How to Survive the Rent When Your Roommate Moves Out

Even if you intend to stay, your landlord could annul the lease entirely if your roommate decides to unceremoniously break the lease. However, a good landlord will likely let you attempt to survive paying the lease on your own or give you time to secure rental assistance. Even if your credit score needs work first, there’s no better time than the present to start improving your score. And you’ll find that the measures you take to improve your credit are good for your finances in general. If you’re looking for a flexible side hustle that could turn into your primary source of income, look into bookkeeping. It’s the No. 1 most profitable business, according to an article in Inc. And you can earn up to an hour, reports Intuit, the creator of QuickBooks. Thankfully, a free website called Credit Sesame will take a look at your credit report and let you know exactly what you need to do to improve your score.

1. Find Someone New

Like dating, finding someone new can do wonders for getting you back on your feet after a roommate breaks the lease. You’d probably still have a bit of a rough patch during the transition, but looking for a roommate to sublet the apartment from your previous roommate can completely resolve the problem. Ready to stop worrying about money? AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

2. Get a Side Hustle Earning up to $69/Hour

You don’t have to be married to face some of the drama that comes with a messy divorce. Whether you have a roommate who’s been casually dropping hints that you should be looking for a new roommate or they’re downright spelling it out, the prospect of that person leaving can feel like you’re about to lose everything the two of you worked so hard to maintain. The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month. Ready to get to work? Without a roommate and the rent savings that person provided, you might lose interest in paying anything more than the monthly minimum on your credit cards. But if those credit cards bear gaudy interest rates, you might not be making the best use of your dollars.

3. Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company

You don’t have to be an accountant or good at calculus to start your own bookkeeping business, either. As long as you’re motivated, a company called Bookkeepers.com will teach you everything you need to know. It’s one of the leading training courses in the field, and it’ll even give you the first three classes for free. Along with looking for a roommate, make things easier on yourself by searching for a side hustle before your roommate makes their departure official. Even if you manage to convince them to stay, whatever factors urging them to bail in the first place could suddenly re-emerge — embarrassment could inspire them to slip away without warning. Source: thepennyhoarder.com Check out these tips for giving yourself a fighting chance of surviving a lease when a roommate gets cold feet and abandons the lease. Get the Penny Hoarder Daily

4. Have a Safety Net

Be sure to ask some critical questions. Can they reliably pay the rent? Do they smoke or drink? How do they feel about guests? Make sure you’ll be compatible as roommates. It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to ,000 online. Your credit score is like your financial fingerprint. Everyone’s is different — and for different reasons. That means everyone’s strategy to improve their credit score will look different… but how in the world are you supposed to know where to start? Privacy Policy <!–

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Remember: Sharing a space with a roommate isn’t about being best friends, though it’s nice when your best friend happens to be a great person to split living costs with. It’s more important to live with someone you can coexist with and rely on. If you’ve just learned this the hard way, we apologize for any salt that accidentally dusted that wound.

McCormick’s Director of Taco Relations is a Dream Job for Taco Lovers

There’s a new job out there paying $100,000 to taste tacos, research tacos, film tacos, celebrate tacos, Tweet tacos and talk tacos. And not just on Taco Tuesday. Every day for four months.

Yeah, this sounds like a classic Homer Simpson dream bubble, but it’s actually legit. McCormick, the spice company, is hiring its first Director of Taco Relations. The gig pays $25,000 a month for up to 20 hours of work a week during September, October, November and December. That figures out to $312.50 an hour. (Picture the dollar signs in Homer’s glazed eyes.)

No previous taco experience required, but you must be passionate about that fabulous folded food group. Expertise in producing social media content is also a plus. You must apply by 11:59 p.m. July 20 and submit a video no more than two minutes long.

McCormick suggests including some of the following info in your video:

  • Your go-to and out-of-the-box taco recipes, taco tips and tricks, and insights gleaned as a taco connoisseur
  • Your favorite taco-themed trivia and fun facts
  • Are you team hard shell or team soft shell and why?
  • Your applicable taco experiences, qualifications and skill sets
  • Your feelings on the perfect taco toppings
  • Most importantly, you should be able to answer the question: Why is being McCormick’s Director of Taco Relations your dream gig?

The Tasks of Director of Taco Relations

If your typical day includes eating a taco with one hand while trolling TikTok with the other, then you’ve already been training for this dream job. Spotting taco trends and posting content other taco devotees will appreciate are key tasks. Other duties include:

  • Working with the McCormick kitchens team to develop innovative taco recipes
  • Sharing easy taco recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Helping taco fans and followers execute these recipes at home
  • Collaborating with McCormick’s creative and social teams for celebrating National Taco Day, National Margarita Day and Taco Tuesday
  • Making taco lovers aware of ways to use McCormick’s taco seasoning beyond the traditional taco
  • Minimal travel to McCormick’s headquarters in Hunt Valley, Md., and other taco travel required

Click here for more specifics on the job and video format.

Katherine Snow Smith is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder. 

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Catering Side Gigs May Be the Best Hustle of 2021

“Catering is an extremely fun job as every event is different, and you can see a lot of really cool venues and be a part of some amazing events,” says Daniel Wolfe, owner of Wolfe and Wine Catering in Houston.
There are positions for people of all skill levels. For example:
There are perks. You’ll be a fly on the wall at events held in beautiful locations. If you’re the sort who gets bored easily, you’ll appreciate having different work environments, since  many caterers travel to several event venues in the region.
Ready to stop worrying about money?
Plus, the jobs are often on Friday nights or weekends anytime, a bonus for a Monday-through-Friday worker looking to bring in more money.

How to Find Local Catering Jobs

This is great news for catering companies, whose income evaporated during 2020, and it can be great news for your wallet if you explore this lucrative yet under-appreciated side hustle.
LaSonya Holmes-Boulware, who owns My Girls Catering and Food Truck in Greensboro, North Carolina, starts catering servers at per hour and cooks at per hour. Experienced workers can be paid more for working elite events.
Spigener says she currently starts catering staff at per hour.
I’ve worked in restaurants and for caterers. Catering has always paid me more per hour, in every market I’ve worked. The seasonal nature of the job makes it an ideal side gig. If you can get in with a top-notch caterer now, when the need is high, you can secure a lucrative side hustle for as long as you need or want one.
Restaurant workers in most American markets receive a well-below-minimum-wage shift payment and make most of their money in tips. Catering workers tend to be paid competitive hourly wages, plus tips.
While it helps if you have previous experience, this is absolutely not necessary.
When hiring, Spigener looks for personality (“courteous and mannered well”) and a willingness to pitch in. Wolfe values punctuality (because “an upset client is a lost client”) and flexibility, since it’s difficult to predict when shifts will end.

server holding champagne glasses at outdoor wedding
Getty Images

Jobs in Catering

Depending on how big the event is, the caterer could need dozens of people. Some will need high-level culinary skills but that’s not what you will probably be doing. Think of your as the muscle and if you’re dealing with guests, a server with a good attitude. Event caterers are everywhere: big cities, college towns, and rural areas cashing in on the rustic wedding trend. Wherever you go, you’ll find a local catering company. If you find yourself in between jobs, catering income can give you a buffer until you land something else.
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Private party shifts tend to be shorter — a skeleton crew will be working in (or outside) someone’s home for a dinner service or cocktail party — but the odds of a direct cash tip at the end of the night increase significantly.

