I am obsessed with saving for retirement. I’m also obsessed with collecting things. So it’s probably not surprisingly that I love finding different types of retirement accounts, different ways to save for retirement, and OBVIOUSLY any way to get “free” retirement money.
So I think it’s time to share! Not only do I know you all love posts like this, but I also can’t wait to hear your suggestions and ideas for MORE ways that we can hoard away money for our golden years. So don’t hold back! Hopefully my suggestions can help you as much as yours will help us. 🙂
I am absolutely in love with the house I live in…most of the time at least. There have been things I never realized I’d love so much and others that I wish I would have considered more thoroughly. Right now we’re planning to live here for quite some time, but I still wonder if we would do things differently if we had the opportunity to turn back time.
Hindsight is always 20/20 though, so in reality I’m lucky we had such great advice going into our purchase. If it hadn’t been for our parents and a great realtor, God only knows where we’d be living. So for those of you about to make this huge decision, here’s my best advice and some important things to consider:
I’m definitely not a minimalist (though I wish I was). In fact, I probably carry more traits of a hoarder than I do of a minimalist. Yet I STILL found that there were quite a few baby products that I just didn’t need, wish I didn’t have, or was so unbelievably grateful that I DIDN’T get. I mean, these little babies come with a ton of stuff. And in my case, my son rarely left my arms, so what was the point of half of them? At one point his room had literally turned into a storage facility for the overabundance of his “things”, while the stuff he actually needed just moved into my space.
Related post: The Baby Products You Actually Want on Your Baby Registry
So to save you the trouble (and money), here are the things you may not actually need to buy:
Even for a person with a horrendous memory (me), I have vivid recollections of my pregnancy and the subsequent birth of my son. Ironically, one of the memories that still sticks with me the most was the total shock of realizing how much it costs just to be pregnant – and that’s with good health insurance (and a healthy pregnancy). Ultrasounds were considered elective, blood tests were extra, and of course there’s the deductible right off the bat. By the time we got to the hospital for delivery we had “luckily” reached our deductible and would only have to pay 10% of any additional costs…but as every other delivering parent knows, 10% of a whole lot is still a whole lot.
Luckily we were able to stomach the costs but it totally shifted how we managed our money and led to one of the best investments we’ve ever made – our Health Savings Account (HSA).
I love, love, love free stuff. Soooo, so much. If it’s free, I’ll definitely give it a try. No matter what. Of course, sometimes I get what I pay for and it sucks. But then I will eventually stumble upon a gem that I can’t get enough of. The kind of thing that I can’t believe is free and then I become totally hooked.
So obviously through my years of entrepreneurial pursuits I’ve gathered some pretty amazing free tools that help me do whatever it is I’m passionate about at the moment. These are those tools. Some might not be strictly business, but as we all know, when you’re an entrepreneur your life and business become so intertwined that at times they are indistinguishable. Which is the BEST part of being an entrepreneur.
So here we go! The absolute best free tools for entrepreneurs:
As you already know, I love love love using Zazzle as a creative outlet…and of course, to make a little extra money 🙂 . So when a new and somewhat odd product is introduced, I usually jump on it right away to see what I can create. And to my delight, occasionally these products actually make me some money. Which I LOVE.
I know this sounds ridiculously corny, so I’m hesitant to even write an entire post about it, but I’m telling you – this one simple activity is how my husband and I have (and are) achieving all of our dreams in record timing. It’s why I’m able to stay at home with my son, how we bought two investment properties, are learning a second language, have spent our summer traveling, have become vegan, the list goes on and on…
So here’s the really simplistic, dumbed-down gist of how we’ve made it all happen: Every few months (if we’re lucky, weeks), we sit down and formally Goal Set. I’m emphasizing formally and capitalizing Goal Set on purpose – it’s that big of a deal and that big of an event for us…it’s better than a date night (actually, we love it so much that it basically is a date night). But most importantly, it consistently and reliably always works – sometimes it’s scary how much so.
So here’s what we do, and how you can (and should) do it too:
For the most part, the classic American dream includes home ownership. A comfortable job, a vacation once a year, and a place to call home. What’s funny is that the vast majority of us are relying on 30-year mortgages to “own” our homes. So, in some sense, we really aren’t owning them – we just feel like we are. And it’s so commonplace to have a mortgage that nobody really second-guesses it.
To be fair, there are some benefits of having a mortgage. But does that really mean that it’s a good idea for everyone? Should it be the norm? I’m not convinced. Here are some of the biggest reasons I think it’s a good idea to pay off your mortgage (and why we’re doing it):
Related post: How to Pay Off the Mortgage Early
Investing in real estate is an amazing way to diversify your portfolio and ironically it is much easier than most people think. In this day and age it can be nearly impossible to build wealth from a paycheck alone, so most of us need to think outside of the (career) box if we really want to live the comfortable lifestyle that we all dream of.
My husband and I purchased our first investment property 3 years ago and it was one of the best decisions we ever made. We rarely even think about it nowadays, yet it is still making money for us behind the scenes. We aren’t handy-types or real estate experts, yet it still was a great investment choice. It is honestly something that anyone can do, as long as you make smart decisions in the beginning.
So here’s what we did to buy our first investment property:
There are a ton of roadblocks that make starting a blog intimidating and setting up the actual website is certainly one of them – especially if you’re a writer at heart. Thank goodness for WordPress! If you’re still in the very early stages of setting up a blog and haven’t picked a platform yet, please take this one piece of advice – CHOOSE WORDPRESS. If you don’t, at some point in the next year you will be migrating your site to WordPress and it will be a pain in the butt.
The reason is plain and simple – WordPress makes everything extremely easy. And one of the ways they do that is by offering thousands of plugins that add special functions, bells, and whistles to our sites. All of the plugins listed below are free, so I highly recommend you just add them right away. I use each and every one of them, so everything I’m telling you is from my own experience.
Here we go! The best WordPress plugins for beginner bloggers: