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Adulting Career Finance Girl Boss Lifestyle Money Matters

Goals Progress – September 2018

Summer’s almost over and the pumpkin spice is all over the place, but I’m not complaining! It’s crazy that 3/4ths of the year has already gone by, but I am pretty pleased with where am with my 2018 goals – especially the financial ones. Pretty cool what you can accomplish when you have a set plan! (says the Project Manager!! lol)



 

Career Goals

I’ve still been telling myself that I need to start studying for my PMP (Project Management Professional) certification. I also think it’s good to brush up your resume every once in a while just to keep it fresh, so that’s now on my to do list. I swear I will get some movement in this area in September!

Fitness Goals

August was definitely the month of fluctuation. I got down to my lowest weight, but then spiked back up to my heaviest and finally normalized into my current average. I’m sorry guys, I can’t give up my food! I did keep up with the lifting, which is more than I’ve done in the past, and I feel live I’ve seen change even though the scale might not agree. Like I keep saying, it’s definitely the eating, but one of these days I’ll find that balance. I think I’ll start tracking what my maxes are though just to keep me motivated. 😉

  • Barbell Squats: 125 lbs – yay 10 lbs more than last month!
  • Lat Pull Downs: 70 lbs
  • Seated Rows: 70 lbs – 5 lbs more than last month!



 

Financial Goals

I’m extremely happy to report that as of 8/31, I HAVE PAID OFF MY FIRST LOAN! I’ll be sharing a separate post, with more details on how I tackled this loan and paid off ~$10,000 in 6 months but damnit I am pretty proud to be able to cross off a goal on the list. This leaves me at 28% down to the road to being debt free! It’s a pretty hefty accomplishment I think, but I was sitting and looking at the numbers and in reality almost 24% of my payments didn’t go to principal! That’s such a crazy thing to think about because I’m aggressively trying to pay it down – if I paid the minimums every month, that percentage would probably be so much more! Nevertheless, I must keep chipping away because right now debt free is looking like October 2019 and that’s only 13 months away!

Blog Goals

I think I must have a one track mind because I’m pretty obsessive about my financial goals, which leaves me with very little motivation on the other goals! As usual, blog goals have been slow and steady. I definitely had less motivation in August and posted way less than I did the month before. Traffic increased a little with my dabbling in Pinterest, but I just haven’t been consistent. Consistency is key in everything! As of today, I’m at 2,967 followers, which is less than 100 more than I had last month, but some progress is better than none, no?



Until next month!

Categories
Adulting Money Matters

Why I Refinanced My Loan and Why You Should Do It, Too

It amazes me how little people in my generation (the dreaded millennials) know about money matters. Who can blame them, though? I went to college and learned about differential equations and artificial intelligence before I learned anything about refinancing debt and 401ks! I’m not a financial guru by any means so you should take what I say with a grain of salt and do your due diligence, but it’s been my #1 goal in 2018 to get out of debt.

I cringe internally every time I see a statement with an interest charge – seriously, pull up your loan or credit card statement and look at how much interest you got charged last month! My auto loan has a 3.6% interest rate and according to my statements, I’m paying ~$50 -60 in interest out of my monthly payment, but when I do the math personally, I’ve paid almost $900 that hasn’t been applied to my principal. That’s f*cking RIDICULOUS, if you ask me.

The good news is, I’m almost 30% of the way to being debt free! I definitely attribute part of my success in my debt reduction to consolidating my debt and refinancing my loan. So let’s get down to it, what is refinancing and why should you do it?

Refinancing is basically taking out a new loan at a lower interest rate to pay off an older loan or credit debt.



Here are 3 reasons why I consolidated and refinanced my loan:

1. Paying one bill instead of multiple

I originally opened my first loan to consolidate my debt. I was paying for 3 different credit card payments with different balances and it was hard to focus on which one to pay off first. Taking out the loan made it more manageable and it was easier to make one payment a month than 3 different ones.

