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Amazon Orders Mercedes-Benz Vans to Deliver Extra Packages + How to Deliver on Your Promises Every Time

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Is that you in the big body Benz ha! (Juvenile voice.) This is what we will begin saying once Amazon implements its plans to put extra delivery vans on the street. Amazon announced it’s ordering 20,000 Mercedes-Benz vans from Daimler AG as part of a push to partner with small businesses to deliver extra packages. Amazon made a promise in June to partner with small businesses, that could employ as many as 100 drivers and lease up to 40 vans, to handle its surging growth in deliveries and cut its dependence on the postal service and FedEx. Now as a way to keep its promise it will roll out the new initiative slowly, with the first 100 vehicles deployed by year-end and the full fleet by the end of 2019.

Keeping promises is a great way to keep customers and build character as a business or person of your word. When we make promises in our everyday lives, there are times that we fulfill them, but there are other times where we break them and feel guilty for it. But what about the promises we make with ourselves? Do we feel guilty when we break those or are they no big deal? I know we mean well, but it’s easy to let ourselves down. The truth of the matter is that no one will know exact us, so we give ourselves the total authority to be judge and jury. But we must remember why we set certain promises, to begin with. Promises to ourselves are important, and we must get into the habit of keeping our word… (our thoughts). According to TimeManagementNinja.com, here are five ways to keep your promises to yourself:

Here are 5 Ways to Keep Promises with Yourself:

  1. Write It Down – If there isn’t proof, did you really promise it? Joking aside, there is magic in writing down your promises. Be specific and be sincere about what you are promising yourself you are going to do.
  2. Make it Visible – Visibility leads to action. Keep your promises where you can see them. It could be on a Post-It on the bathroom mirror that will remind you each morning and night. It could be in your smartphone background so that you will see it every time you turn on your phone. It could be a bracelet or token that you carry on your person. Do whatever it takes to ensure that your goals are always visible.
  3. Chart Your Daily Actions – Daily is the best way to check on your promises. Keep a “Habit List” to help you “check off” that you do your promise each and every day.
  4. Keep a Progress Journal – A journal is a great way to review your progress. You can reflect on your wins and your shortcomings. What are you doing well, and what do you need to continue to improve?
  5. Keep It Short -Keep your promises short term. Saying that you are going to do something for a year is tough. Even a month or two. Try thinking about this week? Could you stick to your workout plan for that long? Or keep your inbox at zero just for the work week?

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is one of the nation’s top personal finance experts. Dubbed as the Financial Motivator, he uses a culturally responsive approach in teaching financial literacy. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money. The views and opinions expressed are those of Ash Cash and not the views of BankMobile and/or its affiliates.

The Daily Digm (News)

Valentines Day Proves That Money Can Buy Love + 4 Reasons to Fall in Love with Your Taxes

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There has always been the long-standing argument that money cannot buy love! And many preach this like gospel so vehemently you would think this is an undeniable fact. But if you let the numbers tell it Valentine’s Day may prove that money can buy love. That’s because Valentine’s Day is one of the priciest holidays in the U.S., with Americans spending on average $267 to mark the occasion, according to Bankrate’s 2019 Valentine’s Day survey. Consumers are set to spend $20.7 billion this year for Valentine’s Day, says the National Retail Federation, beating the 2016 record of $19.7 billion. And although men spend significantly more for the day ($339, versus women who spend on average $64) men also expect their partners to spend more on them — at least $211 to be exact, while women expect their partners to spend around $154.

So now that we have settled that, the next big love of our life that is on everyone’s mind is… those dreaded taxes that we have to file every year. For some reason, taxes have gotten a bad rap, but truth be told if you knew the secrets, you would fall in love with doing your taxes more than Kanye loves Kanye (they’re not really secrets, but it sounded cool to say). Face it, you work hard and meet your obligations all year round, so why shouldn’t you be rewarded for doing what you’re supposed to?

You absolutely should be rewarded! And to help you reap those rewards, check out the following five tips for filing taxes that will help you start to fall in love with the process.

Lovely Tips for Filing Taxes

1) You can possibly get tax credits and deductions for higher education.

For many Americans, especially millennials, student loans are one of the most concerning things keeping them up late at night. But, most don’t realize that they may be eligible for many deductions that will give them a bigger return come income tax time.

For example, the student loan interest deduction allows you to deduct the amount you paid in student loan interest, up to $2,500 per year. Some other deductions include: the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. Visit IRS.gov for a complete list of deductions.

2) Staying healthy can come with financial kickbacks.

With the rising cost of health insurance these days, it may be tempting to forgo health insurance and take your chances, however, not only would that be a big health mistake, but it would also be a big financial mistake due to the penalty charged to those who are uninsured.

One thing that may make you fall in love with taxes is the fact that you can contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA). In order to pay for those high deductible health insurance plans pre-tax, contributing to an HSA can save you thousands of dollars when you file your taxes. For the 2015 tax filing year, the minimum annual deductible is $1,300 for individual coverage and $2,600 for families and the maximum annual deductible and other out-of-pocket expenses is $6,550 and $13,100 for families.

3) Doing good can be financially rewarding.

There are two universal laws that I live by: 1. “the more you give the more you get” and 2. “to whom much is given, much is required.”

Not only is giving back a noble thing, but it can also help give you substantial tax savings. If you made donations to a charity, you might be able to use them as deductions on your taxes. To qualify, your donations have to be made to a nonprofit organization that can prove they have 501(c)(3) tax status. Legitimate charities usually have their status clearly stated on their websites, or you can verify it directly from the IRS by visiting http://www.IRS.gov/charities, then click on the tab that says, Contributors.

The second criterion is that you must have a receipt from your donations. Not all of your donations count, and there are limits on what can be deducted, so make sure you check with a tax accountant to verify your eligibility. Some common deductions include real estate, furniture, clothing, cars, electronic equipment, office supplies, mileage, cash donations, and tithes paid.

4) Your side hustle can pay your dividends.

We now live in a time where starting a business is not only easier than ever, but it can be done with low overhead, which results in showing a profit earlier on. With many people now leaping faith to become their own bosses, it would behoove you to take advantage of the many associated benefits.

Starting a home-based business can cause two things related to your taxes to happen. First, with your initial investment into the business, it can increase your tax refund. And secondly, you can deduct things like your home office, telephone, Internet service, and office supplies. The deductions aren’t anything to sneeze at either. On average, a home-business can bring in around $3,000 to $9,000 in tax savings. The great thing is that it doesn’t matter whether you run your business full-time or part-time—you can still benefit from running a home business.

😉

Starting to fall in love with the idea of filing your taxes as much as you already love mobile banking? Just remember that in all things, love is a process!

Disclaimer: All material is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide tax, legal or financial advice.  Paradigm Money does not provide tax, legal or financial advice, so you should consult your own tax, legal and financial advisors before making a decision or taking any action.

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Another Partial Government Shutdown May Be Avoided + How to Avoid a Financial Shutdown

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Another partial government shutdown may be avoided as lawmakers reached an agreement “in principle” to fund the government. Top House and Senate negotiators said that if the deal received approval from leadership including President Trump, it could fix the immigration dispute, according to The New York Times. A deal needed to be reached by Monday for Congress to have enough time to consider and pass the agreement by Friday’s deadline. This is good news especially for the 800,000 plus workers that could potentially be affected. But how do you avoid a financial shutdown if there’s a government shutdown? The answer… Start a business!

But I know what you’re thinking: “How can I possibly start a business when I currently have full-time work, full-time school, or full-time mommy/daddy duties (or all of the above)?” Well have no fear, the good news is that you can have your cake and eat it too. Besides, isn’t that what cakes are made for? The following are four ways that you can start your own business while juggling other priorities.

