My Savings Has Been Wiped Clean; How Can I Replenish it?

Broken Piggy Bank with coins scattered on tableQ: The last few months have been really tough on my finances, and I’ve been forced to use my savings for getting by. My emergency fund and savings account are basically zero. Now that my financial situation is starting to improve, I’d like to start building these up again, but it’s all so overwhelming. Where do I begin?

A: Watching savings that took you years to build up disappear in just a few months can be disheartening, but it’s important to remember that you’ve made the right choice. Using emergency funds to survive prolonged unemployment, an unexpected large expense or a medical emergency is the best way to make it through a financial hardship. If your savings are depleted, though, you’ll want to start rebuilding as soon as possible to ensure you have the funds to cover a future financial challenge without falling deeply into debt.

Here’s how to start your rebuilding plan:

Set a goal
Before getting started on saving up money, it’s a good idea to establish a tangible goal. What’s your magic number? You can try to recover the value of the savings lost, or start smaller, with a more attainable goal. Bear in mind that experts recommend having funds to cover three to six months’ worth of living expenses set aside in an emergency fund or savings account.

Review your budget and trim your spending
A good place to start finding those extra dollars for savings is by carefully reviewing your spending for ways to cut back. Look for expenses that can make a difference in a monthly budget without dramatically affecting your quality of life. Think about subscriptions or services that are rarely used, a dining-out budget that can be scaled back and expensive recreational activities that can be swapped with freebies. There’s no need to live like you’re broke, but stripping your budget of some extras can give you the boost of cash you need each month to build up your savings again.

Find a side hustle
Another great way to land extra funds is through a side job. There are many ways to pad a wallet without a major investment of time. Some options include taking surveys on sites like Survey Junkie and Swagbucks and doing gig work for companies like Uber, DoorDash and Rover.

Sell your old treasures
If you’ve spent part of the COVID-19 lockdown giving your house a deep cleaning, you may have unearthed some forgotten treasures that can turn into easy moneymakers. You can sell old clothing on ThredUp, unwanted jewelry on Worthy.com, make good money off your unwanted furniture through Chairish, sell or trade unused sports equipment on Swap Me Sports and sell kids clothing and toys on Kid to Kid. Use the cash you earn from these sales to jumpstart your new nest egg.

Make a plan
Once you have a goal in place for building your savings, and you’ve maximized the possible monthly contributions toward savings each month, it’s time to create a plan. Map out a timeline of how long it’ll take to reach your goal when putting away as much as possible each month. Remember: the more aggressively you save now, the sooner you’ll reach your goal.

Start saving
It’s time to put the plan into action! The best way to ensure regular savings happens each month is to make it automatic. You can set up an automatic monthly transfer from your Advantage One Credit Union Checking Account to your Advantage One Credit Union Savings Account on a designated day of the month. You may want to have the transfer go through several days after you receive your monthly salary, or it might work out better to put a smaller amount of money into savings each week. Give us a call at 734-676-7000 to discuss your options.

Put unexpected windfalls into savings
To speed up the process of rebuilding depleted savings, you may want to resolve to put unexpected windfalls into an emergency fund or savings account. This can include tax refunds, a work bonus and gift money. If another round of Coronavirus stimulus checks is approved, consider using these funds for your savings as well. Earmarking future windfalls for savings can shorten the amount of time spent cutting corners in a budget and taking on extra jobs to build up a savings account.

Rebuilding an emergency fund and savings account from the bottom up isn’t easy. It takes commitment, hard work and the ability to keep a long-term goal in mind; however, the security that comes from knowing you have a safety cushion to fall back on in case of a financial setback will make this goal worth the effort many times over.

Your Turn:
Have you started working on rebuilding your savings? Tell us about it in the comments.

Learn More:
policygenius.com
fool.com
moneymanagement.org

8 Side Hustles Anyone Can Do

Young lady drives young men to their destination in her minivanWho wouldn’t love some extra pocket money? These freelance jobs don’t require any experience and can be done by practically anyone. Plus, some of them might pay you for tasks you’re already doing! Read on for eight easy side hustles and to find those that may be right for you.

