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.
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.
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
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. <!–
Need a potty or pizza break? No problem. You get the option to pause play twice during the play window. Once the time is up, you can purchase additional 30-minute windows. Download the restaurant’s app and scan the barcode on your receipt. You’ll earn one point for every dollar you spend. You’ll get different rewards depending on your number of points. Worried about germs? Instead of blowing out candles on an entire birthday cake, kids now blowout candles on a single slice. Parents can also opt to skip the tradition all together or bring cupcakes. Kids will also be given time to wash their hands before they eat.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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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.
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.
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.
Best for Long Loan Terms
4.5 out of 5 Overall
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.
APR (interest rates)
As low as 2.99%
Maximum loan amount
Up to 25 years
Best for Large Pool Loans
4 out of 5 Overall
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.
APR (interest rates)
As low as 2.99%
Maximum loan amount
Up to 20 years
Best for Customer Service
4.5 out of 5 Overall
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.
APR (interest rates)
As low as 5.49%
Maximum loan amount
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.
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
Suppliers for your equipment
Initial start-up costs and how long until you’re profitable
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
A la carte services
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
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:
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.
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
Do you ever wonder why it’s so hard to save money — even when you’ve cut the cable and the meals out, and you’ve never even had a latte habit?
One reason it’s so hard to save is that your fixed expenses — the ones that stay the same each month, like your rent or mortgage, car payment, property taxes and insurance premiums — tend to be your biggest bills. These aren’t exactly easy to reduce. Sure, you could lower your rent by moving to a smaller place, but moving itself is also expensive.
We don’t have a magic money-saving trick that will send your bank account balance soaring, but there are plenty of small ways you can scale back. And the little things do add up. Read on if you’re ready to start saving.
How to Start Saving: Set Your Goals First
We get that making a budget ranks right up there with a dentist appointment or trip to the DMV in terms of things you’d rather do. But it’s your essential first step when you want to start saving money.
Fortunately, the best budgeting apps make it easy to keep track of your spending and identify areas where you can cut back. Just be sure to comb through several months’ worth of expenses to get a true sense of where your money is going. Don’t forget about the expenses you don’t encounter every month, like holiday gifts and car registration.
If you don’t set goals, the only thing that budget will do is make you feel terrible about just how little money you’re saving. To get motivated to make saving a priority, spell out why you’re saving.
Think about the short-term goals you’re hoping to accomplish within the next year or two. Building an emergency fund for your family, making a down payment on a home or saving for a vacation may fit in here. Also consider your long-term goals, like putting more money in a 529 plan for your child or saving for retirement.
25 Tips for How to Save Money — Even When Times Are Tight
Here are 25 ideas for saving more money. The good news is that there’s no one thing you have to cut out. If it really matters to you, go ahead and keep spending on it. You can find other things to eliminate that won’t cause too much pain.
1. Time your purchases like a pro.
You may not be able to time a car repair or vet bill, but with discretionary purchases, knowing when to get the best deals can mean big savings. Need a TV? Wait until January, when last year’s models are discounted to make room for the new ones. Looking for new furniture? Retailers often clear out their stock around Independence Day, making July prime time for scoring cheap furniture.
2. Master the art of getting stuff for free.
Becoming a hermit isn’t the only way to save money. There are plenty of ways to get free stuff or have fun on the cheap. Some of our favorite ideas:
Use Facebook and Nextdoor. Before you shell out for things like furniture or baby gear, check out buy- nothing groups on platforms like Facebook and Nextdoor to see if one of your neighbors is looking to get rid of something similar.
Score free food by downloading an app. Plenty of restaurant chains offer freebies or BOGO deals for downloading their apps. You can always delete them after you take advantage if you don’t want temptation at your fingertips.
Get free stuff just for being born. You can score tons of birthday freebies if your big day is coming up — often not just on your actual birthday, but any time during your birth month.
Check out your local library for free entertainment. Your library card isn’t just a pass to check out books made from dead trees. Plenty of free library apps allow you to access ebooks, movies, music and more without paying a cent.
Swap goods or services with someone else. Learning how to barter can help you get what you need without spending money.
