4 Key Financial Aspects to Know Before You Apply For a Loan

4 Key Financial Aspects to Know Before You Apply For a LoanToday I have a guest post.

Getting a loan is not a piece of cake. It might look as easy as walking into the bank and just walking out with the money. Various types of loans are available, and thus if you understand the loan options available, you can get the right amount from the right source. Be it a personal loan, a car loan, a housing loan or a mortgage; you might need to understand what it needs to get the loan approved. You might be familiar that your credit score plays an essential role in getting your loan approved, but that’s not the only thing. There are quite a number of factors that play a vital role in getting your loan approved. You can make it an easy process if you’re aware of the financial aspects that make an impact on the loan approval procedure.

We share with you 4 financial aspects that you need to know before you apply for a loan and you can get your loan approved with ease.

4 key financial aspects:

What’s your current financial status?

Yes, your current financial status can restrict or help you in getting your loan approved. Most lenders would be interested to glance through your current financial report for your savings and assets, current recurring debt status, repayment of those debts, and sometimes they even request for a detail of your spending and saving habits. Having major debts while you apply for a loan, can turn the tables and might refrain you from getting a loan approved. How much you pay for recurring debts would also be a factor to consider to the lenders. So, before you apply for a loan, consider your current financial record and how you can improve it.

Lenders would like to know your debt history, recurring debts, repayment history, savings and more. Some lenders are interested to glance at your cash flow. Also, some request for a detailed account of your spending habits and savings as well.

Additionally, lenders would like to know your equated monthly installment that accounts for the monthly payments you do to pay off the loan in a certain period. This will give an idea if you can afford the loan.

There may be other individual requirements too, depending on the type of bank or lender or the loan amount. There are quite a few lenders who would require access to your financial accounts to view your transaction and balance history.

Another important factor that plays a key role in getting your loan approved is your “income-to-debt ratio.” This gives the account for the amount of debt you have in comparison with your overall income. This factor is equally important as your credit score.

Your financial history plays a key role

Your financial history is the most essential financial aspect that can create a huge impact on your loan approval process. Your credit score would play the major role in giving the accounts of your financial history. It would give a clear account of, whether you’ll be able to repay your loan at the given point of time.

Your credit score provides the following details:

  • Length of credit history
  • Types of credit
  • New credits added
  • Payment history
  • Total amount you owe or owed

If you have a higher credit score, then you get lower interest rates on your loan. Having a bad credit score can get you thrashed with higher interest rates.

Apart from this, lenders also would request for your credit report. This would give all the requisite details of your past and current credit & debit accounts.

Your income, employment, and duration of your current employment

The other essential factors are your income and employment. Be ready to answer the following questions:

  • How much money you make annually?
  • Where do you work?
  • How long have you been in your current job?

Being in the same job for a few years might be an added advantage when compared with people who are self-employed or contract workers.

Your qualification

Confused? Perhaps this is yet another factor that can be an added advantage for your loan. Some lenders consider education an essential factor to determine your loan eligibility. If you have a degree with good grades, it can make a difference in your loan process. Some lenders even consider your standardized test scores such as SAT, ACT, etc.

Summing up:

When you look for loan options for any major investment, it is necessary to know about the loan options available and what the lenders expect from you. Keep track of your current financial situation along with your financial history before you walk in for a loan. Hope the above shared financial aspects would help you to prepare yourself before you apply for a loan.

James Paul is a personal finance blogger who writes at Basic Finance Care covering everything about personal finance management and frugal living.

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How I Made $1598 in Side Hustle Income the Third Quarter of 2017

How I Made $1598 in Side Hustle Income the Third Quarter of 2017This 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.

What’s going on everyone? The third quarter has come and gone. I had a couple of ups and downs during the last few months. They won’t stop me from posting this side hustle income report though.

I enjoy reading other bloggers income reports. They are very motivating to me. That’s one reason why I started doing my reports. In the first quarter of 2017, I made $4900. In the second quarter, I made $3215. In the third quarter, I made $1598.10. That’s a sharp decrease from the 2nd quarter.

