A brownstone may look like other townhouses, but it’s got some unique qualities.
If you’ve ever pictured yourself living in cities like Chicago, Boston or New York City, you may have envisioned the iconic image of buildings and brownstone apartments lining the streets. Many large, East coast cities are known for the iconic brownstone facades that give the neighborhood a 19th-century nostalgic look and feel.
If you’re considering renting a brownstone, it’s important to know about the rich history of these types of buildings in addition to the pros and cons that come with brownstone homes. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about renting an infamous brownstone.
What is a brownstone apartment?
A brownstone is a row house made specifically from brown sandstone. The brownstone facade is key — it’s the defining feature that sets brownstones apart from other types of single-family homes. Other defining features of brownstone apartments include:
A stone stoop leading to the entryway
Ornate details carved or etched into the brownstone face
Many buildings in a row with no space in between
Three to four floors per building
Brownstone itself is soft sandstone that has a natural brown color, hence the name “brownstone.” The stone is easy to mold, cut and shape so you’ll often see ornate carvings on the face of brownstone homes, another feature that sets them apart.
Originally, the brownstone material was inexpensive and less desirable compared to other building materials like brick, marble or granite. Until the 19th century, buildings made of brownstone were cheaper because the brown color was unappealing. However, that changed during the Romantic era when the natural look became popular. Nowadays, brownstones are some of the most expensive apartments on the market.
What is the difference between a townhouse and a brownstone?
Brownstones and townhouses are similar in the sense that they’re both buildings with multiple floors, units and apartments for rent. They’re both attached to another building. For example, you’ll have your own unit or floor to live on but you’ll share a wall with your neighbors in these kinds of houses.
You can construct a townhouse out of any building material, but many are brick. However, a true brownstone uses brown sandstone building material, otherwise, it’s a regular townhouse. The facades of brownstones are the specific feature that separates them from other types of apartments.
Because many brownstone apartments are older, they may not have modern amenities like brand new buildings. The construction of many brownstones occurred in the early 19th century and living in these may require some maintenance to keep them up-to-date. Keep this in mind when you’re considering renting townhouses versus brownstones.
Things to know about New York City brownstones
While brownstones are in different cities, they’re especially prevalent in New York City. If you’ve seen any movie or TV show set in New York, you’ve likely seen the iconic brownstone homes in beautiful neighborhoods. True brownstones are in a few key neighborhoods of New York City — Park Slope, Upper West Side, Carroll Gardens, Fort Greene and Brooklyn Heights — to name a few. You can walk up and down the street and see brownstone apartments in these areas of the city.
These houses with their steep stone stoops and ornate brownstone facade give the building charm. They’re often located in desirable neighborhoods, too. Because there’s only a set number of genuine brownstones in New York City, there’s often more demand than supply, so the prices are steep.
Pros of brownstone apartment living
As with anything, there are pros and cons to living in brownstones. Here are some of the pros and cons associated with a brownstone apartment.
Spacious living area
While some single-family homes in a big city are small, brownstones are typically larger. Traditional brownstones will have a parlor floor, which is the second floor from the ground floor. The parlor floor is where you’ll have your dining room and living room. The units usually have three to four bedrooms, but can also have as many as nine bedrooms in each brownstone.
City brownstones are beautiful buildings. As we’ve mentioned, the appeal of a brownstone is typically the history, the idyllic community and the picturesque neighborhood. The construction of brownstones is ornate and the apartment is usually located on a tree-lined street. When you live in a row house, you’ll enjoy the beauty of the decorative brownstone.
Spacious outdoor area
Some people living in brownstone homes enjoy a nice outdoor space as part of their apartment. You’ll get more room and outdoor seating areas in a brownstone compared to other types of apartments. You can walk up from the ground level and enjoy the front stoop or enjoy private outdoor space in the form of a patio or garden area.
Most brownstones are in nice neighborhoods with tight-knit communities. Because the units are so close to each other, you’ll be close to the other people living in the same brownstone house. People like the brownstone community as most people end up staying in the brownstone for a long time. The units are often close to different restaurants, so you’ll enjoy the amenities of city life when living in a brownstone, too.
Cons of brownstone apartment living
For every good thing about brownstones, there are some negatives, too.
Because brownstones are so desirable nowadays, you’ll pay high prices to live in one of them. In New York, brownstones can sell for up to $10 million. If you’re considering a brownstone, make sure the price is in your budget. If not, you can have a similar experience living in a townhouse without a notable facade.
The historic nature of brownstones makes them appealing but it also means the building is older compared to others. You’ll likely have more maintenance and upkeep in brownstones and may lack traditional amenities and features like air conditioning. Also, the steep stoop and staircases are sometimes problematic as they aren’t as accessible as other spaces.
Close to neighbors
If you’re looking for a place to live with lots of room to roam and privacy, a brownstone isn’t the right option as you’re incredibly close to the people next door. Because these buildings are in a row, you’re literally wall-to-wall with other people. Some love this closeness, while others want more privacy.
Finding a brownstone apartment for you
The intricate design and carvings of brownstone apartments are idyllic. You can’t deny that they look beautiful and conjure images of old-school living in cities like New York. Brownstones have a story and you’ll enjoy the natural look of these buildings. Before renting one, make sure that it’s within your budget as they’re pricy apartments.
When non-U.S. citizens arrive in America, a key concern can of course be keeping their money safe and getting their financial life up and running — which are two key benefits of opening a bank account. Fortunately, many financial institutions allow those who are not citizens to do just that…which is a big relief for those who are new to residing in the 50 states.
Here, we’ll share:
• How to open a bank account if you’re a non-citizen
• What kind of identification is needed
• How to secure an ITIN for identification
• Alternatives to a bank account
Read on for the full story.
Is It Possible to Open a US Bank Account as a Non-Resident?
Yes, it is possible to open a U.S. bank account as a non-resident. However, not all banks may allow this. You’ll need to check with an individual financial institution to learn their policies, including what forms of identification will be required.
It can help to be very specific with your questions. For example, you might ask about the process of opening a checking account for a non-U.S. citizen or a savings account. Find out in advance what the requirements are so you know (and can prepare) exactly the sort of credentials and paperwork are needed. The goal is no surprises, right?
Recommended: What is a Savings Account and How Does it Work?
Typical Requirements for Opening a Bank Account
Even if you are a U.S. citizen, you will have a number of documentation requirements when it comes to opening a bank account. According to the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, financial institutions must verify the identity of someone who wants to open a bank account to the “extent reasonable and practical.”
How this is accomplished can vary by financial institution, but here are typical requirements whether you are opening a bank account online or in person:
• Contact information (name, address, phone number, email address)
• Two forms of current government IDs such as a driver’s license and Social Security card
• If you haven’t used a Social Security card as a form of ID, the financial institution will still ask for your Social Security number.
• A current bill, such as a water or electric bill, with your current address
• Minimum opening deposit (this is often $25)
Check with your bank of choice for more details.
Alternatives for Identification
Opening a bank account in a foreign country can mean, however, that you don’t have all the paperwork listed above. When applying for an account, if you can’t satisfy those requirements, you may be able to submit alternative documents. Other options can include the following:
• If you don’t have a driver’s license, then you may provide a government-issued state ID or a U.S. military ID. All must be current/unexpired.
• Other forms of secondary governmental IDs (besides a Social Security card) can include your original or certified birth certificate or your passport; a passport can also serve as your primary form of ID.
• An ITIN if you’re not eligible for a Social Security number.
Next up: More about an ITIN, which can be a vital piece of identification for non-U.S. citizens, allowing them to bank in America.
What is ITIN?
You may wonder, “What is an ITIN?” as you pursue a bank account as an immigrant. It’s an important point to learn more about and can unlock financial services for you. ITIN stands for an “Individual Taxpayer Identification Number” and, according to the IRS, this serves as a tax processing identification number.
The IRS issues this number to people who need to have an identification number in the United States but are not eligible to get a Social Security number. A person’s immigration status is not relevant when applying for an ITIN because resident and non-resident aliens may each need to have this number. Worth noting: Getting an ITIN does not authorize you to work in America. It is simply a number that is used for tax-reporting purposes.
How to Apply for an ITIN
If you are not a U.S. citizen and want to apply for an ITIN, you have a few options. The IRS lists the steps for a couple of different options:
• If you’d like to apply by mail, provide your W-7, proof of identity, tax return, and foreign status documents to the following address:
◦ IRS Austin Service Center, ITIN Operation, PO Box 149342, Austin, TX 78714-9342
◦ No return envelope is required for your documents to be returned. However, if you want your documents returned more quickly, you can include a prepaid express mail envelope or courier envelope.
• If you will need these original documents within the next 14 weeks (which can be how long processing takes), you may decide to apply in person at a Certifying Acceptance Agent (CAA). Or you can submit certified copies rather than the originals.
◦ If you’re waiting for your original documents and 14 weeks have passed, call 800-908-9982 in the United States or 267-941-1000 outside the country for an update on their return.
• Make an appointment at an official IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center . Multilingual operators are available.
Once you receive your ITIN, you can move ahead with opening a bank account.
