5 Home Improvement Projects That Help Reduce Homeownership Costs

The age-long debate about the advantages of renting or buying a home continues, and there seems to be no concession from any side in view. A lot of variables and a lot of unique factors influencing individual homeowner’s choices are too many to reach a consensus on the issue. Or thing is certain though: both renting and buying a home comes with its fair share of costs. Everyone knows buying a home doesn’t come cheap, even though it makes sense to you and your family financially.

One good positive is the fact that the cost of owning a home isn’t fixed. If you can handle the upfront payments, these home project developments will permanently reduce the intermittent expenses of homeownership. Others avert costly repairs for life or until you decide to vacate the house.

Note that both federal and state tax credits can help you bear the cost of performance-enhanced projects if you feel your budget is unable to cover the upfront payment of these projects. You can also finance your home with an equity line credit, unsecured private bank loans, online lenders or credit unions. 

1. Do A Home Energy Audit or Professional Assessment

Home Energy Audit 

Conducting a Do-It-Yourself home energy audit, or getting a professional home energy assessment is one of the best ways to prioritize and create a cost-effective home improvement test. Assessments and audits are meant to help examine all the key systems and parts of the home to help you know where you’re either losing heat, misusing electricity and where efficiency is failing in your home. For example, the following places might likely be checked:

– Air leaks from either windows, vents and door frames.

– Mechanical devices like heaters, boilers, and furnaces.

– Other appliances and electronics like oven ranges and refrigerators.

When you’re done with the audit or assessment, you may come up with a to-do list that includes various improvements like:

– Patching drafts and leaks.

– Changing old, ineffective appliances for new and effective ones.

– Replacing or adding substandard insulation.

2. Invest In A Cool Roof 

Sunny and hot weather can turn your roof into an enormous heating pad, roasting the upper floors and even the best-protected attics, tending to waste the airconditioning efforts, hopelessly fighting against this simple thermodynamic impact. A cool roof may not necessarily cool your house, but it sure reduces the upper floor heating severely. Like most height-related jobs, changing a traditional roof to a cool roof can be very dangerous. Getting quality fall protection equipment is necessary if you intend to change the roof yourself, but it is advisable to let the professionals handle it. Cool roofs are cost-effective in sunny or warm domains while in colder climes, cool roofs take longer to assert their worth as their reflectivity disrupts passive solar heating during the winter season.

3. Switch To Native or Climate-Appropriate Landscaping

Making a switch to climate-appropriate or native landscaping can help increase water savings as well as reduce or even eradicate any additional watering needs. These landscaping are cost-effective and come in handy in arid places where water-intensive landscaping such as turf lawns are not achievable without enough water supply. These native landscapes amalgamate plants that are only found in such a region’s natural habitat, while climate-appropriate landscapes amalgamate plants that can be found in similar climes around the globe.

4. Install New, Efficient Windows and Doors 

Using a DIY door and window seal usually doesn’t work out, so you are advised to buy and install brand new doors and windows. It is a good thing that the installation of high-efficiency doors and windows is said to be one of the surest ways of ensuring the value of your home the case of a resell and also builds equity, so if you’d like to sell anytime soon, doing this alone can compensate for the cost of your project. Despite the aesthetics wooden windows give to a home, vinyl windows are quite affordable unless the wooden windows are for your home’s character conservation.

5. Periodically Stain And Seal Wood Decks And Siding 

Even though staining and sealing wood in your home isn’t the idea of fun, doing it from time to time can highly increase your home’s natural wood lifespan and reduce any expensive replacement in the future. Wood siding should be freshly coated every 3-5 years, decks should be coated every 2-3 years unless it is heavily used and in severe climate, then it should be coated yearly.

Conclusion

Time and money are always limited which is why it is advisable to adopt a compromising strategy to improve your home and save cost by employing the BIY – Buy It Yourself – approach.

A BIY approach means you have to purchase the materials, and probably the tools needed to undertake the project which can be done with close interaction with your contractor, who then does the job and charges you for workmanship and any other miscellaneous. What this means is that you buy the materials and tools yourself, saving the additional money and time it would cost if your contractor had gotten it himself. According to research by HouseLogic, using this technique can save costs by 20 percent, which for someone on a tight budget, is quite a sum.

Why You Should Start Saving for a House Today

Becoming a homeowner is a goal that many Americans have and look forward to. Not only can it contribute your financial health (when executed properly), but it can also lay the foundation for your growing family, be the backdrop of your favorite memories, and become a lifelong project that you’re completely proud of.

But buying your own property requires a lot of personal and fiscal responsibility, from learning how to read the housing market, to applying for loans, to figuring out how much down payment you can afford—not to mention that buying a house typically requires a substantial amount of capital.

If you’re considering being a homeowner at any stage in your life, it’s important to start saving up now. Here’s why.

Housing prices change

If you pay any attention to finance or real estate news, you probably know how much of an impact the housing market has on economics in this country. And with that, you’ve probably heard about how much the real estate market can fluctuate over time. Housing prices dip and rise pretty much constantly in the United States, making the right time to buy practically unpredictable for potential homeowners.

This is the first reason why we recommend building your savings right away. If you have a substantial home savings, you’re in a better position to buy in a buyer’s market when you’re likely to find a better deal when you’re searching for real estate.

Let’s say you find the ideal cottage on the coast that you’ve always dreamed of: the market is in your favor and the price is right, but you don’t have enough money to make a down payment on the house of your dreams. Contributing just a small amount to your savings from the time your in your twenties could put you in a better position to buy if a situation like this were to happen to you!

Better financing options

Another plus to building a home savings in advance is that it could enable you to get better financing options because you’d be able to make a more substantial down payment. Jumbo loans, though they allow you to put less money down, can end up costing you more money in the long run if you incur higher interest rates or take longer to pay off the loan.

Having a bigger down payment can even help you secure a better bad credit loan if you have enough savings to buy a house, but your credit doesn’t qualify you for other loan types. 

Edge on the competition

Many sellers prefer cash offers rather than credit because they are less likely to fall through than loans are. If you’re able to save money to buy a house outright, you’ll likely fare better if there are multiple buyers putting an offer in on the same house.

Tax benefits

Another advantage to building your home savings is cutting down on your tax bill. If you live in a state with first-time homebuyer benefits, you can put your money in an FHSA (First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account) to avoid getting taxed on the income that you put toward your home savings. This money can be used for down payments and other homeowner costs. If you withdraw from the account for another purpose, you may face penalty fees.

Financial stability

If you choose to stowe your home savings in a traditional savings account, you’ll have more flexibility to spend your savings on other things you may need (besides a home). If you encounter some sort of financial emergency, like medical bills for example, you could employ your home savings as necessary.

How you can start saving

Ready to launch your home savings? Here are a few tips to help you do so:

Final thoughts

Saving up for a house may seem like an impossible goal right now, but by following our home savings tips and referring back to this guide, you can watch your savings grow and reap the many benefits!

