9 Tricks to Make Travel Cheap!

9 Tricks to make Travel Cheap, traveler, world, abroad, free, shoestring, budget, frugal, freedom, minimalism, passive, income, passport, visa, advice, world, vacation http://jessicacoaches.com/2017/04/9-tricks-to-make-travel-cheap

I have made a lot of money mistakes when I went traveling.  I do not want to date myself but travel blogs were not as popular, and for the most part, was flying blind other than a Lonely Planet Travel Guide.  I lost thousands that could have been avoided.  So I compiled a list of my hard-earned tips and tricks, so you, would not make the same ones!

1. Go where your money goes farther!
Choose destinations where the cost of living is low. Beer in Western Europe could cost you five times a beer in Eastern Europe. Check out https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/rankings.jsp to get an idea of how much it costs to just be in a country.

2. Travel slowly!
The longer you travel for, the cheaper it is. You get reduced rates staying places for a month or longer. The less jumping around you are doing, the less you are paying to get from one place to another. As you are there for longer, so you can take advantage of free days at museums and free festivals. Go to local parties.

 

3. Travel like you live there.
Don’t go out to eat constantly, pick up food at grocery stores and markets instead. Don’t make every day an action packed day, learn to relax. Take local public transportation instead of the tourist option.

4. Work!
Many places or business will give you room and board for work. It is easy to do, and you can even plan ahead with sites like HelpX.net, WWOOF.net, and WorkAway.info. Do not limit yourself; you can contact organizations or businesses you would like to work at and ask them directly too!

5. Cut down on fees.
Get a checking account or credit card that does not charge you extra for out or country transactions and ATM withdrawals. Or even better, find a bank which refunds any fees you may incur at a bank that is not your own. I use a Charles Schwab Investor Checking account. They have been amazing while stationary and abroad.

6. Play the dangerous game of credit card rewards.
I’m not a huge fan of these, as I always seem to end up giving them the cost of whatever they give me right back in interest. But they can be a powerful tool if you are disciplined. My husband and I took a trip to Nicaragua on points and only incurred a few airport fees.

7. Don’t have expenses at home!
Want to travel for a long time? Drop that lease, rent or sell your home, and sell off all your stuff including your car. Travel while you have no at home expenses weighing you down. You may be homeless, but let me tell you it is freeing!

8. Pay attention to Visas!
Know the status of the country you are entering and if you have to prearrange a visa, pay for a visa upon arrival, or can enter for free. I did not anticipate needing a visa, and it ended up costing me a lot of money in changing flights around as I could not afford expedition, and it would have taken a long time regardless as I was not in my home country. For United States citizens: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country.html

9. Don’t be afraid of people!
Hitchhike, find a travel buddy to split costs with, stay at someone’s house for free or through CouchSurfing.com. Try to network through social media to find friends and family in the area or their friends and family. Ask people who know more about the area than you to show you around. Not only does it help with costs, but it enriches the experience. Make sure to be kind and pass it on!

Ready to be Inspired?  Check Out:  My Top 5 Favorite Travel Videos!

Know someone else who might want to know how to save money traveling? Make sure to share!

How to Create Real Passive Income!

How to create real passive income, real estate, investing, investor, cash, flow, financial freedom, retire early.http://jessicacoaches.com/2017/03/how-to-create-real-passive-income/

(Background of image property of 401(k) 2012)

Let me first start out saying this is not an affiliate link bank; I am not going to tell you that doing all your searches through Bing or Swagbucks, or all your shopping through iBotta is passive income. Because it is not! Those are just incentive programs, to do your shopping through them, or to actually do work for them by building their businesses. Passive Income is income that does not come from trading your time for money; it is something that is sustained even when you are taking no actions. However, that does not mean there is no work involved!!!! Let’s get this straight; there is no such thing as money without effort. The closest thing is government cheese, but you still have to jump through a ton of hoops, live a very modest life, and be reliant on someone else. Passive Income streams tend to have a lot of work up front that yield a slow stream that takes only a negligible amount of time and maintenance later.

