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My 3 Must-Achieve Goals for 2019

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2019 is the first year that I am writing down a unique set of financial goals for the new year. I believe in the power of writing goals down, and since I am a visual learner, I also love tangible reminders like vision boards. For 2019, I want to identify my distinct financial goals and will post them here in hopes that you all will hold me accountable! Ideally, my goals are measurable, timely, and realistic so that I can reach them at the end of the year. I have several goals that I would like to reach, but I am limiting my primary goals to three so that I can sharpen my focus on them.

This is my financial vision board. The middle of the board has an inspiring quote:

After Love, nothing causes as much emotional turbulence as money. How we save and spend reveals who we are: our fears, our hopes, morals and passions.

Goal 1 in the bottom right shows an approximation of my saving goal, a quote by Suzie Orman who I love, and a quote about remembering that money should work for you and not just the other way around. Goal 2 is in the bottom left corner and gives a visual reminder about working for more money. In the top right corner, a woman is cutting her credit card and it also says that emergencies are never planned. I added the reminder about retirement investing in the top left. What are on your 2019 vision boards? 

Goal 1: Save at Least 25% of my Income

A lot of financial advice suggests saving at least 20% of your monthly income. I did not meet this mark in 2018. My savings hit an embarrassingly low point in June of 2018 and I saved $280 out of about $2700. I believe that this decline was because of the lack of intentional plans for saving, so I recently updated my budget for the new year. I am on track to meet a 20% savings for January 2019.

Out of roughly $3,050 after-tax pay that I earned for the month, $525 is going to paying down my $2100 Bank of America credit card balance.

Another $85 is going to me paying off interest on my student loans while I am in school. Therefore, I am saving a total of $610 of my income for January, exactly 20% of my check. I plan to try and save even more, ultimately progressing to 25% for the year.

Goal 2: Earn at least $200 in Monthly Supplemental Income

I earned almost $2000 last year in substitute teaching and this additional income was helpful. Side hustles give me the bit of extra cushion that I need. I think perhaps my mission to get a tutoring job is not meant to be because I have tried relentlessly but either cannot find one or find one that would be worthwhile. In the meantime, I will continue to do what I have done and to keep looking.

Goal 3: Plan for Debt

I struggled with this third goal. It is actually several large goals that I broke into smaller individual goals that all address debt in some way. My first goal is to 1) have my credit card paid off by April. I also want to eliminate “emergency-type” charges by 2) budgeting for all possible upcoming expenses and continuing to grow my emergency fund. This will eliminate the need to pull out a credit card the next time the mechanic tells me that if I don’t have both my front and back brakes replaced before I get on the road then I won’t make it back home. I am going to keep my credit card paid off.

My last goal is that 3) I want to pay down my student loans. I have two loans, both subsidized Stafford loans with the same interest rate. The smallest one has a balance of $1,1200 and my plan is to pay that off in total.  

What are your financial goals for 2019? 


Using the Sharing Economy to Your Advantage

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What is the sharing economy? It’s definitely a buzzword that you may have seen tossed around over these past few years. In a nutshell, the sharing economy can be described as a peer-to-peer based system of providing or sharing access to goods and services that is facilitated by a community based online platform. Over the past decade, the rise of the smartphone has accelerated the growth of the sharing economy by providing everybody with direct access to goods and services in the hands of ordinary people. Utilizing the sharing economy to your benefit can reduce the costs associated with daily life or travel and leave you with more money to pay down debt in your pursuit of debt-free living.

Taxi Transportation

One of the most prominent examples of the sharing economy are the unparalleled success of Uber and Lyft. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, Uber and Lyft are smartphone applications that allow users to hail a ride from their smartphones. Instead of hailing a ride from a traditional cab or car service, passengers are actually being connected with regular drivers who are using their own personal vehicles for transport. The flexibility of this system works well for both parties. It allows drivers to utilize their personal assets in a way that can generate spare income in their own free time (driver’s are not required to log a minimum amount of hours or to drive at specific times). Additionally, it has driven the rates for transportation way down when compared to taxi services. A big part of this rate reduction is because Uber and Lyft operate outside of the burdensome, crushing, and overreaching government regulation that has always suppressed private industry.

Hotels

Many frugal consumers are now turning to another sharing economy platform, Airbnb, in order to access affordable accommodations when they’re on the road. Airbnb is a smartphone app and website that connects hosts (homeowners) with guests. It allows homeowners to rent out a spare room or their entire home to travelers on a nightly basis. The rates found on Airbnb are often far less than those offered by traditional hotel chains. Once again, the big factor behind these low rates is because they are operating outside of the crushing government regulation that makes running a hotel so incredibly expensive. Homeowners are simply able to rent out a room when it works best for them, on their terms, and at the pricing that covers their costs with a little extra for their troubles.

Lending

Lending is another space that hasn’t been immune to the expansion of the sharing economy. Up and coming peer-to-peer lenders such as USA Express Loans, who offer $255 payday loans online in California, and Lending Club, who offer peer-to-peer loans up to $35,000 have all embraced the concept of the sharing economy to the benefit of both investors and borrowers. Investors on these platforms who fund loans aren’t big banks or hedge funds. They’re just people like you and I who have some spare cash lying around in their savings and wish to generate a larger return on investment (ROI). They’re able to choose from a list of borrowers who are in need of a payday loan or a cash advance, and fund those loans directly without ever involving a large banking institution.

Saving More

In the end, the sharing economy can enable you to obtain the same goods and services at a much lower price than offered by traditional companies. The categories discussed above only represent small portions of the sharing economy at this time. Not only that, but the industry is growing. It seems like a new company is on the horizon each and every day. We encourage savvy savers to use the sharing economy to their benefit on both sides of the coin; renting out a spare room in their home in order to generate extra income, or using ridesharing applications instead of a traditional taxi service in order to get from point A to point B when you’re out on the town. Every penny counts when saving money and paying down debt. The sharing economy certainly provides many opportunities to save and make money!