Month: January 2021

  • How To Leave Robinhood App For Investing

    There are a lot of reasons to leave Robinhood and move to another investing platform. In the last week or two the reasons have increased and more and more people are abandoning Robinhood for good reasons.

    Reasons To Leave Robinhood

    When I previously posted about starting a dividend portfolio on Robinhood, I was very excited about a platform that made investing feel so fun. However, over time I’ve discovered a lot of reasons why Robinhood App is subpar for investing as well as personal reasons too.

    Some reasons to leave Robinhood based on their failures:

    • Outages on days with big volume which have led to people losing hundreds and thousands of dollars
    • Lots of bugs and glitches in what shows especially on days where trading volume is very high
    • Customer service is very limited and if you have a problem you can’t get someone on the phone or email (you can just yell into the void on Twitter)
    • There have been issues with users being hacked and accounts looted
    • Robinhood has been sued and will be sued again
    • There is a lack of transparency on how they operate and make money off of the users which does not match their stated company ethos
    • During the Gamestop / short selling debacle of January 2021, they took action limiting what users could purchase which manipulated the price of stocks in a downward manner
    • The lack of transparency and disclosures from Robinhood in multiple cases pits them agains their users which means you aren’t getting the best deal or service

    Some reasons to leave Robinhood based on my investing style as a long term investor:

    • They don’t offer many beneficial investing account types including IRAs, HSAs, 529s etc
    • Because they don’t offer those account types you can only open a taxable brokerage account meaning you will pay more taxes on gains unnecessarily
    • They don’t offer access to buy mutual funds or bonds or several other asset types that you may want in a portfolio to diversify
    • Focus is on stock picking, options, and other riskier investing styles which can lead beginners into trouble

    Those are reasons to leave Robinhood as your investing platform. Luckily it is easy to transfer your stocks out of Robinhood and move to a better brokerage that offers more account types, asset options, and superior customer service.

    How To Transfer Stocks Out Of Robinhood

    Leaving Robinhood is easy and can be done by opening another account at a different brokerage and then trasnferring your stocks.

    You do not have to sell your stocks to leave Robinhood!

    You can sell some if you want, but remember that for any profits / gains you will need to pay capital gains taxes. If you’ve held the stock less than a year that tax rate can be substantial.

    Robinhood even has a guide to how to transfer stocks out of your Robinhood Account.

    Some important things to note about transferring your stocks out of Robinhood:

    • Robinhood supports partial and full outbound transfers of your stocks.
    • Once you transfer all assets out of Robinhood, they will close your account.
    • There is a $75 fee to transfer assets out of Robinhood to another brokerage.

    The process is pretty simple and most major brokerages can help you walk through it as well. The instructions on how to initiate the transfer from Robinhood are quite simple since the new brokerage handles most of the actual work:

    To begin the process, you’ll need to contact your other brokerage and have them initiate the transfer. They’ll submit the transfer instructions to our clearing partner to transfer over your assets and funds.

    If you transfer all of your assets to another brokerage, we’ll close your account.

    Please make sure you initiate an ACATS (Automated Customer Account Transfer Service) transfer. Please don’t request stock delivery using any method other than ACATS, including DTC and transfer agent transfers.

    You might need to give the other brokerage your Robinhood Securities (RHS) account number. You can find this information in your mobile app

    1. Tap the Account icon in the bottom right corner.
    2. Tap Investing.
    3. Your account number will be at the top of your screen.

    You may need to reference a DTC number for your transfer. Robinhood’s DTC number is 6769.

    After you initiate a full transfer, your account will be restricted to ensure the transfer is processed smoothly. You won’t be able to make any trades on the assets being requested, including options in the underlying asset, while the transfer is in process, but keep in mind that you’ll still own the securities or positions during this time, and they’ll update in the app to reflect their current market value.

    You can use any brokerage and many have advantaged above Robinhood. The three brokerages I personally use and like to recommend to people are:

    Those are the platforms I’ve ended up with and plan to stick with long term. Of note, if you are trading then M1 Finance will not be for you since it is geared toward long term investing rather than trading.

    Why I Left Robinhood

    I decided to leave Robinhood as an investing platform in November 2019.

    I left for several personal reasons and issues with the platform as well. As time has gone on Robinhood has only revealed even more negative issues for users.