Stock Market: Dividend Stocks, Index Funds.
The key for passive income in the stock market is only to take the interest accrued out or dividends. Dividends Stocks are single company stocks that have a good track record of growth in the value of the stock as well as give little kickbacks called dividends. The key with the stock market as a passive income is that you do not remove the money that is generating the interest or dividends. The catch for this is that it takes a significant amount of cash (Work) to make any real life changing amounts here.

Real Estate: Rentals, Owner Financing, Lending.
The best thing about this category is that it all works together to allow for a lower point of entry. The bad part is it takes a long time or a lot working with many balls in the air to switch over from the person paying mortgages payments to the person receiving the mortgage payments. There are also so many different options for investing within the Real Estate industry. The baseline rule is getting someone downstream of you in the world to pay you a consistent cash flow.

Related: 4 Ways Real Estate Investing Could be Making You Money Right Now!

How to create real passive income, real estate, investing, investor, cash, flow, financial freedom, retire early.

Businesses: Franchises, Self Startups.
These take a lot of upfront work and time; businesses vary widely from restaurants to vending machines to small-scale blogs. Your imagination and motivation is the only limitation. Entry point can be very low like a blog or require significant capital such as a franchise. For passive income, the goal has to be generating enough income that you can hire people to do all the work and still yield an income.

Creative Royalties: Inventors, Authors, Musicians.
Usually taking a great deal of upfront work and marketing before any returns are seen. These once they are created passively create income. How much income mostly varies on quality, quantity, and marketing. For this not to be a business you have to hand this off to someone else such as a record company or a publishing house.

4 Ways Real Estate Investing Could be Making You Money Right Now!

4 Ways Real Estate Could be Making You Money Right Now! Investment Properties, Rentals, Landlors, Cash Flow, Passive, Income, Appreciation, Leverage. http://jessicacoaches.com/2017/03/4-ways-real-estate-investing-could-be-making-you-money-right-now/

“People always need a place to live.”  This was a statement made by my real estate investment mentor.  He had been a real estate investor from the age of 20; he tried all manner of operations, land to single family homes; commercial store fronts to multi-family housing.  Slowly and steadily he weathered the economic climates, and he worked his way to an early retirement at 45.

Countless people are investors in real estate, some small like me who own only seven units, some big who own apartment complexes all over the place.  Some passive who have all their properties managed by someone else, some active who play the role of the property manager.  Real Estate should be in your portfolio.  When held for long times it is steady.  When leveraged the return percentages can be very high.  When fully paid off they are an amazing constant source of income.

An investment property is one that is purchased with the intent of making money.  Your home can build net wealth, but it is not an investment property unless it is multi-unit and you are renting the other units out.

 

1.  Leveraging yourself into a fortune.

Loans are still available at historic lows in the United States, when you compare our rates to the 15% of times past our buying power is stronger than ever.  The advantages of using a loan to purchase real estate are you can take a smaller amount of money to purchase a large asset that yields more money and which puts more money in your pocket every month.  It allows the little guy to get into the game and get great returns.

See:  How to Buy a Property With No or Low Money Down!

 

Rental Investment Properties Rate of Returns Why Two Houses is better than one, the power of leverage

Click to Enlarge.

2. Tax Deductions.

There are three ways to get tax deductions on investment properties.

  • Operating Expenses, these include but are not limited to property management, water bills you pay for the property, and repair costs.
  • Interest on Loans, your loan company will send you a tax form at the end of the year, and it will be a tax deduction.
  • Depreciation (Cost Recovery), this is only for investment properties, not your personal residence, this is an incentive from the government.  This tax incentive is to help counteract the natural wear and tear your investment receives. They deem the economic life of a property to be 27.5 years; the deduction is the properties purchase value divided evenly over that time per year.

