How To Write a 30-Day Notice Letter To Your Landlord

Sending a notice to vacate to your current landlord will help ensure a smooth and easy transition to your next place.

You absolutely love your current apartment. Everything about it has been perfect, but you realize it’s time to move on. Even though your lease has a defined end date, it’s common courtesy to notify your landlord that you’re ready to move.

Submitting a 30-day notice letter to your landlord is the proper way to get the ball rolling. Not only will it ensure everyone is on the same page about you moving out, it makes sure you’re all on the same schedule.

Why do I give a notice to vacate?

One of the hardest things to remember about leasing an apartment is that it’s a legal transaction. You sign a legal document to move in, so you need to create a document when you want to move out.

A notice to vacate is the letter you give your landlord stating your intention to terminate your lease. The specifics of how to submit this letter — and when — is usually a part of your rental agreement. Even if your lease has a set end date and that’s when you’re moving out, submitting an official letter makes your intentions clear and avoids confusion.

Is a 30-day notice letter to my landlord the norm?

While it’s pretty standard to provide 30 days’ notice of your intent to move out, not every lease sets the notification period to the same amount of days. Some landlords may want more notice, transforming your 30-day notice letter to a 45- or 60-day letter.

Your lease provides any clarification you need on when to send this letter, so it’s best to check it well before you plan on moving out.

Thinking of what to include in a letter

Thinking of what to include in a letter

What should the notice letter look like?

There are a few essential elements that belong in your notice to vacate letter and a few best practices to follow. First, make sure your letter has:

  • Your name, your current address and the date
  • The date on which you plan to move out
  • A forwarding address where your security deposit can go
  • Acknowledgment that a final inspection will occur

Additionally, it’s best if you:

  • Review your lease before writing your letter to check not only on a time frame to give notice but other requirements for moving out.
  • Type your letter rather than write it by hand. Use a pen for your signature, but typing the letter makes it easier to keep a record for yourself.
  • Keep the tone straightforward and polite. Stay on the topic of giving your notice and don’t bring up other issues or complaints.

Even if your lease doesn’t require you to send a formal letter if you’re moving out on the actual date your rental agreement ends, err on the side of caution and do so anyway. This gives you a paper trail and offers you legal protection should any issues arise down the road.

A 30-day notice letter template

This template can help you get started when it’s time to write your own 30-day notice letter to your landlord. Simply download the 30-day notice sample letter and replace the sections in parenthesis ( ) with your information.

(Your name)
(Street address and unit number)
(City, State and ZIP Code)

(Date)

(Landlord or property manager’s name)
(Property address)
(City, State and ZIP Code)

Re: Notice of Intent to Vacate

Dear (Landlord or property manager’s name),

This letter is to inform you of my official 30-day notice to vacate. I’d like to terminate the lease signed on (Month, Date, Year) for the property located at (Your address with apartment number). I will move out on (Date).

I will return my keys on (Move out date) to (Specific address) per the terms of my lease.

I’m also aware a final inspection of the apartment will take place, the results of which could potentially impact my security deposit. Please let me know, via email at (Your email address), if the full amount is not being returned. You can return my security deposit to (Forwarding address.)

Should you have any questions, or need to reach me after I move out, you can contact me at (Phone number) or (Email address).

Sincerely,

(Your name and signature)
(Apartment number)

Sharing why you’re moving out

This is an optional bit of information you can include in your letter. It’s not necessary to tell your landlord why you’re moving out, but sometimes it’s nice for them to know that it’s not the apartment driving you away.

If you’d like, add in a sentence to your letter along these lines: I’ve enjoyed living here and am moving out because of a (new job/relocation opportunity/roommate opportunity, etc.).

If you’re moving out because of an issue with the apartment and want to share it here, that’s OK, too, just try and remain diplomatic. You don’t want to use your letter as an opportunity to accuse your landlord of anything. Try something like: I’m leaving because of (a rent increase, issue with apartment). You don’t need to get really detailed, either.

Again, this additional line is completely optional and up to you entirely.

Hire a moving company

Hire a moving company

What happens after your notice to vacate?

Once you’ve submitted your official letter, it’s a good idea to reach out to your landlord and informally share your plans. You can also notify them your letter is coming and address any questions they may have without having to wait.

The next steps involve planning your move. If you haven’t found a new place to live yet, get searching. You may also want to schedule movers since you’ve now established your move-out day with your 30-day notice letter to your landlord.

What if I forget?

The biggest possible issue, should you forget to send a 30-day notice letter to your landlord, is penalties. You could end up on the hook for extra fees as high as another month’s rent. You could also end up dealing with an automatic lease renewal, which means having to break your lease to move out. This could lead to even more charges and potential problems since you’ve missed your window to easily vacate the apartment.

To avoid forgetting, as soon as you know you’re going to move, set a reminder for yourself to give 30-day notice and mark the cut-off date in your calendar. Give yourself as many ways as possible to get that letter sent.

Handling the termination of your lease right

Moving from one home to another is always full of little details. From scheduling movers to packing all your stuff, the weeks leading up to a move are busy.

Before you get into the weeds of your actual move, take the right steps to properly prepare your landlord. That all starts by giving notice of your intent to vacate. It will be the easiest and the less time-consuming thing you have to do during the move-out process and could make a big difference.

Source: rent.com

The Best West Elm-Style Home Decor From Walmart – Us Weekly

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Decorating a home can feel daunting, but nothing feels as rewarding as seeing a space come together. Once we complete a new room, we feel like we’re an expert on HGTV. But don’t worry, Chip and Joanna Gaines, we’re not at your level quite yet. Our biggest challenge is achieving an elevated aesthetic at an affordable price.

If you’re trying to furnish your place without breaking the bank, we’ve got you covered. We rounded up our favorite finds that give you the West Elm look on a Walmart budget. Think rustic yet classic — these polished pieces will serve as the focal points of your foundation.

This Kitchen Cart and TV Stand

rolling kitchen cart, TV stand
Walmart

This rolling kitchen cart is so versatile! Part island, part bar cart and part TV stand, this multi-purpose portable product features wood and metal construction, shelves and drawers for added storage and locking wheels. “Beautiful!” one shopper declared. “My favorite new piece of furniture.”

See It!

Get the Whalen Santa Fe Kitchen Cart with Metal Shelves and TV Stand Feature for $169 (originally $229) at Walmart!

This Tufted Push Back Recliner

tufted arm chair, recliner
Walmart

Sit back and relax in this push back recliner, available in beige and grey. With bronze nail-head trims and button-tufted details, this armchair looks straight out of West Elm! “They are beautiful and so comfortable,” one customer commented. “Surprised such an amazing product came from Walmart.”

See It!

Get the Better Homes and Garden Tufted Push Back Recliner for just $259 (originally $299) at Walmart!

This Media Fireplace

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Walmart

For an all-in-one entertainment experience, check out this multi-functional media console — complete with a working fireplace! If you plan on spending all winter bundled up binging TV, then this is the storage system for you. “I am in love with this beautiful fireplace!” one shopper gushed. “It is going to be so useful during the holidays it makes everything look more festive and my living room has not ever been more cozy looking.”

See It!

Get the Whalen Barston Media Fireplace for TV’s up to 55 inches for just $224 (originally $259) at Walmart!

These Table Lamps

steel table lamps
Walmart

These stunning steel table lamps are lit, as the kids say. Topped with bright white drum shades, this set of two works perfectly on matching nightstands or end tables. According to one review, “These lamps are very attractive and will go with pretty much any decor. Also, they use 100 watt bulbs which are hard to find.”

See It!

Get the Regency Hill Modern Table Lamps Set of 2 Brushed Steel Metal White Drum Shade for Living Room, Family, Bedroom for just $60 (originally $70) at Walmart!

This Bathroom Organizer Shelf

bathroom organizer, shelf
Walmart

If you’re searching for more storage space in your bathroom, look no further. This organizer shelf fits the bill! Made of durable wood, this bathroom rack features open shelving and drawers for additional organization. One customer called it “stylish, sturdy and easy to build.”

See It!

Get the Costway Over The Toilet Space Saver Bathroom Organizer Storage Shelf w/ 2 Drawers White for just $110 (originally $160) at Walmart!

This Console Table

console table, hallway
Walmart

Get you a table that does both — acts as an entryway table or a sofa table. “I absolutely love it,” shared one shopper. “Very sturdy and when you put your items on it, it looks so homey. Highly recommended.” This sleek console table comes in four different shades of rich dark wood.

See It!

Get the Mainstays Parsons Console Table, Multiple Colors Available for just $55 (originally $69) at Walmart!

This Woven Throw Pillow

woven throw pillow, boho
Walmart

Spice up your space with some modern boho decor. This woven throw pillow is a must-have! One review reported, “These pillows are great quality and so affordable! Very pleased with this purchase. They are definitely more decorative than for actual lounging, but perfect for bedroom throw pillows.”

See It!

Get the Lr Home Zanthia Alabaster Stripe Beige, Natural 20″ x 20″ Indoor Square Hand – Crafted Throw Pillow for just $36 (originally $73) at Walmart!

This post is brought to you by Us Weekly’s Shop With Us team. The Shop With Us team aims to highlight products and services our readers might find interesting and useful, such as face masks, self tanners, Lululemon-style leggings and all the best gifts for everyone in your life. Product and service selection, however, is in no way intended to constitute an endorsement by either Us Weekly or of any celebrity mentioned in the post.

The Shop With Us team may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. In addition, Us Weekly receives compensation from the manufacturer of the products we write about when you click on a link and then purchase the product featured in an article. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product or service is featured or recommended. Shop With Us operates independently from advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback at [email protected] Happy shopping!

Source: usmagazine.com

Discount Grocery Stores: Are They Worth the Savings?

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Like most people, I’d rather not spend any more at the grocery store than I have to. Over the years, I’ve tried every trick in the book to save money on groceries. And the single best way I’ve found to cut my grocery bill is to shop at discount grocery stores. 

Discount grocers like Aldi and Lidl offer much lower prices than big chains like Walmart and Kroger — not just on a few products, but on nearly everything they sell. When I hit my local store, I save money on every single item on my shopping list with no extra effort.