Eating on the Job

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The Penny Hoarder contributor Lindsey Danis is a Hudson Valley-based writer who specializes in food, freelancing advice, and personal finance. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, NextAdvisor, Greatist, and more. 
A typical catering shift lasts anywhere from 7 to 10 hours and you may need to travel to the location (I’ve gone as far as two hours, but been paid for travel time). The work is physical, the hours are long, and you’ll be on your feet the entire time.

Catering Side Gig Jobs

I first discovered catering in graduate school, when a friend who worked for a catering staffing company offered me a job. I had an hour-long training from the staffing company. On my first shift, a wedding at a historic estate with ocean views, I dropped a tray of champagne flutes.
Catering jobs include bartender, server, and cook. Bartender and cook jobs tend to go to people with previous experience in that role.

Jobs for New Hires

  • Refill water glasses
  • Clean up during cocktail hour
  • Clean up after event

Jobs for Experienced Workers

  • Pass appetizers
  • Tend the bar
  • Serve people sitting at head table

Despite my non-illustrious start, I stuck with catering. The money is consistent and the perks, if you work for the right caterer, add up. As I write this, I’ve been eating catering leftovers all week.
The agency agreement prohibited temps from being hired on by any caterer we’d temped for, which kept us corralled in lower-wage, disposable work.
In many markets, the catering season extends beyond summer weddings. University towns have receptions, graduations, and college reunions. Individuals have private parties for milestone events.
If you know someone who works for a restaurant or hotel that has a banquet facility, they may be able to refer you.

server setting the table at formal event
Getty Images

How Much Money Can You Make Catering?

Given the part-time, seasonal nature of the industry, workers tend to come and go. As a result, catering companies are often hiring. Many caterers love working with college students who are home for the summer or teachers looking for extra money on their summers off.
“All of the catering/food serving skills can be trained if the work ethic and personality for customer/guest service is there,” says Spigener.

The Hourly Wage

While I started with a catering staffing company, I wouldn’t recommend doing this. I was basically a temp sent to bolster catering agency staff, who earned more than I did.
The 2021 wedding season is projected to be among the busiest in a decade with an estimated 2.77 million weddings, which is over half a million more than usual.
Companies host holiday parties, summer picnics, and other employee engagement events, although Jackie Spigener, who owns Silver Sycamore Events Resort, a wedding and event venue in Pasadena, Texas, says corporate events haven’t yet returned fully.
You’ll be fed on your shift; this might be the same food guests are eating or a separate, simple meal. Food that was not served to the guests and would otherwise be wasted is typically up for grabs at the end of the night. I’ve also taken home wedding decor, bouquets, and opened bottles of wine.

What the Bosses are looking For

Wolfe currently pays – per hour for servers and per hour for cooks. Bartenders earn per hour with a tip jar visible or per hour with no tip jar. Wolfe says he pays based on the cost of living and would probably pay 20 to 30 percent more if he were located in a market like California or New York.
Thanks to the hospitality industry labor shortage, it’s a worker’s market. Employers all need to staff up at the same time, so companies have to compete on wages. Reach out to several companies at the same time, then take your pick of one or more that pay the most.
Attention to detail, a good work ethic, and a positive attitude are his top desired skills. Holmes-Boulware seeks out people who are willing to work flexible schedules, like Wolfe, and prefers those who have prior experience with events.
Source: thepennyhoarder.com <!–

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During the wedding season, the best catering companies will have two to three weddings on the same day and you’ll be able to work every weekend if you want. 

7 Smart Tips for Anyone Starting a Charcuterie Business

Kaycee Anderson debuted Coastal Charcuterie in St. Pete Beach, Fla., after her friends suggested she start posting photos of the elaborate charcuterie boards she made for her own gatherings on Instagram.

Now she’s sold more than 50 charcuterie boards — and profited $2,000 in eight months. She juggles several boards a week, sometimes several a night, along with working as an accountant and office manager at a marine construction company.

I actually started my business during the pandemic. A lot of people wanted something different that could be delivered to their homes,” she said.

Starting a charcuterie board business is harder than just placing a few slices of gouda and cheddar next to some prosciutto then dropping in grapes. But if you have a knack for selecting specialty cured meats and artfully arranging them with all kinds of food, smart grocery shopping, lots of networking and love all the hustle of a side gig, charcuterie could be calling to you.

Yes, pandemic charcuterie board businesses popped up across the country as families stuck inside together or neighbors in a bubble grew tired of pizza, wings, and sourdough bread. Meat and cheese boards with all the fixin’s became a new staple.

“The holidays of 2020 is when it really took off. I probably did 20 boards in the month of December,” Anderson said. The demand didn’t slow much as she filled Super Bowl orders for meat and cheese boards and a custom board for a fancy date night at Valentine’s. Charcuterie boards were a fun and delicious way to watch March Madness and the perfect gift to send for a friend’s baby shower on Zoom.

An elaborate charcuterie board goes far beyond the cheese boards of days past, you see. They even go beyond just a meat and cheese board. Cured meats and cheese are still staples, but boards often include nuts, fruit, pickled vegetables, spreads, chutney, jams, crackers, bread and olives. Then there are people also making breakfast charcuterie boards with pancakes, fruit, chocolate and bacon, or dessert boards with dips, fruit, cookies, pretzels and candy corn (really).

There are countless books, Pinterest photos and Instagram posts full of ideas for themes, shapes and ingredients.

7 Steps to Starting a Charcuterie Business

Anderson has picked up some tricks and secrets of the charcuterie trade, like holiday cheeses sell out early at Aldi and Trader Joe’s has the perfect bite-size olive-and-fig crackers. Realtors like giving charcuterie boards as a housewarming gift after a closing.

But there are more nuts and bolts to consider.

1. Know What ‘Charcuterie’ Means

Before you dive into the business, know the definition of what you are making. The traditional word can be traced as far back as 15th century France. “Charcuterie” is a French word meaning “products produced by a fancy pork butcher.” Charcuterie generally refers to a display of prepared meats paired with cheeses and plain vegetables on a traditional board. They remain a popular way to feed guests on a budget for small parties or wine tastings.

A woman poses for a portrait with a charcuterie board she created.
Kaycee Anderson, owner of Coastal Charcuterie, said her startup business cost was $300. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

2. Consider All the Startup Costs

Anderson’s biggest startup cost was a $60 round wooden charcuterie board that’s about three feet in diameter from T.J. Maxx. She uses it for her grazing tables, which serve about 30 people.

For other small, medium and large orders she assembles the charcuterie on disposable hard plastic trays that come with lids and cost about $4 on Amazon.

She’s also bought a few distinctive bowls, spreaders and tongs. But all together the startup investment was under $300.