Top 5 Simple Ways to Access Import Trade Finance

There are various types of import finances that you ought to know. They include factoring, revolving credit, letter of credit, asset financing, among others. With such a variety of options available, the requirements tend to vary from one financier to the next. There are specific guidelines that you must adhere to ensure your international e-commerce business to be eligible. Below are simple ways to get access to import trade financing;

  • Show your business generates consistent cash flow

When you are looking for a financier, they will require assurance that your venture generates continuous cashflow. It may be quite challenging, especially when you are searching for these finances.

Nonetheless, you ought to make an incredible and convincing image. Nobody will invest in a shaky enterprise. One way to show you have a trustworthy business by paying employees on time. You can also provide a statement on how you’ve been crediting all your creditors within time. You need proper documentation. As a slight change can make or break your eligibility for a loan.

  • Have a minimal debt load

You need a clean slate balance sheet. It should depict that you can keep all your debts in check. Trends on debt repayment are the easiest way for money lenders to know if you are reliable or not.

You need to prepare a robust financial defense while requesting an additional loan. You ought to illustrate how it will grow your international e-commerce.

  • Have a stellar payment history

Credit reports generated by independent 3rd parties ought to depict that you can be trusted. Having your payment proof isn’t enough. Some unscrupulous traders may forge their payment history. It thus puts everyone in jeopardy.

You need to inquire about any report that might discredit your chance of getting a loan. You need to note all the loopholes so that you can fix them.

  • Compare financiers

You need to compare various import/export eCommerce financiers, including Qupital Hong Kong. You must never settle for any financier even if you find yourself in a challenging situation. Take your time to analyze various financiers and check out their services. It will enable you to compare multiple rates as well as their repayment periods. Making a comparison will allow you to get the best deal possible finance deal in the market.

  • Use the inventory to secure a loan

Another way to access international trade finances is by using your catalog. You can evaluate the goods you have in store. After that, you can apply on loan basing the amount on the inventories’ value. It’s a fantastic chance to ensure your business stays afloat without having to dissolve it. 

You must have a good credit history before you decide to use the inventory to offer your business the finance it needs. You ought to create a product list and value.

You must have a financial plan each time you head out to request international trade financing. Various import/export financers, including Qupital Hong Kong, are ready to support your global e-commerce. You can use the above ways to get your next international e-commerce finance if you are low on cash flow.

Factors to Consider Before Taking a Loan

When you take a loan, you put yourself in a financial commitment where you have to make a payment within a stipulated period until it is cleared. However, this can affect you financially since part of your income is used to repay it.

While it might come in handy when you need it the most, taking a loan can also have detrimental impacts not only to your financial but also social and psychological situation. That being said, it is essential to take into consideration several factors before committing yourself to take a loan. Some of them include:

1. Interest rates

The majority of the lenders will always charge interest on the principal amount you have borrowed. The interest rates play a significant role in determining the total amount of the loan that you will pay. They vary for different lenders; hence it is crucial to shop around for favorable rates.

Furthermore, check out for other hidden charges like the administration fees, processing fees, and appraisal fees, among others. They will ease your calculations as you decide to take a loan.

2. Your credit score

Many lenders always offer loans based on your credit history. Before you consider applying for a loan, ensure that your score doesn’t have any hitches. If some things don’t add up, you may have to contact the Credit Company or bureau involved to resolve the matter.

In case of low credit score, try and improve it for you to qualify for higher loan limits. You can achieve this by clearing your minor debts or increasing the spending limit of your credit cards.

If you have a bad credit history, consider borrowing from lenders who offer loans for bad credit scores. Remember that a high credit score will let you secure a low-interest loan.

3. The terms of the loan

Different loans have different terms directing how they should be paid. These terms and regulations determine the total loan cost in terms of interests accrued. If the period given to pay is more extended, the monthly repayments will be lower. Ensure that you can make the monthly payments on time to avoid penalties from the lenders. 

4. Type of loan

There are different types of loans to choose from. The reason as to why you need a loan will dictate the kind of loans you can take. From mortgages, student loans, equity loans, personal and business loans, among others.

You can consult a financial advisor and be knowledgeable on the various options you have.

5. Your financial situation

Budget your income so that you can figure out the money to spare to service the loan without straining. Be cautious not to take a larger loan than you require as this can attract unnecessary fees. If it is not an emergency, you can opt to postpone or find an alternative to raising the money, which will not generate interest. 

Conclusion

When you decide to take a loan, always remember that it can make or break your future success. Next time you need a loan, especially personal loans and business loans ensure you have the knowledge, and consider all the pros and cons before implementing your decision.

The global sports betting market– What’s driving the growth?

There is no doubt when we say that the global sports betting market is growing in size every year and is becoming more and more popular. It is said to be the most rapidly growing sectors in the world, especially in Nigeria. Nigeria is a place where sports betting has burgeoned like never before. The profits earned from the sports betting market accounts for a major part of the revenue earned by the Nigerian government. With the rising demand of sports bettors in Nigeria, there is also a massive rise in the number of online betting websites.

As the digital revolution is in full swing, there are dynamic changes that keep occuring in the betting industry. Read on the concerns of this article to know about the size of the global sports betting market, know about future projections and delve deep into the main causes of the market expansion.

The sports betting market – How huge is it?

It is vital for you to understand that the total size of the sports betting market is tough to project as record-keeping is not done on a regular basis. There is a dearth of resources on which the researchers can solidly base their studies on. The records are so disparate that it is not possible to paint an accurate picture of the size of the betting market.

As per records from Statistica, international sports betting is predicted to have a capitalization of $300 billion. The licensed online sports bookmakers account for a rising revenue of $40 billion. The remaining sports bets are staked at other places like horse tracks, casinos and other global conduits.

United States has the fastest expanding betting market

In the year 2010, the value of the sports betting market was estimated to be of $20 billion. Later on in 2016, the value expanded to $40 billion. The current market capitalization is between $60-75 billion which proves that the market has grown at a fast pace of $10 billion in a year. With the present pace of growth, American sports betting industry will occupy a noteworthy share of the global market.

Asia Pacific (APAC) – Is this the biggest sports betting market?

As their population is somewhere around 4 billion people, it is a bit surprising that this region holds a fair market share in the betting industry. The residents of Asia Pacific account for 48% of the sports bets all over the world.

Reason behind the increase in popularity of sports betting

With the spread of digital connectivity and increased wealth, there is also a simultaneous increase in the sports betting market. Hong Kong and Macau are among the most famous revenue-generating places of the world. As wages keep increasing in the APAC region, people have more and more money to place in the sports events.

The internet providers of the APAC region report fast penetration into this industry. With the help of a better internet connection, people can get access to the current information and news on sports betting. Whenever you’re able to keep up with the latest news on sports, you can better become a sports fan.

Sports betting – How much will it grow at other places?

Sports betting accounts for 40% of the total global gambling revenue all over the world which is way more than other sections like poker, casinos, lotteries or other forms of gambling. According to latest projections, the compounded annual growth rate is projected to rise by 9.65% by 2022.

Though everyone is concerned about America and Asia Pacific, there are several other areas like Nigeria that are even growing in terms of popularity.

It has to be stated that in Nigeria there are more and more operators. So if You are interested watching how this market grows You can check viewpointnigeria.com for a list of best betting sites. Its still very young market and it will take a few more years for its to mature.