3. Smash your credit card debt once and for all.
The average APR for people who carry credit card debt is well over 16%. Your bank jumps for joy when you don’t pay off your balance because it’s getting rich off all that interest. Quit padding your bank’s coffers and break up with your credit card debt forever. Some tactics to try:
The debt snowball method, where you attack the smallest balance first.
The debt avalanche method, where you focus on the card with the highest interest rate.
A debt consolidation loan, where you merge your debts into a single payment. This is only a good option if you’re lowering your interest rates.
A balance-transfer credit card, where you transfer your balances to a card with a 0% promotional interest rate. That zero-interest period typically only lasts 12 to 18 months, though, so this approach is best if you don’t have tons of debt.
4. Flex interest rates to your advantage.
Although they may be on the rise, interest rates are still low, especially if you haven’t refinanced your mortgage in a number of years. One good rule of thumb: Refinance when you can lower your interest rate by 1 percentage point or more, since you’ll have to pay closing costs.
5. Lower your student loan payments.
If you’re struggling to pay off student loans, take advantage of the freeze on interest and payments during the forbearance period to talk to your servicers about whether an income-driven repayment plan is an option for your federal loans. These plans will stretch out your repayment over the standard 10-to-20 years — and if you still have a balance after 20 years, it will be forgiven, though you’ll still owe income taxes. If you have private student loans, check with your servicers about whether there’s a way to lower your debt payments.
6. Do meal prep. Don’t go overboard.
Grocery stores play all kinds of sneaky mind games with you, and you’re most vulnerable if you shop while you’re harried and hangry. A great way to combat their money-snatching tactics is to make a shopping list and devote a few hours to meal prep every week.
But don’t get too ambitious here. If you’re an UberEats addict whose pantry consists of three spices, you’re setting yourself up for failure if you plan to cook 21 meals a week. Start with a more reasonable goal, like making your own breakfast and lunch each day, plus dinner three nights a week.
Only buy in bulk if you’re purchasing products that have a long shelf life or ingredients that you have enough freezer space to store for future recipes.
7. Squeeze every cent you can out of your employer.
We aren’t just talking about negotiating your salary and asking for a raise when you’ve earned it — though both are essential, albeit awkward. To build your long-term savings, make sure you’re not leaving free money on the table. Contribute enough to get your employer’s full retirement match if they offer a 401(k) plan. If you have a health savings account, take advantage of any matching contributions to that as well. You can use the money you save for your own expenses, your spouse’s or a dependent family member’s.
8. Got a raise? Congrats, but don’t spend it.
Do your tastes get fancier every time you get a raise? This phenomenon is called lifestyle inflation, and it’s a notorious savings killer. You don’t have to live like you’re on an entry-level salary forever, but make a plan for your future raises so your living expenses increase at a slower rate than your salary. For example, plan to save half of your next pay increase and sock the rest in savings.
9. Be skeptical when something seems like a deal.
Free shipping if you spend just another $11? Step away from the digital shopping cart. If you’re being coaxed into shelling out another few bucks for something that’s “free”… well, it really isn’t free.
Playing the credit card rewards game is another good example. Yes, you can score free airfare and cash back. But it’s only free if you don’t spend more to get those rewards, and if you pay your balance in full every month. Otherwise, you’ll shell out way more in interest than you’re getting in rewards.
10. Cancel automated purchases for non-necessities.
Curbing mindless spending isn’t just about cutting out late-night Amazon purchases and impulse grocery buys. You probably have monthly subscriptions and memberships that are draining your bank account each month for things you rarely, if ever, use.
One of the best ways to save money is to look carefully at gym memberships, streaming services, subscription boxes and anything else that you automatically pay for each month. If you haven’t used it in the past month, it probably belongs on the chopping block. Also be on the lookout for any free trials you forgot to cancel.
Avoid storing your credit and debit card information on websites you frequently shop on. You’ll make it harder for yourself to spend mindlessly.
11. Find energy suckers that are driving up your electric bill.
No, we aren’t going to tell you to invest thousands of dollars on solar panels for your home as a way to save money on your electric bill. But there are a few inexpensive tricks that can help you save money on utilities. Simple things like regularly changing air filters and switching to more efficient light bulbs can make a big difference on energy costs.
12. Repair what’s broken instead of buying new.
Just because something’s broken doesn’t mean it’s destroyed. By learning some basic DIY techniques, you can make your lightly damaged goods like new again without shelling out for repairs. For instance, learning a few basic sewing stitches will help you repair your clothing for you and your family, even if you don’t have a sewing machine. There are plenty of ways to learn home repair skills for free online.
But for major repairs, know when to call a pro. It’s worth the cost when you’re repairing a big-ticket item or doing anything that could jeopardize your safety.
13. Save money on prescription drugs.
Whether you have health insurance or not, it often pays to do some detective work before filling your prescriptions. If you don’t have insurance, you can save up to 80% on generic medications and 40% on name-brand drugs through Amazon Pharmacy or find medications nearly at-cost at Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drug Company. Even if you have insurance, a prescription drug card could help you save money. You can ask your pharmacist to run the cost using your insurance and the card to find out which option is cheaper.
If a medication is expensive because you have to pay for it out of pocket or your insurance company puts it in a pricy tier, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. A lower-cost alternative may be available. For over-the-counter meds, always buy generic. The FDA requires generic drugs to be chemically identical to their more expensive name-brand counterparts.
14. Ditch your cell phone plan if you have a major carrier.
You don’t have to worry about spotty service when you switch to a discount cell phone plan. Most discount plans run on the network of one of the four major carriers, so the only thing you have to lose is your out-of-hand bill. Depending on the plan, you may have data restrictions. Some also require an unlocked device.
15. Find money you’ve long forgotten about.
Some money-saving strategies require a ridiculous amount of discipline. So here’s a super easy trick that could give you a quick savings boost in just three minutes. Find out if someone owes you money by searching your state’s unclaimed property website.
At least 1 in 10 Americans has missing money waiting to be claimed. You could find money from old security deposits or bank accounts, or even a life insurance policy you didn’t realize a loved one left you. The key to making a one-time windfall work for you is to use it purposefully. That can mean saving or investing your money, or putting it toward debt.
16. Get cash for switching banks.
Another way to get a quick cash infusion: Switch bank accounts. Some of the best bank promotions will give you $500 or more just for opening a new account. Just be sure to read the fine print, since a bank account with ridiculous fees or minimum balance requirements could cost you big.
17. Be strategic about your tax refund.
Some personal finance types will shame you for getting a big tax refund because you’re giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan. We say, do whatever works for you. Opt to have less money withheld from your paycheck if you’ll actually save it or apply it toward debt. But if the idea of a giant tax refund motivates you, it’s OK to make the IRS play piggy bank. Just make a plan for how to spend your tax refund that will pay off in the long run. Some of our favorite ideas:
Put it in your savings account for an emergency or upcoming expense.
Pay down your highest-interest credit card.
Make an extra mortgage or car payment.
Give your Roth IRA a boost.
Put it in your child’s college fund.
18. Travel by two wheels whenever possible.
Even if it’s not feasible to ditch your car, bike commuting a couple days a week can help you save money on obvious expenses, like gas and parking. But there’s a bonus here: When you’re on your bike, you can fit a lot less in your basket or backpack than you can in your car trunk. So if you have a habit of making extra trips to the grocery store or stopping for takeout on your way home, traveling by bike reduces the temptation.
19. Cancel the insurance you don’t need.
Insurance can seem like a money-sucker, because hopefully, you don’t need to use it very often. Having sufficient homeowner insurance or renters insurance, car insurance and medical insurance is one of the best ways to prevent an emergency from destroying your finances.
That said, some types of insurance are a waste of money. For example, you probably don’t need collision insurance or comprehensive insurance on a car that’s paid off if it’s older and one fender-bender away from scrapyard heaven. You may not want to shell out for accident insurance or critical illness insurance either, because the circumstances they’ll cover you for are so limited. Even life insurance may not be worth the cost if you’re single with no dependents.
