We all know the jobs that are (virtually) guaranteed to rake in the big bucks: doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc.-- no surprise there. Yet as it turns out, a surprising number of jobs pay more than you may think; some don't even require a college education. There are some caveats, of course; many of the jobs involve a personal sacrifice of some sort, be it living underwater for months at a time or being at someone else's beck and call 24/7. However, if you're willing to make some life changes, you may find you're a good fit for one. Here are some of the most surprising:
Who wants hot dogs!
Step inside my office
Food vendors can make bank if they're in the right spot. As the adage goes, success depends on location, location, location, and this rings true for food vendors. One dog slinger working the much-trafficked corner of 35th and Broadway makes an average of $250/day (easily over $100,000 per year if he works 50 weeks a year.) Note that hot dogs are not the only food that will net you more green than Central Park; an ice-cream vendor on 37th and Fifth Avenue can earn up to $700 on a good day. In New York City, where rents for office space can run upwards of $600 per square foot (yes, per foot), these types of vendors generally only need to pay for an annual vendor's license and tax identification number to stake their claim. No rent equals low overhead, and the significant markup on hot dogs and other items means that a busy day can be highly profitable.
If you can take the heat, get into the kitchen
Only 140 more days until I can see the sun
While most culinary artisans aren't making too much money––except for the top well-known chefs with their own line of cookware––there is one position in the industry that does pay exceptionally well. But this is no free lunch: the role is as the lead submarine chef with the Australian Navy. That's right; you'd be cooking for almost 60 hungry seamen and women 20,000 leagues under the sea. Chefs start at a not-too-shabby $58,800 per year not including a $50,000 bonus just for showing up (turns out 50% of success really is showing up!), a capability bonus of $40,000 a year, plus almost $50,000 worth of "seagoing allowance" and "submarine service allowance." All that, and your room and board are taken care of. I mean, you'd have to be okay with living in a massive iron pill capsule and wouldn't see the sun for weeks at a time…but think of the money you'd save on sunscreen!
Someone's gotta do it
And they thought I'd amount to nothing
Taking out the trash is by no means a glamorous job. But if you live in the right area, you can make a mint by doing something no one else wants to do. Some sanitation workers make upwards of $100,000 in New York City. This is not representative of the average "waste engineer" annual salary, which ranges from the high $30's to low $60's, but everything is more expensive in NYC, and trash removal is no different. The upside is that wages are rising much faster than average in this industry because of the lack of available talent.
Air traffic controllers – the men and women who ensure airplanes don't crash into each other on the ground and in the air – make over $120,000 year. It's by no means an easy job: they must continuously concentrate (often directing multiple carriers at once), and work shifts during all hours in a dim room staring at brightly lit screens. While the job itself is stressful, if you can hack it for 20 years you'll get to look forward to early retirement at 50 and enjoy enforced retirement at 56.
I see a lot of green in your future
Aunt Mabel says hi and don't overwater her ficus
Psychics, despite their employment in a field of dubious nature, earn an average of almost $100 an hour, according to Payscale. This may seem surprising at first, but given that the estimated 85,000 psychics in the United States pull in approximately $1.5 billion in revenue per year, it may not be so outlandish. Psychics also claim to have high-flying customers, such as executives who can afford to shell out for their pricey service. Whether or not a given psychic has any ability to foresee the future is in the eye of the person paying their salary. Many psychics prefer to act as therapists, guiding people through tough times and hard decisions—and possibly telling them that Aunt Mabel forgives them for breaking that window when they were a kid.
Jeeves, bring the car around
Being a private butler is not usually on the career list at the guidance counselor's office, but it's a legitimate job that with an excellent salary––that is, if you get hired by the right employer. The International Guild of Professional Butlers has 10,000 members in the United States alone and estimates there could be as many as a few million private butlers worldwide.
So, what exactly does a butler do? Unlike in the days of Downton Abbey, people today can generally dress themselves and don't take daily breakfasts in bed (although that does sound pretty great). Today's modern butlers are considered "household managers" who oversee the rest of the staff, schedule household maintenance, receive visitors, organize events, and so on and so forth. They also can act as personal assistants, booking reservations, managing wardrobes (dry cleaning and tailoring), and generally ensuring that life runs smoothly for their employer. The job requires impeccable social skills and etiquette, and you'll need in-depth knowledge of wines and spirits (natch!) to be successful.
A private butler is a trusted employee for those who can afford them and are generally compensated as such: according to the International Butler Academy, these discreet individuals earn between $50,000 and $150,000 annually.
If your current job is just not cuttin' the mustard or if you're someone who could thrive in a stressful, claustrophobic, or even smelly environment, it may behoove you to explore a less conventional job that just might push your income up a few tax brackets.
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As anyone who has ever sold a house will tell you, you must prioritize curb appeal. Before a potential buyer even considers looking inside your house, they notice the outside first. Does it attract the right kind of attention? Does it take away from the feel you're going for? If you plan to sell sometime soon, you must think about these things. Here are some landscaping options to increase your home's curb appeal, so you can get the best price on your home.
Extensive Plants and Greenery
A barren front yard won't get you the price you want on your home. So, invest in at least a little bit of greenery to keep the surrounding area from looking too dead. Shrubs and bushes tie the house to the lawn that precedes it, and flower beds bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab structure. You can also strategically plant some trees to improve the overall feel of your home's exterior.
As we mentioned, your lawn is one of the most prominent features of your home's exterior. A patchy, dried-up lawn will quickly drive your home's price way down. Some of the best landscaping options for your home's curb appeal involve improving your lawn for the next inhabitant. Overall fertilization, ground aeration, underbrush removal, proper mowing—all of these lawn care tasks contribute to a greener and more lively area that invites people to see your house, rather than stay away from it.
There's nothing like a broken and disheveled pathway to make someone think twice about buying a property. Just as you want the entryway in your house to be welcoming, so too should the pathway leading up to the house be inviting. The pathway from the street to your front door provides plenty of real estate to get creative with. You don't have to settle for a boring concrete pathway. Consider something more eye catching, like a cobblestone path or intermittent brick patterns, as a way to better welcome potential buyers.
Usable Outdoor Furniture
Landscaping doesn't just involve the ground you walk on; also included are the items you use as extras to the overall look. Outdoor furniture is one such extra that you don't necessarily need but can look quite attractive if done correctly. Staging is important with outdoor furniture. Old, broken-down pieces will only look like more work to the potential buyer. A few comfortable chairs, a bench, or a table with an umbrella really go a long way to improving your outdoor aesthetics.
A good tip for deciding on curb appeal items is to decide what you personally would want to see as a part of a welcoming home's exterior. You don't need to go overboard, but a little bit of forethought could net you quite a lot of extra cash in the sale.
Many people strive to support their community by donating their time or their money. When you find a meaningful cause, you might be quick to cut a donation check. Though it's admirable to be quick to act charitably, you should be wary of several common mistakes made when giving to charity. Being mindful of these mistakes and learning tips for making informed charitable choices can help you make the most out of your generous check.
Acting Quickly Out of Emotion
Mission statements are meant to be compelling. If you're an emotionally driven individual, it's natural to pull out your wallet at the sight of a sad puppy on TV or when informed about food insecurity over the phone. Unfortunately, not all charities are as effective or official as they may seem.
Take your passion for helping others one step further by making sure your chosen charity is legit. Speaking with a representative, reviewing their website and social media accounts, and looking at testaments online can give you a better idea of whether the organization is worth your donation.
Forgetting to Keep Record of the Donation
Don't forget that you can reap some financial perks from giving back! With the proper documentation of your donation, you can acquire a better tax deductible.
If you donate more than $12,400 as a single filer or $24,800 as one of two joint filers, you're eligible to deduct that amount from your taxes. So, when a charity asks if you'd like a receipt of donation, always answer yes.
Donating Unusable Materials
Most charities can utilize a monetary donation—it's the physical donations that usually cause some issues. Providing a local nonprofit with irrelevant materials or gifting them with unusable products are surprisingly common mistakes made when giving to charity.
Always check your intended charity's website for a list of things they do and do not accept. The majority of places will provide a guideline to donating or offer contact information to clarify any questions.
Strictly Giving at Year's End
As more and more people get into the holiday spirit at the end of the year, nonprofit organizations see an influx of donations. While it's great to spread holiday cheer via a monetary donation, it's important to keep that spirit going year-round.
With regular donations, charities can more effectively allocate their annual budget. Setting up an automatic monthly donation with the charity of your choosing can maximize your impact. You can account for a monthly donation by foregoing a costly coffee every once in a while.
Knowing how much you should spend on home maintenance each year is hard to figure out and may be preventing you from buying your first home. The types of costs you'll incur depend on the house you buy and its location. The one certainty is that you should start saving now. Read on to figure out how much to start setting aside based on the home you own.
The Age of Your House
Consider several factors when budgeting for home repairs. If you've purchased a new home, your house likely won't require as much maintenance for a few years. Homes built 20 or more years ago are likely to require more maintenance, including replacing and keeping your windows clean. Further, depending on your home's location, weather can cause additional strain over time, so you may need to budget for more repairs.
The One-Percent Rule
An easy way to budget for home repairs is to follow the one-percent rule. Set aside one percent of your home's purchase price each year to cover maintenance costs. For instance, if you paid $200,000 for your home, you would set aside $2,000 each year. This plan is not foolproof. If you bought your home for a good deal during a buyer's market, your home could require more repairs than you've budgeted for.
The Square-Foot Rule
Easy to calculate, you can also budget for home maintenance by saving one dollar for every square foot of your home. This pricing method is more consistent than pricing it by how much you paid because the rate relies on the objective size of your home. Unfortunately, it does not consider inflation for the area where you live, so make sure you also budget for increased taxes and labor costs if you live in or near a city.
The Mix and Match Method
Since there is no infallible rule for how much you should spend on home maintenance, you can combine both methods to get an idea for a budget. Average your results from the square-foot rule and the one-percent rule to arrive at a budget that works for you. You should also increase your savings by 10 percent for each risk factor that affects your home, such as weather and age.
Holding on to savings is easier in theory than practice. Once you know how much you should spend on home maintenance, you'll know what to aim for and be more prepared for an emergency. If you are having trouble securing funds for home repairs, consider taking out a home equity loan, borrowing money from friends or family, or applying for funds through a home repair program through your local government for low-income individuals.