 

3. Appreciation.

Real Estate does not have a static value, it changes with the market and time, however, over time almost all real estate in the United States has gained a great deal of value. This is a wonderful thing because it means that for long-term property investment keeps up with inflation and has the potential to yield you a great deal upon sale.

Two things of note:

  • When you invest only for appreciation short term, you are moving into a different investment strategy of speculation.
  • There can be significant capital gains taxes on home sales; please seek advice from a tax specialist for more details on this.

real estate rentals property investment passive income

4. Cash Flow.

This is my personal favorite of the four ways I am making money from real estate right now.  Cash flow is the reason people call Real Estate investing a passive income, and I would personally call it a mostly passive income.  Cash flow is the money that is generated from your asset in excess of the costs.  I use a conservative estimate of half of your rent going to losses, repairs, vacancies, and costs.  Many people use this to pay off additional on the mortgage, save for another investment, or just fund their life.

 

Are you ready to buy an investment property?  Get PreQualified before you talk to a Realtor!

Smart Homes: Cutting Edge or Passing Fad?

Smart Homes: Cutting Edge or Passing Fad Amazon Echo Alexa Google Home Smart Devices http://jessicacoaches.com/2017/03/smart-homes-cutting-edge-or-passing-fad

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


 

First, what is a smart home? It is technology that has been integrated into your home, some of it has to be hardwired into your home while others are devices that communicate via Wi-fi. You now have the potential to control an enumerable amount of devices through movement or sounds, I have even seen some that use vibrations.

Set up your own security system? Check.
Have your entire house change mood lighting with a single phrase. Yep.
Keep an eye on an elderly family member. That too.
A personal assistant who plays music and will help you with your cooking by reading recipes or setting timers all without having to wash those chickeny hands! Yeah, even that.
Save you money by reducing your energy bill. That one is easy!
Control your home remotely? Piece of cake!

Technology has filtered its way into all aspects of our lives, and I imagine that slowly smart technology in homes will become standard. I have noticed as a Realtor, that when I encounter smart technology on a house, the buyers more often than not are excited, and it is one of the things they recall about the house after.

So where do you start?

For me, I just started my journey into changing our house into a smart home last year. Being a mom of three boys, I NEVER buy anything for myself. So when my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, I felt like a splurge. After watching countless Youtube videos and articles, I told my husband that I wanted a Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit, and an Amazon Echo. I chose the SmartThings Starter Kit because I like all the things you can do with security, cameras, alert you if a window is open. (Good for burglars and wayward children!) The company is also large and more prominent in the Smart Home field which while slightly more costly, is better supported than some of the smaller companies. The Echo, I chose because it seemed better established than the Google Home, who just entered the scene in 2015 and has some catching up to do program wise. The Echo has had a large impact in my life; music is so much more often playing in my home now, which means more dancing and lifted spirits.

Now, if you are more interested in lighting, I would suggest a Philips White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit to start instead.

How does it work?

First, you must get a hub, this device receives and delivers transmissions to all your other devices and allows for their control. A few of the devices such as the Nest Learning Thermostat  and the personal assistant devices, while able to integrate with the hub can operate independently if you wish.

You can control your hub through your computer, smartphone, or through a personal assistant device like Amazon Echo, or Google Home.

How a smart home is set up.

Click to Enlarge!

 

What are the downsides?

Where ever technology goes there is always someone ready to exploit it, will this make your home vulnerable to hacking? There have already been some reports of abuse.

This is a rapidly developing technology, and it can be costly, and wildly variable. There are so many products out there it could take you weeks of research to learn everything.

Conclusions?

Setting up a program with your hub so you can holler at your personal assistant to turn off the lights or turn on the tv, while having echoes of a starship captain commanding his ship, in reality, is spending quite a bit of money and time to set everything up. If you want your Smart Home technology to perform useful tasks, you will have to buy several other devices after the starter kit. Our decision? We just ordered our Nest 2 Outdoor and 1 Indoor Camera Bundle.

