Using In-School Deferment as a Student

Undergraduate and graduate students in school at least half-time can put off making federal student loan payments, and possibly private student loan payments, with in-school deferment. The catch? Interest usually accrues.

Loans are a fact of life for many students. In fact, a majority of them — about 70% — graduate with student loan debt.

While some students choose to start paying off their loans while they’re still in college, many take advantage of in-school deferment.

What Is In-School Deferment?

In-school deferment allows an undergraduate or graduate student, or parent borrower, to postpone making payments on:

•   Direct Loans, which include PLUS loans for graduate and professional students, or parents of dependent undergrads; subsidized and unsubsidized loans; and consolidation loans.

•   Perkins Loans

•   Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans.

Parents with PLUS loans may qualify for deferment if their student is enrolled at least half-time at an eligible college or career school.

What about private student loans? Many lenders allow students to defer payments while they’re in school and for six months after graduation. Sallie Mae lets you defer payments for 48 months as long as you are enrolled at least half-time.

But each private lender has its own rules.

Recommended: How Does Student Loan Deferment in Grad School Work?

How In-School Deferment Works

Federal student loan borrowers in school at least half-time are to be automatically placed into in-school deferment. You should receive a notice from your loan servicer.

If your loans don’t go into automatic in-school deferment or you don’t receive a notice, get in touch with the financial aid office at your school. You may need to fill out an In-School Deferment Request .

If you have private student loans, it’s a good idea to reach out to your loan servicer to request in-school deferment. If you’re seeking a new private student loan, you can review the lender’s deferment rules.

Most federal student loans also have a six-month grace period after a student graduates, drops below half-time enrollment, or leaves school before payments must begin. This applies to graduate students with PLUS loans as well.

Parent borrowers who took out a PLUS loan can request a six-month deferment after their student graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment.

Requirements for In-School Deferment

Students with federal student loans must be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible school, defined by the Federal Student Aid office as one that has been approved by the Department of Education to participate in federal student aid programs, even if the school does not participate in those programs.

That includes most accredited American colleges and universities and some institutions outside the United States.

In-school deferment is primarily for students with existing loans or those who are returning to school after time away.

The definition of “half-time” can be tricky. Make sure you understand the definition your school uses, as not all schools define half-time status the same way. It’s usually based on a certain number of hours and/or credits.

Do I Need to Pay Interest During In-School Deferment?

For federal student loans and many private student loans, no.

If you have a federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, interest will accrue during the deferment and be added to the principal loan balance.

If you have a Direct Subsidized Loan or a Perkins Loan, the government pays the interest while you’re in school and during grace periods. That’s also true of the subsidized portion of a Direct Consolidation Loan.

Interest will almost always accrue on deferred private student loans.

Although postponement of payments takes the pressure off, the interest that you’re responsible for that accrues on any loan will be capitalized, or added to your balance, after deferments and grace periods. You’ll then be charged interest on the increased principal balance. Capitalization of the unpaid interest may also increase your monthly payment, depending on your repayment plan.

If you’re able to pay the interest before it capitalizes, that can help keep your total loan cost down.

Alternatives to In-School Deferment

There are different types of deferment aside from in-school deferment.

•   Economic Hardship Deferment. You may receive an economic hardship deferment for up to three years if you receive a means-tested benefit, such as welfare, you are serving in the Peace Corps, or you work full time but your earnings are below 150% of the poverty guideline for your state and family size.

•   Graduate Fellowship Deferment. If you are in an approved graduate fellowship program, you could be eligible for this deferment.

•   Military Service and Post-Active Duty Student Deferment. You could qualify for this deferment if you are on active duty military service in connection with a military operation, war, or a national emergency, or you have completed active duty service and any applicable grace period. The deferment will end once you are enrolled in school at least half-time, or 13 months after completion of active duty service and any grace period, whichever comes first.

•   Rehabilitation Training Deferment. This deferment is for students who are in an approved program that offers drug or alcohol, vocational, or mental health rehabilitation.

•   Unemployment Deferment. You can receive this deferment for up to three years if you receive unemployment benefits or you’re unable to find full-time employment.

For most deferments, you’ll need to provide your student loan servicer with documentation to show that you’re eligible.

Then there’s federal student loan forbearance, which temporarily suspends or reduces your principal monthly payments, but interest always continues to accrue.

Some private student loan lenders offer forbearance as well.

If your federal student loan type does not charge interest during deferment, that’s probably the way to go. If you’ve reached the maximum time for a deferment or your situation doesn’t fit the eligibility criteria, applying for forbearance is an option.

If your ability to afford your federal student loan payments is unlikely to change any time soon, you may want to consider an income-based repayment plan or student loan refinancing.

The goal of refinancing with a private lender is to change your rate or term. If you qualify, all loans can be refinanced into one new private loan. Playing with the numbers can be helpful.

Just know that if you refinance federal student loans, they will no longer be eligible for federal deferment or forbearance, loan forgiveness programs, or income-driven repayment.

Recommended: Student Loan Refinancing Calculator

The Takeaway

What is in-school deferment? It allows undergraduates and graduate students to buy time before student loan payments begin, but interest usually accrues and is added to the balance.

If trying to lower your student loan rates is something that’s of interest, look into refinancing with SoFi.

Students are eligible to refinance a parent’s PLUS loan along with their own student loans.

There are absolutely no fees.

It’s easy to check your rate.


We’ve Got You Covered


SoFi Student Loan Refinance
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY 2022 DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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Source: sofi.com

Food Delivery Advice from an Uber Eats Driver Who Made Bank

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The Salem, Oregon, resident made thousands of dollars in June 2020 delivering food for Uber Eats, an app for gig work that proved especially popular during the pandemic.
The very premise of Lyon’s challenge is a goal. It gave him something to focus on and the motivation he needed to make it through grueling 12-hour days.
What you earn from Uber Eats is heavily determined by your market — the city or metropolitan area you deliver in.
“Make sure you look approachable,” Lyon said.

Uber Eats Tips and Tricks From a Driver Who Made $8,357 in One Month

Of the hundreds of orders Lyon completed in June, he got some pretty weird requests from customers. One person asked if he could deliver a pack of cigarettes along with the food order. Lyon told the guy that he didn’t have the money on him to buy the cigarettes on his own, thinking it would end there.
Results may vary in your market. The key is to adapt to your locale. “My days were long,” he said. “I would do all that stuff to kind of break it up and have fun.”

1. Set Goals. Even Tiny Ones Help

Lyon vowed not to fall into that temptation. He carried only in cash, and that was strictly for gas. If he had downtime, he’d listen to podcasts or practice Spanish — while positioning himself for his next order.
Many factors went into his paycheck but none more than his sheer determination. He drove 12 hours — the maximum Uber Eats allows — for 30 days without a single day off.
“When you’re starting, accept every single order and then find your own trends in your own area,” he said.
Lyon drove primarily in Salem, Oregon. If you were to do the same challenge in a different city, you may make more or less than he did. A perfect example of this played out over TikTok. About halfway through June, another Uber Eats driver posed a challenge to Lyon: Who could make more money in a day?
A bigger city doesn’t always equate to better profits though, Lyon noted. Heavy traffic is likelier and could slow you down. You may have to pay to park to make the delivery.

Pro Tip
Some Uber Eats drivers pass on smaller orders in hopes to land larger ones. But that can backfire for inexperienced drivers. Lyon said he put that strategy to the test and found, on average, he was making an order no matter how selective he was being.

2. Take a Great Profile Pic

And to cut down on costs, his own food was homemade.
“I knew I needed to do at least 20 trips to get around that 0-a-day mark,” he said. “So that was always my goal. Anything after that was icing on the cake.”
When the paychecks from your side hustle start rolling in, it’s easy to think all that money is profit. However, quite a bit of it actually goes toward expenses and taxes. It’s one of the biggest pains of being a 1099 worker.
Before we get started, let’s be clear: What Lyon earned is not typical. Far from it.
Uber Eats gives drivers a referral code that they can share with other people to get them to start delivering, too. Once the new driver completes a certain amount of deliveries, the recruiter earns money. But the amount fluctuates depending on the market. Sometimes it’s 0 per 50 trips. Other times, it’s per 50 trips.

This is the main photo used for Sam Lyon's Uber Eats account.
For his Uber Eats profile, Lyon used a selfie taken in his car — then realized he couldn’t change the picture once it was uploaded. Photo courtesy of Sam Lyon

3. Manage Expectations Based on Your Market

Referral bonuses are “definitely not worth the time,” according to Lyon.
Sam Lyon pushed his earning potential in the gig economy to its limits.
And if you’re keeping track of expenses like gas and car depreciation, you can factor that into the amount you’re withholding for Uncle Sam. Lyon’s system was pretty simple. He had a fixed amount for gas, a day. That totaled 9. He had one oil change (), and also factored in his car’s depreciation (0) based on the miles he drove.
“If I was delivering to a suburb, my downtime would be spent driving the extra mile or two to be parked next to a McDonalds, an Applebees, a Red Robin.”
They both delivered food for 12 straight hours. The difference was that the other driver lived 45 miles north in Portland, Oregon. That turned out to be a crucial factor— the challenger made 3 to Lyon’s 8.
Privacy Policy
Downtime between orders trips up many new delivery drivers. You’re delivering food all day, after all. You might be tempted to go through the drive-thru for yourself. But idle spending can eat into your earnings.

