Here’s All You Need to Know About Unlimited Chuck E. Cheese Games

Chuck-e-cheese stands outside of a vehicle after a reopening of a Check E Cheese store.
Contributor Jenna Limbach writes on financial literacy and lifestyle topics for The Penny Hoarder from her home base in Utah. Stephanie Bolling is a former staff writer.

Thinking of having a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese? The Ultimate Fun and Mega Fun party options both come with 2 hours of all you can play for each child.
To keep patrons safe, Chuck E. Cheese has COVID-19 protocols implemented during birthday parties and some aspects of playtime. There are hand sanitizing stations, regular sanitizing of surfaces and touchless pay options, as well as the touchless Play Passes and bands.
You’d think taking the little ones to a pizza and games place like Chuck E. Cheese would bring some distraction-induced reprieve. But alas, they’re coming at you every five minutes for more tokens.
Just think: Your kids might wear themselves out for less than . Might.

How Chuck E. Cheese All You Can Play Works

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If you do a traditional party at Chuck E. Cheese but want social distancing, you can book a VIP party on Saturdays at 8 a.m. or Sundays at 9 a.m.
If you have to cancel a party due to COVID, you can transfer your party deposit to a new date within one year of the canceled date or use it for a to-go party pack.

  • $1 Play Pass
  • $3 Play Pass with coil wristband
  • $7.99 Rechargeable Play Band with $5 worth of game play included

Ready to stop worrying about money?
Some games might still dispense paper tickets, but Chuck E. Cheese has transitioned to e-tickets that are automatically saved to Play Passes. Once kids are done playing, they can redeem their e-tickets at the counter for prizes.
Behold the All You Can Play game option (aka the savior of parental sanity), at participating Chuck E. Cheese locations nationwide.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com
For birthday parties, you can find an option that works for you based on state or local guidelines, or even do a Party Pack at home through delivery or carryout. If you choose an at-home option, you’ll still get play points and e-tickets to use on your next visit.

Pro Tip
If you find yourself frequently going to Chuck E. Cheese to keep the kids happy, check out their rewards program.

Chuck E. Cheese and COVID-19 Safety

Privacy Policy
Check that All You Can Play is available at your Chuck E. Cheese location before you go.
The allowed number of party guests and Chuck E. appearances will vary by state and local guidelines. If local guidelines don’t allow for Chuck E. to be there in person, he’ll attend virtually on video monitors.
Not today, children.
Currently, unlimited game time comes in 30-minute increments starting at with any Chuck E. Cheese deals purchase and is good any day of the week. Save even more if you go on All You Can Play Wednesday. Mention the promotion at time of purchase and you’ll get an hour of unlimited play for .99.
Kids and families attend the Chuck E. Cheese Baton Rouge, La. Signature Grand Reopening on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021 in Baton Rouge, LA. Tyler Kaufman/AP Images for CEC Entertainment
Kids like to touch everything, and at a restaurant like Chuck E. Cheese those instincts run free.

Chuck E. Cheese Rewards

For one flat fee, kiddos can play unlimited games without exception for a selected amount of time.
When you download the app and sign-up, you’ll receive 500 free e-tickets. You’ll get 250 e-tickets on your sign-up anniversary and a birthday surprise for your birthday and half-birthday. Refer a friend and you’ll get one free personal pizza when they sign up.

  • For 50 points, you’ll get 15 minutes of play time, an order of Unicorn Churros or 500 e-tickets.
  • At 100 points, you receive 30 minutes of play time, one personal 1-topping pizza or 1,000 e-tickets.
  • For 200 points, you can earn 60 minutes of play time, one large 1-topping pizza or 2,000 e-tickets.

Kids can use Play Passes or Play Bands, which allow them to load time or points with a tap. Play Passes come in three tiers:
Before your next trip, you can also reload time and points onto Play Passes and Play Bands online. <!–

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Being a parent is expensive. And exhausting.

Not Bad! ‘Cash me Outside’ girl Bhad Bhabie is the proud new owner of this $6.1M Florida mansion

For Danielle Bregoli, a.k.a. Bhad Bhabie, her fifteen minutes of fame have proven to be extremely lucrative.  

When the Florida native appeared on an episode of Dr. Phil as a ‘difficult’ teen daughter, she became a viral sensation — and she’s been laughing all the way to the bank ever since.

Six years after her television debut, she’s a recording artist and social media influencer with an estimated net worth of $20 million.

close-up of Bhad Bhabie
 American social media star and rapper Danielle Bregoli aka Bhad Bhabie. Photo credit: Carlos Darder courtesy of the star’s publicist.

And she’s been investing some of her fortune in the Florida real estate market. 

Here’s the full scoop on the ‘cash me outside’ girl’s budding real estate portfolio — recently grown by the addition of a stunning $6.1 million Florida mansion.

Who exactly is Bhad Bhabie? And what did she say?

In 2016, Bhad’s mother Barbara Ann pleaded to her daughter on Dr. Phil in a segment titled, “I Want to Give Up My Car-Stealing, Knife-Wielding, Twerking 13-Year-Old Daughter Who Tried to Frame Me for a Crime.” 