3. Do the Math on Pricing Your Products

“The hardest part is figuring out prices and what people are willing to pay,” Anderson said. “I really had to sit down with my mom, who is in the catering business, and figure it out. My main goal was to keep it to around $9 to $10 a head. With that I’m making a really good profit.”

Her smallest charcuterie board sells for $40 and she can usually make it for a cost of around $20. But when you figure in the time for grocery shopping, assembly and delivery, that profit isn’t even $10 an hour. Yet when she makes three or more similar boards within a couple days and combines shopping and assembly time, her profit margin improves.

On most boards, Anderson automatically includes crackers, bread, nuts, olives, pickles, fruits and vegetables. Clients can pick the main ingredients from four categories: hard cheese, soft cheese, meat and spread. With the small boards, which serve two to four people, they get four options. They pick six options for the medium, which costs $70 and serves four to eight. Clients pick eight options for the large board, which serves eight to 12 and costs $100.

4. Learn to Create and Perfect Your Charcuterie Boards

Anderson, who’s 26, has been helping her mom on catering projects since she was 14 and was drawn to charcuterie several years ago.

“My mom says she watches me and I just move things around back and forth 10 times or more until I’m completely satisfied with how it looks,” she said. “It’s kind of like painting a painting to me.”

A woman creates a charcuterie board.
Anderson has made more than 50 boards and profited $2,000 in eight months. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

She learned recipes for five different spreads, including lemon whipped ricotta and a sun-dried tomato spread, from friends and family over the years. She also has several go-to charcuterie books including On Boards, That Cheese Plate Will Change Your LIfe and Beautiful Boards.

5. Cheese Here, Crackers There: Shop for a Charcuterie Board

“If I’m doing a bigger board or multiple boards I go to Sam’s (Club) hand’s down. The prices are great. I can get a big wheel of brie and distribute it between three boards,” Anderson said.

If it’s just one board she heads to Aldi.

“They have a really good variety of cheese. They have specialty cheese on holidays. For St. Patrick’s Day they had green gouda. For Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day they had cheese shaped like a heart,” she said. “I buy several of those as soon as they have them because they always sell out. Then I can premake a themed board to show on social media for people to get the idea to order.”

6. Attract Charcuterie Board Customers on Social Media

With 200 followers on Coastal Charcuterie’s Instagram page and about 200 for the Facebook page, Anderson has steady business, which goes to show you don’t have to go viral or be a serious social media influencer to have a successful side gig. She uses hashtags that local foodies follow and a variety of others including  #charcuterieofInstagram.

Anderson engages followers with photos of her boards, of course. She posts examples of themed boards for graduates and teachers at the end of school, moms at Mother’s Day and for the Super Bowl a week or so before clients would need to order them.

She created her own website and includes the link on all of her social media so customers can see more photos and place orders.

7. Balance Your Charcuterie Side Gig With A Full Time Job

“Sometimes I do two to three orders a day on the weekends. I do a lot of the prep work the night before, cutting up the cheese and meats,” Anderson said. “I make all the spreads the night before, too. Then the day of, I cut up any fruit and vegetables and assemble each board. I do them all at once.”

If she has an event after work, she rushes home and assembles all the pre-cut foods then delivers the boards.

Anderson keeps all size boards on hand for last-minute orders so she’s not running out to buy them as well as food. And if it’s really last minute, she will suggest whatever food she has on hand to the client so there’s no extra trip to the grocery store.

Katherine Snow Smith is a senior writer with The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

9 Money Moves to Help You Make a Career or Job Change

Realizing your career goals aren’t in line with the career path you’re on now? Don’t be afraid to make a career change, even if it’s dramatic.

In an economic environment where we generally have more open jobs available than job seekers to fill them, job quality and worker satisfaction continue to become more important than ever. Unfortunately, many workers are in less-than-satisfactory jobs.

Making a break from your current career path and starting anew in your dream job — whether for more money, satisfaction, or work-life balance — is intimidating. And it feels financially risky. A little preparation and few smart money moves can set you up for a smooth and successful transition.

9 Money Moves to Help You Make a Career Change

A job search could feel like a full-time job in itself. Researching, interviewing, volunteering, interning, networking, and studying all take a lot of time.

If you have bills to pay in the meantime, you might have to make money while you look for your dream job.

A career transition is a lot easier if you have a comfortable financial cushion. If you’re leaving your current job, prepare for a change over time through some strategic financial planning to stay on top of your bills while investing time into a career search.

1. Don’t Quit Your Day Job

If you already work, you don’t have to quit your job as soon as you decide you’re ready for a career change. Keep your day job in the meantime to keep money coming in, and think of your career hunt like a side hustle or hobby.

Your day job can also prove a valuable resource to help you make a career transition. Lean on friendly colleagues and coworkers who can help you build up your skills while you’re in your current position.

Ask your manager and coworkers for as much feedback as they’ll offer. You can even discover your strengths through assessments like CliftonStrengths and Meyers-Briggs — especially if your employer is willing to foot the bill. You might also be able to take advantage of training programs or learning stipends at your current job.

Even if your company doesn’t provide formal training, you can build skills by taking initiative and accepting new responsibilities within your current role. Taking on responsibilities that would normally fall outside of the scope of your job could be beneficial if they help you hone skills you’ll use in your next career.

2. Budget and Cut Living Expenses

An easy way to reduce how much money you have to earn is to spend less. By budgeting intentionally and reducing your monthly expenses, you’ll save money and cut back on how much you have to work to cover them — so you don’t have to rely on loans or credit card debt to get by.

Lower expenses could give you the flexibility to cut back hours at your current job or leave it altogether and take on part-time work that gives you more freedom to pursue your next career.

Assess these common lifestyle expenses you might be sinking money into to cut your monthly expenses:

  • Soda and Other Sweetened Beverages. Americans spend an average of $2,238.80 on these treats — not counting their impact on our health care costs.
  • Bottled Water. Bottled water costs 2,000 times more than drinking tap water. Could you switch to a filter or use a watercooler service to enjoy clean water without the high cost?
  • Food Waste. The average annual cost of wasted food at home is about $1,500, according to CNBC — meaning the average American household throws away almost one-third of its food. Meal planning, food prep, and creative uses for old produce could significantly reduce your household food waste and costs.
  • Lunches Out. Lunch costs averaged $11 per meal per American worker. By preparing your own lunch at home, you could save $1,976 per year.
  • Coffee Shop Drinks. A Starbucks latte runs about 13 times the cost of a cup of Starbucks coffee brewed at home. Drink coffee provided at the office, and you could save 100% of your caffeine budget — nearly $900 per year if your daily drink of choice is a latte.
  • Cable TV. Cutting the cord could save you an average of $1,274.40 per year. Put a fraction of that toward a streaming service, and you’ll enjoy savings and maintain easy access to entertainment.

These small changes can add up to surprisingly big savings. But if you really want to make a dent in your monthly expenses fast, consider bigger changes, like downsizing your home or vehicle, moving to a less expensive area, or teaming with another family to exchange free child care.

3. Liquidate Some Assets

To have extra cash on hand, liquidate (sell) some of your assets.

That could mean selling big-ticket items — like your home, vehicle, or furniture — and replacing them with lower-cost alternatives. Or it could mean selling off stocks in an investment portfolio to move the money into a bank account you can access quickly and easily when you need it.

Similarly, you could withdraw cash from your 401(k) or IRA or other retirement accounts, but that’s likely to come with fees and taxes if you’re younger than 59 1/2.

Before you pull cash from investments, retirement accounts, or a life insurance plan, talk with a financial advisor or financial planner to figure out the best moves to support your career change while preserving your financial future.

4. Build Your Savings and Emergency Fund

Start building your savings account and emergency fund — if you haven’t already — as soon as you decide to change careers.

A hefty amount in savings could help you afford to cut back hours at work and survive on a lower income or take a few months off entirely. Grow your savings easily by squirreling away a little of each paycheck through direct deposit or automated savings apps.

5. Seek Funding

If your exit plan includes moving into self-employment or scaling up a side hustle, seek grants or startup funding that supports small businesses.

Most private small-business grants require your business to show some history of success and revenue, but government-backed grants for new businesses exist to support entrepreneurship in underserved communities. Keep an eye out for this type of opportunity.

6. Arrange for Health Insurance

If you or your family members rely on health insurance through your employer, arrange for health insurance through your spouse’s plan or the health care marketplace before leaving your job.

You may have access to COBRA coverage for a period after leaving your job, but check the marketplace for your options anyway.

Under COBRA coverage, you have to cover premium costs your employer has been paying. Depending on the company’s plan, that could be a lot more expensive than another plan, especially if you qualify for tax credits to reduce the cost.

7. Retire Early

If you don’t mind working in a high-performance career for a while, you could bank enough savings to retire early and pursue a new career path when you’re financially independent or nearly so.

8. Invest Your Time off

Instead of planning vacations, use paid time off from your day job strategically to educate yourself, explore careers, and attend networking events.

This helps you save money on career development, as you can take advantage of any paid vacation time and other resources available through your job to prepare for your new career.

9. Find Flexible Ways to Make Money

If you can’t orchestrate a career move while working your existing day job, find something more flexible that uses your skills, like remote work, freelancing, or a position that lets you work part-time. Or turn to gig apps for ways to make money on your own time without requiring special skills.


Final Word

Making a career change can be a daunting task for the most confident and prepared worker. There are no certainties you’ll be able to land a job or replace your income quickly, and no promises your “dream job” will feel like a dream once you’re in it.

But millions of Americans change jobs and careers every year, starting new companies and striking out in new directions successfully with no regrets.

You can pursue your new job without falling into financial ruin if you plan ahead carefully and make the transition deliberately, replacing your current income over time with side gigs and savings, and reducing your expenses temporarily.

Source: moneycrashers.com

Swagbucks Review – Earn Rewards & Make Extra Money Online

In terms of making money from home, one of the simplest methods is to use paid survey websites.

Popular websites like Survey Junkie let you earn small amounts of extra cash and free gift cards for sharing your opinion. You don’t need any skills to start, and there’s no monthly time commitment either; just go online and hustle as you please.

Swagbucks, another popular rewards website, also lets you earn prizes for answering surveys and completing other simple online tasks.

Swagbucks is one of the larger players in the survey space and states it has paid members over $500 million dollars since its inception. If you want to get in on the earnings and make extra cash in your spare time, Swagbucks is worth adding to your arsenal of money-making websites.

Key Features

Swagbucks began in 2008 and has since grown into one of the largest get-paid-to websites in the business.

According to its website, members redeem over 7,000 free gift cards on Swagbucks every day. Prodege LLC is the parent company that operates Swagbucks, as well as other popular survey sites like InboxDollars and MyPoints.

Signing up for Swagbucks is simple. You’re eligible to use it if you’re 13 or older and live in most countries within the Americas, Europe, or Asia. Signing up requires your email address or connecting your Facebook account.

After you sign up, you’re ready to start earning Swagbucks, known as SBs, which is the platform’s currency. Unlike websites like Survey Junkie that only offer paid surveys as a way to make money, Swagbucks has numerous earning options to let you choose how you make extra cash.

1. Answer Surveys

Answering paid surveys is the most common method to make money with Swagbucks. Survey opportunities appear on your homepage and display a time estimate and how many SBs you earn upon completion.

Surveys cover a range of topics, including:

  • Advertising
  • Brand recognition
  • Health and wellness
  • Product appeal
  • Services you might use

Surveys usually pay anywhere from 5 SBs ($0.05) to several hundred SBs (a few dollars). Most surveys take between five and 30 minutes to complete, with longer surveys paying more.

You usually answer several qualifying questions before getting into the actual online survey. This ensures your demographic profile matches what the group the survey provider wants to hear from.

Unfortunately, this matching requirement means disqualifications can happen at the beginning of a survey or even mid-survey, which is frustrating. However, Swagbucks says the site tries to learn from your answers and match you to surveys that are a good fit to reduce how often disqualifications occur.

Swagbucks also has a daily poll, which is a single-question poll you can answer every day. You earn one SB for answering the poll, so it isn’t a massive earner.

How much money you make with surveys on Swagbucks depends on several factors, including the number of surveys you qualify for and the length of surveys you complete. If you have the time, taking surveys on the site is the most efficient way to earn SBs.

2. Shop Online and In-Store

When you shop online through Swagbucks, you earn cash back in the form of SBs. This is similar to Rakuten, which pays you cash back for shopping at its partners.

And, like Rakuten, Swagbucks has numerous partners, including:

  • Amazon
  • Best Buy
  • eBay
  • Home Depot
  • Kohl’s
  • Lowe’s
  • Target
  • Walmart

Most offers pay between 1% to 2% cash back. But there are offers of 5% to 10% as well, and a “Featured Cash Back Stores” section highlights retailers with the best rates.

To ensure you earn SBs for shopping, download the SwagButton browser extension on Google Chrome. When you shop online using Chrome, SwagButton automatically searches for coupons and cash-back opportunities on the site you’re visiting. It then alerts you to available offers and applies coupon codes automatically.

This is similar to other shopping browser extensions like Capital One Shopping and Honey, which also apply coupon codes automatically at checkout. If you can’t find coupons with SwagButton or don’t like the cash-back rates, check other browser extensions to see if you find better savings.

3. Magic Receipts

One low-effort way to save money on groceries and everyday essentials is to use receipt scanning apps that pay.

Popular apps in this category include Ibotta and other cash-back apps like it such as Fetch Rewards. With these apps, you earn rewards for purchasing groceries and household essentials from hundreds of brands. To prove you bought an eligible product, you snap a picture of your receipt with your smartphone and upload it to your app of choice.

Swagbucks also lets shoppers earn SBs for buying specific products with its Magic Receipts program. You can find numerous cash-back offers across several categories, including:

  • Apparel
  • Fast food and dining
  • Groceries
  • Home improvement
  • Pharmacies
  • Warehouse clubs

You have to add a product to your Magic Receipts shopping list before purchasing it to earn points. This is the same system Ibotta and Checkout 51 use. Eligible Magic Receipt products have an “add to list” button you click to save the offer to your list.

