6 Festive Centerpieces You Can Make for Less Than $6

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6 Festive Centerpieces You Can Make for Less Than $6
There is no need to shell out big bucks for an expensive holiday centerpiece when you can make a DIY version for less than $6 using materials that are easy to find. Start by finding a glass canister as a base. You can probably get one at a retail or craft store for less than $2. Fill it with any number of holiday-oriented goodies. Your options include: Aaron Freeman / Money Talks News Fill the... [...]
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Five Crypto Predictions for 2020

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Five Crypto Predictions for 2020
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house Not a trader was trading, not even a mouse; The stocking were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that Saint Nicholas and Trezor were there; Investors were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of Bitcoins danced in their heads; The sell orders were posted on exchanges with care, In hopes that a Bull Rally soon would be there; More rapid than lightning, the rallies they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name; “Now Bitcoin! Now Litecoin! Now Ether and Ripple! If Monero can double, then you can triple; The mining rigs hummed in the cellar with clatter, In hopes that new bitcoins would soon be there; From Papa John’s pizza all the way to the moon, You all will be riding the rocket ship soon; I heard him exclaim as he checked coin market cap, Merry Crypto to all and HODL for now! Ilias Louis Hatzis is the Founder at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and a weekly columnist at DailyFintech.com This year, 2019 was a decent ride picking up steam after the first quarter, while 2020 doesn’t seem ready to slow down or put on the brakes. Instead 2020, might be a breakaway year, especially after the halving in May. Who would of guessed that Libra’s wheels would come off? That Wyoming would be the only US state with friendly regulations for digital assets and digital-banking? That Bitcoin would have triple-digit gains since December 2018, when the market bottomed out? That cyberattackers compromised the Binance and made off with $41 million in Bitcoin? That Wall Street moved in with J.P. Morgan rolling out their own coin? That China went from a complete ban of cryptocurrencies to a highly publicized all in attitude on the blockchain? That crypto index funds and ETFs, among other things, would show us that with crypto, wealth building is for everybody? Nevertheless, 2020 is swiftly approaching and it’s time to start the crypto predictions. #1 Libra: Will go live, but with limited functionality Governments worldwide work overtime to regulate the rapid emergence of cryptocurrencies and companies in the industry. Facebook has faced enormous hurdles from regulators across the globe, for Libra. It’s not even certain whether the project will be launched at all, if regulators are fully in line with it. But iteration is part of Facebook’s core fabric. Nine years ago Zuckerberg said at a press conference, “We’re trying to be innovative and iterative with our development”. I think this will be how they approach the regulatory problems. An iterative approach can result in ever-closer approximations of a solution, as accuracy improves with each step. Most likely, Libra will go live in one jurisdiction and with very limited scope, partners and functionality, as Facebook iterates everything. #2 Digital yuan to be followed by digital euro and dollar While in recent years, China has moved to regulate the cryptocurrency industry, it has been avid supported of blockchain and has been developing its own digital currency, that it will launch in 2020. There has been a consensus among central banks that they need to control money. Mark Carney of the Bank of England, was probably the first leading central banker to talk about the importance for the West to embrace crypto and digitally-enabled money. Christine Lagarde, the ECB chief and former Managing Director of the IMF, thinks a digital euro is a good thing for the EU. It is very likely that Steve Mnuchin, US secretary of the treasury, will announce the digital dollar in 2020, continuing his past narrative about tracking cryptocurrencies. #3 Developing nations will embrace Bitcoin While the big global economies are working on the their own versions of fiat backed cryptocurrencies, there are three billion people around the world that don’t trust in their government issued money. Across developing nations in South America and Africa (Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Zimbabwe etc) , we’ve seen rapid adoption for Bitcoin. I expect that across many developing nations in the world, people will want to have a form of digital money that they can rely on. #4 Stablecoin heaven The stablecoin trend will continue. While stablecoins are still in the discovery stage, they have become the holy grail, with dozens of projects trying to develop a digital currency with low-volatility, that can withstand speculative attacks and debasement. In 2019, the stablecoin market cap grew from $3.3 to $5 billion. In 2020, the stablecoin market will exceed $20 billion, as we see the launch of Libra and a few others and multi-collateral DAI, accepting BTC and other assets as collateral. #5 The Lightning Network will do great things The existence of the Lightning Network on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, already enables cheap, private and instant transactions and payments. The current number of nodes are 10,861 and the number of channels is at 35,000, with the network capacity at 859 BTC (or $6.5 million). In December 2019, Bitfinex announced that their exchange would support Lightning Network transactions. Now even Airbnb allows customers to book stays using the Lightning Network via the Fold App. In 2020, we will see an increased number of applications like the Breez app, created on the Lightning Network. The new year, we will see crypto and blockchain move from away from something that’s trying to disrupt the old, into mainstream and becoming a bigger part of daily lives. With China’s digital currency set to be rolled out in 2020, digital money will come to the front and center stage. As global governments embark on a new moon race, to launch their own cryptocurrencies, mainstream adoption is set to accelerate. Subscribe by email to join the other Fintech leaders who read our research daily to stay ahead of the curve. Check out our advisory services (how we pay for this free original research) The post Five Crypto Predictions for 2020 appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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The aeronautic industry in 2019

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The aeronautic industry in 2019
The post The aeronautic industry in 2019 appeared first on ONEtoONE Corporate Finance. [...]
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Instant Pot 6 Quart 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker for just $35.99 shipped!

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Instant Pot 6 Quart 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker for just $35.99 shipped!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Still in the market for an Instant Pot? Don’t miss this Kohl’s Black Friday Deal! Kohl’s has a GREAT Black Friday Deal on the Instant Pot: Instant Pot 6-Quart 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker — $59.99 (Reg. $99.99) Use code GIVETHANKS to get 15% off Shipping is FREE Get $15 back in Kohl’s Cash Like paying $35.99 shipped after Kohl’s Cash This is an amazing price on an Instant Pot!! Looking for more Black Friday Deals? You can go here for all of the best online Black Friday Deals as we live blog them all week long! Also, be sure to sign up for our Hot Deals newsletter and join our Deal Seekers Facebook group so that you don’t miss out on any of the hottest, time-sensitive deals as soon as they go live throughout the rest of the holiday season! [...]
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3 Ways to Downsize Your Life to Save Money, Time and Stress

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3 Ways to Downsize Your Life to Save Money, Time and Stress
Downsizing — what exactly does it mean? Smaller house, fewer bills, less stuff? Yes, yes and yes. Many think of downsizing as moving to a more compact house after the kids have grown and gone. And it is. But let’s not stop there. Downsizing makes sense in other ways, too. Following are other areas of life where downsizing can yield serious financial savings, not to mention save you... [...]
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How to find the ideal buyer for a company

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How to find the ideal buyer for a company
The post How to find the ideal buyer for a company appeared first on ONEtoONE Corporate Finance. [...]
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How to Make a Staycation a Vacation

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How to Make a Staycation a Vacation
Taking a vacation sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? You get to kick back, relax and maybe take that much-needed nap by the beach. As much as you’d love to book a few nights at the all-inclusive resort in Mexico, the reality is that your budget is a bit tight, or it’s hard to round up the ... Read More about How to Make a Staycation a Vacation The post How to Make a Staycation a Vacation appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon (32 count) only $6.83 shipped!

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Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon (32 count) only $6.83 shipped!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. This is a GREAT price for Pop-Tarts! This popular deal is back again! Amazon has these Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon (32 count) for only $6.83 shipped when you check out through Subscribe & Save! This is a great stock up price. Note: Once your order ships, you can go into your Amazon account and cancel your subscription if you don’t want recurring orders. Thanks, Passionate Penny Pincher! [...]
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My 5 Goals for This Week (and why I’m not setting very many goals)

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My 5 Goals for This Week (and why I’m not setting very many goals)
(By the way, I did, indeed, move the rug from in front of the toilet to in front of the sink. I thought that the hundreds of you who wrote in grossed out by this would be happy to hear that!) Last week was a really productive and great week. And I’m continuing to be so happy with my choice to set weekly goals instead of yearly goals in 2020. It seems like it’s keeping me a lot more accountable and making me more motivated! Here’s an update on how I did on my goals for last week… 2020: Week 4 — Goals Personal Goals 1. Get in 54,000 steps total. (I use the FitBit Ulta HR to track my steps every day.)  2. Finish reading 100 Ways to Love Your Husband, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife,The Whole-Brain Child, and Live Love Now. Finish listening to Before and After. 3. Get up at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. 4. Go to bed by 10 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. 5. Drink a gallon of water every day. (I almost hit this goal, but fell short a few days.) Home/Family Goals 6. Get new shower curtain, rug, and towels for upstairs bathroom. 7. Read 40 pages of Carry a Big Stick aloud as a family. 8. Get a crib and bedding. (I’m chipping away at my To Do Before Baby Comes list a little bit per week.) Work/Blog Goals 9. Finish chapter 2 and write chapter 3 of my manuscript. Word of the Year Goals 10. Pop popcorn and watch another classic movie as a family. 11. Take Kathrynne out on a date for her birthday. 12. Light candle and write notes to our Compassion children. I’m only setting 5 goals this week. We are doing respite care for another foster family this week so we’re hosting a sweet 10-year-old girl all week long, we have activities/commitments every night, Kathrynne turns 15, and I’m launching another 4-week Blog Coaching Group.  So I decided I’d be very realistic in my goal-setting for this week and not try to bite off more than I could chew! That’s the beauty of taking things week by week, isn’t it? 2020: Week 5 — Goals Personal Goals 1. Get in 54,000 steps total. (I use the FitBit Ulta HR to track my steps every day.)  2. Finish reading The Path Between Us and Not So Perfect Mom. Finish listening to Originals: How Non-Conformist Move the World. Home/Family Goals 3. Read 40 pages of Carry a Big Stick aloud as a family. Work/Blog Goals 4. Edit introduction through chapter 3 of my manuscript. Word of the Year Goals 5. Pop popcorn and watch another classic movie as a family. What are YOUR goals for this week? How did you do on last week’s goals? Tell us in the comments! [...]
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My 6 Goals For This Week

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My 6 Goals For This Week
Psst! I’m giving away this stack of books on Instagram tomorrow morning. If you’re not following me there, you should be so you can enter to win! I didn’t accomplish a whole lot off my goals list last week, but I did accomplish a lot that mattered — investing in the kids/Jesse, investing in my local community, doing respite care for a 10-year-old girl while her foster mom was out of town, launching my 4-Week Blog Coaching Program, working on my book, making family memories, and making sure to take care of my health. So I’ll call it a win — even if it doesn’t look like it on paper. Some weeks are like that, aren’t they? 2020: Week 5 — Goals Personal Goals 1. Get in 54,000 steps total. (I use the FitBit Ulta HR to track my steps every day.)  2. Finish reading The Path Between Us and Not So Perfect Mom. Finish listening to Originals: How Non-Conformist Move the World. Home/Family Goals 3. Read 40 pages of Carry a Big Stick aloud as a family. Work/Blog Goals 4. Edit introduction through chapter 3 of my manuscript. Word of the Year Goals 5. Pop popcorn and watch another classic movie as a family. This week is another full week. We have something going on every night, we have some extra things going on during the day, and I’m headed to camp with Kaitlynn and the rest of my 8th grade girls’ group from Youth Group this weekend. I’m also noticing that I am having to slow down and rest a lot more now that I’m entering my third trimester. My energy just isn’t what it usually is and I need more sleep and naps. So, once again, I’m keeping my list short! 2020: Week 5 — Goals Personal Goals 1. Get in 54,000 steps total. (I use the FitBit Ulta HR to track my steps every day.)  2. Finish reading The Path Between Us and Counterfeit Gods. Listen to The Atomic City Girls. Home/Family Goals 3. Read 40 more pages of Carry a Big Stick aloud as a family. Work/Blog Goals 4. Finish editing chapters 1-3 and finish the rough draft of chapter 4 of my manuscript. 5. Run a book giveaway on Instagram with some books I’ve already read. Word of the Year Goals 6. Pop popcorn and watch another classic movie as a family. What are YOUR goals for this week? How did you do on last week’s goals? Tell us in the comments! [...]
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Bitcoin price surges. Is Coronavirus behind it?

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Bitcoin price surges. Is Coronavirus behind it?
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How One Family Accepted — and Survived — the Pantry Challenge

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How One Family Accepted — and Survived — the Pantry Challenge
When my editor called me on the last day of my vacation to ask me to take on a Pantry Challenge, my first thought was: I wish I had gone grocery shopping first. But then, where would the challenge be in that? If you’re unfamiliar with it, a Pantry Challenge requires you to use what’s in your cupboard (and refrigerator and freezer) to create meals for one week. The only rule: no buying. If you’re like my family, you often pick up specific ingredients for a recipe, but don’t necessarily use all of them. You forget about the food, leaving it to languish in the back of the refrigerator until one day, it’s grown enough mold to qualify as your daughter’s science project. Then when it comes time for dinner, you default to stopping by the store for more ingredients or worse, ordering takeout. Neither option is good for the budget, and you end up wasting food. Just us? My husband, Chris, regularly cooks a delicious dinner — my culinary skills are mostly limited to chopping vegetables and reheating leftovers — so I figured we could accept a five-day pantry challenge without much trouble. (I got to skip the weekend portion due to the story’s deadline.) I announced our participation in the Pantry Challenge to Chris and our 10-year-old daughter, Gwen, Monday evening. Although neither seemed particularly excited, they humored me. How the Pantry Challenge Works Meal prepping is an essential component of the Pantry Challenge, since you’ll need to plan your meals using fresh produce before it goes bad and saving items like a frozen pizza for a break-in-case-of-emergency dinner. So after I talked to my editor, I shopped our refrigerator and pantry for inspiration. Inspiration quickly turned to perspiration as I realized we had no frozen pizza. Or eggs. Or apples. Or bread. Or gummy bears. I looked online for recipes from people who’d done the Challenge before me. One person suggested barbecuing banana peels. What had I gotten us into? We weren’t going to starve, but I did experience a moment of panic when I realized how little fresh produce we had and how gross it was turning before my eyes. We were going to have to dig deep (in the freezer). Here’s the daily play-by-play of recipes we came up with for creatively meeting the Challenge. Monday Dinner We based Monday night’s dinner on the produce. We had some nearly wilted lettuce, half a tomato and an inexplicable plethora of onions. That, along with the hamburger buns in the fridge had all the makings of a burger night.  Unfortunately, we’d used the remaining ground turkey last week. But my husband found a package of Asian-flavored soy burgers he’d bought months ago during our ill-advised attempt at vegetarianism. With plenty of ketchup, mustard and a leftover bottle of chipotle mayo, we decided they’d be the best companion for our paltry produce. We also discovered a couple leftover sweet potatoes from a bag we bought for a stew weeks ago. Those sweet potatoes were not getting any younger, so Chris cut around the less-than-desirable parts, tossed them with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika and baked them to a crisp. And to make sure we didn’t waste anything, I used up the rest of the chicken Caesar salad my daughter and I had split for lunch. The croutons were a bit soggy, but it was an easy way to add extra veggies to our meal. Reviews: There’s a reason those burgers collected ice crystals in the back of our freezer. My daughter ate half the sandwich and a few fries before claiming she was “full.” She wasn’t.  Tuesday Here’s the thing about the Pantry Challenge. In the evening, you have time to gather items and experiment, so cobbling together dinner from your pantry is a bit easier.  But in the morning rush, when I was in charge of making lunches, the Pantry Challenge became more of a Pantry Struggle. Breakfast was easy enough: We still had English muffins, bananas, frozen waffles and cereal.  But often when I pack our lunches, I use leftovers. And nobody was eating the sad, lonely veggie burger from last night (except maybe the dog, whose palate is decidedly less discerning).  But my teacher husband and daughter were headed to school to set up his classroom and I was headed to the office, so we needed to some kind of subsistence. I dug into the produce drawer and picked out the good pieces from a bag of deteriorating spinach, topping them with a cucumber that was on its last legs. (It hadn’t really grown legs. Yet.) To help keep our tummies full, I sent along bags of almonds, rice crackers and the last of the fresh cherries.  That covered vegetables, protein, carbs and fruits, so we’re good, right? Unfortunately, in my rush to pack lunches, I forgot to take the chicken thighs out of the freezer to defrost in the refrigerator for dinner.  Normally, that would have resulted in a trip to the grocery store for an alternative meal or maybe takeout. But tonight, we just delayed dinner a little while I figured out how to defrost solid chicken thighs in the microwave.  In case you were wondering, it takes about 20 minutes for 2 lbs. of chicken to defrost. And yes, they were a bit rubbery, thanks for asking. Chris cooked the thighs with a jar of Indian sauce (mostly to cover the rubberiness). Typically, we like to boost the dish with a colorful array of peppers, but there were no peppers to be found, so we settled for some chopped baby carrots.  Fortunately, we’re almost always stocked on rice, so we cooked extra to ensure we’d have enough for our lunches the next day. We completed the meal with steamed frozen broccoli. Reviews: Lunch was definitely a bust — the “meals” I sent with Chris and Gwen came back half eaten. I suspect they may have located pizza leftover from a staff meeting, but neither one was ratting out the other. Dinner was a bigger success, and I was proud of myself for sticking with the Challenge and defrosting the chicken rather than taking the lazy route to takeout. Bonus: Who realized the slightly browning bananas could be cut up and frozen for smoothies and snacks for the remainder of the week? This mom! FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Save Money, Mystery Shop! Free tickets, food, hotels, entertainment and more! 8/13/19 @ 2:27 PM Travel Tips, anyone have any to share? 8/13/19 @ 2:27 PM Traveling 1/26/19 @ 9:01 PM S Extra Job 7/30/19 @ 2:52 PM See more in Save Money or ask a money question Wednesday Want to know the secret to the Pantry Challenge? Pasta. Oh sure, there are other secrets — like frozen produce, dried beans and canned soups — but at the end of the day, when you’re tired and hungry, pasta saves the day. Plus, you can make a ton of it at once for easy leftovers. And for a non-chef like myself, pasta is a godsend because you can serve it multiple ways without much culinary wizardry.  I can toss it with olive oil, fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese for a simple dish, with canned tomatoes, feta and olives for a Mediterranean flair or with canned tuna and cream of mushroom soup for a casserole.  But I didn’t have half of those items in my house. Instead, I found an open jar of spaghetti sauce in the fridge that was leftover from last week when my husband had only needed a c [...]
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Blow Your Budget? 5 Things to Do — and Not to Do — to Get Back on Track

