Robinhood: An Introduction to Stocks for Beginners

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Have you ever wondered how to make your money grow? Do you want money to work for you instead of the other way around? Have you heard about stock investing but have no clue where to start? Do you want to practice investing to reach a better understanding of the market? Look no further than Robinhood, a financial services company that has revolutionized the way millennials invest.

Related Posts:

Robinhood is a fairly new platform that has introduced young people to the stock market. It has allowed for next gen investing with ease. The world does not prepare young people to invest in stocks. For the regular new-kid-on-the-block, stock investing may seem complicated. Setting up brokerage accounts, keeping track of management and additional fees, and researching stock options can be quite over-whelming. I would know. When I first started out, I felt like I was drowning in information and uncertainty at the same time. Even learning the terms was difficult!

Robinhood, however, makes investing simple. Signing up for an account is very easy thanks to the form they use. Management of the account has also been a breeze. Unlike other brokerage accounts, Robinhood provides FREE trades on stock, options, ETF, and cryptocurrency. They were one of the pioneers in offering free trades, although many big-name companies have started doing the same in recent years. They also have no required minimum amount for their accounts, meaning the account can be at $0. This makes it an attainable platform for college students and new grads earning very little money or just starting out on their career journey. Plus, they welcome newcomers with a gift: a FREE stock (find out how here!)

When you open your Robinhood brokerage account, you are asked to link it to your bank account. After the connection is made, funding Robinhood is as quick as pressing a button. Unlike other brokerage accounts, Robinhood gives you the credit once you begin the transfer, instead of waiting a few days for the transfer to go through. The immediacy of your funds allows you to invest right away, without losing out on an opportunity or wasting precious time.

Investment on the go has never been easier with Robinhood’s mobile app. Both the website and the app are minimalist and easy to maneuver. There isn’t much to do or choose from, something that more experienced investors find lacking, However, this is a great introductory way for the younger generations to enter the stock scene. It comes as no surprise that the average age of Robinhood users is 31 years old (same age as me!).

Another strength of Robinhood’s is the purchase of fractional shares. Some companies only allow entire quantities of a stock to be purchased. What does this mean? This means that if Apple costs $140, you need to have at least $140 in your brokerage account. Not in Robinhood. If all you have to work with is $50, you can still buy a portion of Apple.

There are, however, a few cons. Mutual funds and bonds are not offered. Also, only taxable investment accounts are available and there is limited customer support. But still. If you are looking to dip your toes in elementary stock investing, this is a great way to limit your costs or start trading cryptocurrency.

One word of caution. If you are new to investing, it is easy to get sucked into the potential growth stocks have to offer. Robinhood makes trading so accessible to millennials that it could almost act like a casino for those with a higher-risk personality. If this is your first experience with stock investing, here is some good advice.

  • Treat a brokerage account as your fun money account.
  • Research the stocks that you are choosing to buy. Make sure you believe in what that company is doing. That makes it easier to…
  • Hold onto stocks especially when the market dips. Do not panic and sell your stocks when they tank. If you do, you are taking a hypothetical situation (that being that you lost money) and making it a reality. The market will fluctuate often, but in general, the trend goes up. Have faith and hang on.
  • Consider this account as a bucket for fun money. I have a fun money envelope in my budget (read about the importance of having fun money in this post) and I will invest the money from this envelope in stocks. Your brokerage account is NOT where your emergency fund goes. The High Yield Savings Account is a better place for that. If you are saving for a home, car, or student loans, place it in a high yield savings account to avoid the risk of losing it all. This affiliate link of mine with Marcus will give you an extra 0.2% APY boost! I would also like to dissuade my readers to Robinhood as a means for their retirement savings. Open a 401K elsewhere or with your company and choose an end-date target fund instead. We shouldn’t be playing games with our retirement savings.
  • Speaking of games, be prepared to lose it all. It is hard to separate emotion from stock trading at first, but perhaps entering with the mindset that you can lose all of your money tomorrow will help. You can think of stock investing as a game. If the market goes down, well you began playing knowing you could lose. Don’t let that dishearten you. Try to think of it as being fun. With that being said, don’t place money that you need to access soon in these accounts. That could lead your investing story to a very sad ending.