 

What you need to know before you buy a home!

What you need to know before you buy a home, financial freedom, money, real estate, Tucson, AZ http://jessicacoaches.com/2017/03/what-you-need-to-know-before-you-buy-a-home/

Here is the honest truth about renting versus buying.  The popular line is you are just throwing your money away renting when you could be paying yourself! Right? I know all the investing books I read seemed to tout that line.  It, however, is so much more complicated than that.  So here it is the nitty gritty, no slanted views, pros and cons to owning versus renting.

Renting:

Pros:

You have more freedom.  Leases can somewhat limit this, but you are not tied down.  You don’t have to be in a good seller’s market to leave quickly.  If you get a new job and the commute is far, just move.  Want to take a three-month sabbatical traveling?  Just plan it between moves for no at home costs.

-Simplicity.  You get to pay one lump sum for many housing needs. Maintenance? That isn’t you.  Property Tax? Included! Sometimes even your utilities are included.  Does something need a repair? Just call! No stress for you, one less thing to think about.

-Amenities.  If you are renting an apartment, you get access to many luxuries through communal space.  Pools, Gyms, Lounges, and more. Houses with those amenities can increase price drastically.

-Low upfront costs. An application fee, a security deposit. These can be very small compared to the upfront fees of purchasing a house.

Related:  How to Buy a Property With No or Low Money Down!

 

Cons:

-You have no control.  A landlord can choose not to renew their lease with you, and you will have to find someplace new.

-Your rent will increase.  Your rent should keep pace with market conditions and likely will go up unless the property is in disrepair.

-Does not build net wealth. You are building someone else’s net wealth not your own.

moving boxes financial freedom minimalism real estate renting vs buying

Buying

Pros:

-You have control. While HOAs (Homeowners associations) if you are in one, lenders, and the government has some say on your property it is relatively minimal.  You can change things in your home.  No one can kick you out unless you are seriously delinquent and do not catch up in time.

-The mortgage does not increase. When you buy your house, if you chose a fixed rate mortgage, your mortgage payment is set at the market values when you purchased your home.  This means that your debt will become less significant as inflation increases.  Property taxes and Insurance which are lumped into your payment, however, can and will increase.

-You build net wealth.  Yes, you can build net wealth in your home, but you will also be giving a lot of other entities a cut. There is money lost to fees of buying and selling, and of course, the interest which is front loaded into those first years.  It takes a long time! The longer you hold the home the better.  I would suggest not buying a home, if you do not plan 100% on owning it for the next five years, even then you are gambling on the market to have been stable or good to be able to get out without financial harm so try to plan for ten years.

-You get options. You could rent out your home and make money.  In a tough spot (While generally not advised it is better than credit cards if done correctly.) you can take out equity from your home.  Paid off your home? You could Seller Finance out to get a nice high predictable rate of return that is secured by a property you know better than the buyer.

 

Cons:

-If you are not careful, it can end up a financial trap.  If markets dip as they have done before home value can go down and you could end up stuck in your house for a very long time.  My methods of protections are never buying a home that if rented the price fetched would not cover the mortgage, insurances, and taxes and still leave some wiggle room.

-You cannot control everything.  A methadone clinic could move in close to your house.  A large employer could go belly up.  Your neighbor could let their house go to pot.  All of these can tank the value and your ability to sell your home.  Bye, bye equity.

-It can be an expensive hassle.  Insurance, taxes, maintenance, repairs.  These are all things you have to plan for and come out of your pocket.  Unseen, non-mortgage costs can sneak up on you in a house. Doubling your electricity bill, all those tools and stuff you end up buying, that urgent repair that comes up and costs three thousand dollars.

How to Buy a Property With No or Low Money Down!

