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Job Interview Questions for 2020

job interview questions for 2020

One of the most nerve-racking parts of any job interview is knowing how to answer the job interview questions.

Succeeding in job interviews is a crucial part of the job consideration process. How you answer each of the questions the job interviewer asks will be the major determiner of how successful you are in the interview and whether you get the job!

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That’s why it’s important to have an idea of the most common job interview questions and how best to answer each one. That way, you can go into each job interview already knowing how to answer any question they through your way.

Tips for Answering Job Interview Questions

How you answer each question isn’t the only thing that matters. There are other tips you’ll want to keep in mind during the interview while you are answering each question.

For more information on the dos and don’ts of job interviews read, Job Interviews Tips for 2020.

  • Practice with a Friend
  • Network and Socialize in your Field
  • Research the Business
  • Review the Job Description Again
  • Pick the right Outfit
  • Bring a Notepad and Pen
  • Avoid Fidgeting
  • Avoid Filler Words
  • Make Eye Contact
  • Keep Body Language Open and Friendly
  • Don’t Criticize Others

How to Answer Common Job Interview Questions

The best way to successfully answer typical job interview questions is to have a story in mind for each possible question. Brief, informative stories can successfully answer the interviewer’s question and illustrate your experience and skills at the same time.

It’s also helpful to practice answering questions by reviewing job interview question and answer examples. These sample job interview answers can help you better determine how you would want to answer each question.

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Tell me about a time you failed.
  • Tell me about a time you succeeded.
  • Where do you see yourself in the future?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Why do you want to leave your current job?
  • Why is there an employment gap on your resume?
  • How would you deal with an angry customer?
  • How do you handle criticism?
  • What would your old employers say about you?
  • How do you handle pressure?
  • What questions do you have for me?

Download a Free PDF Printable of a Job Interview Questions Practice Sheet.

You want to take every opportunity during the interview to show your worth as an employee. So make sure to answer each interview question in a way that will help the interviewer see what you can bring to this job.

Tell me about yourself.

This question leaves interviewees everywhere at a loss for words. It’s hard to talk about yourself, but you’ll want to learn how to talk about yourself in relation to your field to answer this question.

Another way that interviewees mess up this question is by giving useless information about themselves. They hear, “tell me about yourself” and start talking about their likes, dislikes, and hobbies. But this isn’t necessarily what an interviewer wants to know when they say, “tell me about yourself.”

What an interviewer wants to know by asking this question are things related to the job. If you’re applying for a science job they don’t necessarily want to know how you like soccer. They want to know about you in relation to the field you’ve chosen, what you’ve done so far, what you hope to accomplish in the future, and who you are in relation to your chosen career.

When an interviewer says, “tell me about yourself” they want to hear a brief overview of your career so far.

Example Answer:

“I just finished school as a computer science major and interned over the summer with a local software development firm where I learned to put my knowledge to practical use. While I was there I worked on several important projects on my own and in teams. I learned to meet deadlines and coordinate with others to solve problems.”

What are your strengths?

When an interviewer asks about your strengths and weaknesses they are trying to determine how you perform your job and what it will be like to work with you.

When they ask about your strengths they want to know what good characteristics, skills, habits, and experiences you might bring to the table. For instance, maybe you feel you’ve had a lot of practice public speaking in your past employment and that public speaking has become a strength you’ve used in jobs before.

If you have a particular strength within your field they want to know how you got there and what you learned from developing that strength. They want to see how you function as a person and a potential employee.

Example Answer:

“One of my strengths is that I work really well with others. At my last job I worked in different groups of people for all our projects and learned to work under multiple management styles. I also had to figure out how to communicate effectively with different personality types. This taught me how to manage myself really well in almost any group setting.”

What are your weaknesses?

It might seem counterintuitive to talk about your weaknesses with someone you hope hires you, but there is a specific purpose to this question. If you have a weakness within your area of expertise they want to hear about the efforts you’re taking to overcome that weakness.

They also want to know about the areas you plan to develop and grow stronger if you take this job. Asking about your weaknesses is an opportunity to show the interviewer how you deal with personal weakness, how you overcome things and search for self-growth, and whether you are self-aware and humble enough to recognize you can always improve.

Example Answer:

“I have always had difficulties with public speaking. Throughout much of my life, giving presentations at school or at work was a difficult and nerve-racking task for me. That’s why I decided to take a public speaking course in college so I could learn to overcome my fears, gain lots of practice with public speaking, and become confident in my abilities to present in front of others.”

Tell me about a time you failed.

This is your opportunity to pull out a preplanned story to illustrate something beneficial for the interviewer to know about you. For example, maybe you had to give a presentation at your most recent job and you feel you failed because you were really nervous the whole time.

You can then go on to explain how this experience with failure taught you something about yourself and showed you that you needed to practice presenting in front of others more often.

An interviewer doesn’t want to hear about a time you experienced failure. They want to know about what you did afterward to learn from that experience and gain more skills for the workplace.

Example Answer:

“Once, I feel like I failed at my job when I miscommunicated with my boss. I took the project in a certain direction because I made assumptions about what my boss expected of me, rather than talking about expectations for the project beforehand. I learned from that experience that it is always better to ask questions to make sure everyone is on the same page rather than going forward with my own assumptions.”

Tell me about a time you succeeded.

Don’t be fooled. This isn’t just an opportunity to boast about yourself. This is an opportunity to tell a short story about yourself that illustrates important knowledge, talent, and skills that you can bring to the workplace.

Maybe you won a writing contest that you’re really proud of. Don’t miss that chance to talk about how that success taught you that hard work pays off, or that asking for help from others can help you achieve your goals.

They don’t just want to hear about one of your achievements. They want to hear the specifics of how you were successful and how the process that brought you success can be beneficial in this new job.

Example Answer:

“Recently I submitted an essay into a writing contest and got first place. This was a goal of mine for a long time but it wasn’t until after I better learned how to set SMART goals that I was able to finish the essay and submit a quality piece of writing.”

Where do you see yourself in the future?

This question might come with an arbitrary amount of years tacked onto it like, “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” or “where do you see yourself in 10 years?” But the intentions behind the question are the same.

The employer wants to know what your long term goals are and whether those goals will be best served at this job. They want to know what you can gain from this job and what this job can do for your future plans.

Actually sit down and make a current 5-year plan for yourself. It’s ok if your 5-year plan changes each year, it’s just good to have ambitions, an eye on the future, and responsibility for yourself and that future.

This is your opportunity to show them you are a goal-oriented person and know how to make plans to reach those goals.

It’s also a chance to show them that you applied for this job intentionally and that you will have specific, personal, thought out purpose and fulfillment at this job. Even if that fulfillment is to reach greater heights later on in your career.

Example Answer:

“In 5 years I want to be able to call myself an expert in my field. I plan on achieving this goal through my work and career development here, as well as personal courses and endeavors that will help me to continue learning about my field outside the workplace as well.”

Why should we hire you?

What an employer asks, “why should we hire you?” or “what makes you the best candidate for this job,” they want to know specific ways you’ll contribute and help make things better.

You can show them how you’ll do this by giving examples of the contributions you’ve made in previous jobs. For example, maybe you love organizing and helped optimize a filing system at your previous job. You could tell this story to illustrate how your eye for details and organization would make you an asset at this new job as well.

They also want to know what they would be gaining by specifically hiring you instead of someone else. An interview isn’t a very long time to get to know someone, so you want to leave the interviewer with a list of bullet points about you that make you stand out from other job candidates.

Think before you do the interview about some key characteristics and abilities that only you can bring to this job. Illustrate these key points in the stories you tell throughout the interview and drive them home by offering them up again when asked this question.

