Having Fun on a Budget

If you’re on a budget, you may not think that you can have a lot of fun.  But, in fact, your budget should actually make the opposite come true – you should be able to have a lot of fun.  The trick is, you need to plan for it, and that is why fixed spending activities make the best things to do when on a budget.

Going to the Movies

A good example of a way to have fun on a budget is to go to the movies.  The reason? You pretty much know exactly how much you are going to pay, and what you’re going to get for it.  For example, a ticket costs $10, so multiply that by 2 and you get $20.  Maybe you will share a drink and some popcorn, add $10 more dollars.  Does $30 fit within your fun budget?  If so, you’re set!

Odd Activities That Work

Going to the movies was just one simple example.  There are actually a lot of odd activities that you wouldn’t normally associate with budgeting that could work.  For example, you could go gambling on sites like www.jackpotcitycasino.com.  The trick is setting up a strict budget to follow.  You could set aside $100 to spend.  In return, you may be able to make that money last for a whole afternoon or longer.  The important thing to remember is to not add in more money if you’re losing.  You need to follow your budget when playing online casino games.

Fun to Avoid

Finally, there are some types of fun that you really should avoid if you don’t want to break the budget.  For example, you shouldn’t go out to fancy dinners.  First, you never know what you’re going to order or the cost in advance.  And then you have to add in the cost of drinks, and top it all off with a tip of about 20%.  This can add up really fast and break your budget.

The Top 5 Highest Paying College Degrees

Graduation CapAn education has long been the method for improving social status and wealth. Over the centuries, it has become accepted rite of passage in Western societies to get a four-year degree in order to become a professional adult and join the white-collar workforce. I guess there’s something less stressful about having student loan debt rather than having to get pay day loans each week. 🙂

Many high school graduates flock to college campuses every year because the median college graduate earns nearly twice as much as a high school graduate. However, not all college degrees are created equal. Based on research from Georgetown, these are the 5 highest paying degrees by average median starting salary for an undergraduate bachelor’s degree.

Mechanical Engineering – $58,000

If you like to build stuff, this job is for you. Although you should know that instead of a hammer, you might be wielding some complex formulas. Mechanical engineers use math and physics to design and create everything from robots to toys. Starting median salary is at $58,000.

Electrical Engineering – $57,000

Do you see a trend yet? Engineering is a great degree to hold if you want a large starting paycheck.

Electrical Engineers start with a median salary of $57,000. However, with a graduate degree, you can nearly double your median salary to $106,000. Electrical Engineers live in the world of circuit boards, resistors and switches. If it has anything to do with electronics, there is an electrical engineer working behind the scenes.

Computer Science – $50,000

I type on this boxy-looking thing called a laptop, and for all I know it works on pixie dust and speaks Klingon. However, there are some individuals who understand both how to make computers and how to program them. Such skills will always be beyond me, which is why my college degree didn’t pay a median salary of $50,000 to start with.

Nursing – $48,000

People will pay a lot of money to stay alive. If you want to get into the “keeping people alive business,” but don’t want to spend hundreds of thousands attending medical school, spend 8 years in college and several more years in clinical and residency, then nursing is the degree for you. You can find out about accelerated nursing programs here, and upon graduation be qualified for a job with a median starting salary of $48,000 and one of the lowest incidences of unemployment – 4 percent.

Economics – $48,000

Not only is economics one of the five best-paying four-year degrees, it is one of the best degrees to hold if you want to be in the top 1% of wage earners in America. One in twelve economics degree holders earns over $500,000 in income each year. Economists analyze economic data to determine how businesses and economic establishments work. They command a starting salary of about $48,000.

I encourage any money-making idea that will boost your personal penny hoard, and most college degrees will help your collection of shiny copper.

Design and Live a Fulfilled Life

freeebook-whakateJust as it is possible to design a product, it is also possible to design our lives for optimal outcomes. As Benjamin Franklin said “time is the stuff that life is made of”, therefore, life design can be seen as the process of organizing your aspirations,  responsibilities, and commitments, balancing your conflicting priorities and using your time sensibly so your destiny isn’t left to chance. Whakate.com is a website which addresses life management issues with insightful articles that cover the topics of work-life balance such as making sense of personal productivity and productivity systems review: GTD and DIT. This website was established by worldwide seasoned entrepreneurs, collectively contributing more than five decades of experience from both their professional and personal lives. Whakate provides helpful advice for individuals and business professionals in managing a life that is free from information and task overload in today’s increasingly competitive and news intensive world.

Notably, the site has a member section where subscribers can share and discuss with the authors and amongst each other the most effective practices and tools for personal organisation, time and life management. Whakate also offers a free Life Design e-book that will demonstrate how to become more productive and organized. The ebook covers such topics as: personality, assertiveness, values and goals, habits, gadgets and tools and time management. Overall, the website lives up to the meaning of its name  – Whakate,  having originated from the Maori people of New Zealand, which means “to squeeze out” or “get the essence out of”, in this case life.