Admittedly, discount grocery stores have their limitations. They offer a smaller selection of products than a regular grocery store, and their quality can be uncertain in some cases. Hours are often limited, and the atmosphere isn’t fancy. But the savings make it well worth it.

Types of Discount Grocery Stores

The term “discount grocery store” can refer to two types of store: salvage stores and limited-assortment stores. Both types of discount grocers offer low prices. However, their selections and the strategies they use to keep their prices low are quite different.

Salvage Stores

Salvage stores sell goods rejected or discarded by other grocery stores. They’re also known as surplus grocery stores, closeout grocery stores, bent-and-dent stores, or grocery outlet stores. Like outlet fashion stores, they sell products other stores can’t at significantly reduced prices.

Salvage Store Inventory

Salvage and outlet stores can get goods at a discount for various reasons. Their merchandise includes: 

  • Overstock. Sometimes, supermarkets find themselves with more of a product than they can sell. They sell them to a salvage retailer at a steeply reduced price to clear their shelves. The salvage store passes the savings on to its customers. 
  • Discontinued Goods. Grocery stores often need to unload merchandise they no longer want to carry. Some of these are out-of-season goods, such as Halloween candy in November. Others simply didn’t sell well.
  • Damaged Goods. Supermarket shoppers prefer food in perfect condition. Slightly damaged food, such as dented cans or ugly-looking veggies, tends to get left on the shelf. Grocers sell them to salvage stores for less fussy customers to buy.
  • Late-Dated Goods. Some of the wares on a salvage store’s shelves are approaching or even past their expiration dates. However, that doesn’t mean they’re unsafe to eat. Their quality is no longer guaranteed, but they’re still safe and often still perfectly good.
  • Unsuccessful Products. Sometimes, a company like Kraft or General Mills tests a new product or new packaging for an existing one and finds it isn’t a hit. Rather than discard the unsuccessful products, they sell them to an outlet store.
  • Wreck Salvage. A few goods at salvage stores are literally salvaged. When a truck carrying groceries gets into an accident, goods often fall off. Salvage retailers reclaim the surviving items from these wrecks and put them on their shelves.

Because salvage stores sell items recovered from larger chains, most of their offerings are name-brand products. However, these rejected products sell at much lower prices than usual. 

The selections at salvage stores aren’t limited to food, either. You can also find wine and beer, health and beauty products, cleaning supplies, and pet food. There are even some non-grocery products like garden supplies, office supplies, or clothing.

But the selection at these stores is a bit haphazard. It varies weekly based on what other retailers happen to discard. And a few products at salvage stores are unfit for consumption, such as half-rotted produce or severely dented cans.

In short, shopping at salvage stores is a bit like a treasure hunt. You can pick up some real gems, but you might have to dig through a lot of doubtful bargains to find them.

Examples of Salvage Stores

One sizable chain of salvage stores is Grocery Outlet Bargain Market. It has over 400 locations, mostly in the northwestern part of the United States. 

This chain’s offerings include fresh meat, produce, frozen foods, health and beauty products, and wines. These goods can be as much as 70% off their retail price. Items marked as “WOW deals” are particular bargains.

There are also many independent salvage stores located across the U.S. They’re especially common in Amish country. 

You can find stores near you by consulting the directory at Extreme Bargains or searching online for “discount grocer near me,” “outlet grocer near me,” or “salvage grocer near me.” 

There are also chain stores known as job-lot or liquidation stores that sell salvaged and overstock goods. They don’t specialize in groceries, but they usually have some food products for sale. One example is the Ocean State Job Lot in the Northeast.

While not identical to salvage stores, dollar stores like Dollar Tree and Dollar General are similar. Their pricing model sets these stores apart, with most inventory priced at $1.

Dollar stores don’t focus on food, although most carry some grocery items. However, they often use the same methods as salvage grocery stores to score bargains on overstock and discontinued goods.

Limited-Assortment Grocery Stores

Limited-assortment grocers are just like regular grocery stores but with a smaller selection of products. Many of them offer just one brand and size for each product they sell. The stores are smaller and need fewer employees to stock the shelves. That helps keep prices down. 

Limited-assortment stores also keep prices low by cutting out extras. For example, they typically don’t have fresh bakery, deli, or floral sections. These no-frills stores often display products right in their shipping cartons so employees spend less time stocking shelves. 

If you shop at a limited-assortment store, expect to bag your own groceries. You must also bring your own bags or pay extra for bags at some stores.

Some chains even require customers to pay a $0.25 deposit to use a grocery cart. This small fee encourages shoppers to bring the carts back rather than leaving them in the parking lot. That way, the store doesn’t have to pay employees to collect them.

Limited-Assortment Store Inventory

Limited-assortment grocery stores tend to focus heavily on their own private-label store brands. At some stores, that’s practically every product on the shelf. 

In fact, some limited-assortment stores, such as Trader Joe’s, have built a bit of a cult following around their store brands. Devoted customers regularly visit these stores for products they can’t find anywhere else.

If you’re loyal to any name brands, you probably can’t do all your grocery shopping at limited-assortment stores. But it’s worth visiting them for staple foods that are often similar regardless of brand. Examples include flour, sugar, salt, vinegar, and cooking oil.

Examples of Limited-Assortment Stores

There are many limited-assortment grocery chains in the U.S. Major ones include:

  • Aldi. This German chain has more than 2,000 stores across the U.S. Its stores are small — about one-third the size of a traditional grocery store. It sells primarily store brands, including organic, gluten-free, and European specialty food items. 
  • Dollar General. This chain has over 17,000 stores in 46 states. Many of them are in small towns and rural areas with few other stores. Its fresh food options are limited, but it has great prices on staple foods, household goods, and non-food items like clothing.
  • Food4Less. Part of the Kroger family, this chain includes about 50 stores in Southern California, Illinois, Indiana, and Nevada. Its deeply discounted selections include produce, bakery, dairy, meat, and foreign foods.
  • Lidl. This European chain entered the U.S. in 2017. It now has over 150 stores along the East Coast, from New Jersey to South Carolina. It has higher-end goods than many discount grocers, including organic products, fresh-baked goods, and affordable wines.  
  • Save A Lot. There are over 1,000 Save A Lot locations in over 30 states, many in areas with few or no other stores. Its small, no-frills locations carry primarily store brands. But it gets high marks for its inexpensive meats and fresh produce.
  • Trader Joe’s. Loyal fans flock to Trader Joe’s for its high-quality store brands. Its specialties include wine, cheese, organic foods, and goodies like cookies and frozen dumplings. The chain has over 500 locations in 43 states.
  • WinCo. This employee-owned discount chain has over 100 bare-bones stores concentrated in the western U.S. Most stores are open 24/7. One notable feature of WinCo is its use of bulk bins like the ones at Whole Foods to cut down on packaging.

How to Save Money at Discount Grocery Stores

To get the most for your grocery dollar at discount stores, you have to shop strategically. Some grocery shopping strategies are the same for both salvage and limited-assortment stores. Others are more useful for one type of store or the other.

Check the Store Hours

Many salvage stores have limited store hours, which helps keep costs down. They’re only open on certain days or hours each day.

But it’s seriously annoying — and a big waste of gas and time if the store’s far away — to plan a special trip to a closed salvage store. So always check the store hours before you go.

Confirm Coupon Policies

One of the most popular ways to save money on groceries is clipping coupons. Unfortunately, that trick doesn’t always work at discount grocery stores. Most salvage stores and many limited-assortment stores refuse manufacturer coupons.

But at the few stores that take them, such as WinCo, the savings can be significant. 

For example, suppose you have a coupon for $1.50 off a 12-ounce bag of ground coffee. At a regular grocery store, that coffee might cost $8.49. That means your price with the coupon would be $6.99.

But at a discount grocery store, you might find that same bag of coffee for as little as $3.99. With your coupon, you’d pay only $2.49. That’s less than one-third the regular retail price.

To find out whether you can score bargains like this at your local discount store, check the store’s coupon policy. If you can’t find it on the store’s website, ask a cashier.

Even if a discount store doesn’t take manufacturer coupons, it may issue its own store coupons. For instance, you can sign up for the mailing list at Grocery Outlet to get deals such as $5 off any $25 purchase. Most limited-assortment stores also offer special deals to subscribers, though Aldi and Trader Joe’s do not.

Bring Cash

Few salvage stores accept credit cards, and some limited-assortment stores follow suit. That’s because credit card issuers charge merchants a fee to use their cards. 

Most stores pass these fees on to customers through higher prices. By refusing credit cards, discount stores can keep prices lower. 

Some stores are starting to relax their no-credit policies. For instance, on my most recent trip to Aldi, I was able to pay with my credit card instead of having to use cash. But to be on the safe side, bring cash or a debit card on your first visit to any new store.

Examine Containers Carefully

At salvage stores, it’s common to encounter food in damaged packaging, such as dented cans. In most cases, the food is still safe to eat. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says it’s not dangerous to eat canned food if the dents are slight.

However, if a can has a deep dent — big enough to lay your finger in — leave it on the shelf. Deep dents can compromise the seal, letting bacteria in.

The same guidelines apply to rust. A little rust on the surface that rubs right off is no problem. However, heavy rust can create tiny holes that admit bacteria.

Food in torn or dented boxes is also safe as long as the plastic bag inside the box is intact. Boxed foods with no inner liner, such as pasta, are OK if the box is only dented. But if a box is torn open to expose the food, it’s best to leave it.

Examine Fresh Produce

Fresh produce at discount grocery stores is a mixed bag. On some trips to Aldi, I’ve failed to find a single bag of potatoes without at least one that was visibly rotten. On the other hand, the bagged Brussels sprouts and miniature avocados at Trader Joe’s have never let me down.

Since quality is hard to predict, it’s best to examine all produce carefully for signs of spoilage before you put it in your cart. In fact, that’s a good policy at most grocery stores. Even at big supermarkets, I often find a couple of mushy strawberries in a quart container.

Understand Expiration Dates

Food at salvage stores is often close to or even past the expiration date on the package. But that doesn’t mean it’s unsafe to eat. Dates on food are there to assure food quality, not food safety. 

