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How to Live Off the Grid and Remain Financially Comfortable

As technology and automation becomes more and more integrated into human society, many people are taking advantage of the associated benefits. However, not everyone is so pleased. As a matter of fact, certain individuals are choosing to adopt minimalist lifestyles and habits. Some people even opt to live off the grid, soak up nature, and take a detox from technology.

While living off the grid has its particular upsides for interested individuals, it is not a decision which can be made at the drop of a dime. Nine times out of ten, such a drastic lifestyle alteration demands a concrete plan; financial preparation is absolutely paramount. Thankfully, there are certain steps which can be taken so that one’s time off the grid is as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

Basic Utilities

Many people who choose to live off the grid often forget that this lifestyle does not translate to living free-of-charge. Even if one decides to forgo the use of electricity, they will still require access to utilities such as water and heat. Each and every living individual requires water; water is needed to drink, wash clothes, bathe/shower, etc. Therefore, anyone who considers going off the grid should invest in a well and septic. Both of the aforementioned items will amount to roughly $12,000 according to Quote Brands.

Next comes heat. Heat is a paramount utility which one will have to pay a pretty penny for if they are serious about off the grid living. This particular utility is generally used for cooking, heating water, etc. Heat is also critical for staying warm and not catching pnemounia during the winter time. Therefore, both propane and wood are necessary items to ensure that the individual has the proper resources to remain warm. Propanes usually amount to $4,400 while wood is slightly cheaper, coming to about $4,000.

Regarding utilities alone, living off the grid is not cheap. It requires a considerable degree of planning, investing, and preparing. This type of lifestyle cannot usually occur at the drop of a dime. At the end of the day, there is no escaping the reality that everything in life comes with a cost, in one form or another.

Other Essentials

While utilities are important resources (even for those who aspire to live off the grid), there are other necessary essentials, as affirmed by Money Crashers. Access to food, waste disposal, and personal security are things which people usually take for granted. Those who are interested in living off the grid would do well to learn how to naturally grow fruits and vegetables. Moreover, hunting, fishing, or stocking up on a considerable amount of canned goods are also options regarding food.

Furthermore, the ability to cleanly and effectively dispose of waste is something which most individuals don’t really think of. However, when one lives off the grid, they truly must fend for themselves in virtually every sense. Thankfully, there are a series of options for various forms of waste disposal. Latrines, outdoor toilets, composting, and even burning with fire can serve as appropriate means of doing away with waste.

Last, but certainly not least, comes personal security. Living off the grid is great, but regardless of where one goes, there are still dangers in the world. Having the proper precautions in place against criminals, predatory animals, and even dangerous insects is certainly something that one should have set up for themselves prior to the commencement of living off the grid.

By Gabrielle Seunagal

How to Financially Prepare for College

In many regards, college is viewed as a rite of passage into adulthood. While various individuals maintain different opinions regarding college, its merits, and potential pitfalls, there are certain occupations where a professional degree is absolutely paramount. However, nothing in life comes without a cost.

This is especially applicable regarding college; higher education is notorious for its costliness, especially in the United States. Therefore, being financially prepared for college is critical; those who are not prepared often find themselves ensnared in debt. Student loans are not pretty; neither is the associated debt which often accompanies it. This is why the following steps will prove to be especially helpful for current (and future) college students.

Maintain Excellent Grades

In a perfect world, all parents would stash aside money for their children to attend college. However, the world is far from perfect. Therefore, being proactive and taking the proper steps to prepare for college may very well fall on the shoulders of young people; according to The Simple Dollar, maintaining great grades can open up a lot of doors. Many of those doors can lead to financial opportunities for college, such as scholarships, grants, and even the ability to forego certain classes which other students may be mandated to take due to poor marks.

Set Up A Budget

Although college may seem like the time to party, immerse oneself into new activities, and soak up such a new phase of life, students should still be sure to have a budget in place. Having a precise and detailed list of expenses (such as monthly phone bill, groceries, personal care items) can particularly come in handy. Dividing up expenses and having an exact number regarding the amount of money coming in and going out can make a great difference and help students truly assess their current financial state.

If a college student finds him or herself having an extremely tight budget, they may want to consider taking up a part time job. The job should not interfere with their studies, but provide an income stream which can reduce financial stress. Many people who attend college can sometimes work to pay off their student loans; this can truly pay off down the road.

Avoid Common Traps

Believe it or not, there are a litany of mistakes which are quite common for college students to fall into. The Balance documents some of the aforementioned mistakes as mismanaging student loan funds, choosing overly expensive colleges, and going crazy with credit cards. While each of these pitfalls have their own unique elements, the great equalizer between them is the lack of frugality.

Virtually everyone loves to spend money and have nice things, but this comes with time. In the case of college students (and others who are just starting off in life), frugality is wisdom. Racking up credit cards, damaging credit scores, and otherwise spending money that one doesn’t have are common mistakes which college students often make due to a lack of knowledge and real world experience. The foregoing traps should always be avoided.

 

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

How to Financially Prepare for a Job Layoff

Nobody likes the idea of being laid off from their jobs. Many people not only enjoy their work, but it also allows them to support themselves and any relatives which may also be dependent upon them. If life were perfect, everyone would keep their current positions of employment and never have to worry about layoffs. However, life is far from perfect; job layoffs occur more often than most individuals would like to imagine. This is particularly why each person has the responsibility to ensure that they are financially prepared in the event that they are laid off by their current employer.

Build A Plentiful Savings Account

One of the surest ways to prepare for a job layoff is having a plentiful amount of funds stashed aside. Saving money is always valuable and important; however, its value and paramountcy increase when an income stream evaporates. More often than not, saving sizable amounts of funds takes time. This is often a process which occurs gradually. Working people generally put aside either a specific amount of percentage of their earnings each time they are paid. Forbes moreover recommends having at least three to six months of living expenses saved up in the event of a job layoff. This greatly reduces stress and other headaches which are often brought about due to a lack of funds.

Take Advantage of (Potential) Remaining Job Benefits

Depending on the nature of one’s job, there may be certain associated benefits, such as healthcare, insurance, etc. In certain cases, employees who are laid off may be granted the option to take advantage of their benefits prior to the layout. If the individual at hand is unsure of where they stand regarding their job benefits, he or she should set up an appointment with their employer to get all the answers.

Knowledge is power. Having all of one’s ducks in a row is critical, especially when a job layoff is just around the corner.

Spend Less Money

Although this particular step may appear unnecessary coupled with the existence of plentiful savings, in actuality, it is very important. Spending less money increases the longevity of even the healthiest savings account. Decreasing levels of spending can be challenging, particularly if someone has grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle with various amenities. However, a job layoff is a very serious matter and all energies should be directed towards finding a new source of income to replace the one which is now gone.

A Final Word

Keeping the faith and staying positive are also some important tips when faced when the existence or possibility of a job layoff. The world of work is changing with each passing day; countless people are turning to the gig economy and freelance market as a means of supporting themselves.

In many cases, having multiple sources of income can also counteract the financial impacts of a job layoff. Many people rent spare rooms on Airbnb, drive for Lyft or Uber in their spare time, or even make fruitful investments which are likely to pay off in the future.

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

How to Financially Prepare for a Divorce

Divorce is a difficult and tragic time in the life of any couple. However, there are times when things happen, irreconcilable differences occur, and the only best recall is divorce. When divorce is the best option, it is very important to follow through on it. Divorces are generally regarded as stressful and draining, although, these pains can be minimized to a certain extent. The proper and thorough financial planning is both necessary and can save a lot of drama, misunderstandings, and confusion. Preparation can also come in handy in the event that one’s spouse proves to be greedy, dishonest, or otherwise disingenuous.

Collect All Documentation Relating to Financial Affairs

Gathering all financial-related documents in very important when preparing for a divorce, according to Nerd Wallet. After all, financial preparation is incredibly challenging, if not impossible, without having full knowledge of one’s financial state and monetary contributions which have occurred throughout the marriage. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative to collect and review documentation such as statements for investments, checking, and savings accounts, income taxes, pay stubs, credit card statements, etc. Having the aforementioned records can prove to be quite useful, especially if uncertainties or untrue allegations about money arises. Collecting documentation is one of the very first steps regarding financial preparation for a divorce.

Save and Accumulate Funds

Divorce is an inherently expensive and costly endeavor. Therefore, saving and putting aside money is absolutely imperative. There are countless fees, costs, and unexpected occurrences which are almost guaranteed to pop up in the midst of a divorce. This is why so many people save money and put aside funds so that they are not caught off guard by something unexpected. Protected furthermore states that consistently stashing aside money over time can significantly ease the burden of paying attorney fees. No matter what, saving funds is always a paramount aspect of financially preparing for a divorce.

Try to Work with Your Soon-to-Be Ex-Spouse

Although this may seem ironic and counterintuitive in the midst of a divorce, working with one’s soon-to-be-ex can make a phenomenal difference and save both parties unbelievable amounts of headaches and money. An amicable or cordial divorce can mean the difference between proceedings which take a few weeks or several months. Unfortunately, working with the other party is not always an option. Some spouses can be incredibly difficult or vindictive, especially depending upon what happened in the marriage and how events played out. Nevertheless, working together is always worth a shot.

A Final Word

Financial planning for any divorce is always the best course of action. However, there are many expenses and fees which are simply unavoidable. Divorce creates a difficult and often stressful environment, regardless of how prepared one or both parties may be. Sometimes, the very best forms of preparation simply involve having an awareness of all financial aspects and putting money aside to be able to effectively cover any associated monetary costs.

Consulting a financial adviser can also come in handy when planning for divorce.

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

How to Financially Plan for a Move

At some point and time in most people’s lives, they will be ready to pack up and move. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, they may have received a job promotion or relocation. In other cases, a family may be ready for a new beginning or simply want to be closer to relatives. Nevertheless, there are countless motivators which can cause people to move across the state, country, or even across the world. However, financial planning for a move is so important and can save an unbelievable amount of troubles and headaches down the line. After all, preventative maintenance is always better than damage control.

Be Aware of All Associated Expenses

Relocating is, by no means, inexpensive. Therefore, Quicken affirms the importance of having an awareness of how much it will cost to move furniture and other items. Sometimes, movers opt out of relocating their furniture and simply chose to sell it and purchase new furniture once they’ve arrived at their new home. In many cases, moving furniture and other large items is more expensive than simply replacing it. There are many other costs associated with moving, such as new rent, utilities, transportation, and the overall expenses of living. Anyone who is even thinking of relocating should be aware of all costs before proceeding any further.

Save Money

Similarly to be aware of moving expenses, saving money is one of the most critical steps of financially planning for a move. Many people put aside funds months, if not years, ahead of time to ensure full preparation for their relocation. Doing this can save many problems and moreover create a sense of security. The reality is that the costs of moving add up extremely quickly. When saving, people should always have extra money in addition to what will cover their moving expenses. This particularly comes in handy in the event of any unforeseen emergencies or other occurrences. Anything can happen at any time and there are few things worse than having a move be delayed due to a lack of funds.

Update Critical Information

With all of the financial costs associated with moving, there are a few more matters which must be tended to before completely settling in. These matters involve updating critical and personal information such as ongoing bills, bank accounts, and credit card accounts, according to Smart About Money. Also, upon moving, each person will need to re-register their car and receive a new drivers license. Both of these things can be done at the local DMV, although there are usually minimal fees associated with the aforementioned updates.

A Final Word

Moving is a very exciting time in anyone’s life. There are many benefits and opportunities which can come from relocating to a new place. However, by being aware of associated expenses, saving money, and updating critical information, each person will be on the right track to a smooth and stress-free move. Like all things in life, moving across the state, country, or world certainly requires careful degrees of thought and preparation.

Authored by Gabrielle Renee Seunagal