How to buy a property with no or low money down investment real estate http://jessicacoaches.com/2017/03/how-to-buy-a-property-with-no-or-low-money-down/

Most of us have heard that it is smart to have 20% downpayment to purchase a home.  And it is.  Your payments will be lower, less interest will be paid over the course of the loan with a large downpayment.  However, if you are using these loans as a vehicle to purchase an investment, meaning not just a place to live but to make money, it can be a wise choice for a variety of reasons.  There are also people who just prefer to own a home, though sometimes it does not make sense.  Check out this article about the pros and cons of homeownership:  What you need to know before you buy a home!

Loan Types

1. FHA – Federal Housing Administration. 3.5% Downpayment.
Pros: Low down payment, good for up to 4 unit properties, accepts lower credit scores.
Cons: MIP (Mortgage Insurance Premium)  this is additional insurance you must purchase and pay monthly with your mortgage which lowers buying power.  If you are competing with other offers with everything but the financing being the same, FHA tends not to get the contract.  This is because FHA loans have a base quality standards the house must maintain to loan on it, and the lender will often require repairs.

 
Can I get an FHA Loan? LendingTree.com
 

2. VA – Department of Veterans Affairs Loans 0% Downpayment
Pros: No down payment, good for up to four unit properties, mortgage insurance is only a one-time premium which gets wrapped into the loan.
Cons: None to speak of.  If you have access to a VA loan you should have a house.

 

3. Insured Conventional – 3% Downpayment
Pros: Low down payment, good for up to four units
Cons: Not as widely advertised, PMI (Premium Mortgage Insurance), this is additional insurance you must purchase and pay monthly with your mortgage which lowers buying power.

 

4. Seller Financing (Seller Carryback, Land Contract) – terms vary widely but can be low or no downpayment.
Pros:  You are dealing with a person so you may be able to negotiate your terms as there are no standards anyone is being held to. Closing fees will be lower as the mortgage company will not be charging fees such as the origination fee.  You can sometimes get this type of financing with lower credit scores.
Cons: They are harder to find, most people just want all the cash up front when they sell.  The interest rates can be much higher than standard loans.  When you default on a seller financed home the property reverts to the owner and does not go through a standard foreclosure or trustee auction.

 

5. USDA Rural Loans – 0% downpayment
Pros: No downpayment, low-interest rates, not just rural also encompasses small towns, available to people who would normally not qualify for loans.
Cons: There are strict property and borrower restrictions.  Check those out here: https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-direct-home-loans

  

Related: How I never have to pay another penny for my retirement at age 34 on a 30,000 per year salary!

Additional ways to keep up front costs down

1. Negotiate in 3% closing cost coverage into your purchase offer.  This will cover all other fees and leave you with just the down payment.  Be considerate of the seller though and know that this is worse for the seller then selling the property for 3% less due to commissions.

 

2. Purchase a HomePath.com property.  These are foreclosures and short sales.  They have low 3% down payments and often give 3% in closing costs.  They also work to accommodate the first time buyer, giving some homes owner occupant preference and try to make it easier to qualify for.

 

3. Pathway to Purchase Programs.  This program may or may not be renewed with the changes in the government.  It was downpayment assistance program.  There are income and purchase price limits, but they are relatively high.  There is a limitation to what cities the program is in.  For Tucson, AZ they would give up to $20,000 toward your mortgage.

 

4. NHF Grants (National Homebuyers Fund Inc.). http://www.nhfloan.org/programs/index.shtml   Non-repayable grants up to 5% of the mortgage amount.  Not available in all states.  Low to moderate income requirements.

 

5. Other Downpayment assistance programs.   Check out  http://downpaymentresource.com for a search of programs you could be eligible for.

 

6. Ask your lender to see what fees they will waive.  I have found the big lenders more willing to waive fees than small lenders.  Small lenders tend to work harder to get borderline qualifiers into loans though!

 


Do you have any experience with any of these?  Any that I missed?