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Blow Your Budget? 5 Things to Do — and Not to Do — to Get Back on Track
In budgeting, all it takes is one ill-timed expense to send the best-laid plans into a tizzy. Maybe you blew your budget for reasons out of your control: a sick pet, a car breakdown or a dreaded dental emergency.  Or maybe your shortfall happened because you made a mistake: You overindulged on your vacation, or you didn’t plan for an irregular expense that’s very much expected. Hey, it happens to the best of us. 5 Moves to Make After You’ve Blown Your Budget When you blow your calorie count by splurging on dessert, it’s tempting to say you’ve blown it for the day/week/month — even though the obvious solution is to cut back the next couple of days and schedule extra gym time. With budgeting, it’s the same. When you’ve spent too much, the worst thing you can do is give up and start plopping down the credit card just because you’re over budget. You can bounce back with a little self-reflection and discipline. Follow these five tips for how to get back on track with a budget. 1. Identify the Problem If your budget shortfall was the result of a one-time emergency expense, this one is so obvious. But if you blew your budget because you simply spent too much, or if blowing your budget is a regular occurrence, it’s time to take a hard look at your spending. Did you overspend on a one-time event, like back-to-school shopping or a birthday gift? Were impulse purchases a factor? Or maybe your budget has slowly been creeping up month after month, and you’ve just now realized you’re spending too much. We’ll discuss how to combat these budget-busting habits later. Your first step is to diagnose the problem. 2. Pay Off Your Bills Now, if You Can If you charged the expenses you didn’t budget for to a credit card and you can afford to pay it off now, do it. If that means you don’t add money to your savings account this month, that’s OK. Your goal is to get back on track.  If the expense was for a true emergency — meaning it was unexpected, urgent and necessary — and you have money set aside in a rainy day fund, you have our permission to tap into it if you need to. Of course, if you can make extra money on the side, pick up extra shifts or sell stuff online to cover your shortfall without touching your savings, that’s even better. 3. Adjust Your Budget if You Incurred Debt If you weren’t able to pay down your extra expenses immediately and have a lingering credit card balance as a result, you need a plan to pay it off as soon as possible. If you don’t have a monthly budget, it’s time to change that.  One of our favorite budgeting methods is zero-based budgeting, which makes you give every cent of income a job — whether it’s for needs, wants, saving, investing or paying off debt. Look at your past three months’ worth of bills to determine your normal spending habits and figure out where you can cut back to put as much toward paying off your credit card debt as you can. 4. Look at Past Spending to Find Overspending Patterns Let’s face it: A lot of times you blow your budget because you’ve developed bad habits. Looking back at your past spending can help you identify patterns. Here’s what to look for and how to curb your budget-busting behavior. Impulse Spending Look through your recent transactions for purchases you didn’t plan to make: the Uber Eats meals you ordered at the end of a long day, the shoes you had to have because they were 20% off, the trip to Target for paper towels that somehow turned into a $200 shopping spree.  If you find a lot of these, you’re probably prone to impulse buying, especially when you’re feeling anxious or down. The key is to make it harder for yourself to spend money on a whim. Delete shopping and food delivery apps. Unsubscribe from emails from your favorite store. If you want to spend money on something that isn’t a need, try a cooling off period of at least a week. If you still want the item after that and it won’t break your budget, then you’re allowed to buy it. Incomplete Budgeting Of course you know to budget for your rent or mortgage, car payment and groceries. But a lot of expenses occur regularly — but not monthly — and they’re easy to forget about when you’re budgeting. Your cat’s annual vet checkup, your driver’s license and tag renewal, and the hair cut you get every two or three months, to name a few. Here’s a complete list of 101 budgeting categories you can use to make sure you’re not leaving anything out.  Another common mistake: failing to account for variable expenses, i.e., the ones that fluctuate. If you live in a warm area, you probably need to budget extra for the summer months when your A/C is cranking. Lifestyle Inflation If your spending is slowly creeping up month after month, or if you see that your spending for each given month is significantly higher than it was for the same month last year, you may be succumbing to lifestyle inflation, which happens when you increase your spending as your income goes up. Some lifestyle inflation is inevitable, but it’s important not to put every cent of each pay raise or bonus toward upgrades like a fancier apartment or more dining out. You’ll only get ahead and prevent future budgeting mishaps if you divert some of that cash to savings. 5. Give Yourself Room to Make Mistakes If you want to never go over budget, you need to predict the future, have perfect luck and morph into a budgeting robot that never makes a mistake. Since that’s not happening, you need a safety cushion so that an unexpected expense or a little overspending doesn’t cause a crisis. The first goal to work toward is building an emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of living expenses that you can dip into as a last resort. No, it’s not easy — if you’re not swimming in disposable cash, this is a long-term goal. Just remember if you get frustrated that even saving a few hundred dollars could stave off a crisis. For major expenses that you can plan for, you may want to start a sinking fund, which you contribute to over time to spread out the cost. FROM THE BUDGETING FORUM How do you distribute your income? 8/5/19 @ 1:38 PM T Budgeting Apps? 3/18/19 @ 12:42 AM Is there a particular budgeting booklet 8/19/19 @ 2:14 PM A Have you tried the Zero Based budgeting method? 6/7/19 @ 1:58 PM See more in Budgeting or ask a money question 5 Things Not to Do After Overspending The most important thing to remember when you blow your budget is that it’s a temporary setback. Your bank account will recover. But if you do any of the following, you risk making a short-lived problem into a long-term one. 1. Take Out a Payday Loan The annual interest rates for payday loans are often upward of 300%, and about 70% of borrowers need a second loan within a month. That means you’re likely to keep blowing your budget as you struggle to pay back the loan. 2. Get a Cash Advance The interest rate for the average credit card cash advance is about 6 percentage points higher than credit card interest rates, plus they usually have fees of about 5%. You’ll almost always pay less by charging a purchase to your credit card. 3. Borrow From Your 401(k) Not only will you miss out on potential g [...]
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Your Guide to Booking Award Nights With Hilton Honors

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Your Guide to Booking Award Nights With Hilton Honors
Hilton is one of the largest hotel brands, with more than 4,800 hotels around the globe. Its Hilton Honors reward program can be richly rewarding for its members. How many points are needed for a free night? Hilton Honors points can be redeemed for a free night for as little as 5,000 points for a Points... Lissa Poirot is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article Your Guide to Booking Award Nights With Hilton Honors originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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African fintech migrates to Europe

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African fintech migrates to Europe
Jessica Ellerm is a thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy and is the CEO and Co-Founder of Zuper, a neowealth disruptor in Australia. With less than 4 years of operations under its belt, ambitious African fintech, SME lender Lidya, has announced it will commence its expansion into eastern Europe. The venture backed […] The post African fintech migrates to Europe appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Derek Peth of ‘Bachelor in Paradise’: It’s OK to Talk About Money with Friends

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Derek Peth of ‘Bachelor in Paradise’: It’s OK to Talk About Money with Friends
Trying to maintain a social life while still paying the bills? That’s easier said than done. Bar tabs, brunches, vacations and birthday celebrations don’t pay down student loans or help you save for a down payment on a home. If you’re not a careful budgeter, your social spending can even put you behind on rent. But that doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself. Derek Peth, a financial executive who’s most known for stints on “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise,” suggests the opposite. Becoming more financially intimate — sharing your financial situation with your friends or significant other — can strengthen your relationships while protecting your budget. Peth, a senior vice president at the online lender Laurel Road, told The Penny Hoarder it’s time to remove the taboo around talking about money. “Your finances are a part of who you are,” he said. The people you love should be accepting of that, even if it prohibits you from going out and spending money as often as they’d like. Talking about your financial situation, however, doesn’t mean you have to dish out the explicit details of how much you make or how much debt you have to an acquaintance or someone you just started dating. Instead, Peth suggests sharing your goals and limits.  “You can say something like, ‘I’ve got a lot in student loans. I’m really trying to focus on that and my goals right now, and I’m kind of limited on what I can do. Here’s my limits,’” he said. “You don’t necessarily [have to] put numbers behind it, but at least start having the conversation.” While you’re being more open about your money situation, make sure to share your financial wins too. Paying off $10,000 of your student debt is worthy of the type of celebration you’d have if a friend was turning 30, Peth said. “Achieving something like paying off a large amount of debt and then celebrating it in a fun way is something that we should do more of,” he said. When you don’t have as much disposable income as your friends, it can be disappointing to say no to an invite. “FOMO is a real thing,” Peth said. True friends should accept the occasional “no thanks, I can’t make it” reply. If someone is constantly trying to push you outside your financial comfort zone or can’t accept your explanations as to why you can’t afford going out every weekend, Peth said it may be time to re-evaluate the relationship. “You don’t want to be begrudgingly doing something and you also don’t want to — if you’re real friends — be guilt-tripping someone into doing something either,” he said. FROM THE BUDGETING FORUM Have you tried the Zero Based budgeting method? 6/7/19 @ 1:58 PM Money management in general 9/17/19 @ 12:59 PM J Out on sick leave 9/19/19 @ 5:48 PM See more in Budgeting or ask a money question To avoid some of these situations, Peth advises taking the lead and being the one to plan the outing. You can come up with something enjoyable that doesn’t involve spending a bunch of money, like a backyard barbecue or a picnic where everyone chips in and brings a dish. Living in New York, Peth said some of his favorite things to do are hanging with friends on a rooftop or in Central Park, which are very low-cost. When it comes to dating, Peth suggests taking a note from the Bachelor franchise — with adjustments to fit your budget, of course. “There are multiple layers to their big dates,” he said. “Although they’re crazy expensive, you can start out somewhere that’s got nice drinks, grab one there, walk to another place that’s maybe lower cost to get tacos together and just laugh and chat, and then go through a final walk through some park.” Adding layers to a date involves a little more effort than just making reservations at a restaurant. Peth said it shows you value spending time with that person, and the change of scenery helps break up some first-date awkwardness.  “The first time you’re meeting somebody, mix it up a little bit,” he said. Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Insurance- not all fun and game theory

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Insurance- not all fun and game theory
Economic game theory has resided at the core of insurance underwriting for some time but might be losing its luster through the advent of price aggregators. ‘Gamification’ through behavioral economics is gaining traction concurrently in the industry, that is, devising schemes to engage insureds more often with their policy than simply at annual renewal.  More […] The post Insurance- not all fun and game theory appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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This Teacher Earns $3,000 a Month on the Side by Upcycling Furniture on Facebook

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This Teacher Earns $3,000 a Month on the Side by Upcycling Furniture on Facebook
After a long day of teaching Chinese to middle and high schoolers, cooking dinner for her daughter and husband and prepping her spare bedroom for Airbnb guests, Sara Chen likes to call out to her Echo Dot: “Hey, play some soft music.” This is when most people would plop on the coach and let out a deep sigh of exhaustion. Maybe pour a glass of wine and call it a night. But Chen isn’t most people. She’s just getting started. Soft music humming in the background, she heads to her garage and starts sanding, priming and painting furniture – usually mid-century modern dressers – for her side gig, Sara Chen Design. Until earlier this year, Chen, 40, hadn’t found the right outlet for her strong creative streak. It was by chance that she stumbled upon upcycling furniture, work she finds energizing and inspiring. The extra $2,500 to $3,000 a month is just an added benefit. Finding Furniture, Fulfillment With Sara Chen Design When Chen left her HR job in China to move to the U.S. 10 years ago, she felt like she was taking a step down professionally. “All of the advantages I had deteriorated,” Chen said, noting the lack of parallels in hiring practices between Denver and Shanghai. So she pivoted her career circa 2009 and took a job teaching Chinese. It allowed her and husband Justin Herbertson to raise their newborn daughter, Gemma. She’s been a Chinese teacher ever since, and she enjoys the work. It’s stable. It pays the bills. The health insurance is great. And now Gemma attends the same school. But Chen yearns to be creative. Pro Tip Attaching a sense of purpose to a day job is risky. Namely because you can get fired. The Penny Hoarder spoke to well-being experts for our guide to finding fulfillment outside the 9 to 5. In 2015, she learned about Airbnb, and, by extension, the idea of starting her own gig when the family moved from Denver to Charlotte, North Carolina. Chen jokingly calls herself a “control freak,” and listing rooms on Airbnb allows her to flex both creativity and control. While she gets to curate well-manicured rooms for rent, Airbnb doesn’t fully quell her desire to be creative. Then she got her first taste of furniture flipping. On Facebook Marketplace, Chen found “a steal”: a mid-century modern dresser for $200 that would go perfectly in her bedroom. She brought a friend to meet the seller. “So, I went in and found out she actually had two dressers… both mid-century modern style,” Chen said. “I told my friend, ‘You know what? You should buy the other one.’” Her friend said no. “It looks so ugly,” she told Chen. Chen bought both pieces for $400 anyway. The first piece she kept as is. For fun, she decided to paint the second one. She bought sandpaper, tack cloth and a can of white paint – in all, about a $30 investment. Then she set up shop in her garage and got to work. In two or three hours, the dresser was like new — but better. “Then my friend came over and she was like, ‘Is that the dresser you [tried to] convince me to buy? It looks so good! Can I have it now?’” Chen recalled. On the spot, she made a sale: $350. And that gave Chen the courage to start upcycled furniture flipping as a side gig. “That’s what I like about America,” Chen said. “This is a country that really promotes hard work and creativity.” A Perfect First Customer Chen decided to play it safe with the first piece she made available to the public. To find the right piece to flip, she again turned to Facebook Marketplace, investing much less the second time around: $70 for a 1930s dresser from Singapore. “My rationale is that I really like this piece,” Chen said. “And if it doesn’t sell, I’m going to use this for myself.” She chose a dresser because it’s a versatile piece of furniture for flipping. It can double as a baby-changing station or an entertainment stand, if needed. And with a robust teal coat, newly installed cup-pull handles and a simple black-and-white liner for the drawers, Chen transformed the piece from rustic to chic. Her first customer drove more than two hours to pick it up. When the woman arrived, she marveled – and shelled out $420. Including supplies, Chen earned about $300 in profit on her first sale. On her way out, the customer encouraged Chen to create an Instagram account to showcase her work. The woman had a large social media following and said she would give Chen a shout-out.  Chen took that advice to heart. In less than a year, with the help of her happy first customer, she has amassed more than 1,700 followers on Instagram. Pro Tip Social media sites are free and often underutilized tools for budding businesses to attract customers. Use these social media best practices to get your footing, the earlier the better.  But Chen’s luck with her godsent customer didn’t end there. “After she got the green dresser, I noticed she was pregnant,” Chen said. “I got another dresser, also from Facebook Marketplace… and then I painted it pink. I added black handles.” “You’re looking for a dresser for your girl?” Chen texted her. “Well, I might have a piece you want.” Chen photographed the new pink dresser and sent over the pictures. Fingers crossed. “This is exactly what I want!” the woman replied. The second piece, which Chen purchased for about $60, sold for $400.    Sale 1: Teal Dresser Sale 2: Pink Dresser Purchase price: $70 $60 Cost of materials (sandpaper, paint, cloth, etc.): $30 $30 Sales price: $420 $400 Profit: $320 $310 And those price points weren’t one-offs from an enthusiastic buyer. Chen’s instincts were dead on. After researching her competitors on Marketplace, she typically shoots for those profit margins with each project. For tallboys, like the pink dresser, Chen spends $40 to $70 and flips them for $325 to $425 on average. The margins for long dressers are even better – a $60 to $120 purchase price and a $475 to $525 sales price. Depending on the project, that means she regularly sees profit margins between 70% and 90%. “You need to find a sweet spot,” Chen said. “I try to keep it in the median-high level. I feel like that’s the right spot [for me].” Flipping Furniture Is All About the Photos After tallying about 70 pieces of vintage furniture hunted, cleaned, patched, sanded, repatched, primed and painted since early 2019, Chen has her upcycling process down to a science. But when the paint dries, her work is only a little past the halfway mark. Next, she stages the piece for high-quality photos to include in her listings on Marketplace or Instagram. It’s now her favorite part of the process. “It’s also probably the most important part,” Chen said. “It’s gone from a regular piece to a stunning piece, and I want people to see that.” FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM How I'm Making Money on Poshmark 12/31/18 @ 4:47 PM C Side hustle from home 10/25/19 @ 10:13 AM Amazon refund 10/28/19 @ 8:56 PM how to make money? 10/30/19 @ 1:21 PM See more in Make Money or ask a money question The added love really goes a long way. When Chen listed the first teal dresser, she added potted cherry blossoms, a wooden vanity tray and a stool adorned with books [...]
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Spend Too Much on Vacation? These 5 Tips Will Help You Rebuild Your Savings

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Spend Too Much on Vacation? These 5 Tips Will Help You Rebuild Your Savings
The best vacations are carefree escapes from everyday stresses. Bills and budgets? That’s for non-vacation life. When you’re on the beach or at a five-star mountain resort, you buy the lobster dinner, you splurge for the couples massage and you make sure to pick up a few souvenirs along the way. But once you return home, you’re hit with the realization that you spent much more than you intended. Making up for a huge dent in your savings can be tough, but these five ways will help you save up money when you’re coming down from that vacation high. 1. Try the Pantry Challenge Going to the grocery store to restock the fridge is a natural response after spending a week or two away from home. But what if you delayed that shopping trip and got creative with what you already have? The pantry challenge involves using up the often overlooked food in your cupboards, freezer or fridge before buying new ingredients. Then, if you normally drop about $100 on your weekly grocery trip, you can add that to your savings instead. Of course, pantry items won’t sustain you forever. Making a meal out of rice and ketchup is really pushing it. When it’s finally time to go shopping, try using some of these tips to save money on groceries. 2. Sell Clothes You Never Wear As you’re unpacking your suitcase and putting things away, take inventory of your closet and drawers. Surely you’ve got a few items in there that never see the light of day. Turn a profit by selling your old clothes online, using a clothes-selling app or going to a brick-and-mortar second-hand shop to make the sale. Not only will you get cash to pad your savings, but now you have extra room for those graphic tees you bought on vacation. 3. Take a Break from Spending If you blew through a lot of money over vacation, balance things out with a no-spend challenge. You don’t have to commit to a month of not buying anything besides essentials — though that would do wonders for rebuilding your savings. You can customize your no-spend challenge in a variety of ways, like focusing on temporarily nixing your weakness for buying things on Amazon. While you’re on your spending freeze, try not to think of it as deprivation. Try some free ways to have fun, like exploring the great outdoors, being a tourist in your own city or hosting a game night at home. 4. Automate Your Savings Use automation to take the work out of saving money. Money-saving apps like Digit and Acorns pull small amounts from your checking account to save without you even thinking about it. A few dollars here and there will add up over time. If micro-saving apps aren’t your thing, arrange for a percentage of your paychecks to be deposited directly into your savings account, or pay yourself first by setting up automatic transfers from your checking to your savings account right after payday. 5. Bite the Bullet and Start Budgeting Your Money You may think you’re getting by fine without budgeting, but establishing a plan for your spending — and prioritizing saving — can help you make up for overdoing it on vacation. Learn how to develop — and stick to — a budget next month with these seven steps to budgeting. If you think you’ll have trouble sticking to your spending limits, try the cash envelope system. This method keeps you from overspending, because you physically have no more cash once the envelopes are empty. No cheating and swiping your debit card! Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Serve Your Country While Tackling Student Loan Debt — Here’s How

