Clear the Clutter & Find Other Income

By Kelly Robertson—If you’re like me and love this business, it’s hard to turn away from Loan Signing and face the fact that we have to get a “real job.” For some of you that found it necessary to go back to work, I have a feeling it may take you all week to match what you made as a busy loan signer in a couple of hours – ouch! Are those days gone forever? Who knows, but the fact is, we all gotta do what we gotta do. Most of us worked a job before we became Signing Agents, right? I did! Fortunately, I’m somewhat “diversified” in my business strategy and don’t live beyond my means so even when money’s tight, we’ve been able to hang-in-there—though not without a few life-style adjustments.

Not only have our cutbacks saved us some money, but I’ve found that some of the changes we’ve had to make are positive and will become permanent for us. For example, “cleaning up the clutter” has forced us to take a hard look at what’s really important. I’m a lot more organized now and feel “refreshed” that I’m not holding on to things that don’t really matter, like size 6 dresses! I’ve also been able to take advantage of my down time and get rid of a lot of junk and change bad habits (too much time on the computer, too much TV) to good times with my family. I’ve got all our important documents in one place now too, and sleep better, confident that if “something happens,” my husband and I both know exactly where to go to get the information we may need. Our photos are all in albums, and we have enough room to actually park both cars in the garage. We’ve also turned off the TV and are playing more board games as a family – fun! I like it that we’ve taken a negative and turned it to many positives.

I’ve made a few lists of the many ways that have helped me save money and make a little extra money, too. I’ve included some job links (just in case you’re looking) and job interview sites to help you with your skills if getting a job happens to be a goal for you.

Ways To Save Money

  • Quit Smoking – NOW is a great time. Google the subject and I’ll bet you find a Free Smoking Cessation Class.
  • Quit Drinking – Alcohol is expensive and has a lot of extra calories. Support is available for free everywhere.
  • Cancel the Cable or Dish. If you must watch TV (okay, I admit I love American Idol!), get cheap Basic service.
  • Better Yet, Turn Off the TV and Read. When was the last time you made a trip to the library? How many books do you have already that you’ve “been meaning to read”? Like I said, try playing a board game or cards.
  • Fire the Gardener – Exercise is good for you! And drain the pool during the winter to save on water and electricity.
  • Stop Buying Fast Food – Plan your meals and eat at home. When was the last time everyone sat around the dinner table? Pack your lunch: Even if you’re not working but will be out and about at lunchtime.
  • Shop at A Members’ Only Store Like Sams or Costco – Shop with a buddy and split bulk items.
  • Get Rid of the Acrylic Nails – Yes, yes, I know we “point” but you can get those nails back later.
  • Color Your Own Hair – And stretch haircuts out to 8 weeks if you can.
  • Carpool – Shop with a friend and find a neighbor that you can share the gas with when taking the kids back and forth to school. You can save gas if you PLAN your errands throughout the week, guaranteed.
  • Cut Coupons – Get the Sunday paper for a buck and/or “clip” for free from the Internet coupon sites.
  • Prioritize Spending – Come up with a viable budget and try to really stick with it. It’s work but worth it.
  • Learn to say “no” to your kids and your family. (I know – I know – hard to do!) DO IT – They will be okay.
  • Skip the Birthdays and the Holidays – It’s temporary! Or cut way down on the gift-giving. Your extended family members and friends WILL appreciate it, really! It removes expensive obligations for everyone involved.
  • Cancel the Gym Membership – Half of you don’t go anyway. Get your exercise by taking walks instead. Smell the roses and take the time to really see the beauty of your neighborhood. You can also use workout video, free from the library. A buddy and I trade DVDs.

Ways to Make Money This Week

  • Have A Garage Sale – Your trash is someone’s treasure!
  • Sell Your Stuff on Craig’s List – It’s free, www.Craigslist.com.
  • Take your old clothes to a consignment store and sell them. (All my size 6’s are there.)
  • Pass Out More Business Cards – Since you’re already a Notary Public, pass out your business cards and get busy with Mobile Notary Work for CASH $$$. Buy quality, affordable business cards at PsPrint.com. Thinking free business cards to save money? That may not be the place to scrimp. Learn why.
  • Babysit Kids – You can become CPR qualified for free through the YWCA.org.
  • Rent Out A Room in Your House – Use caution; check background of strangers.
  • Advertise Your Services or Find A Paying Job on Craig’s List – It’s free, Craigslist.com.

Ways to Save Your Home from Foreclosure

  • Call Your Lender TODAY – Ask them to work with you – they don’t want your house! Every lender has a special department dedicated to assisting struggling home-owners. Make the call now!
  • Sell Your House Via A Short-Sale – If you must sell quickly, use the short-sale method (selling for less than the loan amount) approved by your lender. Check out the new laws regarding taxes on short sales; they are positive for you, the seller.
  • Rent Out Your House to A Nice Family – They will be making your mortgage payment for you. You can rent a smaller, cheaper place or move in with family. Hey, it’s temporary! You can always move back in when things are looking better.

Positive Change from the Inside Out

  • Take Some Classes – There are a lot available for free through EDD, SBDC, etc. You will find plenty of freebie classes, informational seminars and webinars by Googling and reading the Sunday paper. I’ve taken a Quickbooks class and an SEO webclass, both for free.
  • Surround Yourself with Positive People.
  • Say Good-Bye to Toxic Relationships (friends included and for some, family members).
  • Say Good-Bye to Bad Habits to Include Gossip.
  • Focus on What’s Important: Your family – spouse – children – you!
  • Be Grateful for What You Have – Don’t dwell on what you don’t have.
  • Exercise Daily – Walking is a good way to clear your head.
  • Eat Healthy – “Live” fresh food vs. processed foods.
  • Go to Church or Join A Group of Like-minds.
  • Learn to Smell the Roses.
  • Pay Attention to Your Pet(s) – And notice that their love for you is unconditional.
  • Love Yourself!

Self Improvement

Update your skills and participate in formal and informal coursework and training. This will not only make for an impressive resume but will also improve your self-confidence and your vocabulary, provide an opportunity for you to present yourself more professionally and enable you to process information faster and think on your feet. Here are some links/contacts for classes, seminars, webinars, teleseminars, videos and weekend or short-study courses plus job-seeking skills, resume development and mock interview skills. Visit, learn, don’t purchase anything.

Ehow.com
YouTube.com
ITrain.org
JobStar.org
MeetUp.com
QuintCareers.com
InterviewUp.com
EurekaNet.org
WomenForHire.com
Denham.net
RileyGuide.com
Careers.org
Best-Interview-Strategies.com
AARP.org
ChristianCareerCenter.com
Career-Advice.Monster.com
WomensJobList.com
CareerBuilder.com
CareerMag.com
Job-Interview.net

Military/Vets & Spouses:
VA Employment
RecruitMilitary.com
Stars and Stripes Job Center VetJobs.com
MilitaryHire.com
Military Spouse Career Center
Military.com Spouse

Common Job Sites:
CalJobs.CA.gov
JobCentral.org
GovernmentJobs.com
RivcoJobs.com
AJB.DNI.us
SPB.CA.gov
Job.com
Jobing.com
Monster.com
CareerBuilder.com

Learn About the Hidden Job Market

Eliminate the competition! Despite all the great job resource sites above, many companies don’t advertise their job openings! Search for companies that you’d like to work for, Google them, go to their site and check out their “Careers” tab. Edit your resume to focus on the job opening description (using their key words) and submit!

Good Luck!