Clever Emergency Fund Solutions To Keep You From Becoming Homeless

Clever Emergency Fund Solutions To Keep You From Becoming Homeless

Picture this: Your car blows up & your warranty is a thing of the past, you get sick and can’t even go to work much less pay the doctor, your employer folds up and files for bankruptcy or that baby you have been waiting for turns into three right before your very eyes.s What are you going to do?

Your stress level just shot through the roof, but this is life and nobody’s lane is bump-free. Hell, I’m not sure mine is even paved. It’s small things like this that can throw you off track quickly.

According to the Fed’s most recent survey40% of Americans would struggle to pay for an unexpected $400 expense without selling something or borrowing money. So whether you think of it as an emergency fund, a rainy day account, a financial cushion, or an “uncertainty fund,” you need one.

HOW MUCH DO YOU REALLY NEED TO HAVE IN AN ‘EMERGENCY FUND’?

At Ellevest, we typically recommend that you set aside three to six months’ worth of your take-home pay for emergencies. That can feel like a really big number, especially if you’re starting from scratch … but it’s one of the most important things you can do with your money. Because imagine if you needed it and didn’t have it. (Ouch.)

We can almost hear you thinking it: Three to six months is kind of a range. How much do I really need? There are two things that come into play during that decision: how much uncertainty you might have to face and your personal comfort level.

The shakier your financial ground is, the more you need to have.

FOR EXAMPLE

if you freelance full-time as a single mom and own a fixer-upper, you’re probably going to want closer to six months’ (or more) of your salary saved up. (Also, you are a superhero and we bow down to your amazingness.) Or if you’ve been in a steady, salaried job for a while, share finances with someone (like a spouse), and have no dependents and no mortgage, three months is probably good for you. (Heck yeah. You’re killing it.)

But maybe you’re in a stable, salaried job and share finances with someone in a stable, salaried job — and yet, three months doesn’t feel like enough security for you. In that case, save more. These are just guidelines, so do what feels best for you. (Just don’t keep all your money in cash. That can really cost you — here’s why.)

Once you’ve decided on how much you need to have there are three things that can help you get there.

  1. Pay down high-interest-rate debt — anything more than 5% — before you get started. Waiting to pay that debt off can really cost you.
  2. Find a high-level budgeting guideline that’s flexible enough to work for your life. Like the 50/30/20 rule.
  3. Work your way up, and set mini-goals along the way. Maybe your first goal is $1,000, and then one month’s expenses, and then two, and then three.

WHERE SHOULD YOU KEEP YOUR EMERGENCY FUND?

Keep your emergency fund in cash in a bank account. Make sure that’s FDIC insured.

Ellevest’s Emergency Fund goal is held in FDIC cash, so that might be a good place. High-yield savings accounts are another option. We don’t recommend putting your emergency fund in a certificate of deposit (CD) or any other type of account that doesn’t let you make withdrawals whenever you want. Don’t risk it.

WHEN SHOULD YOU USE YOUR EMERGENCY FUND?

Definitely an emergency: Anything unexpected that you absolutely must pay for. Your water heater breaks. You have to travel to see a sick loved one.

Definitely not an emergency: Things you want but don’t really need, or things that you could save up for. Think last-minute vacation plans or your annual insurance premiums.

But there’s also a gray area, and that’s different for everyone — here’s Ellevest’s best advice to help you decide what is and isn’t an emergency for you.

Saving up three to six months’ take-home pay, in cash, for emergencies only, is one of the earliest steps you can make if you want to take control of your financial future. (Wondering about the others? We’ve got you. Here are smart money moves to make at every age.)

Are you ready to start investing in your future you? Ellevest can help!

*I’m excited to work with Ellevest to start conversations about women and money. If you become a client, I will be compensated.

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You Need To Start Investing ASAP & Here’s Why

You Need To Start Investing ASAP & Here’s Why

Have you come up with excuses why you’re not investing right this minute?

Excuses like these:

  1. It will be easier once I get that raise.
  2. I just don’t have time.
  3. It’s overwhelming to think about learning to invest properly.
  4. Money just makes me squeamish.

Believe me, I used all of these excuses and even more. I have avoided money conversations my whole life, but at 49 I realize that I am only hurting myself. If I had started younger I’d be much better off when I get older. Still starting is much better than not… at any age.

