Things to Consider When Selling a Home in 2019 {Infographic}

Things to Consider When Selling a Home in 2019 {Infographic}

Exchanging my House in 2019

Predicting the future of the U.S. economy is touchy, if not impossible- especially when it applies to the housing market. Before we get into the details, I will preamble this berth by saying this: if you are fully prepared to sell in 2019, I admonish moving forward with the sales process prior to 2020. Why? Economists and real estate professionals are recognizing that the U.S. economy will most-likely encounter a receding in 2020, or maybe even as early as the end of 2019. Interest proportions are also expected to rise. Some experts quarrel the gate-crash will not come until 2024 -2 026, you don’t want to be caught on the wrong side of a recession so don’t get greedy if you’re ready

Fortunately, in my groceries located throughout both Raleigh and Charlotte, NC we do not experience as volatile swings as neighbourhoods like Las Vegas and Atlanta. You’ll want to really understand your market before diving into any decision.

Of direction, there is no guarantee that the recession will stumble. But professionals are increasingly moment in that direction. Harmonizing to billionaire investor Ray Dalio, founder of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Identify, the likelihood that the U.S. will recruit a receding before the 2020 presidential election is very strong. During an form at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics, Dalio expressed that he belief the probability of a receding could be as high as 70 percentage.

So, you might ask the following: if I do feel fully-prepared to sell this year, what will that process looks a lot like? What should I presume? What gradations do I need to take to sell my home?

Below, I address some of the key factors you should look out for when preparing to sell your home this year.

Fewer Buyers in the Market

In 2018, I find a slowdown in rise and fewer purchasers enrolling the market. I think that this trend will continue into 2019, who is able to both both good and bad for vendors. Here is the good news about having a smaller buyer’s market: the buyers who are active in the marketplace this year are very motivated to buy and, in effect, will have lower negotiating position. Therefore, you as the vendor will probably be able to obtain a higher selling price.

Interest Frequency

Purchasers will most-likely feel the pressure of rising interest rates in 2019. This, in turn, will be generated them to push the sales process along faster so that they can secure a mortgage before an interest rate spike. Interest frequencies have been an upward trend over the last year and will continue to push in that direction, incentivizing both buyers and sellers to move quickly.

Interest paces are currently at their highest level since February 2011. Although the current rates aren’t monumental and are extremely low when compared to the historic high-pitched of 18 percent in 1981, the following is estimates that they will continue to increase throughout the next twelve months.

Millennial Buyers

2019 is projected to see a higher number of millennial customers than in years past. Millennials are now reaching the proper age to open the house and will make up the larger share of home buyers.

New Loan Processes

With the influx of millennial home buyers in 2019 and with interest rates rising, more options are becoming available to first-time home buyers. Mortgage lenders are also coming up with new methods to streamline the application process for first-time home purchasers and ensure their creditworthiness.

With that in imagination, should I hinge my decision to sell on the millennial grocery? Will millennials buy dwellings in 2019?

I do not caution locating your decision to sell your dwelling off of the millennial grocery. Most millennials are still attempting to manage the financial pressure of student loan debt, credit card debt, and more. Additionally, the millennial marketplace oftentimes tends to favor independence over stability. In other terms, they seem to lean toward renting vs. buying, which makes them flexibility and the option to move from city to municipality at will.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of late 2018, the homeownership pace was at 64.4 percent. This rise in homeownership is a plus for renters, as they will have a smaller number of fellow renters to compete with and will most probably have more agreement supremacy with regard to monthly rent, broker’s fees, amenities, franchises, and more. If you’re currently a landowner considering selling your residence, read this.

The millennial contemporary is also more inclined to change enterprises, or even transformation their entire profession route, far more than prior generations. It wasn’t uncommon for individuals in the 1970 s or 1980 s to waste twenty or thirty years working in the same office. Now, however, millennials are far better inclined to swap hassles after merely two or three years. Numerous even choose to change their part profession itinerary or may should be going to academy to self-assured a master’s degree when they reach their late twenties or early thirties. Millennials are too waiting until later in life to to enter into marriage and have children which, in turn, oftentimes has a direct connect on their decision to buy a residence.

With that said today, although I is not believe a home exchanging decision should be hinged on the millennial sell, this is gonna be heightened pleasure among millennial buyers and first-time homeowners in 2019.

What are some other factors I should consider when selling my home in 2019?

You may witness strong return on investment if you purchased your dwelling during the recession.

If you purchased a dwelling during the recession of 2008, you most likely had a very low interest rate. Even if you bought a home only a few years ago in 2015, you probably still obtained from lower dwelling tolls as the economy was still in recuperation. If it is a matter of you, every mortgage fee you prepare advances your equity in the home. Additionally, if you have made any renovations to the home, you will most likely be able to sell your dwelling for a considerably higher price. Take the factors mentioned here and combination them with the impending suspicion of an precarious economy and you most-likely will see considerable returns if you choose to sell your residence this year. The more you net from the sale, the higher down payment you can put towards your next residence, obliging you a more requesting prospective purchaser to lenders and increasing the likelihood that you will have a lower interest rate and smaller monthly fees. It is too less likely that your lender will require you to purchase private mortgage policy, which is oftentimes required of first-time home customers or purchasers who cannot afford a large down payment.

Carefully consider the timing of the sale

Both buyers and sellers alike tend to favor the springtime and summer months over the late come/ winter when it comes to buying a residence. Moving into a new residence is traumatic enough, and having cold, snowy forecast on moving epoch can be a nightmare. If you are fully prepared to sell your home, I recommend putting your home on world markets now( in January/ February/ March) so that customers can strike a deal in the spring or summer before the forecast turns cold. If you live in a market where it is warm all year, the winter will still feign home marketings, specially starting in October as individuals gear up for the turbulent vacation season. If you receive an proposal on your home in the spring, you will probably have greater stock-take make their own choices when you manufacture your residence purchase as well.

On the flip side, there are some benefits to shopping for a home in the off-season. Although the armory may be lower and you will have fewer homes to choose from, you will most likely have a smaller number of customers to compete with as well. Therefore, you might be able to strike a deal that you would not be able to secure otherwise. So, if your dwelling still hasn’t sold by midway through 2019, don’t be alarmed. Although it is ideal to secure a new dwelling before the potential recession in 2020, you should not make any hasty decisions. This returns us to our next topic:

I can’t be determined whether l feel ready to sell yet. What should I do?

If you aren’t fully prepared to sell your dwelling and don’t have extenuating environments forcing a move, I recommend waiting a few years until you exchange your residence. The 18 -year real estate market cycle is a real thing and if you’re familiar with Fred Foldvary you know he “ve called the” 2008 slump and he’s calling a 2026 slump.

Or, if you have a strong business cushion, leasing out your home might be a smart decision. Although there are of course numerous risks involved with becoming a landlord, hiring out your residence at the highest price could provide income towards your next residence acquire. There are many influences and outlays you will want to consider when deciding if renting your home is the best option such as the home’s mortgage, if relevant( superintendent and affair ); amends and improvements, taxes, homeowner’s association costs and administration rewards( if relevant ), and numerous other miscellaneous expenses such as the fees involved with passing a prospective tenant’s credit report, etc.

Combine these outlays together and ensure that your tenant’s monthly rent surpass that extent. Too, account for vacancies if it makes longer than anticipated to find a holder and the residence sits empty.

Am I ready to sell my home? Consider the following factors carefully when considering whether or not you are prepared to sell your residence.

Do I have a real estate agent I trust?

This will be especially pertinent as we foreman into a bumpy fiscal grocery in 2019. It is extremely important that you have a knowledgeable, trustworthy, and experienced agent by your back leader you through your home exchanging process. Although not entirely necessary, it is an added plus if the agent successfully secured homes for clients during the recession of 2008 and has experience working in challenging economic climates. Although I, of course, do not believe that the potential downturn of 2020 will be anything close to what the U.S. been living in 2008, it is always an added bonus to have someone by your side who has been through the market’s ups and downs.

Take the time to interview multiple real estate agents and ask them various questions. If you feel strongly that they are competent, driven, and have your best interest at heart, then they will most likely specified you up for success during the home selling process. I likewise strongly advise against trying to sell your dwelling on your own during this impending volatile market, as you put yourself at risk for leaving a considerable amount of money on the closing table. Additionally, you will want an expert’s opinion when exchanging your dwelling and will crave the backing of someone who can guide you through the process.

Am I prepared to put in the necessary work to offset my home ready for purchasers?

In addition to being prepared to manually do some of the necessary work in your residence, do you have enough money saved for repairs and upkeep while your home is on the market? Even apparently small details such as putting brand-new faucets on the shower subsides and putting a fresh hair of depict on the walls can go a long way. Doing some tiny necessary improves such as these will help the buyer envision themselves in your residence and will employ them at ease knowing that they have less to worry about when they move in.

Now are some other factors to consider when deciding whether or not you are prepared to sell this year:

Your house is growing

If their own families is growing- whether that be with children, pets, in-laws moving in, etc.- and you feel you might outgrow your home in the next five years, I recommend selling now. Selling in 2020 and 2021 during a down market, the presidential election and the pressure of a growing kinfolk could precede you to realize some hurried, financially unwise decisions, and could lead to losing money in the long-term.

You envision divorce or break-up

This is a tough one. It is certainly oftentimes difficult or even impossible to know exactly which direction your relationship with your spouse might be heading. However, if you and your marriage am speaking here dangerously about the future prospects of divorce or disconnect, it would be wise to sell your home now. Handling the stress of a divorce is much to take on , not to mention the legal rewards involved, plus the included stress of trying to sell your home in a bumpy economic sell. These beds of stress can be otherwise evaded if suitable preps are put in place now.

There is a chance your job will relocate you

This is also frequently impossible to prophesy, but if your boss has mentioned the possibility that you might be relocated in the near future, I recommend having a serious conference with your supervisor. Ask if the possibility of relocation will be definite and when you should presume the move to happen. This gossip may be awkward or premature, but it is necessary and most prudent as we enter this potentially shaky marketplace. With so many tribes moving to our region we have had this often, on both the buying and selling side.

Final takeaways

Irrespective of the economic busines, I strongly believe that if you are not in a financial position to sell your dwelling, the process should never be raced. Selling your residence is a major decision and one that should not be taken delicately. With that said today, if you are in a strong financial position and have settled the proper plannings in place to sell your dwelling, I recommend moving forward with the process in 2019 as opposes it 2020 or 2021. As interest rates increase throughout this year, homeowners may meet an increase of $ 50 or even $100 per month in their mortgage fees. Although this may be a small amount to some, this will be very significant to others and may clog them from being able to afford their monthly mortgage fees down the line. Therefore, I urge you to take the necessary steps to set yourself up for monetary success this year. Weigh your alternatives carefully, speak with a real estate professional, and take careful inventory of your commerces. I wishes to receive the best of luck

Oh, and for those of you buying a home in 2019 – we banked about that too

Read more:

Wealthfront’s Cash Account: What It Is & How To Use It

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The post Wealthfront’s Cash Account: What It Is & How To Use It appeared first on Money Under 30.

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Busy Philipps Brought to Tears by Michelle Williams & More Celeb BFFs on Busy Tonight's Finale

Busy Philipps, Michelle Williams, Busy TonightThrow on your Mr. Nightgown and pour out a margarita, because it’s time to celebrate Busy Tonight’s finale.
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Subaru Engine Failure, Plus More Class-Action Settlements for May

The ever-changing legal world keeps on spinning, and new class-action settlement offers churn out daily.

Settlement awards are available for everything from leisure activities, such as playing baseball to electronic gizmos, such as fitness trackers. See what you might qualify to receive.

Subaru Impreza Engine Failure

A pair of class-action lawsuits against car maker Subaru claim that a defect caused the connecting rod and main bearing in the Impreza’s engine to fail sooner that it should have. Some owners said it cost nearly $6,500 for the repair.

You could qualify if you leased or purchased a vehicle that meets the following criteria:

  • Model year 2012 through 2017 Subaru Impreza WRX and STi vehicles equipped with an EJ-series 15 2.5-liter turbocharged engine.
  • It was manufactured between Oct. 11, 2011, and Nov. 16, 2016.
  • It has vehicle identification numbers (VINs) ending with CG203168 and up for 5-door models, and CG006225 through H9826807 for 4-door models.
  • It was purchased in the continental United States, including Alaska.

Class members who paid for the engine repairs at an authorized Subaru dealership can file a claim for 100% of their expenses. Those who had the repair completed at an independent auto shop can file a claim for $3,500 to $6,500 depending on the repair.

For more information and complete details, click here and file a claim by May 22.

Amazon Audibles Audiobooks

Amazon has reached a class-action settlement to resolve allegations that some of its customers lost unredeemed paid memberships between March 10, 2013 and Aug. 17, 2018. The company has agreed to provide 12 million free audiobooks credits.

Audible customers receive one “credit” that can be used to redeem an audiobook every month their Audible subscription is renewed.

According to the lawsuit, a customer who previously canceled a membership would be forced to sacrifice the credits they paid for through the membership.

In addition, plaintiffs alleged Amazon charged debit or credit cards for Audible services that were not authorized.

Three different groups are eligible for compensation:

  • Audible customers who incurred charges to a card other than the one originally designated as the primary payment card for their membership between March 10, 2013 and Aug. 17, 2018.
  • Audible customers who lost unredeemed paid membership credits between March 10, 2013 and Aug. 17, 2018.
  • Audible customers who bought or redeemed an Audible gift membership between Aug. 11, 2011 and Aug. 17, 2018, that resulted in credits being lost.

The first group will be offered reimbursement of qualified payment card expenses. All others will be able to receive one free audiobook from an approved list.

The deadline is May 23, 2019. For more details, click here.

Fitbit Sleep Tracker

Did you pay extra for a Fitbit that could track your sleep, but discovered the device fell asleep on the job? A class-action settlement has been reached resolving claims that the Fitbit sleep tracker doesn’t work as advertised.

Fitbit owners allege they slept an average of more than an hour longer than their Fitbits indicated.

If you bought a Fitbit Flex, Fitbit One or Fitbit Ultra online between Sept. 1, 2009 and Oct. 27, 2014, you could receive $12.50.

You must have registered the device online and given your email address to qualify. States and corresponding class periods are:

  • California from Sept. 1, 2009 to Oct. 27, 2014
  • Florida from Sept. 1, 2009 to Oct. 27, 2014
  • New York from March 26, 2012 to Oct. 27, 2014
  • Michigan from March 26, 2012 to Oct. 27, 2014
  • New Jersey from March 26, 2012 to Oct. 27, 2014
  • Pennsylvania from March 26, 2012 to Oct. 27, 2014
  • Ohio from March 26, 2012 to Oct. 27, 2014
  • Missouri from March 26, 2013 to Oct. 27, 2014
  • Illinois from March 26, 2013 to Oct. 27, 2014
  • Texas from March 26, 2014 to Oct. 27, 2014
  • Georgia from March 26, 2014 to Oct. 27, 2014
  • North Carolina from March 26, 2014 to Oct. 27, 2014
  • Washington from March 26, 2014 to Oct. 27, 2014

Click here and submit your claim by the May 30, 2019 deadline.

Powerhouse Gym Texts

Did you receive an unsolicited text message from Powerhouse Gym Fort Lauderdale? If so, you could benefit from a recent $600,000 class-action lawsuit settlement over alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

If you received a text message by or on behalf of Powerhouse Gym Fort Lauderdale between June 16, 2017 and March 12, 2019, you could collect up to $30 per message.

File a claim by the June 5, 2019 deadline by clicking here.

California P.F. Chang’s

Were you asked to provide P.F. Chang’s your phone number and email address when you paid with a credit card in California? If so, you could benefit from a $1 million class-action settlement alleging the restaurant violated state privacy laws.

It potentially affects anyone who engaged in a credit card transaction at a California P.F. Chang’s Restaurant between May 3, 2016 and Feb. 22, 2019.

P.F. Chang’s has agreed to pay each affected customer up to $1,000.

For information regarding the proof of purchase and to file a claim, click here by the June 7, 2019 deadline.

Scotts Morning Song Toxic Bird Food

If you bought Scotts Morning Song Bird Food products between Nov. 1, 2005 and May 1, 2008, you could receive a full refund with receipts or up to $100 without proof of purchase from this $85 million class-action settlement.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company reportedly sold bird food tainted with two different pesticides for three years. The EPA and the Department of Justice charged Scotts in 2012 for selling the toxic bird seed and the company paid $12.5 million in fines.