Need a banking service that’s built for freelancers, helping you save for taxes and keep track of your expenses? Check out Lili. (It’s free!)

4. Learn From the Trends in Your Area

And that’s coming from someone who had hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok.
“In pending invites, I would make ,320,” Lyon said as he read off of the stats in his driver profile. “In successful invites, I made “You know what? Why not? I’ll do it. I picked up the money and got him the cigarettes. When I got back, he paid me the change as well. And I made a quick [tip],” he said.
“You can stop by here. I’ll put the money downstairs and you can come grab it,” the customer responded.
“See what kind of restaurants you like and which ones you want to avoid, he said”
Lyon is a big proponent of the quantity-over-quality approach to accepting orders.
The first picture you choose is the one you’re stuck with. Uber policy allows drivers to change their picture only if something happens that alters their appearance since the original photo. In that situation, you’d have to contact customer support.
He challenged himself to make as much money as possible in that one month. To do so, he drove 12 hours a day for 30 days straight.

5. Occupy Your Downtime

Lyon went for it.
Source: thepennyhoarder.com
His specific challenge may not be replicable (or even advisable) in every circumstance. But if you’re a current or aspiring delivery-app gig worker, you can apply Lyon’s tips for Uber Eats drivers to maximize your own profits.
“Depending on what city you’re in, there are a lot of moped Uber drivers, there are a lot of bike Uber drivers. You can’t really compete [in a car] in those urban, downtown areas,” he said.
Adam Hardy is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. 

6. Don’t Waste Time With Referral Bonuses

“Suburbs are just front porch and then you’re gone.”
In an interview with The Penny Hoarder, Lyon broke down his earnings and what he learned from his 30-day challenge. He also offered some Uber Eats driver tips that other gig workers can use.

“I think goal setting was huge for my success,” Lyon said. “Setting markers in what you want to achieve are extremely important.”
It breaks down like this: His total earnings were ,357. His expenses account for ,148, and he set aside an estimated 30% of the difference for taxes, about ,100. That brought his actual profits to roughly ,100.
“I would go home and spend 30 minutes to an hour preparing food and eating before going back on the road,” he said. “I did not have any fast food during that 30 days.”

A man checks his phone in his car.
Lyon encourages indulging customers’ odd requests, as it can lead to a big tip. Photo courtsey of Sam Lyon

7. Indulge Odd Requests. They Could Lead to Big Tips

Before you start your gig, have a professional or financial goal in mind. That can keep you on track — and keep you from burning out.
“I would definitely keep in mind you will have to pay those taxes later. It’s not automatically coming out of what you earned,” Lyon said. “Personally, I set aside 30% of what I make. That way, I have a little bit of wiggle room.”
“It started off as a beautiful day. The birds were chirping. The sun was shining,” Lyon said in a video. “The perfect day for two gladiators to enter the arena.”
When you’re making your Uber Eats driver profile, don’t blast through it thinking you can go back and change it later — especially the photo step.
Keep your side hustle in check. Here’s how to create an exit plan so that you can enter the gig economy, meet your goals and get out.
Setting aside 30% might seem steep, but it’s usually an overestimate. Lyon, like most taxpayers, would rather have a refund come tax time than a hefty tax bill.

8. Track Your Expenses

Ready to stop worrying about money?
In the end, Lyon made ,357 and documented his journey on the video-sharing site TikTok, where he goes by the moniker SabbiLyon. Each day, he recorded a short video to log his progress — amassing more than 200,000 followers and millions of views along the way. Lyon entertained just about every odd request he got. They usually led to big tips.
Once you get a sense of those trends, you can then experiment to try to maximize your pay.
In the time it would take him to land a big order, he says he could have been delivering three smaller orders.
After a week or so of driving, he was able to see how much money was possible to make given his parameters. So he aimed for a specific target: ,000 by the end of June.To reach that, he would try to make at least 20 deliveries a day. He didn’t worry much about the pay of each delivery because they ended up averaging about an order. <!–

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The app shows you potential earnings based on the amount you would have earned if all the people you invited completed their first 50 trips.

What Our Dream Job Winner Learned from a Month of No Spending

Robert Bruce

Updated November 16, 2021

This is a photo of the Dream Job Winner Brittany Cantu. The quote says,

Brittany Cantu saved $621 during the Dream Job challenge. Photo courtesy of Brittany Cantu

Brittany Cantu was in shock when she found out she was chosen for The Penny Hoarder’s “Dream Job” challenge in October.

To earn her $5,000 paycheck, Cantu had to kick one of her most persistent spending habits and save money for 30 days — all in an effort to find new and healthier ways to manage her money.

Cantu was up for the job: She saved an impressive $621 simply by not buying stuff online during the course of the month.

As a registered nurse, wife, and mother of three, Cantu stays busy. In her free time, she had built a habit of online spending.

“I definitely have a shopping problem,” she said. “I use a deal website that gives me deals at places like Target and Amazon. It’s easy to overspend because my 10-month-old son doesn’t like to nap by himself so I get really bored when he’s sleeping on me.”

Her growing kids also factored into her online buying habit. “The kids grow out of their clothes constantly, so kids’ clothes is a huge item that we usually need to buy,” she said. And, shoes, don’t forget about the shoes. “Shoes are a big one for me. I have way too many shoes. I just like shoes.”

She was excited about the challenge because of the progress her family wanted to make toward their financial goals. “We want to buy a house in the next year or two, so it really helped us to get going on that a little quicker,” she said.

Not only will her newfound habit of spending less help toward that goal, but her $5,000 paycheck will as well. “We’ll probably use that toward a down payment,” she added.

She said the month-long experience helped her be more content with what her family already has — and actually provided an opportunity to make even more cash by selling some of that stuff.

I definitely felt like I built more of a habit of saving, rather than spending.

“I still browsed a little bit to see if there was anything I really needed, but honestly we have everything we need,” she said. “So I started going through some old stuff that we have and getting rid of it and making money that way too.”

She sold $200 worth of stuff during the month. Add that to the $621 she saved and that’s an $821 turnaround. Pretty impressive!

Did she find the challenge to stop online spending difficult?

“It definitely feels rewarding when you buy stuff and you get packages every other day. It was kind of hard the first week or two because I had such a habit of spending,” she said. “But it got easier as I went. I was actually surprised that it got much easier. I definitely felt like I built more of a habit of saving, rather than spending.”

She says she only gave in once because of a deal she couldn’t pass up. “I saw a sale on snow boots, and the kids definitely needed snow boots this year.”

The key, Cantu learned, is to remember how small purchases add up over time.

“Most of my purchases were around $30. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you keep buying that $30 stuff it becomes hundreds to thousands of dollars,” she said. “At the end of the month, I’m thinking, ‘Where did this money go?’ And then we don’t even use these things that we’re buying that often. So it’s definitely a habit you can break.”

She had a great experience meeting The Penny Hoarder Dream Job challenge, and she’s learned a lot over the course of the month.

“I was happy to be picked and challenged, and I think I really needed it. It was eye opening.”

What spending habit could you give up for a month to make progress toward your financial goals?

Robert Bruce is a Senior Writer for The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Second-Hand Shopping: How to Save at Thrift Stores and Consignment Shops

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Dig Deeper

Additional Resources

Over the past two years, my husband and I have spent less than $400 per year on clothing. Our secret? We buy most of our clothes secondhand.

And clothing is just the tip of the iceberg. We prefer to shop secondhand whenever possible for nearly everything we buy — furniture, books, tools, even materials for home repair. No matter what we need, we always check out secondhand sources like thrift stores, yard sales, and Craigslist before resorting to buying new.

Shopping that way isn’t just good for our budget. With each great find, we’re saving money and helping the environment. And with the right shopping strategies, you can do the same.


Where to Shop Secondhand

There are many kinds of secondhand stores specializing in different types of goods. On top of that, there’s a wide variety of apps for buying and selling used stuff, both in your local area and across the country. 

With so many options, it’s possible to pick up almost anything secondhand if you know where to look.

Thrift Stores

There are two primary kinds of thrift shops: for-profit and nonprofit. For-profit thrift stores, like other retailers, are in business to make a profit. 

For-profit thrift store chains include Savers (known as Value Village in the Northwest), Red White and Blue, MyUnique.com, Plato’s Closet, and Once Upon a Child. Chains like these often focus on higher-quality merchandise that’s more likely to sell.

Nonprofit thrift stores are run by charitable organizations like Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. In my experience, these stores usually charge lower prices than for-profit ones. For instance, at a local church thrift shop, I’ve bought T-shirts for $1 and jeans for $2. However, a lot of the garments on the racks are worn or damaged.

The most common item sold at thrift stores is clothing. However, most stores sell other types of goods as well. Nearly every thrift shop I’ve ever been to had at least a shelf or two loaded with dishware, little knick-knacks, and household goods like pots and pans. Depending on the store, you may also find books, videos, toys, games, and even furniture.

