23 Jan

How to Create Additional Streams of Income

woman holding cash deciding how to create Additional Streams of Income

Money. We all could use a little more of it, especially with talks of an impending recession. Whether you’re putting some money aside for a rainy day, saving for a down payment, or trying to pay down debt, a little bit of additional income can go a long way.

Your full-time job will help you pay for the necessities, but the game-changer is having a side hustle. This will make a difference in your pocket and give you the financial independence you’ve always wanted.

How to Choose an Additional Source of Income

We could all go out and get a second job at a restaurant or retail store to earn some extra income. But that’s usually not plausible for busy adults. That’s where side hustles come in. Consider these aspects when determining how you can produce additional streams of income:

  • Flexible: An ideal source of extra income will enable you to call the shots when it comes to your time. Especially if you have a full-time job, the last thing you want is being committed to working a set number of hours at a second job every week.
  • Enjoyable: Generating additional revenue streams is a lot of work, so you might as well enjoy it.
  • Inexpensive: Stay away from income-generating ideas that require a big financial investment.

Tips to Look Out For

  1. Make a list of what you are interested in
    You need to enjoy what you are doing to make it a successful side hustle. Since it will be done on your own time, it’ll take a lot of energy and motivation for you to work on it, especially if you have a day job. When you’re passionate about something, you’ll have that motivation to drive you. Brainstorm some ideas about your passions and hobbies for your side hustle.
  2. Schedule time for your side hustle
    A side hustle takes time out of your every-day life, so make sure everything goes well. Setting up your website, arranging your content, and forgetting about everything until next month will cause difficulties. Set aside time for your side hustle and set actionable goals in your planner regularly so you know what you’re doing is worthwhile.
  3. Don’t forget about your day job
    If you set up a side hustle while having a full-time job, remember to put 100% of your energy into your day job when you are there. A side hustle is going to give you some money, but you’re relying on a check from your day job to pay the bills. Don’t try to juggle your daytime job and side hustle within 9-5 hours. This is a recipe for disaster.

Ideas for Additional Income

  1. Sell Your Clothes
    Selling clothes you don’t wear anymore is a quick way to make money. Start with local consignment stores like Plato’s Closet or use sites such as ThredUp and Poshmark to find buyers online. If you are going the online route, be sure to take clear, well-lit pictures of your clothing and research similar items to price them correctly.
  2. Love Dogs? Walk Them or Pet Sit!
    Do you love dogs or like to get active? Get your fix by caring for other people’s pups and get paid for it! If your home is not dog-friendly, consider becoming a dog walker. Apps like Wag and Rover offer dog walking and pet sitting jobs. It’s flexible so you can schedule a walk whenever you have time! You can also pet sit at the owner’s homes or have the dogs come and stay with you for a while.
  3. Take Surveys
    Taking online surveys can produce a small side income— but don’t expect to be rolling in money. Survey sites usually don’t offer a big payout unless you invest a lot of time. Some of the more popular survey sites include Swagbucks and Global Test Market.

Talks of a recession are scary, but RMLEFCU is here to help you through any financial situation. Follow the RMLEFCU blog for more recession preparation tips. Give us a call at 303-458-6660 if you have any questions!

15 Jan

Stop Wasting Money on Unnecessary Monthly Subscriptions  

Monthly Subscription Box in mailbox

We are living in the subscription economy, where every business is shifting toward monthly or annual bills. There are subscriptions to t-shirts, toilet paper, razors, doorbells, you name it!

The list of recurring expenses we often forget to cancel goes on and on. While most of us might not have a subscription for doorbells, more common ones include:

  • Gym memberships
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • E-book services
  • Video-streaming and streaming services
  • Mobile apps with monthly fees

The internet makes it extremely easy to sign up for a service or subscription and to quickly lose interest in it. If you forget about a recurring expense for a service you are no longer using, it can cost you over and over again.

Why Subscriptions Are Popular

The technology industry is fond of the word SaaS, or Software as a Service. It’s the idea that software is not only bought and installed once, but it is instead subscribed to and always updated. This includes:

  • Office 365
  • Google Drive
  • iCloud

There’s also CaaS, Content as a Service.

  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Spotify
  • Apple News+

And then there’s HaaS, Hardware as a Service which includes everything from:

  • Your smart door locks
  • Thermostat
  • Security camera
  • Your car
  • Your toothbrush

These subscription services make it seem like you are part of an exclusive group as you’re receiving a package or paying for a service monthly while in reality, you’re dishing out big bucks! The small monthly payment might not seem like much, but combined with your other subscriptions, they can really add up.

Cancel Monthly Subscriptions cancel button

Here’s What We Can Do

The surge in subscriptions leaves us with such a big task of remembering what you have subscribed to, there are actually new services offering to help find them. Apps like Trim or Bobby scour through your bank account statements to help find what subscriptions you’re paying for and assists you with canceling them. If you’re not comfortable with having a third-party application browse through your bank statements, here’s what to do instead:

Step 1: Audit.

Sign-in to your credit card and bank accounts and make a list (or, even better, a spreadsheet) of all your monthly and annual subscriptions, along with their payments. You might be surprised at how many subscriptions you’re paying for!