2. Lower Interest Rates

The interest rates on my credit cards were pretty high – ranging from 14% – 19% – and the rates for personal loans were lower. However, my credit score had dipped considerably when I took out the first loan with USAA, I ended up with a 10.5% interest rate. Since I took out that first loan, I had built up my credit score so I qualified for an even better rate. I refinanced last year with SoFi and ended up with a 5.49% interest rate. Of course, I’m losing money dragging it out, but it’s more motivating to see most of your payment going to principal instead of interest.



 

3. Lower Monthly Payments

This is only true if you’re refinancing a sum that’s less than your previous loan, if you’re consolidating debt it’s definitely going to be higher but we should really be more concerned about lowering your interest rates than your minimum payment if you are serious about tackling your debt.

 

So, how do you refinance?

You can go through your current bank, a credit union, or just google “refinance loan” and pick from one of the many options out there. I can’t speak for which banks are the best, but I took out my original loan with USAA and ended up refinancing with SoFi and had great experiences with both their customer services. This is going to be a complete shameless plug, but what I loved about SoFi is the process was super easy and quick. I did my own research and shopped rates before deciding, but their process was super easy, there was no penalty for early payoff, no extra fees, and they offered more of a percent discount when I setup autopay monthly. I know a lot of people are wary of using affiliate links and I do get a little bonus if you use my referral link, but you get a $100 welcome bonus if you do. 😉


 

This post contains affiliate links, but opinions expressed are my own.
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Categories
Adulting Finance Money Matters Reviews

4 Websites / Apps I’ve Made Money From

It never hurts to have a few extra dollars in your wallet and when you have financial goals like me, every penny counts. There are tons of websites and apps out there that claim to make you cash, but it’s hard to tell up front which ones are actually worth it. I don’t sign up for these sites/apps thinking I’m going to make a ton of cash, but I am all for passive income – where I’m getting paid back for doing things I was going to do anyway. Here’s a list of 4 websites/apps that I use on a regular basis because I’ve actually gotten payouts from them.

Ebates

TLDR;

  • Earn cash back for shopping online by clicking affiliate links on the ebates site.
  • Payout is quarterly when you meet the $5 threshold; payout through PayPal or actual check.
  • My favorite website to earn extra cash passively
  • #shamelessplug Get a $10 bonus when you sign up using my link my Ebates link

Ebates is a cash back website that gives you (r)ebates for shopping their partners’ websites. The way it works is, you login to your ebates account, search for the website you want to shop at, click through the link on their site, and purchase your items. Ebates makes a commission when you make a purchase through their link and they give back a portion of that commission to you. The website tells you exactly what percent of your total you’ll get back on your purchase. The percentage varies anywhere from 1 – 42% and the cash back credit to your account is almost instantaneous. They have a pretty extensive list of partners – some of my favorites are Orbitz, Best Buy, Sephora, and Target. I don’t buy anything online without checking if they’re affiliated with Ebates.

The way the payout works is by quarters. At the end of the quarter, if you’ve reached the minimum threshold of $5, you get what they call a ‘Big Fat Check’. You can get payment either through PayPal (my preferred method) or an actual mailed check. My last ‘Big Fat Check’ was for $14.39 for activity from January – March of this year. Since I joined in November 2016, I’ve gotten over $400 in rebates. Ebates is definitely my favorite website to make a few extra bucks on because the $5 threshold is pretty low and if I’m doing a lot of purchasing online, I hit it pretty quickly.

They’re customer service is also great. If you’re not seeing cash back in your account, you can go through their Help link and submit a claim. You select the store, date of purchase, and shopping trip (they record your click throughs on the site). You also have to enter your Order Number, Subtotal, and copy and paste your order confirmation email. I’ve submitted a few claims and they always added it to my account instantaneously. I think they’ve also added in store shopping features, but I haven’t really looked into those.

