May 2017 Debt & Life Update

May 2017 Debt & Life UpdateThis post may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission on purchases made through links at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting this site. Read the full disclosure here.

It’s been an interesting few weeks since the last update post (formerly month in review). The last one was in early April. I decided that starting this month that I would combine the month in review and debt update into one post. I will go over things that happened in April and May.

Quite frankly, the last part of April was not that good. The side hustle income was still coming in, but a couple of things happened. My director and two of my associate directors were fired unexpectedly. That sent shockwaves throughout the office. My institution had recently merged with another one. If you’ve ever been in a merger, you know how tough they can be. With the loss of my director and associate directors, many of my workers and myself wondered what’s next. I had been casually applying for jobs for about a month because an increase in income will help me with this debt repayment. Now, I’ve started applying to more. None of us know what’s going to happen at the job.

I debated on whether I should share this next situation now or down the line. I figured that today is as good as any time. In April I lost two of my clients. One was expected. They changed their business model. The other one letting me go came from left field. The client that let me go unexpectedly was my highest paying client. I was down for a couple of days, but then I realized something. I could either bitch and complain or I could man up. I got my focus back and started looking for some more clients. Within two weeks, I found two people that I’m now working with on Upwork. Upwork has a lot of opportunities. This bounce back is about to be fu#king epic.

If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, make sure that you check out my step by step guide on creating a website with Bluehost. Use my link to get your hosting for as little as $3.45 per month (this low price is only available through my link). It usually costs $7.99 per month. You also get a free domain when you sign up through my link.

I also want to share with you something real. A part of me was happy that the client let me go. I liked the money, but I was doing way too much work for them. They also didn’t pay as well as my other clients. The client was also very picky at times. It started to feel like another full-time job. I already have one of those. Since I’m not writing for them anymore, I have more time to work on my site, my eBay hustle and a couple of other things. This time I’m putting myself first, and I know that I will reap the benefits from it. That money will be made back in no time.



Posts of the Month

How I Made $4900 in Side Hustle Income in the 1st Quarter of 2017

5 Easy Ways to Build Credit

10 Ways to Have Fun While in Debt

10 Things they Don’t Tell You About Blogging

Let’s move on to May.

I added a tagline to my site that says “side hustling & paying off debt.” That’s my motto at this stage of my life. I gotta get this debt monkey off my back.

Also, I had the 5-day thrifting challenge. During the challenge, I showed people how to make money with items that they can get from the thrift store. The response was great. The challenge did so well that I decided to add it to my site so that people can sign up for it anytime.

Last but not least, I took a much-needed getaway to Miami. I relaxed and got my creative juices flowing again. I also had a chance to visit Marlins Park to watch the Atlanta Braves play the Miami Marlins. This was park number 15 for me.

Debt Update

My total debt went from $63,405.75 to $63,088.12. That was a drop of $317.63. What the hell? I knew that the drop would not be as big as it was last month, but damn. Something wasn’t right. Below are the numbers

Loan 2 – Down from $4830 to $4520

Navient – Down from $23,742.65 to $23,737.23

Nelnet – Down from $34,833.10 to $34,830.87

I noticed that the principal on my Navient loan only went down by $5. That couldn’t be right, so I decided to call them. Navient told me that I was on a loan reduction program. The program ended in April. During the program, my interest rate was about 5%. Since I was no longer in the program, the interest rate jumped up to 10%. It would have been nice if someone from Navient had told me that when I spoke with them in April. The only thing they told me was that my loan payment would be higher. I wasn’t mad about that because I could afford it. What pissed me off was seeing $170 of that new $232 payment go towards interest. I was heated. I was eventually able to get on another loan reduction plan.It starts immediately. The interest rate was lowered back to 5%. That means that more money will go towards the principal. June’s debt update will be much better. This showed me that I need to always remain proactive. If you are paying too much interest, check with your loan provider to see what options are out there.

How was your month? Have you paid off any debt lately?

Debt, Life , ,

May 2017 Round Up

May 2017 Round UpHello everyone. In today’s round up, I have 10 interesting posts from April and May. Below is the May 2017 round up.

Mustard Seed Money shows What Your Finances and Baseball Have in Common.