Benefits of Opening a Bank Account
Opening a bank account can be a vital step in establishing and maintaining your day-to-day financial life in the U.S. Let’s spell out some of the benefits. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC ) lists numerous reasons why opening a bank account can be beneficial:
• Safety: FDIC insurance keeps your money safe even if a bank would fail and even if an unauthorized electronic transaction is made. (With the second, you’ll need to contact your financial institution in a timely way.)
• Convenience: You can seamlessly have a paycheck directly deposited into your account, eliminating the possibility of a lost or stolen paper check. You can pay bills from your account, and transfer money to friends and family members.
• Accountability: You can track your balance and the transactions made, and you’ll have a record of all of them. You can set up alerts to stay informed about these transactions and, once you have an account with a bank, you can then benefit from other services that the financial institution offers.
Depending on your situation, you may want to open an individual account solo or you might want to bank with another person, which will provide some joint bank account benefits. In either case, if you are a new owner of a checking account, it’s important to learn how to balance bank accounts and keep on top of your cash flow to avoid overdraft fees and the like.
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Alternative Accounts for Non-US Citizens
What if you are not a citizen, want to open a bank account, but don’t have or can’t get that ITIN? Although an ITIN is one of most common ways for a non-U.S. citizen without a Social Security number to identify themselves to get a bank account, financial institutions may also accept other IDs. For example, you may be able to present a passport number and the name of the country that issued it, an alien ID number, or another type of government-issued ID that identifies residency or nationality. It’s worth doing a bit of research to see if you can open an account with these forms of identification.
If you’d like to open an account with funds other than U.S. dollars, you might also want to consider a foreign currency account, which lets you send and receive funds in a foreign currency.
Yes, you can open a bank account as a non-U.S. citizen and enjoy the convenience and security of a checking or savings account. However, extra steps are involved when it comes to providing forms of ID. An ITIN can be helpful when opening a bank account as a non-U.S. citizen. This form of identification can be worthwhile in getting your financial life up and running in America.
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Can a non-resident open a bank account in the US?
The answer to “Can an immigrant open a bank account?” is yes. Opening a bank account in the U.S. for non-residents comes with added steps: Someone who doesn’t qualify for a Social Security number must identify themself in another way, such as an ITIN, that’s acceptable to the financial institution.
How do I open a non-resident bank account?
You can check with a financial institution of choice to see whether they offer accounts to non-citizens and their specific policies on how a non-resident can open a bank account in the U.S. Ask what forms of ID you’ll need; you will likely be required to have an ITIN or an alternate form.
What identification is needed to open a bank account in the US?
Although specifics may vary by financial institution, in general, a bank will ask for contact information along with a utility bill that confirms your address; two forms of a government-issued ID; your Social Security number; and a minimum opening deposit. If someone isn’t eligible for a Social Security number, an ITIN may be an acceptable alternative.
Recessions are scary. With the higher risk of job losses and business collapses, stock market crashes and home value drops, it can feel like no part of your life is safe.
But recessions also represent an opportunity for those who take the long view. You can buy investments and businesses at a discount and position yourself to earn more when the dust settles.
As you prepare for the next recession, keep in mind the following ways to make money in a recession.
How to Make Money During a Recession
There’s no rule that says you have to suffer during recessions. Follow these steps if you want to come out ahead while everyone else sees the sky falling.
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1. Protect Your Earning Power First
If you lose your primary source of income, it doesn’t matter how savvy you are at investing. You won’t have any extra money to invest, and all your effort will go into finding a new job to protect your personal finances.
So your first priority is to protect your job — or your business if you’re self-employed.
How financially stable is your employer or business? How secure is your role? Some jobs are more recession-proof than others.
If you have any doubts about your job or small business surviving a recession, take steps to shore it up. That could mean switching employers in the same field or changing careers entirely. If necessary, get a new career certification or degree to make a preemptive move while you still have a steady income.
You can also protect your income by adding new sources of it. For example, you could start a side gig to reduce your dependence on your day job. Or you could start a side hustle to see if it could eventually replace your 9-to-5. There are plenty of ideas for side businesses you can start today.
2. Boost Your Savings
You’re more likely to experience a personal financial crisis during a recession. That means you should prepare in advance by boosting your savings rate to pad your emergency fund and savings account.
Break out a red marker and start slashing expenses from your budget. Scratch that — start a new budget entirely. It’s easy to do with a budget template in Google Sheets. Put every single budget category under the microscope.
In particular, audit your recurring expenses, such as your housing payment, car payments, and insurance premiums. Pick through your credit card and bank statements to find every single subscription service. Then ax every single one that you can imagine living without. It’s best to DIY, but if you don’t have time, opt for a bill negotiation service.
Cut back on meals prepared by other people. That includes restaurant meals, delivery, takeout, and lunches you didn’t pack yourself.
Research ways to save money on groceries. Food makes up the third-largest expense for most households.
But as your largest structural expense, spend extra effort on reducing or eliminating your housing payment.
3. House Hack
I haven’t paid full price for housing in over a decade. For the last seven, I’ve lived for free.
Look for ways to generate revenue through your home to offset your housing costs. It’s called house hacking, and there are many ways to do it.
You could bring in a roommate or set up a basement or garage apartment or an accessory dwelling unit. You could rent out storage space in your garage or parking for cars, RVs, boats, or other large vehicles. My business partner went so far as to host a foreign exchange student for four years, and the stipend covered most of her mortgage payment.
Get creative with it. If you can eliminate your housing payment, it frees up an enormous amount of money for investing.
4. Play Defense With Short-Term Investments, Offense for Long-Term
You don’t want your short-term investments to lose money due to the recession. After all, your short-term investments are typically meant to be safe ways to earn a modest return while parking your money for under a year.
Do some research on recession-proof investments for any money you might need to access within the next year or two. If you see risky assets among short-term holdings, divest now and move the money into safer harbors. Those could include precious metals, consumer staples, or dividend stocks with strong cash flow, among many others.
But your long-term investments are another story. You actually want to seek out the assets that fall the most during recessions to potentially buy them at a deep discount.
Just ensure you buy assets that will rebound in the long term rather than evaporate entirely.
5. Buy Heavily Discounted Stocks
In recessions, stocks nearly always fall — and dramatically.
You could wring your hands and stress over it. Or you could consider the stock market to be “on sale,” like a Black Friday for your net worth.
Stock markets usually fall in the six months leading up to a recession, and in the midst of it, the S&P 500 has averaged a 16% return in the 12 months following recessions. And in the bigger picture, it’s averaged around a 10% annual return since its inception. For more information, see our article on average historical stock market returns.
The safest bet here is buying large-cap U.S. stock exchange-traded funds, such as index funds that mirror the S&P 500. That provides you with diversification among companies with sound fundamentals and balance sheets. But some types of stocks fall more during stock market corrections than others, leading to deeper discounts.
Tech stocks, growth stocks, and small-cap stocks tend to fall more than established, cash-flowing blue chip stocks. In other words, you can buy them at a deeper discount. Buy exchange-traded funds specializing in these types of stocks to distribute your risk across many companies rather than picking individual stocks. For instance, you can buy an index fund tracking the Nasdaq for tech exposure or a fund tracking the Russell 2000 for small-cap stocks.
Of course, the greatest upside potential comes from picking stocks that have collapsed in value and stand poised for a substantial post-recession comeback. But individual stocks also come with far greater risk, as any one company can go out of business. Only pick individual stocks and managed mutual funds if you’re a seasoned investor.
6. Don’t Fixate on Your Net Worth (Right Now)
It’s no fun checking your net worth during bear markets. All you see is red. So don’t check it right now.
Tracking your net worth each month is only helpful if it motivates you to keep good financial habits, such as saving and investing money. When your net worth drops, focus on the process rather than the immediate results.
Specifically, focus on saving and investing as much money as you can while financial markets are on sale.
You won’t see any results in the short term. In fact, you may well see losses as the market continues falling. But keep investing knowing you’re positioning yourself for huge returns later. If you wait for the recovery to become obvious, you’ll miss the steep initial rebound.
7. Use Dollar-Cost Averaging
Along those lines, set up automated recurring investments every week or two. It’s called dollar-cost averaging, and it helps your portfolio mimic the market as a whole.
Consider opening an account with a robo-advisor to set up automated recurring investments. Or you can create a custom investment strategy with your financial advisor.
It may not be sexy, but it works. It sure beats the returns when you try to time the market.
8. Max Out Your 401(k) Contributions
Some investors pause their 401(k) contributions during recessions and market crashes. As outlined above, it’s the worst possible move you can make.
Instead, lean into discounted stock prices and maximize your retirement plan contributions. In particular, take advantage of your Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA, paying taxes on the contributions now so you don’t have to pay them on returns after your investments bounce in the inevitable economic recovery.
9. Create Passive Income Streams
Just as it helps to create additional streams of active income during recessions, it also helps to bring in more passive income.
With enough passive income, you can cover your living expenses, and your day job becomes optional. It’s called financial independence, and when you reach it, you no longer have to worry about petty concerns such as losing your job.
Financial independence comes with a slew of other benefits too. You can pursue your dream work, regardless of how well it pays. You no longer have to pay for costs like life insurance or long-term disability insurance. And you can move anywhere in the world, including inexpensive countries where $2,000 per month buys the good life.
