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5 Ways to Throw a 4th of July Blast on a Budget

5 Ways to Throw a 4th of July Blast on a Budget

Like the rockets responsible for the legendary red glare, 4th of July business is booming! According to a National Retail Federation report, Americans spent more than $7 billion on Independence Day celebrations last year. That figure is pretty steep—especially when you consider that Americans only spent $151 million (approximately $2.4 billion when adjusted for current inflation) on the Revolutionary War itself. With our country’s birthday quickly approaching, you may be wondering whether it’s possible to show your star-spangled spirit without overspending on the festivities. We’re happy to report it’s entirely possible, especially if you follow these five tips: Use DIY or dollar store decorations. Thanks to your Pinterest page and local dollar store, it’s easier than ever to stretch your decoration dollars. Before you spend your hard-earned money on red, white, and blue decorations from big box stores or trendy boutiques, see if you can give the holiday a personal touch with some simple DIY projects. If you don’t have enough time to get crafty, swing by the dollar store and load up your patriotic cart for less. Host a BBQ potluck. There’s nothing like celebrating the 4th with family, friends, and food. But just because you’re the one hosting the party doesn’t mean you should foot the entire food bill. If you’re going to grill out, consider providing the main course (burgers, hot dogs, chicken, etc.) and asking your guests to bring their favorite fixings and sides. While everyone gets to show off their individual tastes, you get to hang on to more of your hard-earned cash. BYOB. If your gathering is going to include adult beverages, there...
Does a Side Hustle with Uber Really Pay Off?

Does a Side Hustle with Uber Really Pay Off?

You’ve done the hard work of creating a budget. You’ve cut frivolous expenses. You’ve crafted a financial plan that lets you tell your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. But even with a steady job and a sensible budget, you still find yourself living paycheck to paycheck. It looks like you’re going to have to find a way to earn some extra money, a side hustle. With more than 44 million Americans working more than one job, the challenge is a familiar one. As job seekers search for flexible work opportunities, many businesses are busy exploring alternate ways to assemble a workforce of independent contractors. With hundreds of thousands of individuals working under their respective banners, ridesharing services Uber and Lyft seem to have figured out how to recruit effectively. But as more and more people sign up to be drivers, are they seeing a worthwhile financial reward for their work? A recent study set out to answer that question. Don’t overlook those operating costs. Conducted by MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, this study found that when operating costs were factored together with earnings, Uber and Lyft drivers earned an average of $3.37 per hour. In her article detailing the study, Mashable.com writer Monica Chin shared this explanation of how routine maintenance and travel-related costs can impact overall earnings: “The study found that because of the high costs of insurance, fuel, and car maintenance, 74 percent of ride-share workers make below minimum wage in their respective states, and 30 percent actually lose money on their jobs. Drivers earn a median of 59...