There are several different types of expiration dates, each with its own meaning:

  • Best if Used By means the flavor or quality of the food is best before the given date. Past this date, crackers might be a bit stale, or powdered milk might have an off-taste.
  • Sell-By dates tell stores how long to keep the product on their shelves. Food is still good up to this date and for several days after. For example, milk doesn’t go sour until five to seven days past its sell-by date.
  • Use-By dates tell consumers when the product will be at peak quality. They’re not an indication of safety for most products. The only product it’s unsafe to buy or use after its use-by date is baby formula.

Most products, including canned and frozen foods, are still safe after any of these expiration dates. The only time frozen food might be unsafe is if it has been thawed and refrozen. If the freezers at the store have puddles around them or don’t feel cold everywhere, pass them by.

There’s one non-food product on which dates are important: over-the-counter drugs. According to the Food and Drug Administration, drugs degrade over time. Any medicine past its expiration date may be unsafe or ineffective.

Know How to Spot a Good Deal

Although discount grocery stores generally offer low prices, they’re not always the lowest possible. Sometimes, you can do better at a regular grocery store by buying store brands or stacking sales with coupons.

The best way to spot the true deals is to keep a grocery price book. It’s simply a record of the prices you typically pay for the grocery items you buy most often.

For instance, the page for peanut butter in my price book tells me that the best price I can usually get is $2.85 per pound at Costco. So if I go to a discount store and see peanut butter for only $2 per pound, I know it’s time to stock up.

Consider All Brands

Salvage stores have a wide variety of brands on the shelves. Some are familiar name brands you know and love, like Campbell’s or Coca-Cola. When you find these, you can take the opportunity to stock up on your favorites.

But these name brands aren’t always available. Often, they carry off-brands you’ve never heard of before, like Banquet mayonnaise or Finest refried beans.

Similarly, when you shop at limited-assortment stores, there are very few name-brand products for sale. Most of the offerings are store brands, though they don’t always have the store’s name.

For instance, Aldi calls its cereals Millville and its snack foods Clancy’s. Save A Lot names its store brands after former employees, like McDaniel’s coffee and Sunny’s cookies.

Don’t discount these brands just because they’re unfamiliar. Some of them are just as tasty as the name brands you’re used to. But you can’t be sure until you try them.

To be on the safe side, buy the smallest package the first time you try an unfamiliar brand. If you like it, you can stock up on it next time. And if not, you haven’t wasted much money.

Stock Up When Appropriate

Discount grocery stores are great places to stock up on goods you use a lot. Even if you can’t use something right away, it makes sense to buy plenty, especially at salvage stores. Their stock is ever-changing, so the product might not be there the next time you shop.

But stocking up only makes sense for nonperishable goods or those you know you can use before they go bad. There’s no point in buying six avocados if four of them are going to turn black before you eat them.

The best products to stock up on are canned foods, shelf-stable foods, and produce with a long shelf life. Potatoes, onions, and garlic can all last a long time if you store them in a cool, dry place. Frozen foods are also a good choice if you have a big enough freezer to store them all.


Final Word

If you don’t like the offerings at one local discount store, don’t let that put you off the idea altogether. Each discount grocery store is different. If you don’t like the store brands at Aldi, maybe you’ll prefer the ones at Save A Lot.

Also, remember that the selection at salvage stores changes frequently. If you didn’t find anything you liked at your local store the first time, it’s still worth going back to see if it has anything better next time.

Shopping at discount grocery stores requires an open mind. The brand names aren’t as familiar, and the packaging isn’t as pretty. But if you’re willing to take a little extra time, these stores offer a way to save money every time you grocery shop.

For more tips on saving at the grocery store, check out our shopping archive.

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Amy Livingston is a freelance writer who can actually answer yes to the question, “And from that you make a living?” She has written about personal finance and shopping strategies for a variety of publications, including ConsumerSearch.com, ShopSmart.com, and the Dollar Stretcher newsletter. She also maintains a personal blog, Ecofrugal Living, on ways to save money and live green at the same time.

Source: moneycrashers.com

What You Need to Know About Virtual Open Houses in the COVID-19 Era

In 2019, the real estate industry celebrated 100 years of open houses. Over the course of those decades that real estate professionals have been hosting open houses, they have evolved, and in some cases, disappeared. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 crisis, the real estate industry has scrambled to evolve once again. That includes if, and how, open houses are conducted. At the guidance of the National Association of Realtors, open houses during this time should look different and those marketing properties have found new ways to make touring the home virtually accessible.

The traditional open house is what we’re all widely familiar with. It’s hosted by a real estate agent and potential home buyers are allowed to come and go while they tour the property. However, since the COVID-19 outbreak, the National Association of Realtors has advised suspending in-person open houses. While this is simply a guidance to brokers, many state and local governments have also enacted “shelter-in-place” orders which deem in-person open houses not permissible.

Virtual Open Houses: A Quick Guide

What is the Difference Between a Virtual Tour and a Virtual Open House?

Many programs exist to provide 24/7, 360-degree virtual tours to buyers. While a virtual tour is the first step any prospective homebuyers should take, if interest is there for that property, a guided tour would be the next step. The difference between virtual tours and virtual open houses are that a real estate professional will guide you through the open house while virtual tours are completed on your own. Virtual tours can be completed from the listing page of a property without any prior scheduling. Virtual tour software goes beyond photography and provides 3-D, walking virtual tours of a property. This allows potential buyers to feel like they are literally standing in the middle of the room touring the home, but without having to leave the comfort of their own home.

Young woman sitting on bed in bedroom and having video call via laptopYoung woman sitting on bed in bedroom and having video call via laptop

Virtual open houses can help provide more insight to potential homebuyers. They’re usually scheduled after you took a virtual tour or looked through the listing’s photos and felt interested enough to see the property in all its glory. Buyers can schedule a virtual open house with an agent directly from the Homes.com listing page. As in-person open houses and home tours are suspended, the prevalence of virtual tours will be of paramount importance.

Having these services are a crucial part of an effective real estate marketing plan during this time, so if you’re looking to sell, make sure you can find an agent that has the capability to utilize virtual tours and open houses.

Questions to Ask, or Be Prepared for, During a Virtual Open House

While your agent helps conduct the virtual open house, it’s always good to be prepared in advance with a list of questions for each property you’re going to see (virtually, that is). Start gathering your list after, or during, the virtual tour of that property. You can find a list of questions to start here, but also take into consideration that you’ll want to know the following:

  1. What’s the neighborhood like? Is it safe and walkable? Are there kids in the area and is it in a good school zone? These questions are important to ask local real estate agents, so make sure you’re working with someone who is familiar with the area you’re shopping around in.
  2. Are the current owners living in the home? Is it move-in ready? If the current owners are still living on the property, get an idea for the length of time to help set a basis for when you’ll be moving.
  3. Is the home in a flood zone? If so, what does the cost of flood insurance look like? If you’re in a coastal city or living near a body of water, these questions are pertinent to ask during the virtual open house.

Looking to Sell? Try These Alternatives in Addition to Virtual Open Houses

Despite a pandemic, many homeowners still need to sell their home which requires creativity on the part of the listing agent to market the home effectively and safely. By hiring an experienced and innovative real estate professional to the list a home, homebuyers can be rest assured that Realtors are working to reinvent the wheel and best serve their clients through a host of options.

Professional Photography

While hiring a list agent that understands the value of professional photography over cell phone list photos has always been crucial, the quality of digital images is even more important as more buyers will be searching on sites like Homes.com. By incorporating high resolution professional photography into the marketing plan, homes have statistically sold 32% faster.

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse.A kitchen in a modern farmhouse.

Drone Video

The rule of real estate is location, location, location. Even with the best professional photography and 3D tours of a home, many of these options lack the ability to properly view the location of the home. By incorporating drone images and video into a marketing plan, home buyers can evaluate surrounding conditions, proximity, as well as other factors. In fact, homes with aerial & drone photography sold statistically 68% faster than listings without aerial images.

As Realtors work to promote social distancing and safe practices, they have not slowed in their efforts to effectively assist buyers and sellers. If anything, real estate professionals are working harder than ever to reinvent the wheel and evolve in an ever-changing climate. While open houses and real estate marketing may look different than before, the real estate industry has incorporated multiple tools that adhere to social distancing guidelines without sacrificing the exposure of available properties.


Jennifer is an accidental house flipper turned Realtor and real estate investor. She is the voice behind the blog, Bachelorette Pad Flip. Over five years, Jennifer paid off $70,000 in student loan debt through real estate investing. She’s passionate about the power of real estate. She’s also passionate about southern cooking, good architecture, and thrift store treasure hunting. She calls Northwest Arkansas home with her cat Smokey, but she has a deep love affair with South Florida.

Source: homes.com

18 Great Jobs For Retirees for Flexibility and Extra Cash

But true personal shoppers are more likely to purchase clothing and accessories than groceries. A personal shopper often finds items and then sends photos and descriptions to the person who hired them to get approval.

A security guard who does not carry a weapon serves as a presence to discourage inappropriate behavior. While many large businesses like Target or Wal-Mart hire security personnel from a service, small employers such as charitable or service organizations are likely to hire someone who is reliable and gives the appearance of authority.
You are more likely to work on an hourly wage determined by your experience and amount of work you are required to perform. There are also job firms that provide virtual assistants; you can sign on with them and accept work as it is offered to you.
School bus drivers can earn up to per hour. They have regular hours with the opportunity to earn extra for field trips or outings. Some states require a specific license (a Commercial Drivers License, or CDL, for example) or require you to pass a test to qualify.
Hourly pay for security guards without weapons training is likely to be between and . Night-time security guards are likely to make more than daytime ones.
Plan on some up-front costs, such as a portable bar (if the host doesn’t have one) and basic bar tools. The host is expected to supply the alcohol and mixers. And to protect against possible liability you might want to consider an annual liability policy.

18 Part-time Jobs for Retirees

Many small or civic organizations cannot afford, nor do they truly need, a full-time bookkeeper or accounting service. They are not in it for the money. Often, they are charitable or non-profit organizations. But they need occasional bookkeeping, often with an eye towards tax advantages.
Recent news reports indicate there are many job openings for school bus drivers.
There are no actual nanny or babysitter licenses or certifications in the United States, but many families require that nannies be bonded, which is a guarantee of service. It is a protection against someone failing to show up for work; one such failure forfeits the bond and that area of work is no longer available to that nanny.