Then named Danielle, the 13-year-old grew irritated by the audience laughing at her teenage antics, and she addressed them with a saying that would make her millions: “Cash me ousside, how bout dah.”

Translation: “Catch me outside, how about that,” meaning let’s take this outside the studio and engage in a physical fight.

Soon after the segment, “Cash me ousside, how bout dah” became a viral meme, and Danielle became known as the “‘Cash Me Outside’ Girl.”

As the catchphrase grew, the clip was recorded by DJ Suede The Remix God and entered in the Billboard Hot 100, Streaming Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts.

From there, the song led to a series of dance videos that were uploaded onto YouTube and she was nominated for the 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards in the “Trending” category based on the catchphrase. 

Living the American dream

It pays off to be a teen with attitude (and poor pronunciation).

That trending catchphrase was the start of a multi-million dollar online career for the now 19-year-old.

Bhad Bhabie in front of her new house with her luxurious car, a Bentley Flying Spur worth over $200k.
Bhad Bhabie in front of her new house with her luxurious ride, a Bentley Flying Spur worth over $200k. Photo courtesy of the star’s publicist.

In early 2017, Danielle was signed by music manager Adam Kluger and she released her first single These Heaux (pronounced hoes) in August.

Reaching number 77 on the Billboard Hot 100, the single made her the youngest female rap artist to debut on the music chart.

From the success of These Heaux, Atlantic Records signed Danielle to a multi-album recording contract. 

Meanwhile, she changed her name and her social media presence was increasing at a rapid rate.

From her Snapchat reality show Bringing up Bhabie, to her extremely successful OnlyFans account, to launching her own record label, Bhad Bhabie has earned millions in brand deals with online retailers such as Fashion Nova and CopyCat Beauty.

And worldwide, her music has been streamed over 1.5 billion times. 

Not bad, Bhad Bhabie!

Bhad Bhabie’s new house & budding real estate portfolio

Bhad Bhabie is proving to be much more than the ‘cash me outside’ girl.

As it turns out, she’s pretty good at managing (and investing) her money.

Exterior of Bhad Bhabie's house in Boca Raton, Florida
Bhad Bhabie’s house in Boca Raton, Florida. Photo courtesy of her publicist.

While she leases a mansion in Los Angeles, she is the owner of two homes in Boca Raton, Fla.

Currently, she owns a five-bedroom, seven-bathroom estate that is on the market for $3.67 million, New York Post reports.

And in March 2022, she coughed up some serious cash for her latest luxurious home in the same upscale Florida neighborhood.

the living room inside Bhad Bhabie's house
The living area in Bhad Bhabie’s house in Boca Raton, Florida. Photo courtesy of her publicist.
Dining area of Bhad Bhabie's house in Boca Raton, Florida.
Dining area of Bhad Bhabie’s house in Boca Raton, Florida. Photo courtesy of her publicist.
The ultra-luxurious kitchen inside Bhad Bhabie's house in Boca Raton, Florida.
The ultra-luxurious kitchen inside Bhad Bhabie’s house in Boca Raton, Florida. Photo courtesy of her publicist.
Every successful self-made woman needs a perfectly appointed home office, and Bhad Bhabie's is flawless.
Every successful self-made woman needs a perfectly appointed home office, and Bhad Bhabie’s is flawless. Photo courtesy of her publicist.

Shelling out a whopping $6.1 million in cash, the 19-year-old internet sensation is the mortgage-free owner of an ultra luxe mansion in one of the swankiest ‘hoods in the sunshine state.

Spanning 9,288 square feet, the dope digs include seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

The primary bedroom inside Bhad Bhabie's house in Boca Raton, Florida.
The primary bedroom inside Bhad Bhabie’s house in Boca Raton, Florida. Photo courtesy of her publicist.
Elegant bathroom with seating area and walk-in shower.
Elegant bathroom with seating area and walk-in shower. Photo courtesy of the star’s publicist.
The generous walk-in closet inside Bhad Bhabie's house in Boca Raton, Florida.
The generous walk-in closet inside Bhad Bhabie’s house in Boca Raton, Florida. Photo courtesy of her publicist.

Built in 1983, the “modern 2020 completely redone estate” is located in a gated Palm Beach County community on an acre of land,  New York Post reports.

Bhad Bhabie’s house features a two-story guest house, hurricane impact windows and porcelain tiles throughout.

The eat-in chef’s kitchen offers a walk-in pantry and top-of-the-line appliances, and the primary bedroom boasts three large walk-in closets and an outside Jacuzzi area.

Some of  the other luxurious amenities in the smart home include a billiard/club room, a dry sauna, a wine storage space, a stunning outdoor pool and a five-car garage.

The pool area of Bhad Bhabie's new house.
The pool area of Bhad Bhabie’s new house. Photo courtesy of her publicist.

How Bhad Bhabie customized her house to suit her perfectly

And the rising young star has truly made it her own.