Growth is not considered to be as impressive or aggressive in Europe or Australia mainly due to the history of betting in such regions. Latin America and Africa are also steadily growing in terms of sports betting.

Popular sports bets

By far, football has the biggest betting volume followed by American football. Apart from these, there are 3 other North American Leagues, the NBA, MLB and NHL, also get a fair share of the betting volume. Horse racing is characterized as a niche market and it gets betting volumes in France, UK, US, Australia, South Africa.

Online sports betting and its popularity

Among everything else, the fastest growing sports market is online sports. These are multiplayer video game competitions that include professional players. In 2017-2018, e-sports generated more than $700 million in revenue and this is projected to grow up by $1.5 billion by 2020. As e-sports is gradually shaping into a budding industry which is an already established one, it can easily generate a noteworthy stream of revenue for the sports betting market.

The proliferation of digital sports betting is beyond the usage of desktops and laptops. 30% of sports betting take place through mobile devices. This figure will cross 45% by the end of 2019. Technology has changed how we play and how we live. It has also changed how we place our bets on sports.

Get Behind the Wheel with These 5 Car Title Loan Requirements

Savings and checking and cards… oh my!

Playing the cash game is often like playing beat the clock. You move money from one account to the next to avoid overdrafts. You try cash advances on credit cards to cover yourself when times are tight.

But what can you do if you’ve exhausted all your accounts and still need cash? That’s when you can turn to your assets. Hold on, we’re not asking you to sell any of your belongings, we’re talking about car title loans.

To simply put, a car title loan is a relatively fast way to get money using your car’s title as collateral. If you’re interested to know how you can get one, let’s take a closer look at the 5 car title loan requirements:

1. You Own a Car

Of course, you must own a car if you plan to get a title loan. This means that the car is registered under your name and it’s your name that shows up on the title.

Still making payments to a lender for your car? That’s okay too!

In many cases, the lender will hold the title for your car and they’ll record their lien on the vehicle. But a title loan can still be taken using the equity you have in the car.

Equity is the difference between the value of your car and what you owe on it. If your car has some equity, you may still be eligible for a title loan. The amount of your loan will be affected by the amount of equity you have in the car.

2. You Have a Valid ID

A valid form of ID, like a driver’s license or state-issued ID card is a must. If you own a car, odds are pretty good that you have a driver’s license to fill this requirement.

But let’s say you don’t have a license but still own a vehicle. For example, you own a car that your adult child uses to drive you around. Then that car is eligible for a title loan as long as the title is in your name.

3. You Have a Monthly Income

You must be able to prove that you can repay your title loan. In order to do that, you’ll need to provide a document showing your monthly income. This might include any of the following:

  • Paystub
  • W2
  • Bank statement showing regular direct deposits
  • Social security statement
  • Unemployment statement
  • Tax returns

4. You Have Full Coverage

Most of the title loan lenders ask for full coverage insurance on your vehicle. Adding full coverage to your insurance policy is usually easy to do. Ask your insurance agent or visit their website to do this.

However, this requirement can be only subject to the loan amount.

5. You Have Some References

Do you know someone who would say great things about you? If so, you’re one step closer to getting that car title loan.

Personal references serve several purposes. They allow us to verify that your identity hasn’t been stolen and to verify the information on your application. They also serve as a backup communication in case we can’t reach you.

Here are some good ideas for possible references:

  • A relative who doesn’t live with you, like a sibling or cousin.
  • Your boss or another coworker who knows you.
  • A neighbor or close friend that you speak to often.

Do You Meet the Title Loan Requirements?

If you need cash, a title loan is a great option for you. As long as you meet the title loan requirements, you can get cash in your pocket in just a few minutes. And you’ll find that many title loan lenders have kept the application process very simple so that you can borrow money fast during emergencies. These title loan requirements can vary from one lender to another, so it’s better to do your research before applying for a loan from any lender of your choice.

How to Get Real USA Instagram Followers?

Most businesses these days are getting more and more aware of the importance of social media marketing. Hence, it comes as no surprise that businesses are looking to learn dynamic and impressive ways by which they could increase their real USA Instagram followers. 

The importance of Instagram followers

Social media has assumed gargantuan importance of late and when you are looking to target a wider audience and you want to extend your reach without having to actually visit far flung places; one of the best options at hand is to target social media channels. 

This is why by growing your Instagram followers count and even your networking on other channels, you can give yourself the best chance to flourish. This is easier said than done as there is massive competition in the market. 

There may be too many companies offering similar products and/or services and hence it becomes important that you put in a little extra to stay ahead of the crowd. So, you will have to make use of different strategies for the sake of increasing your follower count. Let us see the possible ways you could do it.

How to boost your Instagram follower count? 

1. Research

Remember there is no true shortcut to success. This means that you should devote ample time to research as it will give you a head start into finding the best of hashtags which are likely to generate good amount of traction. 

At the same time, look at the pages of your top competitors and try to analyze why their posts are getting so much hits. This could be a time consuming process but the leads you will get is going to offer significant insight into helping you grow your page in a meticulous manner. 

2. Content is the King 

No matter which form of marketing you are going to indulge in, this is one rule you will always have to live by. You absolutely must come up with great content. Unless your content is catchy enough, none of your followers are really going to interact and they would just act like a dead number. 

So, be creative with the captions, upload jazzy pictures which are likely to steer a conversation and come up with compelling content which automatically boosts up the follower count. This is by far the most effective of all strategies if you manage to implement it right. Have a separate dedicated team focusing merely on the content because the success of all other tips would fall down on the kind of content you are churning. 

3. Get creative with hashtags 

When it comes to Instagram, the real magic lies in hashtags. You have to ensure that you are targeting the right hashtags which will get you maximum number of followers. Do not use too many hashtags and neither should you be too selective with it. 

You need to have a systematic trend in place and your analysing team needs to periodically monitor the traffic every hashtag is generating. It is this data numbers crunched by the analytical team which can play a pivotal role in helping you gain massive number of followers. 

4. Grow your follow count organically 

While some people are tempted to buy followers in bulk, we are of the opinion that it should be done organically. There are sites like InstaGrowing that is so designed that they can help you increase the count in an organic manner. In these cases, the growth in the follow count isn’t randomly done at a single moment. The growth in follow count is gradual and this makes it look a lot more natural. It is good even from the seo point of view as well. 

5. Try to be a part of big conversations 

You should ensure that you are becoming a part of big conversation. This is a very smart move as it will help you gain the right prospective accounts and new followers. When you become a part of interesting and trending conversations, you are likely to hog the limelight and thereby new user accounts come across your profile. 

So, these are some of the ways by which you can increase your followers count when on Instagram. While we recommend trying natural ways first, you can always opt to buy organic followers as this is an easy way to gain the right traction without toiling too hard for it. 

The key thing to remember when it comes to social marketing is that the dynamics is always changing. The algorithm which may be working today might not be so effective tomorrow and therefore this can lead to severe problems if you do not take the dynamic approach. 