Step 1: Use your time wisely

It’s a fact: you have the same 24 hours in a day as Beyoncé, Bill Gates and Oprah. However, it’s how you use those 24 hours that will determine if you are successful in your new business or not. Before you launch your business, make sure that that you put aside at least two to three hours a day to focus on your business. No matter how crazy you may think your life is, proper time management will help you find a few hours to contribute towards your goal. For example, even if you work or go to school full-time, that’s 8 hours in your day plus two to account for travel time plus another two to account for getting ready. That’s 12 hours out of your 24 hours with 12 more hours to spare. Even if you sleep for eight hours, you still have four hours left every single day to work on your business. That’s 28 hours a week or 112 hours a month, which is enough time to get something meaningful started.

Step 2: Set goals 

Once you’ve fleshed out your ideas and have come up with a strategy to execute them, make sure you set goals for yourself and your business, so you’re held accountable. Make sure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound). They should also be broken up into short and long-term.

Step 3: Learn more about your business 

As you launch your new venture, understand that it’s not possible to have too much knowledge. One of the best ways to learn as much about your business as possible is to perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. Knowing each component will give you the information you need to decide whether your business is a viable option.

Step 4: Launch and spread the word

Once you determine you have a great business idea, it’s time to launch and start spreading the word. When launching your business, it ’s imperative you tell your friends, family, co-workers, church congregation, classmates, strangers and anyone else you run into!

Bonus: Lower your cost of living 

One of the main reasons businesses don’t get off the ground is because they don’t have the money needed to push the business forward. Since it is tough to get a business loan at the early stages of a venture, many people have to rely on personal finances, friends, and family. Lowering your cost of living will give you a well-needed cushion to infuse into the business if needed. This means that you should focus on the things that you need rather than spending so much on your wants.

It is also wise to keep your money in a fee-free or low-fee bank account to help avoid any unnecessary fees. This will help during any monetary highs and lows (and trust me, they will happen) that your business experiences.

So what do you say? Are you ready to begin the exciting journey of starting your own business? If so, let us help you stay committed to your goal and provide you with empowering tools and resources to help you stay motivated through the process.

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Your Tax Return May Be a Little Light + How to Make Your Money Go Further

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It’s been a full year since Congress overhauled the tax code, and early federal tax filers have found refund checks to be about 8% lower on average, reports CNN. Refunds for 2018 so far averaged $1,865, compared with $2,035 for the 2017 tax year, according to IRS data.

For many, they will be missing out on money they were looking forward to getting a head start on this year financially. If you are one of those people how do you stretch your money? Stretching your money can be about a lot more than clipping coupons, though that shouldn’t be underestimated. The following are some tips on how to stretch your money:

Pay Down Debt

Of course the most obvious is to pay down debt. You are most likely paying through the nose on interest rates for your credit cards. Getting that debt paid off as soon as possible will not only free up more money every month, it will also mean that you don’t grossly overpay for the things you buy.

When you go out and buy a new product because you need it, and it is a bargain, it ends up being a lot less of a bargain when you pay 18% or even higher interest on that product for a year or more. That one-time “bargain” has now become something that you wasted money on.

Get to Know Generic Brands

Learn how to shop better. Depending on what store you shop at, most of the store brands are every bit as good as the national brands, but they cost a lot less. On occasion, you may find something that you don’t like so you don’t buy that one thing again, but the majority of items will be the same.

The only difference you will notice is the amount of money you start to save each week.

Make Your Car Run More Efficiently

To save money on gas make sure your car is tuned up, keep your tire pressure at the right amount and try to cut back on driving. Simple things that anyone can do. Plan your trips ahead of time and consolidate all your errands into one trip when possible.

The Bottom Line

Doing all these things will allow you to save money every month. You can probably save a few hundred dollars a month if you start making these simple changes. Then you can add that extra money to your minimum payments on your credit cards. Doing this will enable you to get out of debt sooner. You thought I was going to say shop online but nope… Get out of debt first!!!

Stretching your money is not that hard. It will require you to make some changes and maybe a few sacrifices here and there, but the relief you get from being in control of your finances will far outweigh any of the changes you have had to make.

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