How I Use Referral Codes To Get Free Stuff Everyday





Today’s post is one that is very much in the name of frugality. I’m going to share with you guys my secret to how I get all kinds of free stuff and even make a few bucks here and there sharing my referral codes. Before I get into telling you how I use referral codes to get free stuff every day, let me show you some proof.

how i use my promo code to get free stuff every day

What you are looking at is the email confirmation I get every time someone uses one of my Uber referral codes.

What is a referral code?

referral code is a unique code that when shared allow you to receive credit for any new sign up, that occur from your code.

What companies offer referral codes?

Here is a list of the companies I utilize as well as the perks they offer for sharing your promo code.

  • The Uber referral code

    This is my favorite because I use Uber all the time. When you share your referral code with new riders they get $10 off of their first trip. Once this trip is completed, the person whos referral code was used is also credited $10. I find $10 is enough to get just about anywhere around my city with a one-way trip. If you haven’t yet click here to claim your free Uber.

  • The UberEats referral code

    Same concept as above, except instead of giving you a $10 ride credit for your referral you get a $10 credit towards your food delivery. This super helpful when I’m hungry. If you have not had the opportunity to use UberEats you can find my referral code here.

  • The Lyft referral code

    Lyft much like uber is popular rideshare app. They have the same type of referral program as Uber. Sharing your referral code gets you a free ride up to $10 for you and the person you refer. If you have never used Lyft you can claim your free Lyft ride credit here.

  • The Airbnb referral code

    When a friend travels on Airbnb, you both get $35 in travel credit. If they decide to become host later on you receive another $75 credit. If you can get this promo code out there, you can essentially gain access to free travel accommodations for any city you decide to travel to. That being said if you are thinking about taking a vacation anytime in the near future click here to save $35 through my link when you use Airbnb.

  • The Cashcrate referral code

    Cashcrates Referral system is different. A little background on Cashcrate. I signed up for Cashcrate about 8 years ago. Its essentially a website you sign up to do surveys in exchange for payment. These sites are a dime a dozen but what makes Cashcrate is their referral program. When people sign up using your referral code, you get paid a small percentage for each survey they complete. What really pushes this referral program into over drive is the fact that, you also get credit from what your referrals, referrals earn. This is a cool concept because all you have to do is get 2 or 3 people under your firs tier who really work their butts off promoting and it will trickle back to you for years to come. If you are not already a member of Cashcrate please sign up here.

  • Bluehost Referral Code

    Bluehost has a super popular referral program. This program is popular with people looking to start a new blog because their hosting is very reasonable, and they are a trusted company. For each person that signs up under your referral code Bluehost will send you a payment of $65.

  • Amazon Associates

    Amazon this is one the best referral programs out there, and technically I guess this is considered affiliate marketing. But I’m going to go ahead an explain it anyway. The Amazon associates program lets you list a referral code for any product that amazon carries, then receive a 4% commission of any sales that are a result of your referral link. This can be extremely profitable if done right. To follow my Amazon Affiliate experiment click here.




How I promote my referral codes

In order to get freebies, you have to promote your referral code. This can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. Here are 3 ways that I promote my referral codes.

Promote your referral code on your blog

If you already have a blog your half way there, if not, learn how to start a blog here. Promoting a referral code on your blog is easy but needs to be done properly. People(and google) hate spammy pages. If you want to share your promo code, try to create a post that adds some value to the reader. Simple things like making a post with some explanation how this promo code benefits the reader. You can see an example of this in my article about How to get a free Uber.

This post has generated me over $1800 in free rides within the last 3 months. I literally have 3-4 coming in every day. This has been insanely helpful when…..Ok….I only use them to be lazy, and because it’s free most of the time. But I have used my free uber’s to get to and from airports,when I want to go have drinks and not worry about the designated driver, or if I ever go somewhere with terrible parking it’s nice to have to worry about it. I think blogs have a great conversion rate because you have built up a rapport with your readers.

Another thing I’ve noticed about using my referral code on blog posts as that they seem to attract people for a long time. My Cashcrate referral code has been getting referrals for over 8 years at this point.

Youtube

YouTube is considered the second largest search engine after Google. This means that the amount of potential of people seeing your videos can be endless. Again content is king videos that provide value will always be the most successful. A good percentage of my Uber referrals come from youtube, but it can also be a good place to use your Amazon affilaite referral links. A good way of doing this is by doing testimonials or reviews on products and then linking them in the description. A lot of people promote their referral codes by doing tutorials. A good tip to remember with youtube videos is to name them with the end users search query in mind. Using keywords like ‘How To Get A Free Uber or ‘How to make money on Cashcrate will attract the right type of audience to your videos.

Also, make sure you leave a description for your videos. Not only does this help users, it also helps google to know what your videos are about so that they can place your videos in google search results.

Bulletin Boards

Bulletin boards are a good place to get your referral code out there but have a lower conversion rate.

The best way to maximize your conversions is to convert your referral links into QR codes. This is because if you have a referral link that looks like http://www.cashcrate.com/508624(<~~my real referral btw), people that are interested probably will just go directly to the Cashcrate homepage and you won’t get referral credit. When you make it QR code, as soon as they scan it they are taken to the sign-up screen with your referral info already included. You can do this at qr-code-generator.com as shown below.

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-7-54-53-pm

Simply type in your referral link then download the qr code.

Once you have the QR code print out  mini cards with a brief explanation of perks of your promo code….

‘Want a FREE ride with Uber?’

then insert your QR code and your good to go.

