The Budget – The Ultimate Financial Management Tool

A carpenter uses a set of house plans to build a house. If he didn’t the bathroom might get overlooked altogether.

Rocket Scientists would never begin construction on a new booster rocket without a detailed set of design specifications. Yet most of us go blindly out into the world without an inkling of an idea about finances and without any plan at all.

Not very smart of us, is it?

A money plan is called a budget and it is crucial to get us to our desired financial goals.

Without a plan we will drift without direction and end up marooned on a distant financial reef.

If you have a spouse or a significant other, you should make this budget together. Sit down and figure out what your joint financial goals are…long term and short term.

Then plan your route to get to those goals. Every journey begins with one step and the first step to attaining your goals is to make a realistic budget that both of you can live with.

A budget should never be a financial starvation diet. That won’t work for the long haul. Make reasonable allocations for food, clothing, shelter, utilities and insurance and set aside a reasonable amount for entertainment and the occasional luxury item. Savings should always come first before any spending.

Even a small amount saved will help you reach your long term and short term financial goals. You can find many budget forms on the internet. Just use any search engine you choose and type in “free budget forms”.

You’ll get lots of hits. Print one out and work on it with your spouse or significant other. Both of you will need to be happy with the final result and feel like it’s something you can stick to.

Spend Wisely to Save Money

Have you ever noticed that the things you buy every week at the grocery and hardware stores go up a few cents between shopping trips? Not by much…just by a little each week but they continue to creep up and up.

All it takes for the price to jump up by a lot is a little hiccup in the world wide market, note the price of gasoline as it relates to world affairs.

There is a way that we can keep these price increases from impacting our personal finances so much and that is by buying in quantity and finding the best possible prices for the things we use and will continue to use everyday… things that will keep just as well on the shelves in our homes as it does on the shelves at the grocery store or hardware store.

For instance, dog food and cat food costs about 10% less when bought by the case than it does when bought at the single can price and if you wait for close out prices you save a lot more than that.

Set aside some space in your home and make a list of things that you use regularly which will not spoil. Any grain or grain products will need to be stored in airtight containers that rats can’t get into so keep that in mind.

Then set out to find the best prices you can get on quantity purchases of such things as bathroom items and dry and canned food.

You will be surprised at how much you can save by buying a twenty pound bag of rice as opposed to a one pound bag but don’t forget that it must be kept in a rat proof container.

You can buy some clothing items such as men’s socks and underwear because those styles don’t change, avoid buying children’s and women’s clothing, those styles change and sizes change too drastically.

Try to acquire and keep a two year supply of these items and you can save hundreds of dollars.

Rebates – Reward or Rip Off?

Rebates have become increasingly popular in the last few years on a lot of items and certainly on electronic items and computers. Rebates of $20, $50 or $100 are not uncommon.

I’ve even seen items advertised as “free after rebate”. Do these rebates come under the heading of “too good to be true”? Some of them do and there are “catches” to watch out for but if you are careful, rebates can help you get some really good deals.

The way a rebate works is that you pay the listed price for an item then mail in a form and the bar code to the manufacturer and they send you a refund thus reducing the price of what you paid for the item except with a time delay of several weeks.

 

Rule #1. Rebates from reputable companies are usually just fine.

You can be pretty sure you will get the promised rebate from Best Buy, Amazon or Dell but you should probably not count on getting one from a company you’ve never heard of. If you really want the product and are OK with paying the price listed then buy it but don’t count on actually getting the refund.

 

Rule #2. Check rebate expiration dates.

Many times products will stay on the shelf of a retailer after the date for sending in the rebate offer has expired so check that date carefully.

 

Rule #3. Be sure you have all the forms required to file for the rebate before you leave the store.

Rebates will almost always require a form to be filled out, a receipt for the purchase and a bar code.

Rule #4. Back up your rebate claim.

Make copies of everything you send in to get your rebate including the bar code. Stuff gets lost in the mail all the time and if the rebate is for $50 it’s worth the trouble to back up your claim.

Avoiding Impulse Spending

Answer these questions truthfully:

1.) Does your spouse or partner complain that you spend too much money?

2.) Are you surprised each month when your credit card bill arrives at how much more you charged than you thought you had?

3.) Do you have more shoes and clothes in your closet than you could ever possibly wear?

4.) Do you own every new gadget before it has time to collect dust on a retailer’s shelf?

5.) Do you buy things you didn’t know you wanted until you saw them on display in a store?

If you answered “yes” to any two of the above questions, you are an impulse spender and indulge yourself in retail therapy.

This is not a good thing. It will prevent you from saving for the important things like a house, a new car, a vacation or retirement. You must set some financial goals and resist spending money on items that really don’t matter in the long run.

Impulse spending will not only put a strain on your finances but your relationships, as well. To overcome the problem, the first thing to do is learn to separate your needs from your wants.

Advertisers blitz us hawking their products at us 24/7. The trick is to give yourself a cooling-off period before you buy anything that you have not planned for.

