When Can Saving Money Be a Bad Thing?

As a small business owner, you are always looking to improve your bottom line. Many business owners find themselves working constantly, trying to manage all of the details that go into running your operation. You may think that you are saving money by doing everything yourself, but you may actually be costing yourself more than you save.

When you made the decision to work for yourself, you probably wanted to spend your time doing something you love. Unfortunately, once things get going, you may find yourself spending way too much time doing things you definitely don’t love, like accounting, bookkeeping, marketing, and other tasks. As an Irving Appliance Repair owner, for example, you may find yourself spending less time actually tinkering with machines and more time sending invoices to customers. The time you take away from doing actual repairs, though, cuts down on the number or orders you can take. As a professional, you may bill customers at $50/hour or more. If you hire a bookkeeper at $15/$20 per hour, you are freed up to spend more billable hours doing what you do best.

To a Buffalo lawyer, maximizing billable hours is vital to the profitability of his business. Time spent on billing clients, bookkeeping, and marketing are not billable. Attorney time spent on those tasks, therefore, is wasted money. Hiring a part time or even full- time employee to handle these tasks will result in higher profits and less stress. Besides, a person with the education and training to do those tasks will be able to do them in a fraction of the time you would have to devote to them.

An often-overlooked task in small and solo businesses is marketing. Small business owners usually believe that marketing is a luxury rather than a necessity. In fact, the opposite is true. When money is tight, it may be tempting to cut back on advertising and marketing, but doing so may prevent your business from growing, and may even lead to failure. If your competitors are actively marketing their business, your customers will find them first.  When a client needs a specialized attorney, is injured in an incident at work, or needs  to hire someone to paint his house, the first place he will probably go is to Google. He will click on one of the names that appears at the top of his search list. If you are on page 10, or not there at all, he will never find you.

There are probably plenty of opportunities to cut costs in your business, but cutting back on marketing should not be one of them, nor should trying to do every little task yourself. When deciding if you should do a task yourself, always ask if someone else can do it better or more efficiently, and ask if the rate you charge for your services is greater than the rate you might pay to outsource a particular task.

How to Go Back to Work After Retirement


There are a lot of different reasons people may decide to go back to work after retirement. It could be because they didn’t save enough. Or it could be that their financial situation changed. Perhaps it’s due to sheer boredom.

No matter what the reason, though, many people do find they must return to the workforce even though they have already retired. If you are one of them, here is how to go back to work after retirement.

1. Accept It

If you retired but need to go back to work for whatever reason, you may be feeling robbed. You may have thought you would be able to relax and enjoy life now that you are getting older but find you must go back to the grind of employment instead.

Older workers who re-enter the workforce can feel depressed, frustrated, angry and, as if that is not enough already, discriminated against due to their age.

But accepting what must be and looking at it from a positive angle helps. For instance, consider entering a line of work you always wanted to do but never pursued in the past. Don’t just look for a job, but a career that you are passionate about and will make you happy.

2. Get Inspired

Being a retired worker can leave you feeling insignificant and unmotivated. However, you should keep in mind that going back to work now that you are older allows you to keep your mind and skills sharp and your body active.

To combat feelings of being unappreciated, look for a meaningful job that allows you to contribute in a way that makes you feel good about coming out of retirement. Look for work that plays to your strengths or helps you feel inspired about getting up and going to a job each day.

Changing how you feel about going back to work allows you to be open to what could be a new and exciting career.

3. Update Your Image

These days, just updating your resume is not enough when you go back to work after retirement. You must also keep your skills up to date, create an online presence and maybe even a personal brand.

To do this you should polish your resume which may mean having an expert rework it to make it more modern. Furthermore, you could utilize a professional networking site to help you connect with other business people and expand your options.

Your personal image is also important. Dress modern and in current styles. Get physically fit and take care of your appearance. All of these things can help you appear more desirable to potential employers.

4. Begin Your Job Search

Did you know that older workers are often actually more productive than younger ones? Although some employers do tend to hire younger workers, this is not the case will all of them. There are some vocations where having more experience is helpful and employers will appreciate your knowledge, age, and skill set.

Other areas you may excel in and should showcase to potential employers are leadership skills, management, organization, writing skills, and problem-solving. Believe it or not, it can actually be an asset for you to understand both old and new technology when you are an older worker in a tech job.

As an older worker, you must sell these strengths and abilities when you are applying and interviewing for a potential job. Your talent and experience may just land you the job of your dreams as you go back to work after retirement.

5. Consider Your Options

Figuring out where you fit in as you consider re-employment is not always easy. But with age comes the experience and wisdom some employers may find desirable.

Customer service, retail, and elder care are a couple of areas where being an older worker can be an asset. A few other choices include working for a non-profit organization, substitute teaching, becoming a consultant, or running a rental business of your own.

If you are great at multitasking and handling interruptions, a busy medical office or other fast-paced occupation might be a good fit for you.

Depending on your skills and interests, there are lots of different jobs you could do well at as an older worker going back to work after retirement.

It is possible to go back to work after retirement and be happy and productive as well. Use some of these tips to help you re-enter the workforce and enjoy this stage in life to its fullest.

Have you left the workforce to retire and found the need to go back to work?

Jeanne is a married mother of 2 grown children who works a full-time job, has two side hustles, and also helps out occasionally on the farm she and her husband own together. Her background is finance and medical office management, and she hopes to help others improve their finances and change their futures.

Are Sock of the Month Clubs Worth It?

sock of the month club
The holidays are approaching (and fast), which means many people will be searching for the perfect gift. Whether you are shopping for your significant other or family, gift buying can be stressful. This is why monthly clubs, like Sock of the Month Club, have become so popular. But are sock of the month clubs worth it?

The Value of Sock of the Month Club

Giving a subscription as a gift can be great, especially if it is something the person will use. In recent years, Amazon Prime memberships, Netflix memberships, Dollar Shave Club and even Sock of the Month Club have all become popular gifts. This may be because each of these is a not-so-expensive gift that is used throughout the entire year. (Most other gifts may get tossed to the side after a few weeks.)

If you have someone on your list that loves fun socks, you may have considered a sock of the month club subscription. So, what are the best sock subscription services and how much do they cost?

Best Sock of the Month Clubs

Sock Panda

If you want fun socks, you’re likely paying more than $10 a pair for them (and more towards $20 for most). Fashion socks are trendy and, for some, a way to maintain some individualism in a suit or their everyday work attire. Sock Panda charges $12 a pair ($19 for two pairs) and the socks will be delivered to your doorstep (or the doorstep of the person you buy them for). If you’re buying this as a Christmas gift and want to purchase the entire year’s worth of socks, you can pay $192 total for two pairs of socks for 12 months (cutting the price down to $16 per two pairs). You can also opt for month-by-month payment. Sock Panda allows cancellation at any time. What sweetens the deal for many people is that Sock Panda gives a pair of socks to someone in need for every pair of socks you purchase. So, it is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Loot Socks

This sock of the month club is my personal favorite. Loot Socks, much like Loot Crate, provides you with socks that speak to your inner nerd. You can get designs with superheroes, your favorite comic book characters, Star Wars and Dragon Ball themes, and much more. Loot Socks also provides the best value of the sock of the month clubs. You can get two pairs of socks each month for $9.99. Like with the other subscription services, you can cancel any time you wish. However, Loot Socks doesn’t appear to have an option to pay for a year in full. So, if you want socks for the entire year, it will have to be paid on a month-by-month basis.

Are Sock of the Month Clubs Worth It?

Depending on who you are shopping for, sock of the month clubs can definitely be worth it. For instance, if your dad likes to wear a different pair of goofy socks every day, you could buy his Christmas gift for less than $200 and get him socks all year round, or you could do a one-time purchase. Though they don’t appreciate in value or offer any HUGE discount, sock of the month clubs can be fun and make a great gift!

Have you ever subscribed to a monthly club? What was your experience?

Photo: Giveaway Joe

What First Time Homebuyers Need to Know


The mortgage process seems like a daunting task to many first-time homebuyers.

But it doesn’t need to be.

There are a few loan programs tailored towards first-time buyers making it easier to qualify for a mortgage.

In this article we’re going to go over the different types of mortgage programs for first-time homebuyers.

Loans for First-Time Buyers

FHA Loans

Many years ago you used to need a huge down payment, an excellent career, and great credit to qualify for a mortgage. However, the Federal Housing Administration changed all that with the introduction of the FHA loan. With an FHA loan you can qualify for a home loan with just a 580 credit score and a 3.5 percent down payment.

Because these loans are easier to qualify for than conventional loans they are very popular with first-time buyers. Finding FHA lenders is not hard to do, many lenders offer these mortgages. It’s important to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan before you start house-hunting. A pre-approval is quick and easy, it requires a credit check and your tax returns, pay-stubs, and bank statements to verify income and assets.

Advantages of FHA Loans

  • Low 580 minimum credit score required
  • 5% down payment
  • Low mortgage rates
  • Gift funds can be used for down payment
  • FHA streamline refinance eligible

Cons to FHA Loans

  • Lower loan limits than conventional loans
  • Required mortgage insurance regardless of LTV ratio
  • 75% upfront MIP

USDA Loans

The US Department of Agriculture started offering home loans to low to middle income familes in rural areas of the county. These loans have many great benefits such as 100% financing and a low mortgage insurance rate.

Mortgage insurance is required for all home loans except VA loans. FHA and conventional loans have a PMI rate of 0.50%-0.85% annual. USDA loans annual mortgage insurance rate is just 0.35% which can save homeowners over a thousands dollars per year.

In order to qualify you’ll need at least a 640 credit score and a household income that doesn’t exceed 115% of the median income in your city/county. You also need to be located in a USDA eligible location. Over 97% of the country is USDA eligible, if you’re a first time buyer a USDA loan can be a perfect fit.

VA Loans

If you happen to be a Veteran then you may already know about VA loans. A VA home loan is one of the best benefits for military personal and their spouses. Like USDA loans, VA loans offer 100% financing so you need no money down. VA loans are also the only type of mortgage loan that doesn’t require mortgage insurance. Even if you don’t put any money down you still don’t need insurance which can save you thousands. Tax relief for veterans also covers property tax help to further encourage veterans to become homeowners.

VA loans are also the only type of mortgage loan that doesn’t require mortgage insurance. Even if you don’t put any money down you still don’t need insurance which can save you thousands.

203k Loans

For first-time buyers looking to buy a home that needs a little TLC there are 203k loans. These loans are a type of rehab loan where you can borrow money to but a fixer-upper plus get up to $35,000 in additional cash to make repairs or renovations.

In order to qualify for a 203k loan you need to have fairly descent credit because lenders are loaning more money than the property is worth. Typically you will need a 640 or higher score to qualify for 203k loans. All the other guidelines are the same as FHA loans and they require a 3.5% down payment.

Conventional Loans

If you have 20% down or are needing a loan amount that exceeds the FHA loan limit you can get a conventional mortgage. Conventional loans are available up to $424,100 in most low cost areas. If you have 20% to use as a down payment you won’t need to carry mortgage insurance. Even if you don’t have 20% down, PMI will be removed from your mortgage once the lTV value reaches 78%.

First-Time Home Buyer Programs

As a first-time homebuyer you have access to many types of home buyer programs and down payment assistance programs. HUD has available state programs listed on their website. To find local programs you can search your county or city website.