Scotts pleaded guilty to applying the toxic pesticides to all wild bird feed from November 2005 through March 2008.

The potential award can vary based on where you purchased the bird food. To ensure you understand the full terms and conditions, click here to review the potential awards and to submit a claim by the July 1, 2019 deadline.

“Warcraft” Film Advertising Text Messages

Universal Pictures, Legendary Pictures and Handstack have agreed to a $19.2 million class-action settlement involving unsolicited text messages for the movie “Warcraft,” based on the video game of the same name.

The suit claims the movie production companies violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the federal law that bans unwanted text messages and calls.

Consumers who received an unwanted text regarding the release of the movie between May 1, 2016 and April 8, 2019 could receive $35 or $50.

The settlement agreement affects these groups:

  • Those who received unwanted “Warcraft” text messages;
  • Those who continued to receive unwanted text messages even after indicating that they did not wish to be contacted further;
  • Those who were contacted despite being listed on the Do Not Call Registry;
  • Those who received “Warcraft” text messages outside of the permissible hours under the TCPA: before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. local time.

Under the terms of the settlement, class members who received unwanted “Warcraft” text messages will receive $35; others will receive $50.

For complete details, click here and submit your claim by the July 10, 2019 deadline.

Professional Placement Services

Woman girl dressed in yellow t-shirt looking at her cell phone

Did you receive a call directly to your voicemail from Professional Placement Services? If so, you could receive a portion of the $1.7 million settlement available to owners of more than 19,000 phone numbers called between Nov. 18, 2012 and May 30, 2018.

The direct-to-voicemail said something similar to: “This is Professional Placement Services, calling with a message. This call is from a debt collector. Please call us back at 855-777-0312. Again, that number is 855-777-0312.”

These calls went directly to cell phone voicemail messaging systems without the phone ever ringing. A class-action lawsuit alleged the calls violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which protects consumers from spam text messages, phone calls and faxes.

Click here for more information and to file a claim by the July 15, 2019 deadline.

Tinder Age Bias

California Tinder users may benefit from a $17.3 million age bias class-action settlement.

California residents who bought a Tinder Plus or Tinder Gold subscription between March 2, 2015 and March 1, 2019 and were at least 29 at the time could qualify.

A lawsuit alleged Tinder committed age discrimination by providing users under age 29 a 50% discount to subscribe to Tinder Gold or Tinder Plus.

Potential class members should have received a unique ID number from a class notice.

Class members will receive 50 Super Likes. Those who submit a valid claim form by the July 17, 2019, deadline can also choose to receive either $25, 25 additional Super Likes, or a free month of Tinder Plus or Tinder Gold membership.

For more information, swipe right, er, click here.

Utz, Bachman “All Natural” Snacks

Utz, Bachman has agreed to a $1.25 million class-action settlement regarding allegations that its “all natural” snacks contain ingredients that are not completely natural.

The suit alleges the snacks include some GMOs and artificial ingredients.

If you bought Utz and/or Bachman snacks labeled as “all natural” between Dec. 30, 2010 and March 30, 2019, you could receive up to $20 ($2 per item purchased).

For complete details and a claim form, click here by the July 28, 2019 deadline.

Fiat Chrysler EcoDiesel Emissions Cheating

If you owned or leased a 2014-2016 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel or 2014-2016 Jeep Cherokee Ecodiesel vehicle, you could receive a portion of a $300 million class-action settlement.

Fiat Chrysler agreed to settle claims that the company cheated emissions regulations.

In January 2017, both the EPA and the California Air Resources Board sent Fiat Chrysler notices that its Ecodiesel vehicles violated regulations because of emissions cheating software. Some vehicles allegedly emitted up to 20 times the legal limit.

Fiat Chrysler has agreed to update emissions control software for free and to provide an extended warranty on the affected vehicles.

Cash payments will range from $990 for lessees to $3,075 for vehicle owners. (If the vehicle has already been claimed by another class member, the second class member will receive $2,460.)

To file a claim, you must show current vehicle registration, driver’s license information, date the vehicle was purchased or leased, and proof of current or former ownership/lease by the claim form deadline of Aug. 1, 2019.

Click here for details.

Toyota Sienna Sliding Doors

Imagine driving down the road and for no apparent reason, your minivan’s sliding door opens.

If you owned or leased a 2011 to 2018 Toyota Sienna minivan, you could have the vehicle inspected, repaired and receive reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs for such repairs from this class action settlement. You might also be eligible for a loan vehicle from a Toyota dealership through Toyota’s Customer Confidence Program.

Class members who already incurred out-of-pocket expenses to fix the sliding door before March 1, 2019 can make a claim for reimbursement.

The deadline to complete the inspection and repairs or to submit for reimbursement is Aug. 2, 2019.

For complete details on the Toyota Sienna sliding door awards, click here.

Purex Laundry Detergent

If you purchased Purex Natural Elements laundry detergent by Henkel Consumer Goods Inc. between May 19, 2013 and March 8, 2019, you could receive between $2 and $4 for each product you purchased as part of a $1.5 million class-action settlement.

Covered Purex products include all sizes of the following detergents:

  • Purex Natural Elements Laundry Detergent
  • Purex Ultra Natural Elements HE Detergent
  • Purex Natural Elements HE Laundry Detergent
  • Purex Natural Elements Ultra Concentrate HE

All scents of these detergents are also covered:

  • Linen & Lilies Scent
  • Lilac & White Lavender Scent
  • Tropical Splash Scent

Actual award amounts are subject to adjustment, but the settlement indicates anyone who bought a container of less than 150 ounces will receive $2 per container, and those who bought the detergent in a size of more than 150 ounces will receive $4 per container.

Even though there’s no limit to the number of claims you can submit with proof of purchase, consumers are limited to a maximum of 10 claims without receipts.

For the full scoop on the Purex Natural Elements settlement, click here and submit your claim by the Aug. 10, 2019 deadline.

Comcast Set-Top Box Rental Fees

A Comcast van is seen from behind

Did you pay set-top box rental fees to Comcast between Jan. 1, 2005 and Sept. 5, 2018? If so, you could benefit from a $15.5 million class-action settlement.

Current and former Comcast premium subscribers in California, Washington or West Virginia who were charged a Comcast set-top box rental fee during that period can receive up to $15 in cash or $59.95 in Comcast credit.

Premium subscribers in the U.S. who opted out of Comcast’s arbitration clause also can receive the same benefits from this class-action settlement.

Potential awards are divided into three classes:

  • Customers who rented a set-top box from one month to 3 years are entitled to $10 cash.
  • Customers who rented a set-top box from 3 to 5 years are entitled to $12.50 cash.
  • Customers who rented a set-top box for more than 5 years are entitled to $15 cash.

Former Comcast customers must provide proof of purchase in the form of one of the following documents showing that a Comcast payment was made between Jan. 2, 2005 and Sept. 5, 2018:

  • Credit card or bank statement
  • Cancelled check
  • Comcast invoice showing rental fee charge

Current Comcast customers will just need to provide their account number.

For complete details and to file a claim by the Aug. 31, 2019 deadline, click here.

Swisher Sweets Cigars BOGO Offer

Swisher International and Plaid Pantry have agreed to distribute $2.5 million in cigar vouchers to settle a buy-one-get-one-free class-action lawsuit.

Consumers who bought Swisher cigars under the “five for the price of three,” “three for the price of two,” “buy one, get one free,” or “buy four get one free” promotions from Aug. 25, 2015, through Feb. 7, 2019, can receive up to five $1 vouchers to use toward future purchases of Swisher cigar products.

No proof of purchase is required, but the settlement ends when the $2.5 million cap is reached or when a year has passed since the first voucher distribution, whichever happens first.

This offer goes up in smoke after Oct. 4, 2020, so file a claim today.

Louisville Slugger Defect

According to a class-action lawsuit against baseball bat maker Louisville Slugger and Wilson Sporting Goods, certain bats contain a defect in the connection between the barrel and the handle that causes the bats to come apart.

If you purchased a new Louisville Slugger Prime 915 BBCOR baseball bat, a new Louisville Slugger Prime 916 BBCOR baseball bat, or a new Louisville Slugger Prime 917 BBCOR baseball bat from retailers (excluding auction sites like eBay) after April 21, 2015, you could qualify for this class-action settlement.

Valid claims must be submitted with proof of purchase by Oct. 10, 2019. Two weeks after submitting the claim form, you will be contacted to have an inspector inspect the bat about three weeks later.

If the bat is found to be defective, you will receive a replacement bat. If the bat is found not to have any defects, you will be offered a 20% discount voucher.

If a defective bat is keeping you from having a ball out on the field, click here for complete details.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

44 Ready-Made Foods To Stop Buying And Start Making From Scratch

While buying ready-made nutrients is more convenient, there’s just more contentment obliging it from scratch — and it’s also easy!

Although it saves you season( and money in certain types of makes ), buying ready-made concoctions can be the hassle-free choice for mums-on-the-go. But, with all the lent ingredients in ready-made commodities sold in the market, you’ll never really know how healthy it is.

If you want to be sure that exclusively the claim types of food( and parts) go into your kid’s tummy, it’s better to make food yourself.

We’ve got you more than 40 of the food products are available in the supermarket and diners that we are able to utter from scratch — we even have copycat recipes in now( click on the meat to go to the recipe !). It savor lane most effective and I can have as many functions as I can!

Breads and Pastries: Bread

You might review bread is pretty cheap to buy at the supermarket once- and to a certain degree, you would be correct. With a cake of white bread as cheap as 80 c a lump- is it really worth preparing it at home from scratch? Well, I contemplate yes. But if you need gluten free dough which I’ve seen for up to$ 7 per lump at the supermarket- here is where you can do some actually significant savings.

Personally, I like to buy the wholemeal and multi-grain bread assortments and induce them up at home in my breadmaker, with increased yeast( as yeast makes my belly bloat ). It works out to cost about $1.30 per loaf- and it is always fresh and savory. Plus waking up every morning to the smell of fresh bread is just amazing. Breadmakers aren’t much work- I can usually get a loaf of bread on and cooking within a minute!

Some suppliers of amount eat mixtures and flours include:

Honest to Goodness have a bulk 5kg jam-pack and likewise inventory a huge range of gluten free flour ranges. Amazon Australiahas a range of volume dough desegregates available.

Organic 7 Grain Bread Mix 5KG

Honest to Goodness exchange volume bread desegregates such as this 5kg handbag for $23.50

Naan Bread

The pre-made Naan Bread you buy at the supermarket is NASTY. Bread should be made nice and fresh- and Naan Bread is super easy to make at home- and it is sooooo good! Add a little minced garlic to the pan for a taste sensation- then use the Naan Bread as wraps in school lunches or even use as a pizza locate!

We have a great recipe on How to Make Homemade Naan Bread that is super easy!

Stay At Home Mum

Garlic Bread

Garlic Bread is another item I never buy any more at the supermarket. I like to buy Turkish Bread from Aldi and offset big quantities of my cheesy garlicky garlic eat in gigantic quantities. They freeze beautifully and are so good – you’ll never buy stale shop-bought assortments again.

40+ Foods to Stop Buying and Start Making From Scratch | Stay At Home Mum

Plus a recipe for Cheesy Chewy Garlic Bread!


Did you know that Fran Descher( the maid that played The Nanny) is an heir to a Crouton fortune? Yet croutons are unbelievably easy to fix! Heat a pan on red-hot, add a little oil and shed some cut up bread in the pan. Instead you are able to stimulate them in the oven. You can realize quantities of various types of feelings and truly any sort of bread will do. They merely take a few minutes to form- so never buy them again!

Stay At Home Mum

Banana Bread

The last time I was in Sydney, I had a pining for Banana Bread. I was appalled when the local coffeehouse I tried was charging$ 6 for one slice of Banana Bread. Insanity! I could acquire three whole loaves of banana bread for that kind of price. Banana Bread is a large give of old manky black bananas and again( like most of my recipes) freezes well. I foresee next time I go to Sydney I’ll sound a few cases slicings in my suitcase!

Stay At Home Mum


Pancake Mix

Pancake Mix is really easy to make yourself at home, but if you aren’t keen on the penchant of the homemade selection, you can often save a stack of coin by buying bulk flannel-cake concoctions which used to work so cheap it is hardly worth compiling it at home!

Where can you get bulk Pancake Mix?

The Protein Bread Co have a Bulk Pack of Pancakes that they exchange via Amazon Australia The Source Bulk Foods have Organic Buckwheat Pancake Mix that they are able to bought by the gram.

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If you have adolescents at home, seriously you never need buy a patty ever again in their own lives. Kids LOVE to cook- and it coachs them so much. Maths, estimation, temperatures, how to cleaning process their damn mess when they are finished. All important life sciences. You can pick up really cheap patty assortments for as little as 80 c each from all the major supermarket.

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Channing Tatum and Jessie J Pack on the PDA During Magical Disneyland Date

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Channing Tatum and girlfriend Jessie J could barely keep their hands off each other as they went on a magical date to Disneyland in Anaheim, California on…

How to Start Trading Stocks for Free (and With No Minimum Balance Requirement)

We all have that friend. The one who’s constantly checking the stock market like it’s a game and mumbling things like, “Ugh, I should’ve traded that yesterday!” You roll your eyes, but you also wonder: What am I missing out on?

Many financial experts encourage young people to invest in the stock market. Sure, it comes with risk, but it could pay out long term.

The only thing is… where do you start?

Lord knows you don’t want to ask that friend. Instead, you can start with as little as $1 and open fee-free account with SoFi Active Investing.

Investing for Beginners: Don’t Pay to Play

SoFi Active Investing leans into a “learn by doing” approach. That means you can experiment with buying and trading stocks — no fees and no account minimums attached.

If you buy something and immediately regret it? You can trade it seconds later. No penalty. (Honestly, it’s perfect for those of us with commitment issues.)

But maybe you have questions before you get to the whole buying and trading part… Take all the time you need to explore stocks through your SoFi dashboard.

For example, maybe you’ve heard everyone abuzz about Roku stock. Search for it on your dashboard, and you’ll see that SoFi has outlined the stock’s market price, its performance history and even recent company news hits — everything you need to know to make an informed decision is right there.

Pro tip: Add stocks you’re interested in to your SoFi watchlist. There, you can monitor their daily performances. Like what you’re seeing? Make a move as soon as you’re ready to buy.

If you want some human input? Reach out to a SoFi financial adviser for free via phone, email or chat at any time.

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Don’t feel like you’re marrying these stocks. You can buy and trade fee-free at any time the market’s open, but remember: Some of the smartest investors suggest riding out the market’s ups and downs long term for the greatest gains.

Oh, and if you want to really get serious? Download the SoFi app. Then, when that friend starts talking about stocks, you can add your two cents.

Carson Kohler ( is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her boyfriend inspired the character of that friend in this article.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The best smart speakers 2019: which one should you buy?

There was a time when many of us weren& apos; t sure whether the& apos; smart-alecky home& apos; would really take off, but then smart loudspeakers came along and everything deepened.

Smart speakers now dominate the smart-alecky home market. Harmonizing to the latest stats, they& apos; re now owned by one in six Americans, while over the pond in the UK, owned has doubled in six months, with a smart speaker occupying 10% of all households. It& apos; s( kinda) official: Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are as important to most households as pets.

The popular virtual auxiliaries are taking our homes by whirlwind, with countless now considering smart speakers to be the future of dwelling automation , not only insuring your smart-alecky dwelling designs( like your Philips Hue bulbs or your smart fastenings ), but flowing everything from your fridge to your living room suns- sometimes without much help from you.

Whether that& apos; s agitating to you, frightening or just a little gimmicky will depend on your view of new tech. But it& apos; s hard to argue that these devices aren& apos; t unbelievably helpful. Imagine a macrocosm whatever it is you don& apos; t have to get up to change the thermostat or find the remote to change the canal. Imagine turning off your garden-variety protection lightings utilizing your voice or using Alexa or Google Assistant to haul up a live feed of your outside cameras.

If you think that you can live blithely without these features, then you& apos; re probably right. But we& apos; ve found that once you& apos; ve had them, even for a few weeks or two, there& apos; s no going back.

All of this and more is now possible. The only thing they can& apos; t do, it seems, is help you decide which one is right for you. So, if you& apos; re not sure which smart orator to buy, read on for our select of the best available right now.


The Sonos One now subscribes Amazon’s Alexa and Siri via AirPlay 2. Image Credit: Sonos.

If you need help finding your next personal assistant, take a look at our template below and ascertain the smart-alecky talker that suits your current setup, your budget and the aesthetics of your home- each of the speakers are hand-picked by our journalists, and while each have pros/ cons, all of them are great in their own way.