Michelle from Making Sense of Cents tells us How She Built a $1,000,000 Blog.

James from Creative Scale Designs gives us 8 Ways to Make Money Outside of Business Hours.

David from Young Adult Money provides us The Spring Cleaning Personal Finance Checklist.

Eric from Personal Profitability motivates us by sharing his March 2017 Income Report.




Latoya from Life and a Budget shares 6 Incredible Ways to Make Extra Cash Fast.

Chonce from My Debt Epiphany gives us 22+ Websites That Pay Writers For Guest Posts.

Taylor from Tay Talks Money shows us 30 Ways to Relieve Stress.

Catherine from My Work Money Life talks about Performance Anxiety and How to Get Rid of It.

Brittany from The Savvy Couple shows us How to Organize and Make Money in One Weekend With a Garage Sale.

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Side Hustle Series: Investing in the Stock Market

Side Hustle Series: Investing in the Stock Market The Black Market ExchangeWhats going on everyone? It’s time for another side hustle series post. In today’s installment, I interviewed Dr. Eric Patrick owner of the Black Market Exchange. This brother knows about investing.

Dr. Eric Patrick is a Certified Financial Educator also known as the “Hip-Hop Stock Doc.” He uses hip-hop and modern media to teach urban millennials how to invest with his company Black Market Exchange. He believes that music is a universal language and when coupled with everyday ideas and tasks, investing can seem a lot easier than it appears. Eric is also a registered pharmacist in Dallas, TX.

How did you come up with the idea of the Black Market Exchange?

After sharing some investing moves and tips on social media, I figured why not create a platform for people of color to come to and learn more about investing. People ask me, “Is it just for Black people?” I think that also has to do with the word being in the name. I tell everyone that it was created for Blacks out of need; however, everyone wants to be in the black financially, so the information applies to all ethnicities. I originally wanted to call it Black Market because that’s where people go to get something they couldn’t anywhere else, but I didn’t want that negative connotation. I also didn’t want it to get lost in search results. So I named it Black Market Exchange. It deals with the stock market (think stock exchanges).

How long has the Black Market Exchange been around?

I officially launched the first BMEX website back in December 2014 with 2015 being a big filler year. The site you see now was launched in February of 2016 and has done wonders for helping my audience in conjunction with social media. I’m glad you never saw the first few drafts, lol. They were good…at the time, but BMEX has definitely grown since then.

Where do you see the BMEX in 2-3 years?

I see it as a major partner media outlet such as HipHopDX and Complex. A big goal of mine is to push the movement with artists like Nipsey Hussle and Nas because they consistently speak of money and ownership in their lyrics and interviews. In addition, I want to create some type of online network blending elements from CNBC and Fox Business with Rap City (for those that remember).

I love the hip-hop aspect of your business. Do you think the younger generation gets a better understanding of stocks because of that?

Definitely! I get emails and messages all the time about how much people like the delivery of the content. Music is a universal language, and you can’t go to any sporting event without hearing hip-hop music. You may have heard of “trap yoga” and “trapscat.” This is just “trapvesting.” Lol.



You also design shirts. How did you come up with the “Money Stack” design?

I’ve seen this design numerous times with different themes, especially within the Black and entrepreneurial communities. I knew it would be good to use a design that was familiar but makes it my own at the same time. People feel economically empowered and want to look the part as well.

Did you have any obstacles when starting the BMEX?

I want to say no because I just put it out there. But of course, there were as I look back. Some said the hip-hop thing wouldn’t last, but we’re still going strong two years later. The biggest challenge was actually time. I’m a full-time pharmacist, so having a 5 to 9 to go with my 9 to 5 is time-consuming. I had to learn about automation, online software, and productivity tools. It’s more to BMEX than just talking about stocks that’s for sure.

What is one piece of advice that you would give someone that is thinking about starting a side hustle or side business?

I always take the Nike approach. Just do it. Someone will pay you for something, you just need to find out what that is. I have a guide talking about ten steps to starting and growing a side hustle. The first two steps are the most important to finding out what your side hustle(s) is. I’d love to share it with your audience. They can grab it here.

How can people get in contact with you?

They can simply visit my website at www.thebmex.com to reach out and connect to all my social media accounts.