A few good places to put your referral cards are:

  • Laundromats
  • College campuses
  • Bars and Pubs
  • Grocery Stores

Social Media

Social Media works if you work it. The thing about social media though is you will find better conversions my promoting your referral codes indirectly. This is where having a blog comes in handy. People are more likely to click on a link back to a blog post with a referral code then they are to click directly on one from a tweet.

Sharing my referral code has allowed me unlimited Uber rides, countless referrals, free food, free accommodations, and much more. If you are serious about getting your referral code out there I suggest you try all these methods. The internet is an extremely powerful way to share these links, you want to essentially create a link chain that sends continuous freebies your way. I mean why not?

 

 

3 Things That You Should Avoid When Buying A Rental Property

3 Things That You Should Avoid When Buying A Rental Property





If this is your first time reading I’m Dave. I know buying rental properties can be a scary process when you are first starting out. When I got my first rental property, I didn’t have anyone to tell me the do’s and dont’s of investing. I now have 3 rental properties that you can read about  here, here and here. Over time I have bumped my head a few times, each time learning valuable lessons. From the experience I have gained, I want to share with you 3 things that you should avoid when buying a rental property.

3 things to avoid when buying a rental property

  1. Avoid rental properties in bad neighborhoods

    What is the neighborhood like?

    This is important because the people in the area are generally going to be the type of tenant you can expect. If you go to a neighborhood and you see heavy drug activity, vacant homes, gun violence, boarded windows, and the general consensus that the residents don’t take pride in their envirionment, then the majority of your tenants may be similar.

    This isn’t always the case obviously, as you can find a good tenant for any neighborhood if you know how to find a good tenant, but the chances are much lower. Don’t get me wrong, because of the cheap prices that often tempt new investors, you can make some large returns, but there may be more issues that cause this to be less passive and may be better suited for seasoned investors. Do not get these war zones confused with low-income areas. Investing in low-income areas can yield some high returns and low investment with less hassle. 
    3 Things That You Should Avoid When Buying A Rental Property

  2. Avoid rental properties with Structural Issues

    To me, structural problems are the “head-gasket” of rental properties. If I see structural issues, I make a speedy Gonzales style B-line toward the door. I’ve just heard too many horror stories from investors having to call in and pay structural engineers and you can probably guess its a very expensive process. The problem with homes with structural issues is that once these issues occur, they are usually documented and attached to the homes “permanent record”.

    Therefore this will need to be disclosed when you sell. Even if you shell out the cash needed to properly repair, in most states it will still need to be disclosed. From my experience, homes with these type of reputations generally sale at a fraction of its ARV. Some things to look for to determine structural damage are cracks that appear to be. Another sign to look for is when doors in the house don’t properly close. When houses have foundation issues it’s not uncommon for the alignment of the door and frame to become warped.

  3. Avoid investment properties with severe termite damage.

    While I won’t completely write off a deal with termite damage, it’s important to evaluate both the extent of damage and if there is a current infestation. Sometimes you can catch it early, but even then you should reflect this discovery in your offer.

    Termites can be a hassle to get rid of, and if not properly eradicated, they can literally compromise the structure of your entire house. A great way to check for termite damage is to take a screwdriver and moderately stab around the baseboards and if at any point you put a hole in it, there is probably termites.

    Termites eat the inside of wood so it may appear ok until you do the screwdriver test. Another place you should do this is around window sills. Always call a professional if you suspect termites and let them give you their synopsis. Most termite companies will do a free estimate, so call a few. Make sure you mix it up and call a few corporate places and some mom and pop exterminators. These companies are sometimes just looking for a quick sale so having a few different opinions can give you a general consensus.

There are literally tons of things to consider when purchasing a house for a rental property, so always do your due diligence and be aware. Hopefully knowing these 3 things that you should avoid when buying a rental property will save you some money and headache in the long run. Avoiding these simple mistakes will set you on the best path to start building your passive income.

 

What are some things you avoid when looking at rental properties? Let me know in the comments sections below.



amazon affiliate experiment

The Amazon Affiliate Experiment: Building A Niche Site From Scratch

 

amazon affiliate experiment(Brief background for new readers: My fiancee and I own several rental properties. You can read about them herehere, and here.)

We are about all things passive income, and we are always looking at new side hustles to make it.

So I was browsing Flippa a few weeks back entertaining the idea of buying a website as an investment that would generate passive income.

I want to clarify that I am no expert on buying and selling websites, but the idea is intriguing to me.  

And if there is money to be made, I want to know about it. The truth is a lot of websites turn a profit, and much like rental properties, they can provide consistent passive income with a little bit of maintenance. 

After about an hour of searching the established website section, I began to look at the sold section. The sold section of Flippa shows what sold, and gave me a better idea of what kinds of sites were the most valuable. 

After examining a few of the sites with the most bids, I noticed 2 things.  

  • The first was although there are a few different ways to monetize a website, the ones that used affiliate programs were consistently the most profitable.
  • The second thing I noticed is that the websites that performed best with a substantial return sold for about 7 to 10 times what they earn per month. For example, a website that was generating $1000 a month could easily sell for $10,000.

Most of the affiliate websites were just simple review sites, on WordPress blogs. 

Then I heard it….my brain said to me

Man I can do that….”

Whenever I say that to myself, it’s usually the start of something profitable.

So I’ve decided to create my own niche site using the Amazon Associates affiliate program, and document my procedures on the way.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a program offered by websites that tracks the purchases of customers that are referred from your website and then issues you a commission for it. For example, let’s say I have a website about Pool table reviews. And let’ say we have a guy…let’s call him Joe, stumbles on to my site and sees a pool table he likes.

Joe clicks on the picture and is taken to Amazon where he completes the purchase. Upon his checkout, I  receive a percentage of that sale.




How much can you make with Amazon Associates affiliate program?

Darren Rowse averages 60K per year with the Amazon affiliate program. I’ve heard of larger entities that are doing $90,000 a month……and that’s not a typo I mean MONTH! 

Here’s the thing though, a lot of people talk crap about the Amazon’s affiliate program because of the low commission. Amazon starts you off at a 4% commission. I know there are literally hundreds of affiliate programs there that pay higher like Commission Junkie or ClickBank, but Amazon has a history of turning window shoppers into conversions.

My goal: To create a niche site from scratch that generates $500 per month within the next 6 months!

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

I already set up an account with Amazon’s Associate program. I did some keyword research and chose a niche.

As of 10/16/16 I have also purchased weeb hosting and a domain based on the niche I chose(I keeping this a secret for now:). I spent $100.

10/17/16 I started a blog. If you want to learn how to start a blog click here!

I decided my site will be a review site for products in my niche. I chose a review site because people who are looking for reviews on the internet are in “buy mode”.

I created a front page and loaded it a comparison table with 15 products from my niche. The front page also gives a little history on the product and narrows down the top 3 products that I will be recommending as the best options

What I plan to do over the course of the next month:

Do keyword research and generate a list of 10 keywords that I can rank for that will attract buyers. Keywords with things like “Best + your niche”, “your niche + review”, or “your niche + buyers guide” tend to be popular for people looking to buy. The more specific you can be the better.

You can rank your website for keywords by creating a blog for your website and creating articles on those topics. For example, if you had a niche site about survival backpacks, some things you might want to rank for and subsequently create articles about are:

“Best Survival Backpacks”

“Survival Backpack Buyer Guide”

“Best Survival Backpacks for 2016”

etc.

For each keyword you want to rank for, you need to write a unique article. This takes time. You can outsource this on Fiverr, but sometimes the quality of articles can be either poor or contain broken language. You can get higher quality articles from sites like Odesk and Freelancer, but these sites will likely charge you more.




SEO

SEO or search engine optimization is super important for this project. SEO is what determines how well your site ranks within google. Sites that make it to the first page of google are rewarded with tons of targeted, organic traffic. Targeted organic traffic = Buyers

Targeted organic traffic = Buyers!

Before I get into the gritty details of SEO, I checked to see which sites from my niche were ranking on the first page of google. My browser has the Mozbar installed so I am able to tell from a google search which sites are weak, and that I could potentially outrank.

Sites with low DA and PA or domain authority and page authority and few backlinks can usually be outranked.

The result was that there are a few competitors with low DA and PA, so I’m hoping I can outrank them soon. 

With the Mozbar you can also see how many backlinks your competition has as well as where they come from, so if they are something like blog comments or article submissions, you can copy their strategy.

I’m not going to lie, I’m probably going to buy some backlinks. A lot of SEO experts advise against buying links, but I’m not talking about the crappy 99,999 backlinks for $5 package on Fiverr. I plan to create a diverse backlink profile consisting of the following:

  • Add my site to the google console. What better way to get google to notice us, than to register within their program.
  • Buy a logo for my website from Fiverr. I’m no photoshop expert, and it’s only $5
  • Submit my site URL to google and bing. Make sure they know about me.
  • Create social media branding. I am going to open a twitter account and create a facebook page for my review site.
  • Make 15-25 blog comments. I plan to do this myself, making genuine comments on blogs that are relevant to my niche. I am not going to spam my link, I will just link my website through my name. I don’t want to outsource this because I want my comments to get approved and I don’t want comments on irrelevant blogs.
  • I am going to write 10 articles, likely individual reviews for the products from my home page.
  • I am going to buy  5-10 guest post on relevant blogs
  • Buy some article directory submissions. I plan to outsource this.

 

The Budget: $500

What I’ve spent so far!

Ok so remember my goal is to make $500 a month, and websites generally go for 10 x more than its monthly income. I say all that to say I am looking to create a site that I would have spent $5000 on. So far I have spent $88 on hosting and my domain name.

 

Final thoughts:

I know creating niche amazon affiliate website can be difficult and ranking takes time. I plan to update this once a month but since ranking can take time, it may be boring for the next few months….hang in there with me 🙂

I am going to have to spend some more money on SEO and a logo to make my site look good.

 

Have you experimented with affiliate marketing? Do you have some good strategies? Are you a newbie looking to learn?

Let me know in the comments section below.

 

financial goals to hit before 30

9 Financial Goals To Hit Before 30

financial goals to hit

Setting goals is  the best way to ensure a successful life. 

We set goals for everything from everything from grade-point averages to relationships.

In high school, they don’t stress that importance of setting financial goals, which is why so many people have no idea what’s going on when it comes to personal finance.

Full disclosure some of you will discover this list after 30...Don’t panic, it’s never too late to start achieving financial goals.

Here is a list of financial goals to hit before 30

1. Get a job or consistent side hustle – There’s no short cut here. The only way to achieve your financial goals is by having a source of income. 

I honestly believe that when you start out young, it doesn’t matter what kind of job you have. With a clear financial plan it’s possible to achieve your financial goals. This is much easier to do when your young but anyone can do it. Don’t let the inability to find a job stop you, here are 26 side hustles that you can start today.