You can often get discounts on insurance by bundling your coverage. For example, you may save money by getting your car and renters insurance from the same company.
20. Do a no-spend challenge
Duh. It sounds so easy: To save money, just don’t spend it. But doing a no-spend challenge, where you commit to not spending any money over a certain period — be it a month, a week or even a single day — can help you reign in your spending.
Or you could try a modified version. Do a pantry challenge, where you avoid the grocery store and use the ingredients you have on hand to feed your family. Or build a capsule wardrobe, where you select a certain number of clothing items and make those your only wardrobe for the time frame of your choosing.
21. Find discounted services at vocational schools
If you’re looking for ways to save money on expensive services, sometimes it pays to let a student practice on you. You can get services like beauty treatments, sonograms and massage therapy at steep discounts from local vocational schools. If you live near a university and you’re truly brave, you could even get low-cost dental work from a student dentist.
22. Get free or low-cost financial help
If you’re struggling to stick to your budget or keep your spending in check, it’s OK to ask for help. You don’t need to spend big bucks to work with a financial pro. Unlike financial planners and advisers, who often cater to people with a higher net worth, a financial counselor is trained to help regular people manage their money from day to day. Many offer their services at little to no cost through a bank, school or nonprofit, or they practice on their own and use a sliding scale based on your income.
23. Find ways to earn extra money.
There’s no way around this one: Even when you have a bare bones budget, sometimes saving money just isn’t possible. One reason is that your fixed costs, like your rent or mortgage, medical insurance and car payments are often your biggest expenses — and those are the hardest to lower.
If you’ve cut everything you can and still can’t save, it’s time to find ways to make extra money. Switching to a higher-paying job isn’t always realistic, but you can still take on a side hustle, find a work-from-home job you can do part time or make extra cash selling stuff online.
24. Find cheap ways to treat yourself.
Any successful savings plan has a little built-in flexibility so you can treat yourself from time to time. Rather than downing drinks at happy hour, buy yourself a good but cheap bottle of wine to enjoy at home. Have a DIY spa day using simple ingredients you probably have on hand. If you’ve been stuck at home for too long, you can refresh your home’s look without spending a dime.
25. Talk about your struggles and your successes.
One of the best ways to save money is to tell other people that you’re trying to save money. Doing so can help you prepare your friends and family for when they hear you say no to joining them when they suggest expensive plans.
But that’s not the only advantage. It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one who’s struggling to save money, especially when you scroll through Instagram. But you’re far from alone. Find other people who are trying to save money, either within your social circle or by connecting with a like-minded online community. You can swap tips for saving money and find encouragement when times are rough.
And when you reach your savings goals, no matter how big or small? Pay it forward. Talk about it. Let others know exactly how you managed to save money — and that they can do it, too.
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].
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.
Electronic banking has its fans for good reason: Convenience. No lines. 24/7 access. And the potential to pay less and earn more.
It’s easy to understand why electronic banking continues to grow in popularity as an alternative to banking at a brick-and-mortar location.
Still, it may not be a good fit for everyone. The lack of face-to-face human connection and the complexity of some tasks are downsides for some people.
So if you’re looking for the right place to stash all or a chunk of your cash, there are advantages and disadvantages to electronic banking you should consider. Here, we’ll illuminate what electronic banking is and its pros and cons, so you can decide if it’s right for you.
What Is Electronic Banking?
Electronic banking (also known as e-banking, online banking, mobile banking, and internet banking) works much like traditional banking — minus most of the physical stuff. Instead of walking into a bank branch and handing the teller a check, cash, and/or deposit slip, customers can handle most of their transactions completely online, using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. You may also have access to a network of ATMs.
There are online-only banks (sometimes called “virtual banks”) that have no branches. And there are conventional banks and credit unions that have an online presence but also maintain brick-and-mortar locations. It’s critical to be clear about which of these you’re dealing with as you review your banking options. Here’s why: There are differences in how they operate that could affect your costs and comfort level. Before you decide where to open an account (or move an account to) to a virtual institution, consider the pros and cons of online banking. We’ll help you do just that next, with an in-depth look at the advantages vs the disadvantages of electronic banking.
Advantages of Electronic Banking
If you’re tech-savvy enough to open an online bank account (and, really, it doesn’t take much), you’ll likely find it’s a handy and user-friendly way to manage much of your financial life. You can even do it while lying on the couch in your pajamas.
Here are some other pros of banking online:
24/7 Account and Customer Service Access
No more rushing to the bank before it closes or waiting for a weekday to do your banking business. As long as you have an internet connection or access to your cellular network, you should be able to use your account any time of day and any day of the week. And if you need human help, many online banks offer plenty of customer support online and on the phone.
Speed and Efficiency
Remember when the drive-thru lane was the most convenient way to get your banking done? With electronic banking, you can skip the line — inside or outside a bricks-and-mortar location. As long as you have a secure connection, you can log in. Then, you can quickly and efficiently take care of nearly any transaction from the comfort of home. (Or pretty much anywhere you like, as long as you have that nice, safe connection.)
Online Bill Payment
Online banking usually means an online bill-paying option. This can make it easier to organize your bills and make sure they’re paid on time. Instead of randomly writing out checks or phoning in payments, you can set up recurring and individual payments on your bank’s bill-paying portal and track them from there. And you only have to remember one password!
Low Overhead Can Mean Low Fees
Online-only banks have fewer overhead costs (they don’t have to build, maintain, and staff multiple physical locations), and they typically pass those savings on to their account holders. They likely charge lower fees than banks with brick-and-mortar locations (in some cases, even no fees). So if you’re looking at online-only banks vs. conventional banks with online services, you may want to do a fee comparison. There’s a good chance that the totally virtual bank will offer you savings.
Low Overhead Can Yield High Rates
Online-only banks also may pass on their overhead savings by offering higher interest rates. Although rates can fluctuate, and it’s always worth checking to see who’s currently offering the best annual percentage yield (APY). Online-only banks generally have the most competitive rates.
Ability to Easily Monitor Your Account
Regularly monitoring the activity in your financial accounts can help you stay on track in terms of spending and saving. Plus, it can help you spot fraud early. Electronic banking makes reviewing your transactions — whether it’s a direct deposit from work or a payment you made — easier and faster. If you have multiple accounts at one bank (checking and savings, investing, and/or loans), you can review them all at one time. And if your bank offers an app, you can check your accounts on the go — often in real time.
Ability to Easily Transfer Money
With online banking, transferring funds between accounts at the same bank or from bank to bank is a matter of just a few clicks. You usually can use the bank’s website or an app to transfer money. And many banks now offer low-cost or free peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers through Zelle and other vendors.
Electronic banking is all about flexibility. You can peek at your balance, deposit a check, transfer funds, and pay bills any time you like. And you can set up alerts to help you stay on top of your finances. Online banking also offers the convenience and safety of going cashless, if you choose, without having to rely on credit cards.
Disadvantages of Electronic Banking
Though online banking continues to improve, it still isn’t perfect. (Then again, what is?) There are some potential issues you might want to consider as you move to electronic banking or are trying to decide whether to park your money at a traditional or virtual bank. These include:
It may seem as though electronic banking would make you more susceptible to fraud. But in today’s world of hacking and security breaches, the reality is that you may be just as vulnerable to identity theft if you have your money in a conventional bank. And your personal vigilance — monitoring accounts and being careful with passwords and public WiFi — is important to keeping your online savings safe.
Still, with a virtual bank you will be doing your financial business in the ether most of the time. So it can be wise to research the security measures a bank has in place before opening an account there. (Do they, for example, have two-factor authentication, fraud alerts, automatic logouts, and a high level of encryption?). You may want to research a bank’s overall reputation and its policies for dealing with fraud to see if it follows requirements set by the Electronic Fund Transfer Act.
One other security step: You can use the FDIC’s BankFind tool to see if deposits are guaranteed by the federal government. This adds a layer of reassurance, as you’ll know whether your funds are protected (up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category) were your bank ever to fail.
Lack of Direct Contact Between Bank and Customer
If you ask someone who has used an online bank, “What are the advantages and disadvantages of electronic banking?” their biggest complaint might be the lack of personal contact. If you like the idea of working with a “personal banker” — or if it makes you feel happy to say hi to your favorite teller — you might miss visiting a bricks-and-mortar branch. If you have a concern or complaint, you also may find it’s easier to present your paperwork in person than submitting it online. And branch banks still offer some things a virtual bank cannot — including safe deposit boxes. Although online-only banks generally have a reputation for quality customer service, some people still may want or need the services of a local branch.
Your satisfaction with online-only banking may only be as strong as your internet connection. If your WiFi or the bank’s website is down or your device can’t connect, it may limit your ability to complete an online transaction. (Although you may be able to get your business done over the phone or by using your ATM card.) This can be especially challenging if you’re the sort of person who travels a lot and struggles to find a secure connection.
Even if you’re comfortable with most aspects of online banking, there may be times when you have to manage a more complicated transaction. We’re talking about things like dealing with foreign currency, getting a certified check, or having paperwork notarized. Working with an in-person contact may be easier or even necessary in those situations.
If you own a business that deals in cash or you’re paid in cash, you may find that making cash deposits at an online-only bank is inefficient. You might have to deposit the cash into a branch bank account and transfer the money to your online account. Or you could buy a money order and upload it to your online bank. And some online banks allow customers to make deposits through cash-accepting ATMs or a third-party retailer. But there’s no way to directly deposit that cash.
When you’re trying to decide whether to choose traditional vs. online banking, much will depend on your lifestyle and personal preferences. If you’re looking for convenience, higher interest rates, and lower fees, an online-only bank may be the right option for you. However, if you often deal with cash or complicated transactions, or just plain crave some human contact when taking care of financial business, you may still want to have an account at a brick-and-mortar branch bank.
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How does electronic banking work?
Online banking is much like traditional banking except that it can be done at any time and anywhere — as long as you have a secure internet connection. You can accomplish most banking transactions using electronic banking, including depositing and withdrawing money, transferring money, and paying bills.
What are the disadvantages of electronic banking?
Electronic banking doesn’t have all of the features of traditional banking. For instance, brick-and-mortar banks may offer notary services and safe deposit boxes. Also some account holders may prefer to discuss problems or complex transactions face-to-face with a bank representative. Additionally, It may be difficult — but not impossible — to deposit cash into an online-only bank.
What are the advantages of electronic banking?
Advantages of electronic banking include convenience, speed, and flexibility. You can bank when it suits you. What’s more, online-only banks typically offer higher interest rates and fewer fees because they have lower overhead costs. Choosing a virtual bank can make good financial sense for these reasons.
“If you can handle stress and keep your cool, then this could be a good career choice,” says Orwat.
“You’ll have the opportunity to work at many different venues, see how different vendors work and experience a lot of weddings,” Orwat says. “It’ll also give you an idea of how physically demanding it is to work weddings.”
On wedding days, you’ll be on-site, on your feet (with a smile!) for up to 15 hours straight. Source: thepennyhoarder.com
Platforms like Facebook and Pinterest can quickly broaden your reach and put your business in front of potential customers. Use these expert tips on marketing your business on social media.
In addition to training and experience, it just takes a special kind of person to be a wedding planner.
How Much Does a Wedding Planner Make?
Still, the hard work is rewarding: Wedding planners seem to truly love their jobs.
The national average salary for a wedding planner is around ,500 to ,500 a year, or about ,262 per wedding.
Try these marketing tips to promote your wedding planning business:
As a side gig: $5,000 – $10,000
As an experienced full-time planner in a major city: $75,000-$200,000
As a full-time planner in a rural area: $25,000-$75,000
You’ll also have to plan and attend many events — so it’s imperative you’re OK working evenings and weekends.
Here are some annual salary ranges wedding planners can expect, according to experts:
Most wedding planners offer different packages (with different price ranges) to clients. Full-service packages are the most expensive option while day-of planning services are the least expensive. Some wedding professionals also offer consulting services by the hour. Starting your own business isn’t easy. It’s more than brainstorming cute names for your company and designing stylish business cards. You need to ensure your wedding planning business is well-planned out, properly registered and legally compliant.
What Does a Wedding Planner Do? Roles and Responsibilities
Your specific wedding planner salary depends largely on your location, training, experience and if you work independently or for an agency. Angelina Colhouer talks to guests about her wedding planning business at a bridal expo in Tampa, Fla. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder
Answering calls and emails from clients
Negotiating and securing contracts with vendors
Creating wedding day timelines
Hiring a caterer
Finding a venue
Scheduling a band or musician for the wedding reception
Selecting wedding invitations
Picking out floral arrangements
Managing invoices, taxes and other business tasks
Angelina Colhouer of The Apostolic Wife got started by planning and designing her own wedding. When she was new to the business, Colhouer determined her rates by speaking with established wedding planners in her area.
According to industry pros, here are some key traits shared by the best wedding planners.
It’s your job to pull off the perfect event without breaking the bank.
Wedding planner job duties often include:
Don’t expect it to be easy, either. The job is “demanding both physically and mentally,” says Debbie Orwat, founder and chief inspiration officer at Planner’s Lounge, a community for event planners.
How to Become a Wedding Planner: Education, Certification and Training
Rachel Christian is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance and a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder.
There might be a lot of family drama going on as well.
While a college degree isn’t required, majors like business, communications, public relations, hospitality management, marketing and event planning provide a helpful foundation.
Organizations like the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners, the North American Wedding Academy and the Lovegevity Wedding Planning Institute all offer courses you can take to hone your skills and earn a certification.
Cost varies widely, from 0 to ,500 and up.
Deciding whether to go solo or work for others totally depends on you, your preferences and your experience level.
“We live to solve problems, keep everything on time and manage 20-plus vendors without breaking a sweat,” Orwat says.
Continuing Education Opportunities for Wedding Planners
More important than degrees or certificates? Experience.
Write down your goals and map out why you think your wedding planning company will be successful. A good business plan should include the services you plan to offer, a sales pitch, a list of direct competitors and your anticipated fixed and variable expenses.
Read articles and blog posts about the wedding planning industry
Listen to wedding podcasts
Attend workshops and conferences
Explore local networking events and meet-ups
Check out industry studies like WeddingWire’s Newlywed Report and Brides.com’s American Wedding Study
A wedding planner certification may be worth the cost if you’re just starting out in the industry and don’t have much prior experience in event planning or hospitality.
Juggling dozens of weddings — and multiple vendors for each one — requires you to be on the ball, all the time.
When Colhouer started, she needed to pay for an LLC, styled photo shoots and a promotional video. Other potential upfront costs include business cards, social media ads and other marketing costs.
How to Get Experience as a Wedding Planner
Here are a few ways to brush up on your wedding planner skills:
Interning or working as an assistant is grueling work — but you’ll get to learn the ropes alongside a seasoned professional.
If you’ve worked in event planning or project management — or have prior experience running your own business — you might be well-suited to work as an independent contractor or pick up freelance gigs as a wedding planner.
You need to be a good communicator who can lead, listen, navigate challenges and delegate under pressure.
It’s also smart to join a professional wedding planner organization, like the Association of Bridal Consultants or the Association for Wedding Professionals International.
They charged ,000 to ,000 per wedding, so she decided to charge ,000 for her first one.
Should You Work for a Wedding Planning Company or Go Solo?
There’s no specific path to become a wedding planner and no formal education is required. Networking and hands-on experience are key.
Many of these resources are available online, so it’s easy to start growing your knowledge at home.
You can also try applying at hotels, resorts and country clubs since these places often double as wedding venues.
Ready to dive in and learn more about how to become a wedding planner?
How to Start A Wedding Planner Business
Indeed estimates the average hourly rate around .45 an hour.
Getting your name — and company name — out there is critical if you want to attract new clients and grow your wedding planning business.
If you can’t score a wedding planner job right away, search for other positions in the wedding industry. For example, work for a caterer, florist or decorator.