Consignment Shops

Like thrift stores, consignment shops typically specialize in clothing. But they operate on a different business model. 

At thrift stores, people can either donate their garments or sell them to the store at a low price. At consignment shops, people give their garments to the store in exchange for a cut of the sale price.

Along with clothes, consignment stores sometimes sell small furniture and home decor. They generally deal in higher-quality merchandise than thrift stores, making them an excellent place to buy designer clothing on a budget. However, their prices are typically higher than most thrift shops’.

Goodwill Outlets

At the opposite end of the price scale for secondhand goods are Goodwill Outlet Stores. 

These are locations where Goodwill unloads all the merchandise that hasn’t sold in its retail stores. After they’ve been on the shelves a specified length of time, local Goodwill staff ships them to an outlet location to be sold by the pound to thrifty buyers.

Goodwill Outlet Stores aren’t like ordinary thrift shops, where merchandise is sorted onto racks or shelves by type, size, and color. Instead, everything’s usually just piled into huge bins you can rummage through. 

They’re not the best place to hunt for something specific. But they’re a fantastic place to find cheap goods you can resell online as a side hustle.

Vintage Stores

Vintage clothing stores deal in the garments and accessories of past decades. Some focus on garb from a specific era, such as the 1960s, while others offer clothing spanning a wide range of periods. But everything in the store is at least 20 years old. 

Unlike thrift stores, vintage stores typically feature rare goods that command a higher price tag. They often focus on well-known brand names, including retired brands like Gunne Sax. 

Vintage stores charge a lot more than thrift stores. But shop wisely. In some cases, their garments cost more than brand-new ones sold at regular retail stores, though you can find few-of-a-kind garments for less than high-end designer duds. 

For women’s clothes, one thing to watch out for when shopping vintage is the sizing. Women’s clothing sizes have changed over the years, so your size in vintage clothing is likely several sizes larger than in modern clothes. 

Antique Stores

Antique stores take vintage to the next level. They sell goods from bygone eras, including furniture, home decor, clothing, and jewelry. While the merchandise in vintage stores can be as little as 20 years old, antique stores deal primarily in goods that are at least 100 years old.

Like vintage stores, antique stores aren’t usually a good place to shop if your main goal is to save money. But you can find some unique pieces that are cheaper than buying new high-end goods if you know how.

Flea Markets

A flea market, also known as a swap meet, is a big open-air market where lots of vendors set up booths to sell secondhand wares. Furniture and home decor are the most common goods sold at flea markets, but you can find a vast array of other stuff as well, from clothing to musical instruments. 

Flea markets vary widely in size, selection, and prices. Some markets are vast tent cities covering acres of ground, while others are merely a dozen or so booths set up in a warehouse. Depending on the market, you may also find vendors selling new or handmade wares, such as artwork.

Reuse Centers

If you’re seeking materials for a home remodeling project, check out reuse centers such as Habitat for Humanity ReStores. They carry furniture, appliances, and building materials like lumber, tile, and paint for around half the retail price. 

Some supplies have been torn out of demolished or renovated buildings, while others are left over from building projects.

Architectural salvage stores are similar to reuse centers, but they skew a bit higher-end. They specialize in antique furniture and fixtures you can’t find in a typical home center, such as carved woodwork and vintage lighting fixtures. 

They’re a fantastic place to look if you’re renovating a period home and want to find materials that match its original style.

Specialty Secondhand Stores

There are many other kinds of secondhand stores that focus on specific types of goods. For instance, used bookstores sell secondhand paperback and hardcover books at prices that can often beat Amazon’s. Used record stores deal in secondhand vinyl LPs, and some offer CDs as well.

Online Resale Sites & Apps

There’s a huge variety of websites and apps devoted to connecting sellers of secondhand merchandise with buyers. You can find an online secondhand market for almost anything you want to buy.

Clothing

If you can’t find the right garment in the right size at your local thrift store, try shopping online thrift stores and consignment stores like ThredUp and Swap.com. These sites offer a more extensive selection and make it easy to search for exactly what you want. 

Some online resale sites specialize in specific types of clothing. For instance, Tradesy, Poshmark, and The RealReal deal in designer clothes at prices up to 70% off retail, while Stillwhite provides a market for used wedding dresses.

The biggest downside of shopping at online thrift stores is that you can’t try on clothes before buying. You have to rely on the description and measurements provided by the seller. Most sites accept returns, but you usually have to pay a shipping or restocking fee. 

Furniture

You can find vintage furniture, home decor, and artwork online through Chairish. This site focuses on high-end appointments costing hundreds or thousands of dollars, so it’s more useful for finding unique pieces than for saving money. 

There are several ways to search listings on Chairish. You can look for a particular category, such as rugs or rocking chairs, or a particular style, such as art deco or midcentury modern. 

You can also narrow your choices by price and by location. And with the Chairish app, you can get a preview of how a piece will look in your home before buying. And once you choose, you can have purchases shipped to your home or arrange a pickup with a local seller.

Electronics

It’s hard to be sure used electronics work. But you can eliminate any purchase risk by choosing certified refurbished. The manufacturer or a reseller has thoroughly repaired them to ensure they work like new for a fraction of the cost. They even come with warranties.

Good sites for buying refurbished gadgets include Back Market, Decluttr, and Gazelle. You can also buy refurbished electronics directly from manufacturers like Samsung and Apple and retail sites like Amazon Warehouse.

Another site worth checking out is Swappa. While Swappa doesn’t technically refurbish the devices it lists, it reviews them to ensure they’re functional and meet company standards.

Books

There are several good sites for buying books secondhand. You can find used copies of many volumes at online booksellers like Amazon and Alibris, and ThriftBooks deals in used books specifically. 

You can also swap your old books for new books from other users at PaperBackSwap and BookMooch.

To save money on textbooks, look to sites like Amazon, eCampus.com, CampusBooks, and Chegg. You can buy textbooks for up to 90% off the cover price and resell them when you complete the course to recover part of the cost.

Everything Else

Practically anything is available on eBay, including clothing, household goods, art, electronics, toys, and office equipment. It’s also a fantastic place to look for rare vintage finds. But eBay sellers also stock new goods, so check the listing before adding it to your cart.

Another good marketplace for all kinds of secondhand goods is Mercari. Like eBay, it offers both new and used goods in a wide range of categories. For oversize merchandise that’s too heavy to ship economically, such as furniture, you can use Mercari Local.

Local Listings

You probably already know about Craigslist, a marketplace for secondhand goods of all kinds from sellers in your local area. However, there are several other peer-to-peer marketplaces for local sales, including Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, and 5Miles.

Users can buy and sell almost anything through these sites. But what’s available through your local group depends on where you live and can vary daily. Prices also vary widely depending on the item and the location. 

One nice perk of buying local is being able to see the merchandise in person before handing over your money.

Pawnshops

A pawnshop is a store where people can trade their high-value goods for quick cash. The store pays only a fraction of their value, but it gives the borrower the right to reclaim their belongings within a month for a fee. If they don’t, the merchandise goes up for sale.

Pawnshops are an excellent place to find higher-end items. Jewelry, electronics, bicycles, firearms, power tools, and musical instruments all show up on their shelves. 

The prices on the tag aren’t always that much cheaper than retail. However, it’s usually possible to haggle. And pawnbrokers are more willing to offer you a good price if you pay in cash.

Yard & Garage Sales

Yard-sale shopping is a hit-or-miss proposition. You can find all kinds of stuff at great prices — typically no more than one-third of what you’d pay for a similar new item. However, the selection and pricing vary widely from sale to sale. 

The downside is that you can never be sure of finding exactly what you want at any given sale. But if you visit enough sales, you’re almost certain to find something interesting at a reasonable price.


Going to a resale shop or yard sale isn’t like shopping in a department store. You can’t decide what exact item you want to buy down to the model number and color. 

Think of secondhand shopping more like a treasure hunt. On some trips, you may search the shelves for an hour and find nothing useful. But the occasions when you strike it rich — finding the perfect sweater for $5 or a great end table for $10 — make it all worthwhile.

Moreover, there are ways to improve your chances of finding treasure. By adapting your shopping strategies and behaviors, you can find the best values and make the most of your shopping excursion.

1. Choose the Right Store

Just like a real treasure hunt, a successful thrifting excursion starts with knowing where to look. If you’re looking for brand-name clothing, a consignment shop is probably the best place to search. If you want the lowest prices on kids’ clothes for back-to-school, you’re better off shopping at a nonprofit thrift store or yard sale. 

For books, try a secondhand bookstore. For jewelry, try a pawnshop. And for home furnishings, consider flea markets, antique stores, and reuse centers.

The location can also affect the selection. Stores in wealthier parts of town tend to carry higher-end merchandise, while shops in working-class neighborhoods are more likely to have rock-bottom prices.

If the stores in your neighborhood don’t carry the kinds of goods you’re looking for, try branching out to other parts of town. Ask friends about secondhand stores in their area, or do an online search to see what’s available. Then check online reviews to learn more about what each store has to offer.