    Personally I left Robinhood for a several reasons:

    • Has outages on big volume investing days
    • Has lots of bugs and glitches especially when things get busy
    • Customer service there is almost non-existent and you can’t call them
    • You can email but you can’t expect an answer
    • Users have had issues with hacking and looting of accounts
    • I’m not a trader and the app encourages moves that aren’t the best and can be based on emotion
    • The gamification of investing on the app is fun but also encouraged me to act too quickly and not make the best decision

    I originally downloaded Robinhood to open an account to buy stocks because it looked fun, it’s easy to use, and a lot of other YouTubers used and loved it. Yes, even I buy or subscribe to things because of channels I watch.

    I also had the idea of using this portfolio of making it public and sharing what stocks I’ve bought and why. However, after months of use I realize … I just don’t want to do that. I’m not great at picking stocks, I’m not confident enough to recommend them. 

    I can talk all day about index funds and ETFs but individual stocks still trip me up. I’m not great and analysis and honestly I’m too emotional about buying stocks.

    Robinhood has a ton of bugs and outages. Any time there is high volume traffic during a day the app gets glitchy and has hiccups and sometimes just doesn’t work at all. On the biggest days of the past year with stocks Robinhood basically just shut down and screwed over a lot of people and Robinhood did not seem to care about those people.

    Yes, its a new app and they are going to figure it out but I’ve decided if I want to put a lot of money into a platform, it’s not one that feels like it is still working out the kinks.

    So while there are some benefits to Robinhood and I love a lot of the little features and how easy it is to use… it’s just not enough for me to stick with them long term and build a large portfolio there. Since I’m planning to invest heavily after paying off debt I wanted something more stable that better fits the style of investing I actually like to do. 

    I also personally just want to consolidate. I have multiple accounts at multiple companies and frankly I don’t have time or desire to keep checking multiple portfolios and making sure nothing is on fire or needs to be adjusted. Robinhood is only a small percent of my overall investments yet it’s still something that I feel like I have to give too much attention. This whole experience has confirmed that I’m truly a hands off inventory who likes to make things easy and passive. That means I like buying index funds and ETFs where someone else I trust is doing the stock picking not me. 
    With that investing strategy in mind, I don’t need an app like Robinhood in order to consistently invest in those types of investments. I don’t regret using Robinhood or regret recommending it to people because in many ways it’s still a great option and really did change the investing landscape with no commission fees. But for this point in time.. it’s not right for what I want to do.

    I decided to consolidate and to sell those stocks where I’d made a poor choice and had lost money. I also sold some where I didn’t want to hold the stock long term but the gains were not that high and were cancelled out by the losses on others. This money was used to help me pay down debt and get closer to debt freedom. I planned to move the remaining stocks I wanted to hold long term out of Robinhood to another account at a more reputable broker.

    Sometimes you want to try out new things and investigate what is seemingly working for others and that is totally ok! It’s not a bad thing to stray from what you know and learn and see if you like another strategy or plan with your money.

    In this case, I didn’t like it as much and I’m going to go back to the strategy and investing plan I’m comfortable with and honestly, love the most. I’ll be sticking to my plan and sharing more details with you in the future especially as I start to pour more money into investments to hopefully build a future or financial freedom for our family.

    As always, thanks for watching, reading, and supporting!

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  • How To Get A Custom YouTube Channel URL

    The process for changing your YouTube channel URL changed recently so this tutorial shows you how to change your YouTube channel URL in 2021.

    Having a custom URL for your channel helps with branding your channel and makes it easy to remember and share with potential viewers.

    In this video and tutorial post I show you how to:

    • set up your custom YouTube channel URL
    • delete your custom channel URL and pick a new one
    • options for choosing your custom URL for YouTube
    • how to change your custom YouTube channel URL
    • custom YouTube URL requirements

    With this process for selecting and changing your channel URL you’ll be able to quickly and easily pick the channel URL you want!

    Custom URL for Your YouTube Channel Step By Step

    How to get your custom YouTube channel URL step by step:

    1. Sign in to YouTube Studio for your account
    2. From the left menu, select Customization 
    3. From the top menu, select the Basic info tab
    4. Under the Channel URL sections, click Set a custom URL for your channel
    5. In the box, you’ll see your current URL and your potential custom URL. You can add extra letters or numbers to make your custom URL unique to your channel.
    6. Click the blue Publish button in the top right of the page.
    7. Click Confirm on the popup screen to confirm your custom URL.

    YouTube Channel Custom URLs Details

    Why would you want a custom URL for your channel? Creating a custom URL is an easy to remember URL that you can share with your audience. It’s easier to remember, better for branding, and customizes your channel.