Step 2: Share or consolidate.

Do the same for your partner or friend group, and then cross-reference the lists. If you’re able to find duplicates in your household or friend group, decide which ones to keep paying for and which ones to share. You can easily share streaming subscriptions with friends and others like Amazon Prime.

Step 3: Cancel.

Mark the subscriptions you don’t really see much interest in anymore — or worse, those that began as free trials and became a recurring monthly charge. Then bid them farewell.

Of course, this may be easier said than done. More often than not, the “Cancel my subscription” button is hidden in an app or website menu — or you might have to deal with 30 minutes of ear-melting hold music to call and cancel.

A benefit of subscribing to other services through Apple’s App Store is the simple cancel option. The same goes for the Google Play Store and your subscriptions there.

Step 4: Repeat.

The only way we can make sure we don’t continue to pay companies for the rest of our days is to go through this process every year or so. None of your subscriptions will bankrupt you, although the money you put into them may add up to a decent vacation budget or savings goal.

The rising subscription list is yet another reminder of just how much confusion the convenience can offer. Starting an ongoing service is often simpler than stopping it, and even if you see the monthly recurring charge, you may not want to put in the minuscule work needed to get rid of it. This is exactly what businesses want you to do.

So, keep a close eye on your bank and credit card statements. If you have any questions about gaining access to your statements or any questions in general, please call RMLEFCU at 303-458-6660. Let’s start 2020 off with the right budget!

07 Jan

Your Financial Health is Important

Financial Health

There is no denying the connection between physical well-being and financial health. Poor financial stability has a devastating effect. Money issues are commonly associated with stress and anxiety that may result in physical symptoms. These symptoms include lack of sleep, increased blood pressure, and heart problems. This will have an effect not only on one person in a family but also on all their loved ones and may also flow into the workplace.

Here’s what you can do to help alleviate some of the stress associated with finances.

Learn the Basics of Money Management

Learning the key financial principles will help relieve tension and lead you to better money management decisions. Knowing how money works and how to budget in the long run will help you out. It’s not about how much you make, but how much you save and how much you’re spending.

Make it easier for you to keep simple records. To start your budget, write down your expenses for the past three months, including treats! Many people don’t have any understanding of their expenses, particularly when they don’t budget for it, and yet they know exactly how much comes in on payday.

If you want to learn more about the basics of money, take a look at RMLEFCU’s financial education center.

Avoid Autopilot Spending

What autopilot spending refers to is the use of credit cards, PayPal, etc. When you’re spending without knowing how much cash you have on hand, you’re in autopilot mode and you’re far more likely to spend too much.

For example, when you’re hungry, don’t do your food shopping and avoid browsing online when you’re tired or not focused. This will result in impulsive and sometimes expensive decision making. Keeping cash on hand or using a debit card instead of a credit card can help you be more mindful of your spending.

Bad Credit or No Credit?

If you are struggling with credit, take advantage of the RMLEFCU Credit Builder Loan. This unique financial product is designed to raise your credit score without any money down and with low monthly installment payments. As you pay the loan off, the money is available to you again making it a great savings tool as well! Watch the video below to learn more about this helpful way to build credit.

Ask a Professional for Help

Just as some people choose to hire a personal trainer to help them develop a health and fitness program, you can be helped by a financial planner. A financial planner can help identify your budget and financial criteria, monitor you and hold you accountable.

You can also turn to your financial institution for help by using our resources, like RMLEFCU’s financial education center.

Financial health impacts every aspect of our lives including attitudes, habits and emotional stability, all of which affect our physical health. Our sense of worth is often associated with feeling financially safe and secure. When it comes to our physical and emotional well-being, our financial safety should be a part of the conversation. If you have further questions on how to gain financial stability, contact RMLEFCU at 303-458-6660.

30 Dec

Focus on What You Can Control During a Recession

calculating costs of recession and cutting down budget

Discussions about an upcoming recession are extremely frightening. Focusing on what you can control is a good way to be prepared and maintain your sanity.

The most important thing is to focus on what you can influence in your own life. While things may seem scary and the unknown is looming, it’s going to be all right! Look hard at your job security, debt, and investments.

Secure Your Job

The first step is to look at the money you earn, which means you should consider the safety of your work. Make yourself indispensable in your job in order to create job security. To complement your role, learn new skills and begin to acquire more responsibilities. Pursuing an education is one of the best investments you can make.

You should also get your resume together and start networking in order to be prepared for a Plan B. If a recession hits, you don’t want to start a job search with a bunch of other people already laid off. By networking ahead of time, you’ll have a head start.

Pay Down Debt

If you have high-interest debt, now is the best time to begin aggressively attacking it. Prioritize debt starting from credit cards and switch to other types of loans, such as mortgages or auto loans. Student loans have more favorable terms, making it less important to pay them off.

One technique that is often advised by experts in the form of a debt avalanche. The plan is to continue to pay the minimum on each balance, on time, but put any extra money on balance with the highest APR.

To order to create some breathing room in your budget, it is important that you pay down any outstanding debt, more precisely high-cost debt, such as your credit card balance.