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Serve Your Country While Tackling Student Loan Debt — Here’s How
If you’re looking for an easy way out of your student loan debt… this isn’t it. But if you’re ready to make a commitment to protecting and defending your country, you may find relief through a debt forgiveness program.  And you’d have plenty of company in your… company, since approximately 200,000 active duty members owe a collective $2.9 billion in student loan debt.  But as a service member, you have a few more options for wiping out your student loan debt than your civilian counterparts. So pay attention.  Military Student Loan Forgiveness If you’re ready to serve your country after graduating college, you have options for attacking your student loan debt. Although you can also qualify for other programs unrelated to your service, such as teacher student loan forgiveness or nursing school loan forgiveness, we’ll focus on the options that depend on your work in the military. National Defense Student Loan Discharge (aka Perkins Loan Forgiveness) If you served in a hostile fire or imminent danger pay area, you qualify for the National Defense Student Loan Discharge, which is part of the Perkins loan cancelation program (the Perkins loan program ended on Sept. 30, 2017).   Loans are discharged according to the following classifications: Up to 50% for four years for borrowers whose active duty service ended before Aug. 14, 2008. Up to 100% for five years for borrowers whose active duty service includes or began on or after Aug. 14, 2008. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) This is probably the most well-known forgiveness option — although “notorious” might be a better adjective for it. Out of the approximately 76,000 PSLF applications that were processed by March 2019, only 518 applications were approved. For those who didn’t major in math, that’s less than 1%.  Pro Tip If you make too much to qualify for an income-driven repayment plan, don’t bother with PSLF since the standard payment plan will leave you with nothing to forgive after 10 years. And the program that was supposed to fix the problem — Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF)? Yeah, it turns out the acceptance rate for that one nearly matches the original. Be prepared for a long wait — it takes a minimum of 10 years to qualify — and to follow a lot of rules in regards to the type of loan, repayment program and employment eligibility. To help you navigate the process, check out these seven essential questions to ask about Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Total and Permanent Disability Discharge If you become totally and permanently disabled during your service, you’ll automatically have your student loan debt discharged. (Your student loans also get canceled if you die, but let’s not consider that as an option, OK?) Prior to August 2019, you still had to fill out the TPD Discharge application, but now the discharge is automatic for veterans. Veteran Affairs will alert the Federal Student Aid office as to your eligibility. The office will then notify you, at which point you will have 60 days to decide if you want to decline the loan relief.  Pro Tip If you think you may go back to school again some day, understand that accepting the disability discharge could make it more difficult to take out future student loans. Why would you decline? Although the discharge isn’t subject to federal taxes, the discharged amount may still be considered income for state tax purposes.  If you don’t decline, your remaining student loan balance will be discharged and you’ll be reimbursed for any payments made following the date of the discharge. Get more details about the total and permanent disability discharge (TPD) program here. Repayment Programs for Service Members As a service member, you’ll find multiple programs that will repay some of your debts, but none of these programs forgives the loan and interest in its entirety — and all of the forgiven amounts are taxable. Armed Forces Education Loan Repayment Program Following a complete year of active-duty service, you’ll become eligible for benefits available through most branches of the service (sorry, Marines).  Depending on which branch you choose, you’ll see the loan repayment programs referred to as College Loan Repayment Programs (CLRP) or Student Loan Repayment Programs (SLRP). Pro Tip If you’re rehabilitating a student loan in default, you’re allowed an interruption in the consecutive pay period until after your qualified military service is completed. All of the programs repay direct federal loans (subsidized and unsubsidized); other federal loans may be eligible, depending on the specific program. And each come with enlistment and/or testing qualifications, so ask your recruiter about specific requirements for your program: Air Force: Soaring with the Air Force Reserve for up to six years could really pay off. Annual payments will be $500 per each qualifying loan or 15% of the outstanding balance, whichever is greater, for up to $3,500 for each year of satisfactory service. Maximum amount: $20,000. If you’re taking the legal eagle route, the Air Force has a three-year student loan repayment program for you. You can qualify after completing your first year as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer. Maximum amount: $60,000 Army: The Army has multiple loan repayment programs to choose from, depending on your status. For active duty members, the maximum annual benefit is a third of the current principal balance or $1,500, whichever is greater, for each year of service up to three years. Maximum amount: $65,000. Navy: For active duty members, the maximum annual benefit is one-third of the current principal balance or $1,500, whichever is greater, for each year of service up to three years. Applicants must be approved before shipping to RTC, according to Terrina Driscoll with Navy Recruiting Command. Note: To be eligible for the loan repayment program and 100% of your Montgomery GI Bill benefits, you must reenlist for additional three years  or have a 6 year Active contract. Maximum amount: $65,000. Coast Guard: For six years of service, you’ll receive up to $10,000 per year to repay loans at qualified minority-serving institutions. Maximum amount: $60,000. National Guard: You’ll need to enlist for at least six years for annual disbursements through the National Guard repayment program. Maximum amount: $50,000. Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP) If you’re a health professional with student loans to repay, providing your services to the military could help you out of debt.  Both Active and Reserve members of the Army can receive assistance through separate programs. For example, nurses in the Army Reserve are eligible for up to $50,000 toward student loan repayment over three years of service. For the Navy, you must be a commissioned officer enrolled in the final year of an approved residency program leading to specialty qualification in medicine, dentistry or osteopathic medicine. The maximum award is $40,000. And if you’re Air Force, you’ll receive up to $40,000 to cover your health profession education in exchange for at least two years of service. Additional Student Loan Benefits for Service Members Even if you don’t receive forgiveness of your loans, you can deploy these reduced interest and deferment programs as a member of the military. Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Interest Rate Cap: Interest on student loans you took out prior to your military service is capped at 6% during periods of active duty. Military Service Deferment: You can postpone loan repayment during certain periods of active duty and while you prepare to go back to school following your active duty. 0% Interest: If you serve in a qualifying hostile area, you don’t have to pay interest for up to 60 months. HEROES Act Waiver: The Education Department waives many documentation requirements — think: updating your family size and income f [...]
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12 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

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12 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
What better way to find your next great purchase than to consult financially savvy consumers much like yourself — you know, the kind of people who read Money Talks News? We couldn’t think of a better way, which is why we rounded up the Amazon products that were most popular last month among Money Talks News readers, including our own staff and contributors. Don’t worry: [...]
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These Are the Tax Brackets for 2020 (Plus 4 Tax Changes to Know About)

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These Are the Tax Brackets for 2020 (Plus 4 Tax Changes to Know About)
The year 2020 is looking a lot like 2019, at least in terms of taxes. The IRS just released its inflation adjustments for 2020 federal income tax rates and brackets. While these changes are unlikely to have a huge impact on your bottom line, there are a few things you should be aware of heading into the new year. Because these are the 2020 tax rates, they’ll determine your tax bill that will be due in 2021. You’ll use 2019 rates and brackets when you file your taxes on or before April 15, 2020. How the 2020 Tax Brackets Break Down There are seven tax brackets that range from 10% to 37%. The 2020 tax brackets break down as follows: Unmarried Individuals Tax Bracket Taxable Income 10% Up to $9,875 12% $9,875 to $40,125 22% $40,125 to $85,525 24% $85,525 to $163,300 32% $163,300 to $207,350 35% $207,350 to $518,400 37% Over $518,400 Married Individuals Filing Jointly or Surviving Spouses Tax Bracket Taxable Income 10% Up to $19,750 12% $19,750 to $80,250 22% $80,250 to $171,050 24% $171,050 to $326,600 32% $326,600 to $414,700 35% $414,700 to $622,050 37% Over $622,050 Heads of Household Tax Bracket Taxable Income 10% Up to $14,100 12% $14,100 to $53,700 22% $53,700 to $85,500 24% $85,500 to $163,300 32% $163,300 to $207,350 35% $207,350 to $518,400 37% Over $518,400 Pro Tip Not sure of your filing status? This interactive IRS quiz can help you determine the correct status. If you qualify for more than one, it tells you which one will result in the lowest tax bill. Tax rates apply to the income within each bracket. So if you’re an unmarried individual with taxable income of $50,000, you won’t pay 22% of that $50,000 to Uncle Sam. According to the 2020 tax brackets, you’d pay: 10% on the first $9,875 12% on the next $30,250 ($40,125 – $9,875 = $30,250) 22% on the next $9,875 ($50,000 – $40,125 = $9,875) 4 Tax Changes That Could Affect You in 2020 The modified tax brackets aren’t the only changes the IRS announced. About 60 tax provisions will be adjusted in the new year. A few highlights: The standard deduction will rise slightly: The standard deduction will rise by $200 to $12,400 for people who are single filers or married filing separately. For those who are married filing jointly, the standard deduction will rise by $400 to $24,800. You may be able to save an extra $500 for retirement: If you have an employer-sponsored tax-deferred retirement plan, like a 401(k) or 403(b), your maximum contribution is $19,500 in 2020, up from $19,000 in 2019. The additional “catch-up” contribution workers ages 50 and older can make will also go up by $500, from $6,000 to $6,500. You can contribute an extra $50 to a flexible spending account. In 2020, the maximum contribution individuals can contribute is $2,750. Some limited-income families can get an extra $103. The maximum Earned Income Tax Credit will increase to $6,660. You need at least three children to qualify for the maximum amount. 3 Tax Rules That Aren’t Changing in 2020 IRA contribution limits won’t change. The traditional and Roth IRA contribution limits will remain at $6,000 for people under 50. The extra $1,000 “catch-up” contribution the IRS allows people 50 and older to make won’t change either. You can still gift someone up to $15,000 without paying the federal gift tax. The gift tax exemption is something you might want to take advantage of if you’re contributing to a 529 plan. There’s no limit on itemized deductions. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 suspended these limits. Ready to Start Your 2020 Tax Prep? OK, we get it: You’re probably not thinking about your 2020 taxes yet. After all, you haven’t even had your 2019 Thanksgiving turkey. But if you’re the plan-ahead type, you can check out this comprehensive summary of 2020 tax changes courtesy of the IRS. Even if you’re not ready to jump into 2020 tax planning mode just yet, keep in mind that a new year is often a good time to check your tax withholdings and make adjustments if necessary. So make a date with yourself in early January for a quick tax checkup. Robin Hartill is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. She edits and writes stories about bank accounts, credit scores, home buying, insurance, investing, retirement and taxes. She is also the voice behind the Dear Penny personal advice column, which is syndicated in the Tampa Bay Times Sunday business section. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Life Update: Pregnancy (week 16), a trip to Wichita, the Blissdom blogging conference

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Life Update: Pregnancy (week 16), a trip to Wichita, the Blissdom blogging conference
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Welcome to my weekly life update where I share about my pregnancy & give you a peek into our life this past week. If you want to follow a lot more behind-the-scenes and real-time updates every week, be sure to follow my stories and posts on Instagram. 16 weeks!! (And excuse the sort of goofy pose/facial expression. I was hanging out with some good blogging friends after the Blissdom conference on Friday night and we were all laughing over something right before this photo was taken and I couldn’t stop laughing enough to take a more normal looking photo!) Jami Balmet is pregnant with baby #6 (she had two sets of twin boys in two years and then she had a little girl!) and we are both due on the same day so we had to get a belly shot! We were teasing her that she’s so chill about her pregnancy because she’s so experienced that she rarely ever talks about it online. Whereas I’m over here documenting everything like a first-time mom! HIGHLIGHTS I can feel the baby moving a lot more — especially in the last few days. The kids are so hopeful they’ll be able to feel movement on my tummy soon. I keep telling them it likely won’t be for another few weeks, but they are super excited about it. NOTABLE I have finally been able to start drinking more water again after weeks and weeks of having to get super creative in getting in liquids since water made me sick. As someone who used to drink a gallon of water everyday, this has been a challenge and I’m so happy to be back to my water-guzzling habits! CRAVINGS I have been ravenously hungry this past week! It seems the baby is going through a big growth spurt or something. I am so grateful that I have been able to get back to eating much healthier now, even if I do still crave pizza and tacos and (now) desserts. But hey, being able to eat and enjoy salads after so many weeks of just eating whatever I thought I could keep down has been so nice!! WEIGHT GAIN: 9 lbs. How are the rest of you pregnant mamas doing?? I got to fly down to Wichita, KS for my mom’s 66th birthday this past weekend. Unfortunately, I only got one picture (the one above of my parents) because I was so focused on just hanging out with my family. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go. Since we’ll likely be opening up our home soon to a child (or children) in foster care and I’m having a baby in the spring, I know that I probably won’t be able to just hop on a plane and go somewhere by myself in the coming months and years! I love these three more than words can describe — but I kinda wish that they had a little more personality. 😉 We went to get their passports renewed over lunch break on Tuesday. (Kathrynne is going to Suriname in the Spring so we renewed them all while we were at it!) In my usual desire to document life so I don’t forget, I asked them all to stand under the passport sign so I could take a cute picture of them. I said, “Smile!” and this was the result. Of course I could have said something like, “C’mon guys, actually smile for me!” (And I do say that sometimes!!) But I also love having photos like this that show their personalities way more than a perfectly staged smiling picture ever would. I’m trying to soak up these days, these moments, these personalities, these people who are growing up so quickly. It’s hard to think they were once tiny babes in my womb! Also, this current tiny human in my womb has no idea what they are in for when they arrive into this world!! These three already have a host of plans, ideas, and dreams for how they will be loving on, nurturing, teaching, and spending time with the baby and I can hardly wait to get to watch them all interact together (though I’m wondering if I’m ever going to get to hold the baby myself! Maybe at the midnight feedings?!?) I got to speak at the Blissdom blogging conference on Friday on the topic of live video (one of my favorite topics!). It was so good to get to meet some of you there! While I love getting to speak, one of the best parts of conferences is getting to connect individually with people after I speak! I love hearing stories and providing individual encouragement and cheerleading! I loved getting to meet and do an interview with Jo Saxton on leadership. One of the best parts of the conference was getting to see so many longtime blogging friends! A bunch of these women had gotten an AirBnB together and they invited me to come over afterwards for dinner. I haven’t laughed as hard as we laughed in a really long time. It was such a gift for my soul! What I’m Currently… Reading: Families Where Grace is in Place and The Killing Tide Watching: You’ve Got Mail (I haven’t watched this in ages! We had a discussion about AOL recently as a family and I remembered this movie so I watched it with the girls to give them a better understanding of what email was like when we were teenagers!) Listening to: Christmas Music! Loving: The fact that I’ve finished all my business travel + speaking engagements for 2019! I’ve loved getting to travel and speak and meet so many of you this year, but I’m also grateful that I get to stay home now and just enjoy my family and making special memories together for the holidays (plus begin work on the new book I’m writing in 2020!) In Case You Missed It… This Past Week’s $63 Grocery Shopping Trip — Plus, see our dinners that we ate last week. 20+ Gifts for Outdoor Adventurers Under $30 — This is a great gift guide for the nature lover/hiker/outdoors person in your life! The Enneagram & Marriage — Whether you love all things Enneagram, are skeptical of it, or don’t even know what it is, I think you’ll enjoy this candid conversation Jesse and I had about our differences, how we have worked through them, and what it looks like to love and respect someone who is the complete opposite of you in many ways. 20+ LEGO Gifts Under $30 — Do you have a LEGO lover in your life? Sometimes finding the perfect set to give as a gift can be difficult. Check out this list of LEGO gifts for some ideas! [...]
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Stay In Other People’s Awesome Homes for Free With House-Sitting Gigs

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Stay In Other People’s Awesome Homes for Free With House-Sitting Gigs
Imagine sipping your morning coffee on a beautiful balcony looking out over the ocean. Later, you water the plants and clean up a bit before taking a dip in the pool. Oh, and you’re getting paid for taking care of this house!  It sounds too good to be true. Can you really find house-sitting jobs that pay? Yes and no. Yes, caretaking gigs that pay a salary or stipend in addition to providing you a place to stay do exist. But no, there aren’t many that fit the description above.  Most house-sitting opportunities fall into one of two categories: standard house-sitting gigs, or more demanding caretaking jobs. If you’re curious about getting free accommodation in interesting places (and maybe earning a little cash as well), here’s how to get started. Basic House-Sitting Jobs Many websites list house-sitting gigs, and a quick glance at the listings tells you right away that not many people are offering to pay their house sitters much — if anything. Normally, you get a nice place to stay, rent free. This might not sound like much of a money-making opportunity, but it depends on how you look at it. If your current lease is ending and you’ll get free rent somewhere for three months before moving into your next $1,000-per-month apartment, you’re $3,000 better off, right? Here are some of the online platforms where you can find the opportunities, along with their subscription rates: House Sitters America ($30 per year) Mind My House ($20 per year) Housecarers.com ($50 per year or free limited membership) Luxury House Sitting ($25 per year) Nomador ($89 per year or limited free membership) Some people make a lifestyle of house-sitting. Canadian couple Dalene & Peter Heck sold everything in 2009 to travel the world, staying in other people’s homes. Among other stays, they cared for homes in Honduras, France, Greenland, Tanzania and Namibia. After eight years of traveling, the couple settled back in Canada.  Sometimes you can get paid for basic house sitting. As House Sitters America explains: “The bottom line is it’s all negotiable between you and the homeowners. In most cases it’s just a straight swap; the house sitter cares for the house and pets in exchange for free accommodation… However there may be times when a homeowner will offer some money for the house sitting job.” The site offers examples of times a homeowner might pay you, including: When the house is in an undesirable location. For short sits (such as a few days). When there are many pets to care for. “Of course, there are also many professional house and pet sitters who actually do this for a living, and they will charge a fee for their services,” the site adds. How do these professionals get paid? Usually they offer a bit more than simply staying in the house and making sure no one breaks in.  Caretaking Jobs In general, you’ll get a stipend or salary if you’re doing more than just watching a home. In these cases, you’re more of a caretaker than a house-sitter. One of the best sources for these types of jobs is The Caretaker Gazette, which has been around for more than 35 years. They have the usual listings of free places to stay, but they also host advertisements from people who are willing to pay you. In their archives (which you can see for free) I found the following three examples in one issue: 1. In a small town in Alaska, someone was hiring a caretaker to manage a small store and two apartments and do monthly home heating oil deliveries. Pay: A small apartment with all bills covered, TV, Wi-Fi, salary (unspecified) and bonuses. 2. Near Colorado Springs, Colorado, an ad requested a couple or single person to care for a ranch with five horses. Pay: Salary (unspecified) and a furnished apartment. 3. An ad from Nassau, in the Bahamas, wanted a “house couple” to keep house, plan events, run errands and much more. Pay: A place to stay and “$100,000 to $120,000 per year.”  Clearly these are jobs, not just house-sitting, but they suggest the variety offerings found in the Caretaker Gazette. Of the 100 or so postings in that one issue of their newsletter, there were opportunities all over the U.S. as well as in a dozen other countries, including Peru, Australia and Iceland. Are You Qualified to House-Sit?  A good house-sitter is responsible, reliable and adaptable. If you’re looking to get more than just free accommodation, it helps to also have some mechanical skills. For example, more than one caretaking gig I found in my research required someone with basic plumbing skills, like being able to fix a leaking sink drain. You’ll have competition, by the way, even for the basic house-sitting jobs. At the moment Mind My House shows 302 active house-sitting assignments, but more than 4,300 “sitter available” listings.  In other words, clients get to be choosy, so experience is a plus. To build some, you might start by house-sitting for family and friends. Be sure to get glowing testimonials from them to add to your resume. Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far). This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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What is the future of insurance?