1. Substitute Teaching

If you can memorize lots of cocktail recipes, if you have an outgoing personality and a steady hand, and if you’re willing to cut people off if needed, this could be a fit for you. Your best bet might be starting out tending bar for people you know and then building a network of referrals.
Some high-end clothing stores offer personal shopper services as well. These positions might be a little less “personal,” as they might be a one-day relationship. But the concept is the same.
Security guards who carry weapons require special training and weapons licensing, and is an entirely different job pursuit, perhaps not as well-suited to a retirement job.
Many people reach so-called retirement age and are in no way done with being productive. Many continue in freelance jobs and part-time gigs, whether in a brick-and mortar setting, from home, or even outdoors.

2. School Support

A part-time bookkeeper job often requires simple financial recordkeeping or upkeep of other financial records. Part-time bookkeepers are usually former accountants or have experience as a bookkeeper. They may be asked to track invoices, but most companies use financial services for paychecks.
You have a good head for numbers. You are in charge of your own finances, and you perhaps worked in an accounting role at a previous job.

3. Tutoring

While “retirement income’’ or “retirement job” might seem like oxymorons, they are a more reasonable pursuit today than in years past due to advancing life expectancies and improved health among older citizens.
Depending on the particulars of the job, a commercial driver’s license might be required. Different states have different laws regarding licensing for shuttle bus drivers. A different license might be required if the bus holds a certain number of people or is a particular weight. Your state motor vehicle website will tell you what’s required in your state, and any potential employer will know, too.
Freelance bartending doesn’t require bartending school and can earn you good money working at large events or small, private parties. Hourly pay for freelance bartenders can be anywhere from to even before tips.

A senior woman drives a school bus.
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4. School Bus Driver

According to Indeed, the average hourly pay for a freelance writer is a bit over , but you are often paid by assignment or by word, so the pay varies. If you have knowledge in certain topics like science and medicine, the pay can be higher.
As of this writing, Ziprecruiter showed more than 34,000 virtual assistant jobs, suggesting that a virtual assistant could make up to ,000 a year, depending on the work required.
Pay is often dependent on the age of the players and the competitive level of the organization, but officials are likely to make at least per game. At higher levels where certification is required, you can earn 0 per game.

5. Shuttle Bus Driver

There are dozens of different types of shuttle bus driver jobs. Most hotels have shuttles to and from airports. Senior citizen homes, churches and community centers often offer shuttles to shopping areas or grocery stores. Hourly pay for shuttle bus drivers can average above per hour, and that’s not including tips from satisfied riders. Like school bus drivers, shuttle bus drivers have regular hours.
Source: thepennyhoarder.com

6. Conducting Tours

Most of the examples here require your physical presence on-site, but there are remote jobs, too, such as virtual assistant and customer service work that can be done from the comfort of your home.
Child care might be a bit of a political football these days, but rarely has it been more necessary. Single parents or two-parent families that require or want two incomes are likely to need child care, and that could take the form of a nanny or frequent babysitter.
These positions can be part- or full-time, and they pay well. So if you plan to collect Social Security benefits, make sure to check how your wage impacts your benefits.
Many seasonal jobs are defined by the weather, which is defined by the time of year and the climate where you live. Seasonal jobs are popular, never go out of style (except when the season changes), and can actually be a fun job to look forward to.
Most school districts have lenient requirements for substitute teachers, often requiring just a bachelor’s degree with no teaching experience.
Craigslist or neighborhood job sites are great ways to search for these positions, but your best bet is to work with your personal network. Let people know that you would be willing to work as a nanny or frequent babysitter, and, with the proper recommendation, you could have a very gratifying retirement job.

7. Patient Advocate

The job of a patient advocate is to assist someone who is struggling to cope with the healthcare system. A patient advocate deals with paperwork and appointments, and communicates with healthcare providers to get information on diagnosis, treatment and followup procedures.
As such, typical hourly pay is as a call center representative.
Personal shoppers who go after groceries or staples are likely to make typical hourly pay of to . Those who work for a service are likely on a wage or salary determined by the service rather than by the client.
Being a patient advocate does not require any particular educational degree, but it is possible to become certified in this role.

An elderly man babysits two girls. He plays guitar on the couch while the two of them listen to him play.
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8. Child Care Provider

The job is likely to include more than just driving, however. You may be asked to supervise students on the bus, and you may be called upon to discipline rowdy students or those who are making the trip unsafe. A tolerance for children of all ages is probably an important requirement.
If you have an advance degree, you may also qualify to be an adjunct instructor at a community college or four-year university.
Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.
Virtual assistants are independent contractors who offer business services virtually. Those services can include website management, website design, marketing assistance, social media postings, blog writing, email correspondence or any number of clerical duties that can be carried out with a computer and phone. This kind of work is often well-suited to flexible hours.
For between and an hour, you can earn money pet-sitting in a home or, if the pet happens to be a dog, you can walk the animal. Pet-sitting is a good job for retirees who want to work outdoors without a lot of physical requirements other than being able to walk while pulling or being pulled.
While there are occasional situations where someone needs a one-off writing assignment, freelance writer jobs often offer consistent, if sporadic, work. A retiree who can write could have a client for years. Check out this Penny Hoarder article on 18 places hiring freelance writers.

Looking for a fun part-time side gig? Here’s how you can earn money visiting theme parks as a Disney nanny.

9. Virtual Assistant

Any task that can be done virtually via computer is likely to be requested by a virtual assistant. Firms would rather pay a freelancer than an employee to do the work.
Pet sitter/walker is also a good line of work to get into because one job can lead to another. Pet owners tend to concentrate around each other, and they will give recommendations to other pet owners about a reliable person who can watch Fido or Fluffy while they are on vacation.
Ski resorts in the winter and water parks in the summer are two great examples of places that require seasonal employees. It is not necessary to be a ski instructor or a lifeguard, either. These places require assistance in areas outside of their main purpose: security, transportation, customer service. Even the National Park Service hires seasonal temps.
Businesses, organizations and sites that host tours come in many shapes and sizes, from historical sites to museums, from outdoor walking tours to behind-the-scene workplace tours. They can be an everyday part of a business or scheduled by appointment. What they all have in common? A tour leader.

10. Bookkeeper

The Penny Hoarder’s Work-From-Home Jobs Portal makes the remote-job hunt easy. Our journalists scour the web for the best gigs, vet the companies and aggregate the latest listings in one place.
Nannies are likely to make an hour on average. Babysitter earnings vary widely by affluence of the neighborhood. Check out The Penny Hoarder’s tips on how to get paid up to an hour babysitting.
While high-level programs require officials to get licensed or certified, lower-level and youth group programs require just a basic knowledge of the rules. Look around your community for sports leagues in need of umpires or referees.
A babysitter sits in a home with a child or children. A nanny is responsible for getting children to day care or other activities; they are a substitute parent in many cases.

11. Umpire and Referee

If you are going to house-sit the animal, you will likely get paid more for also keeping an eye on the property while the owner is away.
Substitute teachers have never been more valuable than today. Covid has increased the chances that a teacher might be out of the classroom either awaiting test results or recuperating. When that happens, their students need someone to teach — and that could be you.
Although freelance writers no longer provide articles — it’s called content now — freelance writing is a gig that can offer the freedom to accept the assignments you want. There are firms that will connect freelance writers to people or companies in need of blogs, resumes, cover letters, marketing content and more.
This is a good job for retirees who do not mind a bit of boredom.

A man walks a gaggle of dogs at his dog walking job.
Getty Images

12. Pet Sitter and Dog Walker

If you are interested in online tutoring, there are many good paying gigs out there. Match your skills to the openings.
So let’s get to work, shall we?
To be successful, you need to be ready to deal with a room full of 20 or so children of varying ages. But it could pay off. School districts in Chicago, for example, pay as much as 0 a day for a full day of work.
This is a classic retirement job that gets you out of the house, allows you to have contact with neighbors, and lets you provide security and safety with another set of adult eyes on the children.

13. Freelance Writer

These jobs require knowledge about the subject and the ability to tell a good story — often while walking backwards.
Competitive sports programs need officials for their games. Baseball, basketball, soccer and football all have leagues at various ages that need officiating. Depending on where you live, the work can be constant. If you get certified for multiple sports, you can work all weekend long and often during the week.
Some stores hold hiring events in October to fill these positions, but they often continue searching for employees throughout the final three months of the year.
Quick Navigation

14. Call Center Worker

Most schools are always looking for crossing guards, recess supervisors and other positions. A call to your local elementary, middle or high school could lead you to a good retirement job that would fit your schedule. Even better is searching online for jobs at your school district. This will give you a range of what’s out there.
Who even knows what “retired’’ means anymore?
This is a perfect retirement job if you have a sports background and the ability to withstand criticism.

A senior citizen bartender holds up a pint of beer.
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15. Freelance Bartender

Another idea for animal lovers is pet transporting. If you’ve got a reliable set of wheels and like to drive, getting pets from here to there from owners, maybe be the side gig for you.
Taking classes in CPR or other emergency response techniques, which offer certifications upon completion, can improve your chances of being hired.
Is it the shopping or the buying that you enjoy? If it’s the shopping, then you might consider becoming someone’s personal shopper.

16. Personal Shopper

As much as this is a remote job, it is definitely a people-person retirement job. You are likely to be talking to someone who is upset or unhappy, and you are the first line of communication for the company you are representing. You need to be capable of being friendly and helpful in the face of unpleasant conversation.
Tour guide is one of those jobs that, when you see someone doing it, you think, “Well, I could do that too!”
To be a personal grocery shopper, you probably need only have been in a grocery store from time to time. To be a high-end personal shopper, a knowledge of the fashion industry and current fashions is going to get you better clients.
Remember when you had a summer job as a teenager or a part-time job during your winter break from college? The same logic can work when you’re thinking about some extra retirement income.
The job title describes the job. You are given a shopping list and the means to make the purchase, and you chase after the items.
The responsibilities of a security guard depend on the needs of the company being guarded. There may be requirements that go beyond just being a presence, but the differences depend on the needs of the company.
As you browse these possible jobs for retirees, keep in mind one warning: If you are collecting Social Security, you can only earn a certain amount each month before your benefits are reduced.

Got what it takes to be a mystery shopper? We’ve rounded up four companies that are hiring retail sleuths. 