When decorating her new million-dollar abode, Bhad Bhabie put her love of luxury brand Channel on full display, draping her massive bed in fashionable bedding, and stocking her ultra-generous closet space with bags and luxury accessories from the same leading brand.

Inside Bhad Bhabie's ultra-stylish Chanel-branded bedroom.
Inside Bhad Bhabie’s ultra-stylish Chanel-branded bedroom. Photo courtesy of her publicist.
Inside Bhad Bhabie's ultra-stylish Chanel-branded bedroom.
Inside Bhad Bhabie’s ultra-stylish Chanel-branded bedroom. Photo courtesy of her publicist.
bhad bhabie's closet full of chanel bags
The social media star/rapper has lined up her impressive luxury bag collection in the generous walk-in closet of her new mansion. Photo courtesy of the star’s publicist.

Taking advantage of the many parking spaces on the premises, she lined up her collection of luxury cars in front of her newly purchased manse.

The Sun reports that Bhad Bhabie has an impressive $450,000 car collection including a Bentley Flying Spur and luxury Jeep Grand Cherokee. She started collecting luxury cars since she was 14 years old, with the first upscale piece — a white Porsche Panamera 4S Hybrid — costing her a cool $90,000.

A photo of Bhad Bhabie and her impressive luxury car collection.
A photo of Bhad Bhabie and her impressive luxury car collection. Photo courtesy of the star’s publicist.

Now, if the budding star will be growing her real estate portfolio in the same way she’s been adding to her car collection, we expect to continue writing about her new purchases for years to come. And we’re here for it!

More stories you might like

Grammy Award Winner Doja Cat Lives in a $2.2M Beverly Hills Home With Distinctive Flair
Where Will Rihanna Live After the Baby Comes? Her Beverly Hills Farmhouse is a Strong Contender
Post Malone’s $3 Million Utah Compound Doubles As a Doomsday Bunker
Celeb Spotlight: Cardi B’s House in Atlanta is Pure Old-World Luxury

Source: fancypantshomes.com

Swimming Pool Financing: What to Know and Best Pool Loans

Who doesn’t love a relaxing dip in the swimming pool on a sweltering, hot day? And when that swimming pool is in your backyard, it’s even better.

You could bring your friends together over the summer by hosting pool parties. You could teach your kids to swim right at home. If you rent out your place on Airbnb or Vrbo, you could fetch top dollar for the additional amenity.

Sounds like a dream.

If your house didn’t already come with a pool when you moved in, there’s still a possibility of turning your pool fantasies into reality if you have enough space.

And if you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars upfront to spend on a pool construction project, there’s always pool financing.

What Is Pool Financing?

Pool financing is when you borrow money from a financial institution or lender to cover the costs of building a pool. Pool construction typically costs anywhere from $17,971 to $46,481 with the average cost being around $32,059, according to HomeAdvisor.

Of course, the cost will vary based on the size, the type of pool, your location and where you plan to build the pool on your property. Adding a small plunge pool to a cleared, flat space in your backyard will cost considerably less than adding a resort-style pool with waterfalls and a jacuzzi to your property that requires you to cut down multiple trees and level the land.

Besides the personal enjoyment that comes along with having a pool, this addition to your home could boost your property value and make your home more desirable to future buyers, renters or short-term guests.

The high cost to install a pool means that many people rely on pool financing. There are several ways to go about getting a loan for a pool.

Options for Pool Financing

If you want to add a pool to your property, but don’t have the cash upfront, you have several options.

You could get a personal loan (sometimes referred to as a pool loan), a home equity loan, a home equity line of credit or a cash-out refinance. Some pool builders or retailers offer in-house loan programs through their partner lenders. You might also consider using a credit card as your method of financing.

Personal Loans (AKA Pool Loans)

Pool loans are unsecured personal loans offered by banks, credit unions and online lenders. You may be able to get a pool loan through the financial institution where you already have existing accounts, or you might choose to get financed from an online lender or financing consultant company that deals exclusively with pool loans and home improvement loans.

One of the benefits of personal loans is that you don’t have to offer up any collateral. If you stop making payments and default on your loan, you don’t have to worry about your house being foreclosed — though the lender still could sue you. If approved for an unsecured personal loan, you can usually receive funds within a couple of days, much quicker than some other financing options.

Because you don’t have any collateral backing the loan, however, these financing options can come with higher interest rates. Interest rates can start around 3% and go up to about 36%.

A borrower’s credit score, credit history, income and existing debt load all affect the interest rate.

Personal loan terms generally range from about two to 12 years — though some pool loans can have terms up to 20 years or more. You can get loans from $1,000 to over $200,000 to fund simple above-ground pools or elaborate in-ground pool projects.

Home Equity Loans

Home equity loans are essentially when you tap into the equity you have in your home and take out a second mortgage. If you have a significant amount of equity, you could finance your pool project this way.

Home equity loans generally have lower interest rates than personal loans because your home is used as collateral. If you default on your loan, the lender could foreclose on your home.