1.) Play with dogs
This job is for true animal-lovers. Why not earn some extra cash watching your furry friends? When you offer your services as a dog-walker or pet-sitter, you can charge as much as $25 an hour, depending on the going rate in your area. To get the word out, you can hang up flyers to advertise your services or sign up with Rover, an Uber-like service that matches up pet-owners and sitters for a small fee.

2.) Social media guru
Yes, your Facebooking talents and clever tweets really are marketable skills. You can offer your services to local and remote businesses as their social media brander. Depending on your skill set, you can write the company blog posts, manage their Facebook page, post new pics on Instagram and send out their tweets. You’ll need to get a feel for the core values and mission statement of the company you represent, but otherwise, it’s just doing what you love on your favorite social media platforms!

3.) Yard work
Do you wield real power with a weed-whacker? Are you an expert lawn mower? Get paid for tending to people’s yards. You can charge by the hour or per job. You may also want to do a survey of other local yard workers to get a good idea of fair asking prices.

4.) Take online surveys for pay
Make the time you spend online count by taking surveys on sites like Survey Junkie, Inbox Dollars and Swagbucks. Most of these sites are easy to use and will pay you as soon as you complete a survey. It’s a quick, easy way to pad your wallet with extra cash.

5.) Turn trashed items into treasure
If you’re crafty and love working with your hands, this one’s for you!

Late spring is the perfect time for finding discarded pieces of furniture in the trash. Take a spin around the neighborhood, scouring each block for curbside furniture in decent condition. Haul your finds home and get to work, refinishing, painting, changing drawer pulls and more to give the tossed piece of furniture new life. When you’ve finished glamming up your treasure, put it up for sale at a local flea market, sell it to a second-hand or consignment shop or market it online through eBay or Craigslist. If you really work at it, you may be able to turn a trashed piece of furniture into several hundred dollars.

6.) Work for Uber
The ride-sharing giant gives the term “flexible job” new meaning by allowing you to set your own schedule and decide just how many hours you want to devote to driving passengers.

If you don’t like the idea of strangers riding in your car, you can work for Uber Eats instead. With this sister service of Uber, you get paid to pick up fast-food meals and deliver them to customers. Uber Eats offers the same flexibility and great terms as the original Uber and, in some locations, you can even deliver the food on a bike or scooter. It’s a fantastic way to boost your income without committing to long hours or hard work.

7.) It’s fair time!
Summer is the season for local fairs of all kinds. Spend some time researching community fairs in your town and the surrounding areas. Is there one scheduled that features a special talent of yours? If you know you can bake a mean pie or you’ve been told your caramel fudge is to die for, try your hand at competing in a fair that features these competitions. You can earn hundreds of dollars in award prizes just for doing something you enjoy. Plus, there’s no limit to how many fairs you can enter each summer, so you can do this over and over again.

8.) Teach and tutor
Are you a geometry whiz or a genuine science buff? Offer your services as an individual tutor for school-aged children this summer and you’ll have a meaningful way to earn extra money. You can help a struggling student work through summer homework or pass makeup exams so they earn their promotion to the next grade. You’ll be using your brains to make a difference in a child’s life while making good money on the side.

If you’ve got a spectacular talent outside the classroom, you can use it to make money this summer by teaching it to students who want to learn how to do it, too. Specialized instructors like guitar teachers or art coaches can charge a pretty penny per session.

While it helps in some cases, you don’t need special training or credentials for earning extra pocket money. Use this list to find the side hustle that works for you and start boosting your income.

Your Turn:
Do you have a side job you love? Tell us all about it in the comments.

SOURCES:

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/part-time-jobs-to-boost-income-4126475

https://workfromhomehappiness.com/internet-jobs/

https://financebuzz.com/ways-to-make-extra-money/

6 Ways To Earn Money Online

Young white woman carefully packs up an item she sold on eBay in her living room while her faithful Golden Retriever looks on curiously.Are you looking for some extra cash to jumpstart your savings? Desperate to stop living paycheck to paycheck? Want to make 2019 the year you finally get debt-free?