Example Answer:

“I want to work at this job because I want to work in a healthy and positive work environment where I can work with fellow members of my field. I feel that in this work environment I could really thrive, achieve my own career goals, and make a positive impact on this company and the community by the work I do here. I also appreciate the flexible schedules we discussed that will allow me plenty of time in the mornings to take my kids to school.”

Why do you want to work here?

This question is closely tied to the “where do you see yourself in the future?” question. They want to know how this job fits into your life and your goals. They want to know why you are excited about this job, how it will elevate your life and your career plan, and all you could contribute to making this position better than when you found it.

They want to hear about which parts of this job you feel the most passionate about and why it’s important to you. Maybe you want to work at this job because the position offers opportunities you’ve been looking for, or maybe it fits perfectly into your schedule or allows you to pursue a passion you’ve always had.

At the end of the day, employers want employees who actually want the jobs they give them and who will be happy in this job position. Convey to them how you know this will be true for you if they hire you for this job.

Example Answer:

“I want to work here because I believe this job position will allow me to grow and learn in my field. Not only will I be able to use skills I already have, but this job opportunity will give me the opportunity to develop new skills, make important connections in the field, and gain experience I can’t get anywhere else.”

Why do you want to leave your current job?

There are many reasons to leave an old job and seek a new one.

You might have moved to be closer to family or farther away from them. You might have moved because your partner was offered a new opportunity in their career. Maybe you’re looking for different work or a different position.

Whatever your reasoning, you can use this question to illustrate your plans, goals, and hopes for this new job and why you needed to make this change in your life for a better life and a better career.

Just remember to never criticize or speak poorly of people who aren’t present and keep the conversation as positive as possible.

Example Answer:

“I would like to leave my current job because while I learned and experienced many helpful things while I was there, the job position I had didn’t align as closely with what I want to do in life as this job does. I feel that by making this job change, I can better pursue my 5-year plan and have the ability to do more with the skills I have.”

Why is there an employment gap on your resume?

There are plenty of valid reasons to have an employment gap in your resume. You might have been laid off due to downsizing in your company or maybe you had trouble finding jobs in your area that required the skills you offer.

But you can also avoid the question altogether by finding ways to fill those gaps and complete your resume. For example, you can date your employment in years instead of months in order to avoid talking about the few months you had between jobs.

You can also fill those gap years with whatever you were doing during that time. So instead of leaving that time frame blank, you can list the time in between jobs like you would any other job, and simply write your brief explanation for that time on your resume. That way your resume will answer those questions for them.

You might also be surprised by the productive things you can list during these gaps instead. Maybe you were unemployed for a while, but you did volunteer work during that time, took care of someone, did freelance work, started your own business, or managed a household while your spouse went to work.

Example Answer:

“Because of the area I lived in at the time it was difficult to find job openings that required my specific set of skills and experience. It wasn’t until I moved closer to the city that I was able to find more job postings within my field and that’s where I found my next job.”

How would you deal with an angry customer?

Not all jobs deal with customers but many of them do. Jobs that don’t deal with customers might still deal with other coworkers and have similar questions about how you would deal with a difficult coworker or team member.

The best answer you can give for this question is a real-life example of when you did deal with a difficult person. Put uncomfortable experiences to good use by using them in job interviews to talk about how you managed to calm the person, diffuse the situation, or mediate a problem.

Many jobs need to know how well you can handle difficult people. You might have to talk down an irate customer or work on a group project with a stubborn person.

You’ll meet and work with all kinds of personalities in the workplace. Use this question to talk about the ways you handle working with all kinds of personality types.

Example Answer:

“My most recent experience with an angry customer was someone who came into the store with a problem with their account. They were upset because they had tried calling our phone services and kept getting put on hold. I dropped what I had been doing to sit down and hear out all the customer’s concerns. Once he began to feel heard he started to calm down and I was able to help correct the error on their account. Sometimes an angry client just needs to be heard in order to find the root of the problem so that everyone can walk away happy.”

How do you handle criticism?

As an employee, there may be times when your boss will need to give you feedback or correct your mistakes. Mistakes are a normal part of life, and our worth is about how we handle them, rather than never making them.

So your future boss might want to know an example or two of when you’ve received criticism from others in a positive way. Talk about instances when you’ve used it to see faults you were otherwise unaware of, and how you used criticism in the past to become a better person and do a better job at your work.

As with many of these questions, the best way to show someone how you handle criticism is to tell them a real-life example of when you handled criticism. A brief and simple story example is the best way to ensure the interviewer will remember you and the answers you gave in the interview.

Just remember to keep each answer short and concise. A story example becomes counterproductive once it becomes too long-winded.

Example Answer:

“I used to feel very hurt when given criticism, but then I took an art class in college where we would critique each other’s pieces at the end of each week. At first, this felt very uncomfortable for me, but after a while, I began to see how useful criticism could be in helping me improve. Now, even if the criticism is poorly given, I’m generally always able to pull something helpful and positive from it that I can use to make my life easier and better my own work.”

What would your old employers say about you?

One reason an employer might ask this question is to gauge how self-aware you are of our own job performance. Many jobs require letters of recommendation or contact information for references. This means that an interviewer might already know what an old boss has to say about you.

This is why official or unofficial performance reviews with your boss can be helpful for you in many ways. It helps you understand your job performance, how to improve, and give you actual quotes to pull from for future interviews that ask this question.

Otherwise, use your best judgment and the experiences you have from working alongside your boss and coworkers to outline some ways you might be described by your old boss.

Example Answer:

“My old employer would often tell me that I was one of their most punctual employees. I always got to work at least 10 minutes early to make sure shift transfers went smoothly and I was always on time for our monthly meetings.”

How do you handle pressure?

Pressure and stress are other common things you might deal with in the workplace. It’s only natural then that an employer might want more of an idea of how you might handle the stress and pressures of their particular workplace.

Think of an instance in the past when you felt a lot of pressure and how you managed it. What helped you not buckle under the pressure? What helped you stay afloat and do your job? What have you learned about yourself and what you can and can’t handle?

How you manage your time and how you successfully manage the pressure are the kinds of things your interviewer wants to know when they ask this question.

Example Answer:

“In my last job, we had weekly deadlines that we needed to meet. In order to meet these deadlines, I decided to make mini-deadlines for each day of the week that would help me to break down my bigger jobs and always finish on time. By dividing my work up into smaller jobs I was able to tackle big projects with ease and meet frequent deadlines.”

What questions do you have for me?

At the end of a job interview, they will often ask if you have any questions for them. This is your opportunity to 1) ask about important information that wasn’t available to you before now and 2) ask questions to help you determine whether this work environment is a good fit for you.

You can also ask some of these questions before your interview, like how much the position pays or what are the scheduled hours. Also, don’t be afraid to go in with a small list of questions so you don’t forget them during the interview.

Questions to Ask in a Job Interview:
  • Can this job be done remotely?
  • What does a normal day at this job look like?
  • What are the pay, benefits, hours like?
  • How would you describe the perfect employee?
  • What’s something you don’t like in an employee?
  • How would you describe the workplace environment here?
  • How soon can I expect to hear back about a decision?

Job-Specific Interview Questions

The questions you get asked might also be based on what job you’re applying for. For instance, if you’re going to work with people or customers a lot, then an interviewer might ask how you handle tough situations with difficult people, or whether you prefer working with others or alone.

They might have a test at the interview depending on the job position. For example, editors might be asked to take an editing test by marking errors in a paragraph of text or answering some basic editing questions.

Other jobs, like an artist or graphic designer, might expect you to bring a portfolio of your pieces into the interview with you.

Make sure you know about any job-specific things to expect in your interview.

Questions About Your Education

You might also get asked about your educational experience. For this reason, it’s sometimes a good idea to bring a copy of your resume into the interview so you can look at it as a reference.

Go through some of the key takeaways from your education. Talk about any internships or job shadowing experiences you had and the things you got to learn and do.

Talk about some of the key courses you took and what you learned and are now able to do because of them.

Ultimately, if an interviewer asks about your education they want to know what knowledge and expertise your education gave you.

Take enough time to prepare for your interview beforehand. Get a friend to help you practice answering each of these questions. Doing a couple of run-throughs can help you get all your thoughts in order and figure out the best way to say everything. It can also keep you from getting stumped during the interview and blanking on what to say because you’ve said it all before.


The Ultimate Black Friday Strategy Guide

In this article you’ll find an in-depth strategy guide for how to tackle your Black Friday shopping this year. Not only that but we’ve provided a guide at the bottom of this article that links to all the Black Friday ads you want (from Target ads to GameStop ads) and their store hours on Thanksgiving day and Black Friday.

The Most Useful Black Friday Shopping Tips

black friday shopping

Tip 1: Hire a Babysitter

Bringing small children along with you to shop on Black Friday isn’t a great idea. Generally they’ll be too young to enjoy the crowds and long waits in line. In fact, they’ll probably hate it and keep you from being out as long as you could be without them. They’ll just get tired, hungry, and bored so keeping the kids safe at home with a spouse or babysitter is better.

Tip 2: Make a Budget

The very first thing you’ll want to do when planning your Black Friday strategy is figure out your budget. This is important so that you stay in control of your finances and not blow all your money on Black Friday. A budget will let you know how much you’re allowed to spend.

Tip 3: Check Out the Ads

Do some pre-shopping preparation by researching what you want to buy now. You can check out the prices of things you want by looking through Black Friday ads beforehand. Make a list of the things you want from each catalogue. Include in your list the price of each item, where they can be purchased, and whether they can be purchased online. This will give you a kind of master shopping list so you can see all of your options.

Tip 4: Prioritize Your Shopping List

Don’t buy everything on your master shopping list. Instead, number the items on your list from most to least important. That way you can match your final shopping list to the budget you made in the first step. Planning your Black Friday shopping trip to this extent can also help you not impulse buy the whole store.

Tip 5: Make Black Friday Shopping a Bonding Experience

There’s no reason shopping on Black Friday can’t be a fun bonding experience with you and your fellow shopping lovers. Make an event out of it by preparing together and using all that line waiting to talk with and bond with your shopping buddies. You can also make the experience a fun time to bond by going out to eat a victory meal once all your shopping is done!

Tip 6: Plan Your Shopping Trips

Actually schedule and plan your shopping trip. Make a shared schedule with everyone you’re shopping with and mark down what order you plan on visiting each store. That way you won’t be left debating where you should go first when you get in the car to start your Black Friday trip. Instead you’ll already have it all figured out.

Tip 7: Skip the Doorbusters

Instead of going Black Friday shopping when everyone else is out flooding the roads and the stores, feel free to go shopping way earlier or way later than everyone else! If you go after the bustle you may not find as many things still in stock, but your overall shopping experience will be much calmer.

black friday shopping tips

Tip 8: Don’t Forget to Shop Online

Don’t forget that you can shop online too. In fact, you can find a lot of Black Friday deals that are exclusive to the stores website now, meaning you have to purchase some things online to get the Black Friday deal. There’s also the matter of stores and roads becoming extremely overcrowded every Black Frida, so if you can find what you want online instead, you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle and help keep the stores and roads less congested.

Tip 9: Don’t Miss the Deals Around Black Friday

A lot of stores now have Black Friday deals that happen before and after the actual day. In some cases you might even be able to skip shopping on Friday to go to those sales instead. When planning you trip and checking out the deals around Black Friday, don’t miss the sales going on before and after Black Friday too.

Tip 10: Don’t Use a Cart

Don’t use a cart if you can. It’ll just take up space in the already crowded aisles and keep you from being speedy as you maneuver through the store. That being said, if you’re buying something heavy or big, don’t hurt yourself by trying to carry it.

Tip 11: Dress for the Occasion

Make sure you dress right for Black Friday shopping. It is going to be cold outside, but warm inside the busy stores. You are also going to be on your feet a lot and possibly need to carry a lot of shopping bags around. Keep all of these factors in mind when you choose your Black Friday battle outfit. Wear shoes that have thick insoles (like your running shoes) so your feet will have adequate support for standing in line for a long time. Wear warm, long sleeve clothes for if you need to wait outside before stores open, but don’t wear anything too bulky or too warm since you’ll also be waiting in long lines inside hot, overpopulated stores as well. Wearing long sleeves with a vest or medium sized jacket should give you the right blend. Try to not carry a purse while Black Friday shopping since you want to travel light. Instead carry a small, pocket-friendly wallet, or a smaller purse so you can travel light.

Tip 12: Check the Deals are Worth It

Make sure the prices are actually a worthwhile deal before you go through all the trouble to get them. Sometimes similar deals come up later in the year when shopping isn’t so crazy. It’s also a good idea to know the original price of the item so you can see if you’re actually saving all that much.

Tip 13: Bring Your Own Shopping Bags

By bringing your own shopping bags you can help out the environment a little, and also make your life easier. With your own shopping bags you can carry around the items you want to purchase more easily while you finish shopping and wait in those long lines. But carrying a bag will leave you with a lot more mobility in the store then a cart will.

Tip 14: Form Teams

Make teams so that you can divide and conquer your Black Friday shopping goals. You can send your teams to different stores so you can all finish the shopping a lot faster than if you all had to go to each store together.

Tip 15: Do in Store Pick Up

Take advantage of the in store pick up feature when you can. Even on Black Friday some store will still let you buy online and pick up in the store. Then you can possibly avoid some lines!

Tip 16: Be Mindful of Your Funds

Make sure you keep track of your funds and how much you’re spending at each store. For instance, if you’re paying in cash, keep in mind how much cash you have so you don’t suddenly find yourself short once you finally make it to the cashier. If you’re paying with a card then make sure you know how much is on it so you don’t end up with any overdraft fees.

Tip 17: Bring Snacks!

Bring a snack! Keep yourself energized and fueled so that your Black Friday shopping experience can be a positive one. Having snacks can help your team stay positive too.

The Ultimate Guide to Black Friday Ads

black friday store hours

Check out the Best Buy Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Store Hours:

Thursday 28: opens at 5:00pm

Friday 29: closes at 1:00am. The doors open again at 8:00am.

Best Buy Thanksgiving Store Hours:

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday 28): opens at 5:00pm until 1:00am the next morning

Check out the Target Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Store Hours:

Thursday 28: opens at 5:00pm

Friday 29: closes at 1:00am. The doors open again at 7:00am.

Best Buy Thanksgiving Store Hours:

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday 28): open from 5:00pm until 1:00am the next morning.

Check out the Walmart Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Store Hours:

Thursday 28: opens at 6:00pm

Best Buy Thanksgiving Store Hours:

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday 28): opens at 6:00pm

Check out the Amazon Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Store Hours:

Thursday 28: all day online

Friday 29: all day online

Best Buy Thanksgiving Store Hours:

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday 28): all day online

Check out the Kohls Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Store Hours:

Thursday 28: open from 5:00pm to 12:00am (midnight)

Friday 29: open from 8:00am to 12:00am (midnight)

Best Buy Thanksgiving Store Hours:

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday 28): open from 5:00pm to 12:00am (midnight)

Check out the Home Depot Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Store Hours:

Friday 29: opens at 6:00am

Best Buy Thanksgiving Store Hours:

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday 28): closed all day

Check out the Costco Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Store Hours:

Friday 29: opens at 9:00am

Best Buy Thanksgiving Store Hours:

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday 28): closed all day

Check out the GameStop Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Store Hours:

Thursday 28: open from 3:00pm to 10:00pm

Friday 29: Opens at 7:00am

Best Buy Thanksgiving Store Hours:

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday 28): open from 3:00pm to 10:00pm

 
Black Friday is a fun and exciting time. There are so many important deals that you can take advantage of, and with a personal loan you can make sure you have enough funds to get all the Black Friday discounts you need. But while you do your shopping this year remember that it’s still the season of giving and gratitude, so be kind to your fellow shoppers.


READ MORE

Use these tips to get even more deals this Black Friday, “Find the Best Black Friday Sales with These 5 Tips.”

Read about what to do AFTER Black Friday shopping, “The Aftermath of Black Friday.”


The Best Books by Dave Ramsey

dave ramsey books

Dave Ramsey is a New York Times bestselling author, and a radio show host on 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.

Table of Contents:

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 of 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 revisited 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.


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?

Explore this Article

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

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.

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.”


How to Succeed at NANOWRIMO

nanowrimo

NANOWRIMO is a writing challenge that goes on every November where lovers of literature everywhere take on the same goal—to write an entire novel in one month. See how you can successfully achieve this goal by following these great tips!

Table of Contents:

What is NANOWRIMO?

NANOWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing Month. It occurs every November and refers to a writing challenge to finish the first draft of a novel by the end of the month. So if you’ve always wanted to write a book now is your chance!

The Logistics

So the logistics of NANOWRIMO is to get a full, first draft done by the end of the month. The official final wordcount goal is 50,000 words. If you divide that into the 30 days of November, then you’ll need to write about 1,667 words every day for the whole month of November to get to the final word count and end up with a full first draft.

Final Word Count Goal: 50,000 words

Daily Word Count Goal: 1,667 words

But ultimately NANOWRIMO is about you, your writing goals, and what works best for you. Some people only have time to write on the weekends and that’s ok! If you’re a weekend writer then can write 3,571 words for each day of the weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), instead of writing 1,667 words each day of the week. Over the course of the weekend your new word count goal would be:

Weekend Word Count Goal: 10,000 words each weekend

How to Write a Novel

how to write a book

1. Pick a genre

The very first thing you should decide when going into NANOWRIMO is the genre you’d like to work with. If you’re going to write a book it’s good to first know what kind of book you want to write. The kinds of stories you could write are an endless list of categories and subcategories, so if you want to see a more detailed list check out Literary Genres.

But here are some of the more basic literary genres:

  • Fantasy
  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Historical fiction
  • Science fiction
  • Memoir
  • Mystery
  • Tragedy
  • Romance
  • Horror
  • Self-help

It also might be important to decide who your audience is before writing because that can decide a lot about how you write your novel. Thinking about what age group you are writing for is a great way to start so your reading level and content cater appropriately to your readers.

2. Pick a perspective

First Person: This perspective is written in the main character’s point of view. The narrating character tells their own personal story with their own words. When writing in first person you’ll use words like I, me, us, my, and we.

Second Person: This perspective is written to address the reader directly. It’s as if the narrating character is telling a story to the reader directly. When writing in second person you’ll use words like you, referring to the reader who the narrator is speaking to.

Third Person: This perspective is not written from the point of view of the character or the writer. Instead, a third party narrator is telling a story that they are not themselves in any way apart of. This can also be referred to as omniscient point of view, because the narrator is like the all-knowing god of this story. When writing in third person you’ll use words like he, she, they, and it.

Multiple Perspectives: You can also write your book using multiple points of view. This is especially common when writing in first person because then you can switch between the firsthand perspectives of different characters throughout the story.

Present Tense: You can also write your story in the present tense. In this case you would write as if the character is telling their story as it is happening. For example you would write, “I walk toward the closet door and open it.”

Past Tense: It is much more common, and even recommended, to write your story in the past tense. This means you would write the story more naturally, as if it had already happened and someone is narrating a detailed, perfectly remembered account. For example you would write, “I walked toward the closet door and opened it.

Ultimately, if this is your first novel, it’s recommended you write in third person, in the past tense. If you feel a little more confident in your writing abilities then you can try out writing in first person, or even switching between multiple points of view throughout the story. If you really want to be different, you can write in the present tense, but most books are written in the past tense.

3. Create the world

All stories need a setting. Maybe your story will occur in a small town or the big city. Maybe it’ll take place in an alternate universe, or a completely different fantasy world of your creation. Get a clear vision of what your world is like, and all the important aspects of the world that will affect your story and characters.

4. Create the characters

There are many ways to create really great characters. You can make a vision board for each characters to keep tabs of all your inspiration for who they are. You’ll also want to find names for them and keep notes on all the things you know about each person appearing in your novel.

5. Make a story outline

Now that you have the materials and initial ideas you need to make a story, it’s time to start outlining! One thing that can really help you storyboard your book is to first think about your beginning and your ending.
There are many templates and guidelines out there for how to format a story outline that can help you with all of this.

story outlining

  • Freytag’s Pyramid
  • Imagine the rise and fall of a pyramid. The story starts with exposition, rising action, peaks with the story’s climax, falling action, and ends with the resolution. To see the story outline in even more detail check out the 7-Step “Freytag’s Pyramid” from the Writing Itch.

  • Snowflake Method
  • This method involves starting with a small story summary and expanding it to have more and more details until you have a larger story.

  • 8 Point Arc
  • The 8 point arc includes 8 key story points that you can write about in order to have an 8 step plot outline for your novel.

  • 3 Acts
  • The first act is the setup, act two is when the confrontation occurs, and act three is the resolution. This outline is great for writers who just need a really simple idea of the basic flow of their story.

  • The Hero’s Journey
  • The hero’s journey is a classic story outline you see in popular books like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. It’s similar to the 8 point arc in that it has a detailed 10 step plan for your story outline.

  • Notecards
  • Write out your key scenes on different notecards. Then you can use a wall or bulletin board to place your notecards in order. This outline technique is great for writers who often rearrange events.

  • Plots
  • This outline is for when you have multiple plots happening simultaneously. You can have a main plot and sub plots, or have equally important A, B, and C plots.

Story Beginnings:

  • Mid-Action
  • Also known as in medias res, starting in the middle of the action can be a great way to get your audience hooked right away and keep impatient readers from putting the book down after the first page.

  • Ask a question
  • By starting with a question you can immediately give your book an inquisitive tone.

  • Introduce us
  • You can also start your novel by introducing the reader to something or someone important. You can describe the setting, the world they live in, or a key character.

  • Origin story
  • If your story has important background information then you can start with the origin story of your kingdom, or main character.

  • Flashes, dreams, and memories
  • You can also start your book out with an important flashback into the past, a foreshadowing flash into the future, in the lucid landscape of a telling dream, or with key memories.

Create Conflict:

Every story needs some riveting conflict. It’s what keeps the story going and keeps your readers interested in what’s going to happen next. For more help in brainstorming your main and sub-conflicts read, “Decoding the Six Conflicts in Literature (With Examples).”

Story Endings:

Some people really struggle with how to end their book. There are many things to consider in order to create a good ending. You’ll need to ask some important question like, what goal or goals you want accomplished or unaccomplished by the end, how your characters change, and what do they learn or fail to learn.

  • The Happy ending
  • The goal is accomplished and things are better now.

  • The Tragic ending
  • The goal fails and things are worse now.

  • The Twist ending
  • The goal is accomplished, but for some reason things still end up worse.
    The goal fails, but for some reason things still end up better.

  • The Cliffhanger
  • The goal remains unaccomplished, leaving readers in suspense, or in the middle of events.

Writing Resources

Every writer has their go-to resources for writing. Eventually you might find blogs, forums, or books about writing that you like.

Name Generators:

Websites:

Books:

How to Cultivate Yourself as a Writer

Like with any hobby you should look into bettering yourself as a writer, just as you would if your hobby was hiking or drawing. Here are some things you can do to really enter into the writing world:

  • Join writing groups
  • Write with others
  • Get feedback
  • Read books you love
  • Read books on writing

How to Stay Inspired Throughout November

When you’re on a writing deadline it can be really hard to stay inspired. Everyone has their own tricks to beating writer’s block and as you write more frequently you’ll gain a list of your own. Here are some things you can try to get you started:

  • Explore Pinterest
  • Make vision and mood boards
  • Get in nature
  • Take care of your physical and mental health
  • Keep reading things you love
  • Watch things you love
  • Listen to things you love
  • Set up your workspace so it’s decluttered and free of distractions

NANOWRIMO is like a community event on a larger scale. By joining the groups and forums you can accomplish your goals along with your fellow writers and who knows?! Maybe you’ll make some friends or publish something great! What’s more, writing novels can potentially become a lucrative at home job to get your household some extra income.

If you’re going to do NANOWRIMO this month, you may need a little help preparing. If you do need some financial help visit a Check City store or our website to take out an easy to use Personal Loan.

 

READ MORE

Learn some other tips about making more money, “Making More Money.”

Thinking about writing as a career? “How to Choose a Career” can help you decide if a career in writing is write for you.


What is Business Communication?

communication in business

Knowing how you communicate helps you understand yourself and others better while making you a more effective and productive interactor in the world.

What is Business Communication?

Business communication refers to any communication that goes on within a professional setting. This includes presenting information in meetings, brainstorming in a team, or problem solving with your coworkers.

Why is Communication in Business Important?

Whether you are a large or small business owner, good communication is always good for business. Effective business communication can also help with employee engagement.

A survey was done with 400 different companies and 100,000 total employees, and they found that each company lost an average of $62.4 million in profits because of poor communication. That’s a lot of lost profits all because of bad communication. But these losses can be easily prevented by taking the time to learn about how you and those around you communicate.

Types of Business Communication

types of business communication
 

By understanding the different types of communication you can know better how to utilize the different communication forms to your advantage. There are 2 primary forms of communication, verbal and nonverbal. Verbal is going to include talking out loud to each other, whether in person, on the phone, or over a video call. Nonverbal includes body language and writing.

Verbal

Verbal communication is the standard face to face type of communication. It can also be communicating through things like conference calls or a phone call. Choose your words and tone of voice wisely and appropriately for the person and the situation. Don’t use terminology they won’t understand, and don’t overload them with lots of verbal information all at once. We tend to only remember the last parts of what we hear, so either make that the most important thing, or include note taking.

The trick to verbal communication is taking the other person’s perspective into account so that they will understand your words as you intend them. This is why reading articles like this one, to understand others better, is paramount to becoming an effective communicator.

Nonverbal

Body language is all about how you physically present yourself, and what others can observe or assume from your outer appearance and demeanor. Our facial expressions can also offer subtle cues to an observer of what we’re thinking or feeling. If you want to seem open and confident, don’t cross your arms over the front of your body, practice good back posture, make eye contact, and dress appropriately for how you wish to be received.

Technical Communication

One form of communication you may need to be familiar with in your job is technical communication.

Technical communication can be when you need to talk about technology or other specialized subjects in your field.

It can also be when you use technology, like slides, to communicate effectively.

And finally, technical communication can also be when you need to communicate instructions. Giving instructions comes with it’s own set of rules and guidelines so that you can be clear when offering a step by step process.

In many professional fields employers and employees alike will need to have a measure of skill utilizing technical communication in order to effectively share information in their area of expertise.

Communication Styles

communication styles
 

Many people have researched and studied the different styles of communication we all use. They have found differences in communication styles between genders, generations, and cultures.

Multiple researchers have attempted to categorize communication types into 4 or 5 main groups, but the truth is, communication is such a vast and complicated aspect of human interaction that truly defining it into a handful of categories is near impossible. For the sake of simplicity we will divide communication styles into 2 sections that can often overlap.

Logic-Based

People who base their communications in logic can get a bad rap from other people for being heartless or cold. But details and figures are just the way they best understand the world around them, just as an emotion-based communicator make sense of the world through their intuition. Logical communicators are a major asset to your business as they will keep your projects focused.

  • Focus on facts, numbers, data
  • They make their decisions based on figures rather than how they feel about the choices
  • They are great researchers
  • Detail oriented
  • They like the process of things and breaking large tasks into small ones
Emotion-Based

Emotional communicators like to rely on their intuition to make decisions. They make sense of the world around them through their instincts and emotions. Emotional communicators can be a great asset in connecting your business to your customers and creating the kind of environment that welcomes consumers and coworkers alike.

  • Rely on intuition, instinct, gut feelings
  • Focus on the big picture goal or main idea of what you want to accomplish
  • They are often creative and good at brainstorming
  • Social
  • They care about human connection and thus have strong interpersonal skills
  • They are often the diplomatic peacekeepers in their group
Passive

Passive communicators don’t communicate very well. They are the people who go with the flow. If you have a peacekeeper personality you might be guilty of being a passive communicator. They have trouble expressing themselves, or voicing their own opinions and feelings.

This kind of communication is a problem because it can lead to a build up in stress and it keeps you from offering your insights. It can also lead to misunderstandings in communication because others are forced to assume your thoughts or stance on things rather than hearing it from yourself.

The benefit of a passive communicator though, is that they are great listeners and can be great confidants and peacekeepers in the office.

Aggressive

Aggressive communicators are the opposite of passive communicators. They are on the other side of the spectrum, where they always say what’s on their mind. They are often described as demanding, authoritarian, and dominate and control the conversation.

The problem with aggressive communicators is they can be seen as rude, have a hard time listening or letting others get a word in edge-wise.

But the benefit of aggressive communicators is that they can make great leaders and get things done. They aren’t afraid to delegate.

Passive-Aggressive

Passive aggressive communicators are inwardly aggressive communicators, and outwardly passive. They have so much they want to say, but never do, whether out of fear or a lack of control. But their aggressive communicator side breaks free in subtle ways, but the communication is never completely clear or direct.

Assertive

The most ideal form of communication is assertive. When you are an assertive, you communicate openly without dominating the conversation too much. Assertive communicators have found the balance between passive and aggressive communicating.

They know when to listen, and when to speak up.
If you are interested in finding out what type of communication style you naturally favor, you can take this communication style quiz from glassdoor.

Business Communication Skills

skills and techniques
 

Now that you have a better understanding of the types and styles, we can move on to the techniques you can use to better your communication practices.

Don’t be afraid of silence

You can learn a lot from silence. Silence gives the other person in the conversation full opportunity to finish their thoughts, or add important details. This way you don’t miss any important contributions the other person might have.

Being comfortable with silence will also help people feel more comfortable and at ease conversing with you because it teaches you to be a less nervous conversationalist if you’re not worried about filling silence.

Ask questions

Learning to ask the right questions can be the key to really effective communication. Asking questions also shows you have personal interest in the topic or people a part of the conversation.

Stay current

Being learned will help you to have more meaningful conversations, and it will make you a more helpful asset in general in your workplace.

Manage your stress

Nothing leaves you more muddled in the head than when you’re stressed out. When you manage your stress properly, your mind will be clear, focused, and you’ll be better able to make decisions and think clearly.

Avoid filler words

Filler words are any words, phrases, or sounds that get used too often in speech. Many times filler words are subconsciously used to fill pauses in between thoughts. Becoming comfortable with silence will also help you with this communication technique.

Some examples of filler words include: um, like, uh, ah, ok, you know, yeah.

Learn and use people’s names

People really appreciate it when their names get used and remembered. By putting forth an effort to learn and use names you’ll make a friendly and amiable impression on anyone you meet. Showing that you can remember names also shows those around you that you have a good memory.

Use “I” statements

Using “I” statements instead of “you” statements is a great communication tactic. Using “you” in your speech can sometimes come off as demanding, or accusatory, which will cause others to clam up or get on the defensive when talking to you. So rephrase your speech to avoid using “you” too much so that you don’t come across as accusing.

For some other tips and tricks to communicating effectively, check out a business communication PDF:

Communication is a giant part of good business. At your job you’ll need to brainstorm, work in groups, and solve problems by communicating effectively with your coworkers, subordinates, and superiors.


READ MORE

If you need help finding a career first read, “How to Choose a Career.”

If you need even more tips for great communication read, “What is Communication?

Read a book all about technical communication, Technical Communication: a reader-centered approach

Check out this business communication book, Speak with No Fear


Budgeting in 4 Easy Steps

budget

No matter your financial situation in life, everyone needs a budget. With a budget, you can plan for needed expenses and prepare for the things you want!

In fact, the most simple budget only needs a couple of lists, a calculator, and some goals. Below are the main points our post will go over to help you set up your budget:

Explore this Article

Budgets are an important tool in anyone’s financial arsenal. Budgets can help you organize your needed expenses, like rent and bills, prepare for emergencies and get ready for whatever your future might hold. By knowing how to budget you can learn to stop living paycheck to paycheck and start building up your savings. it can help you save up for big expenses or future life events like a wedding, starting a family, buying a car or a house or moving to a new state.

Budgeting can also help you save for retirement, something else that even younger people just starting out on their own sometimes forget to think about but should. But most of all it can grant you financial power and freedom and help you provide for your wants and needs. But for those just starting out on their own especially, it can be hard to know where to begin.

There are several key elements you’ll need to include in your budget. You need to think about all your necessary expenses and plan them out accordingly so you are aware of how much of your monthly income you need to spend each month no matter what. Then you’ll have to think about unnecessary expenses. This is where you have the most freedom to plan out the numbers and make adjustments.

budget-template

How to Budget

There are many ways to budget and there is a lot of advice out there in the financial spheres about how to do it. You can also choose to plan for certain events by making a specific wedding budget, or for major purchases like car payments. But if you’re making a simple budget for yourself, then the main thing you’ll want to decide first is whether you want to make a monthly or yearly budget. Most people like to create a yearly one to get a general big picture view of their financial goals and future plans. But, a monthly one is more helpful for everyday use. We’re going to try and condense all that down to the bare bones minimum of what every smart budget needs.

#1: List your monthly income

List out all your forms of income. This would include the paychecks from your job, but also any extra money you make from any of your side hustles. Here is also where you can decide whether you want to organize your finances for gross income or net income.

Gross income is simpler and easier to calculate. You just need to know how much you get paid and use that money for your calculations.

Net income isn’t as simple to figure out but there are advantages to using it. You figure out your net income by looking up what the income tax is in your state, and taking out that percentage from your gross income. Using net income instead of gross income is perhaps better because it more realistically reflects what you will actually receive from your paycheck.

#2: List your fixed expenses

After you have all your sources of income written down you’ll want to form another list for all your fixed expenses. Fixed expenses are the expenses you have each month that doesn’t fluctuate in amount. Everyone’s list is going to look different depending on what expenses do and don’t apply to you, but here is an example list of some fixed expenses:

  • Rent or Mortgage: A calculation you’ll want to do when looking at your housing expenses is to check that your total housing expenses aren’t over 28% of your monthly gross income.
  • Insurance
  • Debts: A calculation you’ll want to do when looking at your debts is to check that your total debts aren’t over 36% of your monthly gross income.
  • Loans
  • Student loans
  • Credit card payments
  • Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify
  • Phone bill
  • Medication you pay for each month
  • Child support
  • Education

After you’ve listed all your fixed expenses total the amount, subtract it from your monthly income, and that’s what you have left to spend on varied expenses . . .

#3: Set up your savings

Before we go into varied expenses though, let’s take a moment to think about your savings and retirement. Get a savings account if you don’t have one already, and set aside a portion of what’s leftover after fixed expenses. Any amount you can afford to put away into a savings account each month will set you up for success in the long term, even if it’s only 5 to 10 dollars a month.

Aside from general savings and saving for retirement, you also want to set money aside in an emergency fund. It’s recommended that you have at least 3 months’ worth of your fixed expenses put away into an emergency fund at all times.

Digit is a great app you can use to help you plan and organize all your savings.

#4: List and portion out your varied expenses

Everyone’s list of varied expenses is going to look different depending on what expenses do and don’t apply to you. Varied expenses are any expenses that are going to fluctuate in amount each month, or are considered more like luxury expenses than needed ones.

Varied expenses are a big reason to do a budget in the first place so that your varied expenses each month don’t overtake your more important fixed expenses and your savings. Here are some examples of varied expenses you might need to consider:

  • Groceries
  • Eating out
  • Entertainment
  • Gas and transportation
  • Recreation
  • Clothes
  • College textbooks

Another way to figure out the reality of what you’re spending on varied expenses is to look at your transaction history for the month and see 1) How much in total you were spending on varied expenses that month, and 2) What those varied expenses were on. Do this for a couple of months back to get a more realistic idea of what you are spending on varied expenses each month.

Organizing your varied expenses is where you have the most control over your budget. Whatever is left over after your fixed expenses and your monthly payments to your savings account is what you have to spend on all your other spending for the month.

Here is where you will list out what all those varied expenses might be and portion what you have left in the budget into them. Remember that you don’t necessarily want to portion out 100% of what’s left into these categories so that you can accumulate a comfortable cushion in not just your savings account but your checking account as well.

Budgeting Tips

Invest

Making investments is a great way to beef up your financial portfolio. There are probably a trillion ways to invest, but the idea behind investments is that you put money into something that will give you more money in return later. This is called compounding interest.

interest-rate

A helpful tip to remember when going into any investment is the rule of 72. This rule means that if you take 72 divided by the interest rate you’ll figure out the estimated number of years it will take for your interest to double your initial investment.

Personal Capital and Acorns are some of the most helpful investing apps you can use to step up your investment game.

Where should I put my budget?

Figuring out where to even put your budget can get complicated. You can use excel or make your own table in Word or Google Docs or any note-taking program of your choice. There are also many free budget templates online that you can print out and use. Budget tools are all around if you take the time to look and decide on which ones best suit your needs.

Click here for a free budget worksheet from the Federal Trade Commission.

You can also use budgeting apps to keep track of all your bills, expenses, plans, and goals. Some of these apps even allow you to connect your budget to your financial accounts.

Control your spending

Sometimes it can be difficult to control your varied expenses throughout the month and track your spending. You can make controlling how much you spend each month easier by using a prepaid debit card. With a prepaid debit card, you put money on it like a gift card to yourself almost. You can also use a similar method of spending control by just taking money out and only using that cash for your varied expenses each week.

PocketGuard is an app that can help you track your purchases.

Get a Side Gig

Getting an extra source of income can really come in handy. There are a million different kinds of side hustles any ambitious person these days can get into. You can babysit, drive for uber, or sell your own products. The possibilities are endless and it never hurts to have a little extra money each month.

Plan to Decrease Debts

Debt can be a real financial weight on your shoulders, but it can also be a necessary evil in order to get a house, get a car, get through college, and much more. Decreasing the amount of debts you owe can still help alleviate some of that weight and provide more financial comfort and peace of mind.