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Side Hustle Series posts

Side Hustle Series: What Type of Camera Should You Buy?

Side Hustle Series: Selling Men’s Apparel

Side Hustle Series: Have You Considered Blogging?

Side Hustle Series: Should You Start Freelancing?

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15 Unique Gifts For Graduates

15 Unique Gifts For GraduatesThis post may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission on purchases made through links at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting this site. Read the full disclosure here.

Hello, everyone. It’s the middle of May, so you know that it’s graduation season. Students from all over the country will be graduating from high school and college. They’ve spent years in the classroom, and they are preparing for that moment to walk across the stage. It’s an incredible feeling. My last graduation was in 2008. I still remember that moment like yesterday. My friends and family came to Savannah to show me love.

One way that you can show the graduate in your life some love is by purchasing him or her a graduation gift. There are hundreds of options to choose from. Today, I want to share with you 15 unique gifts for graduates. Most of the gifts can be for both high school & college graduates. Let’s start with the first gift idea.

Stocks

Getting your graduate some stock in his or her favorite company is an excellent idea. In my opinion, the stock market should be used to build wealth long term. There are several brokers to choose from. Stockpile is a very affordable option. You only pay $0.99 per trade. You can also purchase shares of any amount. If you are interested in Stockpile, check them out here. They are offering new users $5 that they can use towards their first purchase.

Apple Watch

Everyone could use a nice watch. I wore my last one until it literally broke. This Apple watch right here is pretty stylish. Your graduate will definitely like it.

Sports Tickets

If the graduate enjoys sports, this next gift option will come in clutch. Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer are in full effect during May. Depending on where you live, an NBA team might be playing in the playoffs. When purchasing your tickets, you should check Ticketmaster and  Stubhub. Those two sites will have the best prices.

Gift Cards

You can’t go wrong with gift cards. If you’re not sure what to get your graduate, grab them a gift card to one of their favorite stores. If you’re not sure what their favorite store is, grab them a gift card from Amazon. They have damn near everything.

Amazon Prime

While I’m discussing Amazon, you should consider purchasing Amazon Prime for your graduate. Amazon Prime is a program that allows members to stream music, videos, and books. It also provides free shipping and other savings. Amazon Prime has a free 30-day trial. After that, you pay $99 per year or $10.99 per month. If your graduate is going to college, you can also consider Amazon Prime Student. It has a free 6-month trial. After that, it’s $49 per year.



Amazon Echo

If you want to get your graduate a state of the art gift, the Amazon Echo is it. It is a state of the art smart speaker that you can talk to. It can play music, create to-do lists, create alarms and more.

College Dorm Trunk

This could be the perfect gift for a high school graduate. Most college dorms only have so much room. A trunk will help them with storage. Students can put their clothes, bedding and laundry supplies in it. Here is an example of a good sturdy trunk.

T- Shirts

T-Shirts can be another good gift idea. There are hundreds of shirts to choose from. If the graduate likes sports, you can get them a shirt with their favorite team on it. If they like Marvel or DC comics, you can get them a shirt with their favorite superhero on it.

Trip

If I were graduating, I’d love a free trip. Heck, I’d enjoy a free trip right now. I’m sure any graduate would be happy to receive a free flight or hotel stay somewhere. Orlando is an excellent city to visit. There is more than just Disney World down there.

Luggage

If you’re not willing to splurge on a trip, you could get your graduate some new luggage. Suitcases get old, and they can break at the worst time. The handle broke on mine in the airport once. I was pissed.  Some new luggage could be exactly what your graduate needs. This two-piece set is only $34.99.

Coffee Maker

If your graduate is a coffee maker, then this is the gift for them. By making their own coffee, they won’t have to give their money to Starbucks anymore.  Above is the Cuisinart DCC-3200. It is a best seller.

Drone

The next gift idea on the list is a drone. If the graduate likes video or photography, the drone could help them with their hobby. The Riviera RC Sky Boss FPV Drone has live streaming and HD video.

Tablet

Any graduate would enjoy a tablet. Some people like them because they are smaller than most laptops. This Fire Tablet comes with 8 or 16 GB. It’s only $50.