WE LOSE MONEY EVERY SINGLE DAY WHEN WE DON’T INVEST

It’s easy to put investing off. But every single day you wait could cost you about $100. Yes … a Benjamin according to Ellevest. Click To Tweet

Give Ellevest a try!

“I’m excited to work with Ellevest to start conversations about women and money. If you become a client, I will be compensated.”

 

 

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One Month With EngageBay & Here Is How It’s Going + A Big Bonus For You!

One Month With EngageBay & Here Is How It’s Going + A Big Bonus For You!

A little over a month ago I cut the cord from MailChimp and turned to a new email service provider called EngageBay. Let me tell you how it’s going!

I am going to say that there is a learning curve but once it’s figured out I see it upping my email game extensively. It’s a totally different experience than what you’ve gotten used to in MailChimp, but with that being said it’s more intuitive, it’s more professional & it’s definitely more creative.

It’s the whole ball of wax in a single platform. Here is a list of packages & the included features. Just look at this list:

$0/month

Marketing
  • 1000 Contacts
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CRM & Sales
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  • Social suite (Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram)
  • Leaderboard
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Service Bay
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Support
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SIGN UP NOW

Basic

$8.99/userper month

Marketing
  • 15,000 Contacts
  • 10,000 Branded Emails
  • Lists
  • Segmentation
  • Lead Score
  • Embed Forms
  • Web Pop ups
  • Email Templates
  • Email Template Builder
  • Auto Responders
  • Tag Management
  • Social Suite
  • Integrations
  • Reporting Dashboard
  • Custom Fields
  • Live Chat 
  • Video Marketing
  • Facebook Ads
  • Conversational Inbox
  • Notifications
  • Landing Pages
  • Landing Page Builder
  • SSL Enabled for Landing Pages
  • Send Newsletters
  • Email Broadcast
  • Email Sequences
  • API
  • 2 GB File Storage
  • Marketing Automation
  • Site Messaging
  • Email Broadcast A/B Testing
  • Automations/Workflows
  • Nodes (Automation/Workflow)
  • Code your own Landing Page
  • Landing Page A/B Testing
  • Custom Domain for Landing Pages
  • Timezone based email delivery
  • Push Notifications
  • Web Analytics
  • Custom Reporting
  • SSO
  • Role Management
CRM & Sales
  • Contacts & Companies
  • 360 degree contact view
  • Tag Management
  • Deals
  • Tasks
  • Deals pipeline
  • Appointment scheduling
  • User activity
  • File repository
  • Email tracking
  • Email scheduling
  • Email templates
  • Landing pages
  • Gmail integration
  • Outlook integration
  • Office 365 integration
  • Social suite (Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram)
  • Leaderboard
  • Reports Dashboard
  • Predictive Lead Score
  • Multiple Deal Tracks
  • Multiple Deal pipelines
  • Calling minutes
  • Call Reports
  • Custom Fields
  • Multi Currency
  • Email Sequences
  • Automations/Workflows
  • Nodes (Automation/Workflow)
  • Timezone Based Delivery
  • Proposals
  • Proposal Analytics
  • Role Management
  • Call Transcripts
  • Call Scripts
  • Custom Reports
  • Goals
  • Account Based Marketing
Service Bay
  • Contact Management
  • Ticketing Management
  • Ticket Views
  • Ticket Macros
  • Groups
  • Group Management
  • Canned Responses
  • Personal Note
  • Customer 360 Degree View
  • Notifications
  • Teams
  • Push Notification
  • Automations/Workflows
  • Nodes (Automation/Workflow)
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Support
  • Email & Chat Support
  • Free Onboarding Sessions
  • Dedicated Account Manager
  • Phone Support

SIGN UP NOW

They have even bigger plans if you need it!

If you’re on my subscriber list you have probably been a couple of crazy newsletters, but once I figured it out I’ve been creating sequences, automation, and creating interest tags. Whether you sign up here ⇒ & if you haven’t you absolutely should or you’re a do it yourself kind of girl and sign up over at Wandering Web Designer it all goes to the same place but different lists and different sequences.

I have three websites and being able to keep all of my lists together in one spot has helped me keep focused and it’s also inspired me to do more with my subscribers.

I know that some of you are ready to break up with MailChimp & I hope this gives you that push!