Also, with home equity loans you’ll face additional fees, like a home appraisal cost and closing costs, so be sure to factor that into your decision making.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

A home equity line of credit or HELOC also taps into the equity you have in your home, but it’s a revolving line of credit that you can use for several years instead of a loan that provides you with one lump sum of cash.

With a HELOC, you can pull out funds as needed to finance your pool construction and other home improvement projects. While you’ll only pay back what you borrow, the interest on HELOCs are usually adjustable rates rather than fixed rates. That means your monthly payments can increase during your repayment period.

Cash-Out Refinance

A cash-out refinance is essentially when you replace your existing mortgage with a new mortgage that exceeds what you owe on the house and you take out the difference in cash.

You can then use that lump sum to pay for your pool, and you’ll pay it back throughout the course of your new mortgage — over the next 10 to 30 years depending on your loan terms.

A cash-out refinance might make sense if you’re able to get a lower interest rate than your current mortgage. However, just like with a home equity loan or HELOC, your home is being used as collateral, and you’ll face additional fees involved in the refinancing process.

In-House Financing from the Pool Builder

Some pool companies may directly provide you with pool financing offers, so you don’t have to search for financing on your own. The pool companies typically aren’t offering the loan to you themselves, but they’ve partnered with a lender or network of lenders to provide you with financing options.

This type of financing is the same as applying for a personal loan or pool loan. The benefit is that you get a one-stop-shop experience instead of having to reach out to lenders individually. Your pool contractor may even be able to assist you through the loan process.

The downside is that you could potentially miss out on a better deal by only getting quotes from the pool company’s partnered lenders.

Credit Cards

Because of their high interest rates, credit cards are usually not recommended as options for financing a new swimming pool. However, there can be situations where it’d make sense.

If you’re able to open a zero-interest credit card and pay the balance back before the zero-interest period expires, paying with a credit card can be a great option — especially if it’s a rewards card that’ll give you points, airline miles or cash-back for spending or a bonus just for opening the account.

If you choose this financing option, be sure that you’ll be able to pay off the balance in a relatively short period of time. Most credit cards only offer zero-interest periods for the first 12 to 21 months. After that your interest rate could go up to 18% or more.

Pool Loan Comparisons

Getting quotes from multiple lenders will help you select the best deal for your pool construction project. Here’s what a few top lenders are currently offering.

Lyon Financial

Best for Long Loan Terms

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features

  • Pays the pool contractor directly
  • 600 minimum credit score
  • Offers military discounts

Lyon Financial is a financing consultant that has been in business since 1979 and works with a network of lenders to provide loans for pool and home improvement projects. Unlike personal loans that provide the borrower with the funds upfront, Lyon Financial disburses the funding directly to the pool builder in stages as the project progresses.

Lyon Financial

APR (interest rates)

As low as 2.99%

Maximum loan amount

$200,000

Loan terms

Up to 25 years

HFS Financial

Best for Large Pool Loans

4 out of 5 Overall

Key Features

  • Provides loans up to $500,000
  • Most loans are funded within 48 hours
  • No prepayment penalties

HFS Financial is a financing company that partners with third-party lenders to provide homeowners with the money to construct pools on their property. Use their “60 second loan application” to kick off the loan process. Funds are typically dispersed within 48 hours.

HFS Financial

APR (interest rates)

As low as 2.99%

Maximum loan amount

$500,000

Loan terms

Up to 20 years

Viking Capital

Best for Customer Service

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features

  • Supports a network of pool builders
  • 650 minimum credit score
  • Offers military discounts

Viking Capital is a family-owned business that has been in operation since 1999. The company acts in the capacity of a financial consultant, and partners with a network of lenders to provide multiple loan offers for pool construction projects.

Viking Capital

APR (interest rates)

As low as 5.49%

Maximum loan amount

$125,000

Loan terms

Up to 20 years

5 Steps to Securing Pool Financing

Follow these steps to secure a loan for your pool.

1. Determine What Monthly Payments You Can Afford

Before you dig into your pool financing options, you should be clear on what monthly payment you can afford. Having a pool is a luxury. You don’t want a pool construction project to jeopardize your ability to pay your bills and meet your needs.

Figure out how much disposable income you have to work with by comparing your monthly earnings to how much you typically spend each month.

Don’t forget to factor in maintenance and additional utilities usage when estimating how much you can afford to go toward pool costs.

2. Check Your Credit History

When you’re financing a pool, having a good or excellent credit score will help you secure a loan with a low interest rate. Ideally, your credit score should be 700 or above.

Some lenders may offer you financing if you have fair or poor credit, however you may have to pay a lot more over time due to higher interest rates.

To boost your credit score before applying for a pool loan, follow these steps.

3. Get Cost Estimates for Your Pool

Talk with pool builders to get estimates on the total cost of your desired pool project. Get estimates from multiple pool companies so you have a better idea of what options exist.

If the estimates come in higher than you expected, consider scaling down the size of your pool project or using different materials.

Make sure any additional work — like constructing safety fencing — is included in your estimate.