    Instead of have a channel that is youtube.com/ceJWE8732fjKEWNF# you will instead be able to have a channel URL that is youtube.com/penniesnotperfection for example. It’s much cleaner and easier to remember or share.

    You get to choose your URL but there are some things you can base it on:

    • Display name
    • YouTube username
    • Current vanity URLs
    • Linked website name

    You can also choose the capitalization options so that you can make words stand out of not. For example you can choose either of the following:

    • youtube.com/c/yourcustomname
    • youtube.com/c/YourCustomName

    This gives you even more flexibility to use the custom URL feature for your channel to reinforce your branding.

    Custom URL Eligibility

    Who is eligible to get a custom channel URL? There are some requirements you need to hit before you are able to set up your custom URL.

    To create a custom URL for your channel, your YouTube account needs to:

    • Have 100 or more subscribers
    • Be at least 30 days old
    • Have an uploaded profile picture
    • Have uploaded banner image

    That’s it!

    The great thing about custom URLs is that it is one of the first things you get to do on YouTube while building your audience. Most features won’t unlock until 1,000 or even 10,000 subscribers, but at 100 subscribers you get a custom URL!

    It’s important to note that a custom URL can be changed or removed by YouTube at any time. This could include things like copyright infringement or when an account is deleted.

    Growing Your YouTube Channel

    Once you’ve got 100 subscribers and have selected your custom URL, then it’s time to keep growing until you hit 1,000 subscribers and more!

    If you want to grow and actually make money from your Youtube channel then the following tips should help.

    Get Useful Growth Tools

    Use a free tool like TubeBuddy to evaluate your competition, research keywords, and make better videos.

    TubeBuddy has a free version as well as a couple paid plans. You can get a lot out of the free version as a newbie and when you are ready you can go to the next level.

    I love TubeBuddy for the SEO help but also the bulk management tools, canned comment responses, A/B testing, end screen templates and more.

    Here are the SEO tools you have access to inside TubeBuddy:

    • view and copy video tags from another channel
    • tag rankings so you can track where you rank
    • suggested tags for your videos
    • keyword explorer
    • search rankings
    • best practices audit

    All of those tools help you get your video ranked on YouTube so you get more views. TubeBuddy helps improve your SEO and increase search traffic that will double your views over time.

    Make Good Videos

    Seriously, making good videos is how you grow on YouTube. There are a lot of additional factors but you won’t grow if you make bad videos.

    Here are a few of the best tips from successful creators I’ve followed about making good videos:

    • Get to the point in your videos. Don’t ramble on for a long period at the beginning where people will fall off. Study your old videos too see where people drop off.
    • Make your videos provide value. If your videos are educational then make them very educational. If they are entertainment based then they should provide value by making your viewer feel something. Think of each video and consider what value it is providing someone.
    • Audio quality matters the most even over video quality. You can have top notch video but if your audio is bad people will stop watching.
    • Focus on your presentation and story telling skills. When you first start making videos you probably won’t be very good at this but it’s something that makes the best YouTubers connect with their audience.
    • Every video on your channel is providing some type of value. That value might be education or entertainment or just a feeling like someone belongs. You need to recognize what value you are providing and then put your own unique spin on it.

    Remember that these are all things that you can work on and you can’t compare yourself to other creators. You should work hard to improve your skills and tune out the distractions of others.

    Build Community

    Having a community around your channel and your videos is another great way to guarantee successful video launches and continued success. Building community can be done in a few ways:

    • commenting on other youtube channels
    • responding to all of your comments
    • referencing viewers and comments in your videos
    • giving shoutouts to people in your community
    • giving your viewers a nickname and expected phrases

    Those are just a few ways I’ve found to build my community but you can find what works for you! The most successful YouTube channels have an element of community around them.

    Those are just some of the ways I’ve learned how to grow my channel and consistently doubled my channel size each year I’ve been on Youtube while still keeping consistent and engaged subscribers.

    Learn From YouTube Experts

    Another great way to grow on YouTube (and save a ton of time) is to learn from experts who have already done it.

    You can book one on one time or take a course like my friend Erika’s course Mastering YouTube for the Busy Professional (affiliate link).

    She went from 0 subscribers to over 70,000 and $100,000 earned from YouTube in just one year. I’ve learned a lot from her about both getting views from trending topics and outsourcing to grow faster.

    Taking a course like this or from any big YouTuber will help you learn faster and grow faster because you will make less mistakes.

    All of these things will help you grow faster after you’ve hit your first 100 subscribers. Best wishes on growing your channel to a huge success!