Offers indicate how many SBs they pay and if you can shop in-store, online, or with both methods to earn. If you click on an offer, you can see which stores are eligible for the offer. You can also check the offer expiration date and any specific purchasing requirements, like quantity limits or the exact product size you need to buy for your offer to credit.

Many receipts pay a few SBs, although you can find offers for several hundred SBs, which is worth a few dollars. You can upload up to 60 receipts per month as long as receipts are newer than 10 days.

Examples of Magic Receipt offers include:

  • Earning 2 SBs for buying grocery staples like apples, bananas, bread, and potatoes
  • Earning 25 SBs for buying a pack of Beyond Meat sausages
  • Earning 200 SBs for buying a 6.75 ounce Dash seasonings blend
  • Earning 200 SBs for buying Suavite complete fabric softener
  • Earning 900 SBs for buying Birds Eye frozen vegetables
  • Earning 1,600 SBs for buying Rainbow Light multivitamins

This is free money, and the fact that Swagbucks lets you earn cash back for buying grocery staples and household essentials means you don’t need to significantly change your shopping habits to earn.

Because there are numerous offers that pay $5 to $10 or more, Swagbucks is also competitive with Ibotta and Checkout 51 in terms of cash-back rates.

4. Search the Web

One of the fastest ways to earn Swagbucks is to start using it as your search engine. This is because when you search through Swagbucks, you have the chance to earn SBs.

Rewards depend on how many searches you do each day and how lucky you get, but you usually earn about $0.10 for a lucky Swagbucks search. Search results are from Yahoo search results.

If search results for a particular query aren’t what you’re looking for when you use Swagbucks, you can always switch to Google to see if you get the answers you need. There’s no rule against switching back and forth from one search engine to the other.

If you want to maximize your Swagbucks search earnings, switch your default search engine to Swagbucks instead of opening up Google or Bing. The SwagButton browser extension also lets you search the web if you click on the extension icon and use its search bar.

5. Watch Videos

Swagbucks has a “Watch” section with short, informative videos on categories like food and travel. In exchange for watching videos and ads, you earn small amounts of SBs. Typically, video reels pay one to five SBs for watching approximately 20 short videos.

This isn’t the most lucrative way to earn SBs, but it’s simple because it doesn’t require attention or engagement. You can play the videos on mute in another tab on your computer while you work for a humble source of passive income.

You can also download the Swagbucks TV app for Android and set it to play back-to-back videos. Just make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi so you don’t use up all your data streaming videos.

6. Play Games and Trivia

If you’re a fan of PC and mobile gaming, Swagbucks’ gaming feature is a massive plus.

Under the “Games” tab, Swagbucks has a collection of games you can play to earn SBs. You can find games under a variety of genres, including:

  • Action and adventure
  • Board games
  • Cards
  • Multiplayer games
  • Puzzles
  • Strategy games

Some games require spending money to play, like slot reward games or certain card games, so it’s not wise to spend money on these games to earn SBs unless you already play the games normally. But there are still free games like Pyramid Solitaire and Mahjong you can play to earn small amounts of SBs.

There’s also a mobile games section that pays you to download and try various mobile games. This is similar to Mistplay, a loyalty rewards program that lets you earn free gift cards for trying new Android games.

Trying new games usually earns between $1 to $5 worth of SBs. However, most offers require reaching a certain level or in-game accomplishment, so this earning option is best if you actually enjoy playing video games since you need to put some time into the games to earn.

Another way to earn SBs is to use Swagbucks Live, the trivia rewards platform. With Swagbucks Live, you enter free daily trivia games run by a Swagbucks Live host. Hosts ask participants 10 trivia questions, covering topics like art, entertainment, history, and random facts.

As you answer questions correctly, you earn small amounts of SBs. If you answer all 10 questions, you split a prize pool with the remaining players. Swagbucks Live typically pays $1,000 or more to winners each day, so if you and nine other people win, you all walk away with $100 of SBs.

Swagbucks Live is available for Android and iOS. Points you earn from trivia games appear in your main Swagbucks account. If you enjoy trivia, Swagbucks Live is definitely a money-making app you should try. If you prefer mobile and PC gaming, stick to the Games tab to make money.

7. Download the Swagbucks App

Another way to earn with Swagbucks is to download the mobile app for Android or iOS.

The mobile app offers the same earning options as Swagbucks.com. You can use the app to earn while passing the time if you’re parked in the carpool lane picking your kids up from school, enduring a long bus or train commute, or stuck in the waiting room at the dentist.

If you tend to scroll mindlessly through your phone during the day to fill time in between activities, consider downloading the app to earn a few points while doing so.

8. Refer Friends

As is the case with many reward websites, referring your friends to Swagbucks with your referral link is another way to earn.

When a friend signs up for Swagbucks through your referral link, you get a bonus of 300 SBs as long as they earn 300 SBs within the first 30 days, at which point they also earn a 300 SB bonus.

Even better, once you refer someone to Swagbucks, you earn 10% of whatever SBs they earn in select categories — Shop, Search, Watch, Play, Answer, and Discover — for as long as they’re active on the site. There is no limit on how many SBs you can earn from referrals.

If the person you refer downloads the SwagButton extension to Chrome within the first 14 days of signing up, each of you also gets an extra 100 SBs.

9. Extensive Rewards Section

Many reward platforms have high cash-out requirements. For example, InboxDollars requires $25 to redeem your earnings. This means it can take weeks or even a month or more to enjoy your first payout.

An advantage of using Swagbucks is its extensive rewards section and fast redemption process. Each SB is worth approximately $0.01 depending on the reward you redeem. But many rewards start at just $1, which is attainable within a day of using the platform.

As for reward choices, options include PayPal cash, prepaid Visa cards, and free gift cards to companies like:

  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Best Buy
  • eBay
  • Domino’s
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Google Play Store
  • Lowe’s
  • Staples
  • Starbucks
  • Target
  • Walmart

Certain reward denominations can get discounts, making each SB you redeem slightly more valuable. For example, Swagbucks often lowers the price of many gift cards of $10 or more by 1% to 5%.

If you have patience, saving up for the $10 reward section can help squeeze out more value from Swagbucks. However, don’t hoard too many SBs in your account.

There are horror stories online of people collecting thousands of SB points and then having a hard time redeeming them, or having their accounts frozen by the site for one reason or another and losing all their points.

Also know that electronic gift card rewards usually take a few days to process and arrive in your email inbox. If you use your PayPal account to redeem points, the bank transfer can take additional time to complete, so plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to receive the money before you spend it.

You can also spend your SB on entering sweepstakes to earn prizes like Apple AirPods, speakers, new televisions, and more expensive gift cards. Some sweepstakes also pay out thousands of bonus SBs if you win.

Sweepstakes sometimes display how many entries there are, but for others, you have no way of knowing your odds of winning. If you want to guarantee your earnings, stick with gift cards and PayPal cash.


Advantages

Swagbucks is one of the most popular get-paid-to websites around. A variety of earning options, an extensive rewards section, and several other advantages make Swagbucks worth using if you want quick cash.