17. Security Guard

There are hundreds of tutoring companies in the U.S. who work with kids of all ages to enhance their school education or prepare for college entrance exams. If you sign up with one, they’ll match you with work and you won’t need to market yourself as a tutor.
You might have left the career you had in the 40-hour-a-week workforce. But now you don’t exactly want to be glued to your couch watching puppy videos. You want to be active, you want to work, and you want to make a little money to support your fun retirement plans.
Also included in seasonal work are holiday positions during the months of October-December. On-site customer service, truck unloading, shelving of new goods, and custodial services are among the positions for which big box stores are likely to need employees. For example in 2021, we tallied more than 1 million seasonal jobs at national retailers and delivery services.
The average salary for a part-time bookkeeper is around per hour.
This could be a dream job for someone who knows the topic well and likes to retell stories about history, natural science or architecture (among many other possibilities).

18. Seasonal Worker

The hourly pay for these companies ranges from about to . Requirements often are limited to a bachelor’s degree, although exam-prep work might require a recent ACT or SAT test score, or might require you to retake the exam for verbal or math instruction.
Tour guides make an average base salary of per hour. Plus, they are often offered tips by tour participants.
Certainly, many people already have personal shoppers and don’t know it. When they contact a grocery store and provide an itemized list of goods they want, someone does the “shopping,” and the items are then delivered.
If this appeals to you, don’t overlook a special area of knowledge you’ve developed during all those years in the workplace. Know a lot about the manufacturing industry? Maybe you’re just the person to lead tours at a cheese factory.
Writing skills rarely diminish, but the requirements for writing change over time. A knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) is going to open more doors. Many jobs that use job search websites like Indeed ask for candidates to take a writing test, but many of those are simple grammar or proofreading tests.

Pro Tip
There are plenty of ways to bring in some extra money to augment pension, social security, or other retirement funds. We’ve rounded up 18 ideas for good jobs for retirees that offer part-time opportunities, flexible hours, or both.

Just to be clear, we are talking about taking calls from customers, not making calls. A call center representative answers incoming calls from customers or potential customers and either answers questions or sends the caller to someone else who can answer.
Advocates might also be asked to work with insurance companies to understand coverage and costs. Many are asked to help a client obtain assistance with financial or legal issues. The range of duties can be as varied as the patient’s needs.

17 Tips for Getting a Job Out of College

As if adulting wasn’t enough, juggling final exams, project deadlines, and a social life, along with worrying about getting a job out of college, can make the last few months of your senior year feel overwhelming. The good news is you’re not alone.

Many graduates feel like they can’t find a job after college. In fact, 66 percent of them are not very optimistic that they’ll get a job that will fit their career goals. Although searching for jobs after graduation can be stressful, learning how you can prepare for the job market can lift some weight off your shoulders.

If you want to learn how to navigate the job search and dodge common mistakes recent grads make, this guide will help you better prepare for the future. You can also check out the Game of Life After College in our infographic below.

The Current Landscape for Getting a Job After College

Is it hard to get a job after college? There’s not a concrete answer to this, since each person has their own set of skills and experience. However, here are some stats to keep in mind and other pressing questions answered, including what percentage of college students get a job after they graduate and what is the average time to get a job after graduation.

  • In 2020, the percentage of employed college graduates went down from 76% to 67%.
  • In August 2021, employment rose by 235,000 in one month.
  • The unemployment rate went from 14.7% in April 2020 to 5.2 percent in August 2021.
  • In October 2020, 67.3% of college graduates were employed after they graduated.
  • It takes an average of three to six months for college graduates to find a job after college.
  • In March 2021, the unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree holders was 3.7% compared to 6.7% for those only holding a high school diploma.

Reasons People Struggle With Getting a Job Out of College

Finding a job after college can be challenging, especially when learning how to adapt to life after graduating. If you are in the position where you can’t find a job after college, the following reasons might help explain:

Not Being Prepared

Some college graduates will only start preparing for their career after graduation. Although preparation involves some effort, such as taking online courses, finding an internship, or networking, being prepared for the job market is crucial to getting a job after college.

Not Being Proactive

Not being proactive by following up with potential employers and reaching out to your network is also a common reason college graduates might take longer to land a job. Only applying on job boards is a common mistake job seekers make, as they tend to get lost in the pool of applicants.

Not Enough Experience

Having a degree in hand doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a job right after graduation. Most employers consider having internship and work experience one of the top factors for considering a candidate.

Not Making It About the Employer

Another common mistake recent graduates make is focusing on what they want out of a job and not the employer’s needs. Employers want to know what you can provide them with and how your skills align with the position.

Not Doing Enough Research

If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you likely won’t be able to find it. Not doing enough research is another struggle graduates face when starting the job search. Researching what’s suitable for you and what career paths to take can help you achieve your career goals faster.

 

how to stay motivated in the job search

How To Get a Job Right Out of College

Now, with all these stressors against you, you might be wondering, “How do I get a job just out of college?” Even if this won’t be your first job ever, making the most of your college experience and job search process can put you at ease.

1. Get Experience During College

While in college, you’ll have many opportunities to join clubs and organizations, attend events and seminars, and learn new skills. Each of these can help you learn more about yourself and enhance what you have to offer — plus, it looks great on your resume.

Pro tip: If you didn’t have a job during college, use your participation in a club or organization as your job experience.

2. Start Networking

When you’re ready to start your career, you’ll likely hear that networking is very important, and that’s because at least 70 percent of open positions are not advertised. Meeting people within your major and professional organizations can be a great way to start building connections. But don’t limit yourself — even friends, family, and coworkers can be part of your network.

Pro tip: If you haven’t heard back from a job you applied for, ask for help from your network or college alumni who work for that company.

3. Research the Job Market

Just like a research project for a class in college, exploring different job fields can help you narrow down your job search. Learning about what kinds of jobs are in that field, what a typical day looks like, how the job market is, and what requirements are needed can help you understand exactly what to look for and increase your chances of getting hired.

Pro tip: When doing your research, take note of common skills and experience required in the job descriptions, and personalize your resume accordingly.

4. Be Proactive

If you want to find a job right after you graduate, being proactive is the key. Don’t just wait around — apply to different jobs, reach out to people in your network and on LinkedIn, and follow up on any jobs you haven’t heard back from. By showing interest and being proactive, you’ll let hiring managers know that you’re ready to put your skills and experience to work.

Pro tip: After applying for a job, send the hiring manager a personal email letting them know you applied and why you believe you’re a good fit for the job.

5. Become a Volunteer

Seeking volunteer opportunities can be a great way to give back to the community while also building your skills and connections. Finding a volunteering activity that you enjoy can also help boost your communication and interpersonal skills, and could potentially lead you to find your future employer.

Pro tip: Join a volunteering club or organization on campus to help the local community.

6. Attend Career Fairs

Career fairs might sound intimidating, but there’s a good chance your future employer is there. Recruiters at career fairs are ready to meet people and want to learn more about you and your experience. This is a great way to develop your interviewing skills as well as learn more about different companies and job opportunities.

Pro tip: Research companies on the career fair list ahead of time, so you can come prepared with specific questions to ask the recruiters.

7. Create a Portfolio Website

Take an extra step and create a personal website to showcase your skills and experience. Even if it’s just a simple website, this is a great opportunity to share your writing, photography, or art, or just to tell your story.

Pro tip: Add your website to your resume and job applications as well as your LinkedIn profile to make you stand out to employers.

8. Land an Internship

Finding an internship can be a great way to test the waters and see what a potential job in that field might look like. As a matter of fact, 55 percent of employers believe having internship experience is one of the top factors for considering candidates. Getting an internship can also help you build connections and could even lead to a full-time position.

Pro tip: Taking an internship position after graduating college can help you sharpen your skills if you didn’t get enough experience during school.

9. Consider a Part-Time Job

Even if it’s not in your field, pursuing a part-time job can also help you build connections and skills. Getting a part-time job on campus can not only allow you to earn some extra bucks to pay your tuition, but it can also help you understand your work style and what kinds of tasks you enjoy doing. Finding a part-time position in your field can also get you a foot in the door, and potentially lead to a full-time position.

Pro tip: Working part-time after college can help you build your work ethic and bring in extra money while applying for full-time positions.

10. Keep Your LinkedIn Updated

A lot of recruiters will take a look at your LinkedIn profile during the hiring process — in fact, 72 percent of them use it for recruiting. Keeping your LinkedIn profile updated with your most recent resume and experience can help show recruiters that you’re open to work.

Pro tip: You can also add an #OpenToWork frame to your profile picture on LinkedIn to let recruiters know you are actively looking.

11. Leverage Career Services

On-campus career centers are one of the best sources for new job opportunities, especially locally. Many employers will leave their information with university career centers, which means they’re open to hiring graduates from there. On top of giving you career guidance, career centers may also offer resume and networking workshops, mentoring programs, and mock interviews.

Pro tip: You can still visit your campus career center after graduating to get tips and strategies on how you can improve your resume and interview skills.

12. Take Online Courses

If you want to level up your skills aside from what you learn in class, taking online courses can help you get hands-on experience in the field. It can also guide you to figure out if it’s the right career path for you.

Pro tip: There are a variety of open online courses you can take for free on websites such as Coursera, Udemy, and edX.

13. Find a Mentor

There are many benefits of having a mentor, like providing career guidance and constructive criticism. A mentor is someone you trust and look up to, and can be a supervisor, coworker, teacher, or even a friend. Building a relationship with your mentor can also help you strengthen your communication skills and avoid common pitfalls.

Pro tip: If you don’t have someone close to you to become your mentor, many college career centers have mentorship programs that link you to alumni.

14. Create a Routine

The job hunt can seem endless at times, but building a routine can help you keep track of your goals. Schedule times on your calendar for each task, such as searching for jobs, updating your resume and profile, following up with recruiters, taking online courses, and networking. But don’t forget about your health! Schedule mental health breaks, such as working out, taking a walk, watching a movie, or reaching out to a loved one.

Pro tip: Try using time management techniques such as the Pomodoro Technique and time blocking to help you stay on track.

15. Join Professional Development Groups

Job board websites can feel overwhelming when there are so many job postings. Narrow down your search by finding groups for a specific field or location. These groups can also be a great place to connect with other job seekers who can share career insights.