So it’s important to budget with paying down your debts in mind. You can pay down debts quicker by planning to spend more on that fixed/necessary expenses each month, by spending less on varied expenses, or by getting another job to provide more income to put into your debts each month.

Budgeting doesn’t have to be hard. All you really need is 4 lists and a calculator! Everyone should practice using a budget now so that you can control your finances instead of your finances controlling you.

READ MORE

Check out some of other Check City articles on budgeting:
Budgeting for Dummies

What is a Budget?

Budgeting Tips You May Not Have Thought of Before

3 Simple Tips to Building a Budget

Ways to Keep Track of Your Spending


6 Advantages of Using Checks

checks are better

Lots of people are still using checks and for good reasons.

Checks actually have their own unique advantages and features that you may be missing out on if you only use cash or cards. Here are the 6 main advantages of using checks:

  1. Checks are safer to mail
  2. Checks can’t be used by thieves
  3. Checks are traceable
  4. Checks aren’t deposited immediately
  5. You don’t need a bank account to cash checks
  6. Checks make budgeting easier

Lots of people are still writing checks. Writing checks may seem old-fashioned, but there are many advantages to writing checks instead of using cash or credit cards. Using cards and cash might be quicker and easier, but checks have features and security that cash and cards just don’t have. Below are some of the main reasons you want to start making good use of checks.

#1: Checks are safer to mail

Sending a check in the mail keeps your money a lot safer than sending cash through the mail. When you have a check inside an envelope it can be very difficult for others to tell there is even a check inside. But if you put cash in an envelope it can be much easier for others to tell there is money inside since bills have their own distinct shape, material, and color.

#2: Checks can’t be used by thieves

Checks are also less attractive to thieves than cash. Checks cannot be cashed by just anyone, and that is too much of a hassle for a thief. Thieves want quick cash and forms of money that are untraceable, and checks are neither of those things. Also, when you carry checks you don’t have to carry cash or cards on you, making you less of a target while you are out.

#3: Checks are traceable

This is another reason why checks are safer than other forms of payment—they’re traceable. When you use a check the bank makes a copy so you can easily prove the payments you’ve made. All the information you would ever need about a payment is also written on your check and the underlying copy. With each check you can know how much you spent, who you paid, when you paid, and even what you were paying for.

#4: Checks aren’t deposited immediately

Another attractive thing about checks is the timing. It usually takes businesses a day or two to actually cash the check that you’ve written for them. This means that you have a day or two to make sure you have the money in your account to cover the check. This can be risky to do, but as long as you handle your checks wisely, then you should be able to use this feature to your advantage.

checks are better

#5: You don’t need a bank account to cash checks

When you get paid through direct deposit you need to have a bank account set up. But if you get paid with checks then you don’t need to use direct deposit or a bank account. If you get paid with checks then you can just cash them, you don’t have to deposit them into a bank account or deal with electronic funds.

Check City offers convenient check cashing services for all of your check cashing needs. If you’ve been paid with a check you can come to any convenient Check City location and get that check cashed immediately. Check City will cash payroll checks, cashier checks, counter checks, government checks, insurance checks, money orders, tax refunds, personal checks, and even out-of-state checks. If you have a check, it is likely that Check City will be able to cash it for you.

#6: Checks make budgeting easier

Every time you write a check you are simultaneously writing your own personal receipt to go along with that purchase. These slips of paper can make budgeting super easy as you can keep those in your checkbook, and at the end of each week or month you can see an overview of all your spending in one convenient place.

Check Cashing with Check City

You may be wondering why you should come cash your check with Check City instead of going to your bank. Well, there are several reasons.

#1: Open Late

One reason is that our locations are open later than almost every bank or credit union. We have extended hours so you can come cash your check after work, or almost whenever you’d like. This makes it so you can get your cash sooner rather than later.

#2: Fast and Easy

Check City also understands how important your money is to you so we want to make sure the process of cashing your check is fast and easy. Our personable staff will make sure your transaction goes through as quickly as possible. As soon as you come in, we’ll be ready to help you and get you on your way.

#3: Low Rates

Check City also offers extremely low rates when it comes to cashing checks. We will not charge you much to cash your check with us, and the convenience of coming to one of our locations greatly outweighs the amount we’ll charge you to cash your check.

You Need:

All you’ll need to come cash your check at one of our locations is your check and your photo ID.

You Do:

All you’ll do is walk into one of our many locations, fill out a quick customer information form, and walk out with your cash in hand. Check City has locations in Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, and Maryland. At Check City, we want to make sure you get your money when you want it and how you want it. That’s why we offer convenient check cashing services that you are welcome to use anytime.

Cash Business Checks with Check City Too!

Check City also cashes business checks. This means that if people have paid your business in checks you can cash them easily here. In today’s credit driven economy, cash flow management is a challenging task for many small to medium-sized businesses. Check City has provided financial services to the public and its businesses since 1986 and we value the trusting relationship we’ve fostered with our communities ever since. Check City’s Business Check Cashing provides business owners immediate access to working capital by fast tracking the processing of checks to make your business funds available instantly. Cashing business checks at Check City is a great idea because there are 1) NO enrollment fees, 2) NO 3 to 10 day check processing holds, 3) the funds are available instantly, 4) gives your business the freedom to accept checks from your customers, and 5) we have convenient and professional locations.
 
Don’t waste your time thinking checks are a useless tool of the past. Checks are a useful financial product for personal and business use with their own unique features. Checks also provide a level of security in your transactions that cash does not. So don’t forget about this important tool in your financial arsenal and learn to use checks to their full advantage.

10 Last Minute Valentines Ideas Under $10

valentines day ideas

Valentines seems to sneak up every year, catching millions of boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives throughout the country off guard and left to find “that perfect gift” at the last minute and on a budget. If finding a gift wasn’t hard enough, having the pressure from the media and society to make it perfect seems to weigh on relationships even more.

If Valentine’s caught you off guard this year perhaps the procrastination isn’t entirely your fault, maybe you were hoping to somehow have some additional income in your bank account in time for Valentines and you’ve found yourself with only hours left to shop and minimal resources to use to find just the right gift. If you do find yourself in that situation and you know that you have money coming in a couple days then Check City can help with one of our affordable cash advances. However, if you choose to do Valentine’s on a budget we’ve outlined 10 ways to do Valentine’s for under $10.

A Valentine’s Card

valentines day card

While a card might seem like a bit of a cop-out you’d be surprised how many women appreciate a well thought out card. To be clear, if your last minute Valentine’s Day present is a a simple card, you better be prepared to dump your heart and soul into a nice hand written message inside because the standard pre written message isn’t going to cut it.

A Single Red Rose

valentines day gifts for him

While ten dollars might not be enough to buy a huge beautiful bouquet of 12 long stemmed roses, sometimes a single red rose can say just as much and will come in just under our $10 goal. Most local florist will have a large selection of single red roses prepped and ready to go on Valentine’s day, the sooner you can call or get there the better though because they usually go pretty quick. If you have a couple days before the big day you can usually find a deal online to have to flowers sent directly to your significant others door. To score even more brownie points you can have the flower sent to your wife or girlfriend at work, that way all of her coworkers will gush about what a great guy you are.

A Personal Playlist or Mix CD

valentines day gifts for her

While the beauty of the mix tape may be lost on this generation, the tradition of couples having songs that mean something special to them is timeless. Whether you create an actual mix tape, a CD, or share a playlist through “the cloud” taking the time to sit down and compile a list of the songs that you find special for you and your significant other is a great low cost way to show someone how much you care. If you want to go the extra mile you can write up the playlist and put a special note next to each song telling them when and where you both were when you heard each song. Regardless of which route you go, you should be able to spend well under $10, and a special hint, if you buy songs through Amazon rather than iTunes you can get them for $.99 each rather than the $1.29 that iTunes has started charging.