Keep An Eye Out – ID Theft Is Serious Business

Did you know that crime rates rise during difficult economic periods? Unfortunately, we are learning this may be true for identity related offences, as well. As the effects of an ID theft can be drastic and reek havoc on your credit rating as well as other aspects of your financial situation, it’s important to stay vigilant. Here are some ways to keep protected:

1. Keep Safe Online.

“Spoof” or “Phishing” emails are common and can be very convincing. Ensure that you don’t inadvertently provide your financial details to those pretending to be from a bank or other financial institution, by accessing your banks website directly and never through an email link. Also, if you receive an email asking (or demanding) for you to update your information, call the financial institution to ensure the request is legitimate.

2. Practice Vigilance When Using An ATM.

Use your body and hands to cover the keypad as you input your pin number. Also, be sure to handle your ATM card in a manner that prevents others from trying to read its numbers. It’s more common than you might think to have this information subtly stolen while visiting an ATM machine.

3. Take advantage of free credit reports.

We’ve all seen the commercials plugging free credit reports, and while I’m not endorsing any particular company, you should regularly monitor your credit. This is important in order to ensure that your identity has not been compromised, as well as it will give you the chance to be aware of, and correct, any errors present on your credit profile.

4. Don’t leave financial statements lying around!

All documents containing financial information should be kept under lock and key. If your house is broken into thieves may enjoy not only the items they are able to handle, but your financial wealth, as well.

Also, consider turning off the paper portion of your bills, and take advantage of online services offered. Almost all companies now allow this, and this step will ensure that your documents are not stolen from your home or mailbox.

Turn Hobbies into Cash

It is a common belief that the ideal job is one that is also a hobby. Of course many hobbies offer non-monetizable attributes, such as developing good self esteem and relationships with other enthusiasts, but in this post I will focus on some ways you can turn certain hobbies into money makers.

Photography: The price of digital cameras has been dropping steadily, while their features have improved. It is possible to sell royalty-free stock photographs to such websites as istockphoto.com and corbis.com. Notably, it is important to take pictures having a unique aspect to them and that pictures of people normally pay more than pictures of inanimate objects.

Gardening: Beyond growing your own fresh fruits and vegetables for self consumption, and flowers for home decoration, you can also sell these in the local farmer’s market or to the local grocers and restaurants at a lower price than they would pay a traditional supplier. Canning vegetables can also extend their shelf life and add another revenue source to you.

Carpentry: An age old hobby, that is useful for many fixes around the house and as a side vocation. If you wish, you could also build and sell furniture online or in the local stores.

Computer Tech Support: Although personal computers have existed for 2+ decades, there are many people that are still computer novices, and could use the occasional help in trouble shooting tech issues. A person who is more savvy with computers can offer support services as well as design websites or build the computers themselves and then sell them.

Knitting and Sawing: If you like to knit or saw, you have a good opportunity to make money selling new or mended clothes online or offer your services to local clothing stores.

Arts and Crafts: Whether its creating glasswork, music, painting, pottery candle making, etc’ , there is a market out there(or at the very least, you can see if there is by listing your items on websites such as eBay.com and Etsy.com).

Car Repair: If you you know your way around anything automotive, you could offer several services such as: oil change, custom retrofitting, turning an existing vehicle’s engine to more environmentally friendly, etc’.

Although hobbies require some monetary investment, a return on investment is clearly achievable. As the saying goes: “find what you like to do best and then get someone to pay you for doing it.”

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Caught with Your Pants down? 7 Ways to Regain Your Dignity

iStock_000000727134XSmall.jpg Have you ever been sitting on the toilet in a public bathroom, when a stranger suddenly comes bursting through the door? You stare at each other for a moment. It dawns on you that you forgot to lock the door. It dawns on them that they forgot to check. Then they back out of the stall, stuttering their apologies, while you desperately try to pretend that you weren’t caught with your pants around your ankles. It’s mortifying, but it happens all the time, in all sorts of ways, especially in business. Maybe you’re in the boardroom, pitching a room full of executives on a new strategy that will save the company, and your three-year-old wanders through the door, saying she has to “Tee-tee.” Or maybe a zit pops on your forehead in the middle of a sales call. Or maybe you get drunk at the company’s Christmas party and start singing, “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells” at the top of your lungs. All are honest, 100% genuine mistakes, and there’s nothing wrong with them. But they’re still embarrassing as hell. You feel like you’ve lost a little clout, and everything you do around the “witnesses” is suddenly very awkward. Somehow, you have to regain your composure, or you can end up doing something that really is damaging. Well, just for you, here are 7 tips for regaining your dignity.

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