2. Know Your Local Store

You can shop more efficiently when you’re familiar with your local secondhand options and their policies. Useful things to know include:

  • Store Layout. If you know how the store is organized, you can go straight to the section that carries your size or the type of goods you’re looking for. That saves you time on every shopping trip.
  • Return Policies. At many secondhand stores, all sales are final, even if an item is defective. If your store doesn’t accept returns, it’s good to know that upfront so you can be extra careful about what you buy.
  • Sale Schedule. Some resale shops have end-of-season clearance sales. Others sometimes give you a flat rate to fill up an entire bag. Some, like Goodwill, regularly mark down the oldest wares. By learning when and how sales work, you can show up on the right day to score the best deals.
  • Delivery Schedule. Some stores always receive or put out new merchandise on a specific day and time, such as Monday mornings. Learning when new goods show up lets you get there before other shoppers have picked them over.
  • Available Discounts. Some shops reduce their prices for older people, students, or military members and first responders. Others offer a discount when you buy a lot at once. Always ask about discounts so you get the price you’re entitled to.

There are several ways to get the inside scoop. If they have a contact list, sign up to receive email or text alerts about sales and special deals. You can also follow the store on social media.

But perhaps the best way to know what’s going on is to make friends with the staff. Take a little extra time to chat and get to know them instead of just bustling out with your purchases. 

If they know and like you, they’re more likely to let you in on secrets other customers don’t know. They may even be willing to set stuff aside for you or at least give you a heads up if they know what you’re looking for.

3. Join the Loyalty Program

Some secondhand stores, such as certain Goodwill and Habitat ReStore branches, offer customer loyalty programs. Members earn points they can cash in for coupons or discounts.

If your local thrift store or resale shop has a loyalty program, it’s definitely worth signing up for it. In fact, if you shop at multiple stores that all have loyalty programs, there’s no reason not to sign up for all of them. It costs nothing, and it allows you to earn rewards every time you shop.

4. Use Teamwork

It isn’t always easy to find what you want at resale stores. Racks and shelves can be disorganized, and the selection changes frequently. If you’re not in the right place at the right time, you could miss out on the exact product you’re looking for.

That’s why it helps to have a partner — or several — in your thrifting endeavors. Let your friends know what’s on your shopping list, including details like the brands you like or the size you need, and learn the same about each of them.

That way, whenever you hit the secondhand store, you can shop for each other. If one of you finds something that’s on a friend’s wish list, you can text them a photo to let them know where to find it. They can come in for a quick look or ask you to pick it up for them. 

Another perk of teamwork is that it gives you a fresh perspective. Sometimes, your friends alert you to finds that aren’t on your list — perhaps even things you wouldn’t have thought to buy for yourself. But as soon as you see them, you realize they’re perfect for you.

5. Inspect Merchandise Carefully

Since most secondhand goods are sold as is, you have to scrutinize them before you buy. If you’re buying clothing, check it for rips, stains, odors, or missing buttons. Minor damage isn’t necessarily a deal breaker since you may be able to repair it. But you should take the problems into account when deciding how much you’re willing to pay.

When buying furniture, the most important thing to check is whether it’s sturdy and well made. Examine all the joints to see if they feel secure, and open drawers to see if they glide effortlessly. Sit in chairs to check their comfort. Basically, test it out the way you’d use it in your own home.

With anything that runs on electricity, it’s essential to plug it in and test its function. Check the power button and all controls, and ensure all the accessories and attachments are included and work. If possible, put the item to a full test right there in the store — for instance, put a record on the turntable you want to see how it plays.

6. Only Buy What You’ll Use

If you’re new to secondhand shopping, it’s easy to be bowled over by the amazingly low prices. You can end up loading up a cart with stuff you don’t need just because the prices are so irresistible. 

Then, you get it all home and realize you have no use for a slow cooker, you’re never going to wear a bright-orange sweater, and those jeans are so tight you can’t sit down in them.

Keep your needs and your preferences firmly in mind while you shop. Consider the clothes in your closet and the furnishings in your home, and think about which colors and styles you love the most. Focus on those, and don’t be tempted by “bargains” that aren’t right for you.

Likewise, be careful about falling for clothing that doesn’t quite fit. If you find a slightly too-big garment you love, a tailor may be able to take it in for you. But if it’s too small, don’t buy it hoping to lose weight. Chances are it will just sit in your closet making you unhappy every time you see it. 

If you’re trying to lose weight, wait until you’re down a size before hitting the resale shops. That way, you can try on everything. And since prices are so low, you can pick up a whole new wardrobe for your smaller size without blowing your budget.

7. Shop Out of Season

If you’re shopping for clothing, you can sometimes find better deals on off-season clothes. If you’re shopping for shorts in summer or sweaters in winter, you’re competing with other secondhand shoppers looking for the same garments. The merchandise at thrift shops and yard sales is picked over, and anything you find is likely to be more expensive or less desirable.

To save money, switch it up and look for cool-weather clothes in summer and warm-weather clothes in winter. You’ll have more pieces to choose from, and they’ll probably be cheaper.

This strategy doesn’t work everywhere. For instance, some thrift shops and consignment stores rotate their selections, displaying only season-appropriate clothes.

However, you can still improve your odds of finding good clothes by shopping around the start of the season. In September, when the cool-weather clothes have just appeared on thrift-store shelves, you’ll see everything they have. Wait until February, and you’ll be left with other shoppers’ dregs.

8. Avoid Big Names

When shopping at antique stores, you’re likely to pay more if you focus on big-name manufacturers. For example, an authentic Thomas Chippendale sofa is likely to cost more than a sofa of comparable age and quality from a maker who’s less well-known.

Likewise, at vintage stores and consignment shops, designer clothes and well-known brands are likely to have higher price tags than similar styles from no-name brands. By choosing a knockoff, you can get the look you want for less.

9. Give In to Impulse Buys

Most of the time, impulse buying is a bad idea. If you see something you like but don’t need, it makes more sense to skip it. Often, after taking a few days to think about it, you decide you don’t want it. And if you still want it, you can always go back and buy it.

But at the resale store, you can’t count on today’s great deal to be there tomorrow. These shops usually only have one of each item in stock, so if you leave something behind, someone else could buy it before you have a chance to come back.

That means getting the best values when secondhand shopping sometimes means giving in to impulse purchases. If you see something you love and know you’ll use and the price is right, grab it while you have the chance. 

Even if you end up deciding you don’t love it, you’ve only lost a few bucks. That’s better than spending the next several years searching the stores for that one perfect item you missed out on. And if you decide you don’t want it, you can resell it to recover the money you spent.

10. Negotiate

At many secondhand stores and nearly all pawnshops and yard sales, it’s possible to negotiate a better price than the one you see on the tag. That’s particularly true with oversized items like furniture or appliances. If they’ve been sitting unsold for a while, the manager may decide they’d rather free up the floor space than hold out.

However, stores that allow haggling don’t always advertise it. The only way to find out for sure is to try it. For example, if you’re buying $13 worth of goods, ask if they’d accept $10 for all of it. The worst they can do is say no, and if they do, you haven’t lost anything.

Note that in some establishments, only the owner or manager has the authority to change the prices. If a clerk says no, you can try asking to speak to a manager. But if they’re not available, don’t press the issue. But if you find yourself dealing with a different person on your next visit, try again. You might get a different answer next time.

11. Be Patient

When you shop secondhand, you can’t be sure you’ll find what you’re looking for. Sometimes, you have to walk out empty-handed because there wasn’t a single pair of pants in your size or a single chair that was comfortable to sit in.

Experiences like that can be frustrating, but you shouldn’t let them sour you on thrifting in general. For every frustrating trip, there’s another when you magically seem to find everything on your list — or something amazing you weren’t even looking for.

The key to making this resale magic happen is to give yourself as many opportunities as possible. Stop by your local thrift shop often, whenever you’re in the neighborhood. That gives you more chances to see new goods as they arrive and grab that special piece before it disappears. And hit the brakes for every yard sale you see.

It also helps to keep an open mind. Don’t get stuck on a specific idea of what you want, such as “navy blue L.L. bean turtleneck with whale pattern.” 

Instead, think in general terms about what you need, such as “turtleneck shirts.” That frees you up to consider more goods and find something that wouldn’t have been on your radar otherwise.


Final Word

The thrill of finding bargains at the resale shop can be intoxicating. But it’s best not to get carried away. 

It’s not a good idea to buy used every time. For example, used bike helmets and car seats may present safety hazards. In these cases, stick to brand-new items.

But for many things, secondhand shopping is an easy way to save money. It’s a particularly smart move for people who want to choose sustainable clothing but can’t afford eco-conscious brands. By making your local thrift store your first stop for clothes shopping, you can keep your wardrobe green while sticking to a budget.

If you want to take your secondhand shopping skills to the next level, expand your searches to include secondhand goods that cost nothing at all. By visiting free stores, swap parties, and websites like Freecycle and the Buy Nothing Project, you can get new-to-you stuff for no money at all.