Not seeing the perfect speaker for you? Don& apos; t annoy. Be sure to keep checking back, as we& apos; ll be updating such lists with the best smart speakers, as well as the top rumors about the brand-new orators to reckon soon at the end.

Best smart orators FAQ: speedy questions reacted

What can smart loudspeakers do? Smart loudspeakers can do lots of things. First up they& apos; re talkers in their own, from the fantastic-sounding Apple HomePod through to the simpler Amazon Echo Dot.

But they also have lots of special features thanks to the smart voice helpers who the hell is built-in. These smart-alecky helpers are voice-activated, which means you can literally requesting them to do a range of things, including playing music, answering questions and controlling other smart-alecky residence inventions. And that& apos; s just the beginning.

Which voice assistant is best? On the whole that& apos; s subjective. Some parties have always liked Apple products the best and stay loyal to Siri. Others really like Alexa after snarling up an Echo as soon as the smart loudspeaker was first launched.

The general consensus seems to be that Google Assistant is, chiefly, the most accurate voice assistant. If you& apos; ve got a lot of Apple products, of course Siri is the best and for overall compatibility, you& apos; re best opting for Alexa. But they& apos; re not hard and fast regulates.

Is Alexa better than Google? For starters, the choice might is dependant on which orator you like the gape of “the worlds largest”. Sure Amazon& apos; s Echo range is very similar to the Google Home, but the Show, Spot and Dot look quite different.

When it comes to the smart assistants within the speakers, they& apos; re both terribly ability. Amazon& apos; s Alexa has countless, many Knowledge, which placed it apart from the residue. But Google has been a leader in the AI game for a long time now, long before the smart orator marketplace emerged.

Is there a monthly fee for Alexa? No. You don& apos; t need anything other than the free Alexa app. However, you will get plenty of perks if you& apos; re an Amazon Prime member.

When will our smart-alecky talkers become discussion starters ? The best smart speakers 2019


Sonos’ introduction Alexa speaker is a cleanly-designed, feature-rich and great-sounding device that brings together the best of both ecosystems. You’ve got the ever-improving Alexa on the one pas, and on the other you’ve got Sonos with its own multi-room smarts and mainly unrivalled clanged performance.

There& apos; s too a new are available in the desegregate that promises to change the game: AirPlay 2. With it, the Sonos One can talk to Siri and figure a multi-room pairing with the Apple HomePod, manufacturing it the most versatile speaker on the list.

If there& apos; s anything viewing the Sonos One back from greatness it& apos; s the fact that Google Assistant is still MIA after the update was shelved in November 2018 and is still nowhere to be seen nearly halfway through 2019.

If Google Assistant subscribe hits at some stage this year( we are looking forward ), the Sonos One promises to become the market leader in smart-alecky residence speakers.

If you like the Sonos range but you& apos; ve find a bit underwhelmed by its motifs to date, then you& apos; ll be happy to find out the brand has propelled a new array of in-wall, in-ceiling, and outdoor loudspeakers, the Sonos Architectural line .

Read our full evaluation now: Sonos One


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The highly-anticipated Apple HomePod lastly entered the smart speaker battle for your bookshelf in early 2018.

The self-evident interest of an Apple HomePod over an Echo or Google Home device is that it& apos; ll performance delightful with your other Apple products. So if you& apos; re a die-hard Apple fan the HomePod may be a no-brainer.

But it& apos; s worth asking the same question you are able to always be asking yourself when you want to splurge on a brand-new Apple product: how much of a fee should be used pay for owning a machine that fits exclusively seamlessly into the Apple ecosystem?

When we reviewed the device we were torn because we were really reviewing two things at once: how the HomePod weighs up as a payment orator and how it fares as a smart-alecky home centre.

In the former category, the HomePod is excellent, as it boasts marvelous voice and a exceedingly intuitive set-up. But in the latter, Siri is only middling in its implementation, and the facts of the case that you& apos; re not able to break out of the Apple ecosystem for numerous key functions too rankles.

Apple is said to be working on the Apple HomePod 2, or a cheaper, more compact HomePod Mini , rumored to launch at some degree in 2019- we& apos; re halfway through now and we& apos; re still waiting. Digits bridged it& apos; ll be worth it.

Read our full asses now: Apple HomePod refreshAlready got a HomePod? Check out our template to the best tips and tricksApple HomePod 2: rumors, information, exhaust time, and more

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A still of the Amazon Echo smart speaker

If you& apos; re after a smart speaker that& apos; s affordable and sounds good enough to play your favorite tracks, the most recent version of the Amazon Echo is your safest bet. In fact it& apos; s our present top select for the best smart speaker on the market right now.

The newest, 2nd-generation Echo sounds better than Amazon& apos; s Echo Dot, but it& apos; s less expensive than the Echo Plus and Apple& apos; s HomePod.

We don& apos; t think you should be using it to supersede your hifi, but at the same time it& apos; s a really great sit to start if you want to try out what the smart-alecky residence life is like.

Amazon has also improved the Echo& apos; s style since the first edition was released in 2015. The brand-new fabric finishes will suit most living rooms better than the brushed aluminum of the original.

The only downside is the Echo doesn& apos; t have the neat publication dial of Amazon& apos; s Echo Plus. It& apos; s likewise worth mentioning that Alexa often doesn& apos; t seem quite as intelligent as Google Assistant. At the cost, though, it& apos; s a great option that should suit most people& apos; s needs.

Read our full asses now: Amazon Echo Review( 2018 )

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For starters, you are able to never appreciate just how much music is on YouTube without buying a Google Home. We’re not saying Google Home is capable of playing any song you can think of, but after dredging the depths of the’ 90 s there continues to couldn’t find a theme Google Home couldn’t track down and start playing.

While Google Home outdoes as a DJ, it’s also a amazingly rational smart-alecky home hub. It previously fastens into some of the largest stages now available by including Nest, Philips and Samsung’s SmartThings, and given a few months that multitude will grow even more.

But we& apos; re snap when it comes to recommending the Google Home. In some practices it& apos; s disillusioning and doesn& apos; t live up to be the coveted centre of the smart-alecky dwelling Google has marketed it as.

That& apos; s because it& apos; s really not there yet. It’s a little too rigid in its language comprehension, its roster of smart-alecky home manoeuvres is growing but still a bit underwhelming, and, perhaps the biggest disappointment of all, it doesn’t have many of Google’s core services built into it.

It has the potential to develop to compete with Amazon& apos; s Echo in the future, but for now the Google Home is simply a smart-alecky rarity with access to YouTube Music, built-in Google Cast and the ability to save you a excursion to the light switch.

Over the past year, the Google Home has received a number of illustrious updates, including the fact you can now use the device to construct called to speak to landlines in the UK. Google Assistant has been updated to included bilingual capabilities, Continued Conversation and Multiple Actions. A more recent update has also wreak Google Assistant to Nest Security alarm systems.

Read our full remember now: Google Home Review

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The Amazon Echo Plus is the higher-end preference among its pillar talkers. You should consider buying one if you want good racket tone but don& apos; t crave the presentation of the Echo Show or Echo Spot.

With the second generation model recently propelled, the Echo Plus has ditched the two-tier lookin favor of a repressed fabric design, more like the original Echo.

It& apos; s louder and bassier than the standard Echo, which is particularly useful for music. Does it announce as good as the Sonos One? No. But like Amazon’s other Echo gadgets, its expenditure is competitive. It expenditure $149.99( PS139. 99) with a Philips Hue bulb included to kickstart your smart dwelling future.

Like other smart residence systems, Amazon Alexa is a work in progress. However, it’s easy to recommend the Amazon Echo Plus. It’s a opportune one-stop solution for both audio, smart aide offices and Internet of Things powers, with Alexa still going strong as the most feature-rich voice assistant.

But the strength of the Echo range, especially at the lower rate tiers, still impels these top-of-the-line modelings a harder exchange: the Echo Dot has comparable smarts for a fraction of the rate, for example, it time doesn& apos; t sound as good. Likewise, the built-in smart hub is a great addition, but isn’t yet feature-complete, conveying dedicated smart-alecky residence customers may not want to constitute the climb just yet.

In short, if you’re looking to enter the nations of the world of the connected residence, the Echo Plus is a great region to start. Just be aware that more economical options may, for the time being at least, suit your needs just as well.

Read our full inspect here: Amazon Echo Plus Review


The best smart-alecky speakers with a screen 2019

A photo of the Google Home Hub

With the recent foray of smart spectacle inventions from the big-hearted tech business, there& apos; s more option than ever if you want a screen includes a number of your smart speaker.

The Google Home Hub is one of the latest crop of smart displays, and it certainly applies its closest antagonist, the Amazon Echo Show a run for its money, with intuitive enunciate mastery and well designed first party apps.

That being said, this does not constitute a loudspeaker for audiophiles – it works well enough to play music in the background while you do hassles or read, but it doesn& apos; t pack large enough of a sonic swipe to serve as your main speaker for listening to music.

Where the Google Home Hub does outdo, is as a restrain centre for your digital dwelling, subscribing over 5000 smart devices from 400 companies – plus, at around $80/ PS80 cheaper than the Amazon Echo Show( significant differences in Australia is a whopping AU $150 ), it& apos; s pretty good value for coin extremely.

Check out our full its consideration of the Google Home Hub


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The revised Echo Show is a step in the right direction, with better designing, a clearer screen, and superior sound, but it has limited support for third-party streaming services.

The touchscreen is 1280 x 720 px – so it earned& apos; t gale you apart up close, but it looks fine from a distance. It likewise peculiarity adaptive brightness, although the screen isn& apos; t the primary road you interact with the Echo Show – it& apos; s optimized for articulate activation via Amazon Alexa, and it& apos; s great for using while you potter about the kitchen.

Its not the cheapest smart display on the market, nonetheless, it supplements appraise by compound maneuvers you already have and ones you were able to buy at a lower cost elsewhere- only look at the Amazon Echo Dot, for example.

Put everything together though, and the brand-new Show is a marked improvement on the original copy, and if you& apos; re keen on watching cooking seminars or listening to music as you cook, it deserves a blot on your kitchen counter.

Speak our full examine: Amazon Echo Show Review

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In our opinion, the Amazon Echo Spot is the best-designed Alexa device Amazon has ever initiated – it’s a gadget you’d gaily have in your bedroom, on your table, in your kitchen, and pretty much anywhere else.

The Spot is versatile- it doesn’t have a chameleon-like ability to adapt to the room you introduced it in, but this is certainly not just a smart-alecky alarm clock, something Amazon has been very clear about.

It does everything the Echo Show does, but it all feels better in this smaller form factor. The pattern is great- it& apos; s available in black and white- and we can easily attend the Spot being used in the bedroom, kitchen or even on a table. In fact, you may want it in all of these places.

That& apos; s the thing with the Amazon Echo Spot: much like other Echo manoeuvres, Amazon wants you to have a multitude of them in your home so you always have access to video chat no matter where you are.

Essentially, it craves the Echo Spot to change the Echo Dot. The Amazon Echo Spot is a little more expensive than the new Echo, though, and in turn much more expensive than an Echo Dot.

This is because of the addition of the screen. While we still haven& apos; t seen that assassin Skill for the screen, it does enhance the look of the Spot and opens up the possibilities for it being much more than just a smart-alecky speaker.

We’re just hoping that Amazon’s Skills become much more video-friendly- once this happens, the Amazon Echo Spot will become an absolute must-have.

Predict our full recall here: Amazon Echo Spot Review What could be coming soon?

Those are all of the best smart orators on the market right now, but with the huge success of these voice-activated smart home deputies, this collection is likely to be just the beginning.

Right now a number of other fellowships, including of the most important one lists in tech, are also working on their own smart home audio concoctions. Whether they shake-up the market or turn out to be a load of hot air remains to be seen.

But in the meantime, here are just a few of the highly-anticipated upcoming releases and rumors moving right now 😛 TAGEND

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Image Credit: IKEA

IKEA+ Sonos+ Symfonisk

Everyone& apos; s favorite negligible residence blueprint superstore IKEA has teamed up with audio professionals Sonos to produce a new argument of smart orators and audio solutions, called Symfonisk. There are lots of interesting products in the new straddle, but we& apos; re most elicited about the Symfonisk Table Lamp.

It regards a little like a HomePod with a big lamp bolted on the top and that& apos; s, basically, what it is. A smart-alecky loudspeaker and lamp flattened into one. We knew the speaker was on its way, but the lamp is completely unexpected and feels like peak IKEA in that it’s unique, functional and, well, surprisingly cheap.

Like other Sonos speakers, it& apos; ll connect to your Wi-Fi and can be controlled through the Sonos app. The Sonos app amalgamation allows the speakers to join any multi-room setup you already own, or can lay the foundation for a new one. So it& apos; s, technically , not a smart loudspeaker, but it could shake up the market in a big way.

It acquired& apos; t can be obtained until August 2019 and in terms of pricing, the Symfonisk Table Lamp will exclusively race you $179( around PS140, AU $250 ).

Image of the spotify logo

Spotify smart speaker

There are consignments of speakers on the market that already allow you to connect your Spotify account. But that doesn& apos; t planned the favourite streaming service can& apos; t make its own product to compete with the biggest reputations in tech.

Rumors advocate Spotify has been working on its own voice search interface, but it hasn& apos; t more filched the lid on a orator that have been able to compete with the likes of the Amazon Echo or Google Home.

That hasn& apos; t stopped us from daydream up what a Spotify smart speaker might gape, resonate and react like. Read our Spotify speaker wish-list: what we want to see in a Spotify smart speaker.

A photo of a samsung speaker

Samsung Galaxy Home smart speaker

This is now official, though details are still scarce- Samsung established off the Galaxy Home smart speaker at its Unpacked 2018 occasion, promising high-quality audio alongside some integrated AI smart-aleckies provided by Bixby.

As more we don& apos; t know a price or release appointment, even though we& apos; re assuming it will work with Samsung’s SmartThings ecosystem. Samsung is promising more information at its developer conference last-minute in the year.

The speaker had been rumored for some time, primarily in a report from Bloomberg, with informants telling the publication that 2018 will be the year Samsung’s smart speaker would be announced and be available to buy.

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Everything is a smart speaker

Maybe the future isn& apos; t about which smart loudspeaker you should buy after all, but will be much more focused on integrating voice-activated smart auxiliaries into other products.

Earlier this year at CES 2019, lots of creators were boasting of expres auxiliary incorporation; Alexa and Google Assistant perceived their way into cars, bathroom mirrors, and even smoke alarms.

While that may sound a little gimmicky, it actually solves one of the major niggling items of the smart-alecky dwelling: you want to have access to your spokesperson assistant in every office but don’t really want to fill your residence with speakers.

Don't miss our Amazon Echo vs Google Home vs Apple HomePod showdown

Read more:

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Think. Wait. Fast.

“Everyone can perform magic, everyone can reach his goals, if he is able to think, if he is able to wait, if he is able to fast.”Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse

My high school English teacher passed away several years ago. Before he passed, I had the chance to tell him that he had a profound impact on my life. After all, I write for a living, and it was his teaching more than anything else that enabled me to write reasonably good material fairly quickly, which led me to where I’m at now.

Another thing that he did for me that I don’t think he ever realized was to open my eyes to a much wider world of reading and the impact it can have on me. He introduced me to Henry David Thoreau, whose writing has had a profound impact on my life (see here and here and also a ton of my inspiration articles). He introduced me to Herman Melville, a writer I didn’t appreciate as a 16-year-old but whose works I devoured when I was in my thirties.

He also introduced me to Hermann Hesse, whose quote starts off this article. I remember diving into Hesse’s books during my last semester of high school, particularly a copy of Siddhartha with a bright blue cover, but also several others that I checked out from the library. I read every single Hesse book that my local library had (and could get) during the summer between high school and college and my dog-eared copy of Siddhartha went with me to college that fall.

A few years ago, I went through a period where I decided to re-read a fairly long list of books that I could recall having a major impact on my life. I made a long list of them and started snagging them from the library or downloading them for free from Project Gutenberg if they were old enough to be in the public domain.

Some of those books were still very impactful for me, while others were less so. Siddhartha, and several other Hesse books I re-read, were on the “impactful” side of the equation.

As I was reading through those books again, I copied down a lot of quotes that I wanted to think about, including that quote at the beginning. I actually stuck the quote in a note to someday write about on The Simple Dollar, but it ended up getting buried in a pile of several hundred (yes, hundred) other ideas I have for articles, most of them half-baked.

A few days ago, I stumbled across it again, simply because I was searching through my notes for references to something else entirely. I found that note, opened it up, and the quote just rang out to me like a church bell on a quiet Sunday morning.

Think. Wait. Fast. That’s really all you need to do to achieve almost any financial goal, and almost any goal in life.


The thinking part of a goal is the process by which you turn a vague daydream into something concrete that you can actually achieve in life.

An idle daydream about being debt-free or being able to live off of your savings or retiring early or paying for your child’s college education is pleasant, but it’s just an idle daydream, one that slides into your head and then drifts away just as easily. It’s pleasant, but it doesn’t really do anything.

Turning that daydream into a goal requires thought and planning.

What exactly is it that you want to achieve? “Paying for my child’s college education” sounds great, but how much will that actually cost? “Saving for retirement” sounds great, but how much do I need to save? “Losing weight” sounds great, but what’s the best way to actually do that? A good goal requires some research.

What is my target? What exactly is it that you want to do? This works best when it’s something that’s clearly a “yes” or a “no” when you’re checking to see if you’ve achieved it. Using a number is often useful, but you can also have a specific condition. For example, if you want to save for your child’s college education, what is the dollar amount you’re aiming for? If you know what tuition costs at a good university, maybe you’ll aim for four semesters of that tuition amount in their 529. Again, this builds off of the initial thought about the goal and how to achieve it.

When is my target? Another key element is the end date for your goal. When do you want to achieve this goal by? Sometimes, it’s obvious – you want to achieve that college savings goal by the time that person starts college, or you want to achieve your retirement savings goal by the time you retire. Sometimes, it’s not so obvious – when is it that you want to be debt-free? You can choose that for yourself.

Is this all realistic? If you know what you want to do and when you want to do it, you should check and make sure that the goal is realistic. You want the goal to be a bit challenging, but you don’t want it to be literally impossible. A good way to do a reality check on your goal is to break the dollar amount down into a weekly or monthly amount and see whether that makes sense. For example, if you’re aiming to pay off $10,000 in debt in two years, you’re aiming to pay off $100 in debt every week. Is that feasible?

What are your daily steps? A final major element in your thought process about goals is what that big goal translates into in terms of daily steps. I like to use a series of questions to help me figure it out if it’s not obvious:

+ What can I do this year to bring me closer to my big goal?
+ What can I do this quarter to bring me closer to what I need to do this year?
+ What can I do this month to bring me closer to what I need to do this quarter?
+ What can I do this week to bring me closer to what I need to do this month?
+ What can I do today to bring me closer to what I need to do this week?

The entire focus in terms of action, then, is that thing you need to do today. The entire plan hinges on that thing for today and nothing else. Then, each week, reassess all of those questions.

All of this requires a lot of thought. The idea is simply to bring that goal into focus so that you can actually see what effort you need to put forth today and how it relates to that goal as well as to discard half-baked ideas so you don’t throw your efforts away down an aimless path.


Big goals require a lot of patience. Almost every big goal out there has a timeline that stretches far beyond what feels “real” in our everyday life.

After all, if you could achieve a big goal in your life in just a few days, well, then you’d obviously do it. The reason that many people don’t achieve big goals is because of the wait.

For me, a key part of the wait is the part of the thought process above where I break things down into what I need to do today in order to achieve my goal, and then I make today’s element paramount. I try to avoid making the piece for today too big – it has to fit into my life, after all – but I do try to make it urgent and important. Doing that not only keeps me moving forward toward the goal, but it makes the goal feel real and tangible in my everyday life rather than something huge and outside the scope of my normal life.

I use a lot of different tricks to make today’s step toward a goal relevant, but the biggest part is that I remind myself of today’s step in the morning. One thing I do each day, early in the day, is to review my ongoing goals and make sure that there’s something in my day related to that goal. Sometimes it’s an addition to my to-do list; other times, it’s another step in a 90-day challenge.

For example, if I’m working on paying off my debts, today’s goal might be to “find one thing I can change to spend less money and execute it and put the saved money aside for an extra debt payment.”

If I’m working on saving for retirement, I might have a similar task, but with the goal of working toward a place where I can bump up my 401(k) contribution at the end of the month (meaning I need to be making a permanent or easily repeatable change).

Those kinds of things go on my to-do list. Other things are just reminders, like reminding myself to be more conscious about what I’m eating or to listen attentively when having conversations with people.

However, the most important ingredient over the long haul is patience. You have to be able to give it time, because most big goals simply can’t happen overnight.

There are a number of things you can do in your life to cultivate patience, beyond the techniques above:

+ Review your day during moments of downtime. How have things gone? What do you need to do the rest of today?
+ Intentionally do things with minimal distraction (a great step here is to start using “do not disturb” mode on your phone as often as possible, or even leaving it behind when doing things).
+ Take on “micro-challenges,” where you push yourself to do something pretty challenging for your goal today – a particularly hard daily step.
+ Ask three questions before making a statement when talking to someone. Whenever you’re conversing, make it a point to ask questions and listen rather than impatiently diving in with your initial idea.
+ Postpone impulsive splurges; if you want to splurge, put it off for another day rather than just saying “no.” You can even schedule it if you want, but don’t do it right away.
+ Plan ahead for big indulgences and enjoy the anticipation.
+ Chart your progress over time as you move from your starting point to your goal. This is really useful if you have a number to track, like your net worth or your weight or your planking time or whatever.
+ Focus on how far you’ve come, not on how far you have to go. You’ll generally buzz right through a honeymoon period with your goal, and then it’ll get tough. Rather than focusing on the distance ahead, look back at how far you’ve come and tie it to your efforts today. “I paid off $2K in debt in the last few months because I did something useful every day toward that goal; I can definitely keep that up!”
+ Take on a few long-term commitments. If you can commit to something that other people rely on that also nudges you toward your goal, that will help you keep moving forward and usually make it much easier to generate something to do today.
+ Pause before you take action and ask yourself if this really makes sense. Does this choice really help me out in terms of what I want out of life?
+ Remind yourself that mild discomfort is tolerable and doesn’t have to be immediately fixed. Your life doesn’t have to be constant comfort. (We’ll get back to this in a minute.)
+ Automate as much of your plan as you can so that impulsiveness doesn’t wreck your progress.
+ Find free hobbies to capture your attention so that you’re not tempted to always spend money.


Fasting simply means choosing to go without something in the short term in order to achieve some long-term benefit. It most commonly applies to choosing not to consume food, but it can apply to almost everything we buy or consume, from television to the internet, from hobby items to special treats.

Some people fast for spiritual or social understanding, as going without something important like food or drink can teach you a lot about the experiences of others and about yourself.

However, fasting in some form is often a key part of a long-term goal. You’re usually giving up something that you consume, whether it’s money or food or time. Many 30-day and 90-day challenges are forms of fasting, where you’re agreeing to go without something that you regularly consume.

For example, let’s say that one element of fasting that you decide to take on is that you’re going to buy store brand items for everything from now on unless the product reveals itself to be problematic. At first, you’ll have to consciously remind yourself to buy store brand ketchup and store brand hand soap and store brand pasta, but as time goes on, that will begin to feel like the natural choice.

Fasting is often a dietary choice useful for weight loss. For example, many people choose to practice intermittent fasting as a weight loss strategy, in that they choose to only eat one meal a day or only eat during a six hour window each day.

Over a long period, fasting towards a goal should elicit some permanent changes in behavior. For example, I know several people who consciously practiced intermittent fasting and now feel most comfortable eating just one meal a day, along with perhaps one small snack.

Here’s the thing, though: fasting is hard. Going without something that you want, particularly when the want is incredibly strong and the thing you want is easy and harmless to acquire, is an intense personal challenge. This is often the piece that causes people to fail in their quests for financial improvement and other aspects of personal improvement. Think of the person that tries to be frugal for a while and then bounces right back to spending, or the person who diets carefully and then goes right back to eating a ton.

My advice is simple: if you’re fasting in order to help bring about a permanent change in your life or to achieve a big, long-term goal, choose principles of fasting that you can continue permanently.

For example, if you’re trying to use fasting to diet, rather than looking for something that gives you some quick results that you can’t possibly sustain over the long haul, look for something less intense that you can sustain over the long haul that will still give results but a little less quickly. The same is true for spending changes: stick with realistic changes you can sustain rather than hyper-aggressive ones that you can’t pull off.

Not sure whether something is sustainable? That’s what a 30-day challenge is for. Stick to the change for 30 days, then assess whether it’s permanent or not.

Final Thoughts

Think. Wait. Fast. That’s really all you need to do to elicit real change in your life. Three words.

It seems simple and it is, but it’s incredibly hard to do. People constantly try and fail to achieve the changes they want out of life, not because they’re failures, but because change is hard. If it was easy, everyone would be millionaires with a perfect body and inner peace.

So what’s the trick? I think if there’s one trick to making think, wait, and fast work, it’s breaking things down into smaller pieces, trying them out, and then making sure the smaller pieces are realistically sustainable. That requires thinking, waiting, and fasting, but it leads to the strong possibility of permanent change and achieving the big goals you want.

Think. Wait. Fast.

You can do this.

Read more by Trent Hamm

The post Think. Wait. Fast. appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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The Million Dollar Question

What would you do if you had a million dollars?

This question seems to come up regularly as a conversation starter. I’ve found that the answers tend to fall into two groups.

In one group, you tend to have answers that involve radical life changes. That person would just move to another part of the world or go on a bunch of vacations or buy a ridiculously expensive home.

In another group, you have answers that involve financial security. That person would pay off debts, maybe buy a modest home or a reasonable car, and put the rest away for big future goals.

You might see a mix of the two, where the radical life change person does pay off credit card debt first or the financial security person does go on a great vacation, but most of their planning centers around their main objective. It’s either radical life changes or financial security, and it’s pretty clear which one is the focus.

I’m clearly in the “financial security” camp. If a million dollars suddenly fell on my lap, I’d put all of it away in investments with the intent to live off of 3% withdrawals for the rest of my life. That would add up to $30,000 a year just from the $1 million, not counting the other retirement savings we already have, nor counting the other investments we have. This would probably hasten our retirement to the pretty near future, but I don’t think we’d retire tomorrow. We’d just sit down and talk through what’s next, but it would mostly center around preserving the life we have right now.

Answering this question and daydreaming about that situation is a lot of fun, but there’s actually something really useful buried in this question. If you give it some serious thought, it’s actually an indication of what your personal plans should be, and thus what your financial plans and professional plans should be like.

For example, with my own million dollar dream, it’s really just an extension of the path I’m on, which happens to be the path I want to be on. I like my life in most ways; no life is perfect, but mine is pretty good, and I simply want to fortify and secure the life that I have and move early retirement, which is already in the plans, a bit earlier.

In other words, the real division between the kinds of answers that people give to the “million dollar question” is whether the answer is just an extension of the life path they’re already on or whether it constitutes a radical change in your life.

Those two types of answers point toward two completely different schools of financial and life advice.

“A Million Dollars Would Simply Accelerate My Already-Existing Life Plans!”

This is definitely the group I’m in and, I suspect, the group that many Simple Dollar readers find themselves in.

People in this group already know what they want out of their life and they’re working in that direction already. An infusion of money just contributes to the plans they already have in place.

My question to people who are in this group, and a question I ask myself all the time, is this: what can I do to hasten those plans? If having a million dollars dropping on my lap means I accelerate and secure the plans I have for my future, what can I actually do right now without that million dollars to accelerate and secure those plans? If this plan is so obviously important to me and so front and center in my life, what else can I be doing to secure and accelerate those plans?

For me, I’m already on a path to complete financial independence and early retirement. A million dollars would merely accelerate my journey down that path. This path is something Sarah and I have carefully considered and we’re in strong agreement on. It’s where we both want to go.

So, what can I do to get us there faster? What can I do to move that point of early retirement a year or two earlier? That’s the real question that the “million dollar question” is asking me.

The answer to that question, of course, goes back to spending less than I earn and doing something useful with the difference. Keeping a firm grip on my spending, looking for opportunities to bring in a little more income, and then using that gap to accelerate our goals is the recipe, and I’m always on the lookout for those things.

However, at the same time, chasing a bigger “gap” should not come at the expense of what I value in my current life. This is such a key personal finance lesson. You have to be able to distinguish between what’s actually important in your life right now – what makes it worthwhile for you – and what isn’t important, and be willing to discard the things that aren’t important for the things that are.

The recipe for accelerating your existing plan really centers around deciding what’s important in your current life and what really isn’t, discarding that unimportant stuff, and using those discards to accelerate the things that are important.

The really interesting side of all of this comes with the other answer to the million dollar question.

“A Million Dollars Would Change Everything!”

If you are in a situation where a million dollars would cause you to make radical changes to your life, altering your profession or your relationships or where you live or how you spend most of your time or some combination thereof, the clear question is why aren’t you orienting your life toward making those changes anyway?

The magic of the “million dollar question” is that it eliminates the issue of financial need from the question of what you want to do with your life. If the things you want to do with your life are drastically different than the things you are doing with your life, then there’s a good chance that you’re in a relatively unhappy cycle in your life, one that’s held in place solely by financial considerations.

If there’s ever a call in your life to start making some financial changes, it should be this one. If the things you most want to do with your life are significantly different than what you’re actually doing with your life, and the only thing that is keeping you on the current path is finances, then it’s time to radically reboot your finances so you can have that life.

I should know, I’ve been there.

For roughly a year before my financial turnaround, I felt like my life was stuck in a serious rut. My dreams and visions and plans were in one direction, yet day in and day out, I felt like my life was heading in a different one. I actually recognized it as it was happening; I wrote about that feeling in my journal and tried to process what it meant.

I knew only that my daily routine was one that was comfortable, but only in the most surface of ways. It was a life that, at a quick glance, should have brought me substantial joy, but what it brought me was fleeting tastes of pleasure and comfort and an underlying feeling that life wasn’t what I wanted it to be.

As I wrote back then:

Sometimes I feel like my life is completely without purpose and I’m just following some invisible pattern that someone else has put into place.

I was walking along a path and there were a lot of things that I liked along that path, but it wasn’t bringing me anything deeper or more meaningful. Rather, it was a path to a destination that I didn’t really want to go to. I loved the pleasures of my day to day life, but I didn’t want to find myself at age fifty without having actually achieved anything I wanted out of life. I didn’t want to be stuck at a stressful job with very little to show for it.

I had all of the little things I wanted today, but I was walking away from all of the big things I wanted out of my life.

If you had asked me the million dollar question then, my answer would have been full of radical life changes. I would have moved. I would have changed jobs. I would have likely splurged on a lot of things that I thought would bring me some joy. In short, I would have used that million dollars to try to stumble toward a life that was much different than my own.

If I knew that about my life and my life choices, then why on earth was I staying on that day to day path?

It took us several more months to really figure things out, and that’s when Sarah and I launched into our financial turnaround. Rather than wandering down a pleasant and comfortable path toward a destination we really didn’t want, we chose to wander down a bit more challenging path to a destination we really wanted. In other words, we started living our day to day life in a way that would lead to the things we would do if a million dollars fell in our lap.

That’s my advice to anyone who would make lots of life changes if a million dollars fell on your lap: start living your day to day life so that you’re heading toward those changes you want.

If you would change where you live, then that means you’re probably unhappy in some deep way with where you live. What can you be doing to aim yourself in a direction to go somewhere else?

If you would change who you spend time with, then that means you’re probably unhappy in some deep way with the people around you. What can you be doing to change your relationships and your social circle?

If you would change your job or your career, then that means you’re probably unhappy in some deep way with what you’re doing for a living. What can you be doing to change your career trajectory?

If you would splurge on a bunch of things, then that means you’re probably unhappy in some deep way with the things that you do for leisure. What can you be doing to explore new interests in your life without causing further financial chaos?

Underlying all of those questions is this one: what are the things in your daily life that you spend time and money on that aren’t in line with or guiding you to the things you would do if you had a million dollars?

Here’s the thing: most of the stuff that you’re dreaming about if you had a million dollars are things that are probably outside of your current financial and life reach. You can’t just snap your fingers and make them happen. If you could, then that’s what you’d be doing, right?

The question you should always be asking yourself is this: how can I spend today to move myself closer to that million dollar vision?

What I found, as I was moving through my financial turnaround, is that every day in which I did things that moved me closer to that million dollar question felt like a really good day. I didn’t have to be perfect about it, but I found that if I took several steps forward and only a few inadvertent steps back most days, it felt pretty good. It feels really good to be able to go to bed at night knowing that you spent the day doing things to move yourself toward the life you really want rather than just coasting through the motions of the life you have.

“What about the fun things, the little pleasures?” Don’t worry so much about the little pleasures that you fill your life with. Those are infinite in abundance, and many of them are free or exceedingly low cost.

More than anything, I found that if I started shaping my normal daily routine into something that I both enjoyed in the moment and which resulted in me being a little closer to that million dollar dream at the end of the day, things felt very, very good.

It takes a lot of experimentation. You have to try lots of new things and you have to try cutting out some old things, too.

It takes a willingness to cut some things out of your life that seem very fun and enjoyable and comfortable in the moment, just to see what life is like without them and whether there’s something else that can fill that space.

It takes a lot of commitment to building new habits. Many of your old daily routines aren’t going to work. You can’t keep going into work and going home and doing the same old things and magically expect new results. You’re going to have to knock down some of those routines and do new things.

It takes some frustration, too. You’re going to take steps that are the wrong steps for you. You’re going to cut out things that you shouldn’t have cut out, and part of you will be shouting that the whole plan is wrong. It isn’t. That’s just the animal part of your brain that resists change. Accept that you will make a few mistakes along the way, and that it’s completely okay to backtrack on some details and do them a different way.

It takes patience, and a lot of it. Even if your days are now headed in the right direction, that doesn’t mean you’ll achieve all of your big goals next week. Rather than staring at the million dollar dream all the time and getting frustrated that it’s not right here, right now, look at your daily life, the good things that it contains, and how it’s heading to where you want to go.

You can do this.

Final Thoughts

I invite you to spend some time seriously thinking about the million dollar question. What would you do with your life if you suddenly had a million dollars in after-tax money in your hands? Would you simply accelerate many of the things you already have in place? Or would you make some radical changes and embark on some major splurges?

If your answer is acceleration, then it’s worth looking at your life and asking how you can accelerate things. You’re likely happy with your life direction, so the question is how you can get to that million dollar dream just a little faster.

If your answer is splurges and big changes, then you should consider whether you’re living a daily life that you’re really happy with, considering that a sudden windfall would mean a radical change in direction. What’s keeping you from working on that radical change in direction right now? Furthermore, is it really that thing you’re blaming – your job, your spouse, your kids, whatever – or is it just your unwillingness to give up a comfortable daily routine and upset the cart a little bit?

In my heart of hearts, I truly believe that the best life we can be living is one where we’re living every day as another step or two toward our million dollar dream in each area of life. That might mean that our daily life isn’t quite as comfortable and easy as it could be, but it means that each day is in line with what we want most and each day builds upon the efforts of the last rather than working against it.

What is your million dollar dream? What are you doing today to get there?

The post The Million Dollar Question appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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3 Types of Taglines & How to Write Them

Recently, an art-collecting friend told me of a purchase she made on vacation. She was having an unforgettable visit to Amsterdam, filled with luscious ethnic foods, eye-popping architecture, hours meandering around the best art museums… you get the idea! On her second-to-last day, she realized she hadn’t found that perfect piece to remember the trip by. (A piece of art from each city she traveled to is a must in her book!) The hotel concierge circled a neighborhood on her map. She ventured out and found herself there after a pleasant 20-minute walk. Upon arrival, though, there was a problem. There were blocks and blocks of multi-story galleries and shops… So. Many. Options… and only an hour or two to shop before her afternoon houseboat tour! She started walking briskly to scan the names of all the establishments… Massar Gallery…. Hutton and Hertz… Koolhaas Gallery… They all sounded similar. Most had dark storefronts with heavy curtains, so choosing wasn’t simply a matter of eyeballing the merchandise from street-level.My friend was starting to wonder if this excursion would be fruitful, when she spotted a sign that offered both the NAME of the boutique (something in Dutch) AND a PHRASE (in English!) that described what sort of pieces they sold:

Small-scale paintings by local artists in the styles of the Dutch masters.

She told me she felt like a moth drawn to flame in that moment. She needed to pack or ship it home, so it needed to be small. She wanted a painting, not a sculpture. She didn’t want something made in another country and shipped here for sale. She had fallen in love with some of the Dutch masters’ paintings in the Rijksmuseum. She needed a small-scale painting by a local artists in a style of the Dutch masters.

She stopped in her tracks, went in, and purchased not one – but three – perfect (for her) paintings that currently hang in a set in her dining room.

The branding lesson in this story?

Whether you have an actual storefront or a digital storefront, the *best* way to attract the right clients is to be very clear about who you are – and how you can help them.

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Taglines and slogans are short and concise, but *powerful*! They show the right people that you have the solution for them. They help people connect with you before they even get to know you.

Let’s examine strategies you can use to create a blockbuster tagline or slogan for your own brand.

🎥 As always, if you’re more of a video person, tune in here watch. For the written article, continue on!

First, let’s ask: Do you need a tagline or slogan?

Let’s back up a step and ask an important question: When do you need a tagline for your business?

If you have a brand or business name that doesn’t immediately communicate the three w’s (who, what, why?), employing a tagline or slogan can be the extremely helpful – perhaps even necessary. When people are seeking out a solution, they want to know *right away* if you’ve got it. Will you be able to help them with the problem or opportunity at hand?

We want them to understand this within an instant, so your tagline can serve as a subtitle of sorts – letting them know they are in the right place… (or conversely, that they are not!).

My brand is an example of one that is well-served by a tagline. My name is Kaye Putnam and I am the Psychology Driven Brand Strategist. I have a personal brand, so my website and company name is simply

Without a tagline, no one really knows what I do.

I use two taglines. One is simply the title I’ve chosen for myself to help people identify who I am and what I do:

The Psychology-Driven Brand Strategist.

When my prospects see this, they immediately understand how I can help them. I use psychology to develop brands that connect businesses emotionally and subconsciously with their target audience. I focus on helping entrepreneurs reach clients and customers on a deeper level.

The second tagline is one I use in places where people already know I help build brands:

I help entrepreneurs change the world with what they know.

This one is a little less concrete, but it speaks to the results my services provide – and who they are for.

So, if your brand’s name doesn’t clearly communicate what you do, and who you help – consider adding a tagline to your toolbox of brand assets.

But craft it carefully, friends! To work well, it needs to be concise and extremely clear. (Winston Churchill is usually credited with writing, “If I had had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” We must apply that philosophy of brevity to a tagline!)

To help you develop a tagline that is right for your brand, let’s explore the three main types that I recommend to my clients.

(Note: There isn’t a “right” one here – so I suggest you brainstorm taglines within each of these categories to find the best option that fits your brand! Take your time and really work through the different possibilities!)

Let’s back up a step and ask an important question: When do you need a tagline for your business?

If you have a brand or business name that doesn’t immediately communicate the three w’s (who, what, why?), employing a tagline or slogan can be the extremely helpful – perhaps even necessary. When people are seeking out a solution, they want to know *right away* if you’ve got it. Will you be able to help them with the problem or opportunity at hand?

We want them to understand this within an instant, so your tagline can serve as a subtitle of sorts – letting them know they are in the right place… (or conversely, that they are not!).

My brand is an example of one that is well-served by a tagline. My name is Kaye Putnam and I am the Psychology Driven Brand Strategist. I have a personal brand, so my website and company name is simply

Without a tagline, no one really knows what I do.

I use two taglines. One is simply the title I’ve chosen for myself to help people identify who I am and what I do:

The Psychology-Driven Brand Strategist.

When my prospects see this, they immediately understand how I can help them. I use psychology to develop brands that connect businesses emotionally and subconsciously with their target audience. I focus on helping entrepreneurs reach clients and customers on a deeper level.

The second tagline is one I use in places where people already know I help build brands:

I help entrepreneurs change the world with what they know.

This one is a little less concrete, but it speaks to the results my services provide – and who they are for.

So, if your brand’s name doesn’t clearly communicate what you do, and who you help – consider adding a tagline to your toolbox of brand assets.

But craft it carefully, friends! To work well, it needs to be concise and extremely clear. (Winston Churchill is usually credited with writing, “If I had had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” We must apply that philosophy of brevity to a tagline!)

To help you develop a tagline that is right for your brand, let’s explore the three main types that I recommend to my clients.

(Note: There isn’t a “right” one here – so I suggest you brainstorm taglines within each of these categories to find the best option that fits your brand! Take your time and really work through the different possibilities!)

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1. The Differentiation Tagline

A differentiation phrase is basically a rallying cry for your tribe. Why should they choose you over everybody else in the market? Let them know with your tagline.

One of my very first clients was a blogger in the military lifestyle niche who had a blog called “JoMyGosh.” (Her name was Jo, of course!)

The tagline we came up with for her brand was “Stories that feel like coming home”. This is her differentiation point. She tells stories that would make military families *feel* like they are at home – that they were accepted, that they were in the right place. She is very accepting and inclusive of a variety of views held by people who live the military lifestyle. So she wants to ensure her target audience knows they can be comfortable reading her stories and sharing their own.

Apple also uses a differentiation tagline with “Think Different”. There’s that rallying cry! It’s almost a mini-manifesto. “We won’t buy a PC! We’re creative and innovative, gosh darn it!” If you want to stand out and be different, Apple is for you. This tagline makes that clear.

When L’Oreal’s uses “Because You’re Worth It”, they’re showcasing a strong point of view. We, as consumers, can select their products because this opinion resonates with us. If we feel we are worthy – and/or we want that to be the case – they are a good fit for our beauty needs.  

State Farm’s differentiation tagline is a memorable one: “Like a good neighbor, Statefarm is there.” It communicates that they different from other options in the market. Insurance companies are often perceived as very corporate and impersonal, but State Farm wants you to see them as completely different – like a good neighbor who’s going to help you out when you have an emergency.


2. The Results-oriented Tagline

The results-oriented tagline focuses on the outcome. It helps people understand exactly what they can expect from your brand.

One of my clients, Dr Katie Henry’s tagline is “Fuel Your Joy.” When you choose her for personal coaching, health coaching, or business coaching, you can expect to experience the universal outcome of joy. She helps her clients ‘fuel their joy’ in all aspects of their lives. This is made clear in her tagline.

Here’s a fun one… M&M’s famously “Melt in your mouth, not in your hand.” Again, this tells us what the product does and what you can expect. It lets us know how this delicious little product will perform! (And if you’re a mom like me, you’re probably thinking, “Yay! Less mess to clean up! M&Ms are for us!”)

Southwest Airlines uses a tagline that is also a great sound bite – it’s uber-catchy! “Ding, you are now free to move about the country.” It communicates the outcome – what customers get. Their accessible pricing and frequent routes deliver freedom of travel. (Side note: Giving you a trigger like “ding” is simply reinforcing their brand identity. They’re an airline that makes travel simple! Genius.)

General Electric

3. The Literal Tagline

The literal tagline is the straight-shooter of the bunch. It just tells people what you do. It’s not necessarily emotional or catchy (though it can be). Its most critical goal is to clarify your business purpose. (And remember, confusion kills sales. So, although this is a simple strategy, it’s an effective one.)

My tagline, “The Psychology Driven Brand Strategist,”is a literal tagline. I want people to know right out of the gate what strategies I use to help them develop their best brands. I want them to know I use proven methods and principles based in psychology.

The New York Times’ tagline is “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” While there is a bit of a differentiation going on there too, it’s mainly telling us that it’s a news source and that it’s comprehensive but discerning. BMW uses “Designed for Driving Pleasure.” This direct statement tells us what we need to know: It’s a vehicle. It’s not just for getting from point A to point B. They’ve purposely made it fun to drive. So, if that’s what you seek – this is for you!

Dollar Shave Club has come up with a literal tagline that also makes us chuckle. “Shave Time. Shave Money.” It’s cute. But more importantly, it tells us exactly what purpose the brand’s product serves.

Note: As you can see, it’s possible to blend these tagline types, too. For purposes of brainstorming your options, I suggest approaching each category as a separate silo. If you end up with a tagline that straddles two – or even three – of them, that’s fine! But is’ not necessary for an effective asset. Speaking of brainstorming… let’s do it!


Brainstorm Your Possible Taglines

Now it’s time to spend some time on each category, and brainstorm several different options within each. Here are some questions to ask yourself. I suggest you write out the answers and let them inform and inspire your process.

For the differentiation tagline:

What makes you different than other choices / competitors?
What have your previous clients told you about why they chose you – or why you were the clear choice for them?
What are the things that you believe – that others in your space may not?

For the results-oriented tagline:

What problems do you solve for your ideal client?
How do those problems show up for them in their day-to-day?
How do your clients feel before they work with you – or before they buy / use your product?
What is standing in the way of their success or desired goal before your work together – or before they access your product?
How do they feel and how are things different after their purchase or work with you?

For the literal tagline:

What exactly is your product or service?
Who exactly is it best for?
What specific tactics or strategies do you use for your clients?
What exactly is your product used for, made with, etc?


Invest some time in this process, and I know you will land on something (or things!) that are just right for your brand! And, here’s the smart way to leverage this work: You may end up with more options that just the single tagline you’ll use forever. That’s a good thing!  Even if it’s not crystal clear yet which tagline is THE ONE – the best or *most perfect* – feel free to use your really good results as headlines, social media quote graphics, or other positioning phrases. Your intellectual hard work can be utilized in a variety of places.


Keep it emotional.

Last thing: Don’t forget your clients’ psychology when working through this! We shouldn’t lose site of the fact that people want to connect with people – not just companies. So, your brand’s core values should be apparent in your tagline, just as it is in your other brand assets. One way to cull through the options you brainstorm will be to pass them through the filter of your brand archetypes. If you have two  – or several – that you like, which one(s) are most aligned with the basic themes and motivations of your archetypes? Which ones use words that reflect your types? My brand’s second tagline (“I help entrepreneurs change the world with what they know.”) is one that conveys ideas consistent with both my primary and secondary archetypes – Sage and Magician. Apple’s “Think Different” lives its Sage and Maverick archetypes out loud. (And so succinct! Totally genius.)

General Electric’s “Imagination at Work” enchant and engages – with one part Magician, one part Girl / Guy Next Door.Lay’s Potato Chips put their Entertainer archetype right out front with “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One.” (If you want a primer on the brand archetypes, read about them and discover yours here.)

The best taglines are clear, memorable, and relay personality. To really hit those all-important emotional triggers, I definitely recommend you prioritize use of either the differentiation tagline or the results-driven tagline. Those will have more of an emotional impact with your target audience.

If your brand’s name is confusing or you’re concerned about brand clarity, a literal tagline will work well – but emotions knock it out of the park every time!

The post 3 Types of Taglines & How to Write Them appeared first on Kaye Putnam | Psychology Driven Brand Strategist.

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How to create an outdoor cinema in your back garden

Outdoor cinema screenings are big news this summer, but if you’ve not managed to get tickets to the open-air movie night in your local park, why not host one in your own backyard? It doesn’t have to be expensive – particularly if you can borrow a projector from a friend – and best of all, you’ll get to choose what film to watch. Right, someone pass the popcorn!

Love your garden? Visit our garden ideas section for more inspo

Step 1. Find the right location


Whether you’re setting up your outdoor cinema at the bottom of the garden or on a balcony or roof terrace, make sure you have a piece of ground that’s dry and sheltered from the wind. You could use fairy lights to decorate the space, but make sure you turn them off before you start the movie so they don’t affect the picture. Also try to avoid pitching up in a spot where streetlights or bright indoor lights might reflect against the screen.

To make the space extra special for your audience, spruce it up with paint beforehand. This fence is painted in Dusky Gem, £24.67 for 2.5ltrs, Cuprinol, and the table is made from wooden pallets painted in Lavender, Wild Thyme and Fresh Rosemary, again, all £24.67 for 2.5ltrs.

Step 2. Invest in a projector

It used to be the case that decent projectors were hugely expensive and could only be used in blackout situations, something hard to achieve in a living room, let alone in your garden. However, the latest models are bright enough to use with the lights on, and have plummeted in price. They’re also quieter and more compact, so you needn’t worry that an annoying whirr will spoil any dramatic moments.

When you’re shopping for a projector for your outdoor cinema, you’ll see each one has a lumen measurement. More lumens make it easier to see the projected image in bright conditions. In a garden after dark, we recommend at least 3000 lumens for a movie-theatre experience.

Step 3. Connect a video source

This could be a DVD or Blu Ray player, a laptop or a streaming device such as an Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV box, which you’ll need to connect to your projector through its HDMI port.

If you want great sound, you can connect a speaker through your projector’s 3.5 mm jack, or look for a model with Bluetooth. Go for the latter and you’ll be able to connect wirelessly to a Bluetooth soundbar or speaker, and put more bang into your blockbuster. Or if it’s late and you’re watching alone, you can connect a pair of Bluetooth headphones so you won’t disturb the neighbours.

Step 4. Create your cinema screen


The easiest way to do this is to peg a white sheet to your washing line. You may want to weigh it down at the bottom so that it doesn’t move around in the breeze.

You could also make your own screen by sewing together pieces of blackout lining, which you can buy by the metre. Tack lengths of timber to the top and bottom and attach screw hooks to the top, then hang it over a row of nails on a wall or garden fence.

If money is no object, you could hire or buy an inflatable screen. Inflatable Products sells these, with prices starting from £1,345 for a 2m x 4m screen.

Step 5. Make sure your guests are comfy

If the best spot is on the lawn, lay a groundsheet on the grass to protect against any moisture or bottom-troubling rocks and stones, then layer blankets, cushions and beanbags to up the comfort factor. You could make your pop-up outdoor cinema more sophisticated by throwing down a few rugs, and setting out chairs, benches or even hammocks to relax on.

Just make sure everyone has a good view, and keep a few blankets aside or perhaps light a fire pit in case it gets colder later on.

More inspiration: Outdoor cushions – our pick of the best

Step 6. Prepare a feast

This could be as easy as pouring popcorn into bowls, and filling a bucket with ice and stocking with bottled drinks, so all you have to do is reach down for a refill. For something more substantial, light up the barbecue or invest in an outdoor oven and host a pizza party.

You could also have a go at making your own lemonade. Simply mix the zest and juice from 6 lemons and 2 limes with 200g of caster sugar, and 1.5ltrs of just-boiled water. Leave the mixture to cool and then chill it in the fridge. We love this trick of using fairy cake cases to identify everyone’s drinks while keeping insects at bay.

Whatever you decide to serve, don’t forget to light some citronella candles to ward off annoying mossies.

The post How to create an outdoor cinema in your back garden appeared first on Ideal Home.

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The psychology of passive barriers

A surprising thing happens to people in their forties. After working hard, buying a house, and starting a family, they suddenly realize that they’d better start being responsible with their money. They begin reading financial books and trying to learn how to set up a nest egg for themselves and their families. It’s a natural part of growing older.

If you ask these people in their forties what their biggest life worry, the answer often is, quite simply, “money”. They want to learn to manage their money better, and they’ll tell you how important financial stability is to them.

Yet the evidence shows something very different.

In the table below, researchers followed employees at companies that offered financial-education seminars. Despite the obvious need to learn about their finances, only 17% of company employees attended. This is a common phenomenon.

401k compliance rates

As Laura Levine of the Jump$tart Coalition told me — and I paraphrase — “Bob doesn’t want to attend his 401(k) seminar because he’s afraid he’ll see his neighbor there…and that would be equivalent to admitting he didn’t know about money for all those years.”

They also don’t like to attend personal-finance events because they don’t like to feel bad about themselves. But of those who did attend the employer event, something even more surprising happens.

Of the people who did not have a 401(k), 100% planned to enroll in their company’s 401(k) offering after the seminar. Yet only 14% actually did.

Of those who already had a 401(k), 28% planned to increase their participation rate. 47% planned to change their fund selection (most likely because they learned they had picked the default money-market plan, which was earning them virtually nothing). But less than half of people actually made the change.

This is the kind of data that drives economists and engineers crazy, because it clearly shows that people are not rational. Yes, we should max out our 401(k) employer match, but billions of dollars are left on the table each year because we don’t. Yes, we should start eating healthy and exercising more, but we don’t.

Why not? Why wouldn’t we do something that’s objectively good for us?

Barriers are one of the implicit reasons you can’t achieve your goals. These barriers can be psychological or profoundly physical, like something as simple as not having a pen when you need to fill out a form. But the underlying factor is that they are breathtakingly simple — and if I pointed them out to you about someone else, you would be sickened by how seemingly obvious they are to overcome.

It’s easy to dismiss these barriers are trivial, and say, “Oh, that’s so dumb!” when you realize that not having an envelope nearby could cost someone over $3,000. But it’s true. And by the end of this article, you’ll be able to identify at least three barriers in your own life — whether you want to or not.

The Psychology of Passive Barriers

Why People Don’t Participate in Their 401(k)s

If you’re like me, whenever you hear that one of your co-workers doesn’t participate in their 401(k) — especially if there’s an employer match — you scratch your head in confusion.

Even though this is free money, many people still don’t participate. Journalists will cite intangibles like laziness and personal responsibility, suggesting that people are getting less responsible with their money over time. Hardly.

It turns out that getting people to enroll in their 401(k) is just plain hard. Using simple psychological techniques, however, we can dramatically increase the number of people who participate in their company’s retirement plan. One technique, automatic enrollment, automatically establishes a retirement plan and contribution. You can opt out at any time, but you’re enrolled by default.

Here’s how it affects 401(k) enrollment. (“AE” = automatic enrollment.)

401k automatic enrollment

From 40% participation to nearly 100% in one example. Astonishing.

Today, J.D. has given me the opportunity to talk about one of the ways to drive behavioral change when it comes to your money. I call them barriers.

While I do this, I’m going to ask you for a favor. You’ll see examples of people who lost thousands of dollars because they wouldn’t spend one hour reading a form. It’s easy to call these people “lazy” — and there’s certainly an element of that — but disdainfully calling someone lazy doesn’t explain the whole story. Getting people to change their behavior is extraordinarily hard — even if it will save them thousands of dollars or save their lives.

If it were easy, you would have a perfect financial situation: You’d have no debt, your asset allocation would be ideal and rebalanced annually, and you’d have a long-term outlook without worrying about the current economic crisis. You’d be at your college weight, with washboard abs and tight legs. You’d have a clean garage.

But you don’t.

None of us are perfect. That’s why understanding barriers is so important to changing your own behavior.

“Just Spend Less Than You Earn!”

There’s something especially annoying about comments on personal-finance blogs. On nearly every major blog post I ever made, someone left a comment that goes like this: “Ugh, not another money tip. All you need to know is: spend less than you earn.”

Actually, it’s not that simple. If that were the case, as I pointed out above, nobody would be in debt, overweight, or have relationship problems of any kind. Simply knowing a high-level fact doesn’t make it useful. I studied persuasion and social influence in college and grad school, for example, but I still get persuaded all of the time.

These commenters make the common mistake of assuming that people are rational actors, meaning they behave as a computer model would predict. We know this is simply untrue: Books like Freakonomics and Judgment in Managerial Decision Making are great places to get an overview of our cognitive biases and psychological motivations.

For example, we say we want to be in shape, but we don’t really want to go to the gym. (J.D. is a prime example of this, and he’ll be the first to admit it.) We believe we’re not affected by advertising, but we’re driving a Mercedes or using Tupperware or wearing Calvin Klein jeans.

There are dramatic differences in what we say versus what we do. Often, the reason is so simple that we can’t believe it would affect us. I call these barriers, and I’ve written about them before:

Last weekend, I went home to visit my family. While I was there, I asked my mom if she would make me some food, so like any Indian mom would, she cooked me two weeks’ worth. I came back home skipping like a little girl.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. When I got back to my place, I took the food out of the brown grocery bag and put the clear plastic bags on the counter. I was about to put the bags in the fridge but I realized something astonishing:

Food from Ramit's mom

…if I got hungry, I’d probably go to the fridge, see the plastic bags, and realize that I’d have to (1) open them up and then I’d have to (2) open the Tupperware to (3) finally get to the food. And the truth was, I just wouldn’t do it. The clear plastic bags were enough of a barrier to ignore the fresh-cooked Indian food for some crackers!!

Obviously, once I realized this, I tore the bags apart like a voracious wolf and have provided myself delicious sustenance for the past week.

I think the source of 95%+ of barriers to success is…ourselves. It’s not our lack of resources (money, education, etc). It’s not our competition. It’s usually just what’s in our own heads. Barriers are more than just excuses — they’re the things that make us not get anything done. And not only do we allow them to exist around us, we encourage them. There are active barriers and passive barriers, but the result is still the same: We don’t achieve what we want to.

I believe there are two kinds of barriers.

  • Active barriers are physical things like the plastic wrap on my food, or someone telling me that it’ll never work, etc. These are hard to identify, but easy to fix. I usually just make them go away.
  • Passive barriers are things that don’t exist, so they make your job harder. A trivial example is not having a stapler at your desk; imagine how many times a day that gets frustrating. For me, these are harder to identify and also harder to fix. I might rearrange my room to be more productive, or get myself a better pen to write with.

Today, I want to focus on passive barriers: what they are and how to overcome them.

How to Destroy Passive Barriers

Psychologists have been studying college students for decades to understand how to reduce unprotected sex. Among the most interesting findings, they pointed out that it would be rational for women to carry condoms with them, since often the sexual experiences they had were unplanned and these women can control the use of contraceptives.

Except for one thing.

When they asked college women why they didn’t carry condoms with them, one young woman typified the responses: “I couldn’t do that…I’d seem slutty.” As a result, she and others often ended up having unprotected sex because of the lack of a condom. Yes, technically they should carry condoms, just as both partners should stop, calmly go to the corner liquor store, and get protection. But often they don’t.

In this case, the condom was the passive barrier: Because they didn’t have it nearby and conveniently available, they violated their own rule to have safe sex.

Passive barriers exist everywhere. Let’s look at some examples.

Passive Barriers in E-mail

I get emails like this all the time:

“Hey Ramit, what do you think of that article I sent last week? Any suggested changes?”

My reaction? “Ugh, what is he talking about? Oh yeah, that article on savings accounts…I have to dig that up and reply to him. Where is that? I’ll search for it later. Marks email as unread

Note: You can yell at me for not just taking the 30 seconds to find his email right then, but that’s exactly the point: By not including the article in this followup email, he triggered a passive barrier of me needing to think about what he was talking about, search for it, and then decide what to reply to. The lack of the attached article is the passive barrier, and our most common response to barriers is to do nothing.

Passive Barriers on Your Desk

A friend of mine lost over $3000 because he didn’t cash a check from his workplace, which went bankrupt a few months later. When I asked him why he didn’t cash the check immediately, he looked at me and said, “I didn’t have an envelope handy.” What other things do you delay because it’s not convenient?

Passive Barriers to Exercise

I think back to when I’ve failed to hit my workout goals, and it’s often the simplest of reasons. One of the most obvious barriers was my workout clothes. I had one pair of running pants, and after each workout, I would throw it in my laundry basket. When I woke up the next morning, the first thing I would think is: “Oh god, I have to get up, claw through my dirty clothes, and wear those sweaty pants again.”

Once I identified this, I bought a second pair of workout clothes and left them by my door each day. When I woke up, I knew I could walk out of my room, find the fully prepared workout bag and clothes, and get going.

Passive Barriers to Healthy Eating

Too many people create passive barriers to healthy eating. You’re sitting at your desk at work and you get hungry. Rather than reach for a healthy snack (because you don’t have one with you — a passive barrier), you go to the vending machine for a bag of Cheetos.

Here’s a real-life example of passive barriers preventing J.D. from eating healthy. We were in Denver together in 2013 for a conference. During a long day with no breaks, he didn’t have a healthy snack with him. But he did have Hostess Sno-Balls. Bad J.D. That’s not even food.

Ramit scolding me about my snack choices

J.D. needs to remove passive barriers to healthy eating

If you find yourself snacking on Cheetos (or Sno-Balls) all day at work, try this: Don’t take any spare change in your pockets for the vending machine. Even if you leave quarters in your car, that walk to the parking lot is barrier enough not to do it. Give yourself an alternative. Carry a healthy snack with you, like apple slices. Remove the passive barrier to eating healthy.

Applying Passive Barrier Theory to Your Own Life

As we’ve seen, the lack of having something nearby can have profound influences on your behavior. Imagine seeing a complicated mortgage form with interest rates and calculations on over 100 pages. Sure, you should calculate all of it, but if you don’t have a calculator handy, the chances of your actually doing it go down dramatically.

Now, we’re going to dig into areas where passive barriers are preventing you from making behavioral change — sometimes without you even knowing it.

Fundamentally, there are two ways to address a passive barrier.

  • You’re missing something, so you add it to achieve your goals. For example, cutting up your fruit as soon as you bring it home from the grocery store, packing your lunches all at once, or re-adding the attachment to a followup email so the recipient doesn’t have to look for it again.
  • Causing an intentional passive barrier by deliberately removing something. You put your credit card in a block of ice in the freezer to prevent overspending. (That’s not addressing the cause, but it’s immediately stopping the symptom.) Or you put your unhealthiest food on the other side of the house, so you have to walk to them. Or you install software like Freedom to force yourself not to browse Reddit three hours a day.

Personally, here are a few passive barriers I’ve identified (and removed) for myself: I keep my checkbook by my desk, because for the few bills I receive in the mail, I tend to never mail them in. I keep a gym bag of clothes ready to work out. And I cut up my fruit when I bring it home from the store, because I know I’ll get lazy later.

Now let’s see how this can work for you. Here’s an exercise I’d like you to do:

  1. Get a piece of paper and a pen — or open the note-taking app on your phone.
  2. Identify ten things you would do if you were perfect. Don’t censor. Just write what comes to mind. And focus on actions, not outcomes. Examples: “I’d work out four times per week, clean my garage by this Sunday, play with my daughter for 30 minutes each day, and check my spending once per week.”
  3. Now, play the “Five Whys” game: Why aren’t you doing each of these things?

Let’s play out the last step with the example of exercising regularly. Let’s assume I say that I want to exercise three times per week, but I only go twice per month. Let’s do the Five Whys:

  • Why do I excercise only twice per month? Because I’m tired when I get home from work.
  • Why? Because I get home from work at 6 p.m.
  • Why? Because I leave late for work, so I have to put in eight hours.
  • Why? Because I don’t wake up in time for my alarm clock.
  • Why? Hmm…Because when I get in bed, I watch Netflix for a couple of hours.

Here’s a possible solution: Put the computer in the kitchen before you go to sleep → sleep earlier → come home from work at an earlier time → feel more rested → work out regularly.

That’s a gross oversimplification, but you see what I mean.

Homework: Pick ten areas of your life that you want to improve. Force yourself to understand why you haven’t done so already. Don’t let yourself cop out: “I just don’t want to” isn’t the real reason. And once you find out the real reasons you haven’t been able to check your spending, or cook dinner, or call your mom, you might be embarrassed at how simple it really was. Don’t let that stop you. Passive barriers are valued in their usefulness, not in how difficult they are to identify.

The Bottom Line

Passive barriers are subtle factors that prevent you from changing your behavior. Unlike “active” barriers, passive barriers describe the lack of something, making them more challenging to identify. But once you do, you can immediately take action to change your behavior.

You can apply barriers to prevent yourself from spending money, cook and eat healthier, exercise more, stay in touch with your friends and family, and virtually any other behavior. You can do this with small changes or big ones. The important factor is to take action today.

A caveat: Sometimes people take this advice to mean, “The reason I haven’t been sticking to my workout regimen is that I don’t have the best running shoes. I should really go buy those $150 shoes I’ve been eyeing…that will help me change my behavior.”

Resolving passive barriers is not a silver bullet: Although they help, you’ll be ultimately responsible for changing your own behavior. Instead of buying better shoes immediately, I’d recommend setting a concrete goal — “Once I run consistently for 20 days in a row, I’ll buy those shoes for myself” — before spending on barriers. Most changes can be done with a minimum of expense.

J.D.’s note: This is one of my favorite guest articles in the history of Get Rich Slowly. It had a profound effect on me, my life, and my work. This piece was originally published on 17 March 2009. I’m reprinting it today to celebrate the newly-published second edition of Ramit’s book, I Will Teach You to Be Rich [my review].

The post The psychology of passive barriers appeared first on Get Rich Slowly.

The Credit Pros Review – Fix Your Poor Credit With This Great Service

The Credit Pros has more advantages to offer than drawbacks. The Credit Pros’ team of FICO-certified professionals is always ready to assist with any credit-related issue faced by their customer.The Credit Pros has more advantages to offer than drawbacks. The Credit Pros’ team of FICO-certified professionals is always ready to assist with any credit-related issue faced by their customer.

The post The Credit Pros Review – Fix Your Poor Credit With This Great Service appeared first on Money Under 30.

auto credit v1 Credit Credit agreements in South Africa

How This Family of 4 Saves $3,600 a Year Living in a 200-Square-Foot Home

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated.

Several years ago, Andrew and Gabriella Morrison and their two kids lived in a 2,200-square-foot house in Ashland, Oregon.

Andrew describes it as the perfect house on the perfect street in the perfect town — the American dream, really.

On the outside, the family appeared to have everything. But on the inside, they were feeling increasingly stressed by their finances.

“We started recognizing the financial and energetic cost of living there and how busy we were trying to maintain it,” Andrew says.

So, the family of four decided to downsize — in a major way.

Discovering Tiny Homes — Long Before HGTV Did

auto credit v1

The Morrisons’ decision to ditch their seemingly picture-perfect suburban lifestyle happened fast. Andrew describes it as an “aha” moment.

In the midst of their frenzied days, Gabriella received an email from someone whose signature line read, “Tiny House Blog.” She’d never even heard of tiny houses before. So naturally, she did a quick internet search.

“It was literally like dominoes,” she says. “We went down the rabbit hole and never looked back.”

Within 30 minutes of researching the tiny-house lifestyle, Gabriella says everything became clear about why they were having issues and what needed to be done.

The Ultimate Purge: Getting Rid of 80% of Their Belongings


Gabriella learned the average U.S. household holds something like 300,000 items — everything from paperclips to armoires.

That’s a lot. So the family created something they called a “365-day rule.” Each time someone went into a room with a drawer or cabinet, every single item was pulled out.

With each item, they asked, “Have we used it in the last year?”

If the answer was yes, then they could decide if they wanted to keep it. If the answer was no, it went in an ever-growing pile in their two-car garage.

After a couple of months, that pile of cast-off items grew about two feet high. Once an item was in the pile, they decided if they still wanted to keep it or if they wanted to sell or donate it.

“The more we did it, the easier it became and the more excited we got,” Gabriella says.

When the pile dwindled to heirlooms and childhood tokens, the family took a breather. They put them in a small storage box to return to a few years later.

Their inevitable solution for many of those items? Take photos of them or digitize them. For example, they’d transfer old photos to CDs and take photos of old trophies.

Then they’d purge.

In the end, the family rid themselves of about 80% of their belongings.

Including their home.

Although it was their perfect home, the family was excited for their newest adventure: pop-up living on the shores of Mexico.

Moving Into a Pop-Up Camper and Testing the Tiny Boundaries

After purging material goods, the family decided to test out the tiny lifestyle by living in a pop-up camper for nearly five months on the beaches of Baja, Mexico.

The couple continued to operate their business, Straw Bale, which focuses on homes made of straw bales.

Their son, Paiute, was off at boarding school, so there was one less body in the newly adopted living space.

However, it wasn’t all frolicking in the Sea of Cortez (though that did happen a lot). Gabriella remembers being “shocked and disturbed” during that first month in the camper.

The emotional withdrawals from the lack of electronics and material goods were surprisingly intense for Andrew and Gabriella — even for their home-schooled daughter, Terra, who was 11 at the time.

“Before, our lifestyles involved a ton of work — 10 hours a day, 7 days a week — and constantly being on screens, returning phone calls, receiving emails,” Gabriella explains. “Then, for our daughter, it was with the social media channels. They start pretty young these days.”

At one point, the trio was so uncomfortable, they almost packed up and returned home.

But near the 30-day mark of their adventure, Andrew woke up and “some switch went off,” Gabriella says. “He was able to see the incredible paradise we were living in and the incredible opportunity before us.”

Gabriella and her daughter soon followed.

Today, the Morrisons consider it the best experience they’ve ever had.

Returning to Oregon to Put Down Some Tiny Roots


After five months, the Morrisons returned to Ashland to scout out the perfect piece of land for a permanent tiny house.

Although the ZIP code was expensive, the family resolved to stay where they’d already established a life.

But the couple wasn’t willing to go into debt. So they waited.

During that time, which ultimately lasted two years, they rented the smallest house they could find. Even then, the space wasn’t small enough. Andrew and Gabriella settled into the walk-in closet — about the size of a queen mattress.

“It was our bedroom, it was our library, it was our hanging clothes closet,” Andrew says. “But even that was too big. We couldn’t find anything small enough for us.”

Gabriella chimes in: “We weren’t comfortable being in a big space [anymore].”

Finally, Andrew and Gabriella found what they were looking for: five acres in the Rogue Valley, amongst the mountains. There was even a creek cutting through the property.

Although it posed some problems, like a lack of approval for a septic system and challenging access to the building site, Andrew was a former builder with ample experience, and he accepted the challenge.

The Struggles of Constructing a Tiny House in the Dead of Winter


Andrew and Gabriella moved back into their pop-up camper to start building their tiny dream home on their newly-acquired land.

Rather than commuting from town each day — about a 30-minute haul — they figured they could be more efficient living right on the job site.

But it was cold.

“I can tell you that living in a pop-tent trailer in the winter in Oregon is not the same as living in a pop-tent trailer on a beach in Mexico,” Andrew says. “It got cold. We had snow. We didn’t have any running water. It was definitely a mistake.”

The two returned to town to stay with a friend and resumed construction while Paiute and Terra were off at boarding school.

It took about four months for Andrew to complete the 207-square-foot tiny home — plus 110 square feet for a sleeping loft.

How Much Money Can You Save Living in a Tiny House?

food item

The biggest perk? They’re no longer financially stressed.

Gabriella estimates that in about two more years they’ll have paid off their tiny home with the money they’ve saved by not having a mortgage.

Utilities have been slashed, too. Heating a 207-square-foot home is a lot less expensive than a 2,200-square-foot home. They’re also technically off the grid, so their solar power is free and the water runs from a well.

Their monthly bills have been shaved down to internet, phone and garbage. They pay their propane heating bill twice a year.

They’ve also noticed a difference in their grocery bill.

By American standards, their refrigerator is about half the size of a “normal” one. But because they don’t have any of those deep, dark corners, items can’t be tucked away and forgotten; every food item is in view and consumed.

Andrew and Gabriella have also become more aware of their spending habits. Neither was ever a shopaholic, but impulse buying definitely happened. Now, they just don’t have room for it.

They’ve even stopped taking freebies. Andrew shares a story about how he opted out of the “free” counterpart of a BOGO deal for pants. He had to explain to the cashier that he lived in a tiny home; he didn’t have room for another pair of pants.

The couple laughs. “It’s taken our mindset to where, even if it’s free, if you don’t need it, cut it,” Andrew says.

Gabriella suspects they’ve cut at least $300 from their spending each month — just by living in the smaller space. That’s $3,600 a year — at least, Gabriella emphasizes.

“We had a choice what to do with our money, and, had we not gone through the experience of living minimally, I have no doubt that we would have just put that money into a much bigger home,” Gabriella says.

“Then we would have been sitting on a half-million dollar housing payment for the next 30 years.”

Instead of paying off debt, the power couple built a business from their passion: Tiny House Build. Because they live and breathe the lifestyle, they offer resources and host workshops for those who hope to build tiny homes of their own.

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

How to Start a Brewery: Growing Your Own Craft Beer Business

how to start a brewery

In 2018, there were more than 7,450 breweries in the U.S.–well over than the historic high of 4, 131 breweries in 1873, according to the Brewers Association. In such a crowded busines, making good beer and opening the doors isn’t enough anymore.

But, the good news is, if all those people could start a brewery, then you can too–as long as you know what you’re getting into and have a solid business plan for your brewery.

From running coolant hoses to steering regulations, starting a brewery is a messy, convoluted position full of turns, turns, postpones, disappointments, and surprises–but it’s also one heck of a ride.

In this guide to starting a brewery, we’re going to talk with brewers who’ve been-there-done-that, and we’ll get insights from experts in supporting industries such as insurance and commerce, as well as discuss regulatory issues.

While it may be your dream to brew enormous beer, this guide will help introduce you to the business side of craftsmanship brew.

This usher will flood the 7 all-important steps to starting a brewery:

Planning a brewery Finding a brewery locating Choosing brewery equipment Building relationships with vendors and the community Funding a brewery Obtaining insurance before opening a brewery Keeping regulations in mind when starting a brewery

Step 1: Planning a brewery

No matter its size or senility, every brewery was formerly a startup.

ColdFire Brewing, a 10 -barrel brewery, came online in December 2015, founded by Dan Hughes and his brother Stephen. They’re incessantly hard-bitten at work on business development and recipe formulation, navigating bureaucracy, and enduring the inevitable lags that come with brewery building, equipment give, and regulatory endorsement.

“We began to get serious about originate our brewery several years ago, and we were still working out details as we prepared to open our entrances, ” says Dan.

The Hughes friends developed a solid business proposal and constructed a core team to bring their vision to reality. Backed by a crew of private local investors, ColdFire gained access to additional capital through an SBA loan.

The ColdFire Brewing team meets to plan marketing.

The ColdFire Brewing team meets to scheme commerce .

While Dan heads up functionings, his brother Stephen is head brewer, and their team also includes superintendents of finance and brand, respectively.

Watch your finances

Having a key financial being in place has helped them get better at monitoring cash flow and their overall financial status and needs, says Dan. Most small businesses and startups that are looking to grow–hire a new work, or buy a new segment of equipment, or open a new location–need to think hard about cash flow, or originating sure they have enough money in the bank to meet payroll and other fiscal obligations.

Review your business project regularly

Committing to regularly reviewing your business strategy and monetaries sounds like a good step toward moving more informed, smarter spending decisions, that can have a big impact on a new business’s long term viability. Forcasting, and then comparing your actual decisions against your projections on a regular basis, will help you spot all the questions before it’s too late to do something.

If you don’t have a business plan hitherto, don’t skip it

If you don’t have a business plan for your brewery just yet, don’t skip it. Scheduling is proven to help you grow 30 percent faster. Plus, if you’re going to seek a lend or financing, your funders will expect you to have one. If you’re not sure what you should include in your plan, check out brewery sample business strategy on Bplans. You can download them for free to help you get started. Now are one of our most popular example contrives:

Sedibeng Breweries

About the intention: Sedibeng Breweries is a medium-scale brewery located in the growing industrial center of Selebi Phikwe, Botswana. Initial strategy are to produce three main lines of beer. These concoctions will be distributed to remote yet unusually workable expanses, where the market is appreciative of readily-available, good-quality brew.

Martin Cove Brewing Company

About the project: Situated in Medford, Oregon, Martin Cove Brewing Company has been a successful microbrewery for the past three years. This time, Martin Cove Brewing Company will gross $520,000 in auctions. With this coin, they plan to expand its distribution to selected metro areas within the state of Oregon. In addition, they will introduce a new make, a traditional German Marzen-style lager.

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Dan Hughes’ advice on starting a brewery 1. The most important detail is characterizing a clear vision

“We know what kind of brewery we want to create and we have tried to let that vision drive all of our decisions .”

2. There has to be a commitment to the workmanship

“We find this opportunity to open a brewery a advantage, and we certainly aren’t doing this for the money. In fact, we’re taking a significant pay cut to have the privilege to open a brewery. We do so with a vision toward creating a quality brewery that status the traditions of those that have gone before us.”

3. Every tie-in is important

“When you build a few good relationships, abruptly they open the door for more ties-in, and that decoration had just been continued to hold true.

” Our bank had is aware of us before we ever converged them, and our landlord had been approached by other breweries in the past. Fortunately, we have always observed it important to treat parties well and listen to good people who have good advice. That has ended up providing us well.”

4. Prepare for license and regulation challenges

“They take time–so much time–to file, be adhered to, and advantage permission. Having been contriving this for so long, we various kinds of knew what we were getting into and have thus far been able to get through most of these challenges to-date. But they all take so much day.

” With that said, the federal license, or TTB[ Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau ] let, was the longest and most arduous. The most complex the operating structure of a business, the more information and time required.”

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Step 2: Finding a brewery locale

From land use to public perceive, the location where you plan on opening a brewery is a crucial decision. Generally, brewers want to set up shop in their own backyard.

Here are some questions to consider:

What are the relevant local and state laws altering breweries?( And there will be plenty–brewing is one of the most regulated industries in the country .) Where in your sphere will you find country or a building with the privilege zoning, length, facilities, and access for bringing in raw materials, captivating customers, and/ or sending out finished brew for dissemination? What local favorites will you need on tap to appeal to the market, and where can you innovate to stand out? Will you simply brew ales, or will you also represent opening for lagers, a barrel-aging program, and so on? What type of brewery will you be: production brewery or brewpub? How wide do you want to grow production and distribution, or do you want to focus on selling over your own bar? Do you want to scale to multiple locations? What structure will be needed to get the doors open on your first orientation?

All these questions and more will influence the right space for your brewery. Nonetheless, the main thing is to start with the privilege space–and one that will be bigger than what you think you will need, says Jason Jordan of Propel Insurance.

“I cannot tell you how many brewers I have talked to in time two to three in business, ” he says, “and they all said their biggest sadnes was not coming a bigger space that they could grow into.”

However, brewers likewise need to be willing to take a hard look at where they want to locate and do their homework to make sure they can establish a successful brewery there. Word of mouth is no substitute for market research, says Ben Price, co-founder of Hard Knocks Brewing, a small brewpub in its second year of operation.

“The single biggest mistake I have attained was pinpointing my business in a town that could not care less about skill brew, ” says Ben. He recommends brewers use data houses such as Insightics to see where and how people spend their money in a region.

“You’re looking for a number of 70 percent or more within five miles of the zip code you desire, ” says Ben. “I originated the mistake of trusting in word of mouth. You miss locally oriented people, people who want a good product, spawned local.”

Tending the Hard Knocks Bar

Tending the Hard Knocks Bar.

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Step 3: Choosing brewery material

Your initial structure will probably be seven to 15 casks, but range your own numbers. Figure out how much you’ll need to have in production at a time to be profitable.

What you need to know about buying new

A new method might be subject to delays, specially if necessitate from other breweries is high, but you’ll be able to design to your needs and specifications, and you’ll have support when issues arise( and they are able to ).

“You’ll probably start with a seven-barrel system, spend anywhere between $130,000 – $175,000 new, ” says Patrick McCarthy, who works in the financial sector and aids breweries with uppercase and business scheduling.

Is it a good opinion to buy use brewing rig?

A squandered structure are likely to be through the door quicker and might save you coin up front, but make sure you’ve thoroughly reviewed the system and seller–and remember that when you have difficulties, you’ll likely be on your own to fix them.

“Used plans are almost as expensive, so you’re certainly not saving anything, but you might get it sooner than saying new. Some tribes cut corners by ordering gear made offshore. Many brewers shunned that due to recognized qualitative changes, ” says Patrick.

How Ninkasi Brewing proliferated their brewing capacity

Ninkasi Brewing been launched in 2006 on a 15 -barrel system and made 1,650 casks. In 2018, Ninkasi exchanged 90,000 barrels and was the thirty-fifth largest brewery in the U.S ., and the fourth largest in its residence regime of Oregon, after powerhouse symbols such as Deschutes, Rogue, and Full Sail. In April, 2019, the brewery sold its majority stake to a larger organization.

Co-founders Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge leased their startup system from a family drive a German diner out of a onetime brewpub. While brewing and self-distributing their beer, Floyd and Ridge bought quality where they could relocate and expand business. They moved into their current locale with a 20 -bbl brew system, three 60 -bbl fermenters, and one 20 -bbl fermenter. A year later, they changed the 20 -bbl brew system with a 30 -bbl system, followed by another expansion one and a half years last-minute to 50 casks. Today they use an 80 -1 00 -bbl brew system, but the 50 -bbl is still online for special brewing campaigns and research-and-development beers.

“We persistently planned for growth and faculty, catching up the entire first seven years of being open, ” says Jamie. “In a highway, it’s easy to build out in this way, as you always need something, so it becomes more about the funding required and the logistics.

” We continually drew beer while switching out brand-new systems and adding capacity and infrastructure. One of our greatest strengths was our ability to work around the construction we were doing.”

Today, Nikasi has some serious brewing facilities.

Today, Ninkasi has some serious brewing facilities.

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Step 4: Building relationships with dealers and the local community

Starting a microbrewery and brewing enormous beer is not a solo struggle. It is a forever arranged, ongoing plan of relationships with customers, government officials, craftspeople, and your internal people.

Ascertain relied advisors

“The number one piece of suggestion I yield brand-new brewery patrons that are in startup stagecoaches is to engage your main business merchants early on in the process and find the right people to serve your needs, ” says Jason Jordan.

“You need trusted advisors that are proven in the liquid industry and have a decent portfolio of brewery purchasers. This would be the architect, business advocate, intellectual property attorney, banker, insurance broker, real estate agent, description creator, move grower, malt supplier, cistern fabricator, and accountant.”