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What is the future of insurance?
image Have we seen the future of insurance? No, unless you have conquered the whole space-time continuum thing, or yours is a parallax view of the insurance industry to come.  Is there good discussion and collaboration addressing what that future might be? Yes, if this week’s buffet of InsurTech news pieces is any indication, and […] The post What is the future of insurance? appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Got a Product to Pitch? A Walmart Buying Manager Told Us How to Do It Right

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Got a Product to Pitch? A Walmart Buying Manager Told Us How to Do It Right
Every entrepreneur in the world thinks they have a great idea. But how do you convince other people? By delivering a stellar business pitch, of course. A great business pitch is essential to building valuable partnerships and ensuring financial backing that will take your product from conception to the shelves. When it comes to pitching, you’re going to have a short amount of time to get your idea across, so you have to use that time effectively. But it can be easy to get so caught up in the excitement or confidence in your product that you fail to fully express its value to a buyer. We decided to ask a professional for some tips on how to pitch an idea. Here’s the inside scoop. Tips for Pitching a Great Idea We sat down with Kinna Thomas, a senior buying manager for Walmart who also helped create the famous Patti Labelle Sweet Potato Pie. Thomas has a lot of experience listening to product pitches, thanks to Walmart’s annual Open Call event, where hundreds of entrepreneurs turn out with hopes of getting their products on the retail giant’s shelves. Here are the five tips she gave us to better your chances of nailing a pitch. Focus on the Customer You might think your product is the best thing in the world, but it doesn’t really matter what you think — it’s what the customer thinks. And really, customers don’t care about the product itself — they care about what the product can do for them. Maybe it will make their day-to-day life easier or maybe it will save them money. Get the message across that your product is an actual benefit to a consumer and that it’s something the buyer doesn’t already offer. “We want you to make sure that you are definitely locked and loaded on understanding the assortment that we need to carry,” says Thomas. Nail Down Your Product You’ve got this amazing idea! Everyone spills stuff, right? Well, what if when you made a big mess… you could just suck it right up? Genius! A vacuum. You just pitched a vacuum. Unless your vacuum is state-of-the-art and can promise that the user will never have dog hair in their carpet again, your idea is not going to be received well. “The product needs to be exciting, invigorating, innovative and different from what’s out in the market,” says Thomas. Make sure you can explain what you’re selling quickly and efficiently. And while you might be tempted to claim your product has zero competition, that’s most likely not the case. Show that the product or idea deserves to be backed by pointing out what makes it different from competitors. Don’t Forget About the Cost This one really shouldn’t be a surprise: Buyers want to make sure the price is right. Where your product is on the timeline will mean a lot to an investor or buyer. Is it a newly formed idea that hasn’t been tested and sold? Or have you already moved forward with manufacturing and set up a cost model? Proving you can create a product and sell it at a profit — without breaking the consumer’s bank — goes a long way. Go to your pitch with numbers that validate why it would be beneficial for the buyer to back you. Be open and honest about the costs your product will require, as well as the sales numbers and future projections. Think About the Logistics You might think your product is the absolute bee’s knees and everyone in the world will want it, but consider the reality of who will actually buy it. Yeah, your Do-It-Yourself Ice Sculpture Kit is pretty cool (see what I did there?), but try selling that product in a Walmart in South Florida. It just doesn’t work — you’re in the wrong market. This point goes back to knowing your product. Consider where it would sell best and include that in your pitch. “We want to know scalability,” says Thomas. “Whether or not you should be in a hundred stores or thousands of stores.” Be Prepared One thing you shouldn’t lose sight of is that buyers are looking to back not only your product but also you — that is, they are investing in you as much as in the product itself. “Doug McMillon tells us all the time ‘Be prepared,’” says Thomas, referring to Walmart’s CEO. “So that’s exactly what we want for you.” You could have the best idea in the world, but if you walk into a meeting without presenting yourself as a prepared, collected and efficient individual, it could ruin the whole pitch. Think about it from a buyer’s point of view: If you were risking your hard earned money, why would you give it to someone who doesn’t inspire confidence and assure you that they will handle your investment wisely? “Practice makes perfect” is a well-known mantra for a reason. Rehearse your pitch in front of real people beforehand. That way, you can walk into a meeting confident that you can nail your pitch. Kaitlyn Blount is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.  This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Life Update: Pregnancy (17 weeks) + Thanksgiving break!

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Life Update: Pregnancy (17 weeks) + Thanksgiving break!
Welcome to my weekly life update where I share about my pregnancy & give you a peek into our life this past week. If you want to follow a lot more behind-the-scenes and real-time updates every week, be sure to follow my stories and posts on Instagram. 17 weeks and the bump is starting to finally make its appearance more regularly! I still get shocked every time I look in the mirror and see that there’s a BABY bump there!! HIGHLIGHTS I’m slowly transitioning into a few maternity tops! And I’m feeling the baby move so much more now — Jesse was even able to feel some movement!! NOTABLE After a few weeks of lots of pregnancy-induced insomnia, I actually slept over 7 hours straight the past two nights!!!! I forgot what that felt like!! Also, I have significantly changed my diet and that seems to really be helping my heartburn. I usually have severe heartburn that gets progressively worse in my pregnancy but I found that limiting my fats to eggs, avocados, butter, and grape seed oil + having almost zero acidic foods has made a massive difference in the last week for me. I don’t know how long the relief will continue but every hour that I’m not experiencing intense heartburn is such a gift right now! CRAVINGS Carbs and more carbs (at least I’m craving whole grains most of the time, though!!) Plus (gratefully!) some fruit, veggies, and meat. I’m thankful that while I’m still nauseous at least some of every day, overall I’m able to eat and (mostly) enjoy healthy food again! Also, I’m back to drinking close to a gallon of water again — yay!!! WEIGHT GAIN: 9 lbs. Got any great suggestions/solutions to help with insomnia or heartburn? Send ‘em my way! The kids are SO excited to have a whole week of school off for Thanksgiving break! We’re headed to Kansas to spend time with both of our families and can’t wait! Kathrynne got Friday off, too, so she went with me to Panera while I worked on a writing project and she worked on this art project (she’s been loving sketching and drawing and doodling recently!) The finished product! Something From My Heart… They say you should use a nice camera, use editing software, and use photo presets if you really want to grow your online following and increase your engagement. I think blogs and social media accounts like that are beautiful and amazing, but that’s just not me. I’m not that organized, put-together, or patient. Plus, I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to use photo presets. So instead, I bring you real-life photos and videos taken in the moment on my phone. Because this is my life and this is what I have to offer. The “experts” would say a darkly-lit photo with a messy table and dishes on it should never see the light of day on someone’s social media account or blog. But y’all, I think this photo that I took the other night of the Silas and Jesse working on Silas’ rough draft together is so much more meaningful than most all edited and staged photos I have. It speaks of a dad who loves his son, of a boy who is working hard on school, and of the beauty that is real life. These are the moments I don’t ever want to forget. If I took the time to try to get the lighting right, cleared the table strewn with dishes and books, and staged the setting, it would completely lose the meaning for me. So thank you for following here and joining me in the imperfect. Thank you for not expecting pretty and staged and edited from my blog or social media accounts. Thank you for showing up for the real and the raw. And thank you for loving me — and us — exactly as we are! It means the world to me and it makes me look forward to hanging out online every day! ❤️ [...]
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Battleship Game Retro Series 1967 Edition only $8.09!

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Battleship Game Retro Series 1967 Edition only $8.09!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. This is a great price on this Battleship Game Retro Series 1967 Edition! Amazon has this Battleship Game Retro Series 1967 Edition for just $8.09 right now! This would make such a fun gift idea. Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get guaranteed FREE two-day shipping (and possibly one-day or same-day shipping!). And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon. Looking for more Black Friday Deals? You can go here for all of the best online Black Friday Deals as we live blog them all week long! Also, be sure to sign up for our Hot Deals newsletter andjoin our Deal Seekers Facebook groupso that you don’t miss out on any of the hottest, time-sensitive deals as soon as they go live throughout the rest of the holiday season! [...]
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Crystal’s 10 Favorite Black Friday Deals

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Crystal’s 10 Favorite Black Friday Deals
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. There were SO many great Black Friday deals today!! You can see ALL of the deals we posted here. I went through all of the deals we posted and picked out 10 deals that are my favorites. Here are my 10 top favorite deals from today… Dick’s Sporting Goods is offering 25% off Hydro Flask Bottles and Tumblers! Zulily has this 101-Piece 3D Magnetic Building Tile Play Set for only $29.99 today! Shipping is $5.99 making this only $35.98 shipped. This is a fantastic price for this set! Cents of Style is running Black Friday Sales on my favorite tee today — both the short-sleeve and long-sleeve versions! Get the Jagger Boyfriend Short-Sleeve Tee for just $10 shipped when you use code STEALDEAL. Or get the Joanna Boyfriend Long-Sleeve Tee for just $12 shipped when you use coupon code STEALDEAL. Amazon has this TaoTronics Essential Oils Diffuser for just $6.99 when you use coupon code GYLWZUQT at checkout. This is the lowest price on record and a really GREAT price on a diffuser! This is perfect if you are just getting started out with essential oils, need an extra diffuser for another room, or want to give a gift idea to someone who loves their essential oils! The HOT Hulu Black Friday Deal is back again this year! When you sign up for a year of Hulu as a new customer, you’ll pay just $1.99 per month! This is a savings of $4 per month, so an annual savings of $48! Note: This deal is only valid on the cheapest version of Hulu that is regularly $5.99/month. It does NOT include commercial-free or live tv options. WooHoo! Love this deal, and it always goes FAST! Grab four free kitchen appliances after Kohl’s Cash and rebates. Here’s how: Buy 4 select Toastmaster small kitchen appliances at $18.99 each Use promo code GIVETHANKS (15% off) Get $15 in Kohl’s Cash for spending $50 Submit for 4 $14 in mail-in-rebates Free after coupon code, Kohl’s cash, and rebates! There are 12 different appliances to choose from at this price: 5-cup coffee maker, plastic kettle, mini blender, mini chopper, immersion blender, 1.5 qt slow cooker, 2-slice toaster, 6-in skillet, mini waffle maker, hand mixer, can opener, electric kettle. Amazon has this Elmer’s Rainbow Slime Starter Kit for just $4.99 right now! This would be a great gift idea. Looking for a great deal on an electric toothbrush? Amazon currently has the Oral-B 7000 SmartSeries Rechargeable Power Electric Toothbrush priced at just $79.94 for Black Friday! This is a HOT deal as it retails for $179 and the lowest price we’ve ever seen it prior to this is $104. Whoa! Amazon price-matched Walmart on this HOT Black Friday deal!! Amazon has these Apple AirPods with Charging Case for just $129 shipped! This is the lowest price ever on record! Amazon has this Instant Pot 6-Quart 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker for only $49.99 shipped! This is the lowest price on record! [...]
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Never Leave These 9 Things in a Car

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Never Leave These 9 Things in a Car
It’s fine to keep many things in your car. In fact, our cars can become storage areas for clothes, sports equipment and even snacks. But some things are likely to cause problems if left in a vehicle. They won’t respond well to extreme temperatures, or may attract thieves who break into vehicles. What follows are nine examples of things you should not leave behind after parking your car. [...]
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The Block vs Binance intersection of niche media implosion and Crypto Fintech cambrian explosion

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The Block vs Binance intersection of niche media implosion and Crypto Fintech cambrian explosion
Daily Fintech lives at this intersection. Thankfully we avoided the temptation to monetize via advertising and as we are self funded we have no pressure to meet external growth expectations (which is the sort of pressure that leads to sacrificing editorial independence). So the media implosion does not worry us and we can focus on […] The post The Block vs Binance intersection of niche media implosion and Crypto Fintech cambrian explosion appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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All the Best Cyber Monday and Black Friday Deals Still Available!

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All the Best Cyber Monday and Black Friday Deals Still Available!
Make sure you don’t miss out on any of the best Cyber Monday and Black Friday Deals with this round-up! This year has had a CRAZY amount of Cyber Monday Deals and Black Friday Deals, so we thought we’d round them all up in one post for you! Crystal’s Top 10 Picks: Get a year of Hulu at just $1.99 per month! Chromebook Cyber Monday Deals | Acer Chromebook for $124.99 shipped, plus more! Denise Albright 2020-2021 Planner Bundle for just $19.95 + shipping! Get over 50% off one of my favorite sweaters for Cyber Monday!! Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 Electronic Power Rechargeable Battery Electric Toothbrush for just $89.94 shipped (Originally $250)! Old Navy: Sherpa Pullovers for the Family only $10 today! *HOT* The Children’s Place: Fleece Pullovers and Pants just $4.99 shipped! Instant Pot 6-Quart 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker only $49.99 shipped! DaySpring Hand-Thrown Mugs for just $2.80 each! *HOT* TaoTronics Essential Oils Diffuser for just $6.99!! Cyber Monday Deals Still Available: Get 50% off ALL of my courses! Hypoallergenic Shredded Memory Foam Pillows for just $14.99 each, shipped! Amazon FreeTime Unlimited | 3 Months for just $0.99! {$29 Savings!!) Shark Vacuum Cyber Monday Deals *HOT* 61-Piece 3D Magnetic Building Tile Play Set only $19.49 (Reg. $100!) MUK LUKS Anais Moccasin Slippers only $12.99 shipped! Target: 40% Off Bedding and Bath! T-Rex & Triceratops Dinosaur Bump & Go Toy Cars (Set of 4) only $14.99 shipped! Ring Video Doorbell with Echo Dot 3rd Generation only $79.99 shipped (Reg. $150!) *HOT* Free $5 Starbucks Gift Card with $20 Gift Card Purchase {Limited Quantity!} Carter’s: 7-Pack Baby Bodysuits only $10 shipped! 50% off Hydro Flask Bottles at REI! Carter’s: Toddler & Girl’s Leggings only $5 shipped! Cricut Explore Air 2 only $179.99 shipped, plus more! Dreamworks Holiday Collection DVD for just $6.99! HOT Deals on Marvel Action Figures! HOT Discounts on Play-Doh Sets, Playskool Toys, My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, and Baby Alive Dolls! *HOT* HUGE Savings on Monopoly and Hasbro Games! HOT Cyber Monday Deals on LEGO, Lincoln Logs, Tegu Blocks, K’Nex, Playmobil, and Tinkertoys!! *HOT* Up to 50% off Nerf Toys! Keurig K-Mini Single Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker for just $42.49 shipped (Reg. $90)! Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones for just $139 shipped!! Dinosaur Racetrack for just $16.99 shipped! Men’s Croft & Barrow Festive Microfleece Sleep Pants only $3.99! Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High & Low Top Sneakers only $25 shipped! Black Friday Deals Still Available: Holiday Doormats and Accent Rugs as low as $3.99! Dick’s Sporting Goods: 25% off Hydro Flask Bottles and Tumblers! Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR Camera Kit for just $260.99 shipped (Reg. $750)! Robotic Vacuum Black Friday Deals Apple Macbook Air for just $649.99 shipped (Reg. $999)!! Gift an Amazon Prime membership at 10% off! Women’s Sweaters only $7.99! Muk Luks Women’s Bootie Slippers for just $7.99 shipped! Elmer’s Rainbow Slime Starter Kit only $4.99! LEGO Classic Creative Fun Box for just $20! Dick’s Sporting Goods: Extra 25% off YETI Tumblers, Coolers and Mugs! *HOT* Sam’s Club Membership Deal | $50 in Savings! Echo Show 5 for just $49.99 shipped! Echo Dot 3rd Generation for just $22! HOT Deals on Dinosaur Toys!!! Matching Family Pajamas 60% Off! Get two holiday graphic shirts as low as $14.98 each, shipped! Women’s Boots only $19.99 at JCPenney! Royal Luxe White Goose Feather & Down Comforter (Any Size) for just $50.99 shipped!! *HOT* Pura Vida Bracelets Black Friday Sale | 50% Off Plus Free Shipping! LEGO Minifigures Series 19 Building Kit only $2.99! Nike Men’s Running Shoes only $29.99 shipped (Reg. $60!) Mega Bloks Building Basics Let’s Get Learning 150-Piece Set only $12.97! ABCmouse Deal: Annual subscription for just $3.75 per month! American Explorer Hardside Luggage for just $39.99 (Reg. $180)! *HOT* Roku Streaming Stick+ only $29! Kindle Black Friday Deals | Lowest Prices on Record! *HOT* Adventure Academy Annual Subscription for just $3.75 per month! Starbucks Black Friday Deal: Free Coffee & Tea in January with Tumbler Purchase Amazon Fire TV Cube for just $89.99 shipped! Black Friday Deals on Sony and Beats Headphones at Target! Fire Tablet Black Friday Deals | Lowest Prices on Record! *HOT* ReadingIQ Deal: Annual subscription for just $2.49 per month! {Silas loves this app!} *HOT* Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote for just $19.99! Step2 Modern Cook Kitchen Set for just $34.99! KiwiCo Promo Code: Get a box for just $7.98 shipped! We hope you grabbed some great deals over the past week! Also, be sure to sign up for our Hot Deals newsletter and join our Deal Seekers Facebook group so that you don’t miss out on any of the hottest, time-sensitive deals as soon as they go live throughout the rest of the holiday season! [...]
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Figure Lending Review: Student Loan Refinancing

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Figure Lending Review: Student Loan Refinancing
Bottom line: Best for applying and receiving funds fast. Reviewed loanStudent loan refinancing Interest ratesFixed: 3.49% - 6.99% Variable: 2.21% - 6.21% includes autopay discount of 0.25% Loan terms5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years Loan amounts$5,000 to $250,000 Co-signer release availableNo Can transfer a parent loan to the childNo Check rates at Figure Lending Pros & Cons... Ryan Lane is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: rlane@nerdwallet.com. The article Figure Lending Review: Student Loan Refinancing originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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7 Everyday Items You Can Get Paid to Recycle