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Source: moneycrashers.com

15 Tips for Young Entrepreneurs Who Want to Start a Successful Business

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Dig Deeper

Additional Resources

The astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson famously said that the best way to encourage our children to become scientists is to get out of their way. He notes that the messes toddlers make are their way of experimenting with the world and exploring it, and only interference by adults starts to turn them away from that curious explorer mindset. 

Much the same can be said of encouraging our children to develop an entrepreneurial spirit. Whether mowing lawns, opening a lemonade stand, or selling creative projects, our kids are consistently looking for ways to earn money, and with it increase their independence. 

Unlike encouraging a spirit of scientific exploration, raising successful aspiring entrepreneurs requires a slightly more hands-on approach. This is more complicated ground with steeper penalties for failure. While your child, tween, or teen flexes their small-business muscles, keep in mind some important ways you can help them in their journey. 

Tips for Young Entrepreneurs Who Want to Start a Successful Business

1. Check the Local Small Business Laws

No local authorities will take issue with a second grader’s lemonade stand, or a fifth grader mowing neighborhood loans. That can’t always be said of a teen earning a few thousand dollars with a small business. Although many business licensing requirements have relaxed in this age of online commerce, you don’t want your teen to lose their earnings to fines and fees. 

Look into the laws surrounding small businesses in your area, and get an expert opinion from somebody in the City Planning Office or local Chamber of Commerce. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s here, and have your teen do most of the work. The necessities of law are part of being an entrepreneur.

If your child’s successful business venture approaches five figures of income, consider looking into formally structuring it as a corporation. This can provide various legal protections, help with compliance with any licensing or permit requirements, and be an important learning experience as you navigate the associated expenses and observances side by side. 

2. Don’t Let the Business Eclipse Academics

Running a small business can be exciting and time-consuming to the point that it tempts your teen away from their schoolwork. If this happens, it’s important to view school as their full-time, regular job and their business venture as a side hustle. This is true even if the small business is making enough money to represent a real opportunity for post-graduation financial success. 

Keep in mind, and remind your teen, that if the business fails they’ll have little to fall back on without at least a high school diploma. Yes, there are examples of famous entrepreneurs who didn’t graduate like Richard Branson and Quentin Tarantino, but there are far more dropouts working low-skill, low-wage jobs to make ends meet.

It can help to set formal goals for academics and the business, and to set those goals on timelines that allow for success in both. If academics falls behind, adjust the goals to prioritize the school work. For kids who are excited about their business, you can write up a business plan and an academics plan, using similar formatting to emphasize the similarities.

As a bonus, balancing academics with having their own company can teach time management skills at a level deeper and more meaningful than any other experience available to teens. 

3. Encourage Them To Take on Employees

Being their own boss teaches young entrepreneurs a lot, but managing other people — especially peers — can teach lessons that no other experience in life can teach. 

If your teen’s business is making money, encourage them to hire a friend, classmate, or younger family member to help with some of the work. This helps them learn about the skills and challenges of leadership while also teaching an important lesson about the value of having help. 

By outsourcing tasks they don’t like or aren’t good at early, your teen starts to learn how to value their time and expertise. It fundamentally changes their relationship with work, and their potential for success. This is a skill many adults still struggle with, and can unlock many doors to success.

Start with younger siblings and cousins as options for your child’s initial labor pool. This not only fosters a stronger relationship between family members, but many states offer exemptions to worker’s compensation and some employment laws when hiring a family member. Check with the laws for your area first, but this can save a surprising amount of money over the run of a business. 

4. Become a Managing Partner

The smartest teen in the world will fall down on some of the basic tasks of business management because they lack the perspective, contextual knowledge, and physical brain development to succeed in those areas. For that reason, it’s smart for you to fill a role as a managing partner when your child decides to start their own business.

Depending on your teen’s skill level and business experience, your role might just be to check in once every other week to make sure certain tasks are getting done. It might be to handle the books and business metrics. You might even take on the duties of the sales department or bookkeeping. Your mileage will vary, but getting involved helps them succeed while simultaneously demonstrating that you care about their success.

Partnering with your child in a business carries a second benefit beyond improving their potential business success. By working together on a business, you build a relationship that lasts long after they leave the house. Whether the enterprise fails catastrophically or makes the whole family rich, the shared experience is irreplaceable.

If your child needs some start-up cash, you can use a managing partnership as a condition of giving them an informal business loan. Like real investors in the business world, you grant them starting funds but require a hand on the business’s operations to protect your investment. 

5. Start With Scalability

Before taking on their first client for any business idea, your teen should think about and develop a plan for how to build up to a second client, and a third. They should also have an idea of the maximum number of clients they can serve given the realities of their schedule and access to transportation, and a plan for going beyond that number if they’re experiencing rapid success. 

A plan to scale up is important even at the beginning stages to start a business. Even if your teen never implements any of it, and only makes some pocket change off a valuable experiment, the exercise will introduce them to a success concept many adults never learn about.

It bears repeating that you must make certain any plans for scalability take academic, athletic, and social needs into account. This might mean artificially slowing the company’s growth during homecoming or baseball season, but that’s all right. Entrepreneurially-minded kids need early and repeated lessons in work-life balance, which can start right here. 

6. Be Ready for Taxes

Like with your local business regulations, the IRS and your state Department of Revenue won’t much care about a kid making a few bucks, but if your teen has self-employment income of at least $400 from their own business, they’re responsible to report it and potentially pay taxes. If they earn enough money, it can even interfere with their status as a claimable dependent. 

Talk to your accountant about this, and set up a plan for dealing with that part of your teen’s entrepreneurial journey. If they become small-business owners for life, taxes will be their constant companion over the course of their career. 

Although companies like H&R Block and TurboTax offer online corporate, small-business, and self-employment filing options, it’s often worth it to hire a CPA to do business taxes. If you keep your books organized, the amount they charge for the service is reliably lower than the deductions they help you find. 

7. Remember Community Resources

Almost every city, county, state, and special interest organization has some sort of resources for small-business owners. These may include in-person education, online classes, grants and loans, mentorship access, or work spaces filled with expensive, specialized tools. They’re out there, often paid for with your tax dollars, waiting to be used.

Not all such opportunities are open to teens, but in many cases the staff will be excited about somebody getting involved so young and become even more enthusiastic about contributing success tips. LinkedIn and local meetups can be good sources for mentoring and success tips, as long as you monitor and curate the adults your child meets. Encourage your teen to check into these opportunities in the community.

When seeking resources and help, don’t forget your child is still in school. Many schools have business classes, workshops, technical equipment, social media advice, and experts on hand any student can access for help with projects. Many teachers and counselors will be eager to help, especially those with business knowledge or experience they rarely access on the average school day. 

8. Begin With the Goal In Mind

This advice from business management legend Steven Covey is a classic for a reason. Whatever business model your teen decides to pursue, they should begin the journey thinking about how they want it to end, with clearly defined goals set from the beginning. 

Starting a new business to earn money for a car requires one set of circumstances, warrants a certain amount of time and financial investment, and has a lifespan of a set number of weeks or months. Starting the same new business as something your teen might want to make into a career changes every one of those aspects. 

There is no right or wrong goal here, but starting without one in mind is almost always a mistake. Even the best business in the world can falter and fail without a strong guiding goal.

Sit with your budding entrepreneur early in the process and ask what they hope to accomplish. “Making a few bucks” is a fine goal, but nail down specifics. That top-level goal can help them assign priorities, make wise purchases, and set up timelines for tasks in ways they would not otherwise. 

9. Teach Them How to Set Goals — Then Apply Them

Knowing how to set goals isn’t just important for small-business success. It will help your child succeed in whatever endeavors they take on at school, in college, and beyond. 

It’s easy to start with a smaller goal — something that will take multiple days of effort but which will absolutely happen if the child does their part. 

For example, saving enough money for a $20 video game is a good initial goal. They set a goal of earning $1 per day for a month, with up to 11 days off. As long as they achieve their daily targets, they’ll be able to get the game. Winning the lottery is a bad initial goal because even if they succeed at buying a ticket every week, there’s no guarantee of winning. 

Tying cash flow to realistic goal setting introduces them to the concept of setting goals and attaining them. Whether or not this small business works out, the experience of working toward a concrete goal and its inherent lesson will serve your young entrepreneur well for the rest of their life.

Teach your young entrepreneur to write down their goals and commit to a timeline for completion. When they reach the end of their timeline, assess with them how they did. If they didn’t reach their goal, what might they do differently next time? If they did, what might they do to succeed even more or faster? As they establish a track record of success and understanding, move to loftier, more complex, and less guaranteed goals. 

10. Model Smart Risk-Taking

A business is only successful if its key decision-makers are willing to take risks, and if most of those risks work out. Taking risks may seem like a natural part of childhood, but when you add money and parental approval, suddenly those risks feel much more intimidating. 

The best way to help your child overcome this challenge is to live by example. Demonstrate taking small and large risks in everyday life. Better yet, talk with your child about those risks. Discuss what made them risky, how you analyzed the dangers and benefits, what you gained from the gamble, and especially what you did to minimize the impact if the risk didn’t work out. 