Pro tip: Facebook and LinkedIn are great places to find groups, such as remote job seekers and city-specific jobs.

16. Level Up Your Resume

Since some job postings tend to get hundreds of applicants, many job seekers are finding ways to stand out from the crowd. One way to do this is by spicing up your resume and making it creative. You can do that by trying different resume layouts, colors, and even adding a fun facts section. Although some would go as far as sending a donut box resume, be mindful of the company you are applying for.

Pro tip: You can create your resume using a template from websites such as Canva. Make sure it’s saved as a PDF so resume-scanning softwares can still read it.

17. Apply on Company Websites

Another way to stand out from the crowd and not get lost in the sea of job applicants is to apply directly on the company’s website instead of only big job boards. Some companies will keep their websites updated with current job openings and actively check for candidates. Applying through their website can make it more personal and show that you’re especially interested in working for them.

Pro tip: If you find a place where you genuinely want to work, it may be worth emailing them even if they don’t have current openings to show you are interested.

Why Your First Job Out of College Matters

Your first job out of college might not be a perfect fit, but it’s still one of the most important. If you happen to be in a position where you realize the job is not what you expected, use it as a learning opportunity.

This is your chance to develop your skills and learn from your mistakes. So dive into your first job like a pro and learn negotiation skills, tackle your time management abilities, connect with others in the industry, and discover your preferred work style. Taking advantage of a not-so-great first job can set you up for career success down the road.

 

If getting a job out of college is one of your main goals, preparing ahead of time can not only help you stay motivated while job searching, but can also help you land a job faster. By learning what common mistakes you’re struggling with and following the tips in this guide, you can get one step closer to achieving career success. Monster | Psychology Today

The post 17 Tips for Getting a Job Out of College appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com

How To Get Free Stuff on Amazon: 12 Great Tips and Tricks

Use your old electronics to get credit? As good as gold.
Let’s admit it: most of us don’t have the kind of social media following that gives us influencer status.
While there are some things on Amazon anyone can get for free right away, the best way to get high-quality freebies is through helpful, informative and well-written product reviews.
If you’re expecting a new baby, sign up with Amazon Registry for a free gift with goodies for the newborn and parents, with a value of up to . The program also has a wedding registry which offers “bonus gifts” for the couple.

Robust Reviews Earn Amazon Freebies

Another helpful tip is to look for products without a lot of reviews, because yours is more likely to be read and earn “Helpful Votes.” Focus your reviews on the types items that you would like to get for free, as becoming an expert in a specific category helps achieve Top Reviewer status more quickly.

1. Become a Top Amazon Reviewer

Vine is a more transparent program because the decision-making about who reviews what products is in the hands of Amazon. Vendors have no influence over which Vine Voices review their products.
Tomoson’s business model is to connect brands with influencers — if you meet the right criteria you’ll be selected for a campaign. You don’t necessarily need to have a huge number of followers; brands care most about someone with an audience that fits the niche of their product.
If audio books are more your speed, Amazon offers a free 30-day Audible trial. This includes one credit for a free audiobook that you get to keep after the trial is over.

2. Get Invited to be a Vine Reviewer

Competition between these sellers is fierce and with just a little bit of work, you can take advantage by scoring deals and getting free stuff on Amazon.
Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the country and sells just about everything under the sun. If a product is for sale online, chances are it’s on Amazon. The retail giant doesn’t just sell its own products, it’s also a virtual marketplace for millions of vendors around the globe.
But marketing departments also see the value in micro-influencers — social media users that have smaller, intensely-dedicated followings. If you have a blog, Youtube channel or a certain number of social media followers, signing up with a company like Tomoson is one way to get free stuff from Amazon.
It’s not hard to become a Top Amazon reviewer, and we’ve laid out all of the steps you need to take to join the upper echelon. It’s important to remember that Amazon values quality reviews and the number of helpful votes you accumulate is critical, so be sure you think about the kind of information consumers would care about and craft a well-written, detailed and grammatically-correct review.

3. Use Influencer (or Micro-Influencer) Status for Freebies

Source: thepennyhoarder.com
So we’ve established that the best way to get free stuff on Amazon is with an invite into the Vine program. But how do you get invited? It does require some work on your part and the first step to getting that invite is becoming a Top Amazon reviewer. Believe it or not, the company tracks the best and most prolific reviewers, posting it all on a rankings board. 
Reviewing products is one of the prime ways to get Amazon freebies. We offer some tips and tricks to be successful.
But did you know that you don’t even need to sign up for a trial to access free songs on Amazon? Head over to the Free Songs page on Amazon Music where you can listen to and download thousands of free tracks.

4. Tread Carefully with Facebook Groups and Third Party Review Sites

These reviews or mentions will be posted on your social media so you don’t need to worry about violating Amazon’s terms by receiving a free item for review — though FTC laws require you to disclose your relationship with the brand you’re posting about.
If you’re an Amazon customer, you can get access to free cloud storage. Every customer has access to 5GB of cloud storage for photos, videos and other files through Amazon Drive. These files can be accessed on your desktop, tablet and mobile phone.

Free Stuff Anyone Can Get

Like everyone, you probably have a ton of old electronics laying around the house. Instead of sending them off to the e-waste collection, why not turn obsolete devices into Amazon credit? Amazon Trade-In is a program that gives customers the chance to exchange their unused electronics into gift cards. Thousands of items are eligible for the program and don’t necessarily need to be Amazon Devices.

5. Free 30-Day Trial of Amazon Prime

The early days of Amazon reviewing was like the Wild West – companies sent out free products or other compensation in exchange for positive reviews, despite the actual quality of the item. Unsurprisingly, this led to companies manipulating reviews and “earning” inflated scores for subpar products. Amazon responded in 2016 by prohibiting incentivized reviews, with the exception being those facilitated through Amazon Vine.

6. Amazon Music Free

In 2016 the company changed its review policy and now the only way to get free products through reviews is the Vine program. While you won’t be able to reach out to a struggling retailer and offer reviews in exchange for merchandise, there are still ways for reviewers to get free stuff.

Who doesn’t love free cash? As an incentive for new customers, if you add in Amazon Cash to your account, you’ll get a credit towards your first purchase.

7. Free Kindle Books

If you’ve never had a subscription to Amazon Prime or it’s been a year since your last subscription expired, you are entitled to a free 30-Day trial of Amazon Prime. This membership gives you access to ad-free Amazon Music, Prime Video, Prime Reading and Amazon Photo, plus free shipping on items ordered through Amazon.

8. Audible Audiobooks

There are a couple ways to get free Kindle books on Amazon. If you’re already a Prime Member, the First Reads program entitles you to one free Kindle book a month. Even if you don’t have Prime, you can use First Reads to pay just .99 for one book a month. Plus, you have access to thousands of free Kindle books in the company’s library.

9. Free Cloud Storage

Like most streaming services, Amazon Music Unlimited has a free three-month trial for new subscribers, giving you unlimited, on-demand, ad-free music and podcasts. Of course, you’ll need to remember to end the subscription before your three months are up or you’ll be charged for a month (.99). Signing up for a free 30–day trial of Prime also gives you unlimited access to the service’s deep library.

10. Free Baby Box with Amazon Registry

Vine membership is by invite-only; you can’t apply to join the program. Amazon watches out for customers who post reviews frequently, are considered the most helpful by customers, and write about the types of items that are typically featured in the program.

11. Get a $10 Gift Card for Signing Up with Amazon Cash

Many sellers on these Facebook groups and review sites aren’t reputable and are violating Amazon’s incentivized reviews policy or soliciting fake paid reviews. This is most risky for them but could result in your Amazon account being suspended. Additionally, most of the products on these sites and groups aren’t name brands and appear to be low-quality.

Not Free Stuff, But Free Cash Back

There are ways to get free things without much effort. Here are some.

12. Get Gift Cards with Amazon Trade-In

In this program, companies send Amazon products which they distribute to trusted reviewers for free. Then, Vine identifies the most helpful and trusted reviewers (Vine Voices) and invites them to give their opinions on new and pre-release products. Voices aren’t under any pressure to post positive reviews, and sometimes aren’t even required to write one.
Matt Matasci is a Southern California freelance writer who writes on technology and business, plus travel and lifestyle topics.
When searching for Amazon freebies, Facebook groups and third party review sites are a popular recommendation. It’s true these groups can provide vouchers or gift cards for items you’ve purchased on Amazon — usually, in exchange for a positive review — but you need to be careful.

How to Know When You Can Retire

See if you can relate to this … You have contributed to a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored account at work, maybe you’re paying extra on the mortgage or have already paid it off, you keep cash on hand for those unexpected expenses or upcoming big-ticket purchases and you often wish there was a way to pay less in taxes.

You have worked for 30 or 40 years and are at or approaching Social Security eligibility and are now looking at when to take Social Security to maximize your benefits.

Sound familiar?  Now, here’s what often comes next … You look at the account statements and begin to wonder whether the investments you have are the right ones to own for where you are in life. You begin weighing your options for making withdrawals from your retirement accounts. You aren’t sure exactly how this is done, and you’re nervous about the risk of a stock market pullback and the possibility of running out of money. 
And then it happens, you begin searching the internet for answers.  (That may even be how you ended up here!)  After a lot of searching and reading you realize that there are just too many opinions to choose from, and you resort to simply eliminating options that you’re not as familiar with or have heard negative things about.  Then you take what’s left and try to put together a coherent strategy while continuing a search to find information that supports what you have contrived.

This is an all-too-common situation.  Maybe this is exactly where you are or perhaps it describes something similar, but either way, you wouldn’t be reading this far into the article without some truth to what I am describing.

Regardless of the details, what you do next is critical to your long-term success. The decisions you make will determine the trajectory of your financial future, and it’s imperative to have a good plan to follow.

What to Do and How to Know When You Can Retire

There is a lot to this if done correctly, and at some point you’re probably going to want some professional help, but there are a few things you can do to get moving in the right direction.

Calculate Your Income Need

Before you jump in and begin picking from the assorted list of investments that you found on the internet or that a broker recommended, you should understand that this is the very last step in the process.  You would be well advised to set all of that aside for now and begin with your income needs. You cannot sidestep this, because you have to know this figure before you can do anything else.

