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Book Review: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

book review

Dave Ramsey is a best selling author of many popular self-help books about getting your finances together. He’s inspired many with his simple, no-hassle philosophies on how to manage money. He also has a radio talk show called the Dave Ramsey Show, that you can listen to anywhere you listen to podcasts. He even started his own company built on his financial philosophies called Financial Peace University. Dave Ramsey and his colleagues have loads of resources you can find helpful in your own personal money management journey. Whether you are managing a household or a small business, Dave Ramsey has the financial advice you need to be successful and smart with your funds.

Today we’re going to take a focused look into one of Dave Ramsey’s most prolific publications, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness. You’ve heard of fitness journeys and makeovers that change your style into something fresh and new, but Dave Ramsey takes all that and puts a financial spin onto it. With Dave Ramsey’s baby step plan you can exercise your financial abilities in ways you never thought possible and finally get into shape where your wallet is concerned.

What Kind of Book is The Total Money Makeover?

book cover

The Total Money Makeover is written as a self-help book. It’s even been compared to popular self-help books like, Your Best Life Now and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People because of the reader-friendly way it is written. It’s an engaging book with lots of real-world examples and stories from real people who have actually gone through Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and seen results. These short anecdotal stories throughout the book help all of Dave Ramsey’s concepts make clear common sense.

The book also includes a lot of motivational help along with the tips and advice. One of the biggest factors that holds people back from taking full control over their finances is the proper motivation and encouragement to make necessary changes to their lifestyle. Dave Ramsey helps with that too, giving you the fresh outlook you need to understand your goal and the rewards you can gain.

Dave Ramsey is also a Christian, so his books often have a religious undertone. So you may find him referencing Bible verses every so often in this book, and tackling religious views and practices with regard to money as well.

What’s in the Book?

The Total Money Makeover is essentially a step-by-step guide for how to go about your own personal money makeover journey. These steps are based on Dave Ramsey’s key money philosophies. Dave Ramsey has strict beliefs about not ever using debt, loans, or credit cards. He believes that our society today is too dependent on credit and that true financial freedom only comes when you live a completely debt free life. So the first steps in his plan are all about helping you get out of debt, and then setting you up to never get into debt again.

Simple and straightforward advice.

Dave Ramsey’s book became so popular probably because of how easy it is to follow his clearly set plan. Each step is specific enough to leave no doubts about what exactly you need to do, making his plan one that anyone can follow and find success. It also helps that he is never vague about his advice, but rather he is extremely straightforward, open, and honest.

Dave Ramsey has no get-rich-quick schemes. He’s more about using honest work, responsibility, and common sense to reach your goals. So you won’t find any crazy secrets to financial stability and success in his book, you’ll just finally learn to implement the basics in a way that really works.

A change in perspective.

Another reason people enjoy Dave Ramsey’s teachings is because he doesn’t pretend that money is what brings happiness. He’s realistic and believes that money is a tool to create stability and contentment in our lives, not the secret solution to all our problems.

He eloquently tackles many mental barriers and misconceptions many of us have about money, and works to not only change your behavior with money, but your perspective about money as well. One thing he talks about a lot is getting over the need to “keep up with the Joneses.” Often in life we compare ourselves to others in unhealthy ways, and sometimes those comparisons can lead us to make poor financial decisions for superficial reasons. So, when you read the Total Money Makeover be prepared to gain a whole new outlook on the purpose of money, and break free from comparing yourself to others.

The Money Makeover Baby Steps:

The main event of this self-help read are the baby steps the reader can take to reach financial peace and freedom. You can read a more detailed article about each of the 7 baby steps that Dave Ramsey will go through in this book, but we’ll go over a quick outline of those steps here too.

Emergency Fund

The first step in Dave Ramsey’s 7 step plan is to basically get your financial life in order. The road to stability starts by setting up your finance in a certain way. This begins with setting up an emergency fund. You can start with at least $1,000 in your emergency fund but eventually you’ll want to work your way toward having at least 6 months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund at all times.

Debts

Once you start getting your emergency fund in place, it’s time to focus all other monetary efforts toward annihilating all your debts. He goes into more detail about this in the book. For example, he suggests you start with your smallest debts first and work your way up to your larger ones. He also recommends you save paying off your mortgage for last. But eventually the idea is to throw everything you can at your debts until they are all completely wiped out.

Build Wealth

Now it’s time to build wealth and continue saving. Since Dave Ramsey argues you should pay for everything in cash, continually building up your financial stores is an important aspect of the Dave Ramsey lifestyle. You have to have enough in savings to cover all your costs completely with cash.

In the book Dave Ramsey goes into more detail about what savings you should prioritize. He advises that you first complete your 6 months’ worth emergency fund if you haven’t gotten there already. Then he suggests you work toward saving for retirement and (if you have kids or plan on having kids) your children’s college funds.

Things You Can Do Differently:

Dave Ramsey’s primary goal in all of this is to help people get out of crippling debt and stay out of it. But there are modifications you can make to his more rigorous financial plan.

You can choose how much you want in your emergency fund.

If you’re a college student then putting aside even $1,000 may be more difficult for you. But that’s ok! Just put aside what you can. Even just adding $5 to $10 a month into an emergency fund is better than having no emergency fund at all.

Likewise, if you’re more settled in life it might be easier for you to put even more than $1,000 aside into an emergency fund. It really doesn’t matter how you do it, what matters most is that you start accumulating that safety fund in order to be more prepared for surprise expenses in the future.

You can still use credit cards and loans.

Dave Ramsey may believe in using only cash to pay for things but there are advantages to using credit cards and installment loans. When used responsibly using credit can help boost your credit score and get you the things you need to have a comfortable life. Credit cards can also provide lots of perks outside of boosting credit scores. Some credit cards come with special points that can go toward paying for things like groceries and traveling. So long as you understand your limits and include loans and credit payments in your carefully calculated budget and financial plans, you’ll be just fine.

Should I Read This Book?

You may now be wondering whether you should give this book a read or not. You should definitely read this book if . . .

  • you are in debt
  • you have trouble managing your money or realizing where your money goes
  • you have trouble making a budget

If you are looking for a book with more specific details about financial topics (like investing, or small businesses) then you should check out Dave Ramsey’s other books that go more in depth on complex financial topics. The Total Money Makeover doesn’t expound upon these topics too much since it was written more as a beginners guide to Dave Ramsey’s financial baby steps.

 

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Check out some other helpful reviews about Dave Ramsey’s book, the Total Money Makeover:

Review: The Total Money Makeover

The Total Money Makeover Review

Goodreads


The Best Books by Dave Ramsey

dave ramsey books

Table of Contents:

Dave Ramsey is a New York Times bestselling author, and a radio show host on the The Dave Ramsey Show. You can find his books wherever you buy books and you can listen to his radio show wherever you listen to podcasts or the radio. All of his books are also on Amazon, where you can find the kindle versions for your e-reader, or audiobook versions so you can learn all about finances on the go.

When getting into Dave Ramsey’s books people often wonder which book they should start with? If you want to read Dave Ramsey’s books in order there are a couple routes you can go. You can read them in the order he wrote them, or read them in order of the things you learn in each book.

Dave Ramsey’s Books in Chronological Order:

If you want to read all of Dave Ramsey’s books in order, you can follow this master list of all his books so far.

1992 – Financial Peace

1993 – Dumping Debt: Breaking the Chains of Debt

1998 – The Financial Peace Planner

1998 – More Than Enough

1999 – More Than Enough: The Ten Keys to Changing Your Financial Destiny

2000 – How to Have More Than Enough: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Abundance

2002 – Cash Flow Planning: The Nuts and Bolts of Budgeting

2002 – Financial Peace for the Next Generation

2003 – The Total Money Makeover

2003 – The Great Misunderstanding: Unleashing the Power of Generous Giving

2004 – The Money Answer Book

2008 – Relating with Money: Nerds and Free Spirits Unite!

2011 – Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money

2011 – Dave Ramsey’s High Performance Achievement: Accomplishing the Extraordinary

2011 – EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches

2014 – Smart Money Smart Kids

2014 – The Legacy Journey: A Radical View of Biblical Wealth and Generosity

Dave Ramsey Kid Books: Life Lessons with Junior

kid books

4.38 stars on Goodreads

Life Lessons with Junior is a series of children’s books written by Dave Ramsey. In them he goes over all the most basic concepts of money management. Following Junior’s adventures can teach your kids all about monetary responsibility in clear simpler terms they’ll understand. He goes over everything from spending, debt, saving, work, giving, contentment, and integrity. Don’t miss out on gracing your household shelves with these great childhood reads with life lessons your kids will keep with them all their lives.

Smart Money Smart Kids

smart money smart kids

4.26 stars on Goodreads

Smart Money Smart Kids is a book that Dave Ramsey wrote with his daughter, Rachel Cruze. It is a book that teaches parents all about how to teach their kids about money. Part of good parenting is preparing your kids to be responsible, independent adults someday and a big part of being an adult is knowing how to manage your money. In this book Dave Ramsey and his daughter will tell you all about how to raise kids who are smart about their money.

If you’re looking for something from Dave Ramsey that can specifically help your teens, check out his article, “A Teenager’s Guide to Building Wealth.”

Dave Ramsey also has a great recommendation for a college 101 bundle that includes Debt-Free Degree by Anthony O’Neal and The Graduate Survival Guide by Anthony O’Neal and Rachel Cruze.

Financial Peace

financial peace

4.31 on Goodreads

Financial Peace is one of Dave Ramsey’s first books, but he has since revisted the book, renaming it, Financial Peace Revisited: New Chapters on Marriage, Singles, Kids, and Families. This newer edition of his first book now includes more information for married couples, singles, children, and families. This book is also where he introduces the KISS rule, which stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” It’s about getting out of debt and staying out of debt and the idea that you should use contentment to make your financial decisions. It also goes over how to manage money flow and investing.

One of the primary keys to understanding your finances and being able to take control of them is to manage the flow of your money. A lot of people just let money flow as it does, not really thinking too much about where it’s coming from and where it disappears. But if you learn to take full control of where all your funds are going then the problem of disappearing funds won’t happen to you and you can find financial peace.

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

total money makeover

4.28 stars on Goodreads

A large part of what makes makeovers so fun is the joy of reaching your goals and having a different life and a different you at the end of your journey. But have you ever thought about going on a similar makeover journey with your finances? Dave Ramsey will show you how.

The Total Money Makeover may be one of Dave Ramsey’s most popular books. He talks about some of his most famous money tips all while debunking myths about money. He brings a simpler, more straight forward approach to money management that anyone can understand and utilize in their life, no matter their financial situation. Dave Ramsey says that this book can work every time, all you have to do is follow his steps.

Complete Guide to Money

complete guide to money

4.44 stars on Goodreads

In this comprehensive guide Dave Ramsey goes over all his basic financial tips and lessons—How to Budget with Dave Ramsey, how to save, how to get out of debt, how to invest, mortgages, insurance, marketing, bargain hunting, and giving. Anything you want to know when it comes to money, you can find in this master guidebook.

The Money Answer Book

money answer book

3.82 stars on Goodreads

The Money Answer Book is a quick read with questions and answers to more than 100 common money questions! It’s a fast guide that goes over budget planning, retirement planning, shopping tips, saving for college, giving to charity, and so much more. If you need something you can quickly leaf through to find the answers you’re looking for.

How to Have More than Enough: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Abundance

more than enough

4.11 stars on Goodreads

How to Have More than Enough is the newest version of Dave Ramsey’s earlier book, More than Enough. Once you have gotten out of debt, he has more down to earth advice about building wealth. Dave Ramsey’s perspective is unique because he doesn’t just talk about monetary wealth, he talks about having a wealth of happiness. He takes it a step further by talking about finding wealth in relationships and in your family. In this book he goes through 10 traits you need to be prosperous in life beyond your financial situations.

EntreLeardership

entreleadership

4.21 stars on Goodreads

In EntreLeadership Dave Ramsey talks about how he built his company, and how to be a strong leader. He talks about how to grow as a leader and the questions you should ask yourself in order to develop yourself. This book has doable, step-by-step guidance to follow to become a better leader and watch your business grow as you do.

He talks about inspiring and unifying your team, handling your business finances, and reaching your business goals. If you are making your own business and you need some pro tips about leadership, this book is what you want. But you can find great insights in this book no matter what you are doing with your life right now. If you are a parent you can use it with your family or at work you can use it with your coworkers! This is because leadership is really all about functioning efficiently as a team and reaching your goals together.

What Books Does Dave Ramsey Recommend?

We’ve talked all about books that were written by Dave Ramsey, but what about books that Dave Ramsey recommends? There are many other great financial reads you can find on Dave Ramsey’s website. You can also read more about Dave Ramsey’s steps to reach financial steps by reading, “Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps.” Here are just a few book suggestions from Dave Ramsey:

Dave Ramsey’s Book Club

If you’re interested in really tackling your finances with Dave Ramsey’s sage wisdom you can actually join Dave Ramsey’s official book club! All you have to do is create an account on his website and then join the book club (fees may apply). Then, at the beginning of each month you’ll receive Dave Ramsey’s book club book of the month in the mail. You’ll also get an email with details about when the live book discussion will happen on the private book club Facebook page along with a study guide to use as you read.

For more answers to any questions you may have about the Dave Ramsey book club, just visit the book club’s FAQs Page.

 
Dave Ramsey along with his many inspiring books have helped a lot of people get back on their feet financially. You can take on his financial fitness challenge too and manage your money like never before.

Another way you can get some needed financial help is to take out an Installment Loan at Check City! Installment loans can help you stay on top of your bill payments and avoid late fees, which can really hurt your long-term financial goals.


Happy HoliDeals with Amazon Daily Deals!

amazon daily deals

There are lots of great deals you can take advantage of every single day, with Amazon’s Daily Deals! You won’t believe some of the great things you can find. Every Tuesday we highlight some of our favorite Amazon Daily Deal buys. Here are some of our top picks from today:

*The prices shown below are the sale prices listed at the time of posting.

ARTEZA Art Supplies

art supplies

ARTEZA Colored Pencils

Current Sale Price: $25.23

Originally: $32.99

You Save: $7.76‬! (24% off)

You don’t have to pay premium prices to get quality supplies for the artists in your life. These ARTEZA coloring pencils come in a set of 72 colors, from sapphire yellow to cloudy gray. They are quality made pencils with a soft, wax-based core that is break resistant and easy to sharpen. What’s more, all of this comes in a professional tin box where you can keep your numbered pencils neat and organized. This colored pencil set would make a great gift for the beginner or professional artists in your life.

ARTEZA Liquid Chalk Markers

Current Sale Price: $18.05

Originally: $24.99

You Save: $6.94! (28% off)

These ARTEZA markers are a water based chalk marker that can be used on chalkboards, whiteboards, restaurant signs, and even windows. This marker set comes with 16 markers and 16 replaceable chisel tips. This box set even comes with tweezers you can use to replace the marker tips. But that’s not the only extra feature these markers have. You also get 50 labels and 2 sticky stencils that you can use in your marker art.

ARTEZA Drawing Pad

Current Sale Price: $11.75

Originally: $17.99

You Save: $6.24! (35% off)

These drawing pads come in a pack of 2 notebooks with 50 sheets of paper in each drawing pad. The pages are 8 x 10 inches, making them the perfect sketchbook size. The pages are thick, and set in a spiral bound book for easy artist use. Artists can use these sketchbooks with pencil, crayon, pens, and even charcoal.

LEGO Marvel Superheroes Avengers

lego set

Current Sale Price: $79.97
Originally: $99.99
You Save: $20.02! (20% off)

Recreate an epic scene from Avengers Infinity Wars! This Lego building set is for ages 8 to 14 years old. You can build a 3 level New York building that includes the Sanctum Sanctorum, a pizzeria, and a water tower. It also includes characters from the movie like, Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Iron Spider Man, Cull Obsidian, and Ebony Maw.

Wireless Charger

wireless charger

Current Sale Price: $19.99
Originally: $27.99
You Save: $8.00! (29% off)

Having a wireless fast charger can really make your life easier. Instead of fiddling with lots of chords you can simply place your devices on a wireless charger. You can charge 2 things at once and it even comes with an iWatch stand. You can charge your iPhone, iWatch, and airpods.

Lenovo Chromebook

laptop sale

Current Sale Price: $246.99
Originally: $299.99
You Save: $53.00! (18% off)

The Lenovo Chromebook is a convertible laptop, meaning it can become a tablet as well! All you have to do is fold the keyboard over and you now have a tablet and laptop in one. It has a 11.6 inch HD IPS display with a 64 GB capacity and a sleek, thin design making this Chromebook a great choice for busy, on-the-go people.

Stanley Camping Items

camping cooking gear

Base Camp Cook Set

Current Sale Price: $47.09

Originally: $80.00

You Save: $32.91! (41% off)

If you’re serious about camping then you’ll probably at some point need some cooking gear. This cooking set is all made of rustproof, stainless steel so you know you’re getting high quality, durable products. It comes with a pot that has a vented lid, a frying pan, and a silicone trivet to put down on the table to protect it. It even comes with 4 bowls, plates, sporks, and even a dish drying rack for after you clean up.

Travel Mug

Current Sale Price: $16.00

Originally: $23.00

You Save: $7.00! (30% off)

This is a classic trigger action travel mug. The trigger action on the lid and it’s leak proof build makes it easy to use on the go when you’re traveling, camping, or hiking. It also comes in lots of colors, like blue, green, white, black, and red. It is double walled and vacuum insulated so this mug can keep your drinks hot for up to 7 hours.

Lunch Box

Current Sale Price: $26.49

Originally: $38.53

You Save: $12.04! (31% off)

This classic lunch box has a large 10 quart capacity and is made of steel for lifelong durability. You can have this lunchbox forever! It also comes with a dome shaped lid with a metal latch so that you can latch your thermos into the lid of the lunchbox.

Kindle Monthly Deals

Did you know Amazon has kindle deals every month?! It’s important to keep the joy of reading alive in your life and having your own library to go to is the key. With kindle e-readers this job is easy. Amazon also has great sales on great books going on all the time, and on audiobooks too. So reading lots of new things each year doesn’t have to cost a lot.

Thanksgiving Takeover

by All Recipes Magazine

thanksgiving recipe book

Current Sale Price:$5.49
Originally:$29.94
You Save:$24.45! (82% off)

It’s that time of year now when we start baking and cooking unique Thanksgiving and Fall-time recipes. All Recipes has some great recipes to choose from for the holidays. You can actually get the magazine subscription through Amazon if you want to keep getting their recipes.

A Fire Sparkling

by Julianne MacLean

kindle deals

Current Sale Price:$7.48
Originally:$14.95
You Save:$7.47! (50% off)

A Fire Sparkling is a fictional historic romance about 3 generations of a family. This beautifully written tale centers mostly around a woman named Vivian Hughes and her life as a young woman during World War II.

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler

by Kelly Harms

kindle deals

Current Sale Price:$7.48
Originally:$14.95
You Save:$7.47! (50% off)

This book is a comedy about a lovable single mom named Amy Byler who just needs a break. If you’re wanting a witty romantic comedy in novel form then this is the read for you.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky

by Mark Sullivan

kindle deals

Current Sale Price:$7.48
Originally:$14.95
You Save:$7.47! (50% off)

Beneath a Scarlet Sky has everything a reader wants in historic fiction. It’s based on a true story and involves spies, war stories, and biographical fiction all entwined in one. Soon this book will hit the screens starring Tom Holland, so before it does make sure you read this bestselling novel by Mark Sullivan.

 
Sometimes deals and sales are the way that we get things we really need. You may especially depend on sales when you’re in college, or just starting out on your own, or in a new place. So when you find something you really need on sale, and payday is just a couple days too late, that can be really frustrating.

Luckily Check City can help you out with a quick and easy Personal Loan so that you can take advantage of important deals regardless of when your payday comes.

Share with us what deals you snagged today by using the hashtags #amazondailydeals #checkcity.
 

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Make clothes shopping not just easier, but cheaper too, by doing your clothes shopping online, “Shopping for Your Clothes Online.”

Get ahead on your Christmas shopping this year, “4 Reasons to Start Early Christmas Shopping.”

Learn how to get thrifty with all your gift shopping this season, “Thrifty Gift Shopping.”

Read all about the post Christmas online shopping addiction and how to you can save yourself from overbuying this year, “The Post-Christmas Online Shopping Addiction.”

Save on all your holiday shopping with these tips, “Saving while Online Shopping for the Holidays.”


Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps

dave ramsey baby steps

Are you trying to get out of debt? Do you want more financial stability and freedom? Are your finances one of the bigger stresses in your life right now? If any of these sentiments apply to you then Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps might be just what you need to cure your money blues.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Start an Emergency Fund
Step 2: Focus on Debts
Step 3: Complete Your Emergency Fund
Step 4: Save for Retirement
Step 5: Start a College Fund
Step 6: Pay Off Your House
Step 7: Build Wealth

Dave Ramsey is a guy who, through personal experience, was able to get out of debt and find financial peace of mind. He is now a financial expert with courses and books to help the everyday person get in control of their finances.

The best place to start when trying to regain control over your finances and achieve a full “money makeover” is to start with his 7 step plan. This plan has 7 baby steps that you follow to reach more financial stability and get to the point where you can start building wealth.

Step 1: Start an Emergency Fund

car maintenance

The first step in Dave Ramsey’s 7 step plan is, “Save $1,000 for Your Starter Emergency Fund.”

One of the main reasons people struggle with money is because necessary emergency expenses (like medical bills, car bills, or home repairs) come out of nowhere and drag you deeper and deeper into debt. But if you are preemptively prepared for these surprise expenses then they won’t take you off guard again.

So the very first thing you should do when getting your money in line is to get an emergency fund started. Save up an emergency fund in a separate bank account, until you have at least $1,000 in the account. This will be the start of the emergency fund that will keep sudden necessary expenses from plunging you into deep debts because you weren’t prepared.

Step 2: Focus on Debts

debts

The second step in Dave Ramsey’s plan is to “Pay Off All Debt (Except the House) Using the Debt Snowball.”

The snowball method that Dave Ramsey refers to here means that you start by paying off small debts first, and work your way up to the bigger debts. Debts can include paying off your car, credit card debts, and student loans.

First, make a giant list of all your debts, every single one, except for your mortgage if you have a house. Then, put your list of debts in order from the smallest debt amount to the largest. Then you go through knocking out each debt by eliminating the smallest debts first and working your way up to the largest debt last.

Step 3: Complete Your Emergency Fund

medical bills

The third step is to “Save 3 to 6 Months of Expenses in a Fully Funded Emergency Fund.”

Now that you’ve gotten all your debts out of the way, it’s time to finish your emergency fund. You can use the same money you were using to pay off debts each month and put it toward your emergency fund until it has enough to cover 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses and bills. Then you’ll really be prepared for anything.

Reasons to Have an Emergency Fund

  1. If you lose your job.
  2. You won’t have to worry because you’ll have enough to last you 6 months. This will give you the time you’ll need to find a new job.

  3. If your car breaks down.
  4. You’ll be able to pay for the necessary repairs, the tow truck, or even for a new car in some cases.

  5. Medical bills.
  6. Don’t let your health and necessary medical bills keep you from staying afloat financially.

  7. Home repairs.
  8. If something happens to your home you’ll be able to fix the problem rather than living with it.

Having an emergency fund is THE key to keeping you out of debt in the future. After getting yourself out of debt, an emergency fund is what will keep you from getting back into debt in the future.

Step 4: Save for Retirement

retirement

The fourth step in the Dave Ramsey plan is to, “Invest 15% of Your Household Income in Retirement.”

After your debts are gone and your emergency fund is taken care of, it’s time to start seeing to other important savings like a 401K. Dave Ramsey recommends you take 15% of your gross monthly income and put it toward a retirement fund each month. To figure out how much you should be putting into your retirement fund each month, take your monthly income and multiply that number by 0.15.

Step 5: Start a College Fund

college funds

The fifth step to Dave Ramsey’s plan is to, “Save for Your Children’s College Fund.”

Avoiding student loan debts can be one of the biggest factors in staying out debt as a young adult. If you can pay for your kids college tuition then you’ll ensure their financial security in the future, as they’ll better be able to stay out debt. Dave Ramsey recommends using either a 529 college savings plans, or an education savings accounts (ESA). Talk to your bank or credit union about setting up these accounts for these specific purposes.

Step 6: Pay Off Your House

mortgage

The next to last step in this 7 step plan is to, “Pay Off Your Home Early.”

Put all the extra monthly income you have into your mortgage so you can finish paying it off early. After this step you will officially have no debts whatsoever! All of your earnings will go to you instead of getting drained away in large debts and payments.

Step 7: Build Wealth

wealth and legacy

Finally, it is time to, “Build Wealth and Give.”

Congratulations! Once you’ve reached the 7th step in Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps, you can start focusing on building your wealth and leaving a legacy. Don’t forget to keep and maintain those financial safety nets like a healthy emergency fund, retirement account, savings account, and college funds.

Now you are officially in charge of your money rather than it being in charge of you.

Financial freedom is possible for you! Everyone can do it and Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps can help you get there. Dave Ramsey also has other resources that can help you implement this plan. You can participate in Dave Ramsey’s program, books, and podcasts.

You can take the actual course with Financial Peace University.

Dave Ramsey also has a free customized plan and assessment that you can do right now, in just 3 minutes!

Listen to the Dave Ramsey Show anywhere you listen to podcasts or radio.

 
Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps to financial freedom can help you with so many aspects of your life. They can help you decide when to buy a house or help you get situated for saving for a house. It’s a checklist program that can help you get rid of loans and debt (like student loans), or even help you get to where you can budget for a wedding.

Another way you can get some needed financial help is to take out an Installment Loan at Check City! Installment loans can help you stay on top of your bill payments and avoid late fees, which can really hurt your long-term financial goals.
 

READ MORE

Browse Dave Ramsey’s online store for more great financial resources to help you on your financial journey.

Read more helpful articles on the Dave Ramsey Blog

Learn more about the debt snowball, “How the Debt Snowball Method Works.”

Read Dave Ramsey’s full article on his 7 baby steps, “What Are the Baby Steps?

Stay out of debt through college by using these tips, “How to Stay Debt Free through Grad School.”


60+ Last Minute Halloween Costumes

last minute halloween costumes

Have you still not decided on a Halloween costume? Don’t panic! Believe it or not, it’s not too late. Pick from the table of contents below to find your perfect costume idea before the tricking and treating begins tomorrow:

Table of Contents:

If you don’t have a lot of time you may need to settle for either a low-effort costume, or a low-cost costume. Check out your favorite places to shop below. Once on the store’s website, find your store to see if it’s in stock and go pick it up! On a lot of store websites you can even purchase your costume online and then pick it up in the store.

Where to Shop:

Low Effort Halloween Costumes

The secret to last minute, low effort costumes is to take out all your clothes and get a big picture view of what you have in your wardrobe. You’ll make a giant mess in your room but it’s probably the easiest way to make a quick, feasible idea pop out to you.

1. A music note

Just cut out a music note with some black paper and tape it to your shirt!

2. Nametag costume

Jim, from the beloved show the Office, had some great low energy Halloween costume ideas. Like his nametag costume. All you need to do is wear a nametag sticker with the name “Dave” on it. This costume needs almost no effort whatsoever but fellow Office fans will still love and appreciate it.

3. A ninja

If you have a black shirt and pants then you already have the perfect ninja costume! You can add a sash on your belt and head to complete the ninja costume.

4. A burglar

Similar to a ninja costume, all you have to do to rock the classic burglar look is wear black, gloves, and make a makeshift burglar mask with paper, or by cutting out eye wholes in a blindfold.

5. Zombie

Dead people and things are always popular as a Halloween costume. You can literally dress up like anything, then just use makeup to make yourself look more dead. Mess up your hair for good measure.

If you really want to keep things current you can look to your favorite movies from this year! Here are just a few movie inspired costume ideas you could try out this year.

joker costume

6. Joker
7. Star Wars
8. Maleficent
9. Zombieland
10. The Lion King
11. IT
12. Charlie’s Angels
13. Toy Story 4 characters
14. Glass supervillains
15. Frozen II
16. Marvel
17. Stranger things
18. Aladdin

Classic Halloween Costumes

There’s nothing better than sticking with the classic Halloween costumes. Sometimes the simplest solutions happen to be the most basic ideas!

19. Ghost
20. Cat
21. Witch
22. Vampire
23. Zombie
24. Werewolf

Group Halloween Costumes

Group costumes are super fun for a group of friends or for families that want to dress up together! Group costumes can also be a great part of an epic costume contest. For more group Halloween costume ideas check out this article, “78 Amazing Group Halloween Costume Ideas to Text Your BFFs Immediately.”

star wars costumes

25. Box of crayons
26. Office supplies
27. Ghost busters
28. The Avengers
29. Inside Out
30. Josie and the Pussycats
31. Mario Kart
32. The Scooby-doo gang
33. Thing 1, Thing 2, Thing 3
34. The Breakfast Club group
35. Mean Girls
36. Grease
37. Power Puff Girls
38. Power Rangers
39. Harry Potter character’s
40. The Addams family
41. Dominos
42. 3 Little Pigs
43. The 4 seasons
44. The 4 elements
45. The Greek gods
46. Clue characters
47. The Wizard of OZ

Couples Halloween Costumes

Think of any couple or pairing that you love and you can probably make a Halloween costume out of it. Here are just a few great ideas to get you started with your partner or pal, but for more ideas read “75+ Amazing Couples Costumes You Need This Halloween.”

48. Tweedled Dee and Tweedle Dum
49. Wanda and Cosmo from the Fairly Odd Parents
50. Fred and Wilma Flintstone

kid costumes

51. Jim and Pam from the Office
52. Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf
53. A mermaid and a sailor
54. Food pairings

Halloween Costumes for Kids

Halloween is a special time for kids. They get to dress up as their favorite people and things and walk around showing off and gathering mounds of candy. What’s not to love as a candy loving kid? For even more adorable kid costume ideas check out this article, “95 Easy DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids of All Ages.”

55. Their favorite Disney characters
56. Dinosaur
57. Princess
58. Fairy
59. Little ghost
60. Animals
61. Winnie the Pooh characters

 
Just because it’s the last minute that doesn’t mean it’s too late to think up a great Halloween costume this year! Take a look at this master list of Halloween costume ideas to get your creativity going.


READ MORE
Complete your last minute Halloween costume with some makeup and face paint ideas, “30 Halloween Makeup Video Tutorials.”

Throw a great Halloween costume party with these spooky decor ideas, “30+ DIY Halloween Decoration Ideas.”

Feed your Halloween costume party guests with these Halloween appetizer ideas, “Halloween Party Food Ideas.”

30+ DIY Halloween Decoration Ideas

halloween decor ideas

Decorating for Halloween is just what your house and yard needs to really give you that spooky October feeling. Here are some easy, DIY ideas for decorating your home this October:

If you’re not really into DIY projects, or you don’t feel like you have the time, you can always shop for decorations. It’s really nice when you can get deals on seasonal purchases too! The best way to get clearance Halloween decorations is to actually shop for next year’s decor after Halloween, when all their leftover Halloween stock goes on sale.

If you’re really in a rush, then you can check out your favorite store’s Halloween items right now by clicking the fast links below! They’ll take you right to the store’s Halloween decor pages.

Where to Decorate

Sometimes you need to decorate for a Halloween party you are having. Other times you just want to decorate for when trick-or-treaters come to your door. Or maybe you just like the Halloween season and you want to make your home feel delightfully spooky this time of year. Either way, there are key places to consider decorating when setting up for Halloween.

Front Porch

Transform you porch into some kind of scene! With some simple tricks you can turn your front porch into a graveyard, a pit stop for flying witches, or a home for a pumpkin village.

halloween porch

Front door

You can also jazz up your front door! You can make your door look like a monster, or wrap it in paper to look like a mummy, or decorate around it to make it look like the jaws of a monster opening up to swallow trick or treaters whole!

Yard

Decorated yards are especially eye catching. You can decorate your hard with mock murder scenes, fake gravestones, or rising zombies made from homemade scarecrows.

Living room

Make your main living space feel eerie by putting cut outs of werewolves and witches against the windows. You can also take thin sheets of black or red tissue paper and fit them over your lampshades to change the lighting in your living room. If you don’t have lampshades to cover in dark paper, you can paint your light bulbs themselves with non-water-based glass pain for the same effect.

Staircase railing

Your staircase is the perfect place to wrap up in cobwebs and lights!

Kitchen

The kitchen is a great place to take advantage of witchy themes. You can decorate with candy jars, a witch’s broom, and cauldrons ready to make yummy fall time foods.

DIY Halloween Decor Ideas

1. Make a scarecrow

You can easily make your own scarecrow people by filling up clothes with rags and pillows. Then you can use a pumpkin as the head! It doesn’t have to be a scarecrow either. You can recreate a stuffed vampire or the headless horseman too.

2. Jack-O-Lanterns

Jack-o-lanterns are a very old Halloween tradition and they make for great decorations too.

3. Scary pillows

You can sew scary pillows using old shirts! You can make an easy pillow case, and then cut pieces of fabric into eyes and mouths to sew up a little pillow monster friend! You can also use this technique to make the head to your scarecrow person.

4. Pipe Cleaner spiders

You can make your own spiders with black pipe cleaners! All you do is play around wrapping and bending the pipe cleaners together until you have a spider!

jack o lanterns

5. Make spider webs

You can make spider webs with paper, the way you would make a snowflake, or you can make them with giant trash bags. You can also pull apart cotton balls to make cobwebs.

6. Window cutouts

With big sheets of construction paper you can cut out silhouettes of witches, monsters, werewolves, and other frightful creatures. Then you just tape them against your windows and place lamps behind them to make it look like your house is full of ghosts and goblins.

7. Halloween banner

Make a Halloween-themed banner by attaching cut outs to a piece of string. You can garnish your banner with little paper bats, pumpkins and witches that you staple, tape, or glue to the rope.

8. Mummy

Make a mummy by taking a large stuffed animal, doll, or homemade rag doll and wrapping it up in toilet paper. With practically no cost at all you now have your very own mummy!

9. Halloween chandeliers

Make a bat chandelier, with cut out bats, string, and hoops from the craft store. Then you just tie and dangle the bats at different lengths from the hoop. Instead of bats you can also use ghosts, or origami black birds.

10. Little ghosts

You can make little ghosts with tissues, or tissue paper. Get balls from the craft store, then put glue on the ball and add tissue over the ball until it looks like a ghost. With sharpie draw it’s eyes and mouth, or glue on some eyes from the craft store. You can hang these guys in the air by gluing a string to the top of their heads

11. Mystery box

Make a spooky mystery box by painting cardboard boxes black. Cut holes into them for people’s hands to reach through, and then put things in the box for them to feel and guess what they are. You can use cabbage, noodles, olives, and anything else with a weird texture to freak the brave darers out.

12. Eye cutouts

Make eye that watch you in the dark by cutting out eyes in a large sheet of cardboard or construction paper. Then you can place two light sources (like flashlights) behind each eye to make it look like ppl are being watched.

13. Monster mailbox

Turn your mailbox into an open mouthed monster with paper, glitter, and craft feathers.

halloween center piece

14. Voo doo dolls

Use pieces of felt to sew simple voo doo dolls. You can also make them little skeleton people, or whatever Halloween person or creature you most like.

15. Witch’s broom

Get an older looking broom and leave it out as a witch’s broom. To add to the witch aesthetic you can take some shoes and stockings and stuff them so they look like the disembodied feet of the wicked witch of the east.

16. Witch’s hat

Make a witch’s hat with construction paper. All you need to do is make a cone with one sheet of paper, then make a large circle with another sheet for the rim of the hat. Then place the cone on top of the circle so you can trace out the hole for your head. Glue or tape all the pieces together and you have a witch’s hat that you can decorate to your choosing!

17. Chalkboard signs

Get chalkboards that you can stencil or write seasonal sayings on. This is a great thing to buy because you can use it for every season.

18. Gravestones

Get rocks and write gravestone sayings on them with paint. If you really want the gravestones to look creepy you can put just a little too much paint on your brush and let the paint drip downward a little on each word. Then place the stones in your flower bed or flowerpots.

19. Misty mirror

Make your mirrors misty by spraying them with hairspray. When you’re done partying for Halloween you can easily wash the hairspray off the mirror with your regular glass cleaner.

20. Spooky tree

Get a small dead branch from the lawn and put it in a pot as a spooky, spindly dead tree. Then you can decorate it with little black birds or lights if you want.

21. Little black birds

Make origami birds with black paper to give your house an Edgar Allan Poe feel.

22. Halloween doormat

Make a doormat for October guests by buying a cheap doormat, and using stencils to paint on the sayings or figures of your choice.

halloween candy

23. Mini Salem village

Make a little Salem village with painted bird houses. You can also make your own little houses with cardboard cutouts glued together, or popsicle sticks that you glue and stack into houses.

24. Candy jars

Fill see-through mason jars with Halloween candies and wrap the lids with Halloween festive looking ribbons. These can act as decorations you can eat throughout the holiday!

25. Halloween gingerbread house

Make a gingerbread house in October! Just use Halloween colored food dyes (like black, orange, purple etc.) in the icing, and use Halloween themed candies to decorate with. Who said gingerbread houses were only for Christmas anyway?

26. Crystal ball

You can make your very own crystal ball! You can get a glass ball from the craft store or get an undecorated Christmas ornament. Then just spray paint the glass ball with misty paints and place them on a pedestal of some kind, like a low bowl with dark fabric laid over it.

27. The living scarecrow

Pull some tricks of your own by dressing up as a scarecrow, grim reaper, or suited vampire and station yourself somewhere on the porch where trick or treaters will come by for their candy. If you hold very still, then trick or treaters will think you’re a prop! When you suddenly move you’ll give all your visitors a good scare.

28. Cereal killer

Use old cereal boxes and make your own cereal killer crime scene! You can paint faces on the boxes and laying them out in a comical murder scene. You can even make the scene a part of the party by having people deduce which of the cereal boxes did it, and how.

29. Leaf bag monsters

If you have leaves you need to rake up, then put them to decorating use! Put all your raked up leaves in big black bags, and then paint the bags to look like monsters have invaded your porch and yard.

30. Halloween mood lighting

You can give your house an eerie ambience by covering lampshades with colored tissue paper. You can even cut out images and scenes into the tissue paper to display things like hands, ghosts, and haunted forests on the walls and ceiling. If you don’t have lampshades, you can also paint the lightbulbs in a similar way. Just be sure to use a non-water-based glass paint so the paint doesn’t melt off the bulb.

31. Monster house

Make your whole house into a monster house by making key windows look like eyes, and the front door or porch area look like a toothy mouth. You can easily make cut out eyes and teeth with large construction paper.

halloween lighting

32. Halloween wreath

Wreaths make a nice touch on any door, inside or outside your house. You can make your own wreath very easily by getting a round metal wire base and filling it with ornaments of your choice. Be careful, and use hot glue to situate your materials together into the garland’s circle frame. There are many ways to put a spooky wreath together.

33. Halloween centerpiece

Dress up your kitchen table, counter, or coffee table with a Halloween centerpiece! You can use a piece of wood as a tray for things like pumpkins, or an assortment of candles or a flower arrangement with plants and buds of the season. The possibilities are literally endless for how you can accent your table surfaces in October.

 

It’s fun to make every holiday a festive time to remember. Decorations can help you give your home that haunted Halloween atmosphere you want this time of year. Making your own decorations with friends and family can also bring you all closer together during this fun and spooky season. And if payday just isn’t close enough and you need money for your Halloween party decorations right now, use a simple Check City payday loan to get part of your paycheck right now.

If you try any of these Halloween decoration ideas take a picture of it and share the picture with us on social media! You can find Check City on Facebook, or tag your post with #checkcity #halloweendecorations.


READ MORE

Make and even scarier misty mirror with this DIY hack, “Haunted Mirror – A Halloween DIY.”

Find more specific tutorials for DIY projects you can do this year, “25 Diy Halloween Decorations to Make this Year.”

If you’re decorating for a Halloween movie night, check out this article for some scary movie ideas, “80 Best Halloween Movies, TV Shows, and Podcasts.”

You’ll also need party food and beverages if you’re going to host a Halloween party, “Halloween Party Food Ideas.”


Halloween Party Food Ideas

halloween party food ideas

Having a Halloween party and don’t know what to serve? Have no fear! Here are some classic Halloween party food ideas for you to use this October:

There are lots of great reasons to eat this time of year. There are all kinds of Halloween parties and events to cook and bake for, and you’d be amazed by how many Halloween-themed foods there are to choose from! Because it’s Halloween you can literally take almost any food, and just make it scary!
 

Halloween Appetizers

At any party, if you’re not serving dinner, it’s a great idea to serve some appetizers as the main course. Think of the appetizers as the savory part of the treats for the evening.

Mummy Pigs in a Blanket

For the original recipe check out Chelsea’s website. She also has loads of other great recipes for Halloween like, monster meatball sliders, cheesy bread fingers, and 7-layer spider web dip!

Ingredients

party food

  • Hot dogs
  • Dinner roll dough
  • Dipping sauces of your choice
Method
  1. Cut out strips of dough to use as the mummy wrappings
  2. Cut the hot dogs to give them arms and legs
  3. Wrap the dough around the hot dogs arms, legs, and body so it looks like a mummy!
  4. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees
  5. When they’re done you can add eyes and mouths with mustard, ketchup, or food dye pens

Then you can serve a plate of mummy pigs in a blanket with the sauces of your choice.

Ghostly Mini Pizzas

Ingredients
  • English muffins
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese slices
Method
  1. Set the english muffins out on a tray
  2. Spread the pizza sauce on each muffin
  3. Cut out ghosts on the cheese slices and place those on top of the sauce
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes (or until cheese is melted and the muffins are toasted) at 350 degrees

Now you have cheesy, easy to serve mini pizzas with ghostly apparitions on top!
 

Halloween Desserts

Now on to the desserts section! After the appetizers, or at the other end of your serving table, you can display some yummy desserts. This is the sweet section of your party menu for the night and there are so many things you can choose from.

Cups of Dirt

Ingredients
  • Chocolate pudding packets
  • Oreo cookies
  • Gummy worms
Method
  1. Make the chocolate pudding according to the instructions on the box
  2. Put the Oreo cookies in a zip lock bag and use a rolling pin to crumble them
  3. Fill individual cups with the chocolate pudding
  4. Sprinkle the crumbled oreos on top of the pudding
  5. Place a gummy worm or two into each cup

If you want to get even more creative with these, you can decorate some whole Oreo cookies with icing to look like gravestones. Then you can insert these gravestone Oreos into the “dirt” to give your pudding cups a haunted graveyard feel.

Spooky Sugar Cookies

Decorating sugar cookies is a great party staple. You can even leave the baked, cut out cookies in a tray with the icing and decorations out for your party guests to decorate themselves. Not only will this save you a lot of time prepping your party snacks, but decorating cookies is a fun party activity for your guests to enjoy!

Ingredients

halloween snacks

For the cookies you’ll need:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk

For the icing you’ll need:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 to 8 tsps milk
  • 4 tsps corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Food dye
Method

To make the cookies:

  1. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt
  2. Mix butter and sugar in a separate bowl
  3. Add both mixtures together and mix in the egg and milk
  4. Cut out your cookies into fun Halloween shapes!
  5. Bake in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes (until the cookies just barely begin to brown) at 350 degrees

If you want to watch a video on how to make easy sugar cookies, you can watch Alton Brown make his recipe on Food Network!

To make the icing:

  1. Put powdered sugar in a bowl
  2. Add milk, corn syrup, and vanilla
  3. Stir until smooth
  4. Divide the icing into different containers and add the food dyes you want

Now with icing bags or knives you can have a kitchen party decorating your Halloween cookies! Feel free to add other decorations besides icing too. You can add candies and sprinkles to finish off your Halloween figures with a flourish.

Other sugar cookie decorations you can have out:

  • Crumbled up Oreos
  • Reese’s peanut butter cups, cut in half
  • M&Ms
  • An assortment of sprinkles
  • Pull apart twizzlers
  • Candy corn

You can even have a cookie decorating contest with a table set up for serious cookie decorating contestants to do their work!

For some other Halloween dessert ideas, check out these awesome recipe websites below:

 

Halloween Drinks

Every good party host has to provide beverages of some kind. Otherwise, after eating all those savory appetizers and sugary sweets, your guests will die of thirst and haunt your house forever!

Below are some yummy beverage ideas for your party, but it’s also a good idea to always have some cold water available throughout the party too.

witch's brew

Cauldron Punch

Ingredients
  • A large bowl for the dry ice
  • A smaller bowl for the punch
  • Fruit punch
  • Ginger ale or 7-up
Method
  1. Make your punch by adding the fruit punch and soda in the smaller bowl
  2. Use gloves to set up the dry ice in the larger bowl
  3. Place the smaller punch bowl inside your larger dry ice cauldron
  4. When the party is ready, pour warm water on the dry ice to get the cauldron going
  5. *don’t let the punch and dry ice mix (hence the separate bowls)

If you’ve ever wondered how party pros get that misty cauldron effect on their punch bowls, wonder no more! Here is how they do it. Just remember to be safe with the dry ice! It is not remotely edible.

Ghostly Hot Cocoa

Hot cocoa is a great beverage to have when a party is more intimate or calm. That way you won’t die of heat in a big crowd by drinking something hot. It’s also a great beverage to serve if your party includes activities in the chilly outdoors!

Ingredients
  • Hot cocoa mix
  • Your favorite creamers
  • Ingredients for making marshmallows
Method
  1. Make hot cocoa how you like it
  2. Make homemade marshmallows and shape them into ghosts
  3. Watch your ghost disappear in your warm hot cocoa!

To make your hot cocoa servings extra special you can drizzle fudge syrup on the inner walls of the mug. This way you get a deep chocolate flavor the more you drink!

If making homemade marshmallows seems like too much work, you can also top your hot chocolate with whipped cream, and draw spooky figures with chocolate syrup instead.

 

There are many ways to put on a Halloween party, and there are lots of choices to fill your food table. Your food choices will depend on the preferences of you and your guests, but hopefully this list can get you started!

And if payday just isn’t close enough and you need money for your Halloween party right now, use a simple Check City payday loan to get part of your paycheck right now.


READ MORE

There are endless websites with party food ideas you can pull from. Here are a few great recipe articles to get you started in your party food preparations:

Easy Halloween Party Food

17 Last-Minute Halloween Snacks That Will Save the Spooky Day

3 Easy Halloween Snacks


How to Have a Successful YouTube Channel

how to have a successful youtube channel

For those with the dream to create their own video content, these are the steps you can follow to give your YouTube channel the best chance:

  1. Pick a Niche
  2. Know Your Audience
  3. Make Goals
  4. Create an Online Presence
  5. Create Your Brand
  6. Start Creating!

One of the major keys to success in any endeavor is planning. The same principal applies when creating your own YouTube channel. The most successful YouTube channels do well because they have a level of consistency, planning, and marketing to help them do as well as they can.

You may already be a creative guru, ready to add some great video content to the vlogging universe, but if you don’t go through the process correctly, you’ll miss the key elements of a good YouTube channel.

Follow these tips to make your YouTube channel as professional as it can be.

Step 1: Pick a Niche

You should start by knowing what kind of content you want to create. Being a part of a clearly defined and understood genre or niche will help your audience understand you and what your channel is all about. This will also help you find examples of other channels in your genre that are doing well and learn from their success.

youtube video genres

YouTube Genres

Here is a list of some of the most common YouTube channel genres:

  • Gaming
  • Lifehacks
  • Gossip
  • News
  • Top # lists
  • Fail compilations
  • Food
  • Art
  • Product unwrapping and opening
  • How-to demonstrations
  • Animals
  • Spoofs
  • Online education course
  • Hauls

Step 2: Know Your Audience

Just as you need to understand your niche and subject matter, you also need to understand your audience. In order to make successful videos you need to know who you are reaching and what they are all about. A thorough understanding of who you want watching your videos will help you better know how to cater your videos to their wants and interests.

Learning about the demographics that use YouTube can also be helpful in shaping the content you create. For example, here’s some statistics about YouTube users:

  • 90% are 18 to 44 years old
  • 80% are 45 to 64 years old
  • Over 50% are 65 years or older
  • YouTube is equally popular among males and females

 
youtube demographics
 

Step 3: Make Goals

You need to make long and short term goals, not only for your channel, but for you and your brand. One benefit of making goals for your channel is that they will give your channel purpose. Having a clear sense of purpose will be felt by your audience and foster your long-term success.

So make goals about how often you want to post, or how many followers you want to get in 3 months. The goals you can make are endless, and they will help you form better plans on how to grow your audience.

Step 4: Create an Online Presence

Your fans will want to find and follow you everywhere online so create accounts across all the major social media platforms. Then you can also post your videos on social media! Having an Instagram connected with your channel can also help you snag viewers from other platforms, not just people browsing YouTube.

You will also want to make sure that each of your profile pages has links to all your other accounts so that your followers can find you easily. You can also utilize social media automation tools that will post your content across all your platforms for you.

Which platforms you want will depend on the nature and purpose of your content and brand, but here are some of the key platforms you will want to look into having along with your YouTube channel:

online presence

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Your own official website
Do Some Online Spring Cleaning

When creating an online presence you’ll want to first clean up the online presence you already have. You don’t want anything you already have online to conflict with the brand you are trying to represent and the audience trust you are trying to gain.

Make sure you don’t have anything out on the web that you wouldn’t want members of your audience to find or that doesn’t align with the image and reputation you want your brand to foster.

Interact With Your Audience

Engage on social media! Respond to comments when appropriate and stay connected to your audience. You want to keep in the loop about what your audience does and doesn’t like, and about what’s popular and trending.

But don’t just interact with your audience, interact with other creators in your niche as well. Network with your fellow creators, because you never know what kind of opportunities may arise from supporting a fellow YouTuber. You can even collaborate with other YouTubers and make videos together to combine audiences!

Step 4: Create Your Brand

Branding is an important aspect of marketing. It is your symbol and how your audience recognizes you across mediums. It also sets you apart from the rest of the crowd.

When creating your brand you will want to brainstorm about what makes you unique, how you want to be perceived, and what kinds of things you want your audience to think of and feel when they see your brand. Below are some of the key aspects of creating your brand you will want to do for your channel:

logo design

Make a Logo

There are many tools out there now to help you create your own logo. Here are a few you can try out:

Make a Video Intro

Successful YouTubers usually start their video with a short 8-12 second long intro that often features your logo.

If you’re planning on having a video channel then you probably know what video editors and creators you like the most, but here are some sites you can use to create your video intro:

Step 5: Start Creating!

create videos
 

Make Your Content and Marketing Plans

Make a schedule for when you post so that you post on a regular, consistent schedule that your audience can expect. Many platforms will have ways for you to schedule when your posts go out.

Create, Edit, Optimize

You’ll want to create good, high quality content that will be successful with your viewers. It may also be helpful to create 2 weeks worth of content before your first post so that you can stay a week ahead of your posting schedule.

Analyze and Improve

Keep an eye on your analytics to see how you are doing, what might be getting more or less likes, and improve your content accordingly.

Remember Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

Make use of keywords and hashtags so that your content does well on search engines and reaches those who are looking for content like yours.

 

YouTubers can make money from their channels, but those who are actually successful at this are often branching out and making money in other ways as well. Their YouTube channel is often just one part of their larger brand.

But regardless, it is amazing to live in a world where personal branding and creativity can allow so many a livelihood doing what they love. And if you need help starting your YouTube channel business, you can always take out a Check City personal loan to help get you started.


READ MORE

Figure out how much you can expect to make as a YouTuber, “How Much Do YouTubers Make?.”

Learn some of the basics about making a new channel, “Create a New Channel.”

Find some more helpful tips, “How to Start a Successful YouTube Channel for Your Business.”


80 Best Halloween Movies, TV Shows, and Podcasts



halloween media list

October is a great time to get into some chilling Halloween media. There are movies and TV shows you can watch, suspenseful books you can read, and spooky podcasts you can listen to. This article is a Halloween media master list to help you decide what to watch, read, or listen to this Halloween.

If you need some creative Halloween snacks you can check out Food Network’s Halloween section on their website and make your monstrous media night complete! Tell us what your favorite Halloween Movie, TV Show or Podcast is in the comments section below!

Just don’t get TOO spooked this Halloween—viewer and listener discretion is advised!

Scary Movies

halloween movies

Horror films are a strong tradition for older audiences during the dark, cold Halloween nights. But kids often want to watch something special for Halloween too! So we included some kid Halloween movie ideas in this list as well.

Halloween Movies for Kids

1. Hotel Transylvania
2. Hocus Pocus
3. Halloweentown
4. Casper
5. It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
6. The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween
7. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Halloween Movies on Netflix

8. Coraline
9. Goosebumps
10. Candyman
11. 1922: Based on the Novella by Stephen King
12. Little Witch: The Halloween Horror Story
13. Insidious
14. The Conjuring

Halloween Movies on Amazon Prime

15. I, Frankenstein
16. Sweeney Todd
17. Corpse Bride
18. Haunted
19. Lost Creek
20. The Legend of Halloween Jack
21. The Uninvited
22. The Witching
23. Halloween Horror Tales
24. The Woman in Black

Halloween Movies on Hulu

Hulu really likes to make an event out of Halloween. They have what they call Huluween, which is a category you can choose when browsing Hulu for what to watch.

25. Little Monsters
26. Uncanny Annie
27. Pure
28. School Spirit
29. Culture Shock
30. They Come Knocking
31. All That We Destroy
32. Tree House
33. Down

The “Halloween” Movie Series in Order

The Halloween franchise is a long series of movies starring Nick Castle as the infamous Michael Myers. But because there are so many movies in the series it can be confusing which movie goes in which order.

Below is the answer to all your questions about the Halloween movie series order:

  1. Halloween (1978), directed by John Carpenter
  2. Halloween II (1981), directed by Rick Rosenthal
  3. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), directed by Tommy Lee Wallace
  4. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), directed by Dwight H. Little
  5. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard
  6. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), directed by Joe Chappelle
  7. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), directed by Steve Miner
  8. Halloween: Resurrection (2002), directed by Rick Rosenthal
  9. Halloween (2007), directed by Rob Zombie
  10. Halloween II (2009), directed by Rob Zombie
  11. Halloween (2018), directed by David Gordon Green
  12. Halloween Kills (2020), directed by David Gordon Green
  13. Halloween Ends (2021), directed by David Gordon Green

Spooky TV Shows

halloween tv

Many shows will have a TV special for holidays like Halloween, but some TV series will dedicate the entire show to the spooky feelings of the Halloween season. These Halloween-themed TV shows make great binging material for those who want more than a movie to watch.

Halloween TV Shows on Netflix

34. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
35. Charmed (the original 1998 series, and the newer 2018 version)
36. Stranger Things
37. Castlevania
38. Haunted
39. Penny Dreadful
40. Dexter
41. Van Helsing
42. Glitch
43. A Series of Unfortunate Events
44. The Haunting of Hill House

Halloween Anime on Netflix

45. Devilman
46. Death Note
47. Soul Eater

Halloween TV Shows on Amazon Prime

48. Lore
49. Fringe
50. Addams Family
51. Sabrina: The Teenage Witch
52. Haunted

Halloween TV Shows on Hulu

53. Light as a Feather
54. Castle Rock
55. Dimension 404
56. 11.22.63
57. Freakish
58. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Suspenseful Books

halloween books

Don’t forget amidst all your haunted media consumption this year to include a few books as well. The freedom your imagination has to embellish scary stories from literature will leave you with chills until late November.

59. The Shining

By Stephen King

Kindle: $8.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible trial!

60. Suspicious Minds

By Gwenda Bond

Kindle: $12.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible trial!

This book is the first official Stranger Things novel! It’s a prequel to the Netflix original Stranger Things TV series.

61. Annihilation: Book One of the Southern Reach Trilogy

By Jeff VanderMeer

Kindle: $9.94

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

62. Fake Like Me

By Barbara Bourland

Kindle: $14.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

63. The Invited

By Jennifer McMahon

Kindle: $12.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

Creepy Audiobooks

halloween books

Looking to hear some great ghost stories? Audiobooks are a great way to listen to the eerie voices of narrators recounting ghostly tales while you and your friends listen in the dark or around a campfire.

64. Frankenstein

By Mary Shelley

Narrated by Dan Stevens

Kindle: $0.50

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

65. Dracula

By Bram Stoker

Narrated by David Suchet and Tom Hiddleston

Kindle: FREE!

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

66. The Haunting of Hill House

Narrated by Bernadette Dunne

Kindle: $14.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

67. Interview with a Vampire

By Anne Rice

Narrated by Simon Vance

Kindle: $7.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

68. Lincoln in the Bardo

By George Saunders

Narrated by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Julianne Moore, Ben Stiller, Susan Sarandon, Megan Mullally, Bill Hader, Don Cheadle, and over 150 other voice actors

Kindle: $13.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

69. The Handmaid’s Tale

By Margaret Atwood

Narrated by Claire Danes

Kindle: FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

Eerie Podcasts

halloween podcasts

These horror podcasts are all available on Google Play Music so that whether you have an Android or an iPhone you can listen to all these podcasts. There are podcasts here that talk about the supernatural and the strange, and then there are others that talk about the real life horrors of true crime.

70. Cabinet of Curiosities

By iHeartRadio and Aaron Mahnke

71. Lore

By Aaron Mahnke

72. Unobscured

By iHeartRadio and Aaron Mahnke

73. Listen with the Lights On

By WAMC

74. Pretty Scary

By Unpops Podcast Network

75. My Favorite Murder

By Exactly Right

76. Unexplained Mysteries

By Parcast Network

77. The Strange and Unusual Podcasts

By Alyson Horrocks

78. Hollywood and Crime

By Wondery

79. This Podcast is Haunted

By Jen Vos and Cate Reed

80. Welcome to Night Vale

By Night Vale Presents

 

One of the funnest parts of the Halloween season is getting into some spooky media! Use this master list of scary, Halloween movies and more to kick start your Halloween media binge this year or to pick a movie for a scary movie night with your friends. If you need any financial help getting your monster movie night together, check out Check City’s payday loans.


READ MORE

Use this article to help set up your movie night, “5 Ingenious Movie Night Ideas for Your Movie Themed Party.”

Save money going to the theater to see new scary movies this year by using MoviePass, “Save Money With MoviePass.”


Let us know your favorite Halloween-themed books, movies, TV shows, and podcasts by commenting below!

Comments:

13 Halloween Activities to Do this October

halloween fun

Halloween isn’t just for little kids who go trick or treating. There are loads of things to do during this spooky section of the fall season that all ages can enjoy.

October is a great time of year because it’s Halloween time and fall time. So it’s completely up to you how you celebrate this month—whether decide to do spookier, Halloween themed activities, or just fall time ones.
 
Here are 13 things to do this October:

  1. Have a Halloween Party
  2. Have a Scary Movie Night
  3. Start Some Fall Time Baking
  4. Go to a Haunted House or Corn Maze
  5. Carve Pumpkins
  6. Do Some Crafts
  7. Participate in Your Community
  8. Trunk or Treat with Friends
  9. Play Games
  10. Make Your Own Haunted House
  11. Have a Campfire and Tell Each Other Scary Stories
  12. Read Scary Books
  13. Listen to Spooky Podcasts

There are tons of fun, festive activities you can do in October, or you can search events near you on google. By the time October comes around there are often tons of events going on for kids, families, and friends near you.

1. Have a Halloween Party

halloween party
 

Include a Costume Contest

Costume contests are a great event to include in any Halloween party. A costume contest is a great idea too because it gives those who have grown out of their trick or treat years a chance to dress up for Halloween too. Here are some things you can do to successfully hold a Halloween costume contest.

Decide what the prize will be.

You can make some kind of trophy or you can buy one. You can even have different rewards for winning different categories.

Halloween costume category ideas:

  • best group costume
  • scariest costume
  • funniest costume
  • most creative
  • most original

Make the invites!

Like any event, you’ll want to invite your guests. You can quickly invite everyone you know by making a Facebook event. You can also put up flyers or send out invites in the mail. You can make your spooky invites yourself the traditional way, with glue and paper, or you can design and print them on free websites like Canva and Adobe Spark. If you don’t want to pay for printing out a bunch of invites, but you still want to design something fun, you can also send out your spooktacular design via email.

Decide what the rules will be.

If your costume contest is going to need a set of rules, it’s best to outline them as early as possible so that people can appropriately plan their costumes ahead of time.

Examples of costume contest rules:

  • Maybe it’s a family party and costumes need to be appropriate, or not too gruesome
  • Maybe it’s a themed party and costumes need to be on theme
  • You can have rules about whether you allow group contestants

Choose the judges.

Every contest needs judges to decide the end results. Before you can have the contest you’ll need to decide who these judges will be.
If you don’t want to have the outcome of your contest depend on the decision of one or a few people, you can make everyone the judge and provide a place for guests to enter their own votes for who should win.

Figure out how you’ll judge.

After you decide who will judge you have to decide how they’ll judge. They’ll need to know what things to look for in deciding who should win.

How to judge a costume contest:

  • Scariness
  • Creativity
  • Originality
  • Best group costumes
Play Games

Board games don’t have to be Halloween themed in order to be a great group activity for a party. October is a cold month, making things like board games a great thing to do when you and your guests want to stay indoors.

Party Food

The food for your Halloween party is one of the things you can get super creative about. For instance, you can put labels on the food to give them spooky names. Punch then becomes a witch’s cauldron, grapes become spider eggs, and deviled eggs become eyeballs.

Choose a beverage

There are an endless variety of punches for you to choose from. Below are some websites with witchy Halloween brews to quench your ghoulish guest’s thirst:

Choose appetizers

Every party needs some great food to keep everybody full and happy. There are the staple party foods like chips, pretzels, and dip. But you can also make your own little appetizers, or your own party mix, to add some Halloween creativity to your food table.

Spooky Playlist

Lots of music streaming services have a Halloween themed playlist you can use.

2. Have a Scary Movie Night

scary movie night
 

Have a movie night with friends, host a drive in movie, or if it’s not too cold you can have an outdoor movie night on the lawn. You’ll need to plan some movie worthy snacks, like popcorn, soda, candy, and other treats.

Then you’ll need to plan the movie watching space, gathering all the cozy blankets, pillows, and flashlights your guests will need to be comfortable during the duration of the movie. You could even make a fort for you all to hide out in while you watch some scarier movie choices.
Then you’ll need to pick your movie.

Classic Halloween Movies

Experience some older but great Halloween movies this season.

  • Hocus Pocus
  • The Nightmare before Christmas
  • Halloweentown
  • Casper
  • Monster House
  • Beetlejuice
Halloween Movie Snacks
  • popcorn, seasoned sweet or salty
  • pretzels
  • fruits
  • veggie trays
  • make your own monster mash mix

3. Start Some Fall Time Baking

fall time baking
 

You can have a night of baking or cooking together with friends! Gather your favorite people around you, listen to your favorite music, turn on a show, converse, or play games all while making yummy fall time foods and desserts.

Check out these 50 Easy Fall Baking Recipes from Taste of Home for some ideas of what you could bake. But here are some other fall staples you could look into making with some friends:

  • Maple donuts. Everyone can help form the donuts out of the dough.
  • Candy apples. This is a great group activity because you can have all the decorating options out on a table and everyone can make up their own candy apples.
  • Pumpkin bread. Slices of this seasonal bread goes great with warm cups of cocoa or apple cider.
  • Apple cider. If you live near an apple orchard or an apple cider press you can make a night of picking apples and watching them get pressed into freshly made apple cider.
  • Sticky buns. A warm, gooey classic to chunk out on in the cold months.

4. Go to a Haunted House or Corn Maze

There are lots of outdoor Halloween activities you can do in October. There are scary corn mazes and regular ones, hayrides, and haunted houses.

5. Carve Pumpkins

carve pumpkin
 

Jack-o-lanterns can be really fun, no matter how old you are.

  • Remember to be safe
  • Use templates
  • Make it a competition
  • Use sharpie to draw your design first
  • box cutters
  • Use a pumpkin carving kit
  • use a tarp!

6. Do Some Crafts

This is an especially great activity to do when you have little kids to occupy. Happiness is Homemade has some great craft ideas to choose from.

7. Participate in Your Community

You can volunteer! Or start a cause or charity. This time of year is a great time to use Halloween fun as an opportunity to fundraise, or do a coat drive.

8. Trunk or Treat with Friends

Just because you’re not 8 years old anymore, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own trunk or treat with friends. Everyone can decorate the trunks of their car as you all go around the parking lot getting candy and being with those you care about.

9. Play Games

Before it gets too cold out you can all get outside and play some fun spooky games. There are some classic games you can play with friends that can really get you in the eerie Halloween spirit.

10. Make Your Own Haunted House

haunted house
 

Who needs to spend money on expensive tickets when you can haunt your own house!

  • Decide where you’re going to have it, the porch, inside the house, in the basement
  • Use tarps to make the walls
  • Cover everything in cobwebs
  • Save money by making your own decorations and scary characters

11. Have a Campfire and Tell Each Other Scary Stories

campfire
 

Here’s a list of some books where you can find uncomfortable tales to tell in the dark.

12. Read Scary Books

13. Listen to Spooky Podcasts

 

It’s always fun to do seasonal things and get into the spirit of the season, whether that means doing scary stuff like haunted houses, or just festive fall time things like baking. And if payday just isn’t landing on the right day this October, you can always take out a convenient Payday Loan to tide you over.


READ MORE

Plan your Halloween festivities this year, “Start Planning Your Halloween Festivities Today.”

Keep you and your kids safe this Halloween with these tips, “5 Important Halloween Safety Tips.”

Stay on budget this year with these Halloween budgeting tips, “Saving Money on Halloween.”

Get inspired for your Halloween costume, “8 Cheap Halloween Costume Ideas on a Budget.”


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