Once you’ve made a habit of having that talk with your child, you can use it as a framework for assessing the risks associated with their business. This doesn’t just help their business succeed, but helps them practice and master a vital life skill.

11. Foster Creativity

Creativity is a skill. Like all other skills, it gets better with practice and fades if not used. 

Creativity is also essential to small-business success, and success in the business world overall. It’s how your child will come up with a working business model, how they will expand on their idea to help the business grow, and how they will devise solutions to the problems and challenges they encounter. 

Some ways to help build that creativity in your child include:

  • Make up stories together instead of reading them at some bedtimes
  • Play pretend games with your child, ranging from make-believe to more structured activities like Dungeons & Dragons or theater sports
  • Set aside art time and craft time, where your child plays creatively
  • Get out of the habit of simply answering questions or solving problems, but instead create the habit of exploring answers together
  • Play “what if” games, where your child explores the possibilities of simple changes to life or the world around them
  • Set up time for your child to get bored, then let them find new ways to fill that time

Most importantly, resist the temptation to come swiftly to the rescue when your child encounters a challenge. As long as it’s safe, let them find their own creative solutions. If you always swoop in to save the day, they never learn to develop their own creative problem-solving. Instead, they look to others for help — a habit that is absolutely lethal to entrepreneurial success.

12. Show Them How to Ask For Help

One of the ways schools often hurt our children is by how often they insist kids work on their own. Asking a classmate for clarification is punished as being disruptive in class. Looking up a tutorial to help with your homework can be considered cheating. Although this is sometimes necessary within the context of school, a small-business owner can always ask for help. 

Model finding help so your kids can see you asking your parents or partner, polling social media groups, calling an expert with applicable know-how, or looking for an instructional video on YouTube. Make this normal and encouraged — a tool you use to succeed at your goals just like any other resource. Knowing who to ask for help and how is a key success factor in any form of entrepreneurship.

When your kid is comfortable asking for help, show them some of the best ways to do it. Explore online tutorials and free trainings, and look for resources at the library, Chamber of Commerce, and local small-business authorities. Share audiobooks and podcasts together while running errands or on road trips. 

Teach your kids early and often how much help is out there, where to find it, and how to tell the good advice from the bad. 

13. Reward Failure Whenever You Can

World-famous Brazilian jiujitsu competitor Rickson Gracie writes in his memoir that at his first jiujitsu match, his father said to him, “Win and I will give you a present. Lose and I will give you two presents.”

It’s a little transactional to be appropriate for most kids, but the spirit is solid. 

Children — and adults — who are afraid of failure often can’t make the decisions necessary to succeed in business. So embrace failure when your children lose a game, make a mistake, or fall short of a goal. 

Your children will probably fail the first time they try something, because most people do. Nobody is born with everything you need to succeed on the first attempt. 

Congratulate them for having tried, and share honestly the ways they made you proud. Talk about what variables they controlled they could change the next time they try, and what they might do to minimize what they can’t control or change. 

Most importantly, share that it’s okay to be disappointed in the outcome, but that you will never be disappointed in them as a person. The short-term pain of trying and failing leads to the long-term gain of succeeding at something hard. 

14. Make Them Find a Way

Rob Kiyosaki, author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” tells a story about how he was given a job as a child that paid nothing. His friend’s father, who gave him that job, instead challenged him to find a way to make money with what he learned from that work. 

The work in question was cleaning up in a convenience store. Young Rob found a loophole in how comic books were distributed, and used it to create a comic book rental operation in his parents’ basement. 

That’s not to say you should be that extreme in your approach to training your child to solve problems and find business opportunities. But you can foster more independence and creativity by backing off a little more than you’re comfortable with when they ask for help. Make them identify the problem decisively and find their own solutions, then reward them for the effort even if the solution they try doesn’t work. 

Necessity is the mother of invention, so help your child experience necessity more often and see what they invent. Whether the finished product becomes a full-time adult income or just some after school pocket money, the lessons they learn will last. 

15. Don’t Let Them Cut Corners

Attention to detail and a willingness to work hard are two of the most important traits of a successful entrepreneur. Without micromanaging, watch how they approach the work of their business and help them see the value in doing it right from the beginning. 

This can sometimes lead to friction. Kids and teens are not always known for either of those characteristics. That’s okay. If you work through it well, you’ve accomplished two goals. The first is helping your child succeed with their business by pushing them to deliver quality for themselves and their customers. 

The second is even more important. Once they see the results of the extra effort, they begin to internalize its importance. That lesson will carry past the business into their academics, athletics, and relationships. It will set them up for success no matter where they go in their adult lives. 


Final Word

Whether your child is destined to make $1 million by age 18 or to fondly remember a summer they spent working for themselves, they can benefit from what starting a small-business teaches. 

Your role in this isn’t to do it for them, or to stand in their way, but to balance between the two. Lend enough support to allow them to flourish, but keep your hands off enough that they can truly say they accomplished the most important parts by themselves. That’s not just how you set up young entrepreneurs to succeed — it’s how you raise happy, empowered children.

Always remember: keep it light and fun. The goal here is not to raise the next Steve Jobs or see your kid on the cover of Forbes before they’re old enough to drive. It’s to teach them valuable life lessons they can apply to a new business, online business, or simply going to work. 

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Source: moneycrashers.com

How I Made $2,000 in 1 Week by Writing an eBook

Hey everyone! Today, my fellow female finance blogger, Fiona Smith, is going to show you how she made $2,000 in 1 week by self-publishing an ebook on Gumroad. Fiona is the creator of The Millennial Money Woman, she’s been featured on Forbes, she’s a speaker at the national FinCon 2021 conference, and she’s a co-founder of a local non-profit charity, promoting financial literacy to underprivileged minorities. Today, Fiona will teach you how to potentially make a few extra $1,000 a month by writing an ebook. Take it away Fiona!

Hey guys and gals! How I Made $2,000 in 1 Week by Self-Publishing an eBook

How I Made $2,000 in 1 Week by Self-Publishing an eBook

My name is Fiona aka The Millennial Money Woman. I run my own personal finance blog and love helping others make more money and build long-term wealth.

If you had told me in early 2020 that I would soon make $2,000 in 1 week by self-publishing an ebook, I would have probably looked at you like you’re crazy!

I’ve always had an inner author and always thought about writing a book. I just never got around to it because, you know, life.

And for whatever reason, in the middle of the pandemic, I had the urge to write, publish, and sell an ebook about personal finance!

Here’s a bit of my personal story:

When I was young, I saw my grandparents lose everything they ever put into their small family business due to poor financial planning. 

From that day forward, I swore to myself that I would never go through the financial difficulties that my grandparents faced. 

I also swore to myself that I would try to help everyone I could to avoid making the same financial mistakes my grandparents once made. 

That’s why I committed myself to the path of learning about personal finance (I earned my Master’s Degree in Personal Financial Planning) to give others the tools that I wish I had growing up.

…And that’s ultimately how I came up with my ebook topic: How to Get Rich from Nothing.

My ebook doesn’t necessarily define “rich” as just having money.

In my ebook, “rich” also means:

  • Building a rich mindset
  • Developing rich relationships
  • Maintaining a rich outlook on life

…You get the point. 

And you know what?

Although I was admittedly a bit scared to write the book (because I was afraid that it would be a total flop), I decided to sit down one morning and put pen to paper. It was time I show the world what The Millennial Money Woman was made of. 

Now, 2 months after my first ever ebook release, I can happily tell you that in my first week of selling my ebook, I’ve made more than $2,000!

And in this article, I’m going to show you exactly how I did it.

Related content:

How to Make Money by Writing an eBook

The cool thing about writing ebooks is that there’s no secret code or formula to making money.

You can write an ebook that’s 5,000 words long or 100,000 words long. It could be a fiction novel or it could be an educational resource (like mine). It could be about the different types of dirt used on a golf course or it could be about how to start a blog.

Like I said, there’s no secret sauce.

The only key ingredient that holds true for any profitable passive income is to start! You won’t know your potential if you don’t give it a shot. 

As Wayne Gretzky famously once said, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

So, here are some things you may want to keep in mind as you start writing your ebook:

  • Start with a topic where you have “expert” knowledge
  • Set mini-goals so that you finish the book on time
  • Write in simple, plain-English text
  • Proofread & re-edit often

This is the key to writing a successful ebook:

Write something that you’re passionate about – because you will spend a lot of time on your ebook (I took about 100+ hours from start to finish!). 

Imagine spending 100+ hours writing something that you don’t enjoy talking about!

That’s tragic – and such a waste of time. 

Set Mini-Goals

I would not have completed my ebook in 1 month if I had not set mini-goals.

Typically, it takes about 4 to 8 months for the average author to complete a book.

Because I’m trying to promote myself, my work, and my ebook in the shortest amount of time possible, I knew that time is of the essence, which is why I pushed to finish my ebook in just 1 month.

Imagine hearing yourself say, “I want to publish and sell my ebook in exactly 1 month from today.”

How would that make you feel?

Would you get heart palpitations? Would you feel anxious? Would you feel so overwhelmed that you wouldn’t know where to start?

Yep, that was me.