When you go shopping, make a list and take only enough cash to pay for what you have planned to buy. Leave your credit cards at home.

If you see something you think you really need, give yourself two weeks to decide if it is really something you need or something you can easily do without. By following this simple solution, you will mend your financial fences and your relationships.

QuickBooks University

For anyone looking to start a business or begin a career in accounting, QuickBooks is a must! QuickBooks is so powerful and easy to use (with a little training). Below is a very special offer to you! For $97, you will be granted access to 38 video tutorials so you can follow along as well as many cheat sheets for your future reference.

Where else can you spend less than $100 for training like this?

One user said:

“Ultimate Treasure-Trove Of Easy QuickBooks Tutorial Videos Ever Crammed Into One Product… And It’s Never Been This Easy, Affordable, And Quick To Learn.”

A message from the course creator:

“Hi there! It’s me Mat. I’m a practicing CPA in Greenville, South Carolina.  I have been self-employed as a CPA for 15 years, and have worked, and continue to work with, businesses of all sizes each and every day to properly use Quickbooks so they can grow their business.

If you would like to understand and utilize QuickBooks to its full capacity, and save time and money in the process, then you must use any sort Quickbooks tutorial – keep reading.

Listen, Here’s Why: My course The QuickBooks University, a set of Quickbooks tutorial videos, covers everything you need to know about QuickBooks, including how to unlock the secrets of your business, manage your costs, spend less time working on your books, and earn more money! Sounds great, huh? Imagine being able to improve your profits by up to 200%. Wouldn’t that be great? Or what if you could use QuickBooks to automate some functions of your business? How much time could that free up? 10 hours per week? 20 hours per week? Do you think your family might enjoy that extra time with you? How would that feel? Pretty good, right? Imagine being able to spend less time working “in” your business and more time working “on” your business. Or maybe actually getting face time with customers and clients instead of being locked up in your office! It truly is possible, but you need to know how. That’s what the QuickBooks tutorial videos from the Quickbooks University can help you to do.

A Little Background about my Quickbooks training…

First, since you’re here that means you probably searched “QuickBooks tutorial” and came upon me. Like me, you probably were surprised to find that the QuickBooks developer, Intuit, doesn’t offer very effective tutorials. It seems silly to offer such a powerful tool and not have a great learning system in place, done by a professional who uses the software with REAL business owners like you day in and day out.

An obvious solution would be to simply go with another product that is easy to use and has tutorials. Frankly, there isn’t another program out there that has the depth and scope that QuickBooks offers. It is incredible software and nothing else compares. So, the next step is to find a good tutorial offering out there.

Two problems… The content and quality are just plain awful. AND… WOW… most of those Quickbooks tutorials are $400, $600, and some upwards of $1,000! Unbelievable.

When Opportunity Knocks… Well, some people would view that as being handed a bucketful of lemons, but I chose to turn this into an opportunity. After lots of trial and error, I personally mastered QuickBooks, and I got pretty darned good at teaching my clients how to be QuickBooks rock stars too. Some of my clients identified huge areas of waste, brought costs under control, and grew their profits as much as 200%. So I decided to help people like you, the backbone of the economy, the small business owner, and put together all of my knowledge in a powerful, simple, easy video tutorial series. With QuickBooks University you can learn EVERYTHING there is to know about QuickBooks and you can do it quickly. In my research I found out that 90% of QuickBooks users don’t really understand all the ins and outs — the real power — of QuickBooks. They’re using it for the bare minimum, and are practically throwing their money out the window by not using it to its full capacity. Here some testimonials…”

To receive this special offer, click the link below!

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How to Start a LLC

This is a question I see time and time again. So many people want to start their own business but do not know where to start. Many think about starting a business without filing a LLC, Corporation, etc. Getting your business under a LLC or Corporation will give you not only legitimacy but protection as well. While companies such as LegalZoom offers packages to start your LLC, it is not necessary to go that route. Below is the steps that I have always taken when starting my LLC’s.

How to Start a LLC

This guide uses the State of California as an example. Disclaimer (I am not a certified business professional. This is just the process I have used to start all of my businesses. I have not had any legal issues using these methods but cannot guarantee the same for everyone.)

 

Step #1 – Articles of Organization

 

The online form can be found here – http://bpd.cdn.sos.ca.gov/llc/forms/llc-1.pdf

Mail Submission Cover Letter

Fill out basic information

Articles of Organization (Labeled by number on form)

  1. LLC Name
    1. Choose a generic name. This is the name you may be operating under. If the name is generic, it will be easier to expand and place other businesses under your LLC.
    2. Example generic names include: “Your Name Industries LLC”, “Your Name Enterprises LLC”, etc. You CANNOT use INC, CORP, etc. Make sure you put LLC in your name, if you do not, your form will be rejected.
  2. Business Address
    1. Needs to be a street address. It cannot be a PO Box or a paid mailbox such as a UPS Store mailbox
  3. Service of Process Agent
    1. You can elect yourself as the Service of Process agent. The agent is there to accept papers if your get served with a lawsuit.
    2. You can elect a corporation to be your agent. I would suggest just electing yourself.
  4. Management
    1. Select all LLC members. The LLC members are the owners of the LLC. If it is just you, you are the sole owner.
  5. Statement of Purpose
    1. Do not alter the Statement of Purpose
  6. Signatures
    1. Just sign and print your name.

