Want To Become A Freelance Web Developer? Follow This Simple Plan

Getting started as a freelance developer can be difficult, especially if you’re straight out of university. If you want to quit regular employment however, and branch off into freelancing, then it can also be tough to figure out where to begin. The fear of being left without any income, or any clients to offer your services to, keeps thousands of people every year from taking the plunge.

The challenges of going freelance in the development industry can be daunting, but when you consider that a profitable freelancing business could await you with a little effort, then the choice becomes very clear. To help you get started in the freelancing world, here’s a short guide to help you achieve your developer dreams!

Step 1

When it comes to freelancing, there’s always the possibility that it may take you 2-3 months to make any real cash. So, around 6 months before you want to start as a freelance developer, its best to save as much spare cash as possible. You’ll want to have around 3 months’ worth of expenses money put away, like mobile phone bills and other elements of household utility. If you’ve never been good at budgeting, then now is the time to start, because unless you’ve got some cash put away when you start freelancing, what will you live on?

Step 2

Now is the time to design your portfolio site. Not only will this be one of the biggest assets in the early stages of your freelancing developer development, but once it is optimised it will allow you to attract customers for your services. Functionality is key, so you should spend time on making sure you site has clean code. Clients will be looking for the quality of the site as well as examples of your code, so invest time in making it right – don’t rush it! You’ll want a site that’s desirable as well as professional, so look for bright graphics and dark, bold colours.

Step 3

Now that your site is up and running, it’s time to move into social media. From Twitter and Facebook to LinkedIn and Pinterest, you’ll want to link your site to all your social media profiles. Not only will social media help you get your name out there, but it will also help potential employers recognise you when they’re looking for a freelance developer. Never intertwine your professional and personal social media pages!

Step 4

After you’ve set up your social media profiles, you might want to start a blog. Your current website could be a great conduit for people to access your blog, however if you want to create a separate one, make sure you tie it in with your social media too. Blog about things that interest you in web development, and remember to always keep up to date on the latest developments – you don’t want to be left behind!

One you’ve completed all these steps, it’s now time to give your employer a month’s notice! Ensure that you leave on good terms, and make sure they know that you’re going freelance – your number might be the first that they call in the future!

John is a freelance tech writer and blogger; he also contributes to various online marketing websites. He is currently working with Brookson.

An Ex-Smoker’s Million

There are so many reasons to quit smoking. Although you might have heard of a healthier alternative to smoking, which is vaping and is becoming the new trend now due to health benefits, you can go give this a try.  Check this Twitter profile to learn more about vaporizers for sale.

Aside from the highly increased risk of lung cancer, throat cancer, heart problems and circulation problems, there’s the premature aging to consider and the fact that it impairs your senses of smell and taste. Plus, there’s the socially awkward stigma of smelling like smoke.

Now the Investor’s Chronicle has offered up yet another reason to quit smoking; the chance of making nearly a million.

Paul Claireaux, researching on behalf of the Investor’s Chronicle, calculated that a 20-year-old smoker of 20 cigarettes a day could put saved cash into a tax-efficient pension; he or she would have raked in close to a million by retirement.

In fact, by putting the £7.50 a day savings into a SIPP, the ex-smoker would have a pension pot of £530,000 by the age of 55. Continuing the saving till the age of 65 would garner £953,865 by the age of 65.

The calculation relies on the assumption that a 20-year-old smoker invests the money into a pension which has a 60% employer contribution. The government then tops it up by 20%, assuming the ex-smoker is a lower rate tax payer.

Higher rate tax payers get a 40% government top up, which obviously would garner a larger sum by the time of retirement.

According to the article, smoking 10 cigarettes a day after retirement will require a pension pot of about £36,000.

After retirement, however, smokers receive high annuities thanks to their reduced life expectancy.

Today, the benefits of quitting smoking are common knowledge between smokers and non-smokers alike. Those who can’t kick the habit are increasingly turning to alternatives. With health services offering free support for quitters and patches and gum on prescription, cigarette companies seem to be fighting a losing battle. Plus, across the world ‘plain’ packaging is being enforced on packets, emblazoned with horrific images of throat cancer or deceased smokers.