Not only is Engagebay offering you (my readers) a 10% discount but for a very limited time, I am going to offer to set up your account COMPLETELY FREE if you sign up for a paid account. NOT VALID FOR THE FREE ACCOUNT. USE COUPON CODE: IZ9mC83u

YOU’RE PROBABLY SAYING ARE YOU CRAZY???!!!???

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THIS DEAL WILL NOT BE OFFERED AGAIN SO IF YOU’RE ON THE FENCE SEND ME AN EMAIL (Rena (@)theblogging911.com)WITH ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE. Or just fill out the form to the side that says ‘Let’s Talk’!

*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a subscription I will earn a small commission that will in no way affect your cost.

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Women In Biz #6 Karen Schifman

Women In Biz #6 Karen Schifman

 

Welcome to the sixth in our “Women In Biz All Around WordPress” feature that will run the 1st Sunday of every month. It’s a new series where we spotlight amazing women and the ways in which they have used WordPress to spread their message, sell their products, or provide valuable services.

The hope is to inspire other midlife women to build their online businesses and find what we’re all looking for; financial freedom, a lifestyle they love, and excitement they may have been missing! All of these women are clients of mine who have inspired me over the years and I think they will inspire you as well.

This month I want to introduce Karen Schifman from Artful Amphora. I have longed to be an artist my whole life. I think that people who are given those gifts are spectacular & Karen is a prime example. Karen is also one of my longest clients. I maintain her website for her so she can concentrate on teaching & creating.

Artwork Property of Karen Schifman Artful Amphora.com

The piece above just tore at my heart. Even if you don’t live in California I think the massive fires they have experience tears at the heart of all Americans.

Tell us a little bit about you

I am an art historian, college professor, and mixed-media artist.

What made you first decide to build a blog or website? How long have you had your site?

I was writing a monthly column for an organization that I belong to entitled SCWCA (Southern California Women’s Caucus for Art). It seemed like a good place to archive my articles and then it developed from there.

‘Honoring Virginia’ property of Karen Schifman ArtfulAmphora.com

Amazing work! I  love this one as well. Well, actually I love them all! Check out the rest of her pieces HERE

What is your niche?

My column is “Women Around Town” and for the most part, provides details about women artists who are exhibiting in So. California. I also write about art that I encounter when traveling and things of special interest. I write once a month. I have an email list but also post on Facebook for a larger audience.

‘California Girl’ property of Karen Schifman Artful Amphora.com

Of all of your blog posts or pages on your site which is your favorite?

N/A

What is your favorite social media platform and why?

Facebook. That is where most of the people I know post. I have an Instagram account, however, I am not used to it quite yet.

Do you find WordPress easy to maneuver or do you avoid the back end like the plague?

I avoid the back end.

Is your site a business that makes money or a passion that makes your heart sing?

This is definitely a passion project.

If you use your site for business what do you sell or what service do you provide?

N/A

What is one thing you’d like people to know about you?

The one thing that I would like people to know about me is that I am passionate about art and supporting women artists.

Ladies can I get an AMEN?!? We need more people like Karen who want to build women up instead of tearing them down. Mentoring the women coming up behind her. As a woman, I just want to say thank you.

TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

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How To Completely Change How You Feel About Dealing With Money & Ditch The Overwhelm

How To Completely Change How You Feel About Dealing With Money & Ditch The Overwhelm

When I was growing up talking about money was a definite “no”. My parents never discussed things like pay vs. bills, money issues or even how to manage a checking account. So it’s no wonder that today when thinking about money I start to get anxious immediately.

My stomach starts hurting, I can feel my heart beating faster and I want to run far, far away. Even as a business owner dealing with the financial aspects like paying bills, investing in my business or even sending out invoices stresses me out.

I’m tired of feeling like this and I just bet that I’m not alone. Do you feel anxious or stressed when you think of your finances? My biggest fear is becoming homeless even though it’s basically happened twice & we’ve survived both times. I have nightmares of living in a cardboard box, under a freeway bridge searching garbage cans for scraps of thrown out food.

This year, I’ve decided to put myself smack in the middle of that ‘uncomfortable’ feeling and find ways to be able to gain that financial freedom, ditch the nightmares, pull up my big girl panties and put a stop to those overwhelming feeling.