10. Take Advantage of Lower Interest Rates
When recessions hit, the Federal Reserve typically lowers interest rates to stimulate the economy. That makes it easier for companies to borrow and stay in business and ideally start growing again. But it also makes it cheaper for you to borrow.
You could refinance your home to lower your monthly payment. Or if you’ve been thinking about buying a home, you can do so with cheap financing when interest rates drop.
Low interest rates also make it cheap to borrow for investing — such as buying rental properties.
11. Buy Investment Properties
Recessions sometimes cause real estate prices to dip. Housing markets don’t fall as steeply as stocks, but you can often score a great deal during recessions. That could include buying foreclosures, which tend to rise during recessions, or fixer-uppers the seller doesn’t have the money to repair themselves.
While home prices sometimes dip in recessions, rents don’t actually fall. At worst, they level off for a time. Lower prices with stable rents mean you can earn better cash flow on investment properties than usual.
Done correctly, rental property investing can help you build passive income streams. Just invest some time learning how to invest first, as new rental property owners tend to lose money.
Most owners lose 50% of the rent to non-mortgage expenses like property taxes, insurance, vacancies, repairs, maintenance, property management costs, accounting, and legal costs. In the industry, that’s known as the 50% Rule, and it leaves unsuspecting novices losing money on properties rather than earning it.
12. Buy Businesses at a Discount
Public companies see their value fall during recessions but so do small private businesses. If you’ve always dreamed of owning your own business but hate the idea of starting from scratch, you can often buy operating businesses during recessions at deep discounts.
Sometimes, the owners simply get tired of running them or reach retirement age. Either way, you can score better bargains when the economy collapses.
In fact, recessions offer a glimpse into the worst-case scenario for how various businesses perform in bad economies. You don’t have to wonder if a company can survive a downturn — you can see it in their books.
Just be careful as you hunt for bargain businesses during recessions. The last thing you want to do is buy a dying business and pay for the seller’s escape to a Mexican beach somewhere.
13. Sell Your Stuff
When all fails, you can always sell your unused stuff.
That could mean selling on Craigslist or other local online classifieds. Or you could sell on worldwide e-commerce platforms like eBay and Amazon.
For that matter, you could host a good ol’-fashioned yard sale. Just do some basic research on what your goods are worth on the secondary market before pricing them. For more information, see our guide to pricing garage sale merchandise.
As Warren Buffett famously put it: “Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.”
Most people spend economic downturns panicking, selling off stocks, selling real estate, chewing their fingernails to the quick. That makes it a great time to do the exact opposite.
Stay calm, keep investing, and hunt for bargains. But most of all, protect your income sources — because without income, you can’t take advantage of the fire sale going on all around you.
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G. Brian Davis is a real estate investor, personal finance writer, and travel addict mildly obsessed with FIRE. He spends nine months of the year in Abu Dhabi, and splits the rest of the year between his hometown of Baltimore and traveling the world.
Your pet is part of your family, but that doesn’t mean his food needs to cost as much as yours — even if you’re trying to feed him high-quality food.
But unfortunately, pet food, too, was affected by supply chain woes and shortages during the pandemic. There are fewer drivers transporting the ingredients and products across the country; there are cargo ship delays; and the number of people with pets since pre-pandemic have increased — all leading to the pet food crisis. And now, inflation.
A 2022 survey conducted by Rover found that 71% of dog owners say their pet care costs have gone up due to inflation.
The cost of pet food has risen, and sometimes, it’s difficult to find the food your pooch or kitty wants (there was a cat food shortage earlier this year). So should you switch food? And to what? The range of choices in pet food may make this seem like a daunting task. You can’t ask your furry friends which foods they like best, either. (You could, but you may not get a satisfactory answer.)
9 Tips From Pros About Affordable Pet Food
Find generic brands from well-known companies
Look for whole meat products
Grain-free food isn’t necessarily the best
Look for “nutritionally complete” on the label
Dry pet food Is OK
Avoid carrageenan thickener
“Premium“ is a marketing term — ignore it
Change how you think of the cost
Make your own pet food
We spoke to veterinarians and nutritionists to find out how you can identify the healthiest, most nutritious pet food options that’ll fit your budget and are widely available.
Before you purchase your pet food, speak with your vet about the best options for your pet, especially if your furry friend has special dietary needs.
1. Find Generic Brands From Well-Known Companies
Stephanie Mantilla, an animal trainer and enrichment specialist with Curiosity Trained, always looks for expensive brands disguised as generics. For example, Whole Earth Farms is made by Merrick but costs a fraction of the price, Mantilla says.
The easiest way to find high-quality generic brands is to look at the food brands you don’t recognize in the same section of the store as the high-quality pet food, Mantilla says.
“It’ll be Merrick, Wellness, Instinct and Taste of the Wild brands near one another,” she said. “Then, if you see another brand you aren’t familiar with but is at a lower price, it likely is one of the generic brands.”
Another way to find these generic brands is to search online, Mantilla says. If you have a brand of pet food you like, search for “generic XX food.”
“Sometimes, you’ll find exact match generic brands or recommendations for a similar brand if that company doesn’t make a generic version,” Mantilla said.
2. Look for Whole Meat Products
With dog food, whole meat products — rather than by-products — should be the first ingredients on the list.
“Dogs are omnivores, but a food whose first ingredient is grains may not contain enough protein for them,” Mantilla says.
Brands that meet this criteria include Purina Pro-plan, Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand and Blue Buffalo, according to Sakura Davis, a veterinary consultant and technician.
3. Grain-Free Food Isn’t Necessarily the Best
Grain-free food is typically more expensive than the alternatives, but that doesn’t mean that it’s better than the alternatives (unless your dog needs to be grain-free for medical reasons).
In fact, while some humans feel better on a grain-free diet, that doesn’t necessarily hold true for your pets, especially dogs. The FDA found there may be a link between the development of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs that eat grain-free pet food, many of which contain peas, lentils, legume seeds and potatoes as the main ingredients.
4. Look for “Nutritionally Complete” on the Label
Even if you can’t identify the odd-sounding ingredients in your pet’s food, there’s one way to quickly see if the bag of kibble or can of food is nutritionally complete: Look at the label.
Pet food labels should have a Nutritional Adequacy statement, which may also be referred to as the AAFCO statement. You can find this on the back of the bag or can, or on the side in the fold. It should convey the following: whether the food contains all the essential nutrients your pet needs; how this was determined; and what age or stage of life this food was designed to serve.
If you see that the product was intended for intermittent and supplemental feeding only, then you should avoid using it for meals. Use it for treats instead.
5. Dry Pet Food Is OK
A study published in BMJ’s Vet Record found that just 13% of dogs and 33% of cats exclusively eat conventional pet food like kibble. While people may be concerned that the kibble is boring or unhealthy for their pets, that’s actually not the case.
“What they don’t see are the nutrients in that kibble. They don’t see the decades of research behind it,” Sarah Dodd, veterinarian and lead author of the study, told Supermarket News.
6. Avoid Carrageenan Thickener
If you buy wet food, try to avoid brands that use carrageenan, Mantilla says. It’s a derivative of seaweed often used as a thickening agent. It bulks up wet food so it looks like there’s more of the food, but you’re getting fewer calories per serving.
7. ‘Premium’ Is a Marketing Term — Ignore It
The word “premium” is a marketing term, according to researchers at the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University. As with the word “natural,” any company can add the word “premium” onto its pet food packaging without justification.
This term is a favorite of brands because many consumers believe the product is better quality when they see it on the packaging, and will thus be inclined to pay more for it. A 2007 study by the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University found that when people are told that they’re tasting an expensive product, they’ll be more likely to believe it tastes better than the inexpensive option.
Pet parents aren’t immune from this. The premium pet food market accounted for 44% of pet food sales in 2001, but that percentage jumped to 61% by 2015. You can save yourself some cash by opting not to buy pet food labeled as “premium.”
8. Change How You Think of the Cost
Instead of looking at the price per bag or even the price per pound, look at the price per kilocalorie, according to Tuft University’s Clinical Nutrition Service. Pet foods pack in kilocalories differently, and as a result, two bags of dry food that weigh the same may differ when it comes to calorie content. A bag with more kilocalories may cost more, but you’ll also need to feed your pets less per feeding.
Here’s how to figure out the price per kilocalorie for pet food. First, determine how much your pet eats each day. Measure the amount of each food your pet eats and multiply that by the number of calories per cup/gram/can of food. (Not sure how to do this? These calorie calculators can help.)
Once you know how many kilocalories your pet needs to eat, then find out how many kilocalories are in the food, which you can find on the label, and how much the bag or can of food cost.
Plug in the numbers on this calculator and find out how much it costs to feed your pet each day. This will give you a better sense of what it would actually cost to feed your pet the food in question than you can get from only looking at price per bag or price per pound.
9. Make Your Own Pet Food
The most inexpensive way to feed your dog a high quality meal is to make the food yourself (though it is still less expensive to feed your dog kibble), says Emma Bowdrey, an ISCP-trained dog trainer in Easterton, United Kingdom.