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  • How To Create & Run Etsy Sales

    Using Etsy sales and coupons can help you make more sales and earn more money on Etsy.

    In this tutorial I’m going over all the things you need to know about sales and coupons on Etsy so you can start running sales and make more money with your Etsy shop.

    This video tutorial will definitely help you use these sales and coupon features in order to increase your sales. It covers:

    • the different sales and coupons you can create on Etsy
    • the targeted offers you can use to make more sales on Etsy
    • how to create a coupon code for more sales on Etsy

    In my Etsy shop for digital products I’ve made more money by running percentage off sales each month and think it’s an exceptional way to make more sales especially for digital products.

    How to Create & Run Etsy Sales

    Setting up a sale on Etsy is simple and it can definitely increase your shop sales and income. When you run a sale you can offer free shipping or take a percentage off the total or listing price. Shoppers see your items on sale in searches and in your shop.

    Here’s how to create an Etsy sale:

    1. Sign in to Etsy and click the Your Account icon.
    2. Click Shop Manager and go to your shop backend.
    3. Click the Marketing link in the left side menu.
    4. Click the Sales and Coupons link that pops up in the secondary menu.
    5. Click the Run Sale button in the pop up screen.
    6. In the new screen you’ll select all your Discount Details.
    7. Choose a discount – for free shipping you can select to only offer free domestic shipping.
    8. Choose a discount – you can offer anywhere from 10% to 70% off the price of items in your shop.
    9. Choose where it’s valid – you can select whether the sale is available in all countries or just one specific country.
    10. Choose minimum order to qualify – select whether there is a minimum number of items to buy (quantity), a minimum amount to spend (order total) or no minimum to qualify for the sale.
    11. Choose duration – you can select the duration of the sale beginning with the start date and the end date up to 30 days later.
    12. Write your terms and conditions – in this optional step you can inform your shoppers or any restrictions, limitations or others. terms that apply to the sale you are running.
    13. Name your sale – you can create a unique name for the sale that shoppers won’t see but will allow you to track sales performance.

    If you do not set a minimum order to qualify for a. sale then you will be able to select specific listings for your sale. In this situation you can edit the sale to include new listings later.

    If you do select a minimum order to qualify, then your sale will include your entire shop and you can not select items to exclude. If you have items you don’t want to go on sale then you should not select this option.

    How to Create Etsy Coupon Codes

    Creating an Etsy coupon code also follows a similar method. When you create a coupon for your Etsy shop you can share it with specific shoppers or with your email list or social media accounts to drive sales.

    Here’s how to set up an Etsy coupon code:

    1. Sign in to Etsy and click the Your Account icon.
    2. Click Shop Manager and go to your shop backend.
    3. Click the Marketing link in the left side menu.
    4. Click the Sales and Coupons link that pops up in the secondary menu.
    5. Click the Create coupon button in the pop up screen.
    6. Select the coupon type you’d like to offer shoppers: free standard shipping, percentage off, or fixed amount off.
    7. For percentage off you can offer any percentage off the price of items in your shop.
    8. For fixed amount off you can offer a fixed dollar amount off the price of items in your shop.
    9. For free standard shipping, you can offer free shipping so the buyer won’t pay a shipping fee. This type of coupon is shop wide automatically but you can choose to offer it only on domestic orders.
    10. Choose minimum order to qualify – select whether there is a minimum number of items to buy (quantity), a minimum amount to spend (order total) or no minimum to qualify for the sale.
    11. Select whether the coupon will be sent as a thank you to existing buyers or not once orders are complete.
    12. Choose duration – you can select the duration of the coupon code beginning with the start date and this type of sale does not require an end date.
    13. Customize your coupon code – give your coupon code a name that shoppers can use to enter to get the discount. You’ll also get a URL with this code name included that you can share to automatically apply the discount.

    How to Create Targeted Offers On Etsy

    You can also created targeted offers that will send discounts to very specific Etsy users who have taken an action. These offers go out to interested shoppers who have either added your item to their cart but have not purchased or who have favorited an item from your shop.

    Here’s how to set up a targeted offer:

    1. Sign in to Etsy and click the Your Account icon.
    2. Click Shop Manager and go to your shop backend.
    3. Click the Marketing link in the left side menu.
    4. Click the Sales and Coupons link that pops up in the secondary menu.
    5. Click the Set up offer button in the pop up screen.
    6. Select who you would like to send the offer to:
      Abandoned cart shoppers —people who‘ve left items from your shop in their cart
      Recently favorited shoppers —people who‘ve favorited something from your shop
    7. Choose coupon type – select the type of discount from percentage off the price of items in your shop, fixed amount off the price of items in your shop, or free standard shipping.
    8. Choose a coupon code – enter a coupon code that will be sent to customers that they can enter at checkout to get the discount. This code will also be used to generate a URL for customers to use.