If you sign up using my Ebates link, you’ll get a $10 bonus when you spend at least $25 – quick way to get your first big fat check!



ibotta

TLDR;

  • Earn cash back by sending in proof of purchases from shopping in store. (Mainly for groceries.)
  • Payout any time you meet the minimum $20 threshold; Payout via PayPal or venmo.
  • #shamelessplug Get a $10 welcome bonus when you signup using my referral link.

ibotta works really similar to Ebates, but the difference is it’s for in-store shopping. I believe they also have some online shopping features, but I stick to Ebates for that. You can either search for the items you purchased or start with the store you purchased it at, add the cash back, then submit a picture of the receipt. If the item is specific, like ‘Coca Cola 12 pack’, it’ll ask for a scan of the barcode as part of the proof of purchase.

screenshot of the ibotta app

The downside to ibotta is the minimum threshold is much higher – you have to hit $20 to get a payout. I’ve personally only gotten paid once because the cash back per items that I usually purchase is really minimal ($0.25 – $1). I have seen them give more cash back, but it’s for items I don’t buy. Their offers do change often and they have opportunities for bonuses.

The way it works is, you search for the item you purchased, the store you purchased it at, add an image of the receipt and sometimes a scan of the barcode for the item, and they add the cash to your account. The threshold to get paid is $20 so it’s a lot higher and I’ve personally only been paid once off ibotta but their offer list isn’t as extensive. The offers change often, but they’re more like coupons instead of a total percentage off. Payment is through PayPal or Venmo. Get a $10 welcome bonus when you sign up using my referral link!

 

Poshmark

TLDR;

  • Buy/sell new or gently used clothing and accessories that are sitting in your closet.
  • Payout whenever your item is accepted by the buyer, no mininum threshold; Payout directly to your bank account.
  • Selling items can be hit or miss.
  • #shamelessplug Sign up using my code SHER0XX (zero not an o) to get a $5 bonus.

Poshmark is a website/app used to buy and sell clothing. It’s kind of like a Buffalo Exchange or Plato’s Closet for the internet. I wrote a post last year on how I made $1700+ selling stuff on Poshmark, so if you want a detailed walk through of the app, you can check it out. I checked my total earnings today and to date I’ve made over $2300.

It’s super easy to post items on the app and they take the worry out of shipping by providing the labels. The downside is you don’t know what is going to sell and when it’s going to. If you sign up using my code ‘SHER0XX’ (that’s a zero) you get a $5 bonus!



Achievement

TLDR;

  • Earn points for doing healthy activities.
  • Payout of $10 when you reach 10,000 points; Payout via PayPal
  • Point threshold is kind of high, but earning points is passive.
  • #shamelessplug Sign up using my referral link to get a 100 points.

Achievement is a free website / app where you can earn points for doing healthy things. You can connect healthy apps to your Achievement account and it automatically gives you credit for activities that you do. For example, I have a Fitbit Alta HR and I log my weight daily in the Fitbit app. The app automatically syncs with Achievement and credits me points weekly based on how many steps I take and how many times I logged my weight. Achievement can connect to Apple Health, myFitnessPal, Jawbone, Run Keeper, and a few others. You can also get points by doing their surveys, but I’m not really active on that account.

The threshold for Achievement is really high – you need to hit 10,000 points to get a $10 payoff. Of the 4 apps I mentioned, this one is the most passive for me because I’d use my Fitbit whether I was getting points or not, but I’m not going to say no to $10 if they’re going to give it to me for free! If you sign up using my referral link, you can get 100 points credited to your account.



Do you use any apps to make extra cash? Which ones do you use?
Let me know in the comments below!
Categories
Adulting Money Matters Organization

How I Made $1700+ Selling My Old Stuff on Poshmark: The Average Jane’s Guide to Poshmark

 

I recently posted on Instagram that I got rid of a lot of stuff on Poshmark and got a ton of questions asking who/what/where/when/why so I thought I’d put together a mini FAQ for the Poshmark noosbs or just those who wanted to know how I did it. If you haven’t signed up, use code SHER0XXfor a $5 credit! (I swear I didn’t choose that code! 🙈)

If you think this is some get rich quick scheme, it’s not. I earned $1700+ over the course of a year and a half and most of the work was pretty passive. Like any other average girl, I have a lot of stuff I really don’t need or use but I have a hard time letting stuff go because I either a) think I’m going to use it later (NEWSFLASH: you won’t) or b) feel bad donating it because I spent so money on it. I’ve tried selling things to stores like Plato’s Closet but it always feels like such a waste of time. I still do that from time to time, but I found Poshmark to be a better alternative.