You will need to send in a check for the filing amount (California is $70) with your Articles of Organization. You will also need to wait until you receive your Articles back with a stamp of approval from your state. That will typically take anywhere from 3-4 weeks.

 

Step #2 – EIN Number

Obtaining an EIN number is season and only take a few minutes. The EIN application can be found at the link below

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online

Once you finish filling it out, there will be a form with your EIN number. Save and print that form for your record.

 

Step #3 – Operating Agreement

You will need to create an Operating Agreement. This will show how your business operates and will be needed to open a business bank account. I have always used templates to make mine. I have attached a couple of resources below.

 

Sample Operating Agreement – http://www.pick-an-entity.com/Sample%202.pdf

Operating Agreement Generator – https://startabusiness.org/ca/llc/operating-agreement/

 

Step #4 – Obtaining and Filing a DBA (Optional)

 

A DBA or “Doing Business As” is what you obtain if you want to operate under a name that is different than your LLC name. For example Google operates under it’s parent company Alphabet, INC. In your case, you could have your LLC as “Your Name Enterprises LLC” and do Amazon e-Commerce under “Online Seller of Stuff” and then do marketing under “Online Promoter of Stuff” and so on and so forth.

To see if a DBA is available, check with your county and do a DBA search. I have linked my county below:

 

https://webselfservice.riversideacr.com/Web/search/DOCSEARCH313S7

 

There will be a fee (About $60) to file and then you will need to run an ad in a local newspaper to publicly state that you will be conducting business under that name. The fee for the newspaper is about $40. The county office where you file your DBA will give you a list of newspapers. Note that the address you file your DBA under will be the same address you file your LLC under. It must be a street address. You will receive your DBA the same day.

 

Step # 5 – Business Banking

You will want to open a business bank account. I have always used Wells Fargo for my banking. The fees are low (about $7 a month) or if your average over $10,000 a month in your accounts, it is free to bank.

 

What you need to open an account

  • State approved Articles of Organization
  • EIN Number
  • Operating Agreement
  • Your DBA paperwork (Optional)

 

Make sure that you bring in a paper copy of all the forms needed. You will need to bring your original Articles of Organization for the bank however. The bank may run your credit if you are a new customer with the bank.

As always, if you have questions or would like to speak one-on-one feel free to send us an email at onlineeduclasses@gmail.com or contact us through our Social Media avenues.

Affiliate Marketing Masters Course Review

With technology always growing and more individuals getting access to reliable internet, making money online only gets easier. Many people dream of being able to quit their 9 to 5 job and work from home. There are many ways of being able to work from anywhere with an internet connection. Some people choose marketing, graphic design, or e-commerce. With all of those options, you will need to work to get the clients or purchase the products. For many of us, startup costs are the biggest factor holding us back from quitting our jobs and working for ourselves. Affiliate Marketing is a great alternative to all the problems above. Getting started with Affiliate Marketing is easy!

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is simply just you putting products and services in front of the consumers who are already looking to buy. When someone buys the product, you get a commission. It is as easy as that!

Where do I get started?

Getting started is easy too! With many affiliate websites (ClickBank, Max Bounty, Amazon, etc) there are many to choose from. There are many options in many different niches on all of these websites. Some will involve selling products while some will be selling services. There is something for everyone and for every niche.

Where do I learn these skills?

Much of the skills needed can be learned on YouTube or by trial and error but if you really want to get started fast, the Affiliate Marketing Masters Course is for you. I admit, for $747.00 it is not cheap but it is by far the quickest way to get started with Affiliate Marketing. If you go through the course and follow along, it should only take you a few hours to complete all the modules.

My experience with the course

After I purchased the course, I dove right in. I completed the course (notes and all) in just a few hours. My first affiliate platform was Amazon.com. Amazon is currently one of the worlds largest retailers so I figured it would be a good place to start. My first day of Affiliate Marketing resulted in a sale of a $39.99 item with a 6% commission which netted $2.40 in commission. There is a lot to be learned in the course and everything is laid out for you by Ryan Hildreth and Tanner J Fox. Everything from selling on YouTube and Facebook to getting free traffic to your website. Even the most successful niches are outlined right there in the course for you. There is even an exclusive offer for you at the end of the course!

If you would like to check out the course, I have linked it down below! If you have any questions about the course, feel free to send an email to onlineeducourses@gmail.com and I would be happy to answer them.

 

Click Here to get started –>Affiliate Marketing Masters Course