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Katherine Heigl Just Discovered the NSFW Meaning Behind Harry Styles' "Watermelon Sugar"

Harry Styles, Music VideosTurns out “Watermelon Sugar” is a sexual innuendo. Who knew?
Katherine Heigl and a handful of Harry Styles fans just realized that the summer bop is actually an ode to the female…

Mortgage Rates Are at All Time Low; Where Are Rates Trending?

The post Mortgage Rates Are at All Time Low; Where Are Rates Trending? appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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How to Avoid Foreclosure: Where to Get Help

The post How to Avoid Foreclosure: Where to Get Help appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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Conscious Spending: How to Budget by Looking Into the Future

So, you’ve been thinking of drawing up a brand new budget to reign in your spending. 

But there’s a problem. You start a new budget with the best of intentions only to forget to follow through or you simply get annoyed with it. Maybe you’ll try again next month, right? The cycle goes on and on, and you’re left disappointed and broke. 

This is common for many people, but why? Budgets fail because they’re unsustainable. Why are they unsustainable? Because they focus entirely on needs and ignore wants. This is where Conscious Spending comes in to save the day!

Traditional budgeting is all about making cutbacks and, usually, the first thing to go is fun stuff. You don’t need a Netflix subscription, so that gets cut. You don’t need to go to Taco Tuesday at Molina’s Cantina, so that goes too. But what does that leave you with? A budget that no one wants to stick to. And … another failed attempt. We know, we’ve been there. 

The truth is, budgets are a waste of time. Didn’t think we were going to say that, did you? 

“[Budgets] make us feel bad about ourselves, they don’t provide any forward-looking information — they’re just pointless,” as explained in our book, I Will Teach You to Be Rich.

friends enjoying coffee

Ditch the budget and get started with conscious spending instead

The problem with budgets is they make you look back on your spending to make changes. What really happens is you look back and feel horrible. And you do that the next month and then the next month after that. What you should do instead is look forward not backward

This is a strategy we call “Conscious Spending.” Notice how it’s conscious spending, not saving. The thought behind this is all about positive spending habits, not banning yourself from spending altogether. So, put down the budgeting spreadsheet or app you launch every couple of months and forget about it. 

Here are the steps behind the Conscious Spending strategy.

Step one: categorize your current spending

Let’s start with an overview of your money and spending. You should be able to categorize your spending into four different types:

  • Fixed costs (rent and bills)
  • Important investments (401k, Roth IRA, emergency fund)
  • Savings goals (home down payment, vacation fund)
  • Guilt-free spending (dining out, movies, happy hour drinks)

Let’s break those down even further. 

Fixed costs – what you need to live

Starting with the fixed costs, list everything you need to spend during the month, including rent/mortgage payments, car payments, loan repayments, insurance, and utility bills. Get it all written down and write the cost next to each one. 

Once you’re done, add an extra 15% on each one. But why, you ask? It’s to cover the things you haven’t accounted for. This way, if something does crop up out of the blue, it won’t derail your month. 

After doing this, subtract this total cost from your monthly take-home pay. Ideally, this figure should be around 50-60% of your net income. What you have leftover is for savings and fun stuff.

Important investments – what future-you needs to live

Your priority here is to cover your 401k and Roth IRA. Aim to save at least 5-10% of your income after taxes for these accounts. If you’re unsure how much you should be putting away for retirement, this retirement calculator is your new best friend.

Savings goals – what you want for the future

The next thing to look at is financial goals for the future. You can split this section up into short-term, mid-term, and long-term savings. 

Short-term savings are things like gift purchases or a brand new pair of AirPods you’ve been desperate to justify buying. Mid-term savings include things like a down payment on a car and long-term savings are for big-ticket items such as a down payment on a house or a college fund. 

If we’re following the 50/30/20 (50% essentials/30% wants/20% savings) rule, savings goals and retirement savings fall in the 20% bracket. This means that 20% of your take-home pay should end up in savings. 