With the best of social media marketing campaigns, your page is likely to grow and your increased follower count could have a cumulative effect.

7 Easy Methods to Save Money on Your Bills This Winter

When winter rolls in the biggest issue might be your bills rather than the cold. With energy usage up, whether it’s electricity or natural gas, the average home has large spikes that can prove to be unfortunate for the homeowner. 

Fortunately, with some forethought, you can head off hefty winter bills and make it through to spring with a little bit more cash in your pocketbook. Let’s look at some easy methods to save you the headache and heartache that comes with the winter billing spike. 

1. Programmable Thermostats

One of the easiest ways to keep your bills down is using programmable thermostats to their utmost capabilities. Ideally, your central heating should be controlled by a thermostat that will let you program by the hour and day. 

When using one you can choose the temperature to run the house when you’re home, one for when you’re at work, and even lower the temperature while you’re sleeping. Most people will want to keep things different on the weekends which is why a thermostat that works by the day instead of just a 24-hour cycle is handy. 

They can cost a bit upfront but with a bit of finesse, you can drastically reduce your heating bills during the winter with a programmable thermostat. 

2. Judicious Use of Space Heating

Space heaters are one of the best ways to drive your electric bill through the roof, everyone knows that. 

However, using them wisely can actually help keep bills down. If it’s just you, or you and a significant other, in a home then a great way to save on your heating bill through the winter is to use a space heater to keep the bedroom warm.  

In areas where things freeze, however, your pipes may still freeze up. That can make them a bargain in some areas but a liability in others.  

Still, as a general rule space heaters cost less to run than most types of heating when you’re using a high-efficiency model. Just make sure that you don’t need central heating just to keep your plumbing intact. 

3. Seal Things Up

Most homes have air leaks. It’s just a fact of life and they may not cause a perceivable draft in normal weather. These leaks can cause a horrible loss of efficiency over the course of the cold season, however, and you should look into getting them sealed up. 

If you’re the DIY-type you should wait until you have around a 30° differential in temperature between indoors and outdoors and go take a look for warm spots around the outside of the home. Most can easily be sealed with weatherproof caulking. 

If you’re not, then a home inspection will allow an HVAC professional to find them for you. It might cost a little bit of money but over time it can add up to big savings on your winter energy bill. 

4. Pay Attention to Windows

Blackout curtains are actually great at keeping thermal energy in place, in addition to keeping rooms dark. They’re a relatively small investment for most homeowners but they can help keep the heater from running throughout the whole day. 

You don’t have to use them year-round if you feel they’ll interfere with your interior decor, but a good set will help keep warmth from creeping out the windows. 

Double-paned windows are an even more efficient way to keep heat in. The vacuum between the glass pieces is an incredible insulator, but it may take a few years for you to get a complete return on investment since replacing windows is an expensive task. 

Lastly, before winter you should check the weather stripping on your windows. If they’re cracked or otherwise damaged you should replace them to keep air from leaking out of the home. 

5. Lower Your Thermostat

A difference of 5° on your thermostat can easily be made up for with a good sweater and lower your bills a substantial amount. It’s not counter-intuitive… it’s just thrifty. 

Using warm clothing around the home through the winter months will let you keep the thermostat at a lower temperature and your heater running less often. 

Remember that your thermostat only exists to keep the heat at a certain level, it’s not a throttle for your heater overall like some people assume. Establish a baseline temperature you can live with through the winter months and the savings can be enormous. 

6. HVAC Inspection

Find a professional in your area to take a look at your heater and ducting. Dust and other debris can accumulate in ducts and overall lower the efficiency of central heating. 

Small fixes can be made to your heater as well. Things like filters or less efficient components will add up over the cold season and every part of the system should be in optimal shape so you can get the most bang for your buck. 

Best of all: your chances of a heater breaking down during the winter go way down. Coming home to a frozen house is no fun and the repair bill is likely to outstrip most of the other savings you’ve made by carefully planning ahead.  

You should have a service done at least once a year anyway, so why not schedule it for just before winter comes knocking at your doorstep? 

7. Cover the Attic Door

If you have an attic with an uninsulated ceiling you have an air-gap that’s not doing you any favors. Even if you have blow-in insulation upstairs you can actually save quite a bit of money by just buying a roll of fiberglass insulation and running it over your attic’s entrance to prevent warm air from escaping. 

Since warm air rises… this is actually a pretty big concern. Just remember to wear gloves when you remove the insulation in the spring since fiberglass fibers will render most people itchy and uncomfortable. 

Keep Warm and Save Cash This Winter 

You don’t have to be uncomfortable to save money on your winter heating bill. Indeed, if you follow the above tips you’ll not only save money but likely enjoy an overall warmer winter. 

The cold months are right around the corner, are you prepared to save on your monthly bills? If not, there’s no time like the present. 

Make Your Warehouse More Efficient With a Shuttle System

A warehouse shuttle system is a highly efficient storage and retrieval system that uses high speed shuttles to manage stacked rows of storage containers. Completely automatized, the system dispatches the shuttles to quickly complete dynamic orders, accessing and retrieving the required cases without any human intervention. The system makes it possible to achieve an extraordinary high rate of operations, effectively multiplying the storage capacity of a warehouse manifold.

How the Shuttling system works

As the name suggests, a warehouse shuttling system consists of a small ‘shuttle’ that runs on fixed rails, quickly traversing long rows of storage cases or totes. The rails usually form a grid of sorts, allowing the shuttle to reach every stacked crate throughout the level.

While initially expensive to install, a shuttle system pays for itself many times over through the course of its operation by drastically increasing the productivity of your warehouse. You can consider taking a bank personal loan to finance the setup, or if that is not possible (due to an ongoing debt, for example) you might want to look into taking a title loan using the fleet of vehicles in your company’s possession.

Advantages of a Warehouse Shuttling System

Over Manual Stocking

The biggest cost factor in a warehousing business – contrary to popular expectation – is not the volume of storage, but rather the speed of operations. Moving from a manual, labor intensive storage and retrieval arrangement to an automated system single-handedly brings a massive boost to efficiency and profitability, not to mention the sheer reliability.

Over Automated Storage and Retrieval Cranes

Even if the enterprise already employs a technological solution, like an automated storage and retrieval crane, it can benefit by switching to a shuttle based system. Cranes, while good for servicing a large number of levels vertically, are quite limited in terms of speed and responsiveness in peak times. Shuttle systems, in contrast, can literally zip across the rows of containers, completing complex requests in a fraction of the time taken by a crane.

Low Maintenance and Servicing Needs

Another advantage of shuttles over cranes is maintenance; a shuttle sliding on rails has much fewer technical issues and wear-and-tear as compared to a crane with its multitude of joints and motors that must always work in sync. Moreover, in case of multiple shuttles on different levels, the breakdown of a single shuttle does not bring operations of the warehouse to a halt, as the other shuttles can still be employed for a limited storage capability even as the fault is fixed.

The shuttle based storage and retrieval system also has fewer servicing needs. The core of the system are the rails, which are quite robust, and the vehicles themselves, which can be replaced individually if need be.

