Enwealthen http://www.enwealthen.com Simple steps you can do to grow your wealth today Wed, 13 Dec 2017 22:14:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Shop Like A Boss And Get Paid http://www.enwealthen.com/shop-like-a-boss-and-get-paid-with-mr-rebates/ http://www.enwealthen.com/shop-like-a-boss-and-get-paid-with-mr-rebates/#comments Wed, 06 Dec 2017 12:35:52 +0000 http://www.enwealthen.com/?p=3490

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of shopping.  But you know what I am a fan of? Getting paid! So when I found out I could get paid to shop, and it’s free, my ears perked up.  It’s called cash back rebates.  Best of all, you can even get paid when your friends shop online, […]

Originally appeared as Shop Like A Boss And Get Paid on Enwealthen

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Honestly, I’m not a big fan of shopping.  But you know what I am a fan of?

Getting paid!

So when I found out I could get paid to shop, and it’s free, my ears perked up.  It’s called cash back rebates.  Best of all, you can even get paid when your friends shop online, too!

Thank you, Mr. Rebates!

What are cash back rebates?

At its simplest, a cashback rebate is money you get paid when you make a purchase.

Where does the money come from?  Referral fees.  You see, whenever you make a purchase through Mr. Rebates, they get paid by the store you bought something from, and Mr. Rebates shares some of that money with you.

How much?

Well, it depends on the store.  Typically you get 5%-10% of your purchase price back as a rebate.  The larger your purchase, the more money you get back in return.  The more you shop, the more you earn.

Then once you’ve earned enough rebates, Mr. Rebates sends you a check (or Paypal or gift card) for your total.

Repeat after me: cha-ching!

Why You Want To Use Mr. Rebates

When I first heard of cash back rebates, I was sure it was a scam.  Then I learned about affiliate marketing and referral fees and it all made sense.

So why did I choose Mr. Rebates?

They have the best variety of stores and rebates that best fit my shopping needs.  They also have a low payment threshold, so you can get paid your rebates when your balance is as low as $10.  Most of all, I like how straightforward and simple their process is.

On occasion, I will also use Ebates if I can’t find what I need on Mr. Rebates.

But this really depends on your shopping and the stores you use the most.  Everyone’s different, so you might want to check out my earlier analysis of cashback rebate sites and try a few for yourself so you can decide which is the best for you.

Still, I was skeptical, so I did a purchase, got paid, and have never looked back.  So far, I’ve made over $450 from Mr. Rebates just doing what I already do.  Imagine.  Getting paid to shop.

Best of all, it’s easy.

And did I mention it’s free?

How To Sign Up For Mr. Rebates

Joining Mr. Rebates is quick and easy.

Just visit Mr. Rebates and click the “Join” button on the page.  Enter your email and whatever password you want to use to create your account, and then your mailing address so they know where to send your check.

That’s it.

No fees.  No bank information.  It really is that simple.  A few minutes and you’re ready to get paid to shop.

How To Shop With Mr. Rebates

One of the things I like the most about cash back rebates is the simplicity.  No time spent surfing the interwebs looking for coupons and deals only to find they’re expired, they’re not quite for what you want, or they just don’t work.

With Mr. Rebates, you just go to Mr. Rebates, find the product you want to buy or the store you want to shop at, click through to their website and make your purchase like normal, and BAM.

Cash back.

For example, say you’re running out of your favorite fish oil supplement.  Here’s what you do:

  • Visit Mr. Rebates
  • Search for what you want to buy, e.g.
    • search “vitamins” and choose your favorite store, like Vitamin Shoppe, or
    • search “one a day multivitamin” and compare prices to find the best price and rebate for that specific product
  • Once you’ve decided, click the store or product you want
  • Watch Mr. Rebates tell you what store you’re going to and redirect you to that store
  • Make your purchase as usual
  • Get paid

It’s that easy.

That said, there’s always something to be careful about.

When using cashback rebates, you can’t use coupons or deals that require you to click through to the site.  Depending on the store and their coupon system, you may still be able to use coupon codes that you enter manually during the purchase and double up your savings.

You also have to be careful of ad blockers or other browser-based security plugins that block or mask the referral.  Sometimes Mr. Rebates will detect if something is blocking the referral, but it’s best if you disable your adblocker before doing any cashback rebate shopping.

It’s always good to check back with Mr. Rebates a few days later to confirm your rebate was recorded correctly.  They have a purchase tracking system you can check to verify that it recorded your purchase correctly.  If it didn’t you can contact Mr. Rebates customer service for help getting your transaction credited to your account.

But really, that’s it.  The more you shop, the more you earn.

And with over 2,000 stores to choose from, you can almost always find what you’re looking for.

Making Money On Mr. Rebates

Now, did I mention you can make money using Mr. Rebates?

That’s right!

Not only can you earn money for every purchase you make, you can also get paid when your friends and family buy something through Mr. Rebates.

It’s called a referral program, and it’s another type of affiliate marketing.  Just like Mr. Rebates gets paid by the store when you shop and they share some of the money with you, they will pay you if someone you refer to Mr. Rebates makes a purchase through Mr. Rebates.

It’s easy!  Oh, and it’s all still free, of course.

After you’ve signed up with Mr. Rebates, go to “Refer A Friend” under the “My Account” menu.  There you’ll find your unique referral URL along with templates for sharing with your social circle for email, Facebook, Twitter.  If you have your own web site, there are even banner ads you can use.

Just share your referral code, and watch even more money roll in.

Why would you want to do this?  Mr. Rebates will sweeten the pot and give your friends a free $5 to start!  No purchase necessary.  That’s half way toward their first payout.

You make money, they make money, everybody wins!

Now, to be clear, the Mr. Rebates referral program is just like any other affiliate program, you only get a small percentage of the revenue you earn for your affiliate.  In this case 20%.  So if your friend earns a $10 rebate, you’ll only receive 20% of that, or $2.  And remember, this is all free – free for you, and free for them.

With enough friends, and enough shopping, it can really start to add up!  So sign up now and tell all your friends to give them an extra $5 plus a lifetime of cashback rebates.

Other Ways To Get Paid To Shop

Obviously, you can get paid to shop in many different ways.

There are many different cashback rebate sites, of course, like eBates.

And there’s always your rewards credit card.  In my case, I love my AmEx Clear – no fees and 1% cash back on all purchases.  It’s simple, like me.

But there are better rewards cards out there.  Since AmEx stopped accepting new Clear members a few years ago, it’s time I reviewed the current options again.  Stay tuned for my cash back credit card recommendations coming soon.

Until then, give Mr. Rebates a try, and comment below with your experiences with cashback rebates, and your favorite shopping strategies.