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7 Everyday Items You Can Get Paid to Recycle
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners. Why toss things in the trash when you can repurpose or recycle them?  In addition to diverting items from the waste stream and keeping them out of landfills, you can also make extra money or help out worthy causes. From scrap metal to ink cartridges, bullets to construction materials, you can recycle a huge variety of items in exchange for cash or goodwill. Ready to see all the different things you can recycle for money? Find a Collection Point To find a recycling center near you, head over to Earth911.com and plug in the item you’re looking to recycle along with your location. The site lists collection locations for everything from antifreeze to ammunition. Of course, not everything pays, but it’s important to properly dispose of potentially hazardous items.  Prepare Items for Recycling Check with your local collection point for specific rules for preparing your recyclables for the collection center. Some centers require you to remove bottle caps, rinse and bag bottles in certain increments, or sort and tie together cardboard. Checking the rules before you go will save you time later on.  Be sure to properly bag items that may make a bit of a mess. Even if you thoroughly rinse all your bottles and cans, there might be water and other residue on them, so be sure to transport them in bins or bags to protect the interior of your car. If you’re donating a cell phone or other electronic item, be sure to clear your personal information from it, including contact lists, voice mails, text messages, photos, passwords, downloads and anything else that you wouldn’t want random strangers to access. Back up your information on your new phone, your computer or a cloud-based service, then restore your phone to factory settings before recycling it. 7 Items You Can Recycle for Money Depending where you live, you can get paid to recycle certain items. Here are some common recyclables and how to recycle them. 1. Scrap Metal Scrap metal is one of the more profitable materials to recycle. For this reason, scrap metal theft is not uncommon. Many local recycling programs fund their programs through scrap metal collection, so be sure to check your local rules or laws about collection. Copper, steel and aluminum are just a few of the scrap metals that you can recycle for money. Google your local area and “scrap yard” to find a facility that takes whatever metals you have and learn their procedures for drop off. Once you have rounded up your metal, find out if it is ferrous or non-ferrous by seeing if a magnet sticks to it. If it does, the metal is ferrous and likely a common metal like steel or iron. These items typically aren’t worth much, but it’s still worthwhile to recycle them. If the magnet does not stick, you likely have copper, aluminum, brass, bronze or stainless steel on your hands. These metals are more valuable.  You can make money recycling a variety of these metals. Copper is one of the more profitable metals: Some scrap yards offer over $2 per pound. Aluminum typically earns between 40 and 70 cents a pound, yellow brass can yield $1.40 per pound, and die-cast metal goes in the 30-cents-a-pound range, though local prices vary.  2. Bottles and Cans One Penny Hoarder writer made $1,500 cashing in soda cans he collected at work. You, too, can make money by rounding up bottles and cans, whether from work, friends and family, at events, or just the recyclables you use at home. California offers 5 cents for most plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans smaller than 24 ounces, and 10 cents for 24-ounce or larger containers. It’s technically a bottle deposit, but many people don’t bother to collect their refunds, so it’s easy money for bottle and can collectors.  Michigan has a 10-cents per bottle recycling rate, which has prompted people to illegally smuggle in empty bottles purchased out of state to cash in. (This was even the plot of one Seinfeld episode!) Many states have similar deposit programs, so check what’s available where you live. 3. Car Batteries Advance Auto Parts offers a $10 store gift card to customers who bring in their used car batteries (light-duty truck batteries are also accepted). If the company doesn’t have an outlet near you, call your local auto parts stores to see whether they offer similar deals. 4. Ink Cartridges A number of office supply stores, including Staples and Office Depot accept used ink cartridges for recycling. Staples offers $2 back per cartridge, with a maximum of 10 returns per month, and you have to spend at least $30 on ink or toner within 180 days of recycling.  Office Depot also gives you $2 back in program rewards for each ink or toner cartridge you recycle, up to 10 cartridges per month. But you must also purchase ink from them the same month. There is no limit on the number of cartridges you recycle, but you will only receive points on the first 10 per month. You can use your points toward a number of different perks and discounts.  5. Electronics Eco-Cell is one of many companies that offers cash for old cell phones and other electronics. The company accepts working or broken phones, tablets, rechargeable batteries, circuit boards and a variety of other electronics. Even if an item is broken or was submerged in water and is unusable, Eco-Cell will accept it in order to divert electronics from landfills and properly dispose of their toxic components and metals. Many cell phone providers, including Verizon and AT&T, have trade-in programs where you can receive a voucher, gift card or other reward for turning in your old phone. Amazon Trade-in is another way to earn gift cards. A number of charities also accept cell phones, whether to re-purpose or sell and use the funds for a charitable purpose. Cell Phones for Soldiers refurbishes and sells your old phone to active-duty military members and veterans. If a phone is too old or broken, Cell Phones for Soldiers sells it to recyclers who strip it for parts and dispose of its metals responsibly. The proceeds from the sales go to purchase international calling cards for troops and provide emergency financial assistance to veterans. And of course, you can always sell your old phone yourself. 6. Junk Cars Your rusted old jalopy? You can recycle it for money. There are companies that pay cash for broken down cars.  Junk Car Medics is one, and you can sell your car to them online or over the phone. You enter details about your vehicle, such as condition and mileage, and quickly get an offer. If you accept it, you’ll have to provide proof of ownership and a few other details before you get paid. The company says most transactions are same-day, and they take the car away for you. 7. The Rest of Your Unwanted Stuff You can “recycle” belongings you no longer want on a variety of apps and platforms and get a little something back for them. ThredUp and Poshmark are popular second-hand clothing apps where you can sell your wares.  ThredUp will send you a free shipping label and apply credits for anything that sells to your own account, but it’s often not a lot of money. Poshmark offers bigger potential payouts, but you have to put in more work to make your items move. Letgo is a second-hand site where you can buy or sell just about anything you no longer use. Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Is Lack of Trust a First Order Function in Narrowing the Insurance Protection Gap?

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Is Lack of Trust a First Order Function in Narrowing the Insurance Protection Gap?
image The Geneva Association released an ambitious discussion of trust and its effect on insurance transactions, particularly in the perspective of well-known ‘protection gaps’ that are pervasive across many lines of insurance within mature economies.  Is, as Jad Ariss, Association Managing Director notes in the publication’s foreword, a “lack of trust fundamentally impeding insurance demand,” […] The post Is Lack of Trust a First Order Function in Narrowing the Insurance Protection Gap? appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Afternoon Deals: Thursday, December 5

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Afternoon Deals: Thursday, December 5
Every morning and afternoon we publish a list of the latest and best deals from our partner, DealNews. To learn more about the discounts and details, click on any of the deals for more information. To have this list, along with our latest news and stories, delivered daily to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter. For links to deals as they’re published, follow @mtndeals on Twitter. [...]
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This Man Told Us How He Turned Christmas Lights Into a Lucrative Business

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This Man Told Us How He Turned Christmas Lights Into a Lucrative Business
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated for the 2019 holiday season. When you have a name like Josh Trees and you run a Christmas light installation business, you have to be prepared for the inevitable question: Is that actually your name? Trees — yes, that’s his real name — started his business, We Hang Christmas Lights, in 1997, decorating homes, businesses and assorted branched greenery in Temecula, California.  But Trees definitely gets the last (jolly) laugh. “When we first started doing this, people were like, ‘Oh, that’s a cute little business,’” Trees says. “We were like, ‘Yeah, cute,’ —  you don’t realize people are paying us $3,500 to put lights up on their houses.  “By my third year, I was hitting a net profit of right around $138,000.”  Now Trees crisscrosses the country with strands of lights and a tiny house to teach others how they can build their own businesses hanging twinkling bulbs. On the First Day of Christmas Lighting Ah, the fond memories of hauling out last year’s box of lights to add some holiday cheer to the humble abode. Haphazardly arrange the lights around the front stoop, throw a wreath on the door and voilá!  But if you’re starting a business hanging lights, that simplified recollection can lead to costly errors, according to Trees. And he should know, because he had the same idea. “We were making mistakes on everything — we were just a bunch of guys thinking, ‘Hey, this is going to be easy,’” Trees says. “We were hanging other people’s lights — that’s a huge no-no.… The second stage was hanging the crummy lights from retailers. “I’m surprised I made it through the first couple years.” By the third year, Trees had moved onto purchasing lights from wholesale vendors, which offered discounts for bulk purchases. He was also buying commercial-grade strands so that when one bulb went out, they didn’t all go out. But Trees says his biggest mistake had nothing to do with lights — it was underbidding jobs. “I got into it in the first year…  and I didn’t make any money — probably lost money,” Trees says. “I was charging $150 for jobs that should have been $850. “I bid a job for $3,500 that should have literally been $35,000. It was horrible.”  Enlightening Business Strategies Trees’ students echo his refrain, noting that learning from other professionals early on can help transform a business idea into a profitable enterprise — and with a lot fewer mistakes along the way. One of Trees’ early students was Jeff Krall, owner of American Holiday Lights in Illinois. In 2008, Krall attended an individual training session, which Trees conducted before he started traveling the country to teach classes. “Josh helped me get it started,” says Krall. “Everything from how to hang the lights on the rooflines… making our own extension cords, how to wrap the trees. “It would take someone… two or three years to learn how to do it correctly, whereas Josh, in two or three days, he tells them how to do everything.” In his first season of business, Krall estimates he had 30 clients. Now he manages 25 to 35 employees who light 35 to 40 houses a day during the season, at an average price of $1,400 to $1,500 per house. However, those visions of sugarplums and dollar signs dancing in your head might not be in your immediate future — or at least not the first season. In 2017, Lucas Pulvermacher decided to add a light-hanging business to his busy lawn care enterprise near Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  “My first year was tricky because I had to have an inventory of the lights. That’s a fairly large cost — and also the ladder, equipment, safety stuff like that,” says Pulvermacher. “I’d say we came out about even.” Pulvermacher says his Lucas Lights lit three houses and two businesses after launching in mid-November last year — “It was hard because we started so late.”  After taking Trees’ class to learn marketing and sales strategies, Pulvermacher invested in professionally designed materials, including a logo. Beyond Christmas Lights One of the cool things about those twinkling lights is that they still work after Jan. 1. That means there’s more business after the wintry holiday season. “A lot of the guys we work with, they do wedding lights, event lights, party lights and backyard lighting, that sort of thing, and a lot also do landscape lighting,” says Trees, who estimates that light installations for weddings bring in $1,800 on average but can go as high as $7,000. Krall, who also owns a roofing business, hangs lights all year round for backyard weddings, Diwali festival of lights celebrations and Halloween parties — “but the majority of what we do is Christmas,” he notes. Holiday Gigs So let’s say you’re not ready to start your own business but being outside hanging lights sounds like a better gig than working a seasonal retail job.  You might be in luck. Krall notes that the toughest part of his business is finding good, reliable help. “We got creative this year, so we align ourselves with other companies out there that are seasonal, like landscapers or pool companies,” Krall says. “When they’re laying off, we’re actively developing relationships.” Trees recommends that installers offer tiered bonus pay, adding an extra $1 per hour each week to incentivize continued attendance as the season winds down — particularly in January when companies have to take down the lights. “Helpers can typically make anywhere from between… $13 at the low end to about $20 at the high end — and that’s before bonuses,” Trees says. “When you find somebody that’s good, it’s key that you keep those people, because it’s temporary, and they know it’s temporary.” For people interested in finding holiday lighting jobs in their area, Trees suggests checking places like Craigslist, Indeed and the We Hang Christmas Lights site, which includes a directory of light installers that’s searchable by zip code — just mention your interest in a job when you fill out the online form.  Trees has found that these holiday gigs are best suited for people who work warm-weather jobs in roofing, tree trimming and window washing. All of which have at least one trait in common — no fear of heights.  And yes, the money is nice, but Krall and Pulvermacher agree that the best part of hanging bulbs is the way their customers’ faces light up when they see the finished product. “Everybody’s in a really good mood around Christmas time,” says Krall.  Pulvermacher adds: “It’s just kind of a cozy feeling when you see a house all lit up.” Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder.  This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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These 14 Strategies Will Help You Save Big on Your Universal Orlando Trip

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These 14 Strategies Will Help You Save Big on Your Universal Orlando Trip
While theme parks are high on the list of favorite vacation destinations, they can get really expensive really quickly when you factor in extras like hotels and food.  Here at The Penny Hoarder, we believe in a healthy balance between work and play. So if you can afford it, take that dream vacation and enjoy every second of it — just make sure you don’t completely abandon your penny hoarding ways.  If you’re headed to Universal Orlando Resort — home to the incredible Wizarding World of Harry Potter — check out the insider tips I’ve developed as an Orlando native and former witch at Universal’s Diagon Alley. You’ll save money in the parks without sacrificing any of the fun.  Find Tickets for Less Your savings can start before you even step through the turnstiles — check out these ideas for cutting the cost of park admission! 1. Buy Your Tickets Ahead of Time The simplest way to save on Universal Studios’ prices for park entry is to buy your tickets before you get to the gate. You can save up to $20 per person when you buy multiday tickets online. If you’re traveling with a family of four, that’s $80 in savings already.  2. Use Your AAA Membership to Your Advantage Prices vary, so make sure to ask about discounted Universal tickets at your local AAA office. You can save 15% or more when you buy through AAA. 3. Buy the Lowest-Tier Ticket and Upgrade Later As long as you purchase your tickets directly through Universal Studios, you can upgrade your tickets at guest services at any point during your trip.  This is a good idea for anyone traveling with kids — they get sick, burned out and do not care if you spent a hundred extra dollars on a three-day ticket.  If you come to find everyone is up for an extra day, you can upgrade your tickets by paying the difference — as long as you do so before you leave the park. Once your tickets expire, you’ll have to pay for new ones.  4. Shop Around Carefully Orlando is riddled with sleazy ticket vendors promising half-price theme park tickets.  But beware — even if the tickets you purchase are real, these vendors may be selling them illegally. These tickets often come from park employees or locals who work special events and receive complimentary passes. Universal does not permit the sale of these passes.  If you get caught at the gate, you’re out of luck — and money.  Still, there are some reputable ticket sites out there. Just make sure to do your research on the seller before buying. Travel and Accommodations After tickets, the hotel and travel fees are the biggest items in your vacation budget. Here are some strategies for saving on these expenses. 5. Book Everything in Advance If you’re a seasoned Penny Hoarder, you probably already know this tactic: Purchasing plane tickets and reserving your hotel room ahead of time are the easiest ways to get the best rates. 6. To Resort or Not to Resort? Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer here: It’s going to take some number crunching on your end to figure out which hotel situation is right for you. There are less expensive hotels (or Airbnb rentals!) if you leave the Universal Resort property, but you may end up paying more in the long run because you’ll miss out on some pretty sweet perks at the parks.  To keep it brief(ish), here’s a cost-effectiveness breakdown: Select Universal Resort hotels include shuttle transport to and from the airport and the parks. So staying on the property could save you on transportation costs, plus the $25/day parking fee you’d pay if you were driving. But more importantly, and something to consider if you had planned to buy Express Passes anyway: Certain resort hotels throw in free Universal Express Unlimited passes for each member of the family — a $129 value per person per day. (Think: Family of four spending four days in the parks. $129 times four people times four days = $2,064.)  Another bonus? Universal Resort hotel guests get early entry to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and parts of Volcano Bay: You’ll get a whole hour to explore each morning before the major crowds come pouring in. Whew. Did you catch all that? Great, because I have one final point to make: If you go the Universal Resort hotel route, and you take advantage of those Express Unlimited passes, you could feasibly cut a day off your in-park time and a day off your trip (which means one less day paying for tickets and a hotel.)  If you’re not concerned about crowds, wait times or transportation (maybe you’re driving in to save on airfare!), then a cheaper, off-property hotel might be the right answer for your family. I’m just trying to show you all the options, friends! Making the Most of Your Time By making the most of your time, you can hit more attractions without shelling out for extra days inside the gates. 7. Decide if Express Passes Are Right for You If you’re still on the fence about whether to secure Express Passes for your trip (and you’re not going the resort hotel route), here are some points to consider. Visitors can often package Express Passes with admission tickets, lowering the overall cost significantly.  However, if you’re a serious Harry Potter fan, you should know that Express Passes are not valid for some attractions in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Here’s a really helpful guide that breaks down Express Passes along with the rides and attractions they work on.  If you decide you don’t need to skip the lines all day every day, you could buy each member of your family a one-day Express Unlimited pass. You can knock out a pretty hefty list of attractions that day, then go at a more leisurely pace for the remainder of your trip. 8. Plan Your Vacation Around Peak Season Check this handy crowd calendar from Orlando Informer (a seriously great resource for all things Orlando and theme parks) to figure out which days will be the least crowded. Smaller crowds mean less wait time; less wait time means you can spend fewer days in the parks; and fewer days in the parks means you save on tickets.  Attendance is lowest on weekdays, particularly in late fall and late winter. If your family can afford the time off work and school, you’ll get the most bang for your buck at these times. Save on Universal Studios’ Prices Inside the Park While most of your savings will come from big-ticket items like park entry and the hotel, the little things can add up quickly.  9. Use the Lockers Bring everything you think you’ll need with you, and rent an all-day locker for about $10 per day. You get unlimited opening privileges, unlike the timed and complimentary lockers, so you can use your locker as a home base to return to when you need to reapply sunscreen, change into dry clothes or grab a sweatshirt for the evening chill (yep, even in Florida).  Even though you’re paying $10 a day, you’re saving money by not shelling out for $40 sweatshirts for the whole family when the sun goes down.  10. Avoid Paying for Pricy Food Theme park food is expensive. On your way to your hotel, purchase breakfast food (if your hotel doesn’t offer free breakfast) and portable snacks. The parks allow small snacks that don’t require heating or refrigeration — and while you can’t bring a picnic lunch, the rules are a little fuzzy as to what constitutes a “small snack,” so you can probably make a case for many items. Avoid buying expensive sodas and bottled water inside the parks — you can bring in sealed or empty water bottles to refill throughout the day.  Now, while this Penny Hoarder would usually recommend bringing all the snacks, splitting meals four ways, and avoiding expensive alcohol and novelty treats, I do have one caveat: If you’re primarily there for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter experience, consider investing in a dining plan. Even if you just purchase one, your whole party will be able to sample the fun Wizarding World treats — and if butterbeer i [...]
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Spend One Minute Doing This to Earn 5 Cents/Gallon in Points to Save on Gas

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Spend One Minute Doing This to Earn 5 Cents/Gallon in Points to Save on Gas
There are a lot of ways to save money on gas. You can drive across town to find the cheapest gas station. You can obsess over finding the quickest route. Or you can spend one minute downloading an app that automatically earns you points to save money when you fill up your tank. Sound easier? We think so, too. With the Exxon Mobil Rewards+ app, you automatically earn points to save money every time you fill up at Exxon or Mobil stations. Until February 2020, you can earn 5 cents per gallon, compared to the app’s usual offer of 3 cents. It also lets you pay easily and securely through the app — without swiping a card.  Watch Your Savings Pile Up With the Exxon Mobil Rewards+ App If you’re consistent about it, that nickel discount really adds up.  Consider this: The average American driver goes through roughly 650 gallons of gas per year. At a current average price of about $2.30 per gallon, that means your typical American spends about $1,500 a year on gas. At that rate, this app could save you $32.50 per year — free money that you could pocket or that you could spend on whatever you want. Oh, you’re a two-car family? That’s $65 in the bank. If you drive a lot, you’ll save even more. You’re a VIP at 11,500 Stations It’s easy to be consistent about using the app whenever you get gas, too. That’s because Exxon and Mobil have about 11,500 gas stations scattered across the North American landscape. Seriously, they’re everywhere. You can earn points to automatically get discounts at all of those stations. Even if you’re not the kind of driver who actively hunts for a particular kind of gas station, the odds are good that, wherever you are, you’ll find an Exxon or Mobil station nearby. Just Google it. There’s probably a station, like, one minute from you. The Easiest Way to Save on Gas It takes just a minute to download the app on Apple or Android and connect your payment information (credit, debit or Apple Pay). Once you’re parked next to a gas pump, you just press a button in the app, and the app turns the pump on. Plus, doing everything through the app means you won’t risk subjecting your credit card to illegal skimmers attempting to steal your credit card information.  Here are some nitty-gritty details about the app: When you buy gas with the app, you earn rewards points. Once you have 100 rewards points, you can start redeeming your points on gas purchases. Until February 2020, you can earn points to save 5 cents per gallon on gas this way. That’s a temporary increase from the typical 3 cents per gallon with this app. So if you’re thinking about signing up, the sooner the better. If you’re filling your tank with premium gas, you can earn points to save 10 cents per gallon through February 2020.   We can’t think of an easier way to save on gas. If you’re ready to start earning and saving at the pump, download the app and get started.  Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He drives a lot and would love to save on gas. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Big List of Stocking Stuffers for Men (50 ideas!)

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Big List of Stocking Stuffers for Men (50 ideas!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Looking for stocking stuffers for men? Here’s a list of 50 different stocking stuffer gift ideas for that man in your life. Most all of these stocking stuffer gift ideas for men are both inexpensive and practical — which I think is truly the perfect combination! Many of these were submitted as stocking stuffer gift ideas on our Facebook Page. Others of these are ones that I have given my husband or that I think he probably really would like (shh! Don’t share this list with him as I will likely be using some of the ideas off of here for his stocking stuffers this year!) Looking for more stocking stuffer gift ideas? Be sure to check out my post with 23 Stocking Stuffer ideas from Dollar Tree and 7 Ways to Save on Stocking Stuffers. I hope you find some helpful ideas on this list! (I’d love for you to share your favorite stocking stuffer gift ideas for men in the comments!) Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Men 1. Hand and feet warmers (especially great if they are hunters) 2. Winter hat/gloves 3. Work gloves 4. Car air fresheners 5. Socks 6. Aftershave 7. Beef jerky 8. Car cleaning supplies 9. $10 gift cards they can use for lunch 10. Gum 11. Trail mix 12. Pocket knife 13. Small bags of coffee 14. Flashlight 15. Hot sauce 16. Cord organizers 17. Tile (for those who often lose their phone or keys!) 18. Lip balm 19. Shaving gel/cream 20. Beard oil 21. Small screwdriver set 22. Lint roller 23. iTunes gift card 24. Nail clippers 25. Batteries 26. Portable charging bank 27. Favorite candy 28. Charging cord 29. Super glue 30. Duct tape 31. Blue painter’s tape 32. Grilling rubs 33. Back scratcher 34. New wallet 35. Key ring 36. Sunflower seeds 37. Hand sanitizer 38. Mints 39. Thumb drive 40. Head lamp 41. Razor 42. Sunglasses 43. Cologne 44. Energy bars 45. Small bluetooth speaker 46. Hand cream 47. Deodorant Diversion Safe 48. Electric toothbrush 49. Survival Pocket Tool 50. Car wash accessories What are your best ideas for stocking stuffer gifts for men? I’d love to hear! Share them with us in the comments below. [...]
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How Procrastinators Can Win at Gift-Giving

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How Procrastinators Can Win at Gift-Giving
Check the calendar. No, this isn’t a dream. It really is December, and Christmas Day is staring you straight in the face. And if you celebrate Hanukkah, it’s coming even sooner. Where did the holiday season go? Well, no time to reminisce now. It’s down to the wire, but there are still methods to save... Courtney Jespersen is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: courtney@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @CourtneyNerd. The article How Procrastinators Can Win at Gift-Giving originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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3 Strategies to Tackle Last Year’s Holiday Debt Before This Year’s Piles Up

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3 Strategies to Tackle Last Year’s Holiday Debt Before This Year’s Piles Up
Your kids may have forgotten about the gifts you got them last year, but there’s a good chance your credit card companies have been reveling in your generosity all year long.  That’s because a quarter of all parents reported they’re still paying off debt from last year’s holiday gift purchases, according to a YouGov Parent Survey. And yes, your kid may have ignored the toys in favor of the boxes they came in, but you shouldn’t ignore last year’s credit card bills if you’re piling additional expenses on the January statement. But there’s no need to go all Grinch when it comes to a payment strategy. We’re getting festive with three wintry ways to pay down your debt so that the Christmas spirit — not the debt — lasts all year long.  3 Strategies for Paying Off Holiday Debt  Do you want to tackle last year’s holiday debt before Santa slides down your chimney this year? Then let it snow! 1. Debt Avalanche Method If debt payoff is at the top on your Christmas list this year, the Debt Avalanche Method (aka debt stacking method) could be the best present under your tree. For this strategy, you’ll prioritize paying off the debt with the highest rate first. After paying the minimum payments for each card, put any additional money toward the card with the highest interest rate, then tackle the next highest and so on down the list. Pro Tip When making a list of your debts, leave off any that are outside of the statute of limitations (it varies by state). Creditors can’t sue you for old unpaid debt, aka zombie debt. Because you’ll save money in interest over the long term, Avalanche offers the most bang for your Rudolph. (Get it? male deer = buck. I’ll stop.)   2. Debt Snowball Method Let’s face it: If you’re paying off last year’s holiday debt, there’s a good chance you like the immediate gratification — that’s what holiday cheer is all about, right?  You can get the same kind of debt payoff joy without delay by using the Debt Snowball Method.  Here’s how it works: Pay off your credit card balances in ascending order, throwing any extra money beyond the minimum payment toward the credit card with the smallest balance first. As soon as you pay off one bill, you put all that extra money toward the next highest balance. Snowball isn’t quite as financially advantageous as Avalanche, since you may end up paying more in interest (although the amount is rarely significant). But knocking out a balance more quickly may be the incentive you need to keep plowing through last year’s holiday debt. FROM THE DEBT FORUM Eliminating Credit Card Debit - Take out personal loan with low interest rate 12/4/19 @ 2:28 PM L Balance transfer credit card 11/27/19 @ 6:39 PM Credit card Debt 11/19/19 @ 3:56 PM Student loans 11/20/19 @ 2:17 PM See more in Debt or ask a money question 3. Debt Snowflake Method OK, we get it: Putting a big dent in last year’s holiday debt is tough when you still want to enjoy this year’s holiday season. So instead of making grand plans, consider thinking small — like, snowflake small. For the Debt Snowflake Method, anytime you can save money on a purchase, use that “savings” to pay down your debt.  For example: Instead of buying your usual extra-large peppermint latte for $7, downsize to the smaller version for $4. Before you make another purchase, put that $3 in savings toward your credit card debt.   Pro Tip If you’re using the Snowflake method, continue making your normal monthly minimum payment in addition to the extra mini payments. Those smaller payments can really pile up, so long as you use the money for a debt payment immediately — before the savings melt away into another purchase. Snowflake is usually best used in conjunction with other methods, since it’s unlikely you’ll pay off thousands of dollars in debts with only tiny payments.  However, it could be the easy way to help you start paying off debts this holiday season, setting up good habits that you can ho-ho-hold over into the new year. Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then catch her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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What Is the Average Student Loan Debt for Graduate School?

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What Is the Average Student Loan Debt for Graduate School?
The average student loan debt for graduate school in 2015-16 was $71,000, according to the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics. That average reflects debt for master’s degrees, Ph.D.s and other graduate school loans borrowed only for advanced degrees. Including undergraduate loans increases the average debt for graduate students to... Ryan Lane is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: rlane@nerdwallet.com. The article What Is the Average Student Loan Debt for Graduate School? originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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After the sale

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After the sale
The post After the sale appeared first on ONEtoONE Corporate Finance. [...]
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Afternoon Deals: Saturday, December 21

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Afternoon Deals: Saturday, December 21
Every morning and afternoon we publish a list of the latest and best deals from our partner, DealNews. To learn more about the discounts and details, click on any of the deals for more information. To have this list, along with our latest news and stories, delivered daily to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter. For links to deals as they’re published, follow @mtndeals on Twitter. [...]
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*HOT* Get $10 worth of e.l.f. beauty products for FREE after rebate!

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*HOT* Get $10 worth of e.l.f. beauty products for FREE after rebate!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. If you love e.l.f. cosmetics, don’t miss this HOT deal! Yay! This RARE and POPULAR offer is back for a limited time only! Top Cash Back is offering a $10 rebate on ANY $10 purchase at e.l.f., making it free! This is for new Top Cash Back members only. If you are already a member, you are allowed to sign up another adult in your household. Here’s how to get your free e.l.f. goodies: 1. Sign up for a new Top Cash Back account here. 2. Head here for the special e.l.f. offer. 3. Make a purchase valued at $10 or higher. 4. Within 14 days, your Top Cash Back account will be credited with $10 — enough to cover your purchase! 5. After you receive the $10 payment in your Top Cash Back account, you can choose to transfer it to your bank account or request a Paypal payment. This deal is valid through December 31, 2019 — or while supplies last. [...]
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Bye-Bye, Robocalls? Law Would Tell Phone Carriers to ID Scam Calls

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Bye-Bye, Robocalls? Law Would Tell Phone Carriers to ID Scam Calls
Federal legislation that aims to crack down on robocalls is now waiting to be signed into law. The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act reached President Donald Trump’s desk on Friday after the U.S. House and Senate agreed on a final version of the bill. “TRACED” is an acronym for “Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence.” If signed into law... [...]
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The 10 Most Read ‘Dear Penny’ Columns of 2019

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The 10 Most Read ‘Dear Penny’ Columns of 2019
In 2019, you asked Dear Penny about mooching relatives, the mysteries of credit scores and how to bounce back when you’re behind on everything. You asked about retiring early, retiring with student loans and retiring with next to nothing saved.  But by far the most commonly asked question was whether to pay off debt vs. do everything else. These are the 10 most-read Dear Penny financial advice columns in 2019. Keep the questions coming in 2020. Ask Dear Penny your tricky money dilemmas here and you could see your question answered in a future column. The 10 Most Read ‘Dear Penny’ Financial Advice Columns of 2019 Here are your top 10 questions for Dear Penny in 2019. 1. I Helped My Daughter Buy a Car and Now She Won’t Make Payments This mom made an expensive mistake when she helped her daughter buy a car: She signed for the loan, but put the car title in her daughter’s name — with the understanding that her daughter would take over payments. Three years later, her daughter still refuses to pay up, so she reached out to Penny for solutions. 2. My Family Keeps Asking Me for Money and It’s Bleeding Me Dry Many of us would be willing to help out our families in their times of need. But what happens when your family keeps asking for more and more? That’s the situation this letter writer found himself in, so he reached out to Penny for help.  3. We’re in a Deep Financial Hole. Is There Any Way Out? The letter writer reached out to Dear Penny in a state of crisis: mounting bills she couldn’t pay, three small kids to care for, a car with shot brakes. “I’m really at a loss, and I’m having horrible anxiety over it. I don’t know what to do,” the letter writer wrote.  4. I Paid Off My Car Early. Why Did My Score Fall 79 Points? This letter writer made a savvy money move in paying off their car loan early — which is why they were so baffled when their credit score dropped. Read Penny’s explanation for why that might have happened. 5. I’m 54 With No Retirement Savings. How Do I Get Started? This letter writer greeted their 54th birthday with a crushing realization — that they were quickly approaching retirement age but had no retirement savings. Here’s what Penny suggests the reader do ASAP to get themselves on the path to retirement. 6. My Fiance Was Laid Off. He’s Fine With Letting Me Pay the Bills Forever When the letter writer’s fiance lost his job, they had to find a way to make ends meet using only her salary. Six months later, she’s tired of being the sole breadwinner, but her fiance accuses her of nagging whenever she asks him when he’s going to find a job. Read Penny’s advice for how the letter writer can productively deal with this difficult situation. 7. We Have Bad Credit. Is There Any Hope for a Debt Consolidation Loan? This letter writer hoped a debt consolidation loan would help them begin the hard work of rebuilding their credit, but their credit is so poor they keep getting turned down. How can they get themselves out of this Catch-22? Penny has some ideas. 8. Should I Invest My $10K Savings or Use It to Pay Off Debt? The letter writer has managed to save up $10,000 and now he wants to know: What should he do with it? Should he pay off debt? Invest? Here’s why Penny says he shouldn’t do either.  9. I’m a Single Mom Making $60K a Year. How Can I Retire at 45? This letter writer is 32 with a pretty ambitious goal: to retire in 13 years. While caring for two small children. And making $60,000 a year. Can she do it? Penny explains why this might not be realistic — and she also has some words about the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) movement. 10. A Heart Attack Put Me in Debt and Now I Can’t Get Out This letter writer is one of the millions of Americans who landed deeply in debt due to unexpected medical expenses, and she’s tried just about everything she could think of to get herself back out. “I’m too embarrassed to tell my family or my friends, and I definitely don’t want to ask them for more money,” she writes. Penny offers the letter writer some advice — and some compassion.   Robin Hartill is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder and the voice behind Dear Penny. Send your tricky money questions to DearPenny@thepennyhoarder.com. Deputy managing editor Caitlin Constantine contributed to this article. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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9 New Streaming Services That Launched in 2019

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9 New Streaming Services That Launched in 2019
Netflix and Hulu aren’t the only players in the streaming service sandbox, anymore. As millions of Americans continue to cut the cable TV cord, there’s an even greater selection of alternative entertainment. Don’t worry, you’ll still find plenty of hit original series and your favorite reruns from decades past. But with big names like Apple, Disney and Food Network joining... [...]
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These 9 Free TV Apps Let You Watch Your Favorite Shows — Without the Bill

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These 9 Free TV Apps Let You Watch Your Favorite Shows — Without the Bill
As cable subscription prices rise higher and higher and customer satisfaction ratings dive lower and lower, cutting the cable has never been more popular.  Sure, there are the usual big names in streaming services available for a monthly fee, but it’s possible to kick subscription fees entirely. Luckily, there are more options than ever for replacing your traditional cable setup.  Many free streaming services have stepped up to offer access to content overlooked by subscription-based services.  Of course, there are some rather shady options out there that stream pirated content. But there are plenty of free, legal streaming apps that provide no-strings-attached cable cutting solutions. 9 Free TV Apps That Will Help You Cut Cable Check out these free TV apps that will help you cut the cord but still let you enjoy your favorite TV shows. 1. Crackle Crackle is one of the go-to names not just in free streaming but in streaming video in general. The cost-free service has a variety of content, ranging from classics like “Bewitched” and “All in the Family,” as well as the newer “Snatch” series. It also has hundreds of films from major studios.  For a free streaming service, Crackle’s library is truly impressive. Crackle even has a handful of original series to its name. Best of all, Crackle works on nearly all mobile devices, streaming boxes, and smart TVs. 2. Tubi TV Tubi TV has deals with major studios like Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Lionsgate. It also features lots of foreign and independent productions.  Tubi TV’s library is updated regularly, and the service claims to add new content every week. The Tubi TV app works on Android and iOS devices, Roku, Apple TV, Xbox, Samsung Smart TVs and Amazon Fire TV. To be honest, when I first heard of Tubi TV, I was skeptical because I always viewed apps like it as having the movies no one wanted to see. However, I was pleasantly surprised — the library is solid. Since the service is ad-supported, you can expect to watch a couple minutes of ads every ten minutes or so. The experience is pretty similar to watching normal television.  3. Pluto TV Pluto TV stands out in the free streaming crowd in that the service offers channels of linear content much like a cable package. There are dozens of movie channels, sports channels, news — and even some highly curated streams of niche content.  Pluto TV boasts a large list of supported devices including iOS and Android devices, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TVand Chromecast devices and Android TV.  Like Tubi TV, Pluto TV has advertisements. It’s pretty similar to the ad load of normal TV.  4. NewsON Streaming video isn’t always just about entertainment. For the more serious-minded cord-cutters out there, the NewsON app provides hundreds of local and national news streams.  Both live and on-demand news broadcasts can be streamed from over 275 local news affiliates in 160 markets. The broadcasts are available for up to 48 hours after they air.  Users can then select which news segments they want to watch from categories like sports, weather or entertainment. NewsON is compatible with iOS and Android phones and tablets, as well as Roku. I find NewsOn particularly useful when I don’t want to deal with hooking up an antenna. As far as local programming is concerned, the news is really all I need.   FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM What kind of store bought pizza is almost or as good as pizza chains? 12/27/19 @ 9:06 PM M Saving for and with grandchildren 12/23/19 @ 6:52 PM M What has been your money epiphany? 2/22/19 @ 10:59 AM Saving money 2/8/19 @ 6:59 AM M See more in Save Money or ask a money question 5. Funny Or Die Funny or Die is without a doubt the go-to streaming app for comedy programming. Founded in 2007 by contemporary comedy giants Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, it has since grown to be a full-blown production house featuring original content from some of the biggest names in show business. It also has syndicated content In 2018, the platform began publishing on Vox Media’s Chorus and now uses the YouTube Player. Content on the app must be streamed and cannot be downloaded.  As for my personal experience, I’ve honestly spent quite a bit of time laughing my butt off at the videos. Funny or Die is easy to use and great for finding new hilarious content. 6. PBS Kids Kids need free streaming content, too. Luckily, PBS has a PBS Kids Video app that provides hundreds of hours of educational and enriching content just for the youngest members of any family. The app has a colorful, child-friendly interface, which makes it easy for kids to take control themselves.  Videos from many of PBS’s most popular series are available for streaming including “Curious George,” “The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That” and “Sesame Street.” The PBS Kids app is supported for Android, Windows and iOS phones and tablets.   7. Crunchyroll Anime and manga fans are likely already familiar with Crunchyroll. The sushi-inspired name stems from the fact that Crunchyroll specializes in mostly Japanese content, but it also features films and series from all over the world. Crunchyroll boasts a library of thousands of anime films and series, many of which are hard to find on other streaming services.  There is a paid premium feature, but the free Crunchyroll service has thousands of hours of popular series like the “Dragon Ball” franchise, “Attack on Titan,” “Naruto” and “One Piece.” The Crunchyroll app is supported by Apple, Android and Windows mobile devices, as well as by gaming consoles, Chromecast, Apple TV and Roku.  Crunchyroll is a great app for anyone with an interest in anime. Of course, when it comes to anime content, you have to be watchful with your younger children, as a lot of it is geared towards teens (and sometimes even adults).  8. Twitch For anyone with even a passing interest in gaming and esports, Twitch is the go-to free streaming service.  Twitch hosts user-created channels and streams focused on video games and other esports. It features a built-in chat feature, so users can chat with other streamers in real time.  While there are thousands of free streams, Twitch also features premium features for a monthly subscription. Twitch apps are compatible with PCs, iOS and Android devices, game consoles, Chromecast and Fire TV. While Twitch is popular with children, parents should beware: Twitch streams are somewhat unregulated and can sometimes contain adult language or content. 9. YouTube Yes, YouTube. No list of cost-free streaming video services would be complete without it. YouTube apps are compatible with just about every device out there that has a screen, and the service features videos to choose from on nearly any topic imaginable.  Most of those videos are not exactly premium content, but there are still plenty of full-length films, documentary series and curated channels that provide cost-free entertainment for the whole family.  While there are ways to download YouTube content for offline viewing, proceed with caution: Many of these sites and apps are full of malware. With so many free streaming options out there, it’s easier than ever to cut the cord an [...]
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Why You Should Travel Last-Minute at Least Once

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Why You Should Travel Last-Minute at Least Once
Many people plan their vacations and travel days months in advance. After all, plane tickets are often cheaper, accommodation is less expensive — and a pre-planned trip offers the opportunity to map out routes, design schedules and organize every detail. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this sort of travel — indeed, it’s often... Alisha McDarris is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article Why You Should Travel Last-Minute at Least Once originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Why London could become the Bitcoin capital of the world