4. Choose What Type of Financing Your Prefer and Shop Around For Lenders

After you figure out what options are available within your budget, it’s time to decide on what type of financing you prefer.

Will you be applying for an unsecured loan or do you plan to tap into your home equity or refinance your mortgage? Are you going to purchase a small above-ground pool that you could pay off in 15 months using a zero-interest credit card?

Once you know what type of financing you’ll go with, reach out to multiple lenders so you can compare offers and choose the best deal. You may be able to use a competitor’s lower offer to get a lender to reduce their offer even further.

5. Complete Loan Application and Sign Off on All Paperwork

The final step to get your pool project financed is to complete any additional paperwork and sign off on the dotted line. Expect to provide information about your income and other existing debt.

Your credit score may take a dip after taking on new debt, but it should rebound as you make regular, on-time payments.

Alternatives to Pool Financing

Taking on debt for a new pool doesn’t have to be your only option.

You could put off your pool construction project for a few years and save up for the expense in cash. Open a high-yield savings account to use as a sinking fund and don’t make withdrawals from the account until you’ve reached your savings goal.

If you think you’re outgrowing your current home — or are looking to downsize — wait until you’re ready to move and then look for a new home with an existing pool.

Or if you’re okay with not having a pool in your backyard, you’ll save money by visiting public pools or renting private pools from Swimply on occasion. This is a good option if you think you wouldn’t get much regular use of having your own pool.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many years can you refinance a pool for?

You can finance a pool over 20 to 30 years, depending on the type of financing you secure. If you need decades to pay back the loan, you might consider refinancing your mortgage or taking out a second mortgage. Private, unsecured loans typically need to be repaid sooner, however some have loan terms of 20 years or more.

What is the best way to finance a pool?

It all depends on your individual circumstances and preferences. If you’ve built up a ton of equity in your home and want to spread your debt payments over a lot of time, you might lean toward a home equity loan or HELOC. If you’ve got excellent credit and would qualify for a low-interest personal loan (unsecured loan), that might be the better option.

What credit score do you need for pool financing?

Ideally, you’ll want to have a credit score of 700 or higher to get the best interest rates for pool financing. Some companies, however, will accept lower credit scores. As a result, your loan may have a higher interest rate.

What is a good interest rate for a pool loan?

An interest rate around 5% is a good deal for a pool loan. You may be able to find rates even lower if you have excellent credit.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

[Expired] Bank of America Amtrak Spending Offer – Earn 5x Points On All Purchases (4,000 Points Cap)

Deal has ended, view more Amtrak deals by clicking here.

Update 3/15/22: Deal will be back and valid until April 30.

The Offer

No direct link to offer, sent out via e-mail

  • Bank of America Amtrak cardholders are being offered 5x Amtrak points per $1 spent on all purchases until December 31st, 2021 (up to 4,000 points)

Our Verdict

Good deal but it’s a shame there is a cap on it. Previous years we’ve seen a smaller multiple but with no cap.

Hat tip to ADKFlyer

Source: doctorofcredit.com

[YMMV] Citi Sears Spend Offer: Earn 5% On Select Purchases

The Offer

No direct link to offer, sent out via e-mail. Subject line is  unknown

  • Citi Sears is offering some cardholders 5% back on select purchases between 5/1/2022 and 7/31/2022

Our Verdict

Citi Sears deals stack, some might be able to stack with this one:

You can read more about this card here.  These offers are why this is ranked the #1 store card.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

How To Start a Wedding DJ Business in 9 Essential Steps

Want to hone your DJ skills? Or maybe show them off?

Wedding DJs are in high demand these days.

Industry experts expect 2022 to be the busiest wedding season in 40 years, thanks to lockdown romances and postponed ceremonies during the pandemic.

A wedding DJ is the focal point of great wedding receptions. They set the mood, engage with the crowd and keep the couple happy.

They make good money, too. Wedding DJs make $1,000 per gig on average, according to WeddingWire, with experienced pros fetching upward of $2,000 or more.

But it takes a lot of hard work and planning to DJ a wedding. To start a successful wedding DJ business, you’ll need seed money for gear, reliable transportation — and great people skills.

How to Start a Wedding DJ Business in 9 Steps

Nick Smith started DJing weddings in southwest Indiana when he was 20 years old. His first set of speakers and audio equipment came from a bar that was going out of business.

Sixteen years later, Smith’s business has booked over 200 weddings.

“It’s a great gig if you love people and music,” he said.

Ready to spin up your own side hustle? Follow these nine steps to start a wedding DJ business.

1. Research and Talk to Other DJs

Before you invest major money into gear and advertising, make sure you’re comfortable with this type of gig.

Talk to other wedding DJs and ask what challenges they faced in the beginning — and how they overcame those hurdles.

If you’re new to DJing in general, it’s a good idea to shadow a professional wedding DJ. Search Google, Yelp or the Knot to find some in your area.

Send a friendly email asking if you can help them out at an event or two because you’re interested in being a wedding DJ.