Include proteins, carbs and nutritious vegetables, and avoid onions, garlic and chives. Bowdrey recommends going to the butcher for internal organs, such as liver, kidneys and heart.
“These are rich in proteins, fats, Vitamins A, B and iron, and are fairly inexpensive, so you get a lot of nutritious bang for your buck,” Bowdrey says.
These three recipes will help you make delicious, healthy treats for your pooch — and they’re all budget-friendly, too.
Combine these with other good quality muscle meat, potatoes and vegetables to create a well-balanced and tasty meal for your dog. Turmeric and ginger, which are anti-inflammatories that can improve gut health, can be added during the prep process, Bowdrey says.
Raw bones are also a great addition to keep teeth clean and remove tartar, but avoid cooked bones, as these are prone to splintering. For extra variety, foods such as apples, sardines and strawberries make a great snack.
What’s the Difference Between Cat and Dog Food?
Cats are carnivores, while dogs are omnivores. This means that cats must eat meat, while dogs need meat and vegetables. Cat food is higher in meat-based protein than dog food which has more plant-based ingredients. If your dog eats cat food on a regular basis, it could lead to obesity, pancreatitis and stomach upset. On the other hand, if your cat eats dog food on a regular basis, he will lack the nutrients he needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Affordable Pet Food
We’ve rounded up the answers to the most commonly asked questions about affordable pet food.
What Type of Pet Food is Least Expensive?
You’ll have to read the labels and do some math (!) to find this out. Skip the “premium” label, which is just a marketing term. Then, look at the price per kilocalorie, as you may be able to get away with feeding your pet less if the kilocalories are higher. Do this by measuring the amount of food your pet eats daily, and multiplying that by the number of calories per cup/gram/can of food. Alternatively, you can use this calorie calculator. This will tell you how many kilocalories your pet requires. Look at the amount of kilocalories in a bag of food (it should be on the label), and compare the food using this measurement rather than price per bag.
What Do I Do If I Can’t Afford Dog Food?
There are pet food pantries if you need help feeding your pooch. You can also contact your veterinarian to see if they have food samples; and you can ask your local animal shelter if they have extra food. Other national organizations such as Pets of the Homeless will help if you’re struggling.
Is It Cheaper to Make Your Own Dog Food?
This depends on how much you spend on your dog’s food, which could range from $15-$75 for a bag of dry kibble (wet food is significantly more expensive). Homemade dog food from a store may cost about $5 per day, but you can get this cost down to about $2 per day by making your own dog food, which is less than feeding your dog a high quality commercial wet and dry food diet.
How Can I Feed My Cat Cheaply?
Kibble is less expensive than wet food and if your cat likes a particular brand, you should follow them on social media to get coupons and discounts. Always buy in bulk for the biggest discount and look at the cost per day rather than the cost per pound or kilogram to estimate how much you’re paying for the food. The Humane Society has a list of national and local organizations that will help with free pet food if you’re in need.
Is It Cheaper to Feed Cats Wet or Dry Food?
While canned pet foods tend to have better quality ingredients and may be more filling, dry cat food is less expensive than wet food. It’s fine to feed your cat a 100% dry food diet.
The Penny Hoarder contributor Danielle Braff is a Chicago writer who specializes in consumer goods and shopping on a budget. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Real Simple and more.
Conventional financial wisdom says buying in bulk is smart. When you buy en masse, the price per unit tends to drop. So the thinking goes, if you buy more, the less each unit winds up costing you. Seems simple enough, but like anything financial, there’s a bit more to the story.
It’s worth doing a deep dive on buying in bulk. What do you need to know, what mistakes should you avoid, and do you really save money?
The Pros of Buying in Bulk
Who isn’t looking for ways to save money? A firm financial foundation starts with saving. While the big deal is the potential for saving money on the cost per item, there are other reasons to shop in bulk.
For one thing, it’s typically more socially responsible and environmentally friendly because bulk purchases usually have significantly less packaging per use than smaller purchases have. (Envision a mammoth pickle jar or tub of frosting.)
Ideally, buying in bulk also means you shop less, and that’s less time spent on the road and burning gas.
Then too, who knows what additional savings you might rack up just by being in the store less frequently and having fewer opportunities to pick up things that weren’t on your list?
If you’re the organized type who is big on preparing meals in advance, cooking lots of food and freezing it, buying in bulk can make that endeavor easier.
For sure it’s cost efficient to prepare your family’s favorite pasta dishes and soups and have enough for today and whenever you’re ready for round two, or three.
Finding the Price Per Unit
This is one time you need to do the math. To capitalize on a bulk buy, determine the cost per unit. What is a unit? Think measurements like ounces, square feet, grams, and gallons.
A bottle of olive oil is not a unit. A fluid ounce of olive oil is.
A roll of paper towels is not a unit. A square foot of paper towels is.
Figure out how many units you are buying. Take the total cost of your purchase and divide that by the number of units.
Then compare the unit prices of a few packages of the same product to determine which is the better value.
Ideally, the cost per unit of a bulk buy should be at least 50% below what you would normally pay.
Although a supersized item usually has a lower cost per unit than its smaller brethren, crunch the numbers to see.
How Much Can You Save By Buying in Bulk?
stop spending so much and begin buying in bulk, you need a game plan. It’s a good idea to reach for the familiar and sweeten the deal by looking for familiar items that are also on sale. That will snag you the best prices and help keep your bank account well padded.
Stick With What You Know
This is not the time to experiment. If you’re loading your cart with goods, you don’t want to be guessing about whether you’ll love them or not. Go for the family’s beloved items.
Buying in bulk and getting a deal is worthless if nobody wants to eat or use what you buy. That’s money down the drain.
Search for Your Favorites on Sale
Just like you don’t want the tax tail to wag the investment dog, you don’t want to buy what’s on sale solely because it’s on sale.
When trying to cut your grocery bill, the goal is to get what you know and love on sale, not to be overly adventurous. The latter can leave you disappointed, with a few fewer dollars in your pocket to boot.
What to Buy in Bulk
Some products are perfect for stockpiling. While your list will depend on your family, think items like paper towels, toilet paper, detergent, dishwashing liquid, sponges, aluminum foil, toothpaste, canned goods, frozen foods, beans, rice, sugar, flour, and nonperishables.
On the flip side, generally, you don’t want to load up on fresh produce unless you are cooking for a crowd, as your family may not be able to eat it all before it perishes.
The Cons of Buying in Bulk
For sure buying in bulk can work to your advantage, but it’s not without caveats. You have to come out of your pocket big time.
Let’s say you pay $40 for $60 worth of lotion, but what if $40 puts a bigger squeeze on your budget than buying them one at a time, weeks apart? If you use a credit card, fine — if you can pay off the entire bill when it’s due. If you incur interest charges, that will eat into your “savings.”
Keep in mind, too, that you need space to store all that stuff and a car to pile it in to take home. If either of these are issues, buying in bulk may not be ideal for you.
Know thyself. Maybe you are the person who gets bored quickly and takes to heart that variety is the spice of life. When you’ve got mega amounts of the same product, be prepared for sameness for a long stretch, which is all the more reason to purchase only what you love, as you may be using it for months.
If you’re going deep into bulk buying, you likely won’t settle only for what you can get in bulk at the grocery store but will want to shop at the warehouse stores like Costco and BJ’s. Consider the annual membership fees that are required.
Costco’s “Gold Star” membership is $60, and the “Executive” level is $120. BJ’s tiers are $55 and $115. Sam’s Club advertises membership fees of $45 and $100.
Will you frequent the store enough to make the fee worthwhile?
Mistakes to Avoid When Buying in Bulk
As with all shopping, you need to be mindful of a few things. Understand that more is more. If you have something in abundance, it’s all too easy to be less conscious of how much you’re using, meaning you could overuse.
There’s also the issue that if you’re earning a lower income and/or have considerable debt, you may not be able to come up with enough money to purchase bulk products versus their smaller and less expensive single-use versions. One big purchase could blow your weekly budget. If you spend a chunk of money to buy a mega-pack of toilet paper, can you then afford other necessities?
way to save money, but don’t get so giddy grabbing great buys that you forget important things like expiration dates. Products like bleach and sunscreen may expire in 12 months or less.
Buying in bulk has its advantages. Getting a good deal can keep you motivated to save money, but you’ll need to be savvy. Buy only what you need and what you can use in a timely fashion.
Like all shopping, but particularly in warehouse stores, temptation is everywhere. It’s best to know how to compare cost per unit and to have a list.
Speaking of planning, you can make your money grow faster, which can help you meet your financial goals, with SoFi. Open Checking and Savings, an online bank account that has no account fees or monthly fees, and with direct deposit, you’ll earn a whopping 1.25% APY.
If you’re wondering what is the difference between a deposit and a withdrawal, the truth is that they are exact opposites: A deposit is money put into a bank account for safekeeping until you need it. A withdrawal is money that’s taken out of your account. At the most basic level, one of these transactions is about getting money and the other is all about paying, or spending.
But that’s not the full story about deposits vs. withdrawals. You have many choices when it comes to getting money into your account and taking it out. Read on for more about how deposits and withdrawals work, their similarities, and their differences. Once you know the different ways that funds can flow through your accounts, you’ll be that much savvier a financial customer.