Industries Most Suitable for a Warehouse Shuttle System

Shuttle systems are the best solution for order consolidation buffers, order picking, sequencing and other such fields of application which have to manage highly complex internal logistics. Industries that deal with the orders of a large number of small products, packaged consumables, for example, need the high speed storage and retrieval rates offered by a shuttle system.

They are also useful in workstation supply of small parts, or the provision of goods in production and assembly lines, due to their capacity of handling complex orders at a high cycle rate. This makes them an asset in any advanced manufacturing process, such as in automobiles.

Everything You Need to Know About Credit Tradeline and How They Impact Your Credit Score

Tradelines can improve your credit rating, ensuring that the accounts on your credit report are all in tip-top shape before creditors and lenders review it. Tradeline happens before any action is done on your credit report. Instead of mitigating the effects of a damaged credit score, tradeline companies make sure your accounts are credit-worthy.

To help you understand how credit tradelines work, here is some valuable information.

What is Tradeline?

Tradeline is the term that credit reporting firms use to refer to the credit accounts listed in a company or individual’s credit report. For every account, a separate tradeline is provided with information on the owner’s creditors and debts.

Revolving tradelines include lines of credit and credit cards. Installment tradelines, on the other hand, include the owner’s loans such as personal loans, student loans, auto loans, and mortgages. Aside from identifying the owner’s debts, tradelines also include the following:

  • Name of the lender and his address
  • Account type
  • Partial account number
  • Current status
  • Date of account opening
  • Current balance

Aside from these, the lender’s credit limit, monthly payment, payment history, and recent balance are also indicated. All these pieces of information allow you to check the details of your credit accounts. Lenders provide tradeline information as they collate the most recent info on your accounts.

Remember, however, that each lender has a different way of reporting this information, so it’s reasonable to see variations across tradelines. 

What are the Uses of Credit Tradelines?

All the essential information in your tradeline is considered to calculate your credit score. Since your credit score is merely a glimpse of your creditworthiness, lenders can also check your tradelines to get more information.

If you have unpaid payments on your accounts, lenders can check your tradeline to find why such an account is delinquent. If your score dipped because of your credit card’s high utilization rate, your creditor could check your credit limit against the account balance. This is to determine whether or not you are a real credit risk.

What Will Happen If You are Removed from the Tradeline?

If you’re the primary cardholder or an authorized user of a credit card, you may remove your name from your account. In that case, the tradeline will not be included in your credit report anymore.

If your tradeline is full of positive information that boosted your credit score, removal of the same can adversely affect your credit rating. On the other hand, if your tradeline has payment issues or high utilization rates, removing it can help improve your credit score.

If the tradeline was fraudulently created, you could request its removal. In that case, removal can be useful for your credit score since it got rid of any negative credit information attached to it.

If you have a poor credit score, you can always ask for help from reputable credit boosting firms. Likewise, if you need help fixing your tradeline, you can also work with the credit tradeline professionals. Through this, you can highly improve the credibility and creditworthiness of your accounts before they even reach the hands of lenders you want to partner with.

Selling vs. Keeping Your Mortgage Note

Wise money managers know that investing in mortgage notes can be a very lucrative endeavor. Property values tend to increase, and it is one of the best ways to create long term wealth and help with retirement expenses. If you are holding mortgage notes, you may be unsure if you want to keep them for the long run, or to sell them as the price increases and reinvest. Commercial note buyers often buy and sell notes in the short term so they can take advantage of the rise and fall of the market price.

Keeping Your Notes

There are plenty of great arguments for holding onto your mortgage notes. Many people count on their mortgage notes as a way to see them into retirement. The income from the monthly payments can be beneficial in budgeting for your monthly expenses. It allows you to supplement your existing pension and social security and hopefully give you a little extra for fun things to do. 

Another thing to consider is the rising property values. As property values increase, so will your mortgage note. If you are unsure how much your current property is worth, you can consult sites like Zillow. Zillow can give you a rough estimate of current pricing. However, if you begin the sales process, you will get a more precise selling value quote. Other factors may compel you to hold onto your note, such as the buyer’s credit score increasing and payment history improving. Both of these have a direct impact on the value of your note.

Selling Your Note

Selling your mortgage note has many benefits. Many people grow tired of collecting payments from buyers. It can be especially tricky when the buyer is a slower payer or even falling into default on the personal loan. The stress this causes sometimes will move people to want to sell the note. It is essential to know that payment history does affect the value of your mortgage note. The other thing to worry about is whether the property taxes and insurance have been kept up to date. This is critical to you protecting your investment.

Another reason people may want to sell their mortgage note is when they require a large sum of cash. Selling your note is a fast way to secure your money to make that large purchase or pay down unexpected debt. It is much wiser to sell your note rather than borrow money and pay interest when you have the funds available to you. Also, if you have higher interest rate credit card debt, selling your note is a great way to pay your way out of that expensive debt. You can then reinvest into notes to rebuild.

Conclusion

Some people opt for a combination of selling and holding. People who need to generate some liquid cash may elect to sell off a portion of their note to raise the capital necessary. They then retain a part of the note and will continue to collect their monthly share of the payments the buyer makes.

How to Save Money on Your Next Child

Financial planning and budgeting are crucial for a family. Budget first for the essentials then see what monies there may be left for non-essential, recreational activities. The road to a healthy financial foundation is a marathon. Whether you have a little or a lot, budgeting and saving a portion of your income is paramount.

According to a report carried out in 2015, one may spend approximately $233,610 to raise a child. 

The report also documented the expenses involved in raising a child such as food, housing, education and childcare. As a parent, you will want only the best for your little one.

So, how do you save money for your next child? When planning to start a family or even expand it, good financial planning is necessary. For some, solutions such as bad credit loans may also help deal with past financial planning problems. With careful planning and financial management, you can make ends meet, and even flourish as a young family.

To answer this question, below is a list of seven tips you need to know:

A standard stroller

First things first- once your baby is born, you will require a baby stroller. Consider buying the best baby stroller that matches your lifestyle as a parent. But what do you do if the baby stroller you have always admired is a bit too expensive?

When looking for a baby stroller for your baby, it is crucial to go for that which is within your budget. Have a look online for a quality second-hand stroller that is still in excellent condition. 

If you buy a quality pram for your first child, chances are it will still be in great condition for any additional children you may be blessed with.

A car seat

Now that you have already settled on a standard stroller for a baby, you will definitely want a newborn car seat. You will have to install a car seat for your baby correctly, according to state laws. 

However, remember that there are several models of car seats in the market. Ensure you get one that best suits your car and baby.

Cost-conscious clothes

When buying clothes for your baby, do not buy them too far in advance. Nowadays, newborns tend to experience a sudden growth spurt, hence may outgrow clothes within a short period of time. 

Ensure the clothes you buy are season relative. No point buying a cute jumper for your baby to wear if it is going to fit them during the summer months.

It might not cross your mind that your next child could be a boy or a girl. Hence buying unisex clothes will help you save on buying more clothes should the gender of your baby be different.

Accept hand me down clothes gratefully. What a great way of recycling clothes, when friends pass clothes onto you their kids have outgrown. Be mindful to pass yours on when you kids no longer need the clothes they have been wearing.