One reason that the amount was lower was that I didn’t do any freelance writing.  I lost my clients a few months ago, and honestly, I didn’t do much pitching. It’s not easy getting good paying clients so I figured that I should put my focus somewhere else.

During this time I was able to grow my eBay income even more. I’ve been able to study trends and research new items to sell. Since I’m writing less, I have been able to visit more thrift stores too.

I also took the time to create my first online course. It’s called The Beginner’s eBay Course. In the course, I go over several tips that will help anyone learn how to sell on eBay. For more info about the course go here.

The income numbers that you see below are after the fees but before taxes. It is also money that has been deposited in my account, not money that is pending. I’m not a fan of people including money in their reports that is pending.

The Breakdown

eBay – $761

For the first time, eBay was my highest form of side hustle income. Like I stated earlier, I had more time to focus on and I’m seeing some good results. I plan on having a big fourth quarter in sales. I currently have over 70 items listed. I realize that the more that I list, the more sales that I get.

Sponsored Posts – $471.27

Sponsored posts came in second this quarter. I get e-mails from people wanting to sponsor something on my site a few times each week. I probably accept a fourth of them. I only post sponsored articles from companies that I believe will provide value.

Affiliates – $125.19

My affiliate income is still a work in progress I’ve been testing out different ways to increase it. I can see it worked a bit since this income was a little higher than it was in the 2nd quarter. In due time, I want this to be my 1st or 2nd side hustle income stream.

Google AdSense – $107.26

I finally got another Google AdSense payment. As my traffic continues to increase, so will this income stream.

Other Ads – $40.49

I received a few payments from another of the ad networks that I work with. It’s similar to Google AdSense.

Other Sales Platforms – $39.11

Besides eBay, I also sell on other platforms including Facebook Marketplace, Offer Up and even Instagram from time to time. Since the amount that I made was only $39, I combined them.

StubHub – $28.78

I sold a couple of tickets to a concert on StubHub. It was literally the easiest money I made all quarter.

Miscellaneous – $25

The final income stream is Miscellaneous. I completed a couple of odd jobs and made a little cash doing it.

A lot of my side hustle income is due to me starting a blog. If you’ve thought about starting one, do it. There is no reason to wait any longer. Check out this post I wrote on how to create a website with Bluehost. Butler Journal readers can their website hosting and a domain for as low as $3.95 with this link.

Overall, my side hustle income was just ok during the third quarter. I know the fourth quarter will be better. I will have payments from the course and t-shirt sales coming in. Heck, if I find the right opportunity, I might even start back freelancing.

How was your side hustle income in the third quarter?

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4 Ways to Promote Your Blog

4 Ways to Promote Your Blog

One of the big reasons people with a blog have trouble, in the beginning, is because of their lack of promotion. For whatever reason, some people are scared to promote it. They think readers will just automatically come to their site. Life doesn’t work like that. You have to get out and let the world know that your blog exists. Below I’ve compiled four ways that EVERY person can use to help them promote their blog.

Social Media

The first way that you can promote your blog is through social media. The opportunities are endless. You have sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share your latest post with your friends and followers. If you’re like me, you don’t have the same people on each site so sharing things about your blog on each social media site is a must.

Make sure that you promote your posts several times a day. People are online at different times of the day for various reasons. If you post something in the morning, your followers that work at night might miss it. It’s good to post items at least three times a day.


YouTube is the world’s 2nd biggest search engine. Making videos on YouTube gives you a worldwide audience. If your videos are quality, the benefits of uploading them could be huge depending on what your blog is about. You may be asking the question “What if I’m not good at creating videos?” There is a site called Fiverr where you can pay someone $5 to help do multiple tasks. One of the tasks that people can do on there is to create or edit videos for people. Make sure you check Fiverr out when you get a chance.

Word of Mouth

The third way to promote your blog is by using good old fashion word of mouth. I’m not sure why, but people don’t do this as often as they should. You can start off by telling your friends and family members first. Then you can ask them for referrals. Depending on what type of blog you have you can also talk to your colleagues about it.