Start Saving

If a recession truly scares you, take your budget out and start cutting expenses now. The money you save can go straight into your emergency fund, which can be kept in a high-yield savings account with zero market risk and even growth opportunities.

Regardless of the condition of the economy, maintaining an emergency fund is key. After all, an enormous medical bill or temporary income loss may occur at any time. The first line of defense against debt is to support yourself with a cash safety net.

Recessions can be worrisome, but if you follow these tips and help prepare yourself for a recession, you may come out of it smoothly! Follow our blog for more recession tips. If you have any questions, call RMLEFCU at 303-458-6660.

13 Dec

How to Prepare for a Recession

preparing for a recession with paperwork and financial documents

Recessions are a natural part of the economy. They are hard to predict with accuracy and usually start before anyone even knows they’re happening. And before economists have enough data, they’re over. In fact, they are usually very short. There have been 13 recessions in the U.S. since the end of the Great Depression, and nine of them have lasted less than a year.

A recession’s impacts on individuals can be much larger and longer-lasting, causing permanent financial damage to those who are unprepared to ride out the short-term implications and get back on their feet quickly. It is not only important but crucial to take steps to protect yourself and your family from the potential consequences of a recession.

Let’s take a closer look at what a recession is and what you can do to ensure you are as prepared as possible for the next recession.

What is a Recession?

A recession is generally considered to be a slowdown in economic activity as calculated by GDP (gross domestic product) which lasts two or more consecutive quarters. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) defines a recession as “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales”.

Looking beyond the dry textbook definition, this is what it entails for average people.

Jobs

With rising unemployment rates during a recession, individuals and families struggle to find work to pay the bills every month. The inability to find a job can be stressful, scary, and upsetting, and can lead to even more problems. Here’s what you can do to mitigate these negative circumstances.

Short-term solutions could include making a claim for unemployment, borrowing money from friends or relatives, and taking a job with lower pay. Long-term solutions can include working closely with headhunters and recruiters to find a higher-paying job, returning to school while on unemployment, and relocating.

Moving to a new city for work can also open up new career opportunities. However, there are a lot of costs associated with a move. It should also not be seen as a last resort. In reality, being open to job opportunities in different areas can expand a job search significantly.

Real Estate Values

Recessions can lead to a decrease in borrowing money, and after an economic downturn, families might become more fiscally responsible. Less debt and greater responsibility will lead to better management of money and financial life that is stress-free.

A lot of families depend on the value of their homes as part of their retirement plan. Nevertheless, during a recession, real estate values drop dramatically, and foreclosures rise, driving many families out of their homes. During an economic downturn, real estate can no longer be seen as a safe investment. To keep your investments safe, here is what you can do.

Over time, the prices of real estate can shift, so families should try to maintain ownership of their homes, if at all possible. Through refinancing loans, homeowners may be able to avoid foreclosure. Homeowners may also benefit by renting out a room in their homes to third parties to cover some mortgage costs.

We will be updating our blog for more tips and tricks on how to prepare for a recession. Stay tuned on social media to get the first look into each blog post when they come up!

If you have any questions on how to prepare yourself for a recession, please call RMLEFCU at (303) 458-6660.

09 Dec

The Dangers of Moving Your Certificate of Deposit (CD)

Certificate of Deposit CD savings stacks of money increasing as years go by

Life is all about balancing risk versus reward and your safe investments should be managed with a safe institution. Safety is why many people have a certificate of deposit or CD. It’s a federally insured savings account that has a fixed interest rate and fixed date of withdrawal, known as a maturity date. These accounts typically do not have monthly fees.

Most CDs come with fixed rates, meaning annual percentage yields are locked in for the duration of the term. These rates are usually higher than regular savings accounts since there are penalties for early withdrawal. CDs really pay off when people are certain they won’t need access to that cash during the duration of the term length.

If you have a longer-term CD, you may be tempted to move it to another institution for a 25 or 50 basis point increase. Moving your CD into a risky institution for a 25 or 50 basis point difference in rate is NOT worth the risk, fees, and hassle for a nominal gain. Advertisements for institutions that will offer you a 25 basis point increase are typically involved in high-risk investments. There’s no guarantee your money will be safe and if you’ll even get the money back on these unpredictable accounts.

Also, if you happen to withdraw your CD early, it will eat into your existing gains. Before you withdraw your CD, take a moment to calculate the cost of CD early withdrawals. Early withdrawal penalties can vary depending on the length of the CD term and the bank offering the account. CDs with longer terms usually pay higher rates, but the early withdrawal penalties for these accounts tend to be harsher. It’s just not worth the hassle, risk, and fees of moving your money.

RMLEFCU is in the Top 40 healthiest credit unions nationwide and our accounts are insured by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA). You can feel good about your investments in our institution helping your community. We use the money you save at RMLEFCU to help fellow law enforcement officers get loans and the interest returned is given to you and other members, not greedy shareholders at a bank!

The cons outweigh the pros of moving your CD to another financial institution. Sure, you might get a few more dollars each year, but at the same time, you’re risking losing all your money and taking money away from the law enforcement officer community. Take a look at how little you’ll earn with a 25 basis point increase.