Baby nappies + supplies

On average, newborn babies can use up to 75 nappies every week. This translates to about 320 diapers each month. Add this to other baby supplies such as lotion, baby soap, and nappy rash cream. Your monthly expenses are likely to be extremely high. 

However, you can save on these expenses by buying diapers in bulk online. This can help you save up to 10 %.

The other option is to use cloth nappies. The initial outlay can be expensive but in the long run, they can save you a lot of money.

Baby gear

Of course, being a new parent, there is a likelihood that you are not sure about which baby products to invest in. 

If you are not sure on the exact amount you need to pay when shopping for your baby gear, ask the experienced mums or the experts which type of gear is worth splurging or saving on.

As a mum of four, after your first baby so will soon know what is useful and what is not. Do not overbuy on baby products, especially those that seem a bit frivolous. Chances are you can pick up a lot of items second hand or in your local op shops for a fraction of the price.

Crib

As a majority of parents would agree, buying a less expensive crib model is just fine so long as such crib conforms to the set-out safety standards.

Breast pump

According to most parents and lactation experts, breast pumps are considered a “wait-and-see item.” Therefore, the exact amount you will require to spend on such an item would entirely depend on how your breastfeeding goes and how regular you will need one.

This is definitely one to hold off on. If you do want to use one, then ask around friends to see if any of them have one sitting around you can use.

The Employer’s FAQ Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts

Workers’ compensation (WC) coverage is not just another expense for your business and company that you pay to keep your operations running. It is a statutory policy that safeguards employees in case of work-related illnesses and injuries. But is it essential?

All employers must guarantee that the working environment in which workers spend their time is secure. Accidents can happen even within the safest places of employment. WC insurance offers financial help to staff who encounter work-related injuries or complications for the reimbursement of health care expenses and lost income.

Are you required to have a Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Even if your Massachusetts business only has one staff, even part-time, you are still required to have WC coverage. An exception will only apply for domestic service staff working less than 16 hours a week. Employers, including limited liability company members, sole proprietors, and joint partners, are not obligated to be protected by WC coverage. They also have the freedom to purchase WC insurance for themselves if they want. In taking full advantage of the WC Massachusetts insurance, the employee will have a limited capacity to sue for additional damages.

Who oversees the Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

The Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) of Massachusetts, an extension of the state Department of Labor, is the principal state agency responsible for WC insurance reports. Much of this compensation legislation is from the Massachusetts Employees’ Compensation Act (Chapter 152 of the Massachusetts General Laws).

Where can you buy a Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Massachusetts?

Private Massachusetts insurance companies provide compensation coverage for employees. There is also the option of self-insurance. However, it may not be helpful for smaller firms, since it requires that a great deal of money be allocated to compensate for potential claims.

What if the insurer denies the claim?

Your WC provider can either cover the worker’s claim or deny coverage. If the provider refuses to acknowledge the claim, the employee may file a Form 110, Employee’s Claim for a Conciliation. Conciliation is an unofficial meeting between the insurance provider and the employee and their lawyer. Employers rarely attend conciliations.

Unless they reach a deal during the conciliation, the next move is a conference, which is an informal proceeding carried before an administrative judge. If there is still no agreement, the case goes to a tribunal, a more structured trial before the same administrative court. From there, the case can proceed to the Board of Review. Beyond, it is also possible to refer the matter to the Massachusetts Court of Appeals.

What if you do not have a Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

If you do not have a WC insurance, the DIA will impose a suspend-work order forcing the company to cease operations. The company will be liable to a minimum fine of $100 a day from the day they served the Stop Work Order to the day you get insurance coverage. But when  you appeal the Stop Work Order, the minimum daily fine increases to $250. If you are found guilty, you will be subject to criminal charges, along with up to one year in county jail and a fine of $1,500. Further, the DIA will push in collecting the benefits to pay the injured employee directly from your company. Most of the fine provisions are in Section 25C of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act.

WC insurance offers substantial benefits to employers and employees alike throughout Massachusetts. It is a no-fault policy, so it provides benefits regardless of who is at fault.

Preparing for Retirement

According to a Gallup report, Americans are planning to retire by the age of 66. If you are in your 40s, that may seem like a long way to go.  However, we all know that time runs fast.  Before you know it, you are in your 50s already. 

The best time to ask yourself, “Can I retire yet?” is today. 

Start planning for your retirement!

Meet Your Retired Self

Try to imagine yourself as “retired.” What will be your concerns? 

Some of your questions might be:

  • Can I live comfortably on my retirement income? 
  • How will I spend my free time?
  • Are there any hobbies I want to pursue?
  • Are my children ready?
  • Can I still live independently?

Now, go back to the present.  What can you do to address these concerns today?  These will answer your question, “Can I retire yet”?

Can I live comfortably on my retirement income?

Review your current budget.  What are your monthly expenses?  Will you be having the same amount when retired?  Try removing any unnecessary costs and create a new “retirement budget.”

How about your current income?  What would replace your regular salary when retired?  Is it enough to sustain your retirement budget?   

Prepare by reviewing passive income opportunities that you can start now. 

  • Start publishing that book now.
  • Convert these properties into apartments to get monthly rental income.
  • Explore future opportunities as a consultant in your field.  Build a network now.
  • Start training to get teaching credits. 
  • Try a side gig related to your business idea today.

What will I do with my free time?

Currently, you follow a schedule for everything.   However, during retirement, you will be responsible for planning your own time.   

What will your future schedule be?

  • Start disposing of unnecessary things.  Organize whatever is left. 
  • Start reading blogs on retirees who have already done this.
  • Seek older people and find out how they make productive use of their time.

Are there any hobbies I want to pursue?

Find out if a hobby can be converted to a source of income.  Start building your skills and researching the market.

  • If you love reading books, you can be a book reviewer or even start a bookstore.
  • You can self-publish your book.
  • Create a blog and earn from ads.
  • Crafts can be sold online. 
  • Cater or sell your baked goods. 

Are my spouse and children ready?

Prepare your family to be independent, both financially and emotionally. 

If you have been too busy at work, reconnect with your spouse and children.  Discuss any “unspoken” issues and forgive each other.

You can look forward to enjoying precious time with your family.

Can I still live independently?

The status of your health will determine if you can still live independently.

How will your health be in later years?  One clue is to look at medical histories – your own and your parents’.  Most diseases are inherited while some develop because of our lifestyle choices.

Start taking regular laboratory tests.  Do your best to reverse the onset of diseases.  Eat nutritious meals, exercise regularly, meditate, and pray.

Keep your mind healthy by exercising your brain starting today.  Take courses, read, and discuss exciting topics.  Do puzzles and memory-building exercises. 

Build your spiritual faith.  Start getting involved in church activities.  Read the scriptures and faith-building books. 

The key to enjoying your future retirement is to start planning today. 

As Patrick Foley said, “Retirement is a blank sheet of paper.  It is a chance to redesign your life into something new and different.”