Make a T-shirt

The last way that you can promote your blog is by getting a couple of shirts made and wear them around the town. I’m actually in the process of getting a few shirts printed that has The Butler Journal on the front. I plan on wearing them to places such as the mall or to sporting events. Make sure you get a couple of extra shirts printed as well. You can give those shirts to friends and family and ask them to wear them every once in a while. You can’t beat that type of free promo.

To summarize, the four ways of promotion that I discussed today are to use social media, create content for YouTube, use word of mouth and make a t-shirt. Since this post is about promoting, make sure you follow me on social media.

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Which one of these ways has worked the best for you when promoting your blog? Do you have any other ways that you have used to promote that was listed?

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5 Haunted Locations in the United States

5 haunted locations in the united states

This 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.

Can you believe that Halloween is two weeks away? A lot of people have been watching scary movies or preparing for costume parties all month. Whether you believe in ghost or not, several locations around the U.S. claim to be haunted. I’ve visited a few of these places. Today, I want to share with you five haunted locations in the United States.

Savannah, GA 

If you’ve been following my site, you know that Savannah, GA is one of my favorite cities. I went to college at Savannah State University and ended up living in the city for nearly nine years. During my time there, I have heard a lot of stories about the city being haunted. I have even been on a ghost tour down there.  I’m not 100% sure if I believe in ghost or not but, I will say that some things can’t be explained. I did see a couple of things that I couldn’t explain. Savannah is the oldest city in GA. Some of the areas that are supposedly haunted are Fort Pulaski, Bonaventure Cemetery, The Pirates House Restaurant and the Moon River Brewing Company.

New Orleans

New Orleans has a reputation for being a fun city to visit. That reputation is accurate, but that’s another post for another time. It has also has been labeled as one of the most haunted cities in the country. I have been to New Orleans a few times. I haven’t really seen anything too spooky. Some of the places that are considered to be haunted are St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, La Pavillon Hotel and Canal Street at City Park Avenue.

Alcatraz Penitentiary 

The third location on the list is Alcatraz Penitentiary. It is located in San Francisco, California. The Los Angeles Times described Alcatraz as “the most notorious federal penitentiary that the US has ever known.” Some of the well-known criminals that stayed there were Bumpy Johnson, Al Capone, and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. Alcatraz was very dangerous. There were many deaths and suicides when it was open. Many guards and officials claimed to have experienced supernatural activity. Alcatraz closed in the 1960’s. Today it is currently a museum.

St. Augustine, FL

St. Augustine is the oldest city in the state of Florida. It’s about 30-40 minutes south of Jacksonville. Some of the locations that are said to be haunted are the Spanish Military Hospital, The Old Jail, and the St. Augustine Lighthouse. You can choose from several haunted tours to check out.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C is another area that is reportedly haunted. Several ex-presidents such as Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson are said to haunt the White House. Some of the other locations that may be haunted are The Capitol, The Octagon House, and The National Theatre.

I’ve been to a few of these cities before. I didn’t see anything spooky in any of them except Savannah. Maybe I need to visit the others in the future to find out if I see anything that I can’t explain.

Do you believe in ghost? Have you ever been to these 5 haunted locations in the United States?

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5 Side Hustle Mistakes to Avoid

5 Side Hustle Mistakes to AvoidWhat’s going on everyone? Raise your hand if you like a good side hustle. I’m sure many of you raised your hands. If you’ve been reading my site for a while, you know that I love a good side hustle. Side hustling has changed my life. I’ve been able to pay off some debt, save an emergency fund and do other things because of the side hustles.

Over the years, I’ve done several side hustles such as selling mix CDs. Selling t-shirts, freelance writing and flipping items on eBay. Those side hustles have done pretty well for me. That’s not always the case. I’ve made some side hustle mistakes over the years. If you are a side hustler, I’m sure you have as well. In today’s post, I want to share with you several side hustle mistakes that people can make.