    Targeted offers on Etsy used to cost $0.10 to send to each individual but they removed that fee and they are now free to use. It’s highly recommended you use these types of sales to reach out to already interested buyers.

    How Sales Can Create More Etsy Income

    Creating your Etsy sales and coupons is the first step of increasing your Etsy sales. Once you have your sales and coupons running you need to monitor their success and then adjust as necessary.

    You can track the performance and success of your sales offers in the Sales and Coupons sections of your Shop Manager.

    In this area yoou will be able to see:

    • how long your sales and offers have been running
    • number of orders per offer
    • items sold per offer
    • average order value per offer
    • revenue per offer

    Seeing these numbers for each offer will allow you to determine whether or not your offer is effective. If you are growing sales then stick with it but it. nothing is happening then play around with the offers you put out there until things start working.

    How To Start An Etsy Shop

    If you’re not on Etsy yet, it’s a great platform to start on and learn how to sell digital products.

    If you want to start an Etsy shop in order to earn part time or full time income then this tutorial for beginners will help you get started! I know a lot of people who have never sold online before can feel intimidated which is why I created this tutorial on how to set up an Etsy shop step by step. It is very easy and seeing someone else do it makes it feel much easier!

    You can start your shop with this link for 40 free listings to jumpstart your shop without having to waste money on those first listings.

    Additionally, here are some posts about starting and growing an Etsy shop that may help you:

    How To Get More Sales On Etsy

    If you have tried out sales or don’t want to sacrifice any profits, you can do other things to get more sales on Etsy.

    This video shares many lessons about getting more sales on Etsy that can help you grow your sales especially as a new seller.

    For more posts about growing your sales on Etsy try out these posts:

    Read More

  • Do You Need A Business License To Sell On Etsy?

    Etsy is a fantastic platform where you can sell a number of different things and even make a full time living.

    Many people starting an Etsy shop want to know the answer to this question: Do you need a business license to sell on Etsy? What do you need business wise to get started?

    Do you need a business license to sell on Etsy? It depends.

    Many states require Etsy sellers to collect sales tax and pay local business taxes. Depending on your state where you do business, sales and use tax can be complicated. Etsy collects sales tax for some states but not all.

    You will have to investigate your local requirements. Visit your state and local government website to find out what the tax requirements are for your area.

    Is your Etsy shop a business?

    Is your Etsy shop a hobby or a business? Hint: If you’re doing it for profit, it’s a business, not a hobby.

    Technically as soon as you start selling and making money you are a sole proprietorship in the USA. With this business type you don’t need to file legal forms or pay any fees to start.

    Depending on what you are selling and where you sell it from, you may also need to obtain certain business licenses locally.

    Check your state or city requirements so you will comply with your local laws to avoid violations and fines. You can look these up by searching Google for “your city” and/or “your state” plus “business license” and reading up on what is required.

    Etsy can be a very fun business, but it’s also a business. Even if Etsy doesn’t require a business license it is a best practice to treat your shop as a business from the start and get everything you need in place from business licenses to separate business bank accounts. Plan to succeed from the start!

    You don’t need anything to start an Etsy shop.

    So you won’t need official paperwork or an LLC in place to start an Etsy shop on the actual platform. Etsy does not require you to have a business license to open a shop. You can start a shop and start selling without anything in place.

    But this does not mean you don’t need one. That depends on your plans and your location. You will want to quickly learn what you are required to have in place where you live.

    This is something you will have to research on your own and consult a professional as every location will have different laws and requirements.

    Check your local rules and be careful.

    In conclusion…

    Make sure you follow your local rules and regulations when it comes to business licenses, permits and taxes. This is a location based issue so there is not a single answer.

    I’m not a lawyer or an accountant. Please do your own research and consult a professional if you have questions (don’t rely on a YouTuber).

    I run an Etsy shop and the business license requirements that apply to me locally may not apply to you and vice versa.

    Additional Resources

    Below I’ve included some links to helpful posts with more information about whether or not you need a business license for selling on Etsy and also for setting up your business properly.

    From Etsy’s seller handbook:

    What’s the best legal structure for my business? It’s an important question, but there’s no one answer, because as your business changes, the best way to structure it also changes.

    Guess what? Technically, you’re a sole proprietorship as soon as you start doing business, so that wasn’t so hard, was it?

    You don’t need to file legal forms or pay any fees to launch a sole proprietorship, which is why the vast majority of small businesses start as sole proprietorships, but there are some legal issues to consider. 

    From Wolters Kluwer:

    Etsy is available to anyone who wants to open an account. But to avoid violations and fines, you’ll want to make sure you are following state and local laws and regulations. Even if you’re only selling items occasionally and consider your venture more of a hobby than a job, the state you live in may still require a license.

    Even though you’re selling online, you still may have to charge your customers sales tax. Depending on the state you’re selling from, sales and use tax can be complicated. There are only a handful of states that do not charge state sales tax.

    Don’t forget to look into local sales tax as well. You may have additional taxes based on the county that you live in.

    From FT Patel Law PLLC:

    When it comes to physical and digital goods tax and licensing laws aren’t always equal. Some states only collect sales tax on physical goods only. Others collect sales tax on both. Check with your area to determine what the law says on physical and digital goods.

    If you registered your Etsy business under a name different than your own you may need to register a Doing Business As. Even if you don’t need to be licensed you may still need to register as DBA with your state.

    Those are a few resources that might help you determine whether or not you need to look further into getting a business license for your Etsy shop.

    How To Start An Etsy Shop

    If you’re not on Etsy yet, it’s a great platform to start on and learn how to sell digital products.

    If you want to start an Etsy shop in order to earn part time or full time income then this tutorial for beginners will help you get started! I know a lot of people who have never sold online before can feel intimidated which is why I created this tutorial on how to set up an Etsy shop step by step. It is very easy and seeing someone else do it makes it feel much easier!

    You can start your shop with this link for 40 free listings to jumpstart your shop without having to waste money on those first listings.

    Additionally, here are some posts about starting and growing an Etsy shop that may help you:

    Read More

  • Top Sinking Funds Categories & How To Set Up Sinking Funds To Hit Savings Goals

    Sinking funds are savings accounts where you save up a small amount at a time for a big expense.

    They can be used for large one time purchases, annual or semi-annual bills, yearly expected expenses, or unexpected expenses. People save sinking funds in multiple ways, from cash envelopes to multiple savings accounts to one big savings account with detailed tracking.

    Sinking funds can change your life. They radically transformed our budgeting life once we started using them. It truly makes sticking to a budget much easier because you eliminate the large expenses that wreck most people’s budgets.

    Setting Up Our Yearly Sinking Funds

    Setting up my sinking funds for the year will keep us on track with our budgeting and hitting financial goals in 2021. I’m using my sinking funds trackers to keep myself on track with my balances and how I’m saving to hit spending goals and paying annual bills.

    Our Sinking Fund Categories

    For 2021 our sinking fund categories include the following things:

    • Birthdays
    • Christmas
    • Car Insurance
    • Life Insurance
    • Car Repair
    • House (+ New Fridge!)
    • Pet Expenses

    There may be more sinking funds that we add later on in the year or we may end up cash flowing things as they come along since we do have a major online income source that can help cash flow extra monthly expenses.

    Our sinking funds are split into two types

    • Date based, where we need to save up a certain amount of money to spend or pay a bill by a certain date
    • Ongoing, where we need to save up money continually for eventual unexpected expenses where we don’t know the exact amount

    Between all of those things we have our yearly sinking funds set up like this:

    • Birthdays – $125 per paycheck or $250 per month
    • Christmas – $25 per paycheck or $50 per month
    • Car Insurance – $40 per paycheck or $80 per month
    • Life Insurance – $20 per paycheck or $40 per month
    • Car Repairs – $50 per month (will increase)
    • House Repairs (Fridge!) – $200 per month (big chunks too)
    • Pet Expenses – $50 per month

    We broke down our goals from how much we needed by certain dates in order to determine how much we needed to save per paycheck and per month.

    What are sinking funds?

    Sinking funds are accounts with a purpose.

    They are accounts you save into regularly for spending on expenses that are irregular expense, non-monthly expenses, unpredictable or big one time expenses.

    It’s a mini savings account for an expense you know you’ll have in the future.

    Sinking funds make saving for these hard to budget items strategic and stress free. You set a little bit aside each month until you hit your goal… and then you spend it!

    So if you’re saving up for an event 6 months from now, you put a smaller amount aside into the sinking fund each month until the event where you spend it all. Sinking funds are designed to let you spend without stress or worry.