That’s why I’ve partnered with Ellevest who specializes in investing for women. Here is what they say about the ‘overwhelm of money’:

That kind of feeling comes in a lot of different flavors. For some of us, the words “money” and “someday” always go together — it just never seems to be the right time to think about it. Some of us give a hard pass to the thought of making a budget. Some of us have made a few mistakes along the way that we’re scared to face. And some of us just feel lost and overwhelmed about knowing where to start.

So that’s us. If it sounds like you, here’s something good to fight the bad. Those feelings are valid. And they also don’t have to be permanent. You’re not alone. And no matter where you start, there are always things you can do to move forward.

Six Steps To Overcoming Financial Stress

You might think that sitting down to organize your money will be overwhelming and generally unpleasant, but we’re willing to bet that it’ll actually make you feel more in control. All you have to do is do the damn thing.

But you don’t have to go into this process blind. Here’s a checklist of steps you can take (and some deeper advice on each one, too). We recommend starting at the top and working your way down, one at a time, at a pace that works for you.

  1. Give your brain a boost. Picture a future where you’ve already done the thing. You don’t magically have a ridiculous pile of cash — but you’ve taken the time to think about your goal, you’ve thought about tradeoffs along the way, and you’ve mapped out the steps you’ll take. Sometimes projecting that feeling of accomplishment before you do anything else can get you from “bad feeling” to “hey … I can do this.”
  2. Look at your current spending habits. Use them to make a high-level spending plan for the future. Here is a great how-to
  3. Join your employers 401k plan. Here is why they are so important.
  4. Pay off your highest-interest debt first. It’s costing you a lot so getting rid of that is a huge money-saver. Here are a couple of approaches that can work.
  5. Set a goal for an emergency fund. Work on building it up so you don’t have to play that dreaded ‘what-if’ game any longer. This can help.
  6. Make a plan to invest for your goals. That might include retirement, buy a house someday, have kids, starting your own business, or just growing your net worth.

Some Ideas To Make It All Easier

Break It Down

If that list above looks like a mountain, just break it down into smaller more doable bits. Something like this:

GOAL

  • Look at your current spending habits and use the 50/30/20 rule to make a future spending plan.
  • Log in to your bank account and download your most recent account statement.
  • Make three “buckets”: Needs, Fun, and Future You. Categorize each purchase from your bank statement into one of these buckets, and then add them up. This is how your spending looks today.
  • Look at your most recent paystub. What’s the final amount of the check? That’s your take-home pay. Multiply that by the number of paychecks you get each month to find your monthly take-home pay.
  • Calculate 50% of that number (for needs), 30% of that number (for fun), and 20% of that number (for Future You).
  • Look at your current spending habits and see whether you can make adjustments so that you’re spending within those buckets. If it isn’t doable, adjust the buckets’ percentages until they work for your real life.
  • Aim to stay inside your buckets next month. Then, next month, see if you can tweak things to get them closer to that 50/30/20 ratio — and then plan to keep adjusting on the reg.

Once you have your little bitty steps, you can start with just the first one. Or maybe you do three little bitty steps at a time. Or you go until you really want to stop, and then you take a break.

This can really help you build momentum — and it can also help you avoid that big overwhelmed feeling by focusing on one small thing at a time.

SCHEDULE A FUN THING LATER

If money stuff has a history of making you feel bad, try this trick: doing it right before doing something you know will make you feel good. Like drinks with friends. Or your favorite workout class. Or curling up with a good book. (Sure, it’s a little Pavlovian, but hey, mood boosters are mood boosters.) if you have something to look forward to after you do The Big Thing, you might be more motivated to keep going as you work through it.

LET GO OF ‘HAVE-TO’

“Ugh, I really do have to sit down and deal with my money this weekend” probably isn’t a mindset that’s doing you any favors. Neither is “I have GOT to stop spending so much” or “Wow, I have to stop being such a hot mess with my money.” You wouldn’t try to motivate your best friend that way, would you?

Switching off the “I must do this” mindset — which can feel unforgiving and judgmental, and who needs more self-criticism? The magic is trying to shift it to something more positive. Maybe a “This is a thing I’m doing for myself” mindset. Or a “Hey maybe I can’t get a raise tomorrow but I can do this” mindset. Or an “” mindset. Or whatever mantra works for you.

THINK OF IT AS SELF-CARE

The idea behind today’s self-care movement is to protect your mental health so that you can bring our best self to your everyday life. The stress will disappear, your self-esteem will get a huge boost & you’ll feel better about today & tomorrow.