Books

Knowledge is power. Just because someone is graduating, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t stop learning. I will always enjoy picking up a physical book to read. Some good books that I’d suggest that people check out are:

The Millionaire Next Door – Thomas J. Stanley

Hustle Away Debt – David Carlson

You Only Live Once – Jason Vitug

Cash

Last, but not least, you can just give the graduate cash. You can’t go wrong with that. It’s a very straightforward and easy gift. You won’t have to spend time searching online or at the mall for it. I doubt any graduate would be mad if you gave them some money.

What would you give a graduate?

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5 Cheap Memorial Day Destinations

5 Cheap Memorial Day DestinationsCan you believe that Memorial Day weekend is only a couple of days away? Memorial Day weekend is usually looked at as the unofficial beginning of summer. The weekend is full of barbecues and other events depending on where you are located. It is one of my favorite Holidays. Below are five cheap Memorial Day destinations that you can choose from.

Savannah, Georgia

I can’t have a list of places to go without Savannah being on it. If you follow my blog, you know that Savannah is one of my favorite cities. There are a lot of things to do there. River Street will be full of people during Memorial Day weekend (MDW). Tybee Island should have a nice crowd as well. You might even be able to check out a minor league baseball game while you’re there. Check out my post about Savannah to find more things to do while you’re there.

Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville is second on the list of Memorial Day destinations. It’s a nice city to visit during MDW. The Jacksonville Jazz Festival will be happening that weekend. You can also go to Jacksonville Beach to relax and enjoy the weather. The Jacksonville Landing is another area where people can go and have fun. There are a lot of shops, restaurants, and bars there.

Orlando, Florida

There are more than a few things to do in Orlando during Memorial Day weekend. Orlando is another one of my favorite cities. I lived there for nearly eight months when I interned at Disney World. Speaking of Disney World, it’s a must see place when you’re in Orlando. You can go to one of the four main theme parks out there, or you can people watch at Disney Springs. Another place you can visit is Universal Studios. They have an area called City Walk which has a lot of restaurants and a few clubs. If you’re looking for more nightlife make sure you go to Church Street. There are tons of bars and restaurants to choose from.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Honestly, you can go to New Orleans any time of the year and have a good time. During MDW there is a Greek Festival that is going on. The festival showcases Greek culture, music and of course food. Then there is always Bourbon Street. Bars, bars, and more bars. If you don’t want to drink, you can people watch all around the French Quarter. I’ve been there a couple of times. There are shops and restaurants all over. I’m pretty sure there is never a dull moment in the French Quarter.

Charleston, South Carolina

During Memorial Day Weekend, Charleston will have a few festivals that are going on. There are also five beaches where you can go to relax and chill. Charleston is a quiet city, so don’t expect to see the crowds that you would in Orlando or Miami there. For some people, that can be a good thing.

These are just five cheap destinations for Memorial Day weekend. If you don’t have any plans, check out one of these five southern cities. You won’t go broke doing it.

Do you of any other cheap Memorial Day destinations? What are your plans for Memorial Day Weekend?

This post contains affiliate links. Feel free to view my disclosure here.
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5 Habits That Are Keeping You From Success

5 Habits That Are Keeping You From SuccessBeing successful isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would be, and we would have fewer problems in today’s society. I do believe that most people can be successful if they really wanted to be. I’ve compiled five habits that people are doing that keep them from being a success.

Getting up late

You can’t expect to be a success in anything by sleeping until 12 or 1 pm each day. You have to get up and seize the moment. A lot of successful people accomplish tons of things before 9 am. You can do it as well. In the past, I was that person sleeping until 1 pm on the weekends. I learned that to be a successful person I couldn’t afford to do that. The early bird does get the worm.

Watching too much TV

Watching too much TV will keep you on your couch. To be a success, you have to minimize the amount of TV that you’re watching. How could you possibly be productive if you’re watching TV every hour that you’re home? You can’t be. By turning the TV off, you will become more focused, and you will be able to think clearly. There are a lot of people who love TV. They let it control their life. They waste countless hours watching reality television and then wonder why they are stuck in life. Don’t become that person.

Procrastination

This is one habit that I have to fight from time to time. When you procrastinate, you put stuff off to do it later, but most times you don’t do it. I put the picture below on my wall to help me stay motivated.

0329141305a

It’s that serious. A lot of people procrastinate and don’t try to change. If you don’t try to change you will be doing nothing forever. I can finally say that I don’t procrastinate as much as I used to. I get most of the things done that I have to do in a timely matter. When you’re busy, you just can’t afford to procrastinate.

Always being available

You can’t always be available. What I mean by being available is answering every phone call, text, IM, tweet or Facebook notification. You have to turn those things on silent or off from time to time to be a success. For example, how could you write an excellent blog post if you’re constantly paying attention to your phone? It’s damn near impossible. It may be a struggle in the beginning, but you have to start worrying about yourself.

No discipline

A lot of people have good ideas and goals, but they can’t pursue them because they have no discipline. Sometimes getting discipline takes time but it is worth it.  Whether you’re trying to pay off debt or lose weight you will have to have some type of discipline. There’s a saying out there that goes like this. “Suffer the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.” That is a word right there. At the end of the day, you’re the one that has to decide if something is important enough for you to disciplined for.

Those were five habits that are keeping you from success. You have to make changes if you want to be successful. I believe that you can do it, but you have to work on some things.

Have you ever had any of these habits before? How did you get over them?




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Trying to Get a Loan With Poor Credit

Trying to Get a Loan With Poor CreditLoans can be helpful in taking some burden away from your shoulders. It may not solve all the problems, but it will be able you to get rid of some of your financial problems. Your budget will improve a bit, and you can even improve your credit. But getting approved for a loan by the lenders is not that simple, especially if you have a poor credit history. Every lender has some criteria regarding the approval of the candidate. If you are eligible according to those criteria, then they approve your loans.

What are the options for those having bad payment history? It will be hard for the lenders to trust such individuals who don’t possess the ability to return the loan. Some lenders approve the loan, but they lessen the amount of loan to eliminate some of the risks. We have researched some lender companies for such people who have a thin credit profile. These lenders are offering their loans even for the customers that have poor credit history. No credit check loans are a bad idea, Nerdwallet said. In fact, there are still some options for people who have bad credit, to get a loan. Here is one example of loan ranking with bad credit loans with no so high interests. Of course, the best way is to increase your credit score and get much more better interest.

Best loan options for the poor credit customers are following:

Bad Credit Loans

The options for the customers with poor credit are very limited. There is an option for a payday loan, but it will not be the help that you are looking for. Bad credit loans can be a good option in such situation. It is not itself a lender company, but it provides people with a network that combines the lenders and borrowers at one place. There are some conditions to register on this lender site such as you should be 18 years old or above, confirm residency and monthly income of 1,000 dollars at least. The annual percentage these lender offers ranges from 230% to 2330% which is incredible. The only drawback is that the lenders on this site offer short term loans and for the borrower who has poor credit history can find it tough to pay their loans in such short time.



One Main

One Main is alternative for the borrowers that have their credit score very low. The borrowers having the credit score of fewer than 600 can also get a loan from this company. The loan scheme is different for different borrowers depending upon the history of their credit. The lowest credit score can get a loan from 1,000 dollars to 1,200 dollars. The amount can be increased if you have a relatively good credit score. One Main also has a low annual percentage rate and provides secure loans. 95 years of business experience makes it a reliable company.

LoanNow

If you have some kind of financial emergency, then LoanNow is the best lending option for you. They don’t take weeks to approve your loan. Even poor credit scorers can also have a loan from the platform. The LoanNow platform provides you with the sources to peer to peer lenders, payday lenders, pawn shops and much more. Borrowers with bad credits can even apply for personal loans rather than payday loans. Addition to their quick cash the lenders reports the borrower’s payment history to credit reporting agencies. This helps in building a better credit rating.

Avant

Avant is a lending company that offers loans for the borrowers that have credit score even less than 600. Although it’s not a peer to peer loan platform, you can get a loan very quickly, probably the next day after you applied for the loan. The loans are offered to people with a credit score as low as 580. Scores lower than 580 cannot apply for the loan. The borrowing limit on Avant is 35,000 dollars which are clearly dependent on the borrower’s previous credit score.

As you can see, there are some options out there for you if you are trying to get a loan with poor credit. You just have to do your research and make sure that you are getting a fair deal. The options above are a few places that you should start with.

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