Hire the title crew

Relationships and preventing an ear to the ground are key not only to establishing your brewery, but in how and when you grow. Jason Carriere, the owner of Falling Sky Fermentation Supply Shop and co-founder of Falling Sky Brewing, has is going through numerous quirks and turns since Falling Sky opened its first Eugene, Oregon brewpub location in 2012. Since then they’ve opened a second location, a pourhouse that focuses on food production, and a third locating, a saloon and pizzeria on the University of Oregon campus.

“I’d been running the homebrew shop for a while, ” says Jason. “I’d already seen various of my very best hires move on to become brewers around township, so I contemplated I’d look gravely at manufacturing that stretch ourselves, keep the team together, make it so homebrewers “whos working” at the patronize could have a way internally to go pro.”

The new Falling Sky Brewery even opens up onto a garden.

The new Falling Sky Brewery even opens up onto a garden.

In their first time of production, Falling Sky developed 800 casks, and they developed 1,300 in 2015 — and that’s while getting underway on structure for their third locale, moving the homebrew store, and broaden their current brewhouse.

Know your customers and your business

Jason trusts strongly in “knowing who your clients are and what they want, ” balanced with skill and consistent craftsmanship instead of novelty. “I’m not a big believer in recipes, or special combinations of moves no one has thought of, ” he clarifies. “Breweries don’t really acquire purchasers with one brew, but they can lose customers with one beer.”

When it comes to growth, Jason admonishes a thorough understanding of the brewery’s production multitudes and financials, balanced with an on-the-ground understanding of daily operations.

That then informs your inclinations and thought. And all this must be tied together with ongoing communications with staff, business partners, dealers, and other key beings changing your business.

“You wouldn’t want to expand if your brewery is at 60 percent capacity and you have drain tanks sitting around, ” Jason says. “You too have to have your pulse in the community and the industry to know whether or not you’re saturating certain things, or if you hear about people wanting your beer but not get it. But it’s all about how we’re going to expand. Just because person in a market wants your beer, doesn’t mean it’s part of your strategy.”

Be open to openings

You also have to be aware of opportunities that arise, though, even if it’s unexpected–and that accompanies suspicion, opening, and relationships back in play.

“We had no five-year plan to open a third restaurant, but when we got approached by the University of Oregon, we listened, ” says Jason. “It was one of those happens where we didn’t really want to expand, but it was far enough in the future that we could plan it through without a rush. Our second locale was more rushed.

We were busting at the seams at the brewpub, especially with the kitchen, so the deli stretch was more to let the inn do more of what it needed to do again. The second location had a bigger kitchen, cold storage, etc ., to handle making fries and ketchup. It was a combination of good opportunity and vision.”

But that doesn’t mean it was easy. “It was frightening, I’m not gonna lie, ” says Jason. “When we firstly did the deli, it looked like a very bad idea for a few months. But it turned around.”

Don’t second guess–trust your crew

Jason and his crew are not prone to sadness or second-guessing. Not that everything has always been easy or rosy-cheeked, but he ascribes solid contrive and teamwork with being able to realize key moves without looking back and wondering.

For Falling Sky, that includes a tactical decision to focus on location sales instead of wider distribution. “I’m not a big second-guesser. When I make a decision, it’s because I feel confident about that decision, and I’ve made through the consequences and I’ve come to terms with the consequences of choosing one option over another, ” says Jason. “I’m confident in our decision to focus on selling beer over our saloon versus the shelf struggles and SKU wars.”

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Step 5: Funding a brewery

Sure, at its heart beer is made from water, malt, yeast, and hops–but there’s an invisible more crucial fifth ingredient: money.

Sort connections with the title bank

Raising capital for any business can be a difficult process, and breweries are no exception. In his many characters in the financial industry, Patrick McCarthy has most recently made as Vice President Commercial Relationship Manager with Bank of the Cascades, which has 35 corporations from the workmanship refreshment industry as clients.

Over the years, institutions he’s worked with have instantly sketched six breweries, a cidery, and a kombucha producer, and Patrick has also admonished dozens of startup breweries, from discussing business plans to helping prospective brewers network with key people.

Patrick visualizes his role not just as analyzing a business plan or crunching amounts. “You want to be helpful and move the whole business along, ” he says. “If a business comes into the bank that’s remarkable, but at the least you’ve made some friends.”

Here is Patrick’s overall opinion for startups to make sure they’re not only brewing quality beer, but saving solid volumes 😛 TAGEND 1. Banks are not consistent new sources of startup capital

A new brewery is probably not going to a bank for a startup loan( banks typically come into play for capital to fund growth formerly a brewery is more established ). Sidekick and family are the most common supports, and many startups bootstrap. Some cities, such as Portland, Oregon likewise have what Patrick announces “beer angels”–private angel investors who are familiar with the beer business and invest in select breweries and cideries.

Loans from the Small-minded Business Administration( SBA ) can also be a good avenue, but from “bank to bank the SBA program is used differently, ” says Patrick. “Some bankers have a great deal of interest, knowledge, and breadth, and can be a champion for a startup brewery. But a lot of banks look at breweries as restaurants and avoid them, or want to see them in business three to four years before they invest.”

2. Be realistic about your business capacity

When Patrick looks at a new business, here are some of the things he looks for to inform his gumption of the brewery’s chance of success 😛 TAGEND

Do they know how to make good beer? Have they made good beer elsewhere? Won awardings? What is their brewing experience? If someone’s been a garage brewer for five years, that’s different from someone who’s been brewing at an established brewery for the past 15 years. Do they have good recognition? If not, why not? How much skin do they have in the game financially? Will they be able to handle delays? Do they have access to contingency capital?

3. There’s no one model–or one business plan–for breweries

Each brewery will have its own unique business model and business plan. Before opening a brewery, prospective brewers have to figure out the privilege business sit for their plans, spot, interests, startup resources, and long-term vision.

Typical patterns include taphouses, creation breweries, and full brewpubs. There’s too a brand-new phenomenon called an “alternating proprietorship, ” says Patrick, where brewers brew part-time on someone else’s system.

Within any pattern, there are things breweries can focus on to stand out and raise receipt. “Some brewers emphasize nutrient in part because the food dollar can transformed into more dollars profit for beer, ” says Patrick. “Managing your own distribution is ideal. There are overhead tradeoffs, but I’m seeing it more and more.” Exports are becoming another component, he mentions, with international markets such as Japan becoming thirstier and thirstier for American ship beer.

“Everyone’s trying to find what they can afford, what works, ” he shows. “Merely making good beer isn’t enough anymore. There’s way too much good beer out there to stand out immediately.”

Even if you’re not striving fund, it’s still a really good idea to create a Lean Business Plan that you can use to help navigate your business as challenges and opportunities arise. The interest of a Lean Plan is that it’s meant to be reviewed and varied regularly, so you’re not just taking a snapshot of your the enterprises and aims once, and then shelving it for five years.

4. Cash must be available to cover costs and counterbalance retards

On an industry-wide basis, for small to medium-sized breweries, the fraction between auctions and specified assets is normally for every$ 6 of auctions, a brewery has$ 1 of cooked assets.

Estimate brewery startup costs

Start with approximating your startup expenses. A brand-new and ripening brewery’s biggest expenses tend to be the brewing arrangement( e.g ., $130,000 -$ 175,000 for a brand-new seven-barrel system) and tenant improvements to the property( which in Patrick’s experience in Oregon, including Portland marketplaces, has typically straddled $200,000 -$ 350,000 ).

“It’s expensive to alter a commercial-grade infinite that doesn’t have depletions, specific water lines, the requirement of electrical, ventilation, etc ., ” he asks. “Many likewise put in a back bar, setting, etc.” Penalty vary by scope, locale, and market.

Anticipate procrastinates and setbacks

“Problems with licensing or letting with the city that motive time of opening can be extremely expensive, ” says Patrick. “Every day they can’t pour their own beer is catastrophic financially. That’s the biggest risk I’ve seen in startup stagecoaches: timing.”

Delays are a reality in startup breweries. Brew system fabrication and delivery can take longer than the agreed timetable. Regulatory or grant favors can drag out for months. Creation can punch unexpected snags. Make sure your financial earmarks can manage stalls and extra costs.

“Seasonality matters too, ” interprets Patrick. “You want to have the doors open when the beer-drinking season goes started. Winter months are typically the slowest for a brewery. You want to be open by April or May. Ideally, that’s not ever in your control due to startup retards, but starting with April to May you want to operate during those busier months.”

5. Treat your accounting with as much respect as your brewing

“I’ve passed on a brewer that didn’t respect the accounting process, ” says Patrick. “The brewers are focused on their first love, which is building yummy brew. Accounting isn’t definitely the top and paramount in everyone’s mind, but in such situations, it was irresponsibly ignored. You can’t tell the accounting take a distant back seat.”

Just as aspect verify is essential for good beer, you have to make sure the books are balanced and the financials are being moved well. “Accounting continues you out of trouble, ” says Patrick. “It helps you plan, helps you get a return, and ultimately helps you generate revenue.”

Metrics: Know your crowds

Okay, so understanding your monetaries is important, but what do you need to track in order to understand the financial health of your brewery?

Here are the numbers, metrics, and other indicators Patrick says brewers should monitor:

Breweries should typically break evenor generate a small profit by the firstly six to 12 months of the activities. “They’re at least breaking even, but they’re not themselves much yet.” Between 12 to 18 months, there should be a 10 to 15 percent bottom-line profitability. “If I’m used to seeing all representations being productive two years out by at the least 10 to 15 percentage, ” says Patrick, “then if you’re not, I need to understand why or how you’re going to get there.” Beyond that, examine year-round profitability on a quarterly basis, with a focus on being fruitful yearly, and at least breaking even quarterly. If nutrient is part of the business, are meat rates( food-cost-percent and food labor) being contained at 20 to 25 percent of meat receipts? Are you at capability or will you be at faculty soon? What do you need for equipment for the next six months to keep up with demand? Cash flow. What is your monetary liquidity, especially at the end of each quarter and at the start of the fourth fourth, given that winter is often a slower season? What is your leverage, the ratio between total liabilities and net worth? “There’s no magic number, ” says Patrick, “but the greater the leverage the greater the risk in the business model. If someone is exceeding three-to-one, two-to-one, I have to take a harder look at it. Sometimes that can be a fleeting ratio and adjusts. If the leveraging is propagandized out, I need to understand why. Is it losses? Is it mismanagement? ” Is it time to scale? If the balance sheet is showing that you have$ 7 to 8 sales for every$ 1 assets( and$ 6 marketings for every$ 1 resources is typical ), Patrick says it’s time to examine scaling.

As you find your stride in a profitable bottom line, you’ll too examine increasing efficiency. For example, as product volume mounts, breweries typically acquisition a particle silo. “They can buy in bulk, readily chipped cereal overhead by two-thirds, ” says Patrick. “Grain silos tend to pencil out abruptly. It’s an evoking step up.”

The same remember relates across the brewery. “At some target when you get larger, you’ve went more money to constrict that remaining five percentage profit out of your beer.”

Putting together a sales forecast and a cash flow forecast that you monitor at least monthly can be really helpful. Running a business or Lean Plan review meeting that also covers your business is a great way to hold yourself accountable.

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Step 6: Obtaining insurance before opening a brewery

Breweries need many coverage, just like any other business. A brewery with a large employee roster and a sail of self-distribution vehicles will have different needs from a three-person production-only startup. Find an insurance agent you can trust who preferably has suffer working with breweries or wineries.

No, policy is not as naughty as decide which brand-new “it” hop is going to be the peculiarity of your new IPA, but if a brewery doesn’t stop current on their insurance needs, says Jason Jordan at Propel Insurance, then they are asking for trouble.

Note: Insurance and ligament requirements vary by state, place, and type of brewery, so make sure you’re talking with your insurance agent and even your lawyer for what’s liberty for your operation and where you’re planning on starting a brewery.

The biggest concern is the lease contract with the landlord, says Jordan. “That can be boilerplate or have a myriad of different insurance coverage and restriction requirements to comply with.”

Here are other areas of coverage Jordan says a brewery might need, which will vary depending on the operation:

Business income and additional outlay coverage Backup of sewer and drains Equipment disturbance coverage( depending on the age of their beverage method) Belonging coverage on all rig and business owned Key being guarantee via a buy-sell agreement( if the brewery has multiple spouses) Market valuation coverage( for furnishes such as a cask aging platform) Product remember coverage “is sometimes a concern” Crime coverage for theft of fund and securities Commercial auto coverage is key if expanding into or starting to self-distribute product Workers comp is mandatory if employees are on the payroll, which too involves employment patterns indebtednes guarantee( known as EPL insurance or EPLI) to cover hiring and firing patterns

A brewery’s most common claims tend to relate to workers comp injuries, such as employees straining a muscle or hurting their back lifting ponderous items, says Jordan. Lost product from a superpower outage or mechanical breakdown of a glycol chiller is another common problem, as are backups of sewers and drainages( causing damage to the space and stop of business, likening to lost revenue.

Luckily, formerly you are up and running with your assurance, “the needs don’t change a lot from a brewery or brewpub that produces 500 cannons a year to 25,000 casks a year, ” says Jordan. “The biggest concern is keeping up with prices on material for brand-new acquisitions and stretches to make sure the brewery is adequately protected at the time of a loss. Brewery owneds are notorious for brewing good brew and not for keeping up to speed on calling their negotiator to make changes.” Stay on top of it to help keep your costs lower in the long run.

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Step 7: Keeping regulations in mind when starting a brewery

Of course, there are laws and regulations–and brewing is a highly regulated industry. Your brewery will need sanctions and compliance with relevant local, country, and federal authorities, such as your state’s alcohol oversight organization and the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB.

In Oregon, for example, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission( OLCC) mandates a producer carry a $300,000 restraint for alcohol obligation. At the federal grade, the TTB requires all brand-new breweries that want to offer beer for sale to submit a Brewer’s Notice. The TTB has a Brewers Qualification webpage outlining what you’ll need to do when you initiate a brewery to have the proper federal approvals.

“No matter how much you think you know, you will have more to learn.”- Jamie Floyd, @NinkasiClick To Tweet

“No matter how much you think you know […] you will have more to learn, ” says Jamie Floyd, co-founder of Ninkasi Brewing. “It changes and derives and you have to know the people who are spawning the changes and you have to be ready to change as a company. If the FDA decides there is an urgent need to framed nutritional info on our bottles you have to do it. It’s the law. You will have to figure it out and pay for it.”

Do to know your legislators

Jamie also recommends getting to know your legislators at all levels of government and working with trade groups that try to update and affect government and federal programs related to the regulation and taxation of brew.

The growth of the industry is also leading to regulations being modified commonwealth to commonwealth, says Patrick, “if not to encourage craft refreshments then to make it a most viable business model.”

Be prepared for conformity and paperwork-based retardations

In the meantime, compliance is not inevitably easy or rapid. “Some of it is more the tediousness of the paperwork. Make one small change, file everything over again, ” says Jason Carriere, co-founder of Falling Sky Brewing.

“TTB is known for a lack of timely responses. We submitted our application for the third expansion nearly a couple of months ago, and we’re not even supposed to call and check the status for ninety days. Then when you do call, you sit on hold for two hours to find out where your work is in someone’s stack.”

Don’t remember federal indebtedness

Breweries too need the Brewer’s Notice. “That’s a brewery’s permission from the federal government to brew commercially, ” says Jason. “It involves taxes, a alliance you have to pay that serves as insurance for paying brew taxes. You end an environmental impact statement for water and environment. It’s permission to make an alcoholic beverage and pay the taxes on it in the U.S.”

While starting a brewery requires lots of dedication, fund, image, and red-tape navigation, it is also a booming industry and brewers who have a solid design and remain their track have a solid hazard of success. “The figures are substantiating themselves: Craft beverages are here to say, ” says Patrick. “There’s bound to be a slowdown eventually, but there’s one to two breweries a period opening in all regions of the country. One wants it, and if one wants it, people will furnish it.”

And that someone could be you.

Editor’s note: This article originally published in 2016. It was updated in 2019.

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There are several disconnects between financial advice and financial reality that annoy me. One such disconnect revolves around the advice to NEVER carry a credit card balance. No credit card debt, no problem. It’s abstinence-only financial education. The reality, however, is that lots of us know borrowing against credit cards isn’t wise, but we do […]While we don’t recommend using a credit card to weather tough times, if you do it carefully, your credit card could be a lifesaver.

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