 

I actually joined Poshmark back in 2012 but wasn’t an active seller until late 2015 and didn’t even make my first purchase until 3 weeks ago in early 2017! I haven’t sold everything I’ve ever posted and sometimes I really just want to get rid of stuff for the closet space and to clear the clear so I’ll end up donating things I don’t feel like are going to sell. Like I mentioned before, I’ve made $1700+ over the course of a year and a half I made $800+ in the month of January because I’ve been selling my high end/limited edition makeup collection.

 

But let’s get down to the nitty gritty, the reason you came here – The Poshmark 411.

 


The Poshmark app’s home screen.

  • WHAT IS POSHMARK?

    Poshmark is an app used to buy and sell clothing, shoes, bags, accessories, etc. It originally started as an app for women but they eventually expanded to men’s and children’s stuff.

  • DOES IT COST ANYTHING?

    It’s FREE to download the app and join.  They do take a cut out of anything sold. It’s not confirmed anywhere, but it seems like the pricing is as follows:

    • 20% for any item sold over $15
    • Flat $2.95 for anything under $15
    • WHAT ABOUT SHIPPING?

      As a buyer, it costs a flat $5.95 for shipping and it’s free for items over $500. They even include authentication on items over $500 (think LV purses, Louboutins shoes). I personally hate paying for shipping and $5.95 is a little steep for smaller items, but the upside is, it’s 3 Day shipping so once the seller drops it off at the post office, it’s delivered within 2-3 days!


      • HOW TO POST ITEMS

        Click the “Sell” icon, add pictures, and fill out the required fields. The more fields you add, the more likely you’re item will come up in a search. Be honest about the item – Are there any defects? Is it true to size? How often has it been used? The worst thing you can do is lie or deceive a customer! Selling imitation or fake items are also against the rules. I feel like it’s a given in this day and age, but the pictures are everything. Take clear pictures and be honest about where defects are. If you look at my listings (@sher0xx) obviously, I am not a professional photographer and I did get kind of lazy posting so many items, but I tried to get them as focused as possible and in the best lighting.



The sell icon at the bottom menu on the home screen.

    • SHARING IS CARING

      Share your posts (and other seller’s posts!) as often as you can. Sharing a post bumps your listing to the top of the feed for your followers and the more people who see your listing, the more likely you’re able to sell. If someone share’s my post, I try to share one of there’s – it’s kind of a way to say thank you. You can also share your posts to parties, if there’s one going on.


The share button can be found at the bottom right of a listing

    • WTH IS A PARTY?

      A Posh Party is a designated time to share specific things. For example, there can be a “Best In Makeup” party at 2 PM. The party will go on for 2 hours and during that time window, you can share items that fit the description of allowed items. When you view the party info, it’ll tell you what categories are allowed. If you try to share something that doesn’t fit the description, an error message will pop-up. Parties are a good way to advertise because often times people will share items they like that they find in the party.


Poshmark Party homepage

    • LIKE POSTS TO FOLLOW LISTINGS

      I don’t know if liking a post has any effect on where the listing falls in search results, but I do know if you like a post, you get notifications about it. If the seller drops the price, you get a notification, and if you’re lucky, discounted or even free shipping! I ended up buying the coat in the picture because I got a notification that the seller dropped the price AND it got free shipping – I legit only paid $10 for it and got it within 2 days!

    • HOW TO BUY

      There are two options to purchasing items: Buy Now or Offer. A bonus option is bundling.