What Is a Deposit?
A deposit, from the ancient Latin word deponere, means to “place in the hands of another.” In terms of banking, a deposit means you put your money in the hands of a brick-and-mortar or online bank to safely hold it for you. Deposits add to your funds, which helps your bank accounts pay your bills or stash your cash until you are ready to spend it. This influx of money can happen in a few different ways, which we’ll review in a moment.
How a Deposit Works
A deposit involves adding cash or check(s) to your bank account. You can do this in person at a bricks-and-mortar branch of your bank, at ATMs in your bank’s network or, for checks, by using a bank’s mobile app.
You can also receive a deposit by electronic transfer from one bank account to another account (whether yours or someone else’s). For example, if you are paid by direct deposit, that moves money from your employer directly into your account. Or perhaps you receive a government benefit this way. In addition, you might receive funds via a P2P service, like PayPal or Venmo, and could then move the money into your checking or savings account.
Worth noting: Both bricks-and-mortar and online banks offer many different kinds of deposit accounts. You could consider a high-interest checking or savings account at a traditional or online bank, or, if you don’t need to access the money every day, you may want to look into a money market account or a certificate of deposit (CD).
Whether you are a college student with birthday gift money you want to save or a parent raising a growing family, you can find a place to safely put your money and track it until you need it.
Types of Deposits
There are many ways to put money into your bank account today. A generation or two ago, only cash or a check could do the trick, but now you have many options to top up the funds in your bank. To be specific, here are the ways to make a deposit and give your bank account an infusion of cash:
• Cash deposit at one of your bank’s ATMs or branches
• Check deposit at one of your bank’s ATMs or branches
• Check deposit electronically via your bank’s mobile phone app
• Payroll direct deposit
• Electronic funds transfer from a linked savings or checking account or via mobile payment services such as PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, or Zelle
What Is a Withdrawal?
Now, let’s take a look at the other vital aspect of banking: withdrawing, or taking money out of your account. You can do that several ways, including using your debit card at an ATM, requesting the money in person from a bank teller, writing a check, scheduling an electronic bill payment, having the money transferred via a payment app, and wiring the money to someone.
As you may know, some of these methods of withdrawing funds can involve fees. If you use an out-of-network ATM, for instance, you can get hit with a charge. Some companies add a surcharge if you sign up for the convenience of electronic payments vs. writing a and mailing a check.
How a Withdrawal Works
The difference between a withdrawal and deposit is that withdrawals draw, or take, money out of your bank account. You might withdraw cash from your bank account to put in your niece’s Bat Mitzvah card, write a check (or authorize an electronic payment) to pay the electricity bill, or use a P2P service to pay a friend back.
Any funds removed count as a withdrawal. Depending on your bank’s checking account terms, you may have limited or unlimited withdrawals. Often, there are savings account withdrawal limits. In the past, the number was typically six per month, though these restrictions have largely been eased in recent years.
Types of Withdrawals
Let’s take a closer look at how to withdraw or debit funds from your bank account. Know these ways to get money out when you need it.
• Cash withdrawal at ATM with a bank or prepaid debit card (though there will likely be ATM limits to the amount you may withdraw)
• Cash withdrawal in person at one of your bank’s branches
• Checks written from your account
• Cardless withdrawals of cash using phone app at ATMs in your bank network
• Bank-issued cashier’s check in person or online
• Cashing a certificate of deposit (CD) at bank (if this is done before the maturity date, you may owe an early withdrawal fee)
• Funds transfer from brokerage account
• Electronic funds transfer from a linked savings or checking account or via mobile payment P2P services such as PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, or Zelle
• Electronic bill pay (recurring or not)
Similarities and Differences Between Deposits and Withdrawals
Deposits and withdrawals are two of the most common banking terms. Here are the differences and similarities you should know. It comes down to deposit (plus) vs. withdraw (minus). Check this chart for more details.
Adds to bank account balance
Immediately reflected in bank account balance
Transaction can only be done at in-network ATMS
Cashier’s checks can be managed at your bank branch
How Deposits and Withdrawals Are Similar
Here’s what these two kinds of banking transactions have in common.
• Both can be done in person at ATM or branch in your bank’s network (except for check withdrawals, which can only be completed in person or online).
• Both can involve electronic funds transfer from a linked bricks-and-mortar, an online savings or checking account, or via mobile payment services, such as PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, or Zelle.
How Deposits and Withdrawals Are Different
Now, let’s take a look at some of the key ways in which these transactions are different.
• A withdrawal leaves you with less money in the bank while a deposit puts more money in the bank. In this way, they are opposites.
• A withdrawal will immediately be reflected in your account balance, while a deposit may take longer to show up, until the funds clear.
• Cash deposits generally have to be made at your bank or bank’s branded ATM network locations, while cash withdrawals can be made at any ATM. (But beware, if the ATM is out of your bank’s network, you could be charged an ATM fee by both the ATM owner and your bank.)
• Check deposits have to be made at your bank or bank’s branded ATM network locations, or via a bank’s mobile phone app.
• Check withdrawals via cashier’s checks, on the other hand, are likely only available in person at one of your bank’s or credit union branches. Alternatively, you could request one online from your brick-and-mortar or online bank or credit union.
Now you know the difference between a deposit and a withdraw. They are inverse transactions: While a deposit adds funds to your account and boosts your balance, a withdrawal whisks money away, subtracting an amount from the funds you have on balance. There are many ways to conduct each of these transactions today, largely due to tech offering new options. You can now do your banking in person or use an array of digital tools to send or receive money.
SoFi can make banking much better than basic. Our high interest bank accounts are super-convenient to set up and use, and we offer a hyper-competitive 1.25% APY. You can also write checks, set up bill pay, and have access to 55,000+ (fee-free) ATMs worldwide. Oh, and did we mention? No account fees, period.
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What is a cash withdrawal?
A cash withdrawal involves converting funds you are holding in an account (perhaps an investment plan, a trust, or a pension) into cash that you can then deposit elsewhere or use.
What is a cash deposit?
A cash deposit is money that you add to your bank account. It could come via an electronic transfer, an ATM deposit, or currency that you hand off to a bank teller.
What is the difference between a deposit and a withdrawal?
The difference between a deposit and a withdrawal is that a deposit adds funds to your bank account while a deposit takes funds away.
A credit limit is basically what the term suggests: A financial cap on a credit card account that limits how much money the cardholder can borrow from the card issuer. By including a maximum spending amount, the card issuer buys itself some protection against the cardholder borrowing more than they can pay back on an ongoing basis.
There’s more to the story, however, when it comes to credit card limits and how they’re determined. Here’s a closer look at what a credit limit is and what happens if you go over your credit limit.
What Is a Credit Limit?
As mentioned, a credit limit is the maximum amount that you can charge with your credit card, which represents a line of credit. The amount is determined based on information provided in a credit card application, such as the applicant’s credit score, income, and existing debts. Usually, the higher the credit, the higher above the average credit card limit someone will receive.
It’s also important to note that credit card limits aren’t set in stone. A cardholder may receive a higher credit card limit if they make their payments on time and stay well within their credit limit. Conversely, if card payments are late (or worse, not made at all) or if there are other signs of risk, such as nearing or exceeding their credit card spending limit, then the card issuer may decrease someone’s credit limit.
Recommended: What is a Charge Card
Credit Limit and Available Credit
Each purchase made with a credit card is deducted from your total credit limit, resulting in your available credit. For example, let’s say someone has a credit limit of $10,000. If they spend $2,000 at a store that accepts credit card payments, their available credit falls to $8,000. If they were then to make a $1,000 payment, their available credit would increase to $9,000.
Thus, your available credit will fluctuate over time depending on purchases and other transactions you’ve made, as well as any payments, including credit card minimum payments, made on the account. Your credit limit, on the other hand, remains constant regardless of account activity.
Credit Limit and Credit Scores
There’s another good reason to keep your credit card spending in check, and significantly below your card limit — it affects your credit score.
When FICO calculates its benchmark credit scores, it places a significant weight (30% of its total credit score calculations) on credit utilization. Credit utilization ratio compares the amount of credit a cardholder is using to the total available credit they have.
For instance, a card owner may have $10,000 in total available credit, but owe a total of $9,000 on the card. That represents a 90% card utilization, which is considered high and may raise a red flag for lenders as it suggests overspending and potentially an inability to pay. As such, a high credit utilization ratio could result in a lower credit limit for the cardholder, whether that’s a decrease on their existing limit or lower limits offered on new accounts.
It’s usually recommended that cardholders keep their card utilization rate below 30% to avoid negative effects on their credit score. In the above example, that means the cardholder with a $10,000 credit card limit shouldn’t owe more than $3,000 on the card.
How Much of Your Credit Limit Can You Use?
Technically, you can spend up to your credit limit. However, using too much of your total credit can adversely affect your credit utilization ratio, a key factor in determining your credit score.
It’s suggested to keep your credit utilization below 30% — which means using no more than 30% of your overall credit limit. This is why it’s always important to make payments, even if you’re in the process of requesting a credit card chargeback or other dispute.
How Is Your Credit Limit Determined?