On the day of the wedding, show up early and stay for the entire event. Observe how the wedding DJ interacts with the crowd and the type of music they play. Take notes.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do they make announcements?
  • What do they do when the dance floor thins out?
  • How do they handle requests?
  • What equipment do they have?

In exchange for the experience, offer to help the other DJ by unloading gear from the car and setting up the speakers.

2. Hone Your Skills

Practice makes perfect. You need to be comfortable behind the booth before you’re ready to book gigs.

Play for family and friends first. You can also book other, smaller events — like birthday parties and company parties — to get your feet wet. Online classes are another way to grow your knowledge base.

Practice playing songs, using a microphone and flowing from one song to another.

If you’re not ready to start your own wedding DJ business quite yet, consider working for a multi-op — a mobile DJ company that employs several disc jockeys.

3. Create a Business Plan

Creating a business plan is important if you plan to invest time and money into becoming a wedding DJ.

Your business plan should include:

  • Your business name and location
  • Customer demographics and target audience
  • Price points
  • Suppliers for your equipment
  • Initial start-up costs and how long until you’re profitable
  • Competitors

You can use one of these templates from the U.S. Small Business Administration to create a more detailed business plan.

Looking for more tips? Check out these 10 things you should know before you start a business. 

Setting Your Rate

The best way to set your initial rates is by researching prices for wedding DJs in your area, then offering a lower price.

How much you charge also depends on where you live: A wedding DJ in a big city earns more money than a wedding DJ in a small town.

Still, a good starting rate for a novice wedding DJ is roughly $500. You can raise your rates as you gain more experience. According to The Knot’s Real Weddings Study, couples spent an average of $1,400 on a DJ in 2021.

Wedding DJs usually pick one or more of the following pricing structures:

  • Flat fee or hourly rate
  • Packages
  • A la carte services
  • Custom quote

You should also be open to negotiating when you first start out.

Decide What DJ Services to Offer

Smith said offering additional services to clients is one of the best ways to make extra money as a wedding DJ.

“Additional services can really help add value,” Smith said. “You can offer things like uplighting, or doing sound for both the ceremony and the reception.”

Consider add-ons that earn you extra money with minimal effort. For example, some DJs offer photo booth services for guests, but Smith said photo booths are labor intensive to transport and set up.

“Unless you have someone else helping you, you want to keep things simple,” he said.

4. Buy Your DJ Gear

A big hurdle for many new DJs is acquiring equipment. It can cost a couple thousand dollars to purchase all your DJ gear.

“It’s a big cost up front for sure,” Nick said, “but you’ll earn it back quickly with gigs.”

While you don’t need state-of-the-art equipment to be a great wedding DJ, you do need a solid foundation to get started.

Wedding DJ gear checklist:

  • Laptop with at least 6 GB of internal memory and three USB inputs
  • DJ software, like Serato or Traktor
  • PA system (amplifier and speakers)
  • DJ controller / mixer
  • Over-the-ear headphones
  • Cables
  • MP3 music files

On a budget? Smith recommends looking for deals on sites like eBay and Craigslist. Check out sales at your local music store, too.

You could even borrow equipment from a friend or neighborhood church for your first couple gigs.

“You can start with a cheaper set-up, then upgrade it up over time,” Smith said.

You’ll also need to be comfortable setting up and tearing down your own DJ equipment. Figuring out how to efficiently store and transport your gear is also important if you want to be a mobile DJ.

Buy the Music

Buying music is important if you want to run a successful wedding DJ business.

Professionals caution against using streaming services like Spotify or YouTube. It isn’t technically legal and you shouldn’t rely on anything that requires Internet access anyway.

You have several options to legally purchase music for your wedding DJ business:

  • Buy mp3s through Amazon or iTunes/Apple Music.
  • Subscribe to a DJ pool like Promo City. This is a paid service that gives you access to volumes of modern music for download.
  • DJ subscription service like Virtual DJ or Pulselocker.
  • Buy used CDs and rip them to your laptop.

Set aside a little money from each gig to buy more music, and it won’t take long to compile a competitive professional DJ library.

5. Market Yourself

You have the gear. You have a plan. Now it’s time to get some customers.

You’ll need to create a DJ website and social media accounts to attract potential customers. Look at websites for other wedding DJ businesses to get ideas.

At the bare minimum, your website should include:

  • Your rates
  • Where you’re located (and how far you’re willing to travel)
  • A contact email address and phone number
  • What makes you unique from other DJs in the wedding industry
  • Testimonials and positive reviews

You can use a service like Wix or Weebly for free, or hire a professional to design a website for you.

Word of mouth is huge in the wedding business, Smith said. It’s about who you know and who knows you.

“Recommendations are everything,” Smith emphasized.

Give discounts for referrals. Make it easy for the bride and groom to leave glowing reviews about your wedding DJ business on Google and Facebook.

You’ll want to create some business cards and maybe some flyers, too.

Leave a space in your budget for marketing costs. Advertising on sites like The Knot and WeddingWire can really help pull in new customers because couples often visit these sites to find venues and vendors.