To do this right, sort through and total up all your bank payments, then your insurance payments, then your tax payments, then your monthly living expenses, and don’t forget the irregular expenses throughout the year, like gifts and travel.  You want to know how much money you spend over the course of a year. 

Another point to make here, realize that this spending amount will be for when you are retired – not while you’re working.  Things are going to look different for you in retirement, so be sure to think about how you will be spending your time in retirement.  You’ll have a lot of time to fill!

Calculate Your Income Gap

Once you have this figure, subtract from it your Social Security or pension benefits. Any fixed income you have coming is already solved for, so we have to figure out what your “income gap” is between what you need and what income you already have coming in.

Identify the Return You Will Need from Your Investments

So, the amount you have determined as your income gap needs to be annualized and divided by the amount of retirement assets you have designated for retirement. This calculation will tell you what yield you need from your investments. This figure shouldn’t be more than between 4%-5% at the most. If it is higher, then you may not be ready for retirement just yet.

For example, say you have an income gap of $70,000 per year and retirement savings of $2 million. Divide $70,000 by $2 million, and you find that you will need an investment return of 3.5% to support your living expenses. That’s well within an acceptable range.

Remember that you stretch your resources too far right out of the gate, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. This is no time to be overly optimistic with your calculations and will want to lean on the side of caution.

Hedge For Inflation

Unfortunately, there is inflation in your future that you will need to account for on top of market volatility. The income gap amount you came up with a moment ago will need to be hedged due to the future effects of inflation.  The amount of money you need today will be greater in the future simply due to the price of goods and services increasing over time. 

By using a historical figure for inflation of 3.5%, we can estimate that in 15 years your income need will increase by 68%!  So, you have to consider this headwind in your calculations and realize that you need two pools of retirement assets, one to generate the income you need now and another designated for income in the future.  One portfolio would be allocated using income producing assets while the other allocated for long term growth.

Find Income-Producing Assets

When you’re looking to fill your income gap, the obvious solution is to generate more income to fill it. How this is done can vary from person to person, but the primary outcome you’re looking for is income regardless of how you go about it.

If you’re wanting to remain active, you can consider taking on a part-time job, start or buy a business, acquire some rental properties or work another full-time job that you enjoy.

If you prefer not to work and want passive income, then you’re going to have to rely on income-oriented investments.  This would be through specific types of income annuities or select alternative investments that are designed specifically for income.

When doing this, be sure you are working with a qualified professional who is properly licensed and who can education you on your options. You can read this article and learn what to look for before working with an adviser. 

Get A Checklist

It is always a good idea to work off of a checklist, and regardless of where you are in this process, there are likely a few tweaks that can help increase your probability for a successful retirement. I encourage you to formulate a plan that articulates where you are, where you’re going and what needs to be done to start receiving the income you need. 

You can download the Successful Retirement Checklist™ for free here and use it as a guide as you prepare for your retirement.  In addition, taking a retirement readiness quiz can be a good idea, too. A quiz is a useful tool to measure your level of understanding about a topic or your readiness for progressing toward something. Here is a retirement readiness quiz you can take for free that can help you figure out how ready you are for retirement.

Securities offered through Kalos Capital, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC/MSRB and investment advisory services offered through Kalos Management, Inc., an SEC registered Investment Advisor, both located at11525 Park Wood Circle, Alpharetta, GA 30005. Kalos Capital, Inc. and Kalos Management, Inc. do not provide tax or legal advice. Skrobonja Financial Group, LLC and Skrobonja Insurance Services, LLC are not an affiliate or subsidiary of Kalos Capital, Inc. or Kalos Management, Inc.

Founder & President, Skrobonja Financial Group LLC

Brian Skrobonja is an author, blogger, podcaster and speaker. He is the founder of St. Louis Mo.-based wealth management firm Skrobonja Financial Group LLC. His goal is to help his audience discover the root of their beliefs about money and challenge them to think differently. Brian is the author of three books, and his Common Sense podcast was named one of the Top 10 by Forbes. In 2017, 2019 and 2020 Brian was awarded Best Wealth Manager and the Future 50 in 2018 from St. Louis Small Business.

Source: kiplinger.com

17 Online Jobs You Can Do With No Experience

Whether you want to make a little extra money on the side, or you’re looking for an opportunity with the potential for a full-time income, it’s never been more possible than now.

There are so many jobs online that don’t require previous experience and allow you to work from anywhere with internet access, all you need is your laptop!

Regardless of the level of education or work history, anyone can find an online job if they know where to look.

We’ll show you some of the best online jobs with no experience required, as well as action steps to point you in the right direction.

Online Jobs with No Experience

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Fully Booked VA is an outstanding resource led by a highly successful VA.

3. Freelance Writer

Income Potential: $20/hr – $100/hr

Working as a freelance writer is one of the best ways to make money online, and you don’t need any specific experience. Of course, you’ll need to have strong writing and grammar skills, but it’s not as difficult as you might think. 

Most freelance writing gigs today are for online publications, and many websites and blogs prefer to publish conversational and informal content. Don’t think that you can’t work as a freelance writer because you struggled with term papers in school. The writing is entirely different and much more natural for most online publications. 

As far as grammar and spelling skills are concerned, tools like Grammarly can help immensely. 

There are writing opportunities in just about every industry and niche you can imagine. Some freelance writers take a general approach and write about anything the client wants, but it’s more lucrative to specialize in one industry or topic. 

Ideally, you can specialize in something you already know well so you can hit the ground running. Maybe you have knowledge from a previous job or a hobby that you can monetize by writing for clients. The rates of freelance writers are all over the place, but specialized writers tend to earn more due to their expertise.

Like working as a VA, freelance writing is equally well suited to be a side hustle or a full-time job. You can start small and scale up by adding new clients as you go.

Getting Started: Holly Johnson’s Earn More Writing is an excellent course that has helped many successful freelance writers launch their careers.

4. Blogger

Income Potential: Unlimited

If you like the idea of freelance writing but you don’t want to work for clients, another option is to start your blog. Blogging is also an excellent opportunity for anyone who wants to run an online business part-time or full-time, especially if you happen to have some writing skills.

You can start a blog on any topic you like, but if you want to make money, it’s best to stick with niches that are proven to be profitable, like:

  • Business
  • Finance
  • Health and Fitness
  • Wellness
  • Family and Parenting
  • Travel
  • Fashion and Beauty

Since these are all very competitive niches, it’s a good idea to choose a sub-niche to specialize in, like Vegan recipes instead of general health.

Blogging is something you can do part-time, as it fits your schedule. However, it’s also possible to grow it into a full-time income. Many successful bloggers earn an outstanding income from their blogs. 

The downside to blogging is that it takes time to grow. Most new bloggers don’t make much, if anything, during the first six months. You’ll probably start to make a little something later in your first year, but it doesn’t usually pick up until the blog is at least a year old. It requires patience to keep putting in work when you do not see much in terms of results. However, it can pay off in a big way if you stick with it.

Getting Started: See How to Make Money Blogging as a Side Hustle for a guide to getting started. 

5. Proofreader

Income Potential: $20/hr – $50/hr

Working as a proofreader is an excellent option for someone with solid spelling and grammar skills, as well as a strong eye for detail. You don’t need previous work experience to start, but you will need the skills to do the job. 

Several websites and online platforms offer proofreading work. Still, the best way to maximize your income potential is to work on your own as a freelancer rather than looking for an employer.

Getting Started: Proofread Anywhere, a course taught by Caitlin Pyle, is the best resource if you want to learn how to make money as a proofreader.

6. Transcription

Income Potential: $10/hr – $30/hr

If you’re able to type fast and accurately, working as a transcriptionist is an ideal way to make money. It’s highly flexible work, with most online transcription jobs allowing you to set your schedule. And it’s also a skill you can develop. You can fine-tune your typing skills by taking online typing tests until you’re ready to start working.

Transcription work can be done part-time or full-time. Some jobs do require transcription experience, but many others are open to beginners. 

While many websites offer transcription work, the pay from most of those companies is on the low side. To increase your earning potential, you can offer your services as a freelancer.

Getting Started: Transcribe Anywhere offers the best training in the industry. You’ll learn to maximize your income by finding freelance work rather than relying on low-paying platforms.

Online jobs where experience is not needed

7. Translation

Income Potential: $20/hr – $40/hr

If you’re multilingual, working as a translator is a natural choice. Translation jobs tend to pay well because only a limited number of people have the skills to perform the job, and there is plenty of work available. 

As a translation specialist, you could be translating books, blog posts, audio files, and more. Many jobs do not require previous translation experience, but of course, you’ll need excellent language skills to meet the qualifications. The more languages you know, the better.

Getting Started: Many companies hire translators, including Lionbridge and Gengo. You could also find clients as a freelancer.

8. Social Media Manager

Income Potential: $15/hr – $50/hr

If you have a strong understanding of popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, you could offer your services to businesses that need help. As a social media manager, you would manage your clients’ social profiles and keep new content coming to help boost their presence and influence. If you have some design skills, you can also create images and graphics for social media posts.

Some social media managers also manage ad campaigns for clients to promote their products or services. Many business owners want to advertise on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, but they don’t know how to set up or manage those ads. Working as a social media ad specialist is one of the best entry-level online jobs, as you’ll be able to demand more money than a social media manager who doesn’t deal with ads.

Getting Started: To get started, choose the platforms you want to focus on (ideally the ones you already know well). Next, you’ll create a simple website with the details of the services you offer and begin reaching out to potential clients. Businesses in your local area are an ideal starting point.

Many social media managers offer package-based pricing rather than charging by the hour (effectively turning your service into a product). For example, you may charge the client a flat monthly rate for a specific number of posts per month.

9. Graphic Designer

Income Potential: $20/hr – $50/hr

Working as a freelance graphic designer is an excellent opportunity for anyone who has design skills. You don’t need past work experience, but you’ll probably need a portfolio to start landing clients. 

If you have some design skills, chances are, you already have some completed projects to include in your portfolio. And if you don’t, you can do some personal projects or offer discounted work to family and friends to gather a few work samples to create a portfolio.

Getting Started: Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr are options for beginners, but building up your profile on these platforms takes time and effort. 