        1. Buy Now

          Self-explanatory. You buy it now! Buy Now takes you to a payment screen to verify your shipping and payment information. You can pay with either credit card, Venmo, or PayPal.

        2. Offer

          If you click the “Offer” link instead of “Buy Now” it takes you to an eBay-esque screen where you can bid on the item. Once you submit an offer, the offer is binding and if the seller accepts, you will automatically be charged. Offers are nice because you get to haggle with the seller a little, but as a seller you can get some lowballers, which are not fun at all. Here’s a handy little chart I found and agree on:

      Bundling

      Bundling is when you purchase multiple items from the same seller. I’ve sold bundles before but haven’t personally purchased one myself. Some shops will have automatic discounts if you bundle (for example mine is 15% 2+ items). Purchasing bundles also has the Buy Now or Offer options.

Trading

Often times, other ‘Poshers’ (Poshmark users) will comment on items they’re interested asking, “Trade?” Trading is not encouraged by Poshmark, but it seems like what people will do is pick which items they’re trading for, post a listing for really cheap (usually less than $5), and purchasing it will generate the shipping label. I guess ideally, you’re just paying for shipping. I personally have not done it and am not interested because my purpose is to get rid of items on the app. I have considered it, but never really saw anything that was, in my opinion, worth trading for.

    • SHIPPING ITEMS

      So you finally sold an item, what now? Ship it! I do a lot of online ordering so I have small boxes lying around that I’ll recycle and use for shipment. I sold a lot of my makeup collection and since those items are particularly fragile, I had to ship them in bubble wrapped envelopes.

       

       

      The size I used most was the 4×8 (#000), you can get them on amazon for $7.99 for 50 or search for a size that you need. I am conscious that buying shipping materials essentially takes a cut of the profit so I try to recycle boxes as much as I can. You do want to be considerate of your customer and not send them jacked up boxes either!


Click “Yay I shipped it!” to notify the buyer it was shipped
 
 

Tracking information from a seller’s point of view.

    • ACCEPTING ITEMS / RELEASING FUNDS

      Once you ship the items, a notification is sent to the seller and the item can be tracked either in the app or on USPS.com using the link that was emailed. As a seller, you have 7 days to ship the item, otherwise the transaction is cancelled. You do have the options to click the “Yay I shipped it!” button in sale, but if it isn’t scanned by USPS within 7 days, it’s not considered shipped. It takes about 2 – 3 days shipping for the items to arrive and once the tracking marks the item as ‘Delivered’ the buyer has 3 days to accept the package in the app and release the funds to the seller. If it’s not accepted in 3 days but marked as delivered, the funds are automatically delivered to the seller.


Pending acceptance from buyer.

  • GETTING PAID

    I’m definitely a fan of the payment structure in Poshmark. I’ve sold on eBay before and they only release funds once a month. Another thing about Poshmark vs. eBay is that Poshmark takes their cut up front, whereas eBay charges you separately. There’s good and bad in both of those, but since my sales aren’t usually very high priced, I personally like the fact that the app tells me up front what cut they’re taking and takes it out up front.

    In Poshmark, once the items have been accepted, the payment is redeemable right away. As far as I know, there’s no limit to how many times you can redeem funds in a month – I’ve done it after every sale was credited to my account and only recently just waited to pull it out.

    Your payment is redeemable in 2 ways:

    1. 1. Poshmark Credit

      Poshmark Credit is exactly what it sounds like, you can use the funds to purchase other items for sale in the app. As long as you have funds in your account, it’ll automatically take payment from there first before asking for a different payment method.

    2. 2. Direct Deposit

      You can have the funds transferred to your bank account using ACH. I have it sent to my checking account and once I put in a redemption, it’s in my bank account within 2 – 3 days.

To cash out – click ‘Redeemable’

 


Select method.
 


Enter the amount you want to redeem.

 

So there you have my extensive Poshmark guide for the average Jane! I feel like I pretty much covered all the basics, but if you have any questions feel free to ask!