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Why London could become the Bitcoin capital of the world
Editor’s Note: this is the 8th post on Daily Fintech, written in 2014 – before all the political craziness of Brexit To give our authors a break over the holidays, we are re-posting from our archive of over 1,000 articles. Rather than pick favourites we elected to simply repost the first 8 articles (as that was over 5 years ago you may have missed them; we were pretty unknown then).  As we close out 2019, make a resolution to be smarter about Fintech in 2020 by subscribing for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day). You will get all our fresh daily insights and participate in our forum. You can also read our archives with over 1,000 articles, an example of which you are reading from over 5 years ago. We look forward to welcoming you to the Daily Fintech membership community today! Fresh insights will be coming from our knowledge bakery tomorrow. This is one of a series called Explorations down the Bitcoin rabbit hole. First, my bias. I am a Brit. When I left the UK in 1990, the start up scene was dismal, new ideas were greeted with skepticism and the status quo was glorified. It is a great pleasure to see that point of view so totally reversed now. There is a vibrancy, optimism and big ambition change-the-world thinking that is “oh dear, so Unbritish”. The UK tech scene has had false starts before. 8 years ago I was writing about how innovation was going global and yet Silicon Valley still dominates to an extent that I did not envisage when I wrote this post on ReadWrite in 2007. I think this story about London as a leading global Fintech/Bitcoin center has legs for 3 reasons: Critical mass of techies and rich people. Paul Graham of Y Combinator fame famously said that all you need for an innovation center is (i paraphrase) techies and rich people. There is one caveat. The rich people must have made their money from the domain you are asking them to invest in. If the rich person made their money in property or manufacturing, a digital startup just looks ridiculous. London has plenty of people who made their money in Finance. They know that even the most venerable institutions are “data centers with fancy lobbies”, so a new tech powered innovation is not too big a stretch for them. A light regulatory touch. Compare what the Cameron government is proposing vs what the New York State Department of Financial Services has proposed. It is clearly a fine line to walk. It is counterproductive if a center becomes a haven for scamsters and consumers to lose a lot of money. Bitcoin is a global phenomenon and many Bitcoin startups have global teams who can decide where they want to be based and regulation (along with talent and capital) is key to that decision. Regulation to protect consumers is good. Regulation to protect incumbents from competition is bad. New York has a lot of incumbents that certainly want protection; if they succeed in getting it, London will have a playing field tilted in their favor. Talent with the right mix of domain expertise and deep tech. Fintech needs both. Deep tech expertise can be found in any location with good Computer Science colleges. Fintech startups need those engineers in the same room with people who understand the nuances of things like credit rating, derivatives, exchanges, asset management and so on. The devil is in the details that sit at the intersection of both deep tech and. domain expertise. I see three “straws in the wind” to indicate that this is happening now: MeetUp attendance for hot new Bitcoin 2.0 platforms such as Ethereum. These could be huge or they could be flashes in the pan. What matters is how the techies are voting with their time. London is doing well on that score. The VC funding for Bitcoin startups. The numbers from Coinbase show Europe ahead of Asia in Q2 ($30.9 vs $20.8). This is still a long, long way from the $186m for America and I would like to see the regional numbers (e.g NY vs Valley and London vs Berlin) but I suspect that London is far ahead of any other European center. The Valley will always score on access to big Funds. What matters is London vs New York i.e two centers with deep Financial Services domain skills and networks. Big Silicon Valley Funds such as Accel see the trend lines and are setting up in London or strengthening their operations. This is one of a series called Explorations down the Bitcoin rabbit hole   As we close out 2019, make a resolution to be smarter about Fintech in 2020 by subscribing for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day). You will get all our fresh daily insights and participate in our forum. You can also read our archives with over 1,000 articles, an example of which you are reading from over 5 years ago. We look forward to welcoming you to the Daily Fintech membership community today! The post Why London could become the Bitcoin capital of the world appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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3 Costly Social Security Mistakes That Women Make

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3 Costly Social Security Mistakes That Women Make
Retirement planning is an important part of long-term financial wellness. For women, the process can be especially fraught. In general, women tend to make less money and live longer than men. This combination can lead to lower Social Security benefits and other issues. Let’s take a look at some of the costliest Social Security mistakes that women might make. Deciding to take Social Security... [...]
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A dream that came true

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A dream that came true
The post A dream that came true appeared first on ONEtoONE Corporate Finance. [...]
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4 Expiring Tax Breaks Extended Through 2020

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4 Expiring Tax Breaks Extended Through 2020
Federal budget legislation enacted in late December did a lot more than fund the government for another year. As we’ve recently reported, this bill package included provisions that tweak everything from retirement accounts to cable TV bills, for example. It also extends several tax breaks for individuals that had expired already or were about to expire, making them available for your tax... [...]
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Save an Extra $500 a Month? What That Looks Like In 30 Years

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Save an Extra $500 a Month? What That Looks Like In 30 Years
Saving for the future can be a real challenge. It’s human nature to want to enjoy things now, so sacrificing today to put money aside for the years or even decades ahead is difficult for many. As the saying goes, though, good things certainly come to those who wait. The sacrifices that you make now ... Read More about Save an Extra $500 a Month? What That Looks Like In 30 Years The post Save an Extra $500 a Month? What That Looks Like In 30 Years appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Reasons to sell a business

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Reasons to sell a business
The post Reasons to sell a business appeared first on ONEtoONE Corporate Finance. [...]
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Got a New Year’s Debt Resolution? Here Are 5 Tips to Keep It

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Got a New Year’s Debt Resolution? Here Are 5 Tips to Keep It
When it comes to debt, hindsight is 2020 (like I wouldn’t go there).  Sure, you could have skipped that shoe shopping spree or turned down that loan to cover spring break — we all make mistakes. But whatever errors you made in the past, you’ve resolved that this is the year you’ll eliminate your debt. But it’s been a few weeks, and you’re still not sure where to start. Your resolve is starting to waver. Your approach to debt doesn’t have to be a one-payment-fits-all strategy. In fact, depending on the type of debt you owe, your method could be key to paying off the debt faster. We’re here with five common types of debt and ways to conquer them this year. Five Strategies to Keep Your New Year’s Debt Resolution To see success with a resolution, you should start by setting specific goals. And the best way to decide on your debt-free goals is to base your strategy on the type of debt you want to tackle.  Here are five common debts and strategies for wiping them out. 1. Crush the Credit Card Debt If you’re prioritizing your financial goals this year, paying off the double-digit credit card debt should be at the top of your list.  Why? Let’s look at an example: You bought a $1,000 laptop and have been making a payment of $25 per month on a credit card that charges 18% interest. At that rate, you’ll pay $539 in interest and it will take you more than five years to pay off the laptop. Moral of the story: Putting a dent in the credit card debt — or eliminating it completely — can save you a bundle in time and money. Pro Tip Want to maximize your debt payoff strategy? Think small. Here’s how the debt snowflake method lets you pile up tiny payments to make a big dent in your debt. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start by figuring how much credit card debt you have by adding up the balances across all your credit cards. Then, it’s a matter of picking your debt payoff strategy.  We reviewed five methods for paying off your credit card debt — along with ways to determine which strategy is right for you based on your lifestyle, your personality and your current financial situation. Pick your weapon of choice and set your plan of debt attack in 2020. 2. Vanquish the Student Loans Make 2020 the year you tackle your student loan debt so you can stop beating yourself up for using your loan check to trick out your dorm room. Why prioritize paying off student loans? A student loan is almost never dischargeable in bankruptcy, which means those loans — and the debt collectors — will follow you forever or until you pay them off (but there are other options for getting your federal student loans forgiven). Pro Tip If you’re nearing retirement and still paying off student loans — whether for yourself or your kids — check out these specific strategies for paying off student loans when you’re over 50. If you’re a recent grad — or you’re just not sure where to start — finding out who you owe money to is the first step. If you took out multiple loans over the course of your college career, here’s a guide to figuring out how much you owe in student loans.  And if you’re making the debt payoff your mission this year, check out these 11 strategies for paying off student loans that you can start now. 3. Ditch the Underwater Car Loan There’s no use staring in the rearview mirror at how you should have bought that used subcompact rather than taking out a long-term auto loan for the brand new SUV.  If it helps (and I know it doesn’t), you’re not alone. With ever-climbing prices on vehicles, more people are lengthening their loan terms to lower their monthly payments. New car loan terms between 85 and 96 months (that’s seven- to eight-year car loans) increased 38% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 2018.  Here’s how to calculate the equity in your vehicle: Value of your vehicle – loan payoff amount = equity But if you’re ready to dump that clunker before you pay off the loan, there’s a good chance you owe more on the car than it’s worth (consider: New cars lose around 20% of their value the moment they leave the lot, according to AAA).  If you owe more than your car is worth, paying off that underwater car loan should be your priority. How do you do it? There are smart ways, such as hanging onto the car and paying off the negative equity. Then there are less financially savvy options, like rolling over the amount you still owe into another auto loan so that you’re already underwater on the new car loan.  We explain your options in this guide to getting out of your underwater car loan. 4. Kill the Medical Debt Medical debt can be particularly frustrating because it’s often due to health issues that are out of your control.  But making paying off medical debt a priority in 2020 can not only improve your financial outlook but also leave you feeling less stressed about the old debt (and thus reduce your chances of piling on more bills for stress-related medical issues — bonus resolution!). We have seven ways to deal with medical debt that will help you identify how much you owe, negotiate for a lower price and ask for help if you can’t afford the bills.  By tackling your medical debt step by step, you can make 2020 the year you feel better — both physically and fiscally. FROM THE DEBT FORUM Personal loan vs Cash Advance to pay off credit card 1/10/20 @ 5:32 PM Suze Orman says CAR LEASES are always a BAD financial move - do you agree? 4/18/19 @ 11:47 AM Where does debt go? 1/10/20 @ 12:48 PM n Son has gotten himself into a credit card mess! 1/3/20 @ 9:49 PM See more in Debt or ask a money question 5. Kick Your Mortgage to the Curb You may have heard that mortgage is a “good debt.” That’s because on average, returns in the stock market are higher than mortgage interest rates, so in theory you can make more money in the stock market than you’d save by paying off the mortgage. Of course, that also assumes you can pick winning stocks. But interest on mortgages are indeed at historically low rates, so if you have other, higher interest debts — like credit card bills — it’s best to prioritize paying those off before diving into your low-interest mortgage. However, if you don’t have other debts and your goal is to live the debt-free life, this can be the year you can tackle the mortgage debt.  Wondering where to start? There are multiple strategies — from refinancing to making extra payments. This video about how to pay off your mortgage early explains your options. With your debt payoff goals in sight, it looks like 2020 could be your year of financial freedom. Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then catch her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Blockchain Thematic ETFs from the West to the East

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Blockchain Thematic ETFs from the West to the East
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FREE Month of Disney Plus after cash back! {HOT}

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FREE Month of Disney Plus after cash back! {HOT}
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Looking for a way to get Disney Plus for FREE? Don’t miss this deal! If you’re excited about Disney Plus and you’re looking for a way to try it for free for a while, don’t miss this HOT deal! TopCashBack is offering new members $12.99 cash back on your purchase of one month of Disney+ right now, making it FREE! Here’s how to get your FREE month of Disney Plus: 1. Head here for the special Disney+ offer and sign up for a new Top Cash Back account. 2. Purchase a month of Disney Plus for $12.99. 3. Within 21 days, your TopCashBack account will be credited with $12.99 — enough to cover your purchase! 4. After you receive the $12.99 payment in your TopCashBack account, you can choose to transfer it to your bank account or request a Paypal payment. This is for new TopCashBack members only. If you are already a member, you are allowed to sign up another adult in your household. This deal is valid through February 3, 2020 — or while supplies last. [...]
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4 Ways to Spot a Work-From-Home Job Scam

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4 Ways to Spot a Work-From-Home Job Scam
Work-from-home jobs are becoming more common — who doesn’t want to help out with the family finances while being there for your little ones while wearing yoga pants with a messy bun all day? That unfortunately also means that there are scams popping up all over the internet offering work-from-home jobs that might not be ... Read More about 4 Ways to Spot a Work-From-Home Job Scam The post 4 Ways to Spot a Work-From-Home Job Scam appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Secrets to a Happier Marriage

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Secrets to a Happier Marriage
Last week, Jesse and I shared some of our favorite tips and tricks for keeping the spark alive in your marriage on the podcast. We didn’t want to stop there, though. This week, we invited Matt and Lisa Jacobson to come share their perspective and secrets on how to keep your marriage alive and thriving. Matt and Lisa have been married 27 years, have eight children, and are speakers, podcasters, and authors who are passionate about the topic of marriage. In this episode, they share their personal anecdotes, practical ideas, and hard won advice on how to have a truly happy marriage — even during the unexpected and really difficult seasons of life. A few topics we discuss: how their marriage grew stronger as a result of having a child who was born with brain damage and wasn’t expected to live their secrets to making dates happen (it might surprise you)! what a wife should do if she’s feeling frustrated or disappointed by her husband their best advice for young couples how to stop just surviving marriage and actually begin to thrive! And so much more! In This Episode:  [01:40] Matt and Lisa introduce themselves and share a bit about their businesses and books. [03:43] They have 8 children between the ages of 26 and 12 and have still managed to thrive.  [06:35] Has the topic of marriage always been a passionate subject for Matt and Lisa?  [08:20] How can you create and build a great marriage?  [09:30] Listen as Lisa relates a small moment she and Matt shared that inspired one of their books. [11:57] What can newlyweds do to set themselves up for a long and prosperous relationship?  [14:37] Your wife should feel cherished.  [16:22] What you need to do to make a great date happen. [17:31] Ladies, you don’t have to wait for your husband to pursue you! [19:38] Your man isn’t made of Teflon. Things stick. Listen as Lisa and Matt share tips and tricks for being mindful of your words.  [24:32] What can you do today to make your marriage better? Small, practical things you can do to bolster your relationship. Links and Resources: Faithful Man Club 31 Women Faithful Life Podcast 100 Ways to Love Your Husband 100 Ways to Love Your Wife 100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear 100 Words of Affirmation Your Wife Needs to Hear CrystalPaine.com YourBloggingMentor.com My Instagram account (I’d love for you to follow me there! I usually hop on at least a few times per day and share behind-the-scenes photos and videos, my grocery store hauls, funny stories, or just anything I’m pondering or would like your advice or feedback on!) Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email: crystal@moneysavingmom.com How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show The podcast is available on iTunes, Android, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player here. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.) Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app. [...]
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When a traditional risk fix isn’t the fix, and sometimes a fix needs to be found for a risk

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When a traditional risk fix isn’t the fix, and sometimes a fix needs to be found for a risk
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Sign up for the FREE 21 Days of Leggings Challenge!

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Sign up for the FREE 21 Days of Leggings Challenge!
I know, I know. Leggings can be a bit controversial. Some people love them, some people loathe them. Personally, I’m in the loving leggings camp — especially in my pregnancy. Truth be told, I’ve worn almost nothing but leggings and tunic type tops for the last 3 months! (Some of you probably just fell out of your chair in shock that I would be so boring or casual all the time!) I’ve found lots of cute ways to dress them up and dress them down, depending upon the occasion. And I don’t even think most people have noticed that I’ve been living in them for three months. 🙂 If you love leggings, but you’re looking for some cute ways to wear them, you’ll want to sign up for the 21 Days of Leggings Challenge. It’s FREE to join and you’ll get a PDF with lots of stylish ways to put together outfits. I love the Outfit Formulas from Get Your Pretty On. And I especially love that this PDF of Outfit Formulas combines two of my favorite things: leggings and FREE! Go sign up for the FREE 21 Days of Leggings Challenge here. By the way, you don’t have to commit to the 21-day challenge if you sign up (unless you want to, of course). But I promise it will inspire you with some fresh new ideas of ways to wear one of the comfiest types of pants ever created! [...]
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How Much Should I Spend on Rent?

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How Much Should I Spend on Rent?
Before you start scanning Craigslist and Zillow for rental options, determine how much you can truly afford. Here are a few ways to figure that out. The 30% rule One popular rule of thumb is to spend around 30% of your gross income on rent. So if you earn $2,800 per month before taxes, you... Kelsey Sheehy is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: ksheehy@nerdwallet.com. The article How Much Should I Spend on Rent? originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Two Projects You Can DIY (and 1 You Should Almost Never)

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Two Projects You Can DIY (and 1 You Should Almost Never)
You might not think you’re handy, but there’s plenty you are capable of doing. Anyone who can manage more than one schedule and figure out how to put booties on a fussy baby can do just about anything. While there’s something to be said for the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a home ... Read More about Two Projects You Can DIY (and 1 You Should Almost Never) The post Two Projects You Can DIY (and 1 You Should Almost Never) appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Blunt Truths About Medical Expenses, Marijuana and Your Tax Return

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Blunt Truths About Medical Expenses, Marijuana and Your Tax Return
If costly medical or dental bills have you feeling sick, there’s a potential tax-time antidote: the medical expense deduction. This can help many taxpayers cut their tax bills — if they know how it works. Two tax pros explain how to diagnose your medical bills and make your tax situation a little healthier. Some things... Tina Orem is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: torem@nerdwallet.com. The article Blunt Truths About Medical Expenses, Marijuana and Your Tax Return originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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My 9 Goals For This Week

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My 9 Goals For This Week
(All dressed up for Silent Disco Night at camp!) I could look at last week’s goals list and be discouraged at how little it feels like I crossed off. But then, I look at all that actually happened last week and I can remember that maybe it doesn’t look like I got a lot done, but I focused on people versus projects and being present versus being productive… and I realize that it was a really good week. Last week’s goals: Personal Goals 1. Get in 54,000 steps total. (I use the FitBit Ulta HR to track my steps every day.)  2. Finish reading The Path Between Us and Counterfeit Gods. Listen to The Atomic City Girls. (I decided to stop listening to this book because it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. More details on that on my book review post this week.) Home/Family Goals 3. Read 40 more pages of Carry a Big Stick aloud as a family. (I only ended up reading aloud once and we made it through 10 pages. Hey, that’s something, right?) Work/Blog Goals 4. Finish editing chapters 1-3 and finish the rough draft of chapter 4 of my manuscript.(I only got a chance to work on the book a few times last week between my friend’s funeral and being out of town helping at Youth Group camp all weekend. Here’s to hoping I make more progress this week!) 5. Run a book giveaway on Instagram with some books I’ve already read. Word of the Year Goals 6. Pop popcorn and watch another classic movie as a family. (We watched Treasure Island. Review coming later this week!) We have what looks to be a calmer week this week. We are actually home three evenings out of seven — I can’t remember the last time that has happened! And we don’t have any big things happening this week… well, anything that I know of yet! 🙂 So I’m planning 9 goals and we’ll see how it goes! 2020: Week 6 — Goals Personal Goals 1. Get in 54,000 steps total. (I use the FitBit Ulta HR to track my steps every day.)  2. Finish reading Counterfeit Gods. Listen to Eat That Frog! and Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids. 3. Go to bed by 10:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Home/Family Goals 4. Read 30 more pages of Carry a Big Stick aloud as a family. 5. Research strollers, baby carriers, and car seats. Decide what we’re going to purchase. 6. Complete 4-hour Foster Care Training. Work/Blog Goals 7. Finish editing chapters 1-3 and finish the rough draft of chapter 4 of my manuscript. Word of the Year Goals 8. Pop popcorn and watch another classic movie as a family. 9. Go to a movie with Jesse. What are YOUR goals for this week? How did you do on last week’s goals? Tell us in the comments! [...]
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7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