Originally appeared as Shop Like A Boss And Get Paid on Enwealthen

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9 Books To Go From Money Clueless To Money Genius http://www.enwealthen.com/9-books-go-from-money-clueless-money-genius/ http://www.enwealthen.com/9-books-go-from-money-clueless-money-genius/#comments Tue, 28 Nov 2017 12:03:43 +0000 http://www.enwealthen.com/?p=2184

Did you know two thirds of Americans are financially illiterate? Perhaps you feel you’re part of that number.  I certainly was, at least until I was run over on my motorcycle, and forced abruptly onto the path of financial literacy. That was my lucky day, believe it or not. Today is yours. Path To Money […]

Originally appeared as 9 Books To Go From Money Clueless To Money Genius on Enwealthen

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Did you know two thirds of Americans are financially illiterate?

Perhaps you feel you’re part of that number.  I certainly was, at least until I was run over on my motorcycle, and forced abruptly onto the path of financial literacy.

That was my lucky day, believe it or not.

Today is yours.

Path To Money Genius

That accident long ago set me on the path to learn about money that ultimately led to my starting Enwealthen a few years back, and the Financial Literacy Chronicles earlier this year.

Your lucky accident is to be here reading this right now.

You see, for the Financial Literacy Chronicles I interviewed over 30 personal finance experts to find out what makes them tick – the money memories that formed them, the thoughts that motivate them, and here’s the important bit – the books they recommend the most when helping people become a money genius.

Here, compiled for the first time are the top 9 books most recommended by money experts as the best way to go from money clueless to money genius.  Be sure to make it all the way through for a chance to get the complete book list!

Best of all, I’ve read all these books as well, and can say with confidence that there is something for everyone in this list, no matter what your level of money genius (or genius to be).

Books To Foster Your Inner Money Genius

Without further ado, here’s the list of most recommended personal finance books by the experts of the Financial Literacy Chronicles.  I’ve included some of their recommendations to give you a feel for the book, saving the best for last.

It’s a tough choice with so many great books to choose from, so how do you decide where to start?

Here’s an easy solution – just add them all to your Amazon wish list and let your friends and family gift you the path to financial literacy!  Hopefully, they’ll buy a few for themselves and can join you on your journey.  Best of all, you can swap them when you’re done and learn even more.

Now on to the books!

The Automatic Millionaire

The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach is all about automating your finances for a stress-free and financially successful life.  To quote some of the experts of the Financial Literacy Chronicles…

“Making saving and investing (bill paying too) automatic creates consistency. The only way we’ve been able to stick to our savings goals each month is to make it automatic. What’s left is what we have to live on. It’s worked for us.”

“This was the first personal finance book I read after graduating college.  It had a big effect on me because it made investing simple.”

The Intelligent Investor

For the book-lover in you, The Intelligent Investor is a slightly intimidating book by Benjamin Graham covering the ins and outs of value investing.  Large?  Yes.  But well worth the read.

“I’ve referred to it over the years and read it piece by piece.  It forms the core of my investment beliefs, and I’ll be forever grateful to the man who recommended it.”

“…a classic that I think is worth taking the time to thumb through. There’s no right or wrong way to invest since everyone’s needs and goals are unique, however I think the concepts in this book are great to keep in mind when making investment decisions.”

The One Page Financial Plan

Carl Richards wrote the One-Page Financial Plan to give practical advice without all the jargon, in a way anyone can understand.  He did a surprisingly good job, considering he is a financial adviser and swims in jargon for a living.

“…great foundational book and especially great for newly married couples.”

“During my speaking events I always giveaway at least one of these books.”

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

Ramit Sethi is a well-known and well-regarded figure in the personal finance space, or really the entire personal improvement space.  His I Will Teach You To Be Rich is a no-nonsense plan to get you on the right path and has my personal recommendation as well.

“The author has a great sense of humor and I learned a ton even though I went into it thinking I knew everything already.  I highly recommend this one.”

“…it is a solid, practical handbook to optimizing your finances.”

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Robert Kiyosaki is a controversial figure in the personal finance space, mainly for questions around his bankruptcy and occasionally for if his “rich dad” was a real person or not.  Regardless, Rich Dad Poor Dad, while far from the first personal finance book I ever read, still had an overwhelming impact on my thinking.  I have reviews of a few of his books here on Enwealthen if you’re curious about some of his other works.

“…one of the first personal finance books I read as a teenager and it got me into the mindset of making passive income. I’m not saying this is a perfect book, but, I definitely think I can become a millionaire when I read it.”

“…yet another milestone in my discovery of the concept of passive income, and my quest to learn more about it.  For anyone who is unfamiliar with that term, I’d highly recommend this book as a good starting point.  If nothing else, it will have you thinking about finances differently.”

“probably the first and most impactful personal finance book I read, and I’m grateful it was recommended to me by my roommate while we were sophomores in college. The Cashflow Quadrant is something that took a while to sink in, but is a really helpful way to think about your journey to financial independence.”

The Richest Man in Babylon

One of my personal favorites, and one I have gifted to my loved ones more times than I can count, is The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason.  It has the perfect combination of simplicity and power that inspires you to succeed at money.

“…very basic, but covers everything so well. It’s a short read too which makes it a perfect gift.”

“…wonderfully written as short parables that are told to illustrate powerful concepts in wealth building.  Written in 1926, it still as relevant as it was 100 years ago.”

“…a great story and has real applications.”

Total Money Makeover

One of the famous personal finance coaches is Dave Ramsey.  The “debt free screams” he features on his podcast / radio show are spectacular – check out the top 10 if you need a little inspiration.  His advice in A Total Money Makeover is easy to understand, practical and effective.  In short, a great starting point, especially if you’re struggling with debt.

“…it provides a proven plan for debt freedom with encouraging stories along the way.”

“a great book for folks in any sort of financial state – whether it be needing to find ways to save money, or even how to invest it effectively, although many different topics are covered.”

 Your Money Or Your Life

The second most gifted personal finance book, Your Money or Your Life (Vicki Robin, Joe Dominguez), is an instant classic.  At its core is the oft-forgotten but absolutely critical reminder that life is a rat race and you must find your priorities so you’re valuing your time, your life, as much as your money.

“…my favorite for so many reasons. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of [financial independence] and helped me better align my spending/expenses with my values and priorities. It completely shifted my money mindset.”

“…a great piece at getting you to think about the value of your time — something that’s worth far more than money.”

“…asks you to examine your relationship with money, work, and life. You are trading your life energy for money. Is it worth it?”

The Millionaire Next Door

And finally, my personal favorite, and the most recommended book on this list, by farIf you only read one book on this list, this is the one to read.  The Millionaire Next Door by Dr. Thomas Stanley lifts the veil and shows that millionaires are all around us and it’s far easier to become one than you ever imagined.

Really.

“…most millionaires don’t inherit their wealth, but tend to live thrifty, nondescript lives, spending intentionally and investing strategically.”

“…completely changed my perspective on money.”

“…an incredible peek into the differences between how the people ‘think’ the rich live (and how they try to emulate it) versus how actual millionaires really do live.”

“…the book with the single, largest impact in my life.”

“I haven’t gifted a single financial book to someone, but if I ever did, I’d choose only one: The Millionaire Next Door.”

But I Want More

Congratulations!  Whatever your financial savvy, you’ve taken one more step on your path to money genius with these 9 most recommended personal finance books.

Best of all, many of them are easy to read, but with powerful, life changing messages.

Already read these books and are thirsty for more?  I’ve collected the entire list of most recommended personal finance books and make it available to Enwealthen members.

 

Intrigued by the quotes and want to learn more about the path to money genius behind each one?  Read the rest of the Financial Literacy Chronicles.  Trust me, it’s fascinating and educational.

And there you have it.  9 books to take your financial life to the next level.

Now it’s up to you!

Read one of these books?  Have another recommendation?  Comment below with your thoughts and recommendations.

Originally appeared as 9 Books To Go From Money Clueless To Money Genius on Enwealthen

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8 Simple Ways To Save Money Right Now http://www.enwealthen.com/8-simple-ways-to-save-money-right-now/ http://www.enwealthen.com/8-simple-ways-to-save-money-right-now/#comments Tue, 14 Nov 2017 12:44:51 +0000 http://www.enwealthen.com/?p=3397

Life is short. So do you really want to spend more time working?  Me neither. You want to be saving as much of your hard-earned money as you can.  And no matter if you’re retired or just starting on the path to financial independence, there’s never enough time in the day to do everything you […]

Originally appeared as 8 Simple Ways To Save Money Right Now on Enwealthen

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Life is short.

So do you really want to spend more time working?  Me neither.

You want to be saving as much of your hard-earned money as you can.  And no matter if you’re retired or just starting on the path to financial independence, there’s never enough time in the day to do everything you want.

So you want to save, and you want to do it now, and do it fast.

Here are 8 simple ways to save money, and best of all, they’re all simple to understand and simple to get started.

Ditch TV And Cut The Cord

Are you still paying an outrageous amount of money to your cable or satellite TV provider?

Get with the program, and ditch the bundled TV experience.  I cut the cord several years ago now, and absolutely love it!  Whether you’re using a Fire TV or just streaming Netflix on your laptop or smartphone, there’s no need to pay the average $80 a month, when you could be paying a tenth the cost.

Get Paid To Shop With Cashback Rebates

Long-time readers know I love me some cashback rebates.

Given the wide variety of credit cards that will pay you for shopping, only you know what one works best for you.  Me, I get 1% cash back for every purchase I make with my AmEx Clear, anywhere, any time, and no annual fee.  I like it because it’s simple, like me.

Unfortunately AmEx stopped accepting new Clear customers several years ago, but finding a good rewards card is easy.  NerdWallet has an excellent overview of several top cash back credit cards.

And remember to use the online cashback rebates too!  Sign up for a cash back rebate service like Mr. Rebates and get 3%-15% cash back on any purchase at thousands of online stores, including Amazon, WalMart, and more!  Save money, and best of all, no time wasted hunting for coupons.  Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?

For the win, combine the two and get a Mr. Rebates discount on your online purchase, and then use your rewards credit card for an additional 1% rebate.

There’s nothing like doing your usual shopping and watching the money coming back to you each month!

Join A Credit Union

You may know I’m not a big fan of big banks.  Big banks have big fees, but without the big service.

Find a credit union near you and check it out.  You’ll be amazed at much money you can save when you take into account all the services your big bank charges for, that you can get for free at the credit union.

And with credit union networks, you can find one near you and use ATMs around the country.

Switch now, you’ll be glad you did.

Switch To Term Life Insurance

Barring complex situations, the best life insurance is term life insurance to get the protection you need at the best possible price.

If you don’t have life insurance, buy it.  Your loved ones will thank you.

If you have full life insurance, convert it to term.  Life insurance is insurance, not an investment.

While you’re at it, do be sure to shop around to get the best rate for your circumstances via one of the many online life insurance comparison tools.  And don’t be surprised when you complete the physical and are told you don’t qualify for the ultra-super-premium rate and have to pay 30% than the original quote.

Read A Personal Finance Book

Whether it’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad, or The Richest Man In Babylon, or something in between.

The best way to save money is to know money – earning, saving, investing, taxes.  So invest in yourself, and educate yourself about money.  The message is more important than the medium, so whether it’s books, YouTube videos, online learning at Khan Academy or all of the above, take the time to learn what you need to know.

Get A Home Energy Audit

Homeowner or renter, your home consumes energy at an alarming rate.

Don’t believe me?  Go find your electricity meter and watch the numbers churning (this was much more impressive with the older meters with the spinning disk!)

A home energy audit will check all aspects of your home that can waste energy, and is a simple prospect.  You can DIY, contact your local power company, or hire a pro.  Many power companies will even do the audit for you for free!  Whatever your approach, make sure your appliances, lights, and all your energy vampires are whipped into shape.

It’s good for your wallet, and good for the environment.

Exercise

You don’t need me telling you how expensive medical insurance is.

The best way to save on your medical bills is to stay healthy with regular exercise.

And don’t think you have to have a gym membership.  There are plenty of free and low cost options to get your sweat on.  Apps like Down Dog and 30 Day Fitness Challenge, low cost or even free municipal gyms, and there’s always old fashioned walking and calisthenics.

You know what to do.  Now drop and give me 20!

Automate Your Savings

Having trouble finding money to save?  Do it automatically.

Unless you’re already retired, you likely have a steady paycheck.  Set it up for direct deposit, and while you’re at it, split the deposit into two accounts – one for your regular bills, and the other for your savings.  By hiding the money from your usual account, you won’t be tempted to spend it, and you can defend that savings account for investing in yourself and your future.

Even if you just start with $10, increase the amount a little every month until it starts to hurt, and then increase it a little more.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly you find new ways to reduce your spending to increase your savings once you see the savings grow.

For bonus points, have your savings deposited into a high interest savings account with your credit union.

And More…

There you have it – 8 simple ways to save money right now.

Best of all, they’re easy to get started, and will continue to pay dividends month after month for the rest of your life with more savings, improved health, and a secure financial future.  Start early enough, and with a little luck and some hard work, you can achieve financial independence earlier than most and retire early.

Those are my top tips to save money.  Have some tips of your own?  Comment below with your favorite ways you can save money right now.

Photo of money clock courtesy of Tax Credits.

Originally appeared as 8 Simple Ways To Save Money Right Now on Enwealthen

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Dividend Income Update Q2 2017 http://www.enwealthen.com/dividend-income-update-q2-2017/ http://www.enwealthen.com/dividend-income-update-q2-2017/#comments Tue, 31 Oct 2017 11:18:34 +0000 http://www.enwealthen.com/?p=3236

I love me some dividend income! Every quarter, another payment, and the payments get bigger every single time.  It’s a joy watching the numbers grow. Q2 ended a while ago now, but life does have its distractions.  So without further ado, let’s get started! Dividend Stocks? Why Not Index Funds? Don’t get me wrong, I love […]

Originally appeared as Dividend Income Update Q2 2017 on Enwealthen

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I love me some dividend income!

Every quarter, another payment, and the payments get bigger every single time.  It’s a joy watching the numbers grow.

Q2 ended a while ago now, but life does have its distractions.  So without further ado, let’s get started!

Dividend Stocks? Why Not Index Funds?

Don’t get me wrong, I love index funds.

Low expense ratio. Broad diversification across companies, industries, even countries. And best of all, simple to pick and get started.

What’s not to love?

Especially when you consider how poorly most people do when trying to pick their own stocks.  Picking stocks can lead to timing the market.  And market timing leads to market losses.  Dollar cost averaging into a low cost index fund is a no-brainer.

So why do I waste my time with dividend stocks?

One word: fees.

Vanguard’s VFINX has an amazingly low 0.14% expense ratio.  So invest $10,000 in it, and every year, Vanguard takes $14 from your account.  Invest the same amount in AT&T via Vanguard or eTrade and pay $7, once.  Best of all, every time you earn more dividends and reinvest them, those transactions are no-fee.  Granted, 0.14% is a small savings, but in large investments, over a long period, it does make a difference.

Don’t get me wrong, I do still have a substantial investment in the S&P 500 Index, but I enjoy a bit of stock analysis from time to time in order to pick a new stock.  And the one-time fee can’t be beat!

Dividend Income Report

Let’s take a look at the numbers for the quarter.

I have been meaning to make another dividend buy, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet.  So no changes since last quarter’s update:

  • AT&T (T)
  • Clorox (CLX)
  • Leggett & Platt (LEG)
  • Olin Corp (OLN)

In 2017-Q2, they earned me $1,601 in quarterly dividends (a projected average annual yield of 3.05%).  This is the equivalent of $6,404 in annual dividends or $17 a day.

It’s not a substantial sum but, I was paid $17 today for doing absolutely nothing.

And here comes another $17 tomorrow.  And the day after that.

Forever.

It may not seem like much, especially when compared to my average daily expenses (mortgage, anyone?).  But in time, the trickle will become the stream that carries me into a secure retirement.

Financial Freedom Ratio

The financial freedom ratio is your passive income divided by monthly expenses.  When you reach a ratio of 1, or 100%, congratulations, you’re financially free!

At the moment, I’m unemployed, and eligible for significant assistance, starting with unemployment insurance, and moving on from there.  As a result, our monthly expenses are less than $2,000.  In a way, this is a preview of our expenses when in retirement.  With $533 in monthly dividends, at this expense level, my dividend income gives me a financial freedom ratio of 27%.

Still a long way to go, but my current dividend income would cover a quarter of my needs in retirement!  A few more years of mortgage payments and retirement is suddenly just around the corner.

Closing Thoughts

You’ll notice I still haven’t made my next dividend stock purchase.  Still in the planning phases as I keep an eye on a few candidates.  Another benefit of individual stocks is there are almost always bargains to be found, if you’re patient and your time horizon is long enough.

Since dividend stocks don’t seem to generate much conversation here, I’m debating whether to stop updates completely, or slow them to once per year.  Suggestions welcomed.

What’s your dividend stock story?  Do you like picking your own stocks, or stick with low cost index funds for your investments?

Photo of stacked coins courtesy of Pexels.

Originally appeared as Dividend Income Update Q2 2017 on Enwealthen

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4 Simple Ways To Save Money Buying Your Wedding Ring http://www.enwealthen.com/save-money-buying-a-wedding-ring/ http://www.enwealthen.com/save-money-buying-a-wedding-ring/#comments Tue, 03 Oct 2017 11:11:48 +0000 http://www.enwealthen.com/?p=3364

Buying a wedding ring.  *whew* You want to do it right, after all, you love this person and want to spend the rest of your life with them, but at the same time, you want to be smart about getting married.  No point breaking the bank on a ring, and starting your married life off […]

Originally appeared as 4 Simple Ways To Save Money Buying Your Wedding Ring on Enwealthen

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Buying a wedding ring.  *whew*

You want to do it right, after all, you love this person and want to spend the rest of your life with them, but at the same time, you want to be smart about getting married.  No point breaking the bank on a ring, and starting your married life off on the wrong foot, financially speaking.

And guys, you know your woman’s going to be showing this rock off for months if not years to come, yes?

No pressure, right?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.  Did you know you can get paid for buying a wedding ring? Keep reading and find out more simple, easy ways to save money when you buy your fiancee’s wedding ring.

Save Money By Saving On the 4Cs

You’re doing your homework, so you know about the 4Cs of diamonds – carat, cut, color, clarity.  You can save a serious chunk of change by buying below the top range for each of these dimensions and still have a spectacular rock and a dazzling wedding ring.

But how does it translate to the bottom line?  Let’s dig into the details.

Carat

Everyone knows carat.  It’s the size of the diamond.  Actually, it’s the weight of the diamond, but did you know carat originated from carob seeds back in the day?

When you’re picking your diamond, buy shy, that is, buy a diamond slightly smaller than a round number.

Thinking 1 carat?  Buy 0.98 carat instead.

Want a 1.5 carat rock? Go for 1.46 and save.

No one can tell the difference, and you can land significant savings buying your ring.

Color

Color is another area you can save without noticeable difference.  Sure, you can go for the unusual colors – yellow, blue, green, and more.  But when it comes to weddings and wedding rings, many people stay traditional, and want a white diamond.

Even so, white isn’t just white, there’s a wide variation.

The standard color scale is from GIA, and classifies diamonds on a D to Z scale (they start with D to avoid confusion with other rating systems).  Rather than investing in a D, colorless, diamond, pick an H or I, nearly colorless rock.

Again, the difference isn’t noticeable, but the savings surely is!

Clarity

Similarly to color, you can save significantly by buying a less than perfectly clear diamond.

The scale is slightly more complex, with V’s and S’s scattered about.  The important thing to know?  You can buy a VS2 or SI1 diamond and it is still going to be a beautiful ring.

Just don’t go into the I realm (I1, I2, I3) as that will be noticeably less sparkly (my technical term for diamond brilliance)

Cut

I actually don’t recommend skimping on cut when it comes to diamonds.  The brilliance of the stone depends heavily on the path of light through it, which is determined entirely by the cut.

Get a Very Good cut or better. You’ll be glad you did.

Total Savings?

So how much can I save with this?  Let’s put this all together and see.

A 1 carat, D color, flawless clarity, ideal cut diamond? This is a top of the line rock, and sets you back a cool $16,000 according to Blue Nile.

How about the 0.99 carat, H color, VS2, very good cut diamond you buy because you know about saving money on a wedding ring? Just $5,600.

That’s a 65% savings!

Buy online

Another sure-fire way to save?  Avoid the store!

High pressure sales tactics.  High overhead that drives lower margins and higher prices.  Limited choices.  It’s a lose-lose situation that you’re better off avoiding.

There are many options for buying online – Blue Nile, Ritani, even Macy’s or Kay Jeweler’s.  Personally, I used Blue Nile to buy the diamond for my wife’s wedding ring because I’ve had good experiences with them in the past, and I like the inclusion maps they include with their diamonds.  But regardless of your choice, make sure whoever you choose is selling GIA certified diamonds and including a certificate in the purchase.

Buy Off-Season

You might think Valentine’s Day is the big season for wedding and engagement rings, but actually Christmas is the big winner.  No pressure like holiday pressure to drive you to a rash decision.

Don’t be that person.

Buy your ring any time but Christmas and Valentine’s Day and you’ll save on the purchase.  It’s a simple supply and demand problem.  Remember it.

Get Paid To Buy A Wedding Ring

Believe it or not, you can get paid to buy a wedding ring.  How?  By using two methods – cashback rebates from rebate providers such as Mr. Rebates and your credit card.

Cashback Rebates

I love cash back rebates. After all, it’s free, and it’s money you get paid for buying something you were already going to buy anyway.  And on large purchases like buying a wedding ring, it can really add up.

When it came time to purchase my wedding rings, my wife had a specific design in mind.  I found a jeweler to create the ring, but still needed a diamond.  Using Mr. Rebates to buy on Blue Nile gave me a 3% refund.  Anyone can do it, just go to Blue Nile via Mr. Rebates and see the savings.

On a $5,000 diamond, that’s $150 you just got paid for buying your diamond the smart way.

Assuming you have the cash in hand, some stores will give you a cash discount. Why? Credit card companies charge merchants a 2-3% transaction fee on your purchase.  When you pay cash, you save the seller that money.  Blue Nile, for example, gives you a 1.5% discount when you pay by wire transfer rather than by credit card.

And you can still get your cash back rebate via Mr. Rebates!

Cashback Rewards Card

Don’t want to pay cash, or your chosen store doesn’t offer a cash discount? Use a rewards credit card.

I like my Amex Clear – 1% cash back rebates on any purchase and no fees.  Unfortunately, American Express stopped issuing those cards several years ago.  But there’s no reason you can’t use your favorite rewards card.  Whether it earns you miles, cash back, or some other benefit, it makes sense to make the most of them on a large purchase like this.

1% cash back on a $5,000 ring earns you another $50 back you can use on your first married date night.

Simple & Effective

There you have it, 4 free and simple ways to save money buying a wedding ring.

  • Save on the 4Cs
  • Buy online
  • Buy off-season
  • Get cash back

So easy anyone can do it, and the savings can be huge.

What’s your favorite way to save on a wedding ring?  Comment below and share your tips and techniques.

Originally appeared as 4 Simple Ways To Save Money Buying Your Wedding Ring on Enwealthen

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Why You Shouldn’t Teach Your Kids About Money http://www.enwealthen.com/why-you-shouldnt-teach-your-kids-about-money/ http://www.enwealthen.com/why-you-shouldnt-teach-your-kids-about-money/#comments Tue, 26 Sep 2017 11:00:44 +0000 http://www.enwealthen.com/?p=3350

Welcome Josh from Family Faith Finance with some words of advice on financial parenting.  Take it away, Josh! Many American adults graduate from college without understanding the basics of financial literacy. They may have taken out student loans without knowing exactly what they were agreeing to or gone into credit card debt without really understanding […]

Originally appeared as Why You Shouldn’t Teach Your Kids About Money on Enwealthen

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Welcome Josh from Family Faith Finance with some words of advice on financial parenting.  Take it away, Josh!

Many American adults graduate from college without understanding the basics of financial literacy. They may have taken out student loans without knowing exactly what they were agreeing to or gone into credit card debt without really understanding the terms of their agreements.

The solution for many people is to start teaching kids about money — and the earlier, the better.

After all, if kids learn about money from a young age, they will more easily grasp these concepts and be less likely to make these types of errors. But for some parents and children, the answer might not be that simple.

Why It Might Not Work Out

Teaching kids about money is a great idea in theory. But teaching finances too often and too early — particularly sensitive financial information — can actually cause distress in children. There are certain things that children simply do not need to know about money, and sharing these items with children could potentially cause them significant anxiety.

It’s important to talk to kids about money in an age-appropriate way that mirrors their maturity level and developmental stage.

Some parents have a tendency to overshare about their financial problems, leading one psychologist to coin a new term: “financial incest.” This occurs when parents share all of their financial worries with their children, use money to control their children, or challenging your children to handle finances such as having your kids make important financial decisions as a learning exercise.

Parents should be careful about what they share with children.

Withholding certain information from your children about money and finances is important to protect their development, and doing this right could help avoid money anxiety in the future.

How to Do It Right

While over-teaching finances can be detrimental to a kids’ overall well-being and growth, correctly teaching kids about money can help them as they learn to navigate the world of loans, credit cards, and bank accounts on their own. It’s important that any financial lessons you teach your children are appropriate for your child’s age level and maturity. Additionally, they should be designed to help them build their own financial future — not to relieve your own stress.

How do you teach these lessons without screwing them up?

By teaching your children about money in small ways when they are young, you can limit the chance of inducing money anxiety later on. This could give them a base of confidence for the future, and it leaves you open to expand further as they age. This should help them make smarter decisions about their finances when they are older without turning them into worriers.

These are all very important steps to becoming independent adults.

Putting it in Perspective

Explaining how credit cards work could keep them from getting stuck with massive credit card debt in the future; however, you could also scare them away from credit cards by teaching them too early.

Opening up a bank account in their name as a teenager would introduce them to banking, and this step would go much smoother if they already have a basic understanding of finances. On the flipside, if you hammered finance into your kid at an early age, then they might not be very excited to have their own bank account. However, setting up a simple piggy bank to inspire them to save up some change over time would be a great, age-appropriate lesson in saving money.

Another example, talking about compound interest with a six-year-old is probably a bad move, and telling your twelve-year-old that you stay up at night worrying about retirement might only provoke anxiety in your child. Instead, you could wait until they are older to teach these lessons.

As parents, it’s our job to help prepare our kids for the world — and to keep them safe from things that may hurt them like stress and money anxiety. While there are many potential benefits to teaching kids about basic financial literacy, there are a lot of potential drawbacks in the form of negative life lessons.

After weighing the pros and cons of teaching your kids about money, do you believe that it makes sense to talk to your children about finances?

Josh Wilson is the owner of a start-up personal finance blog, Family Faith Finance. Feel free to check out his blog and learn more about his journey through life.

Originally appeared as Why You Shouldn’t Teach Your Kids About Money on Enwealthen

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Two Cup House // Financial Literacy Chronicles, No. 35 http://www.enwealthen.com/financial-literacy-chronicles-two-cup-house/ http://www.enwealthen.com/financial-literacy-chronicles-two-cup-house/#comments Tue, 19 Sep 2017 11:00:01 +0000 http://www.enwealthen.com/?p=3213

Please welcome Claudia from Two Cup House as our guest for today’s Financial Literacy Chronicles interview here on Enwealthen. Please tell me a little bit about yourself and your blog. My name is Claudia and I’m a personal finance enthusiast seeking financial independence.  Our blog, TwoCupHouse.com, is about our journey out of debt and into […]

Originally appeared as Two Cup House // Financial Literacy Chronicles, No. 35 on Enwealthen

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Please welcome Claudia from Two Cup House as our guest for today’s Financial Literacy Chronicles interview here on Enwealthen.

Please tell me a little bit about yourself and your blog.

My name is Claudia and I’m a personal finance enthusiast seeking financial independence.  Our blog, TwoCupHouse.com, is about our journey out of debt and into financial independence.

The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE

We started out our personal finance journey in 2015 with over $204,000 in debt, which mushroomed into $240,000.  Today, we are 100% debt free, thanks to downsizing, cutting our spending, and side hustling.

Can you share your most impactful money memory from your childhood?

I remember that my parents struggled to manage their money and pay their bills, so payday was always a big deal for good and not-so-good reasons.  Payday meant that the kitchen would be full again, but it meant that some bills might not be paid.

As a kid, it was stressful and scary to watch.

What I learned from childhood was that money and work go hand in hand — if you need more, you have to work more.  Consequently, I’ve had multiple jobs and multiple side hustles at various points in adulthood largely due to fear and a lack of skill with managing money.

We all receive financial advice from people in our lives.  What’s the most interesting or useful financial advice you’ve received from your community?

I have Human Resources to thank for this!

I found my first full-time job not long after graduating from college.  Every new employee had to attend an orientation program and one of the sessions of the program was about the 403(b) plan that was available.  When I heard that my employer would give me “free money” in the form of matching contributions, I contributed what I needed in order to qualify for all the free money.

Great advice!

Since that moment in the orientation when I first learned about retirement accounts, I contributed to employer plans when they were available to me.

Today, I’m self-employed, so no company match, but I continue to contribute via a SEP-IRA.

I have several personal finance books I regularly give to friends and family.  What are your 3 favorite fundamental personal finance books you often gift to others?

While it might not be a personal finance book, The 4-Hour Workweek, was pivotal in challenging assumptions I had about working to make a living.  We’ve applied many of the principles in the book as we work toward creating a location-independent life.

I don’t know if we’ve been living under a rock, but I had never heard of Rich Dad Poor Dad or Cashflow Quadrant until we started listening to the Bigger Pockets podcast.  Outside of investing in our tax-deferred accounts, we had nothing invested.

Reading these books led to major life changes, including the creation of our first business.

What financial literacy education did you receive in school?  If you had a magic wand, what would you change to improve that?

I don’t recall receiving any kind of education in personal finance, so I would say I was financially illiterate until 2015.  It would have been great to learn the basics of budgeting and investing using some real-world examples.

Money issues impact so many areas of our lives that I think a course in personal finance might be applicable through graduation!  Budgeting basics would be great no matter what age.  And as high school students approach graduation, more in-depth education would be ideal so that students are aware of the financial products that will be available and whether or not they are wise choices.

There are so many blogs on the internet, what are 3 of your favorite blogs that instill financial literacy, either by word or action?

Debt Free Guys is one of the first personal finance blogs we stumbled across.  We had $16,000 in credit card debt we needed to pay off ASAP and we found John and David’s tips to be incredibly helpful.

1500 Days was the first financial independence blog we discovered.  We didn’t know what financial independence was, but after reading Mr. 1500’s take on it, we were inspired to take massive action to make it happen in our own lives.

Debt Discipline is all about financial literacy.  Brian works hard, offline and online, to promote financial literacy, which I appreciate.  His blog posts were incredibly helpful in getting out of debt.

money and work go hand in hand — if you need more, you have to work more

I like to keep inspirational quotes around the house to remind me of what’s important.  Do you have a favorite money quote you use to inspire your financial life?

For us, this quote encompasses our financial journey.

“The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE.” — Napoleon Hill

We didn’t start learning about personal finance until we had a burning desire to do something different.  It was only after we realized what we wanted to do that we learned how to manage our money to help us get there.

Thanks for contributing to the Financial Literacy Chronicles here on Enwealthen, Claudia!

Claudia is a digital marketer and personal finance blogger at TwoCupHouse.com. Between downsizing our home and side hustling in digital marketing & SEO, Garrett and Claudia paid off 100% of our debt in just two years!  Follow us Facebook and Twitter as we pursue financial independence.

Readers, please share your thoughts on Claudia’s experiences, any additional questions you have, and suggestions for who else you’d like to see interviewed in the comments below.  And please do spread the financial literacy and share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Thanks!

Originally appeared as Two Cup House // Financial Literacy Chronicles, No. 35 on Enwealthen

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Interesting Reads for the Financially Inclined #6 http://www.enwealthen.com/interesting-reads-for-the-financially-inclined-6/ http://www.enwealthen.com/interesting-reads-for-the-financially-inclined-6/#comments Tue, 12 Sep 2017 11:32:16 +0000 http://www.enwealthen.com/?p=3007

With so much amazing writing published every day, it’s a challenge keeping up with it all. To cut through the avalanche and help speed your day along, here’s an eclectic sampling of the most interesting of my recent reads you might have missed. Be sure to make it to the bottom to see my top […]

Originally appeared as Interesting Reads for the Financially Inclined #6 on Enwealthen

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With so much amazing writing published every day, it’s a challenge keeping up with it all.

To cut through the avalanche and help speed your day along, here’s an eclectic sampling of the most interesting of my recent reads you might have missed.

Be sure to make it to the bottom to see my top pick!

Enjoy!

Healthcare

A Breakdown of How Americans Get Healthcare Coverage

Along with housing and childcare, healthcare is a top concern and large component of most household budgets… and they’re all growing every day it seems. Jeff DeJardins gives another great visual summary of US healthcare coverage with this infographic at Visual Capitalist.

Peer to Peer Investing

How to Predict If a Borrower Will Pay You Back

In today’s world of P2P investing, predicting individual default is a critical problem to solve. With that in mind, I found this excerpt on NY Mag from Seth Stephens’ new book, Everybody Lies, particularly interesting. Definitely made it on my wish list.

Lending Club 10 Years Later: A P2P Investing Update

You may know I’m a big fan of peer-to-peer investing, so I was interested in Sam’s perspective on Lending Club’s last decade, especially considering last year’s hiccups, courtesy of Financial Samurai.

Life

Are You a “Real Contender” in Life?

Gary over at Super Saving Tips gives some great advice on achieving your goals, financial and otherwise, to be a contender and have a successful life.

How To Conquer Imposter Syndrome

“Fake it til you make it” is a popular saying.  Here’s Mrs. Picky Pincher’s perspective on succeeding even when you feel like a fake, with an assist from Mystery Money Man.

What If Other Areas of Life Operated Like Wall Street?

An interesting thought experiment from Ben Carlson of A Wealth of Common Sense – what if we all stop using common sense and start acting like Wall Street and put short term profits over long term value.

Real Estate

My Top 3 Lessons From a 51-Year Real Estate Investing Pro

While on the surface it’s key learnings from a seminar with real estate investor Pete Fortunato, it’s actually advice for good business and a good life – check out Chad’s article on Coach Carson.

The Creative Way I Plan to Teach My Kids About Real Estate

As a parent, I’m always thinking about how I’ll educate my boys about money to have the financial head start I never had, especially given the horrendous state of financial literacy in the US.  So Elizabeth’s solution on BiggerPockets for teaching her kids about real estate is a great example of teaching what you know

Relationships

The #1 Reason We Have Successfully Lived On 1 Income For 16 Years

As a fellow single income family, Amanda’s insights on Centsibly Rich into what it takes to raise a family on one income struck a chord, and are a worthwhile read for any relationship, single income or not.

More Than a Prenup, You Need a Pre-FIRE Agreement

Now I’m a fan of pre-nuptial agreements, but I really enjoyed this perspective from Our Next Life on your marriage being your most important investment – true for any couple, but especially for one approaching early retirement.

Top Pick

4 Men with 4 Very Different Incomes Open Up About the Lives They Can Afford

Dave Walters at Esquire gives a captivating story of 4 men – different lives, different incomes, and the choices they make and opinions that shape their finances and are shaped by them. Fascinating, and highly recommended!

And that’s a wrap!

Like it? Want more?  Be sure to join the Enwealthen mailing list and never miss another financial round up!

Image of book pages in a heart courtesy of nile.

Originally appeared as Interesting Reads for the Financially Inclined #6 on Enwealthen

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Side Hustle #666: Stealing From Babies http://www.enwealthen.com/side-hustle-666-stealing-from-babies/ http://www.enwealthen.com/side-hustle-666-stealing-from-babies/#comments Tue, 05 Sep 2017 11:45:10 +0000 http://www.enwealthen.com/?p=3304

SON OF A *BLEEP*! Or words to that effect, streamed from my mouth. Stung by a bee?  No. Side-swiped by a car?  Nah. In fact, I’ve almost forgotten what happened that caused me to lose my cool in such a conspicuous manner.  Actually, no, how could I ever forget? The mailman stole my mail! How […]

Originally appeared as Side Hustle #666: Stealing From Babies on Enwealthen

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SON OF A *BLEEP*!

Or words to that effect, streamed from my mouth.

Stung by a bee?  No.

Side-swiped by a car?  Nah.

In fact, I’ve almost forgotten what happened that caused me to lose my cool in such a conspicuous manner.  Actually, no, how could I ever forget?

The mailman stole my mail!

How Confident Am I That The Mailman Stole My Mail?

Very.

But wait, it gets worse.

It wasn’t my mail the mailman stole, but the mail of my 2 year old son.  Not only that, it was his birthday present they stole.  Imagine that, the US Post Office stealing from babies (well, toddlers). Maybe I can find a lollipop around here somewhere to use as bait the next time around.

Now, I am not a detective.  I don’t even play one on TV.

But the photo above is what I found when I opened up my mailbox.  My locked mailbox.

Notice anything unusual?  Like how the envelopes are all opened?

I had about 10 pieces of mail in my mailbox that day. Only my son’s 3 birthday cards were opened.  From 2 different states. Of the three, one still had its check, but the two cards with cash?  Well, no cash any more!

Key takeaway: Don’t send cash in the mail!

We followed up with the senders of the cards and confirmed they had sent cash, but fortunately it was a small amount missing. Infuriatingly, when we reported the problem to the local post office, they tried to tell us it was routine damage caused by the mail sorting equipment.

Really?

Your mail sorter can open just the birthday cards (not the other envelopes) and remove just the cash (not the checks)?

Did that feature cost extra?

I should also mention all the other folks who have reported the exact same theft in nearby communities.

Now, I am not a lawyer either.

So I suppose I should throw an “allegedly” in there, as in the mailman allegedly stole my mail.  And to be clear, I’m not actually suspecting my mail carrier, but someone in my local post office or a regional mail processing center.

Granted, there is a small chance it wasn’t someone in the post office.  Some random lowlife could have come along unlocking mailboxes along my street, in broad daylight, and stealing mail after it was delivered.  But do you think they’d take the time to open the cards, check for cash, and put them back?

But however you slice it, my money’s on an inside job… inside the sorting room of the post office.

So How Much Can You Make Stealing Mail?

We are talking side hustle after all.  How good of a side hustle is this? I mean, stealing from babies is fun and all, but what’s the financial upside?

According to the USPS Office of the Inspector General – the post office cops – there were 1,607 investigations and 493 arrests in the 2014-2015 year.

Google News search results for “post office” theft shows over 27,000 results in the past year. Obviously, big stories result in lots of duplicate coverage, but still, that doesn’t exactly jibe, and is a disappointing statistic any way you spin it.

And there’s always the Postal Reporter’s stream of mail theft reports.  Remarkably long list, with something new almost every day.  My personal favorite?  The thieves who carved duplicate keys out of scissors (yes, scissors!) to open people’s mailboxes and steal their mail.  Makes you wonder where they got the originals to duplicate, doesn’t it?

But let’s run the numbers.

As a postal carrier, it’s small potatoes.  Call it an average of 700 households per postal route, say 2 people per household, 3 birthday cards received per person, and only one of them sends cash, say $10, and you can make a paltry $14,000 per year.  Tax-free, granted, but hardly worth the risk considering how obvious the theft would be, and how quickly you’d be caught.