  1. Multiple Earning Options. Swagbucks is one of the most versatile get-paid-to websites with numerous ways to earn points depending on your preferences.
  2. Low Cash-Out Requirement. Many reward websites require $5 to $25 to redeem rewards, whereas Swagbucks only requires $1 worth of points to redeem many prizes.
  3. Extensive Rewards. Redeem for dozens of free gift cards, PayPal cash, or Visa gift cards, or donate your earnings to charity.
  4. Fast and Free. Signing up for Swagbucks takes a few minutes and only requires your email.
  5. Easy To Earn. You don’t need any special skills or online training to make money with Swagbucks.
  6. Somewhat Passive. Swagbucks lets you earn money by searching online, shopping, and playing games. If you already do these activities, completing them through Swagbucks is a fairly passive way to earn rewards for what you already do online.

Disadvantages

Swagbucks is fast and simple to use, and the rewards structure also means you can realistically earn prizes in a short amount of time. However, there are still several drawbacks to note:

  1. Low Earning Potential. Payouts aren’t huge, no matter how much time you spend on the site.
  2. Survey Disqualifications. Surveys are the main way to make money on Swagbucks, but disqualifications can hurt your hourly earnings and create a frustrating experience.
  3. Opportunity Cost. Spending time on Swagbucks still requires some effort, so you’re potentially giving up other hobbies, spending time with friends, or more lucrative side hustle ideas like gig economy jobs.

Final Word

You won’t get rich with Swagbucks, but it’s an easy way to earn some extra cash or free gift cards each month depending on how much time you put in.

If your budget is tight and you don’t have much disposable income, earning $10 to $30 per month through Swagbucks might be the answer you’re looking for to pay for small indulgences without feeling guilty.

However, don’t think of Swagbucks as a way to generate a ton of passive income to fund your lifestyle. If you want to boost your income significantly, you’re better off spending your time on various side gigs like driving for DoorDash or starting an online business because the income potential is much higher.

Source: moneycrashers.com

7 Tips for Buying and Selling Used Furniture

All good, but someone has to sell it to them. Why not you?

When it comes time to paint the furniture, both Jarrett and Berube know what easily sells — neutrals, particularly white, warm gray, navy and black.
“Some pieces need a make-under,” Berube says. “They’re just too busy or they have too much going on.”

7 Tips for Reselling Furniture

“My followers don’t jump on it,” she says. “Whenever I paint a piece green, it will sit for a little bit, but it’s probably one of my favorite colors to paint.”
She focuses on particular styles that she knows are en vogue and will sell. Think rattan or something boho.
It’s not hard to begin selling furniture online and you’ll find buyers on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor and even Instagram.

1. Find Treasures Online

The nature of an Instagram feed, if that’s where you are selling or promoting, is that it shows all of your pieces at once, not just your most recent piece. You want your furniture to fit into a particular aesthetic. Berube appreciates modern furniture, but it’s not her passion.
Jarrett also finds that certain kinds of furniture — like dressers — sell easily. Know what your market is looking for and you can turn a profit simply with that expertise.
Still, her audience doesn’t bite.
Leslie Jarrett is a Denver, Colorado furniture painter and reseller. She started painting furniture as a hobby in college. Her mother found a discarded dresser by the dumpster and Jarrett knew she could update it with a little work.
If you’ve found a piece online that has potential but needs some work, Jarrett and Berube suggest first starting small.
When Jarrett is searching, she always looks for used furniture that doesn’t need to be fixed up too much. Your time is valuable and the more you put into a project, the more you will want to charge. It’s unlikely your handiwork will be valued by people looking for a bargain.

This photo shows two pieces of furniture (a side table and dresser) that has been restored.
Leslie Jarrett recommends finding furniture that needs minimal work done to it. She’s also discovered certain pieces of furniture, such as dressers, sell quickly. Photo courtesy of Leslie Jarrett

2. Keep Used Furniture Rehab to a Minimum

The hardest color for her to sell right now is green — something she says is odd, because it’s a trendy color at the moment. Maybe it’s the shade of green that matters most, more moss than Kermit.
Now, Jarrett is an expert in the art of finding one person’s trash and turning it into treasure. She spends her days scanning Facebook Marketplace for secondhand furniture. She finds the selection is far broader than a thrift store. But she doesn’t recommend searching for specific items — that will affect the ads Facebook serves you and limits you from seeing the full scope of items available.
Writer Elizabeth Djinis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder, often writing about selling goods online through social platforms. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Smithsonian Magazine and the Tampa Bay Times.

3. Make Little Changes

But you have to know where to start gathering your inventory.
And when Jarrett is looking at furniture online, she has a target price range in mind — -60 for most pieces, although she won’t go higher than for small side tables. When you know the maximum an item will sell for, it’s easier to know how much money to spend.
“I can totally appreciate a modern piece on somebody else’s feed,” she says. “I love it, because they would just do it way better than I would.”
“The biggest moneymaker is how you style and take a good picture,” Jarrett says. She’s not alone in thinking that  — we’ve previously rounded up the best tips from online resellers in photo taking.

4. Don’t Force a Style

“I always recommend just the scroll,” Jarrett says.
“Sometimes, you’ll get a piece and you’ll know exactly what it should be,” she said. “Sometimes you’ll get a piece and you’ll have to think about it for a while.”
As COVID-19 causes manufacturing and shipping delays for big box stores, customers have turned to an innovative and unique solution — buying refurbished, refreshed and often painted secondhand furniture.
Both Jarrett and Berube succeed because they know their audience.

5. Paint Furniture in Neutral Colors

She also likes Hobby Lobby and Amazon for hardware — brass and gold hardware are popular, as are cup pulls.
Berube is a strong believer in honoring the piece in front of her and letting it speak to her.
For many local furniture resellers and refurbishers, the market has never been better.
Nightstands are a “hot commodity,” according to Berube. She knows that if she finds a matching pair of nightstands in good condition, it’s a no-brainer. They’ll sell.
Jarrett has a few basic tips: use natural lighting, sit on the floor to take the picture and keep the staging simple. For example, don’t leave your McDonald’s cup in the frame.

6. Be Smart and You’ll Trade Used Furniture for Cash

“You want to make people think outside of the box,” she said. “You want them to think, ‘I could put this in my living room. It doesn’t have to be in my bedroom.’”
Source: thepennyhoarder.com
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This photo is a side by side photo of a furniture flipper and a dresser she flipped.
Summer Berube believes staging is important when photographing pieces to sell. Photos courtesy of Summer Berube

7. Take a Photo for Success

Ready to stop worrying about money?
If the item has interesting antique hardware, Berube tries not to change it. But, as she says, “hardware makes or breaks the piece.” So sometimes, it has to go.
Summer Berube runs whimsical Pinewood Charm from her Hampstead, New Hampshire, home. When she browses items to buy, she focuses on pieces that are simple and have a little bit of detail, “not over the top.”
There are easy and quick ways to make a piece pop without expending a lot of energy and spending a lot of money. Jarrett is a fan of peel-and-stick wallpaper strips, which can line the drawers of a nightstand or dresser and add a fun touch.
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But Berube also says that it’s okay to experiment. In fact, she’s been rewarded for that before. She once painted a dresser orange and sold it within 30 minutes. She’s also painted pieces white and seen them sit for a few weeks.