Doing too many things at once

Sometimes people can want to change their financial situation so badly that they try to do multiple side hustles at one time. In most cases that will not work. Attempting to do too many side hustles is not the best idea. You can spread yourself way too thin. For example, how could you expect to make a lot of side hustle money if you are driving for Uber, freelance writing, doing odd jobs and taking surveys on Swagbucks? You won’t make nearly as much money trying to do all four of them as you would if you focused on two. I’d focus on the two that you like best.

In the past, I made a huge mistake trying to do too many side hustles. I failed miserably. My side hustle income started growing for the better when I focused on 2-3 side hustles. Narrowing down your list can be difficult for some, but you have to focus on 2-3 of them. Once you start making money from a couple of them and have a good system in place, then you can try some more. Just make sure that the income from the successful side hustles doesn’t suffer. You should also try a new side hustle if your previous ones didn’t make any money.

Not understanding a side hustle

Sometimes people attempt a side hustle without truly understanding it all the way. They do it because they see everyone else doing it. Doing that will waste your time, and it will potentially cost you money. I’ve seen a lot of people start blogging as a side hustle. They saw others doing it and immediately jumped into it. Three months later, they’ve stopped blogging and they also wasted money on a domain and hosting. They didn’t understand the work that comes with maintaining a successful blog. Before you choose a side hustle, make sure that you know everything about it. You will save yourself time and money by doing that.

Pyramid Schemes

I hate pyramid schemes. I fell for two of them before. I’ll discuss one of them here. The summer after my freshman year in college, I joined a company that promoted Noni Juice. Back then, Noni juice was the wave. The juice was made in Tahiti. It supposedly helped people with a lot of ailments such as high blood pressure and weight loss. It also was supposed to give people more energy. They had a great payout plan that showed how much money you could make with the company. All you had to do was pay a one-time startup fee, a monthly fee and sell about four bottles of the juice per month (The juice cost $40 per bottle). You could also make money by getting people to sign up under you. You would get a percentage of their sales each month.

As a 19-year-old, I ate that shit up. I couldn’t wait to make a lot of money selling Noni juice. A few months went by, and I quit. It was harder than I thought it would be. I sold about 5-6 bottles during my time. For selling those bottles, I got for a whopping $18. At that moment, I was angry that I wasted my time. Now I’m glad that I went through that experience. It was a hell of a learning lesson. I try to help my friends now and steer them clear of pyramid schemes.

If you’re on FB, you’ve seen several of these pyramid schemes over the years. Wake up now, 5 Linx, and Iso Tea is just a few of them that were out there. The people that used to bug you and jump in your inbox asking you if you had time to come to a presentation were not making any real money. If they were, all their posts wouldn’t be about trying to get 5 – 10 more people to sign up.

Doing a side hustle because your friends are

We all have friends that do different side hustles. Some of them may want you to join a program or participate in a side hustle that they are doing If you are not comfortable with it, then don’t do it. You don’t owe your friends anything. If they keep asking or bugging you, ignore them. It may not be easy, but you can’t afford to waste your time doing a side hustle that you are not interested in.

Rates too low

This is another mistake that I made. When I first started freelancing, my rates were too low. I was just happy to have clients. That was one of the biggest mistakes that I made. I should have raised my rates earlier. I was writing a lot and not making nearly enough. After discussing things with my mastermind group, I doubled my rates. It made a big difference.

If you provide a service to someone make sure that you review your rates. Time is money. There is no reason that you shortchange yourself. Most of your clients shouldn’t have a problem if you raise your rates. If they do, you’ll find other clients that value you.

Many people including myself have made side hustle mistakes over the years. They happen from time to time. Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve made one. Learn from it and move on.

What side hustle mistakes have you made?


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College Planning For High School Students

College Planning For High School StudentsWhat’s going on everyone? Do you remember what high school was like? High school was alright for me. I graduated more than fifteen years ago. I remember going to football and basketball games. Once 11th grade came around, I knew that it was time to start focusing on my future. I knew that I wanted to go to college, but didn’t know exactly what to do. Thankfully, I had people such as my mentor and my mom to help me out.