2. Learn financial discipline – This is a difficult task for some people. Growing up we didn’t have a lot of money so it wasn’t hard for me to live frugal. This is one of those things that can be hard depending on what your used to. Make a list of your expenses go over them and see what you can weed out to save you money where you can. It can suck to get store brand potato chips, but over the course of a year savings can really add up. I have friends that always need all the newest clothes, the newest shoes, designer everything. Don’t get me wrong I like fancy shit too, but as an outsider looking in I see it’s causing slow financial death for them.

To clarify, there is nothing wrong with having nice things, I like them too, but there is a time when you can afford it.

Instead of buying the newest pair of $200 designer jeans every month, consider spending half the amount and putting the remainder into a savings amount.

You will have accumulated enough to start making investments sooner than later.

It’s a cruel irony that most of the crap that you want to blow money on when you’re young matters less when you’re older.

3. Pay off debts – I know people that went to high school with me that’s are constantly dodging Sally Mae. Pay off your student loans. Don’t be the person who’s still dodging creditor calls in their mid-30s. Be proactive in your 20s so that you aren’t paying off student debt into your thirties. Pay more than the minimum monthly payment and look into consolidating and refinancing to better terms. But only consolidate if you don’t need income-based repayment or if you are working towards forgiveness. Know what delinquencies are on your credit report. Dispute negative remarks first and see what you can get to fall off, then pay off the rest!

4. Pay off credit cardsPay off your credit cards, and stop maxing them out.  Your credit to debt ratio is a high impact factor on your credit score so it’s a good practice to keep this ratio under 30%.

5. Buy an affordable house – This is one is crucial. I don’t know what about human nature causes this, but when people start making decent money, they feel compelled to go out and get the most expensive house they can afford. It actually makes me cringe when people do this. Unfortunately when people budget for their homes, they don’t factor investment savings into the mix. If possible, duplexes make great first investments.

6. Pay off your first house – Because you have exercised financial responsibility and you lived frugally, bought an affordable house that allowed you to save weekly, you have probably built up a nice little savings. Once you have enough pay off your house. The average person will be paying off their first house for 30 years.

Paying off your house is the first small but powerful step to financial freedom.

Your living arrangements are usually your biggest expense, and aside from your insurance and taxes you have completely relinquished that burden from your financial responsibilities.

Paying off your home unlocks approximately another 30% of your income that you have access to, but before you get to too excited and head off to the Louis Vuitton store, Consider that extra cash as part of your new savings for our next financial goal.

7. Purchase rental property – You’ve paid off your first home, you have extra savings rolling in now what? Now it’s time to start making some additional income. Your not worried about trying to figure out which activities you will have to eliminate to cram in a second job because you’re ready to start building passive income with rental properties.

If your saving is good sometimes you can find a home that you can pay cash for. If not most investment loans only require a 20% down payment. A good way to quickly calculate the down payment cost is to expect approximately 20k toward the down payment for every 100k. 

Since your first home is paid off and you don’t have to worry about rent payments, you will find it gets easier and easier to save up for down payments.

Duplexes make great first investments.

8. Actively raise credit score – After you have repaired your credit. It’s time to start actively making it better. Use your credit cards frequently but rather than using it as a clutch, think of using your credit card as a credit-boosting tool. 

By creating a credit card spending plan, and making sure you never exceed a 30% debt to credit ratio, your credit will begin to steadily rise.

Also be responsible and don’t get subscriptions from to services you can’t afford, and when you do make sure that you are paying on or before your due date.

9. Know your credit score – Get an account at Credit Karma. The best thing about Credit Karma is that it constantly keeps up with your credit score without adding harmful inquiries to your credit report. Download the app. Get into the habit of checking your credit score at least once a month.

Don’t be the type of person that never knows what’s going on with their credit. 

Hint::
When someone runs your credit you shouldn’t be as surprised with your results. And try to avoid 

 

These goals are not easy to hit but if you focus, and you can hit most of these goals by the time you turn 30, you will be on the fast track towards an early retirement.

How many of these goals have you hit? Let me know in the comments section below and don’t forget to subscribe 🙂

How the Millionaire Next Door pursues Income

How the Millionaire Next Door Pursues Income

Today’s guest post comes from Matt, who is a licensed CPA and founder of Distilled Dollar where he shares how he and his fiancée went from living paycheck-to-paycheck to building wealth. With his fiancée’s help, he’s distilling down $$$ topics in pursuit of financial independence by the age of 35.

Take it away Matt…

The Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, is a classic personal finance book that goes in depth on a few major topics.

The overall premise is many millionaires don’t act or even look like millionaires. The specific topic I’ll pull out of the book today is the importance of financial offense AND defense. In other words, how the millionaire next door pursues income.

When it comes to accumulating financial resources and building wealth, I prefer to learn from people who have, “been there, done that.” That’s why I picked up the book many years ago.

About 1 in 15 households in America are millionaires when you include household equity. Compare that statistic with less than half of Americans having just $100,000, again, including household equity.

Many people we presume to be millionaires are, in reality, worth less, much less. In fact, one in ten drivers of an imported luxury vehicle are actual millionaires. The most common cars driven by most millionaires today include Toyotas, Hondas & Fords.




Don’t confuse rich with wealthy.


If we want to become financially wealthy then we should model the wealthy, not the rich. That’s why the book described financial defense as being critical. If we overspend our income, we will never become millionaires.


“A fat kitchen makes a lean will,” as Ben Franklin phrased it.

How Millionaires Pursue Income

 

Stanley and Danko interviewed thousands of millionaires. My main takeaway was that millionaires are willing to work harder because they understand their financial defense is in place.