But when you start talking sorting station, the numbers get larger quickly.

There aren’t any public statistics for average number of households served per post office, but lets say one post office / sorting station covers 10,000 households, you could potentially clear $200K per year just swiping cash, just from birthday cards.

Nothing to sneeze at.  But then again, that’s assuming you are getting all the cash in all the cards, and most importantly, not getting caught.  How long do you think it would take before someone noticed, and came looking?

Hmm.

Considering the risks, and likelihood of getting caught, perhaps you’re better off doing focus groups as a side hustle

So What Do I Do When Someone Steals My Mail?

There are steps you can take when your mail goes missing, or something is missing from your mail.

File A Police Report

Every police department will have a method for filing a report.  It could be online, or it could be like my town where you have to visit your local police station.  Whatever the method, if you want to get your property back, take the time to file the report.  It shows the post office you’re serious about recovering your property.

File A Report With USPS

The post office has its own internal auditors and processes for recovering stolen property, so make sure you file a mail theft report with the post office.

Nothing ever came of my report, or if it did, I didn’t hear any outcome, but presumably, given enough data points, the post office will be able to find the thief and take action.

Notify Your Community

If your mailman is stealing your mail, he’s not just stealing your mail, he’s stealing everybody’s mail.  So notify your community about the problem.  The more people who hear about the problem, the more likely they will report their theft, giving the post office more data to help find the thief.

This could be your church, your HOA or apartment manager, or a neighborhood community like NextDoor.  Know a reporter on your local newspaper?  Give them a ring while you’re at it.

How Do I Stop Someone From Stealing My Mail?

As an outsider, there’s not much you can about internal corruption at the post office.  But keep in mind, when someone’s stealing mail, it isn’t necessarily the mailman – any common thief could be ransacking your mailbox or front door for goodies.

So here are some basic steps you can take reduce the likelihood of theft and increase the chances of recovering stolen mail, regardless of the culprit.

Secure Your Mailbox

If you have your own mailbox on the street or on your house, make sure you secure it. This won’t stop a determined thief with a prybar, but at least your local high school delinquent can’t just open your mailbox and pull out whatever they want.

Alternatively, get a mail slot, in your wall or door.  While this does have drawbacks, like making it easier for nosy ne’er-do-wells to violate your privacy if they can lift the mail slot flap and see directly into your home, there are options that can give you the additional security without the compromise, like a mail drop into your garage.

Better yet, get a private mailbox.  Whether it’s a USPS PO Box, UPS, or a local mail bodega, having your mail delivered to a separate locked location deters the thieves who steal your mail after it’s delivered, and limits the pool of suspects if something nefarious occurs.

Sign Up For Electronic Delivery

Have your financial statements, bills, and other transactional mail delivered via email.  This will reduce the chances of someone stealing your identity by stealing your mail.

As for checks and other income, if you still get a physical check from your employer or other cash flow source, by all means join the 21st century and have your income deposited directly into your bank account.

Empty Your Mailbox Every Day

This is straightforward, but the less time your mail sits in the mailbox, the smaller the window for a thief to steal it.  Living in a townhouse complex with a shared mail area, I can’t help but notice a few people that always seem to have an overflowing mailbox.

Check your mail every day.  If for no other reason than you get a little more exercise when you’re walking to the box.

Say Cheese!

Is your mailbox out in the open where anyone can get to it?

Install a video camera to monitor your mailbox and one to cover your front door for any package deliveries.

There are a wide variety of HD video surveillance solutions available, many for less than $200 that are simple to install, or get your local handyman to do it for you.  It won’t stop a thief, but will help the police find the culprit, whether it’s the local hooligan or a sticky-fingered delivery person.

Don’t Send Cash!

This should be obvious, but remind your friends, family, and any other regular penpals, not to send cash in the mail.  Send a check.  Do a wire transfer.  Even Paypal (or better yet, a Paypal alternative).

But no cash.  And no gift cards.

In The End

Ultimately, nothing happened in my case.

We didn’t file a police report, because it wasn’t worth the amount stolen.  We did file a report with our local post office, but nothing came of it either.  Unless you count an off the record mention that there had been several other similar thefts reported to the post office recently.

Obviously, but to be clear, as a side hustle this is a joke.  My experience and story is 100% real, unfortunately, but I do not recommend or condone stealing!

The overwhelming majority of USPS employees are decent & hard working, and I have the highest regard for our mail carriers (you try walking a 12 mile route with a 40 pound sack, 6 days a week, 50 weeks a year, and see how long you last!).  If you’re like me, you’ve never given much thought to the scale of the USPS, so I encourage you to check out the short and sweet 2016 Postal Facts and get learned on the epic work of our postal service.

But remember, never never never send cash (or gift cards) in the mail!

What’s your postal story?  Anything stolen?  Any carrier go above and beyond? Comment below and share your story.  And please share this to spread the word about protecting yourself from postal theft.

Originally appeared as Side Hustle #666: Stealing From Babies on Enwealthen

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Financial Life Of 20-Somethings http://www.enwealthen.com/financial-life-20-somethings/ http://www.enwealthen.com/financial-life-20-somethings/#respond Tue, 29 Aug 2017 11:00:24 +0000 http://www.enwealthen.com/?p=3273

Given the sad state of financial literacy in the United States, especially for the young, this infographic from CreditLoan on the sad financial state of our younger generation caught my attention.  Take it away, Marina. You might have heard Senator Bernie Sanders talking about free college several times during last year’s presidential campaign. Some people […]

Originally appeared as Financial Life Of 20-Somethings on Enwealthen

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Given the sad state of financial literacy in the United States, especially for the young, this infographic from CreditLoan on the sad financial state of our younger generation caught my attention.  Take it away, Marina.

You might have heard Senator Bernie Sanders talking about free college several times during last year’s presidential campaign.

Some people were skeptical about it but statistics show that he is right. One of the reasons why young people could not get ahead in life is because of their college loans. Even if they have earned a degree, they need to spend a lot of money just to repay their debt. As a result, they could not save enough to start a family and be financially independent.

This is a sad truth for so many Americans.

It is also the same thing for many people around the world.

This is why it is essential for young adults to prioritize their financial woes first and pay off their debts before investing in something else. Those who have found a job must use their money wisely. They should save more before using the remaining amount for something else.

Young adults must also start becoming more mature in their decisions in life. There should be less partying and more work. Parents have already spent a lot of money raising kids. Unfortunately, for some of them, even as their kids have become full adults, they still need to spend money just to support them.

If this is your life, find a way to change it.  Parents educate your children, regardless of their age.  If you’re in your 20s and this all strikes a chord, take the steps you need to take to get on the road to financial stability.

It’s never too late to start!

 

Originally appeared as Financial Life Of 20-Somethings on Enwealthen

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