And for all new account owners who sign up using my affiliate link, you will receive one random FREE stock. Once signed up, you can spread the word amongst all your friends and family and receive free stocks yourself! Just make sure to refer them using your own specific referral link like I did in this post. Both you and your acquaintance get a new stock with each referral and account set-up (limited to $500 of FREE stock per person per year). This is a great way to start a conversation around investing and to create a community around growing wealth.

How To Use Affirm to Grow Your Wealth

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

In general, I am not a big fan of financing companies because I believe that they enable people to buy more than they can afford, with disregard to social responsibility and actual value. We live in a consumerist society focused on bombarding its constituents with more reasons to buy. The endless cycle of consumption is a rabbit hole that many fall into and never get out of. Because of this, I am generally hesitant to promote financing to my readers … unless it has potential to grow their wealth.

Before reading on, I do want to make the following statements.

I am assuming that the person reading this post is financially educated and savvy, does not live paycheck to paycheck, wishes to grow their wealth, has mastered their budgeting basics, and has an aversion to spending on frivolous things that don’t add value to their life. I would like to say that if you are not all of these things, we need to start elsewhere on growing wealth, and this FREE Mastering a Budget course is a great place to start.

This advice is not for those who are privvy to emotional spending, stress shopping, or just mindless consumption, that which pervades much of our American society. If you feel you have the aptitude and wherewithal to use the information I have yet to divulge about taking advantage of financing in order to grow your wealth, then I welcome you to the rest of the post. But if you have even the slightest uncertainty, I recommend you start with beginner posts such as any of the following:

RELATED POSTS:

With that said, let’s continue on to how we can use financing companies such as Affirm to our advantage.

What is Affirm?

Affirm is a financing company that has recently experienced an increased exposure due to financing partnerships with multiple companies. In January 2021, they went public with the ticker symbol $AFRM and have seen an increase in stock value since their IPO at $45. I have personally seen Affirm used in a few of my favorite companies such as East Fork Pottery, La Marzocco, Nisolo, Dyson and Leesa. While this post was not written in sponsorship with Affirm, the eureka moment for utilizing its financing options came to me at a time when I was mulling over alternative wealth growing strategies.

Given that someone has good credit and can secure a 0% interest rate with Affirm when buying big purchases, they can extend their payments over a short number of months (because long-term financing leads to increased rates) which may allow for investment opportunities.

We aren’t talking big bucks here, of course. But what if everyone who is financially stable approaches all forms of consumption with a mindset of, “pay myself first.” If they embrace this mindset, then they would likely prefer to pay for their new Leesa mattress in three payments over the course of three months with 0% interest rather than upfront. If a new mattress costs $1,200, then divvying up payments into thirds allows for $800 to be invested over the course of one month and $400 to continue being invested for an additional month. You are still able to obtain the product at $0 additional cost to you via Affirm financing while Affirm gives you the time to grow your money. Of course, this is assuming that you were already going to buy this product that adds value to yourself. It is not an excuse to buy, just because.

This concept of pay yourself first is not the mentality that many people take. However, I view it as a great strategy for growing wealth – one that simply requires the reframing of our approach to paying for stuff.

It seems quite silly. Small, even, for some people. It can be especially controversial for finance people who promote paying everything upfront in cash. Some people may view Affirm financing as debt. I would like to argue that we can reframe this perceived debt as a calculated decision made to grow your own wealth before growing someone else’s.

Finance gurus who dissuade the use of credit cards may be cringing at my suggestion, but I guess I’m not exactly conventional in that regard. I mean, I use the opening of credit cards in order to fly globally for free by travel hacking! So yeah, I love credit cards (as long as it is used in a controlled manner to further yourself along your life path). And I like the flexibility Affirm gives people, who may take advantage of the opportunity to grow wealth.

As I said at the beginning of this post, if you are someone who hasn’t yet mastered your spending and your budget, I recommend not trying this tactic. But if you are ready to go next level with the way you pay for your stuff on a day-to-day, it’s something worth considering.

Financial Advice for Young People in their 20’s

I find that financial literacy is quite low for people in their early 20’s and 30’s. This is not a fault of their own but rather, a cultural failure that presents us all with opportunity for improvement. As a society, we do not openly embrace talk about money. In our educational institutions, we do not teach young children about finance. Within our media channels, we promote a consumerist lifestyle. Culturally speaking, we value hard work, status symbols and the physical earning of money over the actual growth of financial wealth.

I was once young too. I was financially illiterate. I obliterated my savings, worked multiple jobs, and took out more than half a million dollars in debt trying to chase the American dream. Only now, in my early thirties, am I realizing that the short-comings of my financial education is the cause of my financial mistakes. We learn these things later than we should.

The success of young people greatly depend on our ability to talk about money. So I am now talking about it.

In order to combat this information gap, I wanted to share five finance tips with our young population.

Top 5 Things Young People Should Do To Get Ahead in Finance

Master Budgeting Skills. It doesn’t matter how much money you make if you don’t know how to budget. You could make a million dollars but if you spend a million dollars, you aren’t any richer. In my opinion, knowing how to control the outflow of money is more important than increasing income. Mastering a budget is the first step to financial independence because you learn how to manage your cash flow. Without this control, everything else is irrelevant. Budgeting requires an awareness of your spending. It’s like losing weight. The first step to being healthier is knowing how many calories are being eaten and burned. Without monitoring what goes in and out, there is no chance for improvement. Mastering a budget is mastering your self-discipline around spending. But it takes a lot of practice and work. So start early and make the habit stick! I wrote an entire course on How to Master a Budget and published it for FREE to help others get started.

Learn how to flex those frugal muscles. Being financially savvy requires the same diligence and work as being physically strong. Just like real muscles, frugal muscles can grow – with practice. Learn how to be frugal. Realize that not everything needs to be bought. There are many alternatives to spending! For example, try skipping the spin or yoga class and run outdoors or go on a hike. Instead of dining out, try cooking a new recipe. Want to read a book? Look for it at the library. Be creative in finding ways to get what you want for free. Try making things instead of buying them. Learn the art of the trade. And when all else fails, find the beauty in living without. Remember, everything you think you need you were once without, and you were just fine. It all comes down to understanding that every clutter you own used to be money and every dollar you spend used to be free time. Here are a few frugal challenges to get the ball rolling.

Choose a social circle that will uplift you financially. Sometimes, when we tell others that we want to opt out of brunch or happy hour because we are trying to save money, we get a negative reaction. People can get defensive when you turn them down in favor of saving yourself a couple bucks. Trust me, I have been there. However, there is a saying that I love to preach. You are only as good as the five people that you spend the most time with. You will have an easier time on your financial journey if you have like-minded people around you to celebrate your wins. These are people who will motivate you to save, as well as support you when times get tough. If you have difficulty setting boundaries, perhaps this is a good place to start.

Invest in yourself before anything else. I am not entirely against spending. I believe that spending on things that add value to your life is important. However, you want to make sure you invest in yourself before anything else. When I refer to investments, I am not referring to a car or a home. I am referring to investing in things such as continuing education, management skills, mental health, physical health, relationships and personal time. After you’ve invested in yourself, you may see that informational wealth and good health can lead to financial growth. And THEN you can think about investing in other things.

Start planning for retirement now. It is best to start planning for retirement as soon as possible. Due to the exponential potential of retirement funds, early starters will have an advantage over those who wait until they are in their 30’s or 40’s. If possible, maximize your 401k and get your company match. If you have extra money, I would recommend funding a ROTH IRA on top of that. If you have additional income, you can invest it in the market, get into real estate, or for the most conservative, keep it in a high yield savings account to earn interest. Make money work for you, instead of working for your money. Those who act now will go through the difficult parts in their youth but will have an easier time as they age. And vice versa. The unwillingness to act could lead to a very difficult financial future. If you are in your 30’s or 40’s, there is no use crying over spilled milk and lost time. It is not too late for you, but start TODAY.

These are just the basics but all of these things will help create a strong foundation for the decades to come. Most importantly, do not be afraid to ask, be willing to listen, keep an open mind, and constantly seek information. That, in itself, is another level of wealth.

How to Guarantee a Successful Craigslist Sale

My experience in avid de-cluttering has led me to a solution that deals with the stockpile of items that no longer add value to my life, while making money from them. HOW? I now re-sell everything I de-clutter so that instead of feeling a sense of loss, I make a financial profit. It is seriously a great motivator to get rid of stuff and allows you to say goodbye to things with a positive note. Additionally, it prolongs the life of your used and unwanted goods, keeping them out of landfills for a while longer. Lastly, I am sure that others who buy your gently used goods at a discount appreciate the financial help you provide them. With all of the good the act of re-selling does to both you, your environment, and others, I wanted to share how I guarantee a successful sale on one of my favorite platforms – Craigslist – in the hopes that some people may begin to do the same!

Where I Started

Initially, when I started the de-cluttering process, the amount of stuff that I decided I didn’t need was over-whelming. It was SO MUCH STUFF that even hauling it to the Goodwill Store was a hassle. When I realized that Goodwill wasn’t exactly making good use of my things, I started to bring it to my parent’s house so that they may be shipped to my home country. However, a few months later, I visited my parents only to find my stuff still sitting in the garage for “just-in-case”. So then there was the debacle between my parents and I and the dilemma I faced about burdening them with even more things.

Where I Am At Now

Thankfully, I eventually reached a point where I simply didn’t own much. My de-cluttering feats now result in only a handful of items at a time, which make them much easier to find homes for. These days, everything I de-clutter, I sell, sometimes on Poshmark and OfferUp, but mostly on Craigslist. I have yet to have an item that I cannot successfully sell. Over the past year, we made over $1,500 selling our stuff on Craigslist. Usually, we use that money to buy our next item, thereby essentially creating a cycle wherein we adopt new things without spending more money.

It isn’t rocket science, and I can assume most people have dealt with Craigslist by now, but here are a few of my own tips on how to have great success with this platform!

  • Start with things that hold value. We are minimalists. Which means what we buy holds value, and in my recent years, I have made an effort to buy things that retain their value, too. There are certain brands that people want. Brands such as Restoration Hardware are coveted and people are willing to pay good money for them. I once sold a broken lamp from Restoration Hardware at 50% of the buying price, which was amazing because I had originally bought it at 50% OFF whilst using a gift card someone had given us for our wedding. So in that scenario, we made money. Another example was Mike’s desk, which was also Restoration Hardware. We resold it at $1k, and used it to pay for a Herman Miller Sit-Stand Nevi Desk when it was on sale at DesignWithinReach for under $1k. We made money with that, too. Our East Fork Pottery which I rave about constantly is a product that actually gains value. Try googling East Fork on Ebay or Poshmark and see how much they sell. I bet you’d be surprised. Each item resells around $65-85! Likewise, Elizabeth Suzann clothing is ethical clothing that gains value and most people pay more for these them used than new. Both of these brands resell well because they are made in limited quantities. Both are decent buys under my book, if you really do need pottery or clothes. If you start with a good buy, you’ll end with a good sale. Regardless…
  • Clean all items you wish to sell. Making the item appear as clean and new as possible will really help your chances of selling the item. People want things that are in good condition and working order. If someone comes across two identical products, they will 100% choose the newer-looking one, not necessarily the newer one. So do take time to polish and shine, no matter how old your item is.
  • Take good photos. I know this sounds silly, but a picture is worth a thousand words and I cannot tell you how many times I quickly dismiss an item because it isn’t photographed esthetically. You may call me vain but if I am doing it, then other people are too. All the things I post are photographed in good natural lighting with a camera (not a phone). Most of the time, they are staged. I can attest to the fact that the best photographed sell the fastest. Take the time to create good photos that will sell your stuff for you. At the same time, be honest with your photography. Acknowledging the flaws of your piece will save you time (and time IS money!) because you will only attract buyers who knowingly wants your item, flaws and all. If an item has scuff marks or an article of clothing has pilling, I take photos of the defects with a note to the buyer.
  • Determine Pricing. This is the hardest part. I have discovered that most owners, myself included, tend to over-value their stuff. They remember its original cost and don’t want to be at a loss. Unfortunately, the hard truth of the matter is that once an item is used, it depreciates in value significantly. If you wish to sell on Craigslist, you need to keep an open mind on the price. A way you can combat this is to decide on a price that you wish to sell at. Then list the item at an even higher-price to increase the perceived value of the item to potential buyers. Most Craigslist buyers will haggle, so this will account for that. Do not be afraid to haggle back. Explain to them why your item is worth more. Be a salesperson and try to show them how worthy your piece is. And if all else fails…
  • Be open to reducing the price. Typically, I will hold out for at least a month before entertaining a price that is below my asking. For those who make offers below, I tell them that I will reach back out to them in the future if it doesn’t sell at my asking price. Most times, one of them will still be interested after a month. Being open to reducing the price allows you to still make the sale, which is better than holding on to something you don’t plan on using again anyway. One way I make peace with reducing the price is by using logical reasoning. Currently, my item isn’t being used and I am not making money from it. A little bit of money now is better than nothing, especially since I can invest that money in something and watch it grow. An item sitting in the back of my closet could never make money for me. Plus, I like to think that I am helping someone else by giving them the discount they are seeking. If they reached out to me, then it’s obvious they want my stuff more than I do. What’s the point of being selfish? It would just be a lose-lose scenario.
  • Categorize the item properly. The category you choose is important because it draws the correct audience. I have found that some categories sell better than others. For example, furniture and home goods sell really well on Craigslist. For clothing, I tend to sell at Poshmark instead, which is also a great resource for home accessories. Either way, if you fail to categorize correctly, you will miss out on potential buyers.
  • Use text that will attract the correct people. I always add the following in my text: the brand, the name of the product, the original price, the current price, the size (if applicable) and a description. I also write what I like about the product and why we are selling. I note its condition as honestly as possible and lastly, I use SEO words such as “vintage”, “industrial”, and “mid-century modern” to hone in on the audience that I want. The text really makes a difference. Lazy one-liner descriptions will not do well.
  • Repost, repost, repost. When you post your item, Craigslist will send an email with a link that allows you to edit or delete your posting. When you click on this link, there will be another option to repost. I repost once a week, which continually puts my listing at the top. Also, for the best results, repost on a Thursday night or Friday morning. This is when shoppers lurk Craigslist for a weekend pick-up. Time and time again, I will get a few offers after a reposting on a Friday. After the sale, make sure to delete your posting to avoid additional buyers contacting you, thus saving you from wasted time with these unwanted emails (did I mention time is money?)
  • Make the Sale. Most people are afraid to use Craigslist because of the meeting up part. I am a petite gal and I have never had trouble making a sale. A few things that help. I always tell someone when I am meeting a random stranger to sell something. If I am able to bring someone along, I will. Lastly, I make sure to only accept cash or Venmo payments, never checks. When I do get cash, I use my skills from cashiering in retail to quickly check if the bill is fake or not. Hold the bill up to the light, and look for an invisible face on the bottom left corner that is the same as the face on the bill. I have never had an issue with counterfeit money, or with anyone paying for that matter.

While this all sounds elementary at best, I hope it has provided at least one insight. As more people accumulate more things, the need to be skillful in marketing and re-selling your stuff increases. I am all for “trading-up”. Lastly, I will leave you with the following thoughts:

  • Newly bought things depreciate in value INSTANTLY.
  • All the clutter around you used to be MONEY.
  • The TIME you spend de-cluttering is more valuable than money.

It helps me to think about that the next time I wish to spend money on things. And finally, one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Use this to your advantage two ways.

Sell your trash to buy your treasure, which could be another man’s trash, preventing you from wasting time and money.

Related Posts:

Why A Kitchen Reno Is Not Happening Any Time Soon

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Sometimes, this space is as much for my readers as it is for me – a place where I can store letters to myself or record the reasoning behind this experimental project which I call life. Today, it serves as the latter, although my readers may find the value in it too; A kind note to myself as to why a kitchen renovation is not in the cards in our near future, and why that is perfectly okay.

I toyed with the idea of re-doing our kitchen in December, after visiting a few friends who underwent just that. Their pretty white cabinets and shining appliances made an impression on me and had me stumbling down a rabbit hole of quartz countertops and custom-made wooden doors. In my musings, I mulled over all the flaws of our tiny kitchen space – the creaking faucet that is sure to break any minute now, the super thin metal sink banged up from carelessness, the water-logged floorboards caused by a leak every time we ran the dishwasher left undiagnosed until three plumbers later, the oven that clicks without a fan in the rear, the plastic microwave with its sticky hooded vents, the peeling panels stickered onto the laminated cabinet doors and the crusty chipboard slowly giving up underneath these fake countertops – all the things that my dream kitchen did not have.

My consideration even went so far as physically going to Ikea, planning a kitchen with a consultant, getting quotes from the third party counter-top company and the installation crew, and coming up with a game plan to ensue renovation at a moment’s notice. As usual, my husband gave me pause and we agreed to dog-ear the project and revisit at a later month.

During which, all the things I love about the kitchen re-surfaced. I had already written another note to myself about How to Fall In Love with a Kitchen but forgot it in the midst of celebrating all the newness of our friend’s “new” home. Which goes to show that sometimes, we need reminders of our love, such as that which I hold for my own space.

How it was my own bakery for a year of my life, how I know exactly the way my breads will turn out in this faithful oven of mine, how the light hits the fake-wood and adds a soft glow to my mornings and late afternoons, how the countertops never cause me worry and allow me to thoughtlessly spill sauce that would certainly stain marble and leave hot pans unattended which would certainly burn wood, how the kitchen fridge holds enough food for the three of us, how my dishwasher keeps my hands from drying out in the winter time, how we eat breakfast and prep meals around the free wooden island that came with the house and those fold-up-Ikea chairs, how there is just enough room to store all our belongings, how a cabinet in particular holds the exact dimensions needed for my beloved KitchenAid Mixer, how there is a very specific counterspace wide enough to house our espresso machine and coffee grinder, and how it brings me so much joy to stare at my kitchen from the couch, thanking my lucky stars that we get to call this abode our home.

With all of this recognition for our kitchen’s enoughness comes the flaws of doing a renovation. Redoing a kitchen would definitely put us behind on our loan repayment journey, which serves as our number one priority and biggest goal. Redoing a kitchen would take away time from our daily lives, as well as erase my bakery’s memories. Redoing a kitchen will unlikely bring us lasting happiness, as I continue to spill sauce on new countertops and drop things in a new sink while relearning the workings of a new oven. Lastly and most importantly, redoing a kitchen is not exactly what we are about.

In an effort to practice gratitude for what we already have, to live freely from working 9-5, and to live purposefully and to the fullest, I have decided after much consideration not to tackle the kitchen renovation. And while Instagram will feed me mementos as to why renovation is a must, I will be baking away in this darn kitchen, grateful for it supporting all my culinary endeavors, forgiving my experimental failures, and hosting my favorite people while learning and relearning the beauty in the aging of things and the growing of ourselves.

Other reminders and related posts:

How I Made $550 in October 2020 Blogging From Home

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

I started blogging right after graduating from dental school without ever thinking I’d earn money from it. At the time, I turned to this blog as a place to record my daily life. Ever since teenhood, I have kept some sort of journal or diary, which has evolved over time from paper to Xanga to Melodramatic, and now onto WordPress. For almost twenty years, I’ve processed information through writing, but never once did I think I would earn money from it.

It’s been three years since owning this site but I am happy to say that it is now getting a little bit of traction and has started to earn me a little income. If I wasn’t working as a dentist during the day, I could see how this could become a steady day job. Still, even with my day job, it had turned into a fun side-hustle for me. I decided to log my earnings for my own personal tracking but also to share publicly how much one can make blogging from home.

Now that remote work seems to be in the near future for many, I do think that blogging is a good option for people who wish to work from home. Likewise, it is an opportunity to be your own boss and have your own space. Since you are writing your own content, you have the flexibility to work whenever you want to, which I know can be a good or bad thing. Of course, you can always practice habits that will separate work from home. Lastly, this is a great hobby or job for creative people. You have autonomy over how to execute your ideas and thoughts, making this a very freeing experience for those who don’t quite fall neatly into a traditional work environment or big company hierarchy.

But first, how did I start to monetize the blog?

If you are new to blogging, you may not know that you can earn income from owning such a space. I certainly didn’t. But then I took this course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketingand it changed my life.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is working with brands that you love in order to spread the word about their products and in return receiving commissions for any referred patrons. Sometimes these are physical products from almost any company you can think of. Other times, they are intellectual products such as courses or services that help improve other people’s lives. The best part is that you don’t have to “sell out” to do affiliate marketing. You don’t have to scheme or cheat people. For me, it’s really just promoting companies that I believe in. For example, the companies I choose to partner with are those that promote sustainably sourced products using fair trade and ethical factory conditions. I like to promote small name businesses trying to create social or environmental impact. I try to keep it to an exclusive few even though I’ve been approved for over 2,000 different companies (so far).

There are a few nuances to affiliate marketing and I didn’t know much about it prior to the course. But the course helped me to learn A LOT and it’s just another case of “you don’t know what you don’t know.” You could learn it all yourself, but it’s hard to without a guide to get you through the basics.

I highly recommend this course if you wish to monetize your blog but don’t know where to start.

Extra Income Report

Now, onto the numbers. In September 2020, I made $550in extra income.

Of that, this is the breakdown:

  • $500is from sponsored posts. I count the monetary value of products that I receive as “income”. I do not accept products for review without first learning about the company and product. As a minimalist, I also only look for products that we currently need. I am honest in all my product reviews and list both pros and cons because I want to be as helpful to the consumer and the company, both.
  • The rest of the income was due to affiliate link commissions.

This was the highest income earning from the blog this year! So far, since March of 2020, I have earned $2328!!

I know it doesn’t seem like much, but as something I do for fun, I think it’s a nice little additional income. Over time, I hope to continue posting more income reports. Maybe it will help others looking for a side-hustle get a feel for whether blogging could become an alternative for them.

As always, my goal with this blog is to promote intentional living. Writing is a way to create a lifestyle that is in tune with what you want to do. Sure, it may not be the perfect job, but if working from home and having flexibility help allow you to live your dream life (one that includes traveling the world or becoming a stay-at-home parent), then I hope this space brings you that value.

If you are interested in starting a blog, I use WordPress. Feel free to sign up using my affiliate link.

If you already have a blog, I want to refer you to the course that helped me monetize mine. It’s a really great starting point. It’s called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

Holiday Pet Prep Starts Now

This blog post is in affiliation with Rover.com, a platform that connects dog owners with dog sitters. I, myself, am a dog sitter at Rover and this hobby-turned-side-hustle is one of my additional sources of income!

I consider the advent of Halloween as the official beginning of the holiday season. Every year, I make a conscious effort to make the holiday time a slow one. It’s a time of joy, but also becomes a time of great stress … hence the word effort.

Planning ahead helps alleviate the fervent rush and allows for greater enjoyment during this time of year. While it is challenging to plan for gathering head counts this early in the year, one of the things you can do today to lighten your to-do list for the holidays is to plan for your pets.

When you have a dog or cat, you have a family member. While considerably less work (at times), a pet can feel like having a small child in the house, especially dogs. You have to schedule your day around their needs and make sure they are being well taken care of.

It may be difficult to prepare a supper for ten if you have to walk the dog in between turning on the oven and stirring the soup. Also, that friendly wagging tail may get in the way of entertaining guests. Unless you are certain that all guests welcome pets, you can’t be too sure how your pet make others feel. Lastly, gathering around the table is certainly less enjoyable with a slobbery beggar putting their paws on your fancy linen tablecloth, yanking at your fine china and ruining your hard work.

All of this, of course, is the best case scenario wherein you are hosting at home. What about holiday vacations? Or when celebrations are being held at a relative’s abode?

The fact is, we have busy lives that sometimes cannot involve our loveable pets; and as much as that saddens us, we must leave them at home.

So, what do you do when you’re gone longer than preferred? You find help and Rover is a great source.

Rover is the nation’s largest network of pet sitters and dog walkers. They offer a ton of different services to help you give your pooch the attention and care they deserve when you are unable to. Sitters such as myself are true animal lovers with amazing customer care you can trust.

To avoid any unwanted surprises, I would start booking for your pet now. I would personally love to watch your pet and if you are new to Rover, you can take advantage of the following offer: $20 OFF your first Rover booking using code: SAMANT24058. You can find me here.

On the contrary, if you have no plans for the holidays, perhaps you would like to earn extra income being a sitter on Rover.

To hear more about my experience as a Rover sitter, check out my previous post here.