Pet Transporter Side Gig Can Pay Good Money

But according to CitizenShipper, after just a few successful jobs and five-star reviews, things tend to pick up quickly. Within a couple of months, formerly struggling drivers find the clients much more receptive.
Though an independent pet transporter can call their own shots on what jobs to take and when, it’s important to remember that the upkeep on the car, gas, pens or carriers to hold the animals and other expenses might be all up to you.
The income you can make from pet transporting depends on a few things. Because independent transporters set their own hours, obviously you will earn more if you are constantly offering your services to clients to build your experience, and are willing to travel farther.
One of the perks of the job is that you don’t need to go at it alone. If you’re closer to a Type Z Personality than an A, team up with a friend who writes lists for fun and is always 15 minutes early. You can join forces on the business.
If an animal has never been in a car, or has and hated it, they may throw up or get nervous diarrhea. They may even take out their fear on you and get snappy, especially if you don’t have a pet of your own and aren’t used to these kinds of things, things could get messy.

The Money You’ll Make

Don’t be discouraged if you are not getting that many bookings immediately. The quality that dog owners and breeders most commonly look for in a driver is experience.
Pet transporters are needed to transport animals from shelters, stores or breeders to foster homes, too. They are especially needed when an animal is coming from a kill-shelter, because it is a race against a clock to have the animal re-homed before the time comes to put them down. Source: thepennyhoarder.com
For anyone looking to get into the pet transportation business, CitizenShipper — the online marketplace which connects customers to couriers and transport providers — recommends these three qualities:

Pro Tip
Consider making your profile more appealing by getting some certifications. This is not required, but makes you stand out from other beginners. The American Red Cross offers a certification course in pet first aid for which only takes 35 minutes. Another highly desirable certification is the Animal Care License from the USDA.

Can you really make ,000 a month driving animals from here to there?

How to get Started

1. Set Up Your Online Profile

The answer is yes if you’ve got the time, the dependable wheels and a good marketing plan, which may be nothing more than an online profile on a site that matches drivers with jobs. Experience helps, too.
In the meantime, charge slightly lower than you will in the future to make up for lack of experience.
Come up with a cute name: The Furmobile or maybe Dr. Dolittle Animal Mover. Allied Pet Lines? You get the idea.

2. Get Certified

Websites to get started include:

3. Be Patient but Stick With It

Olivia Smith is a writer based in Washington, D.C., who has experience in public and political advocacy work. She is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.
There are websites that cater to people needing their pet delivered.
This one may come as a shock, since the job title alone implies you will be working mostly with animals. While that is true, the situation is similar to my teacher friends saying that the easiest part of the job is the kids — the parents are who more often bring stress.

Qualities of a Pet Transporter

Although pet transporting does not require a particular degree or fancy equipment beyond a car, there is a little more to it than just being an Uber for animals.
Similar to a dating website, clients will look through the profiles and based on the information you put (price, location, experience, etc.), they will then contact you about the details. Make sure everything is professional, with no typos and include good pictures — bonus points if there are animals in them.

Good People Skills

Independent pet transporting is a growing side gig as people buy pets, mostly dogs, in other cities and need them brought to their fur-ever home. Some pet transporters are hired to deliver pets to owners who have moved because air travel won’t work.
An average active independent pet transporter who completes 15 to 20 jobs per month, can make somewhere between ,000 and ,000 a month. If they can keep that pace throughout the year, then they could earn above 0,000. The higher rates tend to come from metro areas in California and the Northeast.

Ability to Organize and Plan in Advance

Set aside money from transporting gigs in a separate account to pay for expenses. 
Those with a more relaxed approach earn more modestly. Other factors include the animal breed, any special needs, and your level of experience and number of positive reviews.
If you have a pet yourself, then you can relate to someone being particular about who will be alone with them. In order to book jobs, you will need to be extremely amiable, forthright and confident. Having the credentials to back your confidence up is important too. (See No. 2 above)

Unconditional Love for Animals

The rates are quite a bit more for an independent transporter than for a driver who works for a shelter, groomer or vet clinic. Pay for those gigs is between and an hour and you will likely still have to use your own car but you might be reimbursed for gas and other expenses.
Pet transporting is different from working at a kennel or daycare, because your only co-workers are your four-legged passenger.

Pet transporting requires meticulous scheduling and direction following. We all know how frustrating it is when our food delivery is late or dropped off at the wrong place. Now imagine if that was your furry best friend! Planning is also important when choosing routes to minimize fuel expenditures and increase net gain.
Still, the possibility of ,000 a month could make a little mess worth it.
If you’ve gotten this far, you most likely already have this. Just keep in mind, though, that this job involves more than just cuddling at pit stops and taking Brutus on walks.

Make Money on Instagram with These 7 Tips

With the amount of time we spend scrolling through social media platforms, we might as well make money on Instagram, right?

In fact, every scroll generally yields at least one friend or neighbor who has started using their followers to sell something. Maybe it’s time for a little spring cleaning, so they’ve decided to sell their old sweaters and boots through their Instagram stories.

Maybe they knit in their spare time, so they’ve turned to the platform as a way to share and market their work. Or maybe you know an influencer whose day job is using their 10,000 followers to make money on Instagram.

7 Ways to Become an Instagram Entrepreneur

It doesn’t take being an avid crafter or Instagram marketer to make money on Instagram. The key is having a good engagement rate, understanding your audience, writing multiple posts and knowing what works and what doesn’t.

Post regularly and engage with people that you follow. Leaving it up to chance will leave you and what you’re trying to sell in the dust. It’s a bit of a game and you have to play it.

And remember — when it comes to social media, don’t be afraid to give the product some personality.

Ready to sell and start another revenue stream? Read on for how.

1.   Build Your Brand

You’ve likely heard it before, but branding and follower count do matter on Instagram. While you can’t build a personal brand or a business profile overnight, you can use your aesthetic and the topics you typically post about to boost the products you’re trying to sell.

Find your niche. Do you find yourself often posting about your outfits or your home décor? Consider selling items that coincide with those interests. Are you outdoorsy and always posting shots from your latest hiking trail or kayaking trip? Try selling your old outdoor equipment on Instagram.

People want to buy items from someone they consider an expert. Build up a following based on that persona first and then sell your items accordingly. In essence, you want to become an expert in Instagram marketing.

2.   Know Your Audience

Knowing how to market your products on Instagram comes from understanding your audience. If you tend to interact on Instagram in a highly personal voice, then sell your items that way. Try sharing plenty of photos of you in stories using the item that you are now trying to sell. Talk realistically and passionately about the product. Did your daughter love her prom dress and now you want it to have a second home? Sharing that story and harnessing those relationships might make someone more willing to make the dress their own.

And if you want to hit your target audience, there are ways to do that, like through an appeal or a promo code. Offering promo codes through your posts encourages Instagram users and your followers to buy your products. A promo code — which prompts users to input a certain word at online checkout and receive a discount — can encourage on-the-fence users to become a customer.

