all lend me to enjoy my family and friends more.

Ugh! Facebook…..

My Story

Getting distracted is very easy for me. Especially when I have something in front of me such as an Xbox, Netflix, or Facebook to distract me.

There is something that Marc from Surviving Prepper said that really caught my attention.

“If you eliminate items in your life that are not needed, you have room for items that are needed”

For me, I see this as I need to remove the distractions in my life so I can really focus on what is important to me (God, family, friends, fitness, and yes…Wallet Squirrel).

I tend to be a very materialistic person. These fun but worthless items keep me distracted on what really matters, my family, life goals, health, and so on. It is time to make the sacrifice by selling a bunch of items in our house that seem to add more value to my life but really do not. Some of these items include an extra 42 inch TV, an Xbox, a couple old laptops, an old camera, and whatever else I find.

I also like to watch a lot of Netflix on my own while working on tasks. It really slows down my productivity. Netflix will not get canceled because I also enjoy sitting down with my wife to watch a show or movie. Instead, I will set a rule that Netflix watching is only when I am with her.

Social media and Netflix are major distractions for me.

Social media and Netflix are major distractions for me.

The biggest step self improvement will be dropping social media sites such as Facebook. I have tried many ways to avoid this evil distraction but I cannot get away from it. Because I use Facebook messenger to communicate with my best friends and some are too stubborn to switch services **Cough**Cough** Andrew **Cough**Cough** I cannot get rid of Facebook altogether. So I will use Cold Turkey to block the site on my personal and Home computers as well as my phone.

Side Note: If you do not know what Cold Turkey is, I highly recommend you check it out. It allows you to block any distracting website on your computer or application on your phone. You can set up custom schedules to when and when you cannot access these websites or applications. It is really helpful!

Self Improvement Goals in the Next Four Weeks

I have a lot to accomplish in the next four weeks till the June follow up article comes out. Below is a set of goals I plan on accomplishing before the next follow up.

  1. Sell extra items that can be a distraction. I will sell the items just like Andrew did in his article How to Sell Something on Craigslist and Make Money. This extra money will go towards paying off our car loan quicker.
  2. Finish our backyard renovation. This project has been a HUGE distraction the past couple of weeks. We completely tore up the backyard and are starting all over with a blank slate. In a future article, I will write about this experience and save over $4,000 in costs! Stay tuned!
  3. Start waking up earlier, 5:00 AM, to work out. Using Z’s method, mentioned above, I will try to wake up earlier to work out on a consistent basis. It is well known that people who work out in the morning tend to be more productive during the day. My wants are there but the will is not so this is going to be a challenge.
  4. Stay focused on achieving my goals one percent at a time. There is nothing wrong with having big goals but trying to accomplish them all in one big chunk is setting yourself for failure. Instead, it is better to divide those large goals into smaller goals and accomplish those. I will focus on to only complete smaller tasks each day that get me one percent closer to completing my overall goals.
  5. Set up my next day the day before. Each night before bed I want to layout my plan of attack for the next day. This will not require much time, maybe 10 to 15 min. Here I will plan out the smaller tasks that I want to conquer.

 

Wakey! Wakey! Time for eggs and bakey!

What to Expect in the Follow Up

I will go over if I accomplish these goals or not and the techniques/tips used for each goal. There will be a detailed review of what I did to accomplish each one and what you can do for yourself. If I fail, I will go over what did not work and adjustments to be made.

Stay tuned for the remainder of this raw adventure giving yourself real life tips and tricks to getting rid of distractions for self improvement.

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What Happens to Debt When You Die?

Three weeks ago, over a cold glass of some Colorado craft beer. A buddy asked me “What happens to debt when you die”. Now this wasn’t a morbid question, I’ve simply just become the personal finance guy in my little group of friends, and he wanted to know what happens. Awkwardly though, my response was, I have no freaking idea. You’ll be dead, why do care?

However, this nagged at me and I’ve spent the last three weeks researching and creating a sick infographic to help him out. Reviewing articles by Nerd Wallet, US News Money and many more. I have a pretty good idea how this process of distributing wealth and collecting debt works, called “Probate”.

what-happens-to-debt-when-you-die-infographic

What’s in my Estate?

Your estate is essentially your net worth. This is made up of your home value, bank accounts, car, boat, RV and all your smaller assets as well such as paintings, flat screen tvs, etc. Essentially everything you have to your name, including your name. (source)

Your estate is everything you have, to pay off your debts first then distribute to your heirs as dictated in your Will. However some people don’t have enough money to pay off all their debt first, so I’m going to focus on what happens to your debt when you die that you can’t pay off.

Credit Card Debt – What If I Can’t Pay This When I Die?

Millions of Americans have credit card debt, so I was curious about this first. If you’re the only name on the card, the debt stops with you. So if you don’t have enough assets (money) to pay off your credit card debt. Then the Credit Card company simply has to take the loss and move on and your heirs aren’t responsible for paying it off. (source)

They can though, go after a “co-signer” on your credit card. So always be careful of co-signing anything. However, if you’re just authorized to use the credit card, you’re not liable to pay off the debt because you’re not the actual owner of the credit card and don’t carry the financial liability.

Student Loan Debt – What If I Can’t Pay This When I Die?

If your estate can’t cover your student loan debt, then that’s where the buck stops. Unless you had a co-signer on the account, no one else including your heirs, are responsible for that debt.

It was interesting to hear though that according to Nerd Wallet, collection agencies may still legally contact your family members to “discuss” student loan debt, but they can’t mislead your heirs into thinking that they’re responsible for your student loan debt (source). Not sure why they would do this unless they were trying to guilt your poor grandma into paying off your student loans for moral reasons. Those bastards. Be sure to send them a letter asking them to stop and request a read receipt.

Car Loan Debt – What If I Can’t Pay This When I Die?

This was interesting. If your estate can’t pay off your car loan debt then they can repossess your car. This makes sense, it’s a tangible asset that can be taken back if not fully paid off. How I paid off my car.) However whoever inherits the vehicle can just continue making payments on their inherited Ford Fiesta and the bank is unlikely to take any action as long as they continue to receive money. Remember it’s all just business. (source)

Home Loan Debt – What If I Can’t Pay This When I Die?

This is really the least of my concerns since I rent a studio loft downtown, but for some friends who recently bought a house, let’s chat. Due to the 1982 federal law, the surviving spouse may continue to make payments to the mortgage without having an issue (source). They can simply continue to make payments similar to how the recently deceased did or sell and keep the difference in monetary value.

Things get a little murky with mortgages with a “home equity line of credit”. These are usually paid off during the probate process but may involve selling the house if your assets don’t cover the debt. If you’re worried about this, I highly recommend you consult a local attorney.

Is anything safe from debt collectors?

In my research, I’ve found a few things that appear to be safe from debt collectors. These are IRAs, 401(k)s, brokerage accounts, life insurance and pension plans that don’t go to probate, so they won’t be considered a part of your estate to pay off debt collectors. So your heirs may be left with something. (source)

Sometimes people get life insurance to help their loved ones (often co-signers) with the debt they leave behind. Since life insurance is exempt from some estates, it can be used by your heirs and loved ones with the burden of any debt you accumulated together.

Conclusion

In short, your debt belongs only to you, it is not passed on to your family when you pass. (source). As long as you didn’t have any co-signers for your Student Loans/Credit Card Loans and your estate can’t pay them, those debts die with you. Home Loans and Car Loans are tangible assets that can be taken back if not paid off or have someone take over the payments in order to keep them.

If this research taught me anything, it’s to be very aware of what I co-sign. Debt dies with the deceased, unless there’s a co-signer.