Meaning, they know for every dollar they earn, they will be placing a large amount of that dollar into their investments and into their businesses.

Many affluent people know they need a strong positive cash flow going directly back into their assets as opposed to paying off liabilities.


If our income is earmarked for future purchases, then is it really our income to begin with?

Financial offense becomes more meaningful when we have a strong defense.

There are enough obstacles as it is when it comes to making additional income. The one barrier I, myself, have removed is having a lifestyle where the money’s gone before I realize it was there.

I’m always working on plugging holes in my budget to optimize my lifestyle.

Since I am young, at the age of 27, I know I’ll have plenty of time for luxury down the road. Right now, I’m focused on enjoying a lifestyle I can afford while simultaneously building wealth and resources for the next chapter of my life.

Is your financial defense supporting your financial offense? What helps you in having a winning combination?

-Matt
Distilled Dollar


To read more articles from Matt, check out Distilled Dollar.




how to start a blog

How To Start A Blog 101: A Step-By-Step Tutorial With Pictures

So you want to know how to start a blog? how to start a blog

Well, you’ve come to the right place, my goal is that by the end of this article you will know how to set up and begin your journey as a blogger.

I started my first blog in 2002, after high school. My goal was to have a massive blog with an active forum.

I jumped from one side of the world wide web to the other in search of information to help me get my blog off the ground.

Shortly after launch, I got bored and my poor blog eventually died.

This guide is a derived from things that I have learned work and that have helped me to progress in the blogging world!

 

Why Start A Blog?

There are a lot of reasons to start a blog. Some of the most popular reasons are:

  • To make money online from home. This is one of the most attractive reasons to start blogging.  I make a substantial income from blogging. Once you have a large enough audience, a blog is a great way to generate passive income, and can be a lucrative side hustle. Although a large amount of hard work is required up front, the pay off is a great incentive to get your blog up and running
  • Grow an existing business. If you have a website that doesn’t get a lot of traffic, adding a blog can definitely raise awareness of your brand. Blog post related to your business, give people other ways to find your website online through various google searches.
  • Maybe you just like to write. A blog can be your online diary and a great place to jot down your thoughts, and feelings, that could possibly help out other like-minded individuals.

Do any of these reasons interest you? Do you have different reasons?



8 Steps To Create Your Own Blog

  1. Pick a blog Topic.
  2. Choose a blogging platform
  3. Choose a host for your blog
  4. Pick a domain name
  5. Install WordPress to your platform
  6. Install necessary WordPress plugins
  7. Customize and design your blog
  8. Update your blog on a consistent basis

 

Step 1: Pick A Blog Topic

Before you can create a blog you have to think about what your goal is. Is this for a business or personal use. If you are hoping to make money as a blogger, it’s best to pick a topic that is narrow enough to be considered a niche, yet broad enough for you to be able to create content on a regular basis. It’s important to try to blog on topics that you genuinely have a strong passion for or you will likely end up quitting.
It helps to blog about things you know a lot about because you want your blog to be the go-to website for people in your specific niche. Try to make sure your topic is one that makes for good discussions, as this will attract viewers to your page.


Step 2: Choose a Blogging Platform

There are many blogging platforms available. As I mentioned I have been blogging since 2002, and WordPress is hands down the best blogging platform, in my opinion, this is because its very user-friendly, and easy to learn. Back when I first started blogging, I had to learn HTML code which is hella confusing. If you can navigate through the internet, you can learn WordPress.


Step 3: Get Hosting

Blogs need hosting. Hosting is how users find your website on the internet.

There are a lot of different hosting companies out there, a lot of which are free, and though this may be attractive to new bloggers, it may hurt you in the long run, especially if you plan to become an authority in your niche.

Free blogs might seem like a good idea, but they have a number of flaws. The reasons why most bloggers prefer to avoid free blog sites are:

-free blogs give you a domain like examplesite.blogger.com..awkward isn’t it?  Self-hosted blogs have domains like www.examplesite.com

– Unpaid advertising. In order for the free blog companies to make money. They plaster ads on your website, that you receive no income from

– You aren’t allowed to advertise any affiliate links, sell products, or monetize with Google Adsense

– You can’t use plugins. Plugins are used to customize your WordPress website.

– You can’t have a custom email address like Dave@Examplesite.com

Hosting isn’t that expensive and is a very low-cost investment in the longevity of your blog. Bad hosting can cause slow loading speeds on your page which is bad for your overall user experience.

To get hosting:

Head over to BlueHost, and click get started.how to start a blog



  • Select a plan, I recommend the basic package until you decide if blogging is something you want to do long-term. You can always upgrade your plan later.
    how to create a blog

STEP 4: Pick a domain name

Once you pick the package that works best for you, you can either choose or select a domain name.

For our example we used www.examplesite.com but, you can choose whatever name you like, or if you have an exiting domain you can enter it now, then click next.

how to start a blog

Your domain name is what people type in to get to your website. My domain, www.AffordEverything.com was chosen because its easy to remember. I recommend picking a domain that is:

  • Easy to remember
  • Appealing
  • Properly spelled
  • Easy to say and spell
  • Does not include hyphens, numbers, or uncommon characters
  • Preferably has a .com extension

Once you have decided on a domain name for your blog, finish filling out your info, and follow the prompts to complete checkout.