The formula for determining a credit card limit depends on which scoring model the card provider uses. Generally, one of three distinct credit limit models is used: credit-based limits, predetermined credit limits, or customized limits.
The Credit-Based Limits
With credit-based limits, card providers leverage your credit score to determine credit limits. In doing so, card companies rely on the same financial formula that credit scoring agencies use to create a credit score — a cardholder’s payment history, credit utilization rate, total length of credit history, credit mix, and any new credit inquiries. Card companies may also take a close look at the card owner’s total annual income, total household expenses, and type of employment.
Basically, the better you are at making on-time credit card payments, curbing household debt, and handling consumer credit, the more likely you are to get a higher credit card limit under the credit-based limits model.
Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due
The Predetermined Credit Limits
This credit limit calculation model relies on a “ladder approach” to determine credit limits. In this scenario, credit card issuers assign a credit limit based on the type of card. In other words, every card in a certain tier — such as an entry-level card or a premium rewards card — would come with the same credit limit rather than the credit limit being determined based on the individual consumer.
The more features and amenities a credit card has, the higher the credit limit typically is under this model. For example, a premium credit card with robust benefits and generous cash-back rewards may have a credit limit of $10,000. Meanwhile, a more bare bones credit card for entry-level cardholders may have a credit limit of $500.
The Customized Credit Limits
With customized credit limits, card providers tailor the credit limit to the individual credit card consumer. They may do so in different ways based on different criteria.
For example, one credit card issuer may base its decision on a cardholder’s annual household income, while another may prioritize the number of credit cards an individual already owns, along with their existing credit limits.
In that way, card companies are drilling down into an individual’s financial history and basing their credit limit decision on myriad factors. Once again, the stronger a card candidate’s financial resume, the more likely that individual is to receive a higher credit card limit.
Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly
Can You Spend Over Your Credit Limit?
In general, credit card companies prevent spending over the credit card limit.
When a cardholder has reached their limit and attempts to use their credit card, the transaction may be declined.
In some instances, however, the card issuer may allow the transaction to go through and instead impose a financial penalty for spending over the credit card limit. According to the Credit Card Act of 2009 (CCA), the card company can’t assess a fee that’s more than the amount spent over the credit limit. So, for instance, if you overspent by $30, your fee couldn’t be more than $30.
Typically, the card owner must opt in to allow for purchases over the credit limit to be approved. The CCA legislation mandates that credit card companies can’t arbitrarily charge an over-the-limit fee without the cardholder’s signed consent. For that reason, most card providers have eliminated over-the-limit fees and simply deny the transaction instead.
Check with your card company to see if it still charges over-the-limit fees. If so, and you object, ask to opt out and focus on keeping your credit card balance well below your card spending limit.
Is It Possible to Increase Your Credit Card Limit?
Credit card limits aren’t static. They can go up — especially if a card customer asks for a credit limit increase — and they can also go down.
Perhaps the easiest way to increase your credit limit is to contact your card provider and ask for a credit limit boost. You can usually make this request over the phone or on the card issuer’s website or mobile app.
Before you make any request for a credit card limit increase, check your credit report to see that your financial health is in good standing, as your card provider will likely treat your request for a credit limit hike like any request for credit. That means a thorough credit check to ensure your credit card payment history is strong, your credit score is good, and your job situation or annual household income hasn’t deteriorated.
The credit card company will review those financial factors and let you know whether or not your request for a credit increase is approved. If you’re denied a higher credit limit, your best recourse is to take some time to improve your credit score and build a stronger credit profile.
In some cases, you can apply for a new credit card with a higher credit limit. However, expect any new card issuer to conduct the same rigorous credit vetting your original card company conducted given how credit cards work.
Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score
Credit card companies assign credit card limits to consumers based on one of three typical models. Often, your ability to handle credit and pay it back on a timely basis comes into play when determining how high your credit limit is. If you’d like a higher credit card limit, you can ask your current card issuer if your financial status has improved, or you could consider applying for a new credit card.
If you’re looking to apply for a credit card, consider the card offered by SoFi. SoFi cardholders earn 2% unlimited cash back when redeemed to save, invest, or pay down eligible SoFi debt. Cardholders earn 1% cash back when redeemed for a statement credit.1
Can lenders change credit limits?
Yes, lenders can change credit limits — particularly if a credit card holder asks them to do so. But credit limits are unlikely to change for the better unless the cardholder has a solid credit history and financial situation.
What is a normal credit card limit?
That depends on the individual and credit card companies, but the average credit limit for U.S. cardholders was $30,365 in 2020, according to a recent report by Experian . That said, individual credit card limits can vary depending on a variety of factors, and can be as low as $300.
How do I get a high credit card limit?
The best way to get a high credit limit is to display habits that show creditors that you’re a low credit risk. That means paying your bills on time, keeping debt low, and having a robust credit history.
1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards. Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. A hard credit pull, which may impact your credit score, is required if you apply for a SoFi product after being pre-qualified. Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’swebsite . External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement. Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners. Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances. The SoFi Credit Card is issued by The Bank of Missouri (TBOM) (“Issuer”) pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
You knew your building’s plumbing was old, but you thought you’d be out of there before anything terrible happened to it.
An inch of water (and counting) and several panicked calls to your property manager later, you admit you thought wrong. Now, you’re left with the massive, thankless job of replacing numerous possessions, including your mattress, bookcase, and computer, ruined by the burst water pipe in your bedroom ceiling.
It’s a good thing you have renters insurance — because you’re about to put your insurance company’s promises to the test.
How to File a Renters Insurance Claim
Renters insurance covers property losses of the sort caused by a burst pipe in your apartment ceiling — or any other peril mentioned in your renters insurance policy. It’s known as personal property coverage.
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Usually, it also covers medical and liability claims arising from mishaps in your rental unit. For example, it would cover the party guest who slips on your slick kitchen floor and breaks their ankle or the delivery person who tumbles down your rental house’s icy front steps and suffers a concussion.
The claims-filing process is similar for both types of claims, but you’ll notice some differences in the order of operations.
Filing a Claim for Property Loss or Damage
Depending on the circumstances, a renters insurance claim for property loss or damage begins with a police report or a call to the property manager. You must then document the damage — comprehensively.
Don’t throw anything away or clean up until you’ve completed all these steps. If you erase evidence before the insurance company has fully investigated, you could jeopardize your claim. That said, if the property owner needs to make basic repairs to ensure the property remains habitable or not repairing the damage would make it worse, it’s OK to do what’s necessary.
1. File a Police Report (if Applicable)
If your possessions are damaged in the course of a potential violation of law, call the police and file a report.
“Potential violation of law” could mean any of the following:
Theft by a guest
More ambiguous incidents, like a fuel explosion inside or outside your building, warrant a police report too. Incidents like a burst pipe or rough weather don’t require a police report.
The police report is vital because it backs up the story you’ll tell the insurance company. It’s an impartial record of the incident — and the extent of the damage — taken by a respected third party.
When dealing with the police, get the name and badge number of every officer and investigator you speak with, even if they don’t visit your apartment in person. Ensure they take copious photos of the damage, and request a copy of the report when it’s done.
2. Contact Your Property Manager
Next, contact the owner or property manager and let them know what happened. If you live in a multiunit building and the incident affected more units than just yours, they might already know, but call them anyway.
The owner or manager probably won’t help you file your renters insurance claim, but they need to know about the incident because they might need to file an insurance claim of their own. Regardless, they’ll want to assess the condition of your unit or the building itself. Be sure to document any lingering hazards, such as:
Damaged doors or locks
Exposed pipes or wiring
Suspected gas leaks
Nonfunctioning utilities (such as the power being out or the water being off)
If you feel uncomfortable remaining in your unit due to safety concerns or simply can’t stay there, tell the property manager right away. Your renters insurance policy might cover temporary relocation costs, such as staying in a hotel for a week or two while your unit undergoes repairs.
3. Contact the Insurance Company
Your next call goes to your renters insurance company or to your insurance agent if you need their help to file the claim.
You might be able to file straightforward claims through your insurance company’s website. Look for a File a Claim button or tab on the homepage. But it’s not a bad idea to call the company or your agent directly if you have questions about the process, aren’t sure your policy covers the incident, or want to figure out whether it’s worth it to file a smaller claim.
4. Document the Damage or Loss
If you filed a police report, the investigators assigned to your case will take photos and make notes of the damage. But you shouldn’t rely on their report to be the sole record of the incident.
So once you’ve made your initial calls, take the time to document what happened meticulously. Take photos and videos of the scene as you found it. Take photos of individual items that sustained damage. Create a list of damaged, destroyed, or stolen goods with the price paid for each and an estimate of the current replacement value. Make copies of receipts or invoices for any expenses incurred due to the incident, including replacements for damaged or stolen possessions and bills for temporary lodging if your apartment is uninhabitable.
If you’ve previously taken a home inventory, include it in your documentation. A home inventory helps back up your claim and could make it easier for the insurance company to reimburse you quickly. Not having one doesn’t mean the insurance company will deny your claim, but it does increase the chances of an insurance adjuster visiting the premises.
5. Submit the Claim
You’re now ready to submit your claim. Visit your insurance company’s website to download or fill out the required forms and upload photos, videos, notes, and the police report to support your claim.
If you’re having trouble finding the required forms or submitting your information electronically, contact your insurance company or your insurance agent. Your agent might offer to file the claim on your behalf, though you must be available to answer the insurance company’s questions.
Be sure to file your claim before any deadline imposed by your insurance company. This deadline could come as little as 48 hours after the incident. If more information comes to light or you incur additional expenses after you file, you can update your claim.
6. Prepare for the Investigation & Claims Adjuster Visit
If your claim is fairly small and straightforward, the insurance company might take you at your word and accept your claim without much trouble. In this case, you can start cleaning up your place and move on to the next step — reviewing your settlement offer.
If your claim’s value is higher, the circumstances are murky, or you haven’t provided enough documentation to support your claim, your insurance company could investigate further. Wait to throw out damaged possessions or clean up your space until you hear back.
If your insurer wants to investigate further, expect a call and possibly a visit from a claims adjuster. This person’s job is to verify your story and determine how much compensation you actually deserve for the loss.
If they visit the property, they’ll take pictures of the damage and make notes for their own report. Be prepared to point out less obvious evidence of damages or losses, and have your home inventory handy to corroborate your claims.
The claims adjuster might also want to talk to others involved in or who have knowledge of the incident. That could include your roommates, houseguests, and the property owner or manager. It could also include the police investigator who wrote up your report.
7. Review the Settlement Offer
If the insurance company accepts your claim, you’ll receive a settlement offer.
It’s a formal payout offer for the amount the insurance company is willing to pay to settle your claim after subtracting your policy deductible. It could be about what you thought the damage or loss was worth — less the deductible — or significantly less, depending on how the insurance company values the claim.
A lot depends on whether the insurance company uses replacement value or actual value when calculating your total personal property claim value. Replacement cost pegs the value of lost or damaged items at what it actually costs to buy new replacements for them. In contrast, actual value (or actual cash value) takes depreciation into account. The difference can be stark: A three-year-old TV with a replacement value of $500 might have an actual cash value of just $100 or $150.
If your policy has a maximum coverage amount for certain types of personal belongings claims and your place sustained a lot of damage or became uninhabitable for months, you could find your total payout capped at an amount much lower than what you deserve.
In either case, it’s your responsibility to review the settlement offer and determine whether it’s acceptable to you. If you’re not sure, ask your insurance agent.
Filing a Claim for Personal Liability and Medical Payments
Renters insurance covers more than your personal possessions. It also protects you from costly liability issues arising from mishaps in your rented home. Without it, you could be on the hook for houseguests’ medical bills, among other injury-related expenses.
Filing a personal liability or medical expenses claim with your rental insurance company is a bit different from filing a property damage claim. To get it done, follow these steps in order.
1. Document the Damage
First, take copious photos and videos of the scene of the incident as soon as you can. For example, if a guest at a party you hosted fell through a railing on your second-floor unit’s balcony, you’d want to take photos of the damaged railing and the area where they hit the ground.
Next, create a record of the incident as you remember it. If no video record exists, a written record will have to suffice. Describe where you were when it occurred, how you became aware of it, and the sequence of events that followed.
2. Give Your Insurance Information to the Injured Person
You won’t be filing this claim yourself — the injured person will. To do that, they need your insurance information: company name, your name, and policy number.
It’s their responsibility to reach out to you about this, either directly or through a lawyer. However, you should do everything in your power to help them file the claim, including giving them your insurance agent’s contact information or helping them navigate your insurance company’s online claims forms.
3. The Injured Person Submits the Claim
When they’re ready to file, the injured person submits their claim to your insurance company. They’ll provide hospital bills, physical therapy bills, receipts for medical equipment like crutches or wheelchairs — any costs arising from their injury.
Don’t worry about submitting your photos, videos, and notes on the incident at this time. But do hold onto them until the injured party settles the claim, as your insurance company may want to review them.
4. Prepare for the Investigation & Claims Adjuster Visit
Be available to answer any questions from your insurance company during the investigation, and don’t be surprised if they send a claims adjuster to assess the scene of the incident. If you haven’t already done so, the claims adjuster visit is a good time to share your own documentation.
5. The Injured Person Reviews the Settlement Offer
After completing its investigation, the insurance company sends the injured person a settlement offer for review. If they accept, the insurance company reimburses them and closes the claim.
For medical-only claims, your insurance company typically covers the portion of the injured person’s medical bills not covered by their own health insurance.
For personal liability claims, where the injured person sues you for damages, your insurance company covers the amount of the judgment and the injured person’s legal fees if you lose. If you win, your policy might cover your legal fees, but you won’t owe anything to the injured person.
Remember that reimbursement kicks in only after you hit your policy deductible. If the claim is worth $10,000 and your liability deductible is $1,000, the insurer covers $9,000 and you pay $1,000 out of pocket.
Likewise, every renters insurance policy has a personal liability and medical expense coverage limit. If the victim’s injuries are severe, you could blow through this limit. Umbrella insurance provides an additional layer of liability protection — typically starting at $1 million — in such cases.
Renters Insurance Claim FAQs
Filing a renters insurance claim can be confusing and stressful. These are some of the most common questions that come up during the process.
How Long Does the Renters Insurance Claims Process Take?
It depends on the type of claim, the claim value, and what caused the damage or injury.
The insurance company can usually resolve simple, lower-value renters insurance claims within a business day. You file the claim online and upload supporting documentation, and the insurance company gets back to you with a settlement offer within hours.
More complicated claims can take days or weeks to resolve. You might need to provide more documentation, including receipts for expenses incurred days or weeks after the event. If the claim involves significant damage to your unit, you’ll likely need to wait for a claims adjuster to visit and write a report about what happened too.
Does Renters Insurance Cover Temporary Living Expenses?
Some renters insurance policies do cover additional living expenses if you’re forced to move out of your unit temporarily. Usually, the policy caps this coverage at a specific amount of money or number of days.
Check your policy for details about this type of coverage. If you don’t have it and think you need it, ask your insurance company or insurance agent to price it out for you. Temporary living expense coverage will increase your premium, but you’ll be glad you have it if you have to move out of a damaged apartment.
Will Filing a Renters Claim Affect My Insurance Rate?
Probably. How much is a more interesting question.
Generally, liability, fire, and theft claims increase premiums more than medical claims. Don’t be surprised if your premium jumps by 20% or more after a fire or theft claim. Medical bill-only claims should still increase your premium, but by a more reasonable rate — typically under 20%, depending on your insurer.
What Happens if the Insurance Company Denies My Claim?
It depends on why the insurance company denied your claim.
Sometimes, there’s not much you can do about a denied claim. If your policy specifically excludes the type of incident or expense, your insurer has every right to deny the claim. Even if your policy covers the claim type under normal circumstances, a smaller claim might fail to hit your deductible.
That said, if your claim is truly legitimate and the insurance company denies it anyway, whether due to suspected fraud or a differing interpretation of your policy’s terms, you can appeal. It’s a time-consuming process that requires you to submit additional documentation, but it’ll pay off if the insurer reverses its decision.
If the company denies your appeal, you can hire an insurance attorney to press your case. They’re well-versed in insurance legalese and can craft arguments you wouldn’t even know to make. In the worst case, they can take your insurer to court.
Filing a renters insurance claim could be easier than you think. The best renters insurance companies generally have online or app-based claims processes that let you submit and get approval for uncomplicated claims without ever meeting face-to-face with a claims adjuster.
Even if you have to welcome a claims adjuster into your apartment, it’s not the end of the world. If you’ve filed a police report, documented the damage or injuries, and kept good records of your expenses, your chances of getting a legitimate claim approved are quite good.
Sure, the process takes some time. But that’s a reasonable price to pay for avoiding a big hit to your bottom line.
GME is so 2021. Fine art is forever. And its 5-year returns are a heck of a lot better than this week’s meme stock. Invest in something real. Invest with Masterworks.
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he’s not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.
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.
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.
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.
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.
20 Part-time Jobs for Retirees
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.
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.
So let’s get to work, shall we?
1. Substitute Teacher
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.
Most school districts have lenient requirements for substitute teachers, often requiring just a bachelor’s degree with no teaching experience.
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 $200 a day for a full day of work.
If you have an advanced degree, you may also qualify to be an adjunct instructor at a community college or four-year university.
2. School Support 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.
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.
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.
The hourly pay for these companies ranges from about $13 to $25. 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.
If you are interested in online tutoring, there are many good paying gigs out there. Match your skills to the openings.
4. School Bus Driver
School bus drivers can earn up to $20 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 driving test to qualify.
Recent news reports indicate there are many job openings for school bus drivers.
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.
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 $13 per hour, and that’s not including tips from satisfied riders. Like school bus drivers, shuttle bus drivers have regular hours.
Depending on the particulars of the job, a commercial driver’s license might be required.
There are different state laws regarding licensing for shuttle bus drivers. A specialized license might be required if the bus holds a certain number of people or is a particular size. Your state motor vehicle website will tell you what’s required in your state, and any potential employer will know, too.
6. Tour Conductor
Tour guide is one of those jobs that, when you see someone doing it, you think, “Well, I could do that too!”