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7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
Spending money on expensive things you don’t need is a surefire way to deplete your bank account and lower your net worth. Many big-ticket purchases are made on impulse or otherwise represent poor judgment. If you truly can afford to buy a costly status symbol, go right ahead. However, if you want to get the most out of your money, there are many expensive items that you can and should live... [...]
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Warren Buffett makes a surprise appearance at women’s investing conference

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Warren Buffett makes a surprise appearance at women’s investing conference
This is the Variant Perspectives Conference, happening in Omaha at the same time as this weekend’s Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders event. It’s a conference about empowering female investors. And then Warren made a surprise appearance! Hat tip Paul. ... The post Warren Buffett makes a surprise appearance at women’s investing conference appeared first on The Reformed Broker. [...]
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Mother’s Day and 529 college savings plans

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Mother’s Day and 529 college savings plans
Time to read: 2 min Sunday, May 12 is Mother’s Day, providing an opportunity for those everywhere to celebrate the special mothers in their lives. And when I say mothers, I do not mean just yours — I mean any wonderful woman in your world who is a mother. Someone who nurtures, provides and loves without hesitation or qualification. This could be your sister, daughter, best friend or even a cousin twice removed.   As you celebrate Mother’s Day, consider honoring these special moms in a way that will leave a lasting legacy. By contributing to a 529 plan for their children, you celebrate motherhood while helping build a future for the recipients. You can even put your contribution in mom’s name to celebrate all she’s done for her kids. Costs continue to rise According to the most recent figures, the cost of higher education is heading in only one direction — higher. The most recent data from The College Board reports the cost of room and board, fees and tuition as exceeding $21,000 for the 2018-2019 academic year for in-state, public institutions and $48,000 for private universities.1 When you consider the burden that student loans place on young graduates, a 529 contribution could be the perfect Mother’s Day gift because every dollar saved is one less to be borrowed. 529 savings plans are tax-advantaged, meaning that contributions are after-tax, earnings grow tax-deferred and qualified distributions are tax-free. 529 plans can be used to pay for qualified educational expenses such as tuition, room and board, books, equipment and school supplies at any eligible institution. In some states, 529 plans can be used to cover up to $10,000 per year of public, private or religious elementary or secondary school tuition.  A 529 plan can be opened for anyone with a valid Social Security number. There are no account minimums to get started and no income limits to contribute. Honor the moms in your life So this Mother’s Day, consider giving the gift of college savings. It honors the special mothers in your life while providing their children with a gift that lasts a lifetime. Interested in learning more about 529 plans? Visit CollegeBound529.com to explore helpful resources and tools to plan your own education savings strategy. Before you invest, consider whether your (or the beneficiary’s) home state offers any state tax or other state benefits such as financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors that are only available for investments in that state’s qualified tuition program. For more information about CollegeBound 529, contact your financial advisor, call 877-615-4116, or visit http://www.collegebound529.com/ to obtain a Program Description, which includes investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information; read and consider it carefully before investing. Invesco Distributors, Inc. is the distributor of CollegeBound 529. 1 Source: The College Board, Trends in College Pricing 2018 Earnings on non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax, as well as state and local income taxes. Tax and other benefits are contingent on meeting other requirements and certain withdrawals are subject to federal, state, and local taxes. For beneficiary changes to occur without federal or state income tax consequences, the new beneficiary must be a family member of the current beneficiary. Important information Blog header image: monkeybusinessimages/iStockphoto.com Thomas Rowley Director, Retirement and Education Strategies Thomas Rowley is director of retirement and education strategies and one of Invesco’s most frequently requested speakers. He provides analysis of the evolving retirement landscape and develops actionable strategies to help investors and financial advisors maximize their retirement-planning opportunities. Mr. Rowley regularly shares his insights online at invesco.com/us in addition to his speaking engagements. Mr. Rowley’s insights reflect more than 20 years of experience in the investment industry. He translates his comprehensive knowledge of retirement planning into lively, clear explanations of the complexities of legislative, investing, tax and social issues. Mr. Rowley shares his analyses of retirement-related issues through regular personal appearances, continuing education webinars and Web-based commentaries. [...]
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An overview of infrastructure and master limited partnerships

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An overview of infrastructure and master limited partnerships
Time to read: 4 min Infrastructure is a topic that has been in the news consistently over the past year. Importantly, everyone seems to agree that whatever infrastructure is, the country needs more of it. Given this rare moment of national consensus, I want to welcome you to the second installment of my blog series focusing on the different types of alternative investments. My last blog focused on real estate. Today, we will drill down into the infrastructure sector and a popular subsector, master limited partnerships (MLPs). Overview of infrastructure Merriam-Webster defines infrastructure as “the basic equipment and structures (such as roads and bridges) that are needed for a country, region, or organization to function properly.” This definition is a good starting point as it links infrastructure to meeting the needs of society. Roads, bridges, airports, tunnels, power lines, water distribution systems, shipping ports and railroads are examples of infrastructure assets. On a global basis, there is a need for increased investment in infrastructure, both among emerging and developed economies. Emerging economies need infrastructure to support growth and increased urbanization. Developed countries need to make ongoing investments to maintain and upgrade existing infrastructure. For example, New York recently replaced the dilapidated Tappan Zee Bridge with the new Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, and is also in the middle of a multi-year redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of driving over the old Tappan Zee or flying through LaGuardia (as I have), you know those projects were desperately needed! As shown below, there is a global need (currently estimated at $49 trillion1) for sizeable investments in infrastructure. The challenge is how to pay for investments of such magnitude when global gross domestic product (GDP) is approximately $86 trillion.2 Global infrastructure investment need estimated at $49 trillion Map Source: Invesco Real Estate, IHS Global Insight, ITF, GWI, National Statistics, McKinsey Global Institute analysis. This is not financial advice or a recommendation to buy / hold / sell these securities. There is no guarantee that Invesco will hold these securities within its funds in the future. Chart Source: OECD; IHS Global Insight; GWI; IEA; McKinsey Global Institute analysis as of June 2018. $=US. OECD telecom estimate covers only OECD members plus Brazil, China and India. Energy estimate through 2023. There is no guarantee that these estimated needs will be funded. While many governments acknowledge their strong need to make infrastructure investments, resources are often limited due in part to ongoing budget deficits. For this reason, government investment in infrastructure has been falling as a percentage of GDP, as illustrated below: Despite need, global infrastructure investment has been declining as a percentage of GDP Source: Invesco Real Estate using data from World Bank and McKinsey Global Institute Analysis as of 2015. Latest available data. Europe is represented by the European Union. Infrastructure investment is defined by gross fixed capital investment as a percent of GDP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Public-private partnerships Given the limited ability of governments to meet the need for infrastructure investment, private investors have rushed in to fill the void. For example, the LaGuardia Airport project is being built through a public-private partnership. While the use of private funds for infrastructure is viewed as novel within the US, it is actually quite common elsewhere. Most airports outside the US are publicly listed and generate significant earnings from their retail business tenants (in addition to airline passenger fees). During my recent trip to Spain, I was struck by how much the airports resembled shopping malls. Infrastructure investment options Investors looking to gain exposure to infrastructure have several options: Listed infrastructure securities (such as the equity of firms that own and operate infrastructure) Mutual funds that invest in listed infrastructure securities Unlisted infrastructure investments (either through direct asset purchases or shares of privately placed funds) Typically, only large investors such as institutions and high-net-worth individuals can access unlisted investments, whereas listed infrastructure securities can be purchased by anyone, either directly or through mutual funds. Overview of master limited partnerships (MLPs) MLPs represent a subset of infrastructure securities – these are publicly traded limited partnerships that are generally focused on energy infrastructure within the US. Pipelines, storage facilities and processing plants are all examples of assets that MLPs build, own and operate. MLPs are typically classified into three categories: Upstream MLPs are involved in the exploration, recovery, development and production of crude oil and natural gas. Midstream MLPs are involved in the gathering, processing, storage and transportation of oil and gas. Downstream MLPs are involved in the distribution of fuels to end customers such as residential, industrial and agricultural entities. MLPs are limited partnerships and, as such, do not pay federal income tax. Rather, MLPs pass income through to the limited partners who are then subject to income tax. Also, unlike many private limited partnerships with limited liquidity, MLPs are publicly traded and provide investors with the same liquidity as a publicly traded stock. Production gains create corresponding need for more infrastructure From 1980 through 2006, US production of crude oil and natural gas fell by approximately 20%.3 We believe this decline was primarily caused by the decreasing productivity of existing oil wells. Since 2006, the US has enjoyed strong growth in energy production and is projected to become a net exporter of energy in 2020.4 The growth in US energy production has been driven by new technologies such as hydraulic fracturing. This has allowed upstream producers to extract oil and gas from previously uneconomical locations. As production has increased and new technologies have come online, the geography of US energy production has changed. For example, the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana and the Marcellus formation that spans New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee has turned those states into energy producers. One of the biggest challenges in those regions is how to transport and ship all the oil and gas. For natural gas, this challenge can be seen in the illustration below. The challenge of getting natural gas to ports Sources: Invesco Real Estate Research and Bloomberg as of December 2018. For illustrative purposes only. The increasingly diverse geography of US energy production, combined with gains in overall production, has created a strong need for more energy infrastructure. The American Petroleum Institute estimates as much as $1.3 trillion in total direct investment of oil and gas transportation and storage infrastructure will be needed through 2035 to support US energy production levels.5 MLPs are expected to play an important role in providing the capital to build this infrastructure. The evolution of MLPs As the energy industry has evolved, so have MLPs. Today, most MLPs focus on midstream energy infrastructure with natural gas (rather than oil) as the primary focus. MLPs often favor midstream infrastructure because demand has been growing for the plumbing that transports and stores oil and gas. Furthermore, revenue from midstream infrastructure is based on the volume of oil and gas processed and tends to be insulated from price fluctuations. Gas MLPs have emerged as a popular investment for a number of reasons. The US is now the world’s top producer of natural gas with several compet [...]
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The smartest investment for your innovative insurance play just might be in cultural awareness

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The smartest investment for your innovative insurance play just might be in cultural awareness
It’s not just the tech concept… TLDR Having the correct idea for underwriting, distributing, selling, adjusting, or scaling insurance may not be the right idea if the scheme is introduced or sold where the customer understands the plan but simply doesn’t accept it in cultural context.  How and where one sells an idea in the connected global insurance industry might just be more important that what is being sold. I had a great discussion with a very clever InsurTech company this week, Uncharted, a digital insurance sales facilitation and distribution entrant focused on health benefits and business SME markets (check out their website in the link- I won’t do their concept the justice they can).  They are Singapore-based, building toward a global reach.  The firm’s Chief Commercial Officer, Mark Painter, held my attention regarding how the firm was building its sales and distribution tools with the intention of giving carriers and brokers options and efficiencies from point of sale right through home office underwriting, binding and admin of data.  Taking the teeth out of the unstructured data beast, so to say.  Mark (who’s a pretty savvy finance and insurance guy now working alongside Uncharted’s founder, Nick Macey) recounted a recent experience in introducing the Uncharted system into a southeast Asia market carrier’s system, excitedly advising that significant sales admin improvement for the thousands of field agents will or had been gained for the carrier.  That’s very cool. But my follow-up question was: If the carrier’s products are traditionally sold by agents say, working off of scooters, meeting with small shopkeepers over tea, or noodles, and with the bound policy traditionally taking a few weeks to present to the insured, will an ‘instant’ policy innovation resonate with the known culture of doing business in the neighborhood?  Will an app-based policy hold the same ‘worth’ to that analog customer? It might if the businessperson is comfortable with the growing use of digital ecosystems, it might not if the owner is not. How the customer expects to transact business is the key- are you practicing innovation from the customer backwards? Well this prompted a comparison discussion of what the firm is working with in Zimbabwe, where most residents/customers transact business through smart devices using EcoCash, a mobile payment platform hosted by local telco, Econet.  In this instance EcoCash has an approximate 80% market use penetration, and as such adding services to the ecosystem is an accepted practice.  A company looking to make inroads into the market would be wise to joint venture with or leverage the Econet ecosystem rather than try to make inroads through traditional agencies.  However- once established in the market the firm would be better able to bridge to traditional insurance channels for more complex covers, riding the market awareness built through use of local, accepted practices.  Know what and how the customer expects to transact business and go with that flow.  It ofttimes does not matter how wonderful your product or service is if the customers simply are not accustomed to how you market.  The correct answer is not always the best answer. There are plenty of examples of companies ‘growing’ their insurance products organically through other business relationships built through understanding local needs.  Take for example the relationship of ride sharing platform Go-Jek and one of its investor firms, Allianz X.  The ride sharing startup was a target of Allianz’s investment, but Allianz also recognized with Go-Jek that the drivers needed insurance, and the two firms collaborated within the bounds of the business model and driver culture to make insurance available within the local reach of drivers.  Don’t be surprised if a similar insurance partnership approach isn’t carried into east Africa’s burgeoning ride sharing environment as the pair of firms extends its reach with their investment into Uganda-based ride hailing entrant, SafeBoda  (a timely share by you, Robert Collins ).  Innovation and marketing developed from business and local culture needs. There are many examples of firms developing insurance innovations, many successful and many not so much.  The takeaway for the reader from this posting- the firms noted above are working to apply clever innovation based on good ideas, but also on integrating the ideas into what fits a respective market’s expectations, and what businesses and customers are accustomed to.  Ground-breaking innovation might succeed by circumventing that of which a market is accustomed, but in most cases a firm’s best investment is understanding what the locals want and how they want it, and simply following their lead.  Is your approach just a correct answer, or the right answer? Image source Patrick Kelahan is a CX, engineering & insurance professional, working with Insurers, Attorneys & Owners. He also serves the insurance and Fintech world as the ‘Insurance Elephant’. I have no positions or commercial relationships with the companies or people mentioned. I am not receiving compensation for this post. Subscribe by email to join the 25,000 other Fintech leaders who read our research daily to stay ahead of the curve. Check out our advisory services (how we pay for this free original research). [...]
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Iwoca storms ahead in SME lending game

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Iwoca storms ahead in SME lending game
They say the night is darkest before the dawn – which is certainly how it can feel in fintech startup land. You’re always $1 away from disaster, or $1 of leverage away from disaster if you’re a fintech lender. Small books can be painful beasts to manage. Which is why it is all the more impressive to see Iwoca steam ahead of some big lenders with deep pockets in the UK market. The SME lender now has claim to 12% of all new business overdrafts, beating Santander at 9% and HSBC at 11% according to Forbes, who sourced the data from UK Finance. They aren’t far behind Barclays at 15% and Lloyds at 20%. While overdrafts are falling out of favour with businesses in lieu of the more attractive benefits business credit cards offer, they still represent an ‘understood’ cash funding entry point into the SME lending space. According to additional data from UK Finance, the average % acceptance rates for overdrafts is 82.6%, compared to 69.1% for business loans. Being a funding type that is ‘understood’ is half the challenge for new SME lenders, especially given hardly any businesses understand the types of financing they can access now. Not knowing what you don’t know is a problem in SME lending land, and could potentially be a large factor behind the estimated £3 billion to £9 billion funding gap SMEs face in the UK. SME owners rarely seek advice before seeking funding and UK Finance reports, ‘the time spent investigating options is woeful.’ With companies like Iwoca forming multi-million-dollar lending chests, along with other fintechs, the real opportunity isn’t necessarily in more Iwocas – most are probably nowhere near capacity – but in developing more pre-lending advisory services that can help SMEs navigate the plethora of choices. In 2017 it was reported that less than 1 in 5 SMEs sought advice on lending options, despite 45% of SMEs planning growth. This is a huge disparity, and one that someone with a smart, simple and cost-effective solution could solve. Traditional business brokers are probably not the answer, especially given their advice often comes coloured with the commission they earn in the background. It’s always tempting to solve the simple problem in front of your nose – market the product more – but the smart entrepreneurs in SME lending land need to be looking far-further up the funnel, for the marketing and sales arbitrage opportunities that exist in tangential digitised advice businesses. I’ve always considered a ‘get-finance-ready’ platform a great plug in to any SME, provided it could be done smartly and digitally. If you come across any in your travels – let me know! Daily Fintech Advisers provides strategic consulting to organizations with business and investment interests in Fintech. Jessica Ellerm is a thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy and is the CEO and Co-Founder of Zuper, a new superannuation startup in Australia. I have no positions or commercial relationships with the companies or people mentioned. I am not receiving compensation for this post. I was a previous employee at Tyro. Subscribe by email to join the 25,000 other Fintech leaders who read our research daily to stay ahead of the curve. Check out our advisory services (how we pay for this free original research) [...]
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FINRA Issues Warning on Imposter Website Threat

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FINRA Issues Warning on Imposter Website Threat
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has issued a notice warning member firms that there appears to be an increase in imposter websites designed to mimic firms’ actual websites. FINRA suggests that member firms take proactive steps to monitor for imposter websites, including registering URL name variations and using monitoring services to watch for imposter websites. FINRA also suggests that member firms take responsive action in event that an imposter website is discovered, including (among other things) calling local law enforcement, the nearest FBI field office and the relevant state’s Attorney General. FINRA’s notice is available here. [...]
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CFTC Chair Proposes Relief for Phase 5 Initial Margin Implementation

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CFTC Chair Proposes Relief for Phase 5 Initial Margin Implementation
On April 29, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Chris Giancarlo sent a letter to Randy Quarles, the Vice Chair for Supervision of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, in which he proposed that the US regulators responsible for the administering the margin rules for uncleared swaps should collaborate in providing some relief to non-dealer swap market participants who may become subject to initial margin requirements in 2020. The specific relief would be the issuance of the same guidance issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) in March (for more information, see the March 8, 2019 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest), which stated that in-scope parties do not have to put in place compliant documentation and custodial relationships if there is no expectation that the exposure associated with their swaps will actually exceed the regulatory threshold for posting initial margin ($50 million for the United States). The need for this relief is a result of the phase-in level for initial margin requirements dropping to zero in 2020. That change is likely to bring many financial end-user swap parties (“Phase 5 Parties”) into scope for initial margin because they trade with swap dealers and have material swaps exposure of $8 billion or more. The proposed guidance would simplify life for any Phase 5 Party that has a relatively low risk swap portfolio and save such parties from having to negotiate new initial margin and custody documents. The guidance would have no effect on Phase 5 Parties that do expect to have more than $50 million in aggregate swap exposure for initial margin purposes. A Phase 5 Party that benefits from such relief would have to monitor its exposures carefully, however, and be ready to satisfy all applicable requirements if it ever exceeds the posting threshold. Since the Federal Reserve is only one of the five banking regulators responsible for the margin rules applicable to swap dealers that are subject to prudential regulation (i.e., bank swap dealers), this proposal can only come to fruition if it is also agreed to by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Farm Credit Administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The letter is available here. [...]
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What to do if you win the lottery

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What to do if you win the lottery