 

 

how to start a blog

STEP 5: Install WordPress

 

Once your account is complete, go back to the Bluehost homepage and click log in

how to start a blog

 

Enter your login info from step 4, and click submit

 

how to start a blog

This will bring you to the home page, click the install WordPress icon(circled below)

how to create a blog

 

Next, you will presented with this screen. Click install WordPress to start the install

 

how to start a blog

Once WordPress is installed select your domain from the drop-down menu, if it’s not already selected. Make sure to leave the direct field blank unless you know what you are doing.

start a blog

Now it’s time to enter your WordPress log-in info. It is important here to pick user names and passwords that you can remember because this is how you will log in to WordPress whenever you want to edit, start a new blog post, or do anything within WordPress.

DO NOT use admin as your username and DO NOT use password as your password. If someone can guess your information they can hijack your website.

how to install wordpress

After WordPress is fully installed, you will see the  “Status: success” message . Take note of the information to access your new WordPress site. This information automaticly emailed to you as well.

 

 

Step 6: Install Necessary plug-ins

In WordPress plugins are what you use to add customization and function to your blog. You are going to want to experiment to find out what works best for you, but there are a few every website should have!

To install plugins to your page, on the right side of your wordpress dashboard select Plugins

how to create a blog

 

Then select add new

 

how to start a blog

 

This is where you type the plugin you are looking for

 

start a blog

NOTE: MOST plugins are free, but some have options for you to upgrade

The plugins I recommend for everyone are:

YOAST SEO – Yoast SEO is a plug in that make sure all your post are SEO friendly, so that they are easily ranked by google

WP-Stats – This plugin keeps track of how many visitors/visits your page is recieveing. This is kept track on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. These numbers are good to keep track of so you know when your post are doing well.

Shareaholic – Shareaholic adds share buttons to your post, so that your guest can easily click and share to Facebook, twitter, digg, reddit, pinterest, and all the other popular social media bookmarking sites.
Step 7: Install a theme to your wordpress blog

Think of WordPress themes as clothing for your website, you want to dress it up and give it your own personal touch. This is all a matter of preference. I recommend you experiment with different themes until you find one you like. Like plugins, there are thousands of wordpress themes you can download for free, but as you get more involved in your blog you may want to upgrade to a paid version or get a custom made wordpress theme.

To install a theme click on the Appearance button on the side of your wordpress dashboard

how to install wordpress theme

Then click Add New

how to install blog theme

Now you can either search for themes using the search at the right of the screen, browse through the categories, or if you have a custom theme you can upload by clicking the ‘upload theme button.

To test them out highlight it with your mouse and the install button will come up, click it and choose ‘Live Preview, if you like it click the ‘Activate button, if not hit the X and try again.

how to install blog themes

Step 8: Update your blog on a consistent basis

You can start posting blog post now, all you have to do is click the post button and click add new

how to start a blog

 

This is where you write your blog post once you are done, click publish and your article goes live on your website

how to create a blog

 

Its important to update your website on a frequent basis, you don’t need to blog everyday, but establishing some sort of routines will be helpful

Search engines are constantly looking for new information, they like to index sites with consistently updated information, so try to pick a blogging schedule and stick to it. Don’t let months pass before deciding to write your next post. If you intend to build an audience for your blog, you have to keep pumping out content.

 

A good thing to remember is that blogs take a long time to establish, its very rare that bloggers experience success over night, so make sure to tend to your blog, as if it were a business because it is. This doesnt apply so much to anyone interested in making a personal blog for friends but if you plan on monetizing its in your best interest to exercise consistency in your writng habits.

 

If you are reading this you made it all the way to the end of this article and you know how to start a blog,from picking a blogging topic to customizing your blog with a theme and writing your first post.

Now go out and create and be great.

Let me know how your blog turns out!

How many blogs do you own? What are some other tips to help new bloggers?

Let me know in the comments section below…:)

If you found this post helpful, please SHARE, and SUBSCRIBE



investing in low-income neighborhoods

7 Tips For Investing In Low-Income Neighborhoods

Investing in low-income neighborhoods, has quite a few benefits, however, it should be noted that investing in these areas require a specific set of skills and tolerance.

Some benefits of investing in low-income areas are

  • Higher ROI
  • Lower investment
  • Easier to pay off mortgages
  • Easier to expand your rental business

Although there are countless benefits to investing in low-income areas, without the right knowledge, you can end up in a bad position.

Low-income doesn’t necessarily mean that the neighborhoods are not

Here are some tips that can help you as a low-income real estate investor!

Know the difference between a low-income neighborhood and a war zone.investing in low-income neighborhhods

You would be surprised how many informed people lump both of these into the same category.

War zones are areas with heavy drug trafficking, drug addicts, and gun violence. You don’t want to have to deal with calls from tenants that need you to come replace a window that was shot out during a neighborhood feud.

Don’t get me wrong you can make money in war zone areas, as well but it can sometimes come with more headache.

Low-income areas are just that. A lot of the residents, fall into the category of low-income. Just like any class, there are both good and bad people, the areas are generally safe.

Some advice I give investors is to drive through the neighborhood at night. Ask yourself…

  • What’s the vibe like?
  • Do you feel the need to lock your doors?
  • Would you walk down the street at night?
  • Do you hear gun shots?

This is the best way to tell what kind of area you are dealing with.



Buy properties in up and coming areas

It’s common for areas to change over time, neighborhoods can incline and decline, try to buy rental properties in areas that are showing signs of growth. Newly built grocery stores, and shopping centers are good signs of growth.

When you buy into up and coming neighborhoods, the value of your homes can rise considerably.

On the other hand, try to avoid areas that appear to be on the decline. If there is a steady increase in the amount of abandoned homes and businesses,  the area might be deteriorating which will cause your property to lose value, and eventually you to lose money.

