8 Ways to Pay for College Without Student Loans or Your Parents’ Help

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8 Ways to Pay for College Without Student Loans or Your Parents’ Help
Parents aren’t perfect. Shocking, I know. So even though you may have been planning out your college career, your family’s financial situation may not have kept up with your dreams of campus life. On average, 34% of college costs were paid from parents’ income and savings, according to a national study by Sallie Mae. But families who have a limited income and haven’t been saving may not be able to help cover a higher education price tag. Including tuition and applicable fees, the cost per credit hour at a four-year institution is $301.23, according to a Penny Hoarder analysis of National Center for Education statistics. If an average bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours, the total price comes to $36,148 — not including room and board. Whether it’s by necessity or by choice, your parents could end up saying you’re on your own if you want to go to college. But that doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to a mountain of student loan debt or to skipping college altogether. But you do need a plan of attack, which is where we come in. How to Pay for College Without Your Parents’ Help You may not want to hear this right now, but paying for your own college education can actually be good for you (just like brussels sprouts or liver). Taking on the responsibility can teach you budgeting techniques and saving strategies that you might not have learned if your parents were picking up the tab. You can start saving on college by choosing a less-expensive school — here’s our list of the best college bargains by state. Once you’ve narrowed your choices, check out these eight ways to pay for college without money from your parents — or student loans. 1. Scholarships and Grants From Your School Already have a college in mind? Then the first place to start looking for scholarship money is the school’s financial aid office. If you’re still in high school, ask your guidance counselor for their help reaching out to the college. It’s important to know what money is available, so ask the financial aid officials about deadlines for applications, opportunities for need- vs. merit-based funding and options for renewable scholarships and grants. Pro Tip Some schools won’t consider you for any of their scholarships until you’ve submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Transferring from another college? Whether you started at another four-year institution or you’re continuing your education after completing your associate’s degree at a community college (a great way to save money, BTW), transfer scholarships offer a niche option. Here are 25 transfer scholarships we’ve found. 2. Federal Pell Grant Federal Pell Grants are need-based awards that are awarded on an annual basis (meaning you need to reapply every year). Use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply — here’s a step-by-step guide for filling out FAFSA. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $6,195 for the 2019–20 award year (July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020). The amount you get will depend on the four following factors, according to the Federal Student Aid office: Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The cost of attendance at your school and your specific program. Whether you’re a full-time or part-time student. If you plan to attend school for a full academic year or less. Filling out FAFSA requires your tax information, and unless you’re no longer a dependent, that means you’ll need your parents’ most recent tax returns. Providing this information doesn’t leave them on the hook for your college bill, but it could affect your financial aid package. Pro Tip To avoid debt, don’t take more money than you need. Accept free money (scholarships and grants) and earned money (work-study) in your financial aid package first, then student loans only as needed. If your parents won’t provide these details, there are a few options that you can explore. One option is to claim yourself as an independent, but that’s typically only allowed if you are over 24 years old, are married, have kids, are a veteran or can claim special circumstances. 3. Grants From Your State States use your FAFSA to determine your eligibility for state financial aid, so you get a two-for-one with that application (actually, it’s more like a three-for-one, since your school will probably use it, too). But some states require additional documentation, and their deadlines are not always the same as the federal ones. Note that most state grants are only applicable for in-state schools, but there are some state grants and scholarships you can use for out-of-state tuition. Check out your state’s FAFSA requirements for rules and deadlines. 4. Work-Study Program Federal aid doesn’t stop with scholarships and grants. If you’re able to work on campus part time while attending classes, you can apply for federal work-study (FWS), which is essentially federal aid you receive for working. Pro Tip IRS Publication 970 outlines 10 tax benefits that students can claim to reduce the income tax they owe. Read more about it on irs.gov. Work-study jobs typically allow you to earn extra money without having to leave campus — that’s helpful if you’re without a car or if making the hike from campus to a job would be cost prohibitive. But don’t expect a work-study program to cover all your costs. Under the FWS program, students typically work no more than 20 hours a week during a semester. And you won’t be allowed to exceed the allotted hours from your financial aid award, so don’t bank on overtime to cover extra costs. Learn more about on-campus job opportunities here. 5. Other Scholarships After you’ve talked to your college’s financial aid office and filled out your FAFSA, it’s time to get a little creative in your scholarship search. Start with your intended career. Corporations and professional associations often offer grants and scholarships for students pursuing degrees in related fields. As a bonus, researching and contacting these organizations early in your college career will help you make connections that can come in handy when you’re applying for jobs when you graduate. Pro Tip Some scholarship deadlines are as early as a year before college starts, so start applying during the summer between your junior and senior years. Also check out nationwide databases like Career One Stop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, and The Penny Hoarder, which has its own compilations of awesome scholarships — and weird scholarships. 6. Part-Time Job On-campus work isn’t the only way to make extra cash — and off-campus jobs don’t require you to qualify for federal work-study.   Among the other benefits of an off-campus job is the potential to earn more money than at a FWS job since you can work more hours and keep the job year-round. Additionally, you can potentially turn a part-time gig into a job upon graduation. Here are six tips to help you move from part-time to full-time employee. And if you don’t want to leave campus but still want to earn part-time or full-time money, check out our handy work-from-home portal for legit ways to make money from your dorm. 7. Paid Internship Internships provide on-the-job experience, which can help bolster your resume as your college career draws to a close. Not only does a paid internship offer the same potential experience as an unpaid version, it could actually improve your chances of finding a post-graduation job. Among the 2019 graduates who had an internship, 66.4% of paid interns received a job offer, while just 43.7% of unpaid interns were offered a job, according to the survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. You can start your internship search at your own college, whether it’s contacting the career services department, attending on-campus career fairs, reaching out to your alumni network or asking professors within your o [...]
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5 Ways to Save Money This Summer and Still Have Fun