Here’s how I got over my paralysis and anxiety:

I broke my big goal (finishing a book in 1 month) into much smaller, more achievable goals. 

And, guess what? It worked.

Here’s what I did:

  • First, I figured out how many chapters my book would have (turns out I wanted 14 chapters)
  • Second, I determined what each chapter would cover
  • Third, I determined roughly how many words each chapter would have (turns out between 1,500 to 2,500)
  • Fourth, I determined how long it would take me to write each chapter (between 1 day to 2 days)
  • Fifth, I arranged for someone else to proofread my book once I finished the first draft
  • Sixth, I figured out a basic marketing strategy to promote my ebook on my Twitter account

After exactly 2 weeks (14 days for 14 chapters), I had someone re-read my first draft after which I [heavily] edited my ebook and re-read my book again for more edits. 

After exactly 3 weeks, I had a preliminary draft completed with a cover image that I created using Canva (see below).

After exactly 4 weeks, I had finalized my ebook, written 3 drafts, and had accomplished my pre-marketing strategy. 

Was I successful?

My goal, at the official launch, was to sell exactly 1 ebook (I set my sights low). 

By the end of week 1, I had made over $2,000 on ebook sales. I honestly couldn’t believe it – I was literally earning money in my sleep. 

All of this was made possible because I decided to break down this 1 huge goal of selling my ebook in 1 month into tiny little mini-goals.

After each mini-goal was accomplished, I moved on to the next step.

I created a structure for myself (and I work very well with a structure) so that I could stay in line with my overarching goal while not overwhelming myself without knowing where to start.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

I’ve published over 100 blog posts in the past 12 months on my website.

My blog posts are typically 3,000 to 6,000 words each, so they’re lengthy, they’re well-researched, and they offer lots of visual graphics about finance.

So, as I started writing my ebook, which is about finance, I had an idea…

If you already run a blog or have content written about the same or similar topic you’re planning to write about in your ebook – consider repurposing your old text!

Why reinvent the wheel if you already took the time previously to write about the same/similar topic?

Believe it or not (and I’m living proof), people who value your content and thoughts will pay money for an ebook with similar information that they can find on your blog, website, etc. for free. 

Why?

Because an ebook is typically a thoughtful curation of your finest work – carefully selected in an order that is often easier to read than on a blog or website, for example. 

Of course, you wouldn’t want to have your ebook be exactly the same as your previous content – your audience will notice that you didn’t put effort into the ebook.

And if your audience notices you didn’t put in effort, they can leave their remarks via ebook reviews or lower-star ratings (which will hurt your sales and your reputation). 

Put in the work, edit the text, and make sure that the content you provide makes sense, adds value, and flows.

Your eBook Marketing Strategy

Guys and gals – I cannot say it enough: Your network is key.

How do you expect to sell your ebook if you don’t have anyone to sell it to?

Here are some things you’ll probably want:

  • A social media following
  • A website following (potentially)
  • Ambassadors to help promote your book
  • An email or e-newsletter with a wide reach

I’m not saying you need 10,000’s of followers on social media to make a profit on your ebook. In fact, you can see profitable numbers if you “just” have a few hundred followers. 

That’s because the quality of your audience matters – not the quantity.

Would you rather have 10,000 unengaged followers or 1,000 high-quality, engaged followers – who would buy your book if you push a marketing campaign their way?

I know which option I’d take.

A good marketing strategy honestly should start before you start selling your ebook. 

I started promoting my ebook the day I started writing my ebook!

Why?

Because I wanted to see if my audience was even interested in buying my ebook – I didn’t want to spend 100+ hours on my ebook if I was only going to generate $100 in sales.

Here’s what I did:

I made sure I slipped into the inboxes of all of the important “influencers” in my niche (finance) – both on and off of Twitter – and asked them their candid, honest opinion:

Would they be willing to spend $15 on another finance book?

The only caveat is that this finance book was structured as a 14-week program, with actionable advice, written in simple English without technical jargon, and offered advice from a Millennial for Millennials.

And you know what?

I had a lot of positive feedback and a lot of constructive feedback. I used that constructive feedback to improve the overall format and outline of my ebook. 

Don’t ever shy away from constructive feedback. It will make you better.

Here’s how I started my ebook marketing strategy:

  • Market ebook before it is officially published to garner interest
  • Promote your ebook 1x to 2x times per day on your social media account
  • Send invitations to your niche influencers to read & review your ebook for free
  • Ask the top influencers of your niche to share your ebook link on its official launch day

And this is what my launch tweet looked like:

Another marketing strategy is to offer your book on a pre-order basis.

You’re basically selling a product that doesn’t exist yet – and you’re still making money!

If you receive 0 interest, you can cancel your project, save yourself some time, and give everyone a refund that has purchased your pre-order. 

If your pre-orders come in hot, then you better make sure you can deliver what you promised your audience. 

Your Earning Potential

I get a lot of questions about how much money you could expect to earn with an ebook.

And the answer is this: It completely depends.

Honestly, it depends on a lot of things like:

  • Your niche
  • Your expertise
  • Your audience
  • Your popularity

When I wrote my first ebook, I was honestly a nobody – and I was writing about a topic that has been talked about so many times before.

In other words, my niche was pretty saturated.

But here’s how I differentiated myself: 

My value proposition was that I would write my personal finance book in an easy-to-read, visually effective, and story-like manner. 

I also didn’t just talk about money in the form of numbers.

I included many anecdotes, stories, and my past experiences (with my millionaire mentor) in the hopes that my readers would pick up the same valuable information that I did from my mentor.

Once my book was ready to publish, I used the publishing and sales platform known as Gumroad.

Gumroad is an online platform that offers either free accounts or premium accounts for new users (if you’re serious about making sales on Gumroad, then the premium account – although more expensive initially – is worth the price). 

I’ve published my book using the premium Gumroad account, and haven’t looked back since.

So how much can you earn by selling an ebook?

You can earn between $50 to $5,000+ per month.

How much you earn is completely up to you. 

It also largely depends on how often you market your ebook (marketing it too many times is spammy and marketing it too little won’t give you the sales). 

I promoted my ebook between 1x to 2x per day. 

That’s it. 

Just make sure that whichever platform you use to promote your new ebook (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, your website, your newsletter, etc.), you are authentic and genuine.

You don’t want to come across as pushy or aggressive, because that could cost you your followers (and likely reputation). 

You should also be aware of this:

Typically speaking, your ebook will earn you the most money at the beginning of your launch – that’s because you’ve [hopefully] promoted the ebook in the weeks and days coming up to its official launch. 

As the weeks turn into months after your ebook launch, chances are the demand (aka your profits) of your ebook will wane.

That’s totally normal and expected.

You can always bring back the original hype about your ebook by doing things like this:

  • Go on a podcast and promote your ebook
  • Add a new section or chapter to your ebook
  • Give away something for free with your ebook
  • Promote a notice that your ebook prices will increase soon

There are savvy ways to reignite the hype of your ebook. 

Or – you could simply write a new ebook!

Why Writing Ebooks is an Awesome Side Hustle

Writing (and selling!) ebooks is honestly one of the best side hustles. 

Why?

Because you can literally make money while you sleep. 

I’ve never earned money in my sleep before (aside from maybe my stock market investments), and I’ll never forget the first time I awoke to a Gumroad email on my phone that gave off a loud “ping!,” notifying me that I had just made a sale. 

I wasn’t even working!

And I made money. 

Ok, so I made $15, which in the grand scheme of things, isn’t a lot of money.

But for me, passively earning $15 from my first sale shattered a glass ceiling. 

I finally realized the power of earning passive income – and how passive income could literally change your life forever.

How?

Earning money passively – like by selling an ebook – is one of the very few ways (aside from maybe being a business owner) that can help you escape the daily grind of the 9 to 5 job. 

If your goal is to have the freedom to choose whether you want to work or spend time with your family on any given day, then passive income from ebooks could be a great start.

Your side hustle income could literally help you earn your way to early retirement.

The money that you make with passive income can help you:

  • Save more
  • Invest more
  • Pay off debt
  • Build wealth

The possibilities are endless. 

You just have to recognize the opportunity.

Closing Thoughts

If you want to earn some side income, but don’t know how, then you should seriously consider writing and selling an ebook. 

Speaking from personal experience, an ebook is one of the best side hustle incomes you can earn. I mean, who doesn’t want to earn an extra $2,000 per week?

I sure could use an extra $2,000!

The beauty of ebooks is that the process can be 100% free – you don’t have to hire an editor, an advertising agency to promote your ebook, or a publishing company. 

So aside from the opportunity cost of spending your time writing the book, you’re basically looking at a 100% profit!

Hopefully you’re not like me, where I took 4+ years to realize my vision and pursue what I love (writing and helping Millennials understand personal finance). Instead, if you are an expert in a certain area – I don’t care if it’s dog training or cookie baking – you should consider writing an ebook and using your network to promote your work. 

Don’t wait for tomorrow if you can do it today.

Your bank accounts will thank me later. 