Journal of Your Favorite Memories

valentines day gifts

This is one idea that could sound a little creepy if you’ve only been out on a few dates and ESPECIALLY if this is your first date with somebody but if you have a history with your special Valentine this can be a great time to start a “Memory Journal.” For under ten dollars you can pick up a Moleskin Journal either at your local bookstore or on Amazon and you can take some time to write out some of your favorite memories. You can write out times you laughed together, embarrassing moments, memories of your first date and then just write out how you feel about them and how much you care. This idea can extend beyond just Valentines and you can start passing the journal off from week to week.

Little Teddy Bear with Candy

happy valentines day

While it may seem like something kids would like, most women still have a soft spot in their heart for a cute little stuffed animal, if you want to make it every better, toss in a package of their favorite candy and you have yourself a winning combination. When we looked on Amazon we were able to find a number of smaller stuff bears for under $7, combine that with a package of $3 candy and a little note letting them know how much you care and you’ve successfully mastered Valentine’s on a budget.

Dinner at Home

valentines day ideas

If you’re like most couples that have been together more than a year, you’ve most likely come to the realization that going out to a restaurant on Valentine’s night isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Between the long waits, huge crowds, and new couples being way too touchy feely there are much more relaxing ways to spend dinner together. For under $10 you can put together a number of quality Pasta dishes, combine that with some French bread and a salad and you have yourself I high class dinner for two for a fraction of what going out would cost.

Inexpensive Jewelry

valentines day cards

While some people are only happy with a product that says Tiffany’s, if it comes from the right person, sometimes that’s all that matters. This Valentine’s Day if you’re looking for an inexpensive jewelry option we recommend looking no further than a charm bracelet. Charm bracelets are a great gift idea because the initial bracelet and a single charm are fairly inexpensive and then you can buy additional charms for future events such as anniversaries, birthdays, etc..

Custom Coupon Booklet

valentine gift ideas

Remember when you were a kid and had no money at all and the classic go to gift for Mother’s Day and Father’s day was a simple coupon book you made yourself full of things like, “free breakfast in bed.” Well if you’re trying to make the most of your budget this Valentine’s Day, going back to your roots might not be such a bad idea. Rather than coupons for cleaning your room and a free night of babysitting that you might have given to your parents, coupons like a free date night or a back rub will go a long way with your significant other. And while the coupon book you give to your significant other will be quite a bit different than the one you gave to your parents you’d be surprised how many of the same ideas carryover such as cleaning up your dishes.

Free Valentines Day Personal Coupon Book HERE.

Facebook, Text, or Email

valentines day message

If your significant other is lower maintenance and hasn’t set super high expectations for this Valentine’s Day, sometimes it will be enough just to let them know that you’re thinking about them. In this day and age there are hundreds of high tech ways that will allow you to let that special someone know that you’re thinking about them and most of them are entirely free. In addition to dropping a quick message through Facebook, Text, or Email you can also make a quick video and post it to YouTube or you can hire out today’s equivalent of a singing telegram on a site like Fiverr where you can hire someone to sing a song to your loved one for $5. If you find yourself away from you Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Husband or Wife this Valentine’s you can also take advantage of free software like Skype, Google Hangout or Facetime for iPhone users to have some much needed face to face time.

Framed Picture

valentines day picture

It seems that today there is a constant flow of images, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram Blogs, and Picture Messages this generation is arguably the most photographed generation of all time. With so many images being posted to the web each day it’s easy for people to think that they don’t mean as much so it can mean a lot to your significant other to take the time and sift through all the images of you as a couple and get one printed out and framed. You can usually get a nice frame for under $10 and one hour photo through Wal Mart, Costco, or Sam’s club is pretty cheap, even for larger prints. If you decide to go the framed route you can even include a little note and tuck it away behind the picture.

 

So there you have it, as much stress as Valentine’s can cause finances shouldn’t have to be one of them. If you have any low budget or last minute Valentine’s Day ideas or traditions be sure to leave them in the comments section below.


5 Important Halloween Safety Tips

halloween safety

Halloween is a beloved holiday for most youngsters. They get to dress up as their favorite character, stay up late, play outside, ring doorbells, and eat free candy! It is a perfect play-day for most kids full of candy and costumes.

While Halloween is meant to be a little scary, as a parent the thought of letting your children run around at night knocking on doors can be frightening. Still, Halloween can be both fun and safe for the entire family if a few precautions and safety tips are followed.

Have a fun and safe Halloween by following these Halloween safety tips:

Trick or Treating

Supervision

One of the major Halloween safety tips for kids is to ensure that your children do not go unsupervised while trick-or-treating. It is important to have a parent or adult with them at all times. By doing this, you can ensure their safety and keep them out of trouble.

Rules

Although there will be an adult or parent coming along, it is important to teach your children some rules. Make sure your children know the rules of the road, what to do if they are lost, and the rules of who to trust. Teach them the importance of stranger danger and who to trust when help is needed!

Rules of the Road:

  • Stay on the sidewalk
  • Do not walk on the roads
  • Only cross the road at designated crosswalks
  • At crosswalks with a light, always wait for the walk sign to light up before crossing the road, even if there are no cars in sight.
  • At crosswalks without a light, always look both ways and wait for oncoming traffic to see you and stop before walking out into the road.
  • If there’s no sidewalk to walk on, stay on the far edge of the road, facing the oncoming traffic as you walk so that traffic is not coming from behind you.
  • Don’t trespass into people’s yards.
Costume Safety

A safe Halloween costume is helpful to a child’s safety. It’s important to make sure your children have bright or reflective colors on their costume. This will help drivers identify them at night. You can use reflective tape on a child’s shoes, back, and other places of the costume to ensure that drivers and other people can easily see your children in the dark.

Safe Areas

It is important to find good and safe areas for your children to trick or treat. Don’t take them down a dark neighborhood in a dangerous area of town. Stick to the lit up safe areas to help ensure the safety of you and your children!

The Candy Police

Many children have parents who are self-proclaimed candy police. They are the ones who dig through the candy stash at the end of the night confiscating candy (usually for themselves). Though this will frustrate your children, it is important to monitor how much candy your children eat. You don’t want to wake up to a sick child with a stomach ache from eating too much candy!

Another tricky way to keep your kids from eating too much candy is to make sure they eat enough on Halloween day. If your child has a real dinner before going trick or treating their tummies will be full enough to keep their candy cravings at bay, if only a little.

Pumpkin Carving

pumpkin carving
 

Carving

Knives and carving tools used to carve up jack-o-lanterns can be dangerous for kids to handle themselves. Instead of letting the kids actually carve out the pumpkin, instead let them empty out the insides of the pumpkin, and draw the designs with sharpie.

For an extra level of safety, or for really young kids, you can even skip the knives all together and just decorate your pumpkins with paint!

Candles

Candles with an open flame can have a lot of hazards. So instead of using candles to light up your jack-o-lanterns, use flashlights or battery operated candles. Not only is this safer, but battery operated candles are really cheap too!

 
We hope you have enjoyed our Halloween safety tips. By following these Halloween safety tips for kids, you and your children can have a fun and safe Halloween. Have fun, and stay safe!



READ MORE
Check out how to have a fun and safe time trick or treating this year, “Having a Great Time Trick or Treating.”

Save your wallet this Halloween while still having fun, “Have a Great Halloween on a Budget” and “Saving Money on Halloween.”

Make some cute, cheap Halloween costumes for your kids this year, “8 Cheap Halloween Costume Ideas on a Budget.”

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