If you work as a wedding planner, no two days are the same. Flexibility is key.
Invest in a professional website.
You can hand out business cards at bridal trade shows and schmooze with the owners of local bridal boutiques.
Get good at social media.
It takes intensive planning, organization, scheduling and coordination to pull off a major live event with dozens — if not hundreds — of guests.
Decide what services to offer.
It sounds dreamy — but it’s really hard work.
Create a business plan.
Some wedding planners operate as sole proprietors, but if you plan on hiring employees, you’ll need a different business structure, such as a limited liability company. You’ll also want to register your company with the state once you decide on a business entity and name.
Your website is your storefront. It needs to wow potential customers while showcasing your rates, prior experience and contact information in a clear, accessible format. You can create your own wedding planner website for free using sites like Wix, or hire a professional to design it for you.
Prepare for upfront costs.
Whether it’s an internship at an agency or simply planning a wedding for free, acquiring in-person experience is key to success in this career.
Get legal stuff squared away.
After all, you can always start off at an agency to gain experience, and then start your own company down the road.
Get a business bank account and credit card.
Every couple has a budget, whether it’s ,000 or 0,000. You’ll need to know how to make a dollar stretch, find killer deals and responsibly manage money.
Strengthen Your Marketing Skills
Once she had a few weddings under her belt, she charged ,500.
Ready to strike out on your own?
Many wedding planners start their own company as a part-time side hustle before building it up to a full-time career.
Take online courses, attend wedding planning conferences and look into industry groups and networking events. You may even want to consider hiring a business coach.
Step-up your social media game. You should create a strong presence on social media sites like Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even LinkedIn. Post often, engage with followers and utilize hashtags to expand your audience. Share photos from your events, testimonials from couples and trending wedding-related news.
Start blogging. Writing posts on your own website or submitting guest posts to other wedding websites is a great way to gain exposure and establish yourself as an expert wedding planner.
Leverage reviews and testimonials. Aside from price, reviews and photos are some of the biggest selling points for couples. Make sure brides you’ve worked with have an easy way to leave reviews about your services on Google and Facebook, and include the best reviews on your website and social media accounts.
Get media mentions. Getting featured in a local or national wedding publication is huge. Be proactive, reach out to media outlets and pitch them unique story ideas about your business. Highlight what makes you different and newsworthy.
Ask the publication to include a backlink to your website or social media profile. Backlinks from reputable sources can boost your website ranking on Google and increase your traffic.
What Skills Do Successful Wedding Planners Need?
These courses typically last two to three months. Upon completion, you’ll receive a certificate, letter of recommendation and a professional designation.
Brides want their weddings to be perfect, which means they are often demanding.
Organized With an Eye for Detail
Wedding planners oversee nearly every aspect of wedding day festivities to create an unforgettable celebration for their clients.
But in 2022, a few digital marketing skills can really help you pull in new customers.
You won’t just need to communicate with vendors and brides before and during the event; you’ll also need to deal with guests in a chaotic environment.
You don’t need a special college degree or certification to become a wedding planner.
Patient and Empathetic
“Spending six to 12 months with a couple, then seeing it all come to fruition for a stunning celebration is unbelievably rewarding,” says Orwat.
Keeping your business finances separate from your personal finances is important — especially when tax time rolls around. You’ll need to get an employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service first. You can apply for one online in a matter of minutes.
Networking is essential if you want to become a wedding planner. Professional organizations are a great way to meet vendors that you can enlist for upcoming events while fostering relationships with other wedding planners in your area.
In this guide, we explain what a wedding planner does, their average salary and how to get started in this fast-paced industry.
Formal education isn’t required, but it’s essential to learn as much about the wedding planning industry as possible if you want to succeed.
Great Budgeting Skills
“Many of us choose this career because we thrive on the excitement, the challenge and the madness that happens on the wedding day,” says Orwat.
On the other hand, if you’re a fresh college grad or don’t have much experience with event planning, it makes more sense to join a wedding planning agency first.
If you decide to launch your own business, here are a few tips: Certifications aren’t required either — but they can help you look more appealing to potential clients and provide useful information.