Look no further than your computer screen! With nothing but internet access and a modest investment of your time, you can give your budget that extra padding it needs and get a head start on saving for a larger goal.

Read on for six easy ways to earn money online.

1.) Take surveys
Taking surveys in your spare time can be a great way to earn some extra dough fast.

Here are some great survey companies to get you started:

Survey Junkie – Redeem points for payouts via gift cards and/or PayPal.
American Consumer Opinion – Easy sign up and well-managed.
Vindale Research – Pays up to $75 a survey.
Ipsos – Simple and easy to use.

Choose one (or more) that works best for you and start earning money today!

2.) Share your Amazon purchase history
Download the ShopTracker app from Harris Poll and help the company track the products Amazon customers purchase most. All you need to do is share the details of your recent Amazon purchase.

The company will ask for info about the purchase, such as the order date, product title, category, ISBN number, release date, condition, seller, list price per unit, quantity and several other details.

Get paid up to $36 per year for doing this small amount of work.

3.) Become a transcriptionist
Are you a quick typist or a fast talker? Then you may want to consider working as a transcriptionist. Sign up for a program like Scribie and get paid to transcribe documents and movies at $5-$20 per audio hour.

The work is extremely flexible and can be done anytime on your schedule. Most files are only six minutes long or less, so the work is interesting and doesn’t get too tedious. You can choose to type the documents or movies, or to dictate them into a talk-to-text program. Plus, there’s an option of getting promoted and earning more once you become more adept at transcribing.

And as a bonus, you’ll learn new things every day!

4.) Monetize your blog or website with Google AdSense
Google ads are all over the internet; now it’s time to make them work for you! If you have a website or a blog (and if you don’t, you can build one in short order) work on monetizing with Google AdSense. You’ll only earn pennies when you start out, but if you work hard at increasing the traffic to your site or blog, it can really help you pull in the big bucks.

Google AdSense is insanely easy to set up. Sign up for a free Google AdSense account and you’ll receive a unique setup code to copy to your site or blog. Once you’ve done that, Google does the rest, tracking your page views, traffic flow and earnings.

Worried about maintenance fees and upkeep work? There are none! Google does it all. That’s why incorporating Google AdSense in your site or blog is such a no-brainer. It’s just a few minutes of your time and then you’ll start earning extra money for doing absolutely nothing.

Of course, the more traffic you draw, the more you’ll make off Google AdSense. The potential to earn an extra few hundred, or even thousands of dollars, via Google will push you to work at drawing more traffic to your content. While it will take work to get there, just imagine pulling in an extra $4,000 a month!

5.) Become an online consultant
Are you an expert in your field? Do your coworkers constantly seek you out for guidance and advice? Why not market your expertise and earn some extra money at the same time?

Online consulting is the perfect side hustle for natural teachers and counselors. You’ll be working with what you’re good at, creating your own hours and schedule and setting up your own pay scale.

You can advertise your services on a public forum like Craigslist, or set up a free profile on Clarity.fm. People will then be able to look you up on their own. Once word spreads and your name is out there, you can raise your rates and earn more in less time.

Let your talents pay off!

6.) Sell your stuff on eBay
Yes, we know, eBay is the dinosaur of online commerce, but even dinosaurs have their days. The next time you want to throw out an unused piece of junk, a defunct device or an ancient gadget, skip the trash can and sell it on eBay instead. The auction platform guarantees you’ll get the best price for your junk and the site is fully secure. Why not make money off your garbage?

The internet has changed the world forever. Use it to earn extra cash and turn your financial world around!

Your Turn:
Do you earn money online? Share your method with us in the comments!

SOURCES:
https://www.thefrugalprof.com/23-ways-to-make-extra-money-in-2019/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/jrose/2018/04/24/make-money-online/amp/

https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance-saving-and-budgeting/articles/how-to-earn-money-online