6. Meet the Couple for a Consultation

Meet up with the wedding couple several weeks before the event to discuss the playlist.

Ask about their favorite genres and bands, then create a short list of must-have songs, including their pick for the first dance and other important dances.

Perhaps more importantly, get a list of songs they don’t want played. The Chicken Dance, for instance.

“Get an idea of what they’re looking for,” Smith said, “then execute that to the best of your abilities.”

Print a questionnaire for the couple to fill out at the consultation with a timeline of the wedding, names of important people in the wedding party and other key details you should know.

You’ll also want to create contracts you can customize for each couple.

Your business contract should cover things like cancellation fees and damaged equipment policies. Make sure to discuss these policies with clients during the initial consultation.

Finally, prepare to spend several hours communicating back and forth with the couple before the wedding. Smith said he usually spends about 10 hours total preparing for the big day.

Two brides dance at their wedding reception.
Getty Images

7. Create the Playlist

Your goal as a wedding DJ is to create a memorable experience for the couple and keep the party going.

Don’t slide your original deep house remix into the wedding playlist. Remember, focus on the bride and groom — not your personal taste in music.

Play music to match the festivities. Break your songs into different blocks for the ceremony, cocktail hour, introductions, dinner and dance floor.

Each block should have different music to the atmosphere: Classical music at the ceremony, light jazz for the cocktail hour and soulful tunes for dinner, for example.

You can flex more creativity and play new music for the dance floor. But remember: You’re playing for a diverse audience. Don’t be afraid to bust out crowd favorites like “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Livin’ On A Prayer.”

“People are at a wedding to have a good time,” Smith said. “Your job is to play the right music and create a fun atmosphere for everyone.”

8. Be On Time and Professional

You can’t be late to the party when you’re the DJ. Get there early, set up on time and prepare for a late night.

Before the wedding, write out a script of everything you plan to say. Practice pronouncing names. You don’t want to butcher the best man’s last name on stage.

Make sure to bring backup chargers, cables and other necessary gear. Things go wrong, break and run out of battery. Don’t let something unexpected (but easily preventable) ruin your wedding gig.

9. Work the Crowd and Keep the Party Going

Successful wedding DJs set the tone and vibe for the entire reception.

Be friendly, energetic and don’t forget to smile!

It’s not all about the music, though: You’ll be in charge of making announcements, calling for special dances and fielding song requests from (often intoxicated) guests.

You’ll need to communicate with other vendors at the wedding, too. You don’t want to start playing music for a special dance, for example, without the photographers and videographers in place.

Be observant, flexible and keep the party going.

It’s a lot to manage but pulling off your first successful gig can be the start of a rewarding and lucrative wedding DJ business.

Rachel Christian is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance and a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

How to Finance an RV — What to Know About RV Loans

Owning an RV is a dream for many people.

Maybe you want to travel the country without having to worry about booking lodging. Or go camping without giving up all of the creature comforts of home.

Perhaps you’re itching to downsize and adopt a more mobile lifestyle — one where you’re not tied down to a mortgage or lease.

A recreational vehicle provides you with freedom to explore. But this dream also comes at a cost.

Buying an RV can set you back anywhere from $35,000 to $300,000, according to Cruise America. That’s why many buyers choose to finance their purchase with an RV loan.

What Is an RV Loan?

An RV loan finances the cost of buying a recreational vehicle. When you sign an RV loan, you’re agreeing to pay back the lender over time and with interest. The terms are typically longer than car loans and they carry higher interest rates.

Because RVs can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, many prospective owners use RV loans to make their purchase.

RV loans aren’t the same as a typical auto loan you might apply for if you were buying a new car. A recreational vehicle is often seen as a luxury purchase. According to Camper Report, interest rates for RV loans tend to fall between 4% and 6%, but factors such as purchase price, the age of the vehicle, your credit score and the length of your loan can cause you to have a higher or lower interest rate.

The length of your RV loan term will probably be longer than your average car purchase, so you have more time to pay off the loan. While you can get a two- to five-year loan, you might qualify for a 20-year loan for an RV with a six-figure purchase price. In that case, your loan will be more similar to a mortgage than an average car loan.

An RV loan with longer loan terms means you’ll have lower monthly payments. However, you’ll end up paying more interest over time. If you can manage the higher monthly payments, you’ll save money with a shorter loan.

Options for RV Financing

If you’re looking to finance an RV, some of the most popular options are to get financing through your RV dealership or to get an RV loan from a bank, credit union or online lender. For smaller RV purchases, you may be able to use a personal loan.

RV Dealership Loan

If you’re purchasing your RV from a dealership instead of a private individual, you’ll probably be offered financing through the dealership’s in-house lender or financial partners.

While this is a convenient way to access financing, you might lose out on finding the best deal by comparing quotes from multiple lenders.

However, the RV dealership might be more apt to negotiate with you on the purchase price or throw in extras, like discounts on future maintenance work.

RV Loan Through Banks, Credit Unions or Online Lenders

Another option is to get an RV loan through a bank, credit union or online lender. You could choose a financial institution that you already have an account with, but you don’t have to.