    Common Sinking Fund Categories

    Below are some of the most common and often most helpful sinking funds that you can add to your budget.

    This list can help you with a starting point on what types of sinking funds you might want to try in your own budget.

    1. Car Repairs Sinking Fund – Car repairs will eventually happen. Every car needs repairs at some point even if it’s just general tire rotations or oil changes. Maintenance on cars is a necessary expenses if you own a car.
    2. Car Replacement Sinking Fund – Cars don’t last forever unfortunately. This means you’ll eventually need to replace your current car. Saving up a little bit every month into a car replacement fund will make the purchase of a new car much less painful and will prevent you from going into debt to get a new car when the time comes.
    3. Home Repairs Sinking Fund – Just like a car, you know your home will eventually need repairs. Because this is an expense that is inevitable, you need to be saving up for home repairs that will come along when you own a home.
    4. Water Bill Sinking Fund – Many areas have annual or quarterly water bills where several months add up before payment is due. When these big, irregular water bills hit it is helpful to have the money in a sinking fund ready to pay the bill.
    5. Pet Expenses Sinking Fund – Your pet may require regular grooming, special medicines for health issues, special diets and foods, and of course regular vet care. That’s not to mention anything like toys, doggy daycare, beds, clothing or any fun pet expenses. Add in an expensive emergency vet visit and you’ll definitely be glad you have a pet expense sinking fund.
    6. Christmas Sinking Fund – Christmas happens every year so it should not catch you by surprise and lead you into debt. Your Christmas sinking fund can be for gifts but also for things like decor, Christmas cards, foods for special dinners or anything else for the holidays. 
    7. Gifts Sinking Fund – Throughout the year we buy gifts for birthdays, weddings, holidays, baby showers, house warmings and more special occasions. While we love gifting those around us with things they will treasure, it can definitely add up and ruin the budget if we don’t plan for it! We put a little bit into our gifts sinking fund each month and it usually builds up so we can buy gifts when they are needed.
    8. Clothing Sinking Fund – You might not buy clothes every month, but you will eventually need to buy clothing or shoes as items wear out. You can save up a little each month and then eventually buy a higher quality item when you are ready to shop and replace items.
    9. Travel Sinking Fund – Travel is generally a high price tag item which is why many people create a travel sinking fund to save up for trips. If you save just $100 a month into a travel sinking fund then you can take a $1,200 vacation each year. If you want to travel more or go on better trips then you can increase the amount you save monthly.
    10. Car & Life Insurance Bill Sinking Funds – Many life insurance bills and car insurance bills are due every 6 months, quarterly or yearly. We pay our car insurance every six months, so we put money monthly into a car insurance sinking fund. Then when the payment is due we withdraw the amount, pay the bill, and start over again!
    11. Medical Bills Sinking Fund – Unfortunately medical bills can be a huge financial problem in the United States. A sinking fund (or a medical FSA or HSA) can help make these irregular costs more manageable when they come along. If you have a very high deductible you need to be saving each month into a sinking fund for medical expenses that could come up. Your life will be much less stressful if you have the money saved when a medical emergency strikes.
    12. Back To School Expenses Sinking Fund – If you have kids, then you probably want a “back to school” sinking fund. You’ll need clothes and school supplies when school season rolls around. Kids also have a lot of expenses for signing up for extracurricular activities at the start of the school year.
    13. Yearly Renewal Sinking Funds – If you have memberships or subscriptions that renew yearly like Amazon Prime or a Costco membership, they can be put into a yearly sinking funds account. You can create individual sinking funds for each yearly expense item or you can create a “yearly expenses” account where you add up the amount of all items, divide by 12, and save that amount each month.

    More Sinking Fund Ideas

    While those 13 sinking funds are common ones many people use, there are lots of other options that might work for your budget.

    1. Homeowners insurance
    2. Utilities
    3. Landscaping
    4. Property taxes
    5. Pool maintenance
    6. Home improvement projects
    7. New vehicle tires
    8. Fees and licenses (car registration, etc.)
    9. Fees for boats/ campers/ snowmobiles/ motorcycles
    10. Dues and subscriptions
    11. School and education fees
    12. School tuition
    13. Summer camp fees
    14. Kids sports and activities
    15. College savings
    16. Electronics replacements
    17. Outside decor
    18. Dentist visits and bills
    19. Medication
    20. Eye doctor/ glasses/ contacts
    21. Annual gym fees
    22. Miscellaneous
    23. Weddings
    24. Holidays
    25. Taxes
    26. Emergency fund

    If you are looking for ideas this list should help get you started!