Today I want to go over college planning for high school students. I will have some tips for juniors and seniors.

Junior Year

Make a list of possible majors and careers

You might not know exactly what you want to do in life and that’s fine. However, you should write down a list of things that interest you. Think about what kind of career that you may way to have. Don’t worry if you get stuck. I changed my major a couple of times in college.

Make a list of colleges that you’re interested in

Create a list of colleges that you are interested. Make sure that the major that you are considering is offered at the school. Your list should have at least five schools on there. You can add or subtract schools from your list after you do more research. The list of schools that I considered going to was Savannah State University, Johnson C. Smith University, FAMU, North Carolina A&T and Morris Brown.

Schedule visits

Schedule visits to the schools that you are interested in. This should be down in the springtime. If you’re tight on money, visit one or two of your choices. I only visited Savannah State. That was enough for me. I chose to continue my education at SSU.

Create a calendar

Make a calendar with dates and deadlines for important tests, applications, and paperwork. This is crucial. You want to make sure that you adhere to all deadlines. Turning something in late or not at all could jeopardize your college decision.

Talk to your guidance counselor

If you don’t know who the guidance counselor is, take some time to get to know them. They will help you with any questions that you have about high school and college. They will also be able to guide you towards scholarship opportunities

Make sure that you are progressing towards graduation

Continue to attend class and make good grades. As a junior, you can’t afford to slack up. You haven’t even made it to the 12th grade yet. Stay focused and keep your GPA up.

Register for all senior year courses that you need for graduation

When it’s time to register for your senior classes, make sure you choose the right ones. You want to make sure that all your classes and that you will be able to graduate next May or June without any problems.

Start Testing

You should take the PSAT in October. It’s required for you to be eligible for National Merit, National Achievement, or National Hispanic Scholarships. The PSAT will also give you practice for the SAT as well.

Take the ACT/SAT

You do not need to take both exams unless you want to. Schools accept both exams, but you only need to take one. I only took the SAT while I was in high school.

Register early

Register at least a month before the test. It will give you ample time to study and prepare. The ACT/SAT aren’t easy tests. You can’t just walk in off the street and expect to get a high score. Taking time to study and prep will help you though.

AP Courses

If you plan on taking AP courses, register to take them in the spring.

Build your resume

Get involved with extracurricular activities, volunteer projects and sports that you enjoy. There are various clubs that you can join. Figure out what you’re interested in and check them out. I wish I would have participated in more groups in high school.


Create a portfolio of your best papers, reports, and projects. Highlight your special skills and interests. If you won any awards, make sure you have some documentation and list that on your resume.

Get a summer job or internship

People love to chill and relax during the summer. You can do that later. This is the time for you to either get a job or an internship. Both opportunities can help you out in the long run. Your summer job can help you pay for the college application fees. Your internship can give you a foot in the door for a possible career after you get our college degree.

Explore your financial options

Attend an open house and financial aid workshops at your colleges of interest. This is key. Some people don’t go to college because they think they can’t afford it. At financial workshops, the speakers will go over different options. That can include scholarships, grants, and loans.


There are thousands of scholarships out there. You just have to find them. There are several places to look for them. I wrote a post featuring ten places to look for scholarships. Check it out here.

Senior Year

Complete testing

If you haven’t taken to ACT or SAT yet, take it.  Don’t forget to register for the test at least one month in advance.

Make your decisions and apply to colleges

Remember that list of schools that you came up with during your junior year? It is now time to apply to the schools that you are still considering. Make sure that you fully complete the applications. Also, make sure that you have the money ready for the application fees.


Keep copies of everything you submit and make note of submission dates. You need those things for your records.

Admission Packets

If you receive an admission packet, follow all directions for acceptance, orientation, and other requirements. Read through the information thoroughly.

Continue building your resume

Keep a file of important documents and notes, including copies of report cards, test scores, and lists of awards and honors.