For those of you who are wondering which ebook I wrote, mine is called How to Get Rich from Nothing. The book is designed to help you “get rich” not just financially but also “get rich” through your network, your mindset, your spirit, and your future goals.

Are you interested in writing a book? What questions do you have for Fiona on this topic?

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Source: makingsenseofcents.com

How to Find The Best Renters for Your Apartment Community

Following this step-by-step guide will help ensure you find the best tenants for your rental property.

Finding good renters is something many property owners wonder about, especially if they’re new to owning apartments or other rental property. Choosing the best renters is crucial to your success as a property owner, but it can also be challenging. Finding a tenant requires careful screening and due diligence on your part.

What really makes a great renter? Someone who pays their rent on time each month ensures that you have a steady stream of money coming in. But cash flow isn’t everything. You also want someone who will take care of the property, communicate with you, follow all of the lease provisions and stick around for as long as possible.

The average tenant lives in a rental unit for just over two years. So, creating a streamlined process for advertising your rental and finding, screening and selecting tenants will save you time when a tenant moves out and help you rent the unit to someone else more quickly.

These 11 steps for how to find renters for your apartment community will help.

1. Get familiar with local tenant laws

Landlord-tenant laws vary widely by state and even sometimes by city and county. The laws often specify property requirements and the responsibilities of the property owner. Before you start advertising your rental and looking for tenants, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with local rules and regulations.

Additionally, you must follow the federal Fair Housing Act, which protects people from discrimination when renting a home. The law prohibits discrimination in housing based on the following protected classes:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial status (for example, people with children or single parents)
  • Disability

2. Consider hiring a property manager

If you’re new to owning rental property, hiring a property manager may be a worthwhile investment. Property managers are experienced in the local real estate market and know how to find renters quickly and effectively. They advertise the property, show it to potential tenants, review applications, screen tenants and get leases signed.

Once a tenant moves in, a property manager will take care of the day-to-day aspects of the rental, including coordinating repairs and answering questions. Property managers typically charge between 5 percent and 10 percent of the monthly rent, according to HomeAdvisor. But it might be worth it if it will save you time and a few headaches.

3. Create a detailed rental ad

Writing a detailed, unique ad for the rental attracts attention and helps find tenants quickly. Make sure your advertisement includes:

  • A description of the property
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Details about property amenities like a pool or playground
  • Rent price
  • The date it is available
  • Your contact information
  • Several accurate, high-quality photos of the home

Be sure that your ad follows all local landlord-tenant laws and the Fair Housing Act. The law prohibits ads that suggest a preference, limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin.

Determining rental price

Determining rental price

4. Price the rental competitively

Deciding how much to charge for rent can be challenging, especially as the real estate market remains in flux. The average rent for an apartment is up about 20 percent over the past year, according to Apartment Guide.

Just because rent prices are going up doesn’t mean you can or should charge exorbitant prices. Pricing the rental property competitively is the best way to find renters. It’s a good idea to check out similar properties in your area and align your rent prices with them.

5. Advertise your property in multiple ways

Placing a “for rent” sign in front of the property is a great way to let passersby know it’s available. But, when it comes to finding renters, it may not capture everyone who’s looking for a home in the area. The truth is most renters start their search online. Advertising a rental online using these channels will broaden your reach:

  • Use your website: If you own several rental properties, set up a website to advertise the available units. Just update it as soon as you know one of your properties will become vacant.
  • Post on social media: Share your rental listing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and ask family and friends to share it, too. You can also post ads for the property in local Facebook groups.
  • Create a listing on Rent.com: Whether you have a rental house, condo or apartment community, posting the listing on Rent.com allows you to reach about 10 million potential renters. The site also enables you to accept applications, screen tenants and take rent payments online.

Other advertising options for how to find renters include placing an ad in a local newspaper or distributing flyers around the neighborhood, such as local grocery stores or libraries.

6. Show the property

When you get calls from your rental ad, be sure to respond promptly and schedule individual showings with anyone interested in seeing the home. Tours allow potential tenants to see the unit in person, ask questions and decide if the place meets their needs.

Showings are also a great time to get a sense of whether the person will be a responsible tenant. Be prepared to openly discuss the rent price (including whether you’ll negotiate the rate), the amount of the security deposits and fees, policies such as whether you allow pets and how you handle repairs and the application and screening process.

Along with individual showings, schedule a couple of open houses that are open to anyone. Open houses will attract a broad group of prospective tenants who can drop by and scope out the property on their own. If they’re interested, they can ask questions about applying to rent the unit.

Professional young woman

Professional young woman

7. Sell yourself as much as the rental

Renters are, of course, looking for a nice place to call home. But they also want to rent from someone who’s respectful and professional. When you meet potential tenants for the first time, it’s your time to shine. Respond to calls or emails promptly, be on time for meetings, behave in a friendly and professional manner and be upfront about the property, rent and the process for screening tenants.

The goal should be to establish a long-term relationship with renters. Following through on any promises and treating renters with respect is a chance to solidify that bond. Once they move in, always respond timely to requests, make repairs when needed, listen to their concerns and generally keep the lines of communication open. Keeping renters happy will likely encourage them to live in the home longer.

8. Take rental applications

Create a standard rental application with the same questions and requirements to use with all potential renters. A standard application ensures you’re treating all applicants equally and complying with state, local and federal housing laws. Applications typically ask for someone’s contact details, proof of income, emergency contact, references, rental history, pet information and a photo ID. Charging an application fee of $20 to $50 covers the cost of processing the applications and conducting background checks.

If more than one person plans to move into the rental, consider having everyone apply separately, especially if they’ll be paying rent separately. One renter can apply and still have a roommate, however. They just need to specify that in their application and the situation must comply with rental property laws.

Once you receive an application, date it and note the time it was received. Then, do a quick review, just to make sure the applicant answered all of the questions and provided the required information. If anything is missing, ask them to submit those items. When you get multiple applications for the same property, create a spreadsheet to help you track each one and decide which renter is most qualified.

9. Screen potential tenants

The application provides all the information you need to screen tenants. There are several types of screenings to conduct to verify that an applicant is qualified to rent the property — just make sure you use the same screening process with everyone:

Check references

Contact previous landlords, employers and personal references to find out about an applicant’s rental history, financial situation and general stability. Ask how the reference knows the applicant (in case they misrepresent friends as employers, for example) and when verifying income, keep in mind some companies have policies against providing details about employees. Ask yes or no questions, like “[Applicant’s name] said she earns $5,000 a month working there. Is that true?”

Do a credit check

Running a credit report will help verify an applicant’s financial history, including whether they pay bills on time, their credit score and past evictions or bankruptcies. Avoid basing everything on credit score alone, however, as people just establishing their credit might have a lower score or someone may have encountered a hefty medical bill.

Run a background check

Criminal conviction information is public and available at local courthouses. You usually just need a person’s birth date and full name to run a background check. But double-check local renter laws to make sure they permit criminal background checks for tenants. For example, some states prohibit property owners from discriminating against tenants with certain types of convictions, but you’re allowed to check sex offender registries.

Review rental history

Try to talk to at least one of an applicant’s previous landlords to find out if they paid rent on time, why they moved, how they maintained the property, whether they caused damage and if they gave notice before moving.

Happy young couple getting keys

Happy young couple getting keys

10. Decide what makes a qualified tenant

Property owners can decide what makes a qualified tenant, as long the qualifications comply with federal, state or local housing laws and avoid discrimination. Set standards for qualifications that you apply to everyone. Here are some examples of what you might require:

  • The renter’s income to be at least three times the monthly rent. Since most renters pay about 30 percent of their income in rent, this ensures they’ll have enough to cover rent each month.
  • A “fair” credit score of at least 600. More importantly, check the individual’s bill payment history and verify employment.
  • Impeccable references from past landlords, showing that the tenant hasn’t been evicted in the past.
  • No past criminal felony convictions, if this is allowed based on your local tenant laws.
  • A tenant may need a co-signer or guarantor if they don’t meet the requirements.

11. Prepare and sign the lease

Never rely on a verbal agreement with a renter. You need a lease that outlines your responsibilities and the tenant’s responsibilities while they’re living in the apartment. The lease should specify who’s responsible for which repairs and maintenance, when rent is due, how rent should be paid, pet policies, roommate policies, how lease renewals are handled and how much notice a renter should give before moving out. The lease protects you and the renter.

After you’ve reviewed applications, screened applicants and decided who meets the qualifications, go over the lease with the prospective tenant to make sure they understand everything. You can also negotiate portions of the lease, such as whether pets are allowed or if certain utilities will be included.

Once the lease is finalized and everyone agrees to its provisions, you and the tenant sign it. You’ll collect the security deposit and pet fees and decide on a move-in date. Be sure to give renters a copy of the signed lease and keep a copy in your records.

How to find renters

Learning how to find the best renters is a critical part of owning a rental property. Tenants that pay on time, communicate effectively and take care of the apartment or house are your best option, and there are several ways to find them. When you find top-notch tenants, you can build lasting relationships that ensure your property generates income and keeps vacancies to a minimum.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or financial advice. Readers are encouraged to seek professional legal or financial advice as they may deem it necessary.

Source: rent.com