5 Cities Booming with Finance Jobs

1. New Jersey

Several big finance jobs are popping up in and around New Jersey. New Jersey has always benefited from its proximity to the financial center of New York City. Businesses that want to be close to the Big City but do not want to pay the taxes associated with that state set up shop in New Jersey. This means that there are jobs paying just as well as in New York that need MBAs to fill them. The general atmosphere and proximity to New York make job hunting in this state worth doing.

2. Salt Lake City

Utah’s capital ranks high in professional opportunities and quality of life. Salt Lake City’s strengths were income growth, unemployment rate, and millennial newcomers. With the fourth-lowest unemployment rate in the nation, Utah has a good, stable economy. They also have the fourth-most “diverse” economy in the nation. Utah boasts that its residents are “highly educated and skilled,” which also contributes to its booming economy. Salt Lake City Homes for Sale is pretty new, which states that the majority of homes still standing were built in the decade 2000-2010. So there’s certainly a good chance of not just finding a home here, but finding a brand new one, at that.

3. New York City

New York City is typically considered the finance capital of the world. Many of the largest investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Merrill Lynch, are headquartered in New York City. So too are several large banks, including Citigroup and JP Morgan. Nearly every large global financial institution has a presence in New York. The city lost a large number of jobs during the credit crisis, but Wall Street is still the place to be. The city that never sleeps is a hot spot for culture and nightlife with Broadway plays, fine dining, music and museums, clubs and bars, and sporting events.

4. Pittsburgh 

In once-gritty Pittsburgh, financial services are now the largest contributor to the regional GDP. Long seen as a backwater, the area has begun to lure the kind of highly trained workers used by financial firms. Financial employment there has grown by nearly 7% since 2009. The strongly reviving local economy spans everything from energy to medical technology.

5. Washington, DC

The Washington, DC, metro area is home to one of the most affluent and educated populations in the United States, so it won’t come as too much of a surprise to learn that the nation’s capital is also a booming business hub. Washington is one of the highest-ranked cities for open positions in business and finance. Washington, DC, also boasts the nation’s highest median hourly wage for business grads at $42.74, making it a great place to get a return on your educational investment.

5 Reasons to Invest in Real Estate

As you think about how to best set yourself up financially for the future, investing should definitely be something you consider. Investing has many benefits, and is a great way to make any money you’ve saved actually start working for you. 

Not all investments are equal, however, and each different kind of investment can be useful for different purposes. In this article, we’ll cover five of the most important reasons why investing in real estate should be something you include in your investment portfolio. Real estate investing can be daunting; the price tags on many properties can sometimes make even the most seasoned investor’s eyes water. But, with the right financing strategy, anything is possible.

Let’s take a look at the five reasons why you should consider investing in real estate today. 

1. The job market is strong. If you haven’t taken a look at the most recent jobs numbers, you should feast your eyes. Folks are working hard these days, any many people may soon be thinking of purchasing property. That has two implications for you: one, it might be smart to get in before the rush of new homebuyers starts snatching up all those properties, and two, if you do invest now, you’ll be able to take advantage of the coming high demand. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to capitalize on the economy’s great performance. 

2. There are spots that are booming right now. Cities like Austin, Denver, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City are all experiencing huge economic growth as startups set up shop in these vibrant cities after getting priced out of expensive hubs like San Francisco and Boston. Plus, as they grow, the hospitality and tourism companies will certainly grow too. While these cities have certainly grown a lot in the past five or so years, there’s definitely more potential to grow there. Getting involved purchasing residential or commercial property can be a great way to see your investments’ values multiply in the coming years. That’s definitely a train we’d like to get onboard!

3. Investing is easier than ever. With the rise of financial technology, investing is now easier than ever before. Commercial property platforms and online brokerage firms mean that you don’t have to worry about waiting until the end of the month to see how your investments are performing, and you don’t have to even travel to a city you’re investing in because all the info you need is available online! That means that, if you have the capital, distance does not have to be an issue. You can invest from the comfort of your couch using a responsive and visually pleasing platform to keep track of all of your assets.

4. The longer you’re in the market, the more likely you are to profit. It’s simple economics. The longer your time horizon, the lower your risk, and the more likely you are to see massive gains in your investment. This is in part due to the power of compound investing: basically, as your money makes money, the amount of money that you’re gaining interest on increases, which increases the amount of interest you get. Property is a good way to rapidly build up capital for later investments, and if you get started now, you could have decades of growth ahead before you decide to sell. That’s a wise investment strategy.

5. Passive income is a great way to bump you budget. The final reason we’ll offer is that real estate is one of the best ways to ensure a monthly passive income. If you decide to rent out your property, you’ll be likely to receive rent checks in the mail every month. That kind of passive income can be an excellent way to put cash in your pocket. Not only does this help repay your mortgage for the property you’ve purchased, but if you price it well, you can have extra cash for whatever it is your heart desires! This is a huge draw for many property investors, and can certainly be a cushy addition to your income portfolio.

We understand: investing can be nerve-wracking. However, with the right plan, and by considering the right reasons, it can be done wisely. Don’t deny yourself the chance for a lucrative investment and passive income! Consider property investing today.

How to Finance a Used Car

A common misconception that first-time buyers have is that you can only purchase a used car with cash. However, it is possible to finance one. This is good news, especially in today’s economy, where buyers who can put down thousands of dollars to purchase a car outright are far and few between. Financing can also help you improve your credit score.

But is it a good idea? It should come as no surprise that financing is going to subject you to interest and additional fees that might end up costing you more than the total value of the car. However, this is largely down to your due diligence. If you don’t shop around, you run the risk of paying higher interest rates and down payments on shorter terms.

So, what can you do to ensure that you’re financing your used car in the safest and most affordable way possible? Read on to find out.

Start with Your Credit Score

Before you look into your financing options, you should take a moment to ensure that your chances of being approved in the first place are as high as possible. Pull your credit report and determine whether it’s accurate.

If you find any errors, contact the agency reporting the error to get it rectified. You should also contact the credit bureau. This will ensure that any delinquent information gets fixed. Try to avoid applying for financing when you still have late payments. The less outstanding debt you have, the more likely you are to get approved.

Determine What You Can Afford

Take a look at your budget. How much room do you realistically have to pay for a car? Ideally, it shouldn’t exceed 10 percent of your net income. This way, you’ll have more room for insurance, fuel, maintenance and other related expenses. You can use a car affordability calculator to make this easier.

Avoid the Dealership

While convenient, you shouldn’t go straight to the dealership, as this will most likely be the most expensive route. Used car financing services are often a much more affordable option. They’re also more lenient when it comes to buyers with low credit scores. Be sure to take a good look at their rates, as these can vary from lender to lender.

Avoid making the mistake of assuming the lowest payment is the best option. The term often hides the true cost of the total payment. Shorter terms will mean higher payments, but lower interest rates. Once you have a suitable deal, get it in writing and take it to the showroom. This will serve as a valuable part of your negotiation tools.

Negotiate

Even if you’ve found a great financing deal, you should still try to negotiate the price of the car. Remember, the dealer will want you to take their financing instead, as they make a profit from financing deals. By not taking their deal, you leave them with two options – take the cash deal or beat the offer.

Finally, don’t feel pressured to buy the car if you can’t get it at the price you want. Chances are that there’s another car with your name on it around the corner.

How to Increase Your Company’s Profits

The purpose of every business is to yield the maximum amount of profit possible every year – this can be done in a multitude of ways and there are no rules when it comes to how to run your business. There are, however, tried and tested principles for ways to boost your income. From minimizing your expenditure to utilizing modern technology, there is almost a limitless quantity of ways for your company to boost annual profit. Here are some of the best ways that your company can increase its profits.

Hire a Freelancer

The hiring process is extremely expensive and there is always the concern that a candidate may look perfect during the interview process yet consistently fail to reach the expectations you held for them. One way that you can reduce the costs of hiring permanent employees is to hire freelancers on a temporary basis and if they impress your team, you can always offer them a permanent position at your company.

There are many roles that can be filled with freelancers, these include:

  • Writing
  • Digital marketing
  • Graphic design
  • Financial advice
  • Specialists
  • Branding experts

Freelancers are one of the best ways that companies can save money because although their hourly wage may be considerable, you will not be locked into long-term contracts.

Digital Marketing Strategy

The simplest way to increase your profits is to invest some of your employees’ time into creating a coherent digital marketing strategy. Many companies pour thousands of dollars into online advertising without thoughtful consideration in regards to what message they are sending to potential customers. A digital strategy requires a company to optimize all of their digital platforms, from Instagram to their website’s blog, to create a clear digital marketing message. It is recommended that you hire a brand consultant to help you get the most out of your digital marketing campaign and give you insightful tips into strengthening your brand across every platform.

Reduce Waste

Minimizing waste is not the most exciting discussion for business owners; however, it is one of the most effective ways to save money. Many companies are extremely wasteful with their resources, from computers being left on all night to paper being thrown into general waste bins. By generating less waste, you will also be positively impacting the environment. One simple way to reduce the amount of waste going to a landfill site is to purchase a baler from recyclingbalers.com – a baler will help to compress your recyclable waste into stackable ‘bales,’ saving your employees time and money when it comes to waste removal.

Improve the Working Environment

As we mentioned earlier, hiring staff is extremely expensive for any business, therefore retaining staff members for a long period of time will save your company a lot of money. One of the best ways to maintain your team of employees is to regularly improve their working environment and aim to adapt it to their needs.

There you have it: there are dozens of ways you can improve your company’s profits without spending a lot of money.

4 Ways to Bounce Back from Being Broke

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Seventy-eight percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, according to a study released from CareerBuilder. Further, more than half of the workers surveyed believed they would always live in debt. 

If this sounds familiar, and you find yourself broke and struggling to work your way out of it, you are clearly far from alone.  With a solid strategy and firm commitment, you can bounce back from being broke and go on to thrive. Here are four strategies that can help: 

1. Decide to Make a Change and Don’t Dwell on the Past

Everyone makes bad decisions in one aspect of their life or another, and it is easy to beat yourself up over it, but it won’t get you anywhere. If you neglected to save, or you incurred a heap of debt, it is important to decide to correct the situation as soon as possible, let it go and forgive yourself, and commit to a new strategy to improve your financial portfolio. 

2. Increase Your Income

Ask for a raise at your current job or polish up your resume to look for a higher paying job, or at least one with greater earning potential. Another option is to look for a part-time job, which might include freelancing, dog walking, lawn mowing, house repairs, selling items on eBay or Craigslist, or pizza delivery. Anything that pushes you further into the black will help you start breathing easier.

3. Invest in Identity Theft Protection

As you continue to restore your financial health, perhaps adding a new credit card to the mix to boost your credit score, it’s critical to protect your identity from thieves. Investing in identity theft protection from an industry leader like LifeLock will help keep you safe throughout the process of improving your finances. Currently, you can get special offer for a LifeLock discount to help keep your identity safe without breaking your new budget. 

When using this limited time promo code for 30 percent off your first year’s fees, you can take advantage of the following features: 

  • Free credit scores and annual credit reports

  • Monitoring and alerts for SSN, credit and financial accounts

  • Scanning for identity theft and reduced junk mail

4. Cut Your Spending in a Variety of Ways 

You might be surprised at the number of ways you can reduce your spending. It doesn’t have to be painful; chances are you will appreciate it once you start seeing how much money you’re saving instead of wasting it at Starbucks or the local deli. Start by taking one category, such as entertainment or dining out, and give yourself a modest allowance. Take an honest look at what you spend on that category each month, then commit to reducing it to 25 percent of that each month. The next month, if all goes well, reduce it further. 

By committing to cutting spending, earning more, protecting your identity and giving yourself a break, along with several other strategies, you can clear the slate and enjoy a happier and less stressful financial future.

The Most Common Mistakes New Entrepreneurs Make

Starting your own business can be both exciting and terrifying at the same time. You’ll have an emotional attachment to it, and that’s not at all surprising considering that it’s you who germinated the idea in the first place.

However, one mistake that entrepreneurs make, and businesses that don’t succeed have this commonality, is that the owner takes on so much. They control every aspect of their business, and they refuse to listen because their way is the only way.

Part of it is the presumption that they’re going to be the next big hit. 

Those who’ve taken business finance will be the first to tell you that idea is only going to be 10% of your business. The 90% is all about hard work and the willingness to cover that extra mile even when you’re close to quitting. 

Failure Rate for Small Businesses

The simple fact is, the odds are stacked against you. 

According to the Small Business Administration, there are more than 30 million small businesses in the US and only fewer than 20,000 large businesses. In terms of ratio, small businesses make up more than 99.9% of the total companies in the country. 

Surprisingly enough, 8 in 10 small businesses survive their first year. But the rate of survival drops down to just 5 in 10 by the fifth year. Meanwhile, only about 3 in 10 businesses go on to survive their 10th year. 

Other Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make 

Apart from being overly controlling, some patterns and behaviors might also impede their success. Sometimes, it’s not always a significant event that can cause the demise of the company. It’s the little things that build up over time.

Here are some of the mistakes you should look out for.  

1. Failure of communication– Because they’ve developed an emotional attachment to their business, it becomes their “baby.” Then what happens is that they become very protective about it. Constructive criticism from the co-workers or supervisors, even if they come from the right place, is taken as an attack. They shoot down every suggestion because they want things their way. When you study business finance, you will understand the importance of communication in any business.

2. Thinking that your idea is a finished product– Another mistake they make is the failure to evolve. Don’t expect the first execution of your plan to be perfect right away. The reason why you see long queues at newly opened companies is that they pique the curiosity of consumers. If your product isn’t any good, you can’t expect to sustain the long line. 

3. Failing to institute feedback mechanism– The only way to improve is to know your shortcomings. Your main aim should be to enhance and evolve your product continually. And you can do this by listening to the honest feedback from your users.

Lastly, expect that somebody will be working just as hard or even harder than you. Don’t assume that your competitor will have the same work ethic as you. While you sleep, your competitor might be grinding. While you are out with friends or on vacation, your competitor might still be at work. If you can’t commit to making your business a priority on day one, you will only be wasting money. Entrepreneurship is about the hustle.