Look for the diamond in the rough.

Low-income families are the same as everyone else. They want a home that’s visually appealing, and structurally sound.

Investing in low-income real estate does not mean buying outdated shacks, and becoming a slum lord.

Try to buy houses that are either visually appealing, or are distressed but are sold at a hefty discount. I prefer to buy distressed homes at discount prices because I hate going over someone else’s work. When I buy a distressed property, I have a clean slate to work with,  which enables me to have a beautifully updated house, for under market cost.

You can often find a better deal buying a distressed property, but make sure you know how to calculate renovation cost.

Find good tenants

*HINT! This is the most important part of ensuring success when investing in low-income neighborhoods.

You need to know how to find good tenants. As I mentioned earlier there are both good and bad people in every class. Dealing with low-income housing is no different. You need to pick a tenant with a proven track record of consistency.

Good tenants pay rent on time, maintain the property, and build your income.

Bad tenants give you headaches and cost you money. You only have one chance to pick so get it right the first time.

Avoid prospective tenants that:

  • Have an unverifiable rental history
  • Have been employed less than 2 years
  • Have credit scores under 600
  • Have ANY evictions
  • Have long criminal records

In other words, SCREEN, SCREEN, and then SCREEN the heck out anyone you may want to consider as a prospective tenant to live in your rental property. For a detailed guide on how to find a good tenant click here.

Rent your house section 8

What is section 8?
Section 8 is a government funded program, that covers either a portion or the full amount of rent, and in some cases, utilities, for low-income citizens that apply for the program.

I like section 8, as it’s evolved since its early days. My payment is wired to account monthly every month without delay.

There is a lot of contradicting information as to whether section 8 is good route for your investment. I rented my townhouse to a section 8 tenant and have had 0 problems. I attribute this to knowing how to find a good tenant. But my section 8 tenant is actually the easiest tenant to deal with.

Contrary to popular belief, section 8 people can be a pleasure. The program has a no nonsense policy for drugs and general nonsense. And because the section 8 program can be difficult to get in, most people that are on the program don’t want to lose their free or heavily discounted housing, so they tend generally try to maintain it.

Maintain your properties!

Investing in low-income neighborhoods doesn’t mean be a slumlord, so the same landlord commandments apply. Keep your properties maintained, If a tenant calls with a leak or anything that requires attention, take care of it immediately.

Not only will this prevent the problem from escalating, it will keep your tenants happy. A happy tenant is one that stays, and as an investor, you always want to aim for longevity.

The longer your tenant stays, the less you have to deal with turnovers and vacancies.

Hire a property manager

If handling the day to day operations of owning a low-income rental property, don’t seem don’t seem like your cup of tea, outsource it! Find a property manager that specializes in these type of area.

This will be helpful to you if you are not comfortable in these types of areas, it helps to have someone on call to take care of any problems that should arise.

Investing in low-income neighborhoods is a good way to build up passive rental income, and a great starting point for first-time investors, because of the low cost. As always, its very important that you do your due diligence before buying a rental property in ANY area.




Do you invest in low-income neighborhoods? What are some tips that help you maintain profitability?

Do you have horror stories from investing in low-income areas?

Let me know in the comments section below

Why your First Investment Property Should Be A Duplex

Why your First Investment Property Should Be A Duplex

When I accidentally started investing in rental properties, I was 26 years old. I’ve owned my own business since I was 23, and as a business owner, as you progress it’s natural to start considering Investment ideas. When you work for yourself you don’t get the luxury of a pension or retirement plan, at the end of the day you will only have what you were able to save up.

Even though I eventually stumbled onto long term real estate investing, had I know what I know today, I would have done things differently. Right after high school, if I had invested in a duplex, I could have easily been retired by now.

What is a duplex?what is a duplex

A duplex is a home comprised of two separate living quarters. In general, they have separate kitchens, bathrooms, and no common living areas with the other unit. Think of them as tiny apartment complexes with only two units. In most cases, each unit has separate utility meters so that each side only pays for what the amount of utilities they use.  This type of property is ideal for investors because you can earn twice the rent with one property.




Duplexes are great investments for young, first-time investors for a lot of reasons. Some of the pros are being that you can pay off your first property by renting out one of the units, and the other benefit is that you can potentially live rent free, to save money by owning a multi-family home. As long as you make sure that you purchase at a price in which one unit’s rent will cover the mortgage, and you know how to find a good tenant, your biggest living expense, shelter, is covered.

Duplexes are better for young investors from a living standpoint because. The units are usually smaller and can make a good home before you start a family. Once you start getting married and having kids, you will likely want to get a bigger house, with more privacy.

It’s important for young investors, to remember that even though your tenant is your neighbor, you shouldn’t build a friendship with them. If you find this difficult or awkward, i suggest at the very least, acting as if you are just a tenant as well. One of the top landlord commandments is not renting to or making friends with tenants. If tenants are your friends, in times when they may encounter financial issues, they will play the friend card” and things can get awkward quickly.

You guys know I’m an advocate of paying off houses as soon as possible. And because your mortgage will be covered, your ability to save should be drastically increAsed. I recommend setting aside what you would normally pay for rent, until you have enough to pay off the property. Once your pay off your mortgage, your other units rent goes straight to your pocket.

Sometimes, I find that duplexes can be over priced. Everyone has their own methods but for me to be even consider purchasing a duplex, it would have to be cheaper than I could find, two single family homes in the same area. For example, if I know 2 bedroom rentals average around $60k a piece, I wouldn’t want to spend over $110K for a duplex In that same area. This way it’s like getting a discount on 2 rental properties at the same time, while generating a higher ROI.