Many freelance designers get started by finding clients through their personal networks. Talk to your friends, family members, co-workers (as long as there is no conflict of interest), neighbors, and other colleagues and tell them about the services you offer. Some may be interested in hiring you, or they may know other people who need a designer. Once you get started, word-of-mouth will become the best way to build your client base. Of course, you could also look for an employer offering entry-level design jobs, but you’ll sacrifice the flexibility that comes with freelancing.

10. Microtasker

Income Potential: $100 – $1,000 per month

Microtasks are small jobs that are very quick, usually just a few minutes or less. There are platforms that companies can use to hire individuals to complete these microtasks, and they present an income opportunity for just about everyone. 

The jobs may include things like:

  • Taking short surveys
  • Organizing data
  • Create or correct text
  • Basic research

Working as a microtasker is somewhat similar to taking online surveys. Your income potential is limited, and your hourly rate will be pretty low, but it’s exceptionally flexible, and anyone can do it. If you need to start making money right away, microtasking is an option. Microtasking isn’t ideal for a full-time income, but it’s a way to make a small amount of extra money without disrupting your schedule.

Getting Started: Many websites pay users for microtasks, including Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, Clickworker, and Swagbucks. All you need to do is create an account and those sites and start working.

11. Data Entry

Income Potential: $10 – $15 per hour

You don’t need any previous experience to work in data entry. This is one of the easier jobs available, and while it may not be the most exciting work, it does offer a way to make money without specific skills. 

Most online data entry jobs are part-time, but it’s probably not the best option for anyone who wants to earn a full-time income anyway. So those part-time hours are ideal for the job and for someone looking to make a few hundred dollars per month on the side.

Getting Started: Companies like Axion Data and Clickworker are ideal for someone looking to get started with data entry.

12. Customer Service 

Income Potential: $12 – $25 per hour

Customer service is another flexible online job with no experience required. You don’t need many specific skills to work as a customer service rep, but you will need strong people skills and excellent communication skills. 

There are several different types of customer service jobs available, including phone-based, email-based, and chat-based. While customer service jobs aren’t especially high-paying, you can earn a decent hourly rate for a job that’s open to beginners. 

Getting Started: Several companies like LiveOps, NexRep, and Arise offer customer service jobs.

13. Search Engine Evaluator

Income Potential: $12 – $15 per hour

Did you know it’s possible to get paid to do online searches and evaluate the results? A few companies hire search engine evaluators, but the demand for the jobs is stronger than the supply, so openings are not always available.

Working as a search engine evaluator is not the highest-paying job, but it is extremely flexible since you can do the work whenever it fits into your life. Also, this job is only part-time, so if you’re looking for a full-time income, you’ll need to choose something else.

Getting Started: Appen and Lionbridge are among the companies that hire search engine evaluators, although the positions are not always open. If you hope to work in this flexible part-time role, you’ll need to check the job listings frequently and complete an application whenever an opening is listed.

14. Research

Income Potential: $50 – $500 per month

Another simple online job that can be done with no previous experience is research. If you’re good at searching and finding specific nuggets of information, you may be very effective as an online researcher. 

Like some of the other jobs on this list that involve simple tasks, you’re not going to make a ton of money as a researcher, and it’s not ideal if you need a full-time income. But if you’re looking for a flexible way to make some extra income in your spare time, it could be an ideal option.

Getting Started: Several companies hire researchers, including Wonder and Clickworker. Create your profile, and you may be able to start earning money quickly.

15. Moderation

Income Potential: $12 – $25 per hour

Moderation is similar to customer service, and the income potential is about the same as well. You’ll be moderating a forum, Facebook Group, or some other online community. You don’t need specific experience, but you’ll need to be able to communicate and interact with people virtually. 

Getting Started: Companies like ModSquad, LiveWorld, and Crisp hire moderators. Check those sites for openings and apply for any jobs that interest you.

16. Website Tester

Income Potential: $300 per month

Many companies rely on data and feedback from users to perfect their websites and mobile apps. User tests can help to identify improvements that need to be made to the design or user experience.

As a website tester, you’ll earn money for each test you complete. The tests often take 5-30 minutes, but the details will vary. You don’t need specific skills or be highly tech-savvy (companies want testers who accurately represent real users). Most tests involve recording audio and video, so you’ll need a webcam and microphone, but a basic laptop is enough to get the job done.

The downside to this opportunity is that there are more workers than jobs, so the possibilities are somewhat limited. If you want to make money, you should take the available tests because they’re usually only available for a short time. You can make some extra money on the side as a tester, but it’s not going to turn into a massive income because there are only so many tests available.

Getting Started: Create a profile at websites like UserTesting, Userfeel, and Userlytics. Joining more programs will allow you to find more tests that are available and make more money.

17. Tutor

Income Potential: $10 – $30 per hour

Online tutoring jobs have become very popular in recent years. This is because there are a growing number of students worldwide who need teachers and tutors, which presents an opportunity to make money.

Many tutoring jobs involve teaching English as a second language, but there are tutoring opportunities in many other subjects as well. 

Some jobs for online tutors require teaching or tutoring experience, but others do not require experience. In most cases, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree to work as a tutor.

Getting Started: Cambly, italki, and VIPKid offering tutoring positions with no teaching experience required. The details of the jobs vary, but in all cases, you’ll be working with students virtually. 

Remote Online Jobs Are More Available Than Ever

There are many ways to make money online, and you might be surprised by some of the entry-level remote jobs that don’t require specific work experience.

Many of the opportunities covered here are ideal for making some extra money in your spare time, and other options are better income potential if you’re willing to freelance.

It’s just a matter of deciding what the best fit for you is.

Online jobs with no experience needed

17 Online Jobs You Can Do With No Experience

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

Low-Income Apartments: What’s the Difference Between Section 8 and Public Housing?

Section 8 housing assistance and public housing each offer support to individuals and families who can’t afford market-rate apartments.

Today’s rent prices continue to trend upward, making it difficult for many people to find affordable apartments. In fact, according to Apartment Guide’s Rent Report for November 2021, apartment rents are up almost 20 percent for one-bedroom apartments and more than 17 percent for two-bedroom apartments from November 2020.

It’s not surprising, then, that many renters are shopping for low-income apartments, also called public housing or section 8 apartments. It’s important to note that public housing and Section 8 are not the same things, and you must know the difference if you’re considering them as an option for low-income housing.

What is Section 8?

Funded by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), Section ­8, or the Housing Choice Voucher Program, is an assistance program for very low-income families, the elderly and the disabled so they can afford safe and sanitary low-income apartments. Through local public housing agencies (PHA), the program subsidizes rent through housing vouchers paid directly to the renter’s landlord with the renter paying the difference between the full rent and the amount paid by the voucher.

According to HUD, the PHA determines the maximum amount of assistance you can receive. This is generally the lesser of the payment standard minus 30 percent of your family’s monthly adjusted income or the gross rent minus 30 percent of monthly adjusted income.

If you’re chosen to participate in the program and wish to move, you may do so as long as you notify the PHA of your moving plans and the new housing meets the PHA requirements.

What is public housing?

Public housing has a variety of housing options, including single-family homes and low-income apartments. They’re managed by housing authorities (HA) for affordable rents to eligible low-income families, the elderly and those with disabilities. HUD administers federal aid to these HA developments so rent will be affordable. Rent, also called the Total Tenant Payment (TTP), is based on your anticipated gross annual income minus any deductions.

HUD looks at the highest of the following elements, rounded to the nearest dollar, to determine your TTP:

  • Thirty percent of your monthly adjusted income less any deductions you may qualify to receive
  • Ten percent of your monthly income
  • Welfare rent, if applicable, or a minimum rent of $25 or higher (with a maximum of $50) as set by the HA

There are additional allowances for exclusion from your gross annual income as follows: $480 for each dependent; $400 for any elderly family members or anyone with a disability; and certain medical deductions for any family headed by an elderly person or a family member with disabilities.

How is Section 8 different from public housing?

The primary difference between Section 8 and public housing is who owns and manages the properties. Yes, HUD manages both programs, but with Section 8, private landlords own all properties and they accept Section 8 vouchers on behalf of their renters. Public housing is government-owned and -operated properties.

Not all private rental properties will qualify as Section 8 housing. The property must meet the requirements of the Housing Choice Voucher Program as decent, safe and sanitary housing at a reasonable rent. In addition, the landlord must agree to adhere to the Housing Choice Voucher Program requirements by providing all services agreed to as part of the renter’s lease agreement and the PHA contract.

Group of low-income housing buildings

Group of low-income housing buildings

How do you qualify for Section 8 housing?

There are several requirements you must meet to receive a housing voucher. These include:

  • Your total annual gross income cannot exceed 50 percent of the median income for the county or metropolitan area where the property is
  • Meet HUD’s definition of family and size
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or a member of specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status
  • Provide financial information, including income and assets
  • Provide personal information including your Social Security number
  • Pass the PHA screening process

It’s important to note that if you’re eligible, you may not receive assistance right away. It’s possible HUD will place you on a waiting list until assistance is available.

Also, if you’re eligible for Section 8, you must follow all lease and program requirements, pay your rent on time, maintain your property in good condition and notify the PHA if there are any changes in your income or family size.

To apply for Section 8, you must contact the local PHA or HUD office.

How do you qualify for public housing?

There are three key factors you must meet to qualify for public housing. These are:

  • Annual gross income meets HUD’s income limits
  • Qualify as a family, as elderly or as a person with a disability
  • You’re a U.S. citizen or have eligible immigration status

You also must provide personal references as part of your application.

In addition, income limits vary by location and family size. The lower income limits set by HUD are 80 percent and the very low-income limit is 50 percent of the median income for the county or metropolitan area where the property is.

If you’re eligible for public housing, you may have to pay a security deposit. You also must follow all lease terms and keep the property in good condition. If your income or family size changes, you must notify the HA.

To apply for public housing, you must contact your local HA or HUD field office.

What type of housing assistance do you need?

For low-income and very low-income families, assistance is available to help you find an affordable place to live.

With Section 8, you may receive a housing voucher to help cover your rent with a private landlord. Through public housing, you may find an affordable apartment in a government-owned- and –operated building. It’s important to explore both options when searching for low-income apartments that will accommodate your family and won’t break your budget.

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