Leadership opportunities

Assume leadership roles in school and extra-curricular clubs, activities, and sports. Doing that will help to shape you as a person. Leadership opportunities also show that you are good with people.

Apply for the FAFSA which is available after January 1st

The FAFSA is the free application for federal student aid. It determines your eligibility for federal financial aid. It is good to apply for financial aid as soon as possible.


Make sure that you pay attention to deadlines. The colleges that you apply to will have a priority financial aid deadline. Make sure that you turn in ever document before that date.

Continue to search for scholarships

I’m not a fan of student loan debt. It’s one of the reasons I still can’t do some things that I want to in life. My suggestion for you is to continue your scholarship search. The money is out there, but you have to go out and find it. Here’s the link some scholarships again.

Successfully finish high school

Senioritis is real. Halfway through my senior year, I began to feel it. You will too, but don’t let it stop you. Stay on course to complete all of your core classwork for graduation.


Request that your high school sends your official transcript to the college that you decide to choose.

Decide on a school to attend

Once you started receiving acceptance letters, decide which school you want to attend. Send back all corresponding info to the school. Review your award letter and make sure that everything looks good. If you have any questions, call the school.

Preparing for college can be tricky if you don’t know what to do. Hopefully, this post has made college planning for high school students just a little easier.


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What To Do If You Are Looking For a New Job

What To Do If You Are Looking For a New JobA few years ago I was in between jobs. I tried doing my own thing but realized that it was best to go back to working a full-time job again. It took me 8 months, but I was able to finally get another full-time job. A lot happened during that time. I applied to hundreds of jobs. I also worked two part gigs. I had to have some money coming in so I didn’t care where it was coming from.

In today’s post, I want to share with you different things that you can do if you are looking for a new job.

Continue to apply

One thing that you have to do is to continue to apply for jobs. Even if you apply and don’t hear anything back, continue to do it. It’s a numbers game. Your next job could be around the corner. I made it a habit to apply to about 40 jobs each week.  You have to keep applying. You won’t get a job without doing so.

Update your resume

The next thing that you should do is make sure that your resume is up to date. I update my resume whenever I get a new job. I also added relevant skills to it. Depending on your situation, it may be good to have a couple of different versions of your resume available.

Customize your cover letter for each position

This may take a little more time, but you want to make sure that you customize your cover letter for each job that you are applying for. Different jobs call for different skills. Your cover letter should state that you have skills for the particular position. A generic cover letter will not work. I can’t lie, I used to be lazy and use one. That’s probably the reason that I didn’t have more interviews when I was applying for jobs a few years ago.

Don’t let emotions get the best of you

We’re all human. We get frustrated from time to time. Don’t let looking for a full-time gig get you riled up emotionally. Things happen for a reason. Even though it may be hard, stay positive. If you get a lot of rejections, keep going. Your new job will be on the was sooner than later.

Apply for legit companies

During my last job search, I saw that certain sites allow scammers to put fake jobs on their websites. There are so many scams out there asking people to send money or ask them to deposit checks in their account when they haven’t even done any work. Don’t fall for any of those scams. My advice is to look for work on legitimate websites such as Indeed and Career Builder. I am on the fence with Craigslist. They don’t usually have that many good jobs in the Atlanta area. It may be different for you though depending on where you live.

Don’t just apply for any job

Typically I wouldn’t just apply for any type of job. I’d only apply for jobs that you’re interested in. If you’re not working, by all means, apply for any and everything so that you can get some money coming in. If you are working part-time, apply for jobs that you qualify for or think that you could do.

Continue to utilize your network

This is something that everyone should do, but they don’t. You should utilize your network. Utilizing your network can yield big returns. If you think you don’t have a network think again. If you have a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account you have a network. Networking with those people can lead you to your next full-time job.

Looking for a job can take a while. Some people are lucky and can get hired quickly, while it takes a while for others. It took me 8 months to get a full-time position again. As long as you keep applying and staying focused, you will get hired again.

What is the longest that you went without a full-time job? What are some things that you did when you were looking for a new job?

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