    How do you set up sinking funds?

    Setting up sinking funds with many online bank accounts is very easy and super quick! From start to finish most banks have made the process of setting up sinking fund savings accounts very easy.

    If you want to see how we set up our sinking funds originally along with all the info about what sinking funds are then you can see the whole process in the video below.

    Setting up sinking funds is a great way to keep your budget together throughout the year so the ups and downs don’t derail you.

    If you haven’t tried out sinking funds before then you should definitely try incorporating it into your budgeting routine!

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  • Best Shopify Apps For Selling Digital Products In 2021

    Selling digital products in a Shopify store can be effective but you have to set up your store in a way that makes sense and gives you the best chance for success. I’m a Shopify affiliate so I get commissions when people sign up through my links but it’s truly one of the best platforms to use for selling any products online.

    In this post I’m going over the best, must-have Shopify apps – including free Shopify apps – that will help you sell digital products. Shopify apps allow you to create a Shopify store customized to your needs and all of these amazing apps give you the ability to sell digital downloads and products easily.

    If you haven’t started your store yet, try it out with a 14 Day FREE Shopify Trial.

    Shopify Apps For Selling Digital Products

    When you’re building a Shopify store for digital products there are a number of apps that allow you to upload and sell products passively.

    I go over both free and paid Shopify apps in this video. I also cover Shopify apps for selling digital downloads, music downloads, courses, memberships, and more.

    Here are the best apps for selling digital products for different types of content.

    shopify-apps-to-sell-digital-products-6

    Digital Downloads – This is the number one free app by Shopify for selling digital products. It’s the one I’ve used most often for selling printable downloads. This app allows customers to download their file immediately upon purchase by receiving a link via email.

    SendOwl – This Shopify app provides instant delivery of purchased digital products and have fulfilled over 8 million order on Shopify. It’s also a stand alone company with additional customer service and features. It comes with multiple useful features like automation, expiring links, and auto-generated license keys that can help you to power your products.

    Single Music – For musicians selling music as a digital product this app is incredibly valuable since it was made with musicians in mind. It bridges the gap between physical and digital music sales with useful tools like chart reporting, upselling campaigns, and clips for samples.

    Thinkific – For course creators the Thinkific Shopify app is the best way to add and sell courses to your Shopify store. The Thinkific app makes it super easy to create a course curriculum by uploading and drag and drop content. There is a free option when is great for beginners that allows you to create and sell up to three courses in your Shopify store.

    FetchApp – This delivery app for digital products has more features than. Shopify’s free app but less than the paid SendOwl version making it a good option for people that need to start with a free plan but then grow. You have the ability in this Shopify app to attach multiple files with a digital products which can be useful for larger items with multiple file types.

    Sky Pilot – If you’ve been wanting to build a membership program for recurring revenue Sky Pilot is a great option for your Shopify store. You can sell files, video streams and more to your customers in the membership.

    Bold Memberships – This app is also a great option for building a membership site with recurring revenue for your business. You can show or hide any piece of content to your members, create tiers of membership, and customize lots of features and functions. This app is $9.99 a month and offers a free trial.

    These are some of the best options for selling different types of digital products on Shopify.

    Shopify Apps exist to help you build your business by adding extra features to your Shopify admin. Most are created by third party developers, not by Shopify, so you’ll have to keep in mind that custom apps will be serviced by those companies directly. Apps are a great way to add features and create a better store overall, especially if you plan to sell digital products.

    How To Start A Digital Products Shopify Store

    If you don’t want to sell digital products on a competitive marketplace like Etsy or want to start with your own store from the beginning, then I recommend using Shopify to build a shop on your own website.

    The video above is specifically tailored to opening a Shopify store for selling digital products.

    Shopify is one of the leading platforms to create your own online store super easily and quickly. It’s also able to scale up as your business grows. The ease of creating a store and immediately beginning to sell your products makes Shopify one of the best platforms for selling online today and there are many ways to make it work for selling digital products.

    Additionally, here are some posts and links about Shopify that can help you:

    Digital Product Ideas

    So maybe you’re set on opening a store to sell digital products but you don’t know what you want to sell. There are lots of possibilities out there so finding the right product to sell is all about finding out what works best for you and your personality and skill level.

    Some ideas for digital products to sell:

    • Printables
    • Spreadsheets
    • Music / Songs
    • Courses
    • Ebooks

    Also check out these related posts with useful lists of types of digital products you can sell in your Shopify store:

    Enjoy the passive income that comes from selling your digital products via Shopify!

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