Eventually, you will want to move. The good thing about having a duplex, is that you can move out, rent your old unit out and start earning two rent payments at once. Now when you buy your next home, you have the luxury of being 2 rentals In the game.

Even though your expenses will be covered, I recommend to continue working  full time, to cover unforeseen repairs, and speed up paying off your investment.

In addition to duplexes, which are two unit structures, you can also find other multi-unit properties as well. Triplexes are 3 unit buildings, and quadplexes are buildings with 4 units. Anything over 5 units is officially considered an apartment complex, and different tax laws apply.

While most duplexes are side by side units, some will have an upstairs/downstairs layout. One thing that is important to me when finding a potential duplex, is making sure that the homes have separate meters for utilities. There have been times when I’ve come across duplexes with combined utilities, and it sounds like a hassle to try to decide which tenants used, how much energy every month. In cases where only the water is combined, the landlord usually covers the water bill. For me personally, I prefer my tenants to take care of all of their own expenses.

A single duplex is probably not going to provide the income, you need to retire just yet, however by investing young, and continuing to grow your rental portfolio, once you obtain and pay off enough rental properties, you will be generating enough passive income to live comfortably.

What was your first rental property? Was your first rental property a duplex?

Let me know in the comments section below.



pay off student loan debt

Student Loan Debt

Unless you come from a rich family, student loan debt is all too familiar to those with those looking to further their education. Todays guest post comes from Michael L. owner of the person finance blog, Super Millenial. If this article helps you, or you want to hear more from Michael, take a moment to visit his website. Without further ado….take it away Michael…

Student loan debt is a necessary evil and a reality many young people will face to continue their education. According to the Wall St. Journal “ About 7 in 10 seniors set to graduate this spring borrowed for their educations. Along with their diplomas, they’ll carry an average $37,172 of student debt as they enter the workforce.” Before we go into let’s take a look at three easy ways to approaching paying down student debt:

  1. Live Like A Student: You’ve been doing it for past 4-5 years, keep doing it as a way to keep costs down to pay more towards your student loans

  2. Set Up A Plan: Know how much you can afford, when your expected pay off date is and how you can pay it off sooner. As you reach certain dates and reach goals make sure to celebrate to stay motivated!

  3. Refinance: If you’re committed to paying down student loans early look at ways to consolidate your loans to the lowest payment possible. This will ensure you’re paying more towards the loan and less wasted on interest.

So should you pay off student loans or look to start investing in your retirement funds? A good place to start is the Federal Student Aid by comparing your student loan interest rate vs. your expected portfolio returns. Student loan debt has ranged from 3.86% (direct, subsidized loans) to 6.41% (Direct Plus loans). Historically the stock market has been ~8% but there will be bad times in the economy, drops in the stock market, and potentially another bubble or recession.


Student Loan Debt Interest >=< Expected Investment Return?

In the end it is a very personal decision as some may not be able to sleep at night knowing they have a debt looming over them. Here are the benefits of both investing by building assets & paying off student debts:

Investing (Building Assets)

Emergency Fund: Do you have enough money in savings to pay for basic expenses for three to six months? If not then start saving & automating 1o% of each paycheck towards your emergency fund until you reach your goal.

401K: Are you currently contributing to your employer’s 401K? If they match a percentage or amount, invest at least up to that amount to take advantage of free money from your employer. If you invest $3,000 and they match, you just doubled your investment instantly. This habit will ensure you automatically pay yourself first and contribute towards your future.

Pay Down Credit Card Debt: With high interest rates these will do more damage to your credit and your potential for lending than student loan debts.

Roth IRA: By opening a Roth you can increase your savings and also still have liquidity if needed as there is withdrawal flexibility if you need to use those savings in the future (unlike a 401K). Generally, early withdrawals from an IRA prior to age 59½ are subject to income taxes, plus you’ll pay a 10% tax penalty. However, you may be able to withdraw your contributions (before any earnings) tax-free and without penalty.

Taxes: Depending on your income you may be able to deduct up to $2,500 of your student loan interest costs. If you pay your loan off early you may reduce your tax savings.

Paying Down Debt

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of building assets it’s important to also evaluate the benefits of paying off student loans:

Predictability: While the market has historically been 8% returns the future may yield different results. Your student loan payment is fixed for the life of the loan and will give you consistency in your budget planning.

Credit: Paying down your loan make a big impact on your credit score as you are lowering your overall debt which can increase your credit score. The higher your credit score the more likely you’ll be able to get a lower rate on buying a car or house

Stress: Debt is a burden to many, some people can’t barely sleep at night knowing they owe money. Once your lower your debt or completely eliminate it you’ll be able to enjoy peace of mind and really begin to start increasing your net worth.

Dealing with debt is like meal prepping for a full week; it’s necessary but not always the most fun (until you see the results). I’ve mentioned before it’s important to find a balance in your life and finances, same goes for investing and paying down debts. Start by eliminating credit card debt then accelerate your student loan debt while investing in your emergency fund, 401K, and Roth IRA. The most important part is identifying your debts and setting up a game plan for each paycheck.

Have you had success paying down either type of debt & investing at the same time? What strategy worked best for you?

Michael L. is the creator of Super Millennial. He teaches people how to evaluate their financial situation, simplify money management & learn how to automate your investments to reach their financial goals. Subscribe for his personal finance “Keys To Success” PDF and blog updates HERE.