You might incentivize people by asking them to follow your Instagram account or like your Instagram posts for a promo code. They might even think you’re a social media expert.

3.   Take Good Photos

On social media, visuals are more important than any words you could write. If you’re trying to sell items that need a little work, take well-lit and well-staged photos. And take these tips from two experts. If you’re selling an article of clothing, don’t crowd the photo with other accessories or objects. Ideally, put yourself or the article of clothing against a plain white or colorful background.

The same concept goes for objects. If you’re trying to sell your old chest or a cat tree, photograph the object from multiple angles against a plain background. Be honest about any flaws, but no need to draw extra attention to them.

 4.   Explain Your Process

 If you’re selling a hand-crafted product on Instagram, this is your chance to shine! People love personality and they want to understand the creative process that went into the item they’re considering buying. Instagram even suggests using your stories to document each step — from concept to creation.

Once you’ve taken your audience through the entire affair, you can save the story as a highlight on your Instagram page for future viewers to refer to in perpetuity.

 5.   Tag Products on Instagram Shopping

If you already have a business account, you may be eligible for accessing Instagram Shopping, an e-commerce option through the social media platform that makes it easy to advertise and sell merchandise through your Instagram account. 

Instagram Shopping accounts can set up a curated shop that allows users to browse and buy items directly through the app’s checkout feature rather than directing users offline to a separate website.

Once you have the shopping side set up, you can tag individual products within your posts and easily direct people to buy the item. Instagram allows vendors to tag up to five objects in one post and up to 20 products in a multi-image post.

6.  Know the Shipping Cost

If you’re selling items to customers all over the country or a heavier piece where shipping can add up, be honest with buyers. Shipping entities like the United States Postal Service, UPS and FedEx all have shipping calculators on their sites. Some sellers put shipping immediately in the post.

And if you’re adding any cost to the shipping, let buyers know why. Perhaps you are charging for the time to package and ship the product? Or perhaps you have other business expenses? People are more willing to shell out for shipping when they understand why. 

 7.   Some Things Sell Better Than Others

There’s nothing on Instagram that absolutely won’t sell, but there are categories of items that tend to do better than others. Objects in the fashion and beauty realm — think slightly used clothes and jewelry — tend to do better than used home tools or appliances, which might fare better on more practical sites like Facebook Marketplace or Nextdoor.

In general, if your item has a good aesthetic and a good story, you might as well give Instagram a try.

Elizabeth Djinis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder, often writing about selling goods online through social platforms. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Smithsonian Magazine and the Tampa Bay Times.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

6 Mileage Tracker Apps That Will Track Your Mileage and Expenses

You need that information to appease the IRS gods come tax return time and to make sure you’re squeezing out every last penny in deductions.
Stride is a free app that runs in the background, quietly logging every mile you drive and then generates an IRS-ready report that you can use to do your taxes.
TripLog has eight different options for tracking miles. There are three pricing options, all of which come with a 30-day free trial:

6 Free Mileage Tracker Apps We Love

TripLog is available at iTunes and Google Play.
Source: thepennyhoarder.com
If you’re a Lyft or Uber driver, you already know how important it is to track your work-related mileage and expenses.

1. Everlance

But now there’s an app for everything — including ones that automatically track mileage for you.
Lisa McGreevy is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. 
Mileage Expense Log is only available for iOS on iTunes and includes support for Apple Watch.

  • Basic: Pay nothing to track 30 automatic trips a month. You’ll also get unlimited receipt uploads and IRS-compliant reports.
  • Premium: For $5 a month billed annually or $8 a month billed monthly, you’ll get unlimited automatic trips a month. You’ll also be able to sync your credit and debit cards, receive PDF and Excel reports and get a deduction finder, among other features.
  • Premium+: For $10 a month billed annually or $12 a month billed monthly, you’ll get all the features of the Premium level, plus individual training with an account manager and customer support.

2. Stride

Hurdlr tracks mileage, expenses, income and tax deductions. The three pricing options are:
Mileage Expense Log is a free app. It stands out for its included rate book that allows users to quickly check mileage rates. As long as you keep your phone’s GPS turned on, Mileage Expense Log automatically tracks and logs all your drives.

3. TripLog

MileIQ includes a free version that tracks 40 trips per month. You can also choose one of two unlimited options: The first, which costs .99 per month and includes unlimited mileage tracking, is said to be best for occasional driving. The second costs .99 per month or .99 billed annually, and includes automatic mileage logging for those who drive more often.

  • Lite: This free, manual option is for a single user and tracks up to 40 trips a month, as well as tolls and parking. It is only available as an app, not on the web.
  • Premium: This option is for up to 10 users and costs $4.99 per user per month or $59.99 if billed annually. It is available both as an app and on the web and automatically tracks trips. You can also add expenses like fuel and meal costs.
  • Premium + Time: This option is for up to 10 users and costs $6.67 per user month or $79.99 billed annually. In addition to the features of the Premium plan, it includes time tracking, a clock-in/clock-out timesheet and and more.

MileIQ is available on iTunes and Google Play.

4. Hurdlr

Back in the old days, tracking mileage meant pulling a crumpled notebook out of the glove box and hoping your pen wasn’t out of ink.

  • Free: This version includes unlimited mileage tracking, as well as the ability to add income and expenses. It also provides a tax calculations summary and a feature to export or email reports.
  • Premium: For $5 a month billed annually or $8 a month billed monthly, you’ll get unlimited mileage tracking, as well as expense tracking and income tracking. You’ll also get calculations for state and self-employment taxes.
  • Pro: This option costs $10 per month billed annually. On top of the Premium features, you’ll get annual tax filing, as well invoicing, accounting, advanced accounting and more.

This versatile app not only tracks your mileage but also helps you keep track of all your other business expenses.
Here are our favorites.

5. MileIQ

Hurdlr is available on iTunes and Google Play.
Everlance starts and stops automatically. It detects when your car starts moving and records the miles you drive. With a quick swipe of your finger, you can categorize each trip as work-related or personal. You can also set your work hours, automatically classifying drives during those hours as business trips.
Hurdlr connects to thousands of financial institutions, allowing users to link their Hurdlr account to their bank or credit union. Every time you get paid, Hurdlr sends you a real-time notification.It also integrates with Uber, Square, Freshbooks, Stripe and Paypal to automatically import expenses and income.

6. Mileage Expense Log

Stride is available at iTunes and Google Play.
But rideshare drivers aren’t the only people eligible for mileage tax deductions. If you drive your personal vehicle for other kinds of paid work or use it for charitable, moving or medical purposes, you may also qualify for a standard mileage rate deduction.

Like other mileage tracking apps, MileIQ automatically captures your drives and delivers a comprehensive mileage log whenever you need it. You can classify your drives into categories like business, personal or charity and then simply swipe with your thumb to assign them to the correct list — or let MileIQ do it automatically.
If you’re a number cruncher, you’ll enjoy sorting data by date, purpose or even vehicle. Or you can export your entire database as HTML or CSV.
There are three pricing tiers: