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Ways to Save Money with Low Waste Living

low waste living

Not only are there major health and environmental benefits to living a more low-waste lifestyle, but there are monetary benefits to take advantage of as well.

Taking care of our planet is important for many reasons. For example, air pollution has been linked to increases in cases of asthma. Even prenatal exposure to air pollution can increase the child’s risk of developing childhood wheezing and asthma.

Likewise, the benefits of recycling and lowering our wastes are great. It can help our environment, our health, conserve our natural resources, and provide more economic security.

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But one major benefit to recycling and living a more low waste lifestyle is that it’s also a way to save money in the long run. Instead of buying single-use items once or twice a month, replace these costs with higher quality products that can last you a number of years. And if you need help paying for these higher qualify single-purchase items, you can always take out a Check City Personal Loan to get you started on your low waste journey.

There are everyday expenses that you can reduce or eliminate entirely just by using a few low-waste living tips.

What is Recycling?

In 2017, the US generated over 260 million tons of waste. We recycled about 67 million tons and composted about 27 million tons.

In waste management, there are 2 types of waste disposal—the conventional method, recycling, and composting.

Recycling is a method of waste disposal that takes waste and makes it into other things. Instead of throwing things away, they are used to create new products. Recycling allows materials to continue to have use rather than piling up in landfills.

What is Composting?

Composting is the process used to turn organic waste, like food scraps, into usable compost, which can then be used as fertilizer. Composting gathers organic waste together and lets it decompose until it creates a soil conditioner (fertilizer) that is very rich in nutrients. You can then use this for soil as fertilizer to help plants grow better.

Composting is a great thing to do at home for your garden, flower bed, or herb garden. It is just another way you can help your household become more self-sufficient and help your plants and flowers grow more abundantly.

What is Greenwashing?

If you want to do your part to help the environment and your local community thrive then you’ll want to be aware of greenwashing.

Greenwashing is an advertising method meant to make products look organic or ecofriendly when in reality they aren’t. If a product or company’s ecofriendly claims are really true then they’ll usually tell you all about it—providing evidence, certificates, and details.

If their claims are vague or unspecific, then most likely they are greenwashing their product in the hopes it will help it sell better. When making purchases do your research and don’t be duped by false or shady advertising.

What is Low Waste Living?

Being environmentally minded comes in all kinds of ranges. You can strive to live the zero waste lifestyle or you can simply try and live a more low waste lifestyle. Either way can save you hundreds of dollars every year.

Low Waste Living is when you attempt to make less waste, be more self-sufficient, and buy products that are quality and long lasting rather than single use products you’ll have to buy over and over again.

All the Ways to Save Money Living Low Waste

You might think of low waste living as something crazy and intense people do or something you need to be really committed to in order to pull off. But there are actually plenty of really simple ways to make less waste and save yourself a ton of money along the way.

There are lots of frequent, recurring costs you could replace for a single purchase to you’re your monthly spending and use that money elsewhere. You just have to know what can be replaced.

1. Plastic Water Bottles

Save $100.00

Filtered water is just better, and many of us don’t live in areas with great tap water. But we need to drink lots of water every day and the cost of water bottles can really get out of hand. Instead you can buy a water filter pitcher, a really nice water filtration dispenser, or a really nice stainless steel faucet water filter so you don’t have to spend so much money on water bottles ever again.

2. Shop in Bulk

Save up to 83%

You can save a lot of money when you buy in bulk. Find the local stores near you that sell in bulk like Sam’s Club, Costco, and whole food stores where you can get basic foods from barrels.

The key with buying in bulk is that you save big on the price per unit and you buy amounts that can stock up your home and last a lot longer, which saves you gas money and time spent at the store. Some experts estimate that you can save up to 83% on your grocery bill by buying in bulk.

3. Make Homemade Cleaning Products

Save $600

We want to keep our homes clean and sanitized but the products we need to do so can get really expensive. Instead, you can just make your own homemade cleaning products with these simple homemade cleaning product recipes. You can also buy your favorite squirt bottles to reuse over and over again as well.

4. Reusable Grocery Bags

Save 10 cents per bag

Plastic bags are still free at most grocery stores but this might not always be the case. Many states have already begun banning single-use plastic bags at grocery and retail stores or created minimum 10 cent charges if you want to use plastic bags.

Save yourself the hassle by getting your own awesome reusable grocery shopping bags now that you can keep in your car and use at the grocery store instead of plastic bags.

You can also buy some tote bags to use when you make retail purchases at other stores, so that you can avoid the hassle of plastic bags there as well.

Getting your own shopping bags is also helpful because they won’t rip at the bottom and spill your items everywhere, they won’t squish your items together in small plastic bags, and they can even keep your food cold on the trip home. You can even get specific produce bags with some online shopping.

5. Reusable Straws

Using reusable straws instead of single-use plastic straws can be one of the easiest, and funnest ways to go green. Reusable straws come in all kinds of shapes and colors, and can even come in compact containers that fit on your keychain.

6. Bring Your Own Water Bottle

Water bottles also come in all kinds of creative shapes, sizes, and colors. They can also come with unique functionalities. Instead of using the flimsy paper and plastic cups at restaurants you can use your own bottle instead! This will also keep your drink cold or hot longer and be more comfortable to hold in your hand or travel with you when you leave.

7. Install a Bidet

Save up to $120

The average American spends up to $120 each year on toilet paper alone. While you can’t really get rid of this cost, you can reduce the need by installing a bidet in your bathroom. You’ll save on toilet paper and actually be a cleaner and more hygienic person as well.

8. Start a Compost Bin

A compost bin can be a great way to put all your organic waste to better use. Your compost bin just needs 3 ingredients to function:

  1. Browns: like dead leaves, branches, twigs
  2. Greens: like grass, vegetable scraps, fruit scraps, coffee grounds
  3. Water

When you make your own compost you won’t need to spend money on chemical fertilizers and your garden will grow fuller and healthier. So a compost bin can save you money on gardening supplies and on groceries depending on what you decide to grow!

9. Plant a Garden

Save up to $600

Planting your own garden can both save and make you money. By planting your own herbs, vegetables, legumes, and even fruits you can save up to $600 on food costs each year. You could also make extra money each year by selling the produce from your garden at your local farmers market, or to your friends and neighbors.

10. Raise Chickens

Save up to $400

You can take your little farm one step further by getting a few farm animals of your own. Chickens are a good example for beginners and they can save you on the cost of eggs each year. You could even make money selling chicks to other households that would like to start raising their own chickens as well.

11. Make Your Own Clothes

Save up to $1,800

New clothes can be so expensive and with the rise of fast fashion many clothing brands don’t even provide quality clothes anymore. But you can take your wardrobe into your own hands by learning how to sew your own clothes!

12. Replace Paper Towels with Dish Rags

Save over $200

Paper towels can be nice and convenient but they might also be taking up more of your budget than you realize. Instead of spending extra money each month on the convenience of paper towels, buy a couple of kitchen towels for cleaning and wiping your hands.

13. Replace Paper Napkins with Cloth Napkins

Save over $200

You can also replace the paper napkins in your house with cloth napkins instead! Now your set table will look nicer and your family and guests will feel pampered and fancy when they come over for dinner.

14. Use handkerchiefs instead of tissues

Save up to $100

For instance, a pack of 4 flat box Kleenex costs about $6 while a pack of 6 basic handkerchiefs can cost $5.00 and last you for years to come. Meanwhile, tissue boxes only last a little while before you need to purchase them all over again.

So instead of buying box after box of tissues every year, just get yourself some nice handkerchiefs instead!

Replacing frequent costs with a single purchase is always the better choice. And handkerchiefs are going to be nicer on your nose, not chaff and dry out your nose the way paper tissues do. They’re also more useful because you can use them as a cloth too! If you need to wipe away some perspiration or wipe your hands throughout the day or anything.

15. Make Foods from Scratch

Save up to $4,109

Learn to make homemade things from scratch instead of instant and boxed foods. For example, two homemade pizza can cost as little as $3.25, while 2 pizzas from a pizza place can easily cost you over $20.

You can also learn to do your own canning and make preservatives. There are many things you can make yourself for less than half the cost it takes to buy it from the store. Here’s a short list of some other things you could learn to make from scratch instead of buying it in stores:

  • chicken or vegetable stock
  • peanut butter
  • macaroni and cheese
  • granola
  • baby food
  • spaghetti sauce
  • lunch meat
  • pizza
  • bread
16. Eat More Like a Vegetarian/Vegan

Save up to $700

You don’t have to commit to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle to take advantage of vegetarian and vegan meals. These meals can be tasty, full of nutrients, and cheaper than recipes that use lots of meats and dairy products.

17. Recycle

Make some spare change!

Get recycling bins for your home and start recycling! You can actually make money recycling certain items at your local recycling facility.

18. Don’t Waste Freezer Foods

You can create a lot of waste and waste a lot of food by not utilizing your freezer enough. Make foods last longer by storing them correctly in the freezer. You can even create a food expiration calendar for your fridge to help you keep track when you need to eat certain foods.

food storage expiration date calendars

There are also a surprising number of things you can make with overripe foods, like banana bread. So always check before you toss things whether you can give it a second life somehow.

19. Buy Used Instead of New

Not only does buying used items help recycle things and maintain the environment, but buying used can also save you a lot of money as well! If you need new furniture, you can find great deals on beautiful pieces at antique shops and on the Facebook Marketplace.

20. Support Local Farmers

By shopping at the local farmer’s market for food items instead of big chain grocery stores, you can support your local farmers, reduce consumption, and save money on cheaper and fresher produce.

21. Don’t Waste on Basic Bills

Save up to $2,060

Overdoing it on utilities can put a strain on the environment and your wallet. So take measures to reduce the use of your utilities like heating, cooling, electricity, and water.

For example, you could save your AC by opening windows to keep things cool instead. You could also make some homemade dry shampoo so you don’t have to wash your hair so frequently and conserve water that way. This will also help your shampoo last longer for when you do wash your hair. You could also put less use on your drier by hanging things up to dry instead.

22. Find a Local Tailor

Sometimes we get rid of clothes when they could be fixed! Find a local tailor and have them fix up your old clothes, pants, shoes, or even hats so you don’t have to replace them as often. You’ll also be supporting local businesses which is always a good thing.

23. Replace Plastic Loofahs

Save up to $120

Instead of rebuying plastic loofas over and over again throughout the course of your life find a more permanent solution. You can find bath brushes in all kinds of shapes and brush types and they’ll actually help exfoliate and clean you better than a loofah anyway.

24. Rechargeable Batteries

Save up to $20

Not many things still use batteries but our need for batteries is far from over. But instead of rebuying batteries every time they die, just buy a pack of rechargeable batteries that you can use for life! That way you won’t be throwing away harmful batteries all the time, and you won’t have to buy them all the time either.

25. Make Reusable Gift Bags

Save up to $240

We spend so much on wrapping paper each year for birthdays and holidays. It’s fun to give gifts and being able to open the gift is one of the best parts! But you can keep the surprise while getting rid of wrapping paper costs by crafting together some reusable gift bags or clothes of your own.

26. Ditch Sponges for Brushes

Save up to $40

Sponges are important for helping you wash dishes, but they can get gross and need replacing really fast. Ditch the cost of sponges all together by buying dish brushes instead.

27. Use Public Transit, Walk, or Bike

Save up to $2,000

The average American spends over $2,000 a year on gas. That’s a lot of money that could be going to other parts of your budget. By taking the bus, using a bike, or walking you can greatly reduce this cost and reduce your emissions.

How To Live a Low Waste Lifestyle

The above list doesn’t list all the things you can do to cut down on waste and costs, but just with the tips above you can potentially save up to $13,000 a year by becoming more self-sufficient and replacing single-use purchases with single-purchase items you only have to buy once.

What will you do with all this extra money? You could put it all into a savings account, a checking account, use it to help reach your savings goals, or pay off credit cards, or start an emergency fund. Start saving money today and make your future brighter and more waste free.

These are a lot of really helpful ideas, but most of them boil down to a few key tactics to living a more low waste lifestyle.

  1. Make things from scratch
  2. Be self-sufficient
  3. Support local businesses
  4. Choose quality over anything else

Now all you have to do is create your own master plan of attack for living the low-waste way and watch how much your budget grows with all those savings!

 

written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter

How Much Do Computer Programmers Make?

how much do computer programmers make

Computer programmers make about $5,221 a month while the average full-time worker makes around $3,744 a month.

In America right now, computer programmers tend to make about $1,477 more than the national average and that’s only considering the median salary figures for computer programmers. GlassDoor says that computer programmers can make up to $9,166 a month!

What Do Computer Programmers Do?

Computer programmers can work in a wide variety of fields. But mainly, computer programmers create and troubleshoot code, computer software, and computer programs.

Computer programming itself is all about writing instructions for computers so that programs and software work the way they are supposed to. Computer programmers often use their skills to help programs be more user-friendly for customers or other company employees.

Computer programmers complete their jobs by learning and using computer languages like Java, C++, C#, and Python, just to name a few out of many. Aside from computer languages, computer programmers also want to stay up to date in the world of technology throughout their careers.

The Best Coding Languages to Learn

coding languages

If you want to become a computer programmer you’ll want to start getting familiar with computer languages. There are many many computer programming languages, but some are more popular than others.

The 5 Most Popular Computer Languages:

  1. Java
  2. C
  3. C++
  4. Python
  5. C#

The languages you learn as a computer programmer can also be important to your future salary.

Java

Java is a useful language to know because it can be used on any platform, regardless of whether it’s Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, mobile, or desktop. It’s a very commonly used language that can be used for web development and creating apps. Java is considered to be an intermediate level coding language since you will need to learn some specific vocabulary.

Computer programmers who know Java make an average of $94,000 a year.

C

C is a very old computer language. It is actually the root language behind other coding languages like C#, C++, and Java. Because of this, many people recommend learning C first in order to get a good foundation in computer languages. C language is a high-performance language at the intermediate to advance level. You need to have some knowledge of computers before you start working in this language.

Computer programmers who know C make an average of $91,000 a year.

C++

C++ is a language branched off from C language. But while C language is intermediate to advance, C++ is only beginner to intermediate, making it a bit easier of a language to learn if you’re just starting out. Many have also been migrating from C to C++ because it is more intuitive in how it’s used.

Computer programmers who know C++ make an average of $91,000 a year.

Python

Python is a very common language and it is growing in popularity. Of all the languages mentioned here, Python is probably the easiest to learn. It is a beginner level of difficulty so if you’ve never learned a language before, Python might be the best language to start with.

Computer programmers who know Python make an average of $92,000 a year.

C#

C# was created by Microsoft and is similar to the C++ language. It’s a language that is most compatible with Windows, Android, and iOS and uses the concept of object-oriented programming.

Computer programmers who know C# make an average of $91,000 a year.

How Long Does it Take to Learn Coding

About 3 months

How long it takes you to learn a coding language will largely depend on the route you take to learn the language. Many programs and courses can teach a coding language in 3 months.

But you can also take college courses as a computer science major, and learn several important coding languages in 4 years. Either way, learning a single coding language is going to take you a matter of months to fully learn.

How Do You Become a Computer Programmer?

Another perk of computer programming is that the process to become one is rather uncomplicated.

First, get a bachelor’s degree

The most common bachelor’s degrees for computer programmers are computer science, information technology (IT), or mathematics.

Next, specialize in one or 2 computer languages

Becoming certified in these computer languages will be especially helpful in your career as a computer programmer. Besides your school, there are many places you can go to take courses, training, and testing for certifications. And if you need help paying for the courses you need, you could take out a Check City Personal Loan.

You may need to learn many coding languages throughout your career as a computer programmer, but starting by specializing in one or two is a great way to get your foot in the door. Specialized knowledge in one or two of them might also help make learning other languages easier later on.

How Much Do Computer Programmers Make?

computer programmer salary

Knowing your earning potential can help you know what offers to expect and accept when searching for a job. It can also help you make decisions about which career path to choose.

How Much Do Computer Programmers Make a Year?

According to PayScale computer programmers make around $40,000 to $98,000 per year. Their average yearly salary is around $62,663.

But other places have some things to say about the earnings of computer programmers too. Like the GlassDoor, that says computer programmers’ salaries range between $58,000 to $110,000 a year, with a base average pay of $76,526 a year.

Meanwhile, the salary range for computer programmers according to PayScale is $40,000 to $98,000 a year, with an average yearly salary of $62,663.

With $44,928‬ a year as the average salary for full-time workers in America, computer programmers do rather well for themselves.

How Much Do Computer Programmers Make in a Month?

Computer programmers can make an average of $5,221 per month, according to the average annual salaries mentioned above. But they also have the potential to make up to $9,166 a month.

How Much Do Computer Programmers Make in a Week?

As a computer programmer, if you are being paid hourly instead of a yearly salary, you can expect to make around $21.99 an hour and $879 a week. But according to ZipRecruiter computer programmers can make up to $47 an hour!

Pay by Location

pay by location

Sometimes where you work can impact what kind of pay you can expect. For example, New York makes 25% above the average pay, Los Angeles California makes 2% below, and Houston Texas makes 7% below.

Some of the best paying cities are Seattle Washington ($129,290), Charlottesville Virginia ($112,240), Vallejo California ($112,000), Olympia Washington ($107,890), and Hartford Connecticut ($106,250).

Some of the best paying states are Washington ($126,920), District of Columbia ($105,200), California ($97,470), Arizona ($95,900), and Massachusetts ($95,380).

Pay by Experience Level

pay by experience

Your experience level can also determine how much you get paid each year. Most jobs will pay you more, the more experience you have. Programmers who have only been working for a year or less can make an average of $51,344 a year, with 1 to 4 years of experience they can make $56,731, 5 to 9 years of experience can make around $69,571 a year, 10 to 19 years of experience can make around $77,466, and finally, with 20 or more years of experience, you can make around $84,664 a year.

Related Jobs

related jobs

If computer programming isn’t quite what you were looking for, there are other jobs related to computer programming that might better pique your interest. Some jobs related to computer programming are software developers, database administrators, computer systems administrators, computer and information systems managers, or computer and information research scientists.

Software developers make an average $105,590 a year, make $90,070, make $82,050, computer and information systems managers make $142,530, and computer and information research scientists make $118,370 a year.

There are many jobs to choose from out there and it can be hard to make a decision. But with the right help, you can figure out what you want to do in life with ease.


Sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Computer and Information Technology/Software Developers,” “Computer and Information Technology/Network and Computer Systems Administrators,” “Computer and Information Technology/Database Administrators,” “Computer and Information Technology/Computer and Information Research Scientists.”

 

written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter

Autumn Daily Deals on Amazon

amazon daily deals

Did you know that Amazon has special sales going on every single day?! All you have to do is visit Amazon.com and click on Today’s Deals to see what’s on sale that day. The list of discounts goes on and on so every Tuesday we highlight some of the best Amazon buys. Today Amazon is starting their holiday sales and their Black Friday 2019 sales. You can find a lot of discounts on some great gift ideas. Snatch them up now and finish your holiday shopping early!

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

Marinade Injector Syringe

turkey thanksgiving

 

Current Sale Price: $7.64
Originally: $16.89
You Save: $9.25! (55% off)

This plastic marinade injector syringe is from Ofargo, and comes with a free recipe e-book PDF upon purchasing. Use this syringe to up your meat cooking game and allow you to marinade better than you ever have before. It even comes with two different kinds of needles, one for finely ground sauces and another for liquid purees. The holidays are upon us and now more than ever our kitchens need to be prepared to create fantastic dishes for all our holiday meals.

Meat Thermometer

cooking thermometer

 

Current Sale Price: $16.95
Originally: $19.95
You Save: $3.00! (15% off)

Once you get a cooking thermometer for your kitchen you’ll wonder how you ever did without one. It’s useful for checking that your meats get thoroughly cooked. It only takes 2 to 4 seconds for it to read the temperature, it’s waterproof, and comes with an internal magnet so you can keep it on your fridge. The Kizen instant read meat thermometer can really help your Thanksgiving meal go much smoother.

Remote Control Car

gift idea for kids

 

Current Sale Price: $24.64
Originally: $59.99
You Save: $35.35! (59% off)

The battery operated Bifyton RC car has 360 degree tumble action so you can make your car do all kinds of awesome stunts! The remote control allows you to control your stunt car from up to 20 meters away and it comes with a rechargeable battery. This remote control car is a perfect gift idea for kids.

 

Beard Oil Conditioner

gift ideas for men

 

Current Sale Price: $15.19
Originally: $17.88
You Save: $2.69! (15%)

This 3 pack includes 3, 1 ounce bottles of 100% natural beard oil. The scents included are clary sage, cedar pine, and sandalwood. Viking Revolution knows that beards need a little TLC every once in awhile, that’s why they created this great gift box idea for the bearded men in your life.

 

Fitbit Fitness Smartwatch

fitbit sale

 

Current Sale Price: $149.95
Originally: $199.95
You Save: $50.00! (25% off)

The benefits of a Fitbit watch are seemingly endless. With a smart wristwatch you can better monitor your health, ask Alexa questions, listen to music, and so much more. You can save so much on this sleek smart watch by purchasing it today and use it yourself or wrap it up as a gift!

Amazon Basics Bedroom and Bathroom Essentials

house essentials

 

You Can Save Up to 34%!

Our homes are always in need of some basic essentials. Amazon basics can help you with that. Today Amazon basics are having a sale on all things bedroom and bathroom, from bed sheets, to bath towels. This is also a good gift idea if you have any newlyweds you need to get presents for.

Amazon Monthly Book Deals

Amazon is a wonderful place to get your winter reading fix. They have a countless number of deals on paperbacks and kindle books. Amazon also has sales on audiobooks. Keeping up with a healthy reading list doesn’t have to cost a lot with Amazon book deals.

Save on Audible Membership!

amazon kindle daily deal

 

Current Sale Price: $6.95 per month for the first 3 months
Originally: $14.95 per month (after 3 months returns to original price)
You Save: $8.00! (53% off) on your first 3 months of audible

One of Amazon’s ongoing holiday deals is a 3 month discount on an audible membership. With audible you can have access to a giant library of audiobooks. You can even give an audible membership as a gift to someone.

What You Did

by Claire McGowan

amazon daily book deals

 

Current Sale Price:$7.98 paperback
Originally:$15.95
You Save:$7.97! (50% off)

Mystery Thriller, Psychological Thriller

What You Did is a gripping tale of betrayal and mystery. During a college reunion with her friends, Ali’s husband is accused of assaulting one of her best friends. But as the story unfolds it becomes clear that her friend might not be telling the truth, and that something much bigger is going on.

Stillhouse Lake

by Rachel Caine

amazon black friday daily deals

 

Current Sale Price:$6.38 paperback
Originally:$15.95
You Save:$9.57! (60% off)

Psychological Thriller

Stillhouse Lake is about a girl named Gina Royal who has a calm, quiet life as a housewife with two kids. But everything changes when she finds out that her loving husband is actually a serial killer. Now Gina must remake herself in order to survive.

My Sister’s Grave

by Robert Dugoni

amazon kindle books daily deals

 

Current Sale Price: $6.38 paperback
Originally:$15.95
You Save: $9.57! (60% off)

Mystery Thriller

My Sister’s Grave is about a girl named Tracy whose sister was killed. A man named Edmund House went to prison for her sister’s murder, but Tracy believes the wrong man was put away for the crime. Follow her journey as she becomes a detective and figures out what really happened to her sister.

 

Holiday sales and Black Friday discounts are the best time to buy things we really need and gifts for those we love. Some people might even depend on buying certain items when they’re on sale. 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 save money in the long term and take advantage of important deals regardless of when they happen.

 

How to Vote

how to vote

Voting doesn’t have to be a confusing hassle. If you have questions about how to vote in the upcoming election just take a look at the links below and find the quick answers you’re looking for:

Voting can seem complicated, especially if you just turned 18 and have never done it before. But it’s actually pretty simple! The upcoming election is also coming up faster than you might think. This coming February 3rd will be the first caucuses in Iowa, beginning the many caucuses, primaries, and conventions you’ll want to be a part of in order to participate in choosing the presidential candidates in the final election.

You need to prepare for the coming election now so that you’re prepared to vote in the primaries, and so you’re registered to vote in general. This way you aren’t taken by surprise when the final election rolls around and suddenly you have all these logistics to figure out. When it comes to voting, you also want to participate as early as possible so you can be informed and make your own educated choice.

Things to Know

There are a few general basics you’ll want to know about in order to understand elections and how they work.

Who can vote?

vote

In order to vote you must be at least 18 years old, be a citizen of the United States, and be registered to vote. But if you’d like to double check the specific voting requirements of your state you can visit Vote.org.

What are the different kinds of elections?

You probably already know about the presidential election, but did you know there are many more elections you can be a part of?

Federal Elections: these elections include anyone in the federal government. This would include the president, members of congress, senators, and members of the house of representatives.

State Elections: this includes voting for state legislatures, governors, the attorney general, secretary of state, state supreme court, and any other members of the state judiciary. State elections are also the time where you might vote on state policies.

Local Elections: this is where you vote on county and city government officials, like sheriffs, the mayor, and school board members.

The convention

One of the first things that happens during election season are conventions for each party. These conventions are generally held nationally. It is where political parties all gather together to browse the nominees for the coming presidential election.

The caucus

If you are registered to vote with a certain political party then you can go to that parties caucus. It is a meeting where people of a specific political party gather together. This can be where members of the party will register their preferences for who should be that party’s candidate. They also gather to discuss political policies pertinent to that group.

The primaries

The primary elections are often simply referred to as the primaries. They are the preliminary voting that takes place to decide who the final candidates for the final election will be. Many people try out to be presidential candidates, so this process helps voters choose the specific candidate they would like to represent their party in the final election. This narrows down the field so that when it comes time to vote for the actual president, there aren’t 30 or more people you have to know about and choose from on the voting ballot.

What is the electoral college?

We actually use the electoral college to determine the presidential winner in the end. Each state has a number of electors who cast these electoral votes. These electors consider the votes of the people from their states and use that information to cast their electoral vote. It’s these votes that determine who wins the presidency.

What’s the election schedule?

There are many events to be aware of during election season that take place the year before and after election year. Here is a general outline of all the most important election events you are going to want to be aware of.

The year BEFORE election year
Spring Candidates start announcing their intentions to run for president
Summer Primaries, caucus, and debates begin to take place
The year OF the election
July to September Political parties choose their candidates
September to October Presidential debates
November Election Day
December Electoral College votes
The year AFTER election year
January Congress counts the electoral votes
January 20th Inauguration Day

If you’d like to learn more about the basics of the presidential election, you can explore USA.gov to learn all about the voting and election process. This website even has educational videos and infographics to help you visually understand the process as well.

How Do I Vote?

register to vote

One of the biggest questions people have when it comes to elections is how to vote. Thankfully this process really isn’t too complicated either. Basically you’ll want to register to vote, participate in primary elections, stay informed, and vote at your polling place on election day.

First: how to register to vote

The very first thing you’ll want to do is get registered to vote. You register to vote in your state of residency so that when you do vote, you’ll be a part of your state’s voting pool. Registering to vote is incredibly easy to do. You can do it in person or online.

Where can I register to vote in person?

  • The DMV
  • Armed forces recruitment center
  • State and county public assistance offices

You can also quickly register online at Vote.gov. You can also check your registration status on this website to check if you’re already registered to vote.

You can also register by mail, if you are out of the country or out of your home state. All you have to do is fill out the National Mail Voter Registration Form found on USA.gov and then mail it to the address listed for you state.

Second: how to participate in the primaries

The candidates that will represent each party in the final vote needs to be chosen. Before election day arrives there will be primaries, caucuses, and political conventions to help narrow down the candidates. Different parties and states will do these preliminary voting events in varying ways.

If you want to vote in the primaries to help pick the final presidential candidates, then read, “When are the 2020 presidential election primaries?” to see when your state will hold their primaries. Then all you have to do is go to the primaries and participate in the preliminary voting so you can be a part of picking the final candidates.

During this time candidates will be narrowed down to the final few. They will also announce who their vice president would be, and then they go across the country campaigning, talking about their views and plans, and debating with other candidates until election day arrives. You can also help out your candidate of choice by volunteering or fundraising for their campaign!

Third: how to vote on election day

By participating in election events now, you can do your own research and watch debates to learn about the different presidential options, what they are all about, and what their presidential plans are. Then all that is left to do is go to your local, designated polling station on election day and cast your vote.

Election Day is always on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. This upcoming election day will be on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

The only way you can cast your ballot is in person, or by mail. There is no way to vote online, so when election day comes you’ll need to be prepared to physically go to the polls, or be prepared ahead of time to mail in your ballot.

To find your polling place type in your address at VotingInfoProject.org to see where you’re designated polling station is.

If you are going to be absent from your registered state, or need to vote by mail for any other reason, then you’ll need to use the website for you state to find out how they want you to cast your absentee ballot.

What do I need to bring to vote?

polling station

The only thing you may need to bring with you to the polls is a form of identification. Whether ID is required for you to vote or note will depend on your state. You can check your state’s requirements for what to bring with you to the polling station by visiting NCSL.org.

How to Vote Early

There are many things that can make voting on election day difficult. But don’t let finances be one of them. If you need some financial help to get to the polls just take out an easy to use personal loan from Check City.

Whatever your reason, if you need to vote earlier than election day, it will depend on your state and whether they allow early voting. States usually have specified early voting dates.

Generally you don’t have to give them an excuse as to why you need to vote early, but this also might depend on your state.

The best way to see what you’ll need to do to vote early in your state is to find your state’s official website. You can do this by choosing your state at USA.gov and they’ll bring up your state’s official website. This site will then have your state’s specific information about early voting.

How to Vote in Midterm Elections

Midterm elections, or congressional elections, occur every 2 years. They happen in between presidential elections. They include voting for members of congress, the house of representatives, and the senate. These elections don’t use the electoral college but instead use the popular vote. The last midterm elections occurred November 6, 2018. If you want to participate in the next congressional elections just visit USA.gov for more information on when they are and how to vote in them.

How to Vote in Local Elections

The presidential election isn’t the only election you should be involved in, there are local elections going on all around too. These elections are equally important as the people put into office and the policies that get decided are all things that will affect your immediate community. Don’t just deal with whatever happens, be a part of shaping your community.

You can either use USA.gov or USVoteFoundation.org to see what local and state elections are coming up in your area.

 
Voting is an important part of being an active member of society. Your voice matters and voting is one way to make your voice heard. Don’t let misconceptions about voting keep you from getting to the polls and doing your part to help our society and grow.

 

written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter

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