But here’s the thing:

While money is people’s number 1 reason for stress , the act of saving and investing are the biggest boost of women’s confidence when it comes to building the future we want. So if finally dealing with the money stuff is going to improve your mental health — by helping to knock out all that stress and guilt and anxiety about money, and helping you feel good about tomorrow — then doesn’t that count as self-care too? (Note: This is also extremely compatible with candles and wine. Just sayin’.)

Bankrate.com has written a great piece on the benefits of paying off debt and you can find it here.

Are you ready to ditch the overwhelm & prepare for the future you want to have?

Give Ellevest a try!

“I’m excited to work with Ellevest to start conversations about women and money. If you become a client, I will be compensated.”

 

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How to Pay Off Debt and Take Control of Your Money

How to Pay Off Debt and Take Control of Your Money

The average American has more than $38,000 in personal debt. That includes credit cards, personal loans, student loans, etc. (Oof.) So it’s not particularly surprising that when you ask people what their biggest money goals are, many of them say paying off debt.

Easier wished than actually done … so how do you make a plan that works? Two popular options: the “avalanche method” and the “snowball method.” (Kind of randomly snow-related names, but bear with us.)

The debt avalanche method

Also called “debt stacking,” this is the debt-paydown method we typically recommend because it’s designed to help you pay as little as possible in interest. Here’s how it works:

  1. Make a list of all your debts. That means each individual student loan, each credit card, each car loan, etc. Write them down along with their interest rates and balances.
  2. Put them in order from highest interest rate to lowest. If two debts have a pretty similar interest rate, put the one with the smaller outstanding balance higher up on the list.
  3. Keep paying all the minimum payments on each debt (otherwise, you’ll get hit with late fees and maybe even a hit to your credit score). And then …
  4. Put any extra money you can find in your budget toward the debt at the top of the list. The debt at the top is the one with the highest interest rate. (Side hustles can really come in clutch here.)
  5. Keep going until that #1 debt is paid off completely. Then take the total payment you’ve been putting toward that debt (including its minimum) and start putting it toward #2. That means the total amount of money you’re putting toward all your debt every month won’t change.
  6. Keep going! We typically recommend that you focus on paying off the debts that have an interest rate greater than 5%. But for the debts with interest rates under 5%, just keep paying the minimums. Once you get to that point, it’s historically been worth putting your extra money toward investing instead. Here’s why.

This saves you money because, all other things being equal, knocking out the higher interest rates first will mean you’ll pay less in interest. And paying less means you’ll pay it all off more quickly.

The downside of the debt avalanche: Getting rid of debt usually takes a while, especially if your balances are high. You might have a long-ish wait between each “I paid one off!” celebration. So you’ll be putting in a lot of effort over a long period of time with few milestones, and that can be … less than motivating. If you find yourself having trouble sticking with the debt avalanche method, the debt snowball might be a better option for you.

The debt snowball method

The debt snowball method works exactly the same as the debt avalanche method, with one difference: Instead of putting your debts in order from highest interest rate to lowest, you order them from smallest outstanding balance to largest. Then follow the rest of the steps the same way.

With the snowball approach, your first “self-five” celebration moment will come a lot sooner because you’re paying the smallest balance first. And then, because your payments “snowball” (in a good way — they get bigger and bigger with every debt you pay off), you get to the next self-five sooner too. And then the next one. And then the next one. The idea here is that our brains like self-fives, so you’ll be more likely to keep going with your plan for the long haul.

The downside of the debt snowball: This method doesn’t reduce your interest payments as quickly as the debt avalanche method, so you’ll likely end up paying more overall. But it could help you get out of debt faster if it does a better job of motivating you to consistently pay more than the minimums.

So … which one’s better for paying off that debt?

Ultimately, that’s going to be a you thing. You could “snowball” your payments to keep motivation high, or you could move down the debt mountain faster, like an avalanche, obliterating those interest payments along the way.

Ellevest has a strong aversion to having to pay more interest than absolutely necessary, so we usually recommend the debt avalanche method. But if the debt snowball is more motivating for you, that’s cool too. The important thing is that you’re knocking out those debts, one at a time, and taking charge of that financial future.

What are you waiting for? GIVE ELLEVEST A TRY!

“I’m excited to work with Ellevest to start conversations about women and money. If you become a client, I will be compensated.”

I DO NOT work with products or services that I don’t honestly believe in.

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