Guilt-free conscious spending – what you want, period

The guilt-free spending part is the hard part. It’s all those little costs that add up before you know it. The Uber rides, popcorn at the movies, an extra cocktail at happy hour. These kinds of things are a little harder to prepare for unless you live a rigorously planned-out social life. Ideally, you want to set aside 20-30% of your take-home pay for this type of spending and variable expenses. 

“But, I thought we weren’t allowed to spend on fun things when budgeting?” 

This is exactly where budgets become unsustainable. 

Remember, traditional budgeting is a waste of time. Most of us are going to spend this money regardless of whether we’ve told ourselves not to. You might as well decide how much you’re going to spend on fun stuff rather than ban yourself from spending altogether. 

By allocating your money in this way, you make sure all the important costs are taken care of first without leaving out the fun stuff. 

Step two: set up your automated system

Now you have a good idea of everywhere your money should be going, it’s time to automate your budget. 

First off, decide what percentage of your take-home income you want to put into each category. As we mentioned earlier, a good rule of thumb is 50% for needs (e.g. rent, groceries), 20% for savings (e.g. 401k, savings goals), and 30% for wants (the stuff you feel guilty about spending money on). Remember, budgeting is an organic process. It’s not the end of the world if you have to tweak the percentages a little bit. Don’t feel guilty about it, it’s all part of the process. The most important thing is that it works for you.

The next step is to split your money up into each category when your paycheck comes in. A simple way to do this is to set up regular transfers from your checking account to your savings accounts. That way, you don’t even have to think about it. 

For example, you could automatically transfer money for your fixed costs to go into a joint account with your spouse. You could also move your guilt-free money to a prepaid card you use just for fun spending. Making these transfers automatic will have you thanking past-you for not forcing you to make these difficult decisions each month. 

Step three: keep track

This part will probably sound familiar if you have ever downloaded a budgeting app before. But rather than starting off with a vague idea about making cutbacks and saving money, the Conscious Spending strategy will provide a more focused approach.

So, go ahead and re-download that budgeting app or budget worksheet. Apps we recommend include Tiller Money, You Need a Budget, or Mint. These all work in slightly different ways. For example, if you’re the type of person who prefers spreadsheets, (me! guilty!), Tiller Money is a great choice. Be sure to check out some reviews before picking one that works for you.

Using an app or a trusty spreadsheet to track your spending is a simple way to ensure you’re staying within the parameters you set earlier. 

Remember: it’s conscious spending not saving

Budgeting shouldn’t be about depriving yourself. It should be about spending where it really matters; spending on what you love and cutting back on the stuff that doesn’t matter. 

That’s why the Conscious Spending strategy is about spending first and foremost. Most budgeting tips focus on what you can’t do, what you can’t spend your money on, or how you’re ruining everything buying coffee you love (P.S. You’re not. Coffee is fine, more than fine actually.) 

We’ll be the first to admit that budgeting isn’t exactly fun. But if your budgeting method fills you with guilt, dread, and a sinking feeling every time you buy something, that’s a clear sign it’s not working for you.

There’s definitely a place for frugality and sensible spending. We wouldn’t recommend splurging on designer clothes while your retirement accounts lie empty. But there’s got to be a middle ground between that and making your budget absolutely miserable. Frugality alone isn’t enough to get you where you want to be. Neither is reckless spending.

What will work is being conscious of your spending and deciding what’s actually important. That’s why the 50/30/20 split is so beautifully simple. It takes care of the important stuff first but doesn’t neglect the importance of spending on yourself.

To sum it all up, conscious spending is not about looking at your checking account after you’ve spent the money and feeling bad. It’s about knowing how much you’re going to spend before you go on a spending spree. Look forwards, not backward. 

Happy (conscious) spending!

 
 
 
 

Conscious Spending: How to Budget by Looking Into the Future is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

Video Game Jobs Expected to Grow As More Americans Get In Gaming

Conventional wisdom has a lot to say about video games.

It says gamers are male basement dwellers who live on a diet of Mountain Dew and Cheetos, that gaming makes people lazy, and that it’s impossible to make a living by playing games all day.

Well, au contraire. According to data from the Entertainment Software Association, the video game industry and its players are flourishing. A 2020 survey by ESA found that 64% of all Americans play video games — every day. 

“From Fortnite to League of Legends, games have captured the hearts and imagination of a lot of folks,” said Chris Greeley, an esports events commissioner for one of the most popular computer games, League of Legends.

With so many people playing, especially during the pandemic, there are ever-growing opportunities to work in the estimated $160 billion gaming industry.

Video Game Careers On the Rise, Experts Say

While the pandemic has driven esporting events further online, major championships are typically held in massive venues and attract crowds and viewership that rival real sporting events. 

For example,the 2018 League of Legends World Championship drew in more than 200 million viewers at its peak. (The Super Bowl that year had an audience of 103 million.) The event was held at Incheon Munhak Stadium, a world-class sports complex in South Korea, which hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2002.

Like their real-world counterparts, esports events require tons of preparation and manpower, and the industry comprises a lot more than pro players. Depending on the size of the League of Legends event, there are between 80 and 150 staffers working on and off camera, Greeley estimates. Across the industry, demand is spiking for announcers, scouts, coaches, marketers and broadcasters. 

Video game companies supply a good chunk of those jobs. Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Epic Games and Riot Games all have budding in-house esports divisions that broadcast and scout their respective competitions and teams.

Greeley drew many comparisons to the sports entertainment industry, calling it a “blueprint” for how esports jobs work. But one notable difference is that, for several companies, all of the developing, marketing and broadcasting happens under one roof.

“We joke all the time that we’re a sports league, a production house, a broadcaster and a start- up business,” he said.

But not all video game companies have the resources to run such wide-ranging operations. In many cases, esports jobs are outsourced to third-parties, such as ESL Gaming, which handle event management and production for large-scale tournaments.

“There are 100-plus esports organizations that, on a day-to-day basis, are looking for help,” Greeley said. “I think there’s a really healthy mix” of both in-house and outsourced job opportunities.

Some companies are building hubs in Atlanta, Austin, Texas, and Dallas. But the vast majority of esports jobs are in California.

“The top three spots for esports jobs right now are Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Los Angeles,” Greeley said.

FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM

The meteoric rise of the esports industry often gets all the attention, but the more traditional video game careers — animators and designers — are slated to see healthy growth in the coming years as well.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2019 to 2029 job forecast, software developers will see a 22% increase in job opportunities, and multimedia animators will see a 4% increase, which is on par with all job growth.

Colleges know this. Indiana University, one of many colleges looking to get ahead of the trend, offers several major specializations in game art, production and audio – plus a dedicated degree in video game design – to prepare students for future video game jobs. 

Edward Castronova, a video game economist and professor at Indiana University, foresees a large wave of video game jobs right around the corner.

Future job seekers, he said, should “pay as much attention to your gaming literacy as you do to literature, art, music and film.”

Video Game Jobs — For Pros and Aspiring Pros

The Penny Hoarder detailed several strategies to make money playing video games — as in literally playing video games for cash. Several pay quick money. But other options, especially competitive tournaments, provide pathways to the big bucks.

The Penny Hoarder interviewed Christian Lomenzo, who won $45,000 in esports competitions held by Madden NFL. Before his days of Madden fame, he participated in smaller video game tournaments online, earning a couple dollars at a time. 

While Lomenzo’s Madden prize money is a serious chunk of change, the biggest competitions in the industry pay out several times that amount. Competitions held by Blizzard Entertainment, Epic Games and Riot Games draw in hundreds of millions of viewers and pay out hundreds of millions in cash prizes. As a result esports earnings are skyrocketing

Epic Games, the developers of the massively popular Fortnite, paid out $100 million in prize money across all qualifying rounds of the 2019 Fortnite World Cup. Another mainstay competitive game, Dota 2, paid out $34 million in prize money during its 2019 championship series alone.

The pandemic canceled or postponed the 2020 championships for both games, but the next tournaments are expected to pay as much or more.

Video Game Jobs

Outside of the sporadic earnings of large-scale esports events, professional gamers can make healthy salaries. Riot Games, the makers of League of Legends, hires talented gamers whose day job is to stream their matches on Twitch, create buzz and draw in more players.

“League of Legends pros in North America have an average salary of a little bit more than $300,000,” Greeley said. “Minimum for our pro level is $75 grand. I mean, that’s not a bad salary when you’re 18.”

The vast majority of gamers don’t play competitively, however. Even if they did, they wouldn’t qualify for selective tournaments or cushy pro-gamer jobs at Riot.

For the majority of video game jobs, a healthy dose of passion and knowledge will suffice.

Future Video Game Careers

Bureau of Labor Statistics data show the amount of time Americans spend playing video games is on the rise — especially so for 15- to 24-year-olds, who now spend about five hours per week gaming. Meanwhile, hours spent watching TV — while still much higher — have been steadily declining since the agency started tracking the numbers in 2003.

The latest BLS figures are from 2019. Video game sales and industry revenue growth in 2020 suggest the pandemic is surging the trend.

Entire career fields are budding in efforts to monetize those changing habits.

How does a video game monetize the hours you spend playing it? A rough comparison is how social media websites like Facebook make money. They’re free to use, but the companies generate billions of advertising dollars by tracking how long users stay on the site and what type of content they interact with. The video game industry is beginning to toy with similar metrics.

“That all has to start with the data,” Greeley said. “There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity there… for business students, for people who can help with their data insights and their number crunching to make data-informed decisions.”

One way video game companies are trying to monetize users is through microtransactions, tiny payments users make when playing the game. Think: $1 for a new shiny sword that other players don’t have. Or $5 for new quests or story lines that unpaid players don’t get access to. 

Over time, a small percentage of users spend thousands of dollars on microtransactions. Those players are referred to as “whales.” Lots of resources go into keeping whales engaged in the game – and spending money.

Castronova, from Indiana University, predicts that by the mid 2020s video game companies will hire gamers on a large scale to attract and retain new players, especially whales.

“There’s no difference between an ad campaign [that] gets you players, and an incentive system that pays people to play,” he said. “They both cost money, and they both increase your player population.”

His predictions seem inevitable, as video game companies are already experimenting with creative ways to pay their players – with fast-growing prize pools in competitions and salaried pro gamers. But what Castronova expects to see will go far beyond that.

In the future, he argues, it’s not just the pros getting all the money. Casual gamers will cash in, too.

“The companies will pay them small amounts to just be there, in the game, while the big shots make all the noise,” Castronova said. “Those [casual gamers] are the people who will have viable low-wage jobs from video games.”

Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He specializes in the gig economy, career trends and other ways to make money that don’t involve stuffy corporate offices. Read his ​latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

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.

Glee's Amber Riley Is Engaged to Boyfriend Desean Black: See Her Ring

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The Glee star took to her social media late Monday, Nov. 23, to share that she’s happily engaged to her boyfriend, entrepreneur…

Ghislaine Maxwell Placed in Quarantine After Possible Exposure to Coronavirus

Ghislaine Maxwell, 2003Ghislaine Maxwell has been moved to jail quarantine following a potential exposure to the coronavirus.
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*HOT* Coach Crossbody Bag in Signature Canvas for just $68.40 (Reg. $228)!!

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Qtrade Review

About Qtrade Investor Qtrade is considered to be one of Canada’s best online brokerages for good reason. This company is a trusted partner to more than 150 credit unions, banks, trust companies, insurance companies, investment dealers, portfolio managers, and financial planning firms.  Additionally, Qtrade has won plenty of awards over the past few years. In…The post Qtrade Review appeared first on Million Dollar Journey.

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