Getting quotes from multiple banks, credit unions or online lenders will help you find the best deal. Just keep your loan shopping within a two-week window so your credit score won’t be dinged for multiple credit inquiries. Or you could use an online loan marketplace, like Lending Tree, to compare rates from different lenders.

Getting preapproved for an RV loan before you shop shows you’re a serious buyer. You’ll also have more negotiating leverage to get an RV dealer to offer you better financing.

Unsecured Personal Loan

If you’re making a smaller RV purchase — for example, buying a used camper trailer for under $10,000 — you might consider taking out a personal loan.

Some lenders for RV loans have a minimum threshold for taking out a loan. If your purchase price falls below that amount, applying for a personal loan might be the best route for you.

Unlike the RV loans you’d get from dealerships, banks, credit unions or online lenders, a personal loan is an unsecured loan, meaning you aren’t putting down any collateral to take out the loan. Most other RV loans are secured loans with the RV itself being the collateral.

If you were to default on a secured loan, the lender could repossess your RV. If you default on a personal loan, your lender would not be able to take away your RV. However, they could sue you for defaulting on your loan.

Unsecured loans often have higher interest rates than other RV loans, so expect higher monthly payments with personal loans. However, you don’t have to worry about a down payment, like you would with a secured RV loan.

5 Steps to Getting an RV Loan

Now that you know how RV loans work and the different options for financing, these steps will walk you through how to finance an RV.

1. Determine a Budget for Your RV Purchase

Whether your RV is a luxury purchase or you plan to use it as your primary residence, you’ve got to make sure it’s something you will be able to afford.

How much money do you have available each month after paying all your bills, making payments on existing debt and covering recurring expenses like groceries and gas?

Note that your financial obligations for your RV will go beyond your loan repayments. You’ll also need to factor in the sales tax, vehicle registration fees, RV insurance, maintenance and repair costs, fuel to power your trips and any parking or storage fees.

Once you have an idea of what you can afford on a monthly basis, you’ll be able to narrow your purchase options down to something that’s within your budget.

2. Check Your Credit

Your credit score will determine whether you qualify for a loan and what the interest rate will be for paying back your RV loan. The higher your credit score, the better position you’ll be in to secure an RV loan with a low interest rate.

Ideally, you should have a credit score of 700 or higher before applying for an RV loan. Some lenders may work with borrowers with lower credit scores, but you may have to provide a larger down payment and agree to a higher interest rate.

You can check your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.

3. Save Up for a Down Payment

Similar to auto loans or mortgages, you’ll need to come up with a significant amount of cash upfront when purchasing an RV.

Expect to make a down payment of at least 10% of the purchase price, though some lenders may prefer closer to 20%.

Save up for this amount over time by setting up a sinking fund and contributing a set amount to it each month or each time you get paid. Add any financial windfalls, like a work bonus or tax refund, to your savings to reach your goal even faster.

4. Shop Around for the Right RV and Lenders

An RV is a big financial commitment, so take your time to shop around and find the right RV for you — one that meets your needs and desires and is within your budget.

Take stock of how you’ll be using your RV. Will you need extra space for your grandkids? Do you need something suitable for off-road adventures?

Also make sure to shop around for lenders. Getting quotes from multiple lenders can help you find the best deals.

5. Submit a Loan Application and Sign Off on Final Paperwork

The final step in your journey to buying the RV of your dreams is to complete and sign off on all the loan paperwork.

In addition to checking your credit score and requiring a down payment, your lender will need information about your income and current outstanding debts. Your lender may even require an inspection — similar to a home inspection for a mortgage loan — which might set you back an additional couple hundred dollars.

You’ll also need to register your vehicle and get insurance coverage as part of the final step to RV ownership.

Alternatives to RV Loans

There are other ways of fulfilling your dreams of RV life without taking out an RV loan.

You could save up enough cash to buy an RV outright without the need for financing. This may require setting a savings goal and spreading out the cost over several years.

You might also consider renting an RV instead of buying one — especially if you don’t plan on taking frequent trips with your RV. Cruise America, Outdoorsy and RVshare are just a few options for finding RV rentals near you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are typical RV loan terms?

The length of an RV loan can vary widely. You could get a short 12-month RV loan or a loan as long as 20 years. Just be aware, the longer the loan term, the more you’ll pay in interest.

What credit score do you need for RV financing?

Having a credit score of at least 700 shows lenders you are in good standing to responsibly borrow money. Some lenders may approve loans for borrowers with lower credit scores, but expect a higher interest rate and to perhaps put down a higher down payment than someone with good or excellent credit.

What are average RV loan interest rates?

Interest rates for RV loans tend to fall between 4% and 6% for those with good credit. However, the interest rate can vary due to a number of factors, such as the purchase price, the length of the loan and the age of the RV. 

What should your debt-to-income ratio be for RV loans?

Lenders look favorably on borrowers with debt-to-income ratios under 40%. However, some lenders will consider buyers with debt-to-income ratios up to 50%.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com