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-scenes workplace tours. They can be an everyday part of a business or scheduled by appointment. What do they all have in common? A tour leader.
These jobs require knowledge about the subject and the ability to tell a good story — often while walking backwards.
Tour guides make an average base salary of $20 per hour. Plus, they are often offered tips by tour participants.
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).
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.
Looking for a fun part-time side gig? Here’s how you can earn money visiting theme parks as a Disney nanny.
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.
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.
Being a patient advocate does not require any particular educational degree, but it is possible to become certified in this role.
These positions can be part- or full-time, and they pay well, averaging $18 an hour. So if you plan to collect Social Security benefits, make sure to check how your wage impacts your benefits.
8. Child Care Provider
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.
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.
Craigslist, Next Door or other 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.
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.
Taking classes in CPR or other emergency response techniques, which offer certifications upon completion, can improve your chances of being hired.
Nannies are likely to make $15 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 $21 an hour babysitting.
9. Virtual Assistant
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.
As of this writing, ZipRecruiter showed more than 221,000 virtual assistant jobs, suggesting that a virtual assistant could make up to $60,000 a year, depending on the work required.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The average salary for a part-time bookkeeper is around $20 per hour.
11. Umpire and Referee
This is a perfect retirement job if you have a sports background and the ability to withstand criticism.
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.
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.
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 $25 per game. At higher levels where certification is required, you can earn $100 per game.
12. Pet Sitting and Pet Walker
For between $10 and $15 an hour, you can earn money by 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.
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.
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.
13. Freelance Writer
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.
According to Indeed, the average hourly pay for a freelance writer is a bit over $20, 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.
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.
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 places hiring freelance writers.
14. Call Center Employee
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.
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.
As such, typical hourly pay is $15 as a call center representative.
15. Freelance Bartender
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 $20 to $50 even before tips.
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.
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.
16. Shopping Specialist
Is it the shopping or the buying that you enjoy? If it’s the shopping, then you might consider becoming someone’s personal shopper.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Personal shoppers who go after groceries or staples are likely to make typical hourly pay of $14 to $20. Those who work for a service are likely on a wage or salary determined by the service rather than by the client.
There’s also money to be made as a mystery shopper. Mystery shoppers are sometimes called evaluators or secret shoppers and often work on their own time. Their job is to document their shopping experiences and report back to the owners to help them improve customer service.
Got what it takes to be a mystery shopper? We’ve rounded up five companies that are hiring retail sleuths.
17. Security Guard
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.
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.
Hourly pay for security guards without weapons training is likely to be between $10 and $17. Night-time security guards are likely to make more than daytime ones.
This is a good job for retirees who do not mind a bit of boredom.
Security guards who do carry weapons require special training and weapons licensing, and is an entirely different job pursuit, perhaps not as well-suited to a retirement job.
18. Seasonal Job Employee
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Perhaps you grew up baking your own bread, and your cupcakes were legendary at your kid’s school events.
Perhaps you know your way around a rump roast, or can identify all the various cuts of meat they offer at your local butcher.
You could turn your lifelong interest in food preparation into a part-time job, and you are likely to be welcomed because you don’t need as much training as a newbie. Your local grocery store would be a good place to start, letting the hiring manager know that you have some background as a butcher or baker.
These are speciality skills, and as such get paid better than some other positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a butcher’s hourly wage is approximately $17.15 an hour. Payscale.com lists the average hourly wage for a baker at just under $13 per hour.
20. Specialty Store Employee
You know which hardware store to go to to get advice from someone who has fixed a toilet in their life. You know which fabric store to go to where the employees know the difference between chiffon and silk.
You could be one of those employees.
During your life, you have become knowledgeable about some aspect of household or everyday life. People with your knowledge are hired by companies to help people who do not yet have that experience. Stores that serve a specific type of customer would love to hire someone they don’t have to train extensively.
According to payscale.com, the average hourly rate for a hardware store employee is just under $13. Indeed says a sales associate at a specialty store will make an average of just over $10 an hour, maybe more now that minimum wages are increasing across the country.
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.
Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.
Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further
At Mint, we believe every step forward is a step worth celebrating. With a little empowerment, any day can be your big day. So we asked real Minters like you to share your stories. From the challenges to the big wins, we are so impressed with your dedication and motivation to achieve your financial dreams.
One story specifically stood out to us from our Minter Yalonda. Take a read through to be inspired by her amazing and powerful #EmpowerMint story.
“I’m going to be 100% real with you. I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck 95% of my adult life.
I’d get paid on Friday and would not have one red cent to my name come Monday. I was literally living on a prayer Monday – Thursday, stressed out and scared I wouldn’t find a way to make it through the week. There were many times the money would run out before my next payday so I’d often max out my bank account in overdraft fees, only digging myself deeper into the hole. I’d even “floated” a few checks just to put gas in my car so I could get to work until payday.
In case you’ve never heard the term, floating a check is essentially writing a check to pay for something and praying every second of every day it doesn’t get cashed until you actually have the money in the bank to cover it. Thankfully, I never had a check bounce, but only by the grace of God.
When you’re broke, you often have to be creative with your cash flow (or lack thereof) to make ends meet but all of this creativity was dangerous and left me stuck on that paycheck to paycheck merry-go-round.
One time after work, I stopped at Sonic before my 3-hour night class to get a cup of water. I just so happened to be on the phone with my Momma when I realized I didn’t even have the $0.56 to pay for it. I’d searched every nook and cranny in that car, but still, I was left empty-handed, ashamed, and incredibly embarrassed. She knew I was struggling, but I never once let her know how bad it had gotten. I will NEVER forget the pain in her voice when I told her I didn’t have $0.56 for a cup of water.
Fifty. Six. Cents.
I had a steady job in the finance world of education, but after healthcare and taxes, I was only bringing home about $1,200 a month and as a fairly new mom, the pressure and stress this brought on were insurmountable.
I can’t tell you HOW many times I promised God I’d get it together if he’d let me make it just one more time. I must have prayed that prayer a thousand times over. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life, it’s this: if you don’t learn the lesson life is trying to teach you, the lesson will repeat until you do.
And that’s exactly what it did.
The lesson looked a little different each time, but still, it was always the same.
Throughout the next few years, I graduated with my BBA in Accounting and landed a position in my career field, more than doubling my salary. But while my career was expanding, my pockets were not.
Every time my income increased, so did my expenses. Right before landing the job, my mom passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 49. She was living with me at the time she passed away so as soon as my lease was up, I moved into a new apartment taking on all of the once shared expenses. In December of the same year, I “rewarded” myself by financing a used Ram 1500 with a HEMI, Midnight Express edition. Delivered right before Christmas, red bow and all, the truck was absolutely stunning but the price tag was anything but. After-tax, title, license, and interest, I paid about $38,000 for that truck. I was only making about $45,000 a year, yet somehow I convinced the bank and myself that I could afford the $535 payment each month for the next six years. With more expenses, I was right back where I started – living paycheck to paycheck and hanging on a prayer.
It wasn’t until I was on the verge of homelessness (for the second time) that I finally learned the lesson life was trying to teach me all those years.
No one was coming to save me. No one. Not my friends, not my family, and certainly not the government.
If I wanted to save, I had to save myself.
And that’s exactly what I did.
The first thing I did was create a budget and it literally changed my life.
Being new to personal budgeting, I had no idea where to start. I tried creating a spreadsheet to track my income and expenses but that soon became too cumbersome and I stopped using it. When I stopped using it, all attempts of budgeting went out of the window and I found myself overdrawing my bank account once again. Although I’d failed the first time, I tried creating another budget using spreadsheets but that one failed too. It quickly became clear to me I needed something easy and foolproof or I’d be forever stuck in the paycheck to paycheck cycle.
Although I was getting used to failure, I was determined to master this budgeting thing so I did a quick search online for budgeting apps and came across Mint.
It was a free app and I’d already failed several times before on my own, so I felt like I had nothing to lose. After adding my budgeted income, an estimate of my expenses, and connecting my bank account to the app, it became crystal clear income wasn’t the issue, my spending habits were. I was in awe of the amount of money I was spending on fast food, “quick trips” to Walmart, and the not-so-occasional work lunch.
I knew I had to get serious about my money if I ever wanted out of the trap I’d put myself in. So I buckled down. I began by focusing on my needs and less on my wants, started cooking more, bringing my lunch to work, and tracking every single expense in the Mint app. I’d also begun using the word “No.” I told myself “no” more times than not but I’d also gotten into the habit of telling my friends, family, and co-workers “no” as well. Within a couple of months, I’d finally saved my first $1,000.
That $1,000 was my saving grace. I’d never once in my life had savings. I had usually kept a savings account open but each month any money I had transferred in, would get transferred right back out. For the first time in my life, I had a cushion I could fall back on in case of a real-life emergency. For the first time in my life, I was finally able to break free of living paycheck to paycheck. Simply put, a budget saved my life.
I will be forever grateful for what Mint taught me about budgeting, my finances, and about myself. Now, I teach my family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers on the internet about budgeting and how it can change their lives too.”
Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further
Annemarie Belda is the communications manager for Intuit Mint. She is passionate about helping readers achieve their financial goals from starting a savings account to financial freedom. More from Annemarie Belda