E-cigarettes offer nicotine and the feeling of using a cigarette without all the associated health risks. Plus, they’re good for around 30 cigarettes so could save you money. You can work out how much you can save on the calculator below.

 

 

Banking Tips to Help You Save Money at any Bank – Part 2

Welcome back for Part 2.  We have lots more great info, tips and advice for you today so let’s get right to it shall we.

Never be afraid to complain to your bank if they deserve it. The fact is, nobody likes to hear from a dissatisfied customer but they would rather hear that you’re not happy and try to fix your problem then watch your fanny as the door hits it on the way out. If you talk to someone at your bank about a problem you’re having and they don’t take care of it to your satisfaction don’t hesitate to ask for the help of a manager or supervisor. If things really get out of hand you can always contact the federal bank regulator in your state for help.

Speaking of not being afraid to complain, don’t be afraid to ask your bank for a break if you need one. If you just bounced a check by accident, you think that you mortgage application fees are too high or you’re having problems repaying a loan talk to them and see if they’re willing to cut you some slack and/or possibly lower your rates.  If you’ve always kept your accounts in good standing you may be surprised at what your bank is willing to do for you.

Make a habit out of reading your statements every month.  If you don’t you may miss a new charge, mistake, fee or something else that’s costing you money.  Plus if there are unauthorized charges you’ll spot them in time to possibly do something about them. This is vital as many states have laws that say you need to do this within a reasonable time period.

Always read the fine print as this will prevent stress, anger and frustration down the road. Banks are in the business of making money and will do whatever they can to make more.  Even so-called ‘free’ accounts can have certain fees attached, credit card fees that were great when you signed up can be increased and minimum balances may affect what you need to pay.  Read everything so that you don’t get any unpleasant surprises.

This is vital but few people do it well; keep good bank records.  Documents, receipts and anything paper should be help onto until the charges are confirmed by your bank.  Once they are you can toss them but make sure you shred them so that the information can’t be used by an identity thief.

And there you have them; a number of excellent tips, ideas and some good advice that you can use when dealing with any bank.  We hope you liked this 2 Part series and invite you back for more great info sometime very soon.

Banking Tips to Help You Save Money at any Bank – Part 1

Banking today can be quite an expensive proposition.  Banks are in the business of making money and will charge fees for everything they can get away with.  If you’re keen on keeping as much of your money as possible then you need to take a look at the Tips and Advice below that we’ve put together.  They will save you time and energy too so take a look and then use them to keep those fees at bay.

Once a year you should sit down with your banker and ask them to go over your accounts and make sure that they are the best ones to fit your needs.  The fact is, as time progresses your financial situation changes and so do your banking needs.  If your bank has changed their services or offers new ones that you don’t know about you may be wasting your money or not getting as big a return as you should.  The only way to know is if you ask and so ask you should.

Speaking of asking what’s new at your bank, every 3 or 4 years you should do a full comparison of your bank to some others and see if you’re truly getting the best deals, best rates and best interest that you could and should be getting. Comparing your money market accounts, ATM cards, checking and savings accounts as well as any other services that you use is vitally important to make sure you get what you deserve.  Plus just the notice that you’re comparing banks might make yours a little more willing to negotiate with you.

Setting up direct deposit is recommended by experts over paper checks.  It’s safer, easier, more convenient and instantaneous too. Having no delays means that you won’t have to worry about having your money right away, no checks can get lost or stolen and, in some cases, you may even get a break from your bank for doing it.

Speaking of direct deposit there is also automatic payments.  If you want to make sure that you don’t forget a mortgage or car payment you can direct your bank to do it for you on a specific day every month. Banking electronically makes sense in many other ways also.  It can save you time, energy, gas and stress.

Find someone at your bank that you trust and go to them when you have concerns, problems or need help in any way.  That way they get used to you and you to them.  This will make you ‘friends’ and friends are always looking out for ways to help.  Remember, bankers are people too.

If you liked these Tips come on back soon for Part 2 where we’ll give you even more.  See you soon!

 

Money Saving Tips You Can Use Now

Saving money really doesn’t have to be that hard.  There are literally dozens of ways that you can save every single day and, at the end of that day, they will have added up to a decent amount of money.  If you’re keen on saving this year then have a look at the Tips below and start putting them into effect ASAP.

No matter what you are buying ask yourself ‘do I really need this?’ The simple fact is this; most of us have housefuls of junk that we don’t need, don’t use and even don’t want.  If you don’t really, truly need that new whatever it is don’t buy it.

Never go food shopping when you’re hungry.  This may sound silly but a hungry person is much more apt to buy a lot of junk than one who isn’t hungry at all.

If you eat a lot of a particular item or you have a big family join a shoppers club and buy it in bulk.

If you can avoid it don’t take your children with you when you shop.  Kids are kids and they always want something.  If your willpower is weak you may be better off leaving them at home.

Stop worrying about the neighbors.  Chances are, if they have a bigger house or ‘better’ car they’re also probably drowning in more debt than you too.

Don’t rush out to buy all the latest gadgets.  Usually they will be on sale a few months later and, even though they may not be the ‘latest thing’ they will still be incredible.

Use your local library.  The simple fact is that you library has thousands of books, magazines and brochures that they will let you read FOR FREE!  They even have DVD movies, CDs with music and a quiet place to get away from the kids for a little while. What more could you ask for?!

Most supermarkets and clothing stores have a ‘reduced’ aisle.  Sometimes you may find just what you’re looking for there and save 30, 40, 50% and more.  Wal-Mart has an entire aisle for this in their stores with lots of stuff that is deeply discounted.

If you’re not handy but want to save money on basic home repairs get a book (see notes about the library above) or take a course at the nearest community college.  This can save you a small fortune over the course of your lifetime.

Car pool.  Yes we’ve been saying that for years but there are few other ways to save as good as this if you can figure it out.  You’ll save on gas, car repairs and even get a few extra minutes of sleep if you’re the passenger.

If you have a Thrift Store in your town USE IT. If it’s well run you’ll be amazed at some of the great deals that you can find on clothes, home goods, toys, books and even furniture.

Want a bunch more tips?  Here they are in no particular order.

  • Make your own cleaning products from lemon juice and vinegar.
  • Grow your own vegetables.
  • Raise chickens for the eggs.
  • Save greeting cards for tags next year.
  • Refill your used ink cartridges.
  • Shop locally.
  • Turn your TV completely off if you’re not using it.

That should help you save all sorts of money this year.  Good luck and come back soon for more!

Banking Tips for the 20-something Adult

If you’ve recently graduated from college you may have already received your first paycheck and with it got your first checking account fee.  The thing is, as a student oftentimes you’ll be able to get a free checking account. That’s what the banks lure you in with and, once they have you, they will start to tack on all sorts of fees that you may miss because you’re not used to seeing them.  With that in mind we’ve put together a short list of the things that you need to be aware of when you first start banking in your 20’s.

Tip – Know all of the fees that are associated with your specific account.  There will be certain fees that you will be able to avoid but if you don’t know them you won’t be able to avoid them.  The best thing to do is sit down with a rep at your bank and ask. They are obliged to tell you and give you all the info necessary.

Tip – Remember that you purchasing habits are being watched. Today every move you make is being followed electronically.  What this means is that your debit and credit card purchases are being analyzed by lenders and they can (and will) use this information to determine what your rates should be and if you should be allowed to get more credit or not. If you’re prone to making silly financial mistakes do them with cash instead.

Tip – Avoid transfer fees as much as possible. Any bank you use wants you to keep your money in 1 place – their bank. If you transfer it they’re going to charge you fees to do so and they can sometimes be pretty exorbitant.  Better to budget yourself well and avoid them.

Tip – Start saving NOW.  Yes, you’ve probably heard it already from mom and dad and any other responsible adult but the fact is that there will come a day when you’ll need money but won’t want (or be able to) work anymore.  The earlier you start saving for retirement the easier it’s going to be once you arrive there.  Yes it won’t be for a few years but even still you should have a substantial amount of money saved for emergencies.  Shoot for 10 to 15% of your pay but do something to get started NOW like having a specific amount deposited directly into your savings account every week.

Finally, keep a vigilant eye on your account(s) online and check the balance against your receipts often. Banks make mistakes and if you catch them you may save yourself a lot of hassle and headaches. Plus if youmake one it’s better that you catch it before you overdraw your account and get smacked with fees.

Saving on Travel in 2013

To lighten things up a bit we’ve decided to bring you, our dear readers, some excellent Tips on how to save on your vacations and travel in 2013.  There are, for those that are a bit adventurous and don’t mind places that are a little bit off the beaten path, many different ways to save big buck when you’re away from home so, without further ado, let’s get right to them.

First, no matter when or where you go, there are 2 points that you must take into consideration before starting any vacation or travel excursion. The 1st is where you’d like to travel and the 2nd is for how long that you’d like to go. If your goal is a 1 week trip to the Caribbean your plans will be much different, and cost differently, than a month-long excursion to Bali. Both offer various ways to save but, because of the time difference, the options vary greatly.

Next, simply, is to start saving money for the trip.  Frankly, if you can’t commit to save for a trip then it might not be worth taking. Open up a savings account just for the trip and start filling it. A great idea is to work out what the average expenses will be per week where you’re going and start saving that exact amount per week.

Researching where you want to go is up next. Before you book a hotel, especially if you’re going for more than 2 weeks, you should look into longer term options like hostels, apartments and even houses for rent. These are typically much cheaper then hotels and, in many cases, allow you to ‘see’ and experience a place much better.

Furthermore, if you’re going on a long trip one of the best reasons to get an apartment or house (or hostel if you can handle it) over a hotel is that you can cook for yourself.  One of the biggest expenses when travelling is the food and, if you can buy it and prepare it yourself you will save hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Bringing the right equipment and clothing is essential no matter where you go but, if you’re going for an extended amount of time, it really becomes vital.  If the temps can change and you’re caught with clothing that doesn’t protect you from the elements you’ll need to buy it wherever you are and that can be expensive. The same for shoes, umbrellas, rain gear and outdoor gear like snorkel equipment.

Once you’ve done all of these things you can sit back and feel good that, on this trip at least, you’re going to save a lot of money.  Good luck and have a great time!

 

The Importance of Income Protection

 

In today’s tumultuous economy and unemployment rates it really makes you grateful for having a safe and secure job. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees as to how long that job will last, and how long you will be able to perform the necessary tasks. I work a simple office job, no heavy lifting or physical exertion. Yet, last year I found myself physically unable to work due to a severe illness. Fortunately my employer provided disability benefits so that I was able to receive my income while I recovered from my illness.
Income protection is an issue that can often be overlooked; people can get stuck within the mind-set that these things won’t happen to them. Whilst researching income protection policies I came across a recent advert that is part of a campaign by Australian insurance comparison site Choosi, this summed up for me the way that insurance can be overlooked.

Another issue is that sadly there are many people that work for employers who don’t offer the kind of benefits that I could receive, and that’s when having income protection insurance is especially important. This type of insurance will ensure that people who are left unable to work can still receive a portion of their income for a defined period of time. Say you pay for 6 months of coverage and then find yourself hospitalized for a similar period of time; you may be eligible to receive up to 75% of your regular pay.

While there are some basic age restrictions, and you need to have been employed for a certain period of time prior, this type of insurance provides an immense peace of mind for you and your family. I find this type of insurance necessary if you are the only member of your household that works, and if you have dependants that rely on your steady income. If you have a wife and children then income protection insurance from a site like Choosi will make ease your worries if you’re ever left unable to work and provide for them. The best part is that even the self-employed workers, or part-time workers are covered as well. I know plenty of bloggers who make their living from their online endeavours, and this type of insurance would be perfect for them.

Top 10 Personal Finance Tips for 2013

Another year is upon us and many people are looking to make some real change in their financial plans this year as well as meet and exceed their financial goals.  If that’s you we’d like to offer you our Top 10 list of the best Personal Finance Tips that we know.  Read them and use them and we guarantee that you will profit by them this year and in the future as well.  If you resolve to do them the results, and the financial gains, will definitely be worth the effort we promise.

  • Since its January the 1st Tip that we have is to increase your 401(k) contribution by at least 1% right now and keep doing that every year into the future.  It can and will make a long term difference in your retirement savings account.
  • Next is to take out a magnifying glass and go over your bank statement with a fine-toothed comb to make sure that you’re not letting your bank take your money for services that you don’t even use.  Banks love to do that so make sure yours isn’t and, if it is, change services or change banks.
  • Diversify your portfolio. You should be doing this every year anyway but, since it’s January, there’s no better time than now.  Keep an eye on it to make changes if significant events happen also.
  • Review your finances and your financial status to see where you ‘really’ are financially.  Nothing puts your goals more in perspective that to know exactly where you stand.
  • Keep those $5.00 bills.  If you have a $5 bill in your pocket put it in a can, a jar or whatever but do not spend it.  At the end of the year the average person will have saved $1000.00 just by doing this.
  • Did you get a raise this year?  If yes, take half of it and put it towards your retirement account. You won’t miss it now but you’ll be glad to have it then.
  • With every small purchase ask yourself  2 questions; do I really need this and can I do it more cheaply at home? If you said no to the 1st and yes to the 2nd question you should leave that product at the store and make it at home yourself.  The savings can be substantial.
  • Eat now to save later.  The fact is, most of us eat very poorly and, in the years to come, that will affect our health and out money.  Eating correctly NOW will cut down on both of those risks.
  • Did you get an inheritance or large amount of cash last year?  Put it in savings. ‘Nuff said.
  • Finally, make an effort to not spend in 2013.  Many people make a huge effort to ‘save money’ on things but if you actually don’t buy anything that you really, truly don’t need the savings potential could be huge.

Use these Tips, take them to heart and in 2013 your personal finances should stay peachy all year long and you’ll meet those goals at the end of the year.

 

Tips on Minimizing Exposure to 2013 Tax Hikes Part 2

Welcome back.  We hope you enjoyed Part 1 of our 2 Part series. With the new tax codes and changes in place there are quite a few things that will be different  this year and we want you, our valued readers, to not get run over by them financially. We’ve got a few more excellent Tips for you in Part 2 and, without further ado, let’s get right to them.

Those people that make over $200,000 as single filers or couples that make over $250,000 jointly need to consider 2 things in 2013; where there money is coming from and how they claim it. In 2013 dividend payouts, rental property income, capital gains and interest payments all will be subject to an increase of 3.8%.  If this means you the 1st thing you should do is refer to Section 469 of the tax code to see if you pass the material participation test.  If you pass it then you’ll need to restructure many of your income streamsthat involve all of the items mentioned above.  A good suggestion would be to increase your retirement plan payments as well as making sure that your rental property income satisfies the ‘participation criteria’ of the IRS by becoming more deeply involved in their interests.

The return of the personal exemption phase out (PEP) means that, for people making over $250,000 single or $300,00 joint there’s a very real possibility of losing up to 80% of your itemized deductions in 2013. One of the best ways to avoid this is going to be by deferring as many deductions and as much income as you can to 2014. This will help you keep the 15% capital gains and qualified dividends tax rate, especially if you’re income exceeds $400,000.

Finally, an excellent way to avoid a big hit on taxes at the end of 2013 is to invest in your business this year. Any new equipment and machinery purchased this year (and put into service this year also) will qualify for the 1st year 50% depreciation allowance.  Even more importantly, since it actually expired there’s no guarantee that this deduction will be available in 2014 and most experts believe that it won’t. If you’re going to do it anyway 2013 is definitely the year to invest in your biz.

And there you have them.  A gaggle of new Tax Tips for 2013 that will help you hold onto more of your money and pay less in taxes. We hope that you enjoyed this and we invite you to come back for more excellent financial advice soon.

 

 

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