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5 Ways to Save Money This Summer and Still Have Fun
The temperature is rising, but that doesn’t mean your spending level should go up, too. The long, hot summer months, when the kids are out of school and there’s lots of idle time to fill, can feel like a giant cash trap. But they don’t have to be. Here are five ways to save money this summer. Go Camping Instead of booking airfare and a hotel, save money by spending your vacation in the wilderness. Camping provides a great opportunity to unplug and unwind. Borrowing or renting equipment can help you shave down the cost of your adventure. Anything you cook over a campfire will be cheaper than a restaurant, so plan out your meals, avoid the fancy outfitter stores and be strategic about when you visit campgrounds. Don’t forget the marshmallows — and bug spray! Be Mindful of Utility Use Electricity bills can run high during the summer months when you want to keep cool. Save on your bills by being conservative about your usage. To avoid a high electric bill, adjust your thermostat at different points of the day. Turn it up when you leave in the morning — but avoid setting the temperature too high so your system doesn’t have to work harder to cool down your home once you’re there. Blackout curtains and fans can reduce the need to blast the A/C. Keep your air vents clean and swap out dirty filters to improve your air conditioning unit’s function. Check if your electric company offers the option of letting you pay the average cost of your usage throughout the year rather than getting stuck with super expensive bills in the summer. Join a CSA to Enjoy Summer Produce The summer sun makes for a bountiful harvest of berries, watermelon, peaches, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, bell peppers and more. A Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program can help you save money on fresh — often organic — fruits and vegetables. You may have to pay upfront for the entire season’s worth of produce, but buying directly from local farmers means you don’t have packaging, shipping and grocery store overhead costs tacked onto the price. If you find the weekly haul too plentiful, you can split your share (and the cost) with a friend, or freeze or can the produce to enjoy later. Find Fun Things to Do at No Cost Whoever said you had to pay to have fun? Now’s the time for free summer concerts and outdoor movies at the park. Take advantage of the good weather and go on a walking tour of your city. Or spend your free time indoors playing video games or reading a book from the library. If you think you can’t come up with enough creative free things to occupy your time, check out this list of 100 free summer activities. Work Out for Free Outdoors Take a break from all the A/C and head outdoors to sweat this summer, instead of paying money for a gym membership. Get your heart pumping by using workout equipment at your local park, taking a run around the neighborhood or swimming in the pool at your apartment complex or subdivision — or a friend’s. If you already belong to a gym, ask if you can pause your membership plan for a couple months. Some fitness centers (such as LA Fitness) may still charge you while you’re away but at a lower rate than the regular monthly fee. That way when you want to return when the weather turns cold, you don’t have to pay an initiation fee as if you had canceled your membership. 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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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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What to do if you win the lottery

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What to do if you win the lottery
Today I’m going to teach you what to do if you ever win the lottery, a massive inheritance, or any other huge infusion of cash. 1/3 of lottery winners go bankrupt and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let that happen to you. So just listen and do what I say, please. RULE #1: Shut The Hell Up Shut your mouth right now, seriously. Do not tell anyone. Do not tell your boss, your loud-mouthed cousin with the mustache, or even your kids. You can tell 1 person: your spouse. And then tell them this: Shut The Hell Up. This is your new motto for the next 6 months. Lotto winner Mavis Wanczyk (who won the 758.7 million Powerball) did not follow this advice and decided to tell her boss, the press, and therefore the whole world. Immediately after, random people came out of the woodwork and the police have had to watch her house. Here are the scariest people who will try to find you, in descending order: Kidnappers who will hold you for ransom Scammy “wealth managers” who will bleed you dry Uncle Joe, who wants you to invest in his dumb idea for a themed bar DON’T DO IT. You can always choose to reveal your new wealth later once you have the proper precautions set up. But once the genie is out of the bottle, you can never put it back in. Be quiet and tell no one for now. RULE #2: You have 2 new best friends: your lawyer and your financial advisor I get it, you don’t have a lawyer. Now you do. You call up the biggest, most white-collar law firm in the country (just google “highest paid law firm”) and tell them you want a lawyer to help with taxes and trusts. When they ask why, tell them “I’ve recently come into some money and I’d like someone to coordinate my affairs.” They will charge you $500 or $600/hour. Pay it, happily. This lawyer is now your conduit with the outside world. Who contacts the lottery to tell them about the winning ticket? Not you (see Rule #1). Your lawyer will handle that. Who do they make the check out to? Is it to you? Oh hell no. Your lawyer will set up an anonymous trust for you. Your other new best friend is your financial advisor. Considering I hate most financial advisors and most of you don’t need one (see page 153 of my book for why), this might seem unusual. However, you just received millions of dollars out of the blue. It’s worth a few thousand bucks to get set up. Go to napfa.org to find a fee-only financial advisor who can guide you through the next few months of setting up your new financial systems. I have a list of questions to ask financial advisors in my book and signs to watch out for. The one thing you want to look out for — the one sign you’ve chosen a salesperson, not a real advisor — is if they take a percentage of your assets. DO NOT sign up with some nutty wealth advisor who sweet talks you with a beautiful British accent. Just follow my directions from the book and your advisor can help you with the rest. RULE #3: Do not change anything (with 3 exceptions) You know all those movies about how a group of criminals gets away with a heist, but one idiot gets the entire crew caught because he goes out the next day and buys a fur coat and a $200,000 car? Do not do that. For 6 months, don’t change anything. No new car, no extravagant trips, don’t quit your job. Your lawyer and financial advisor will help you get set up. This falls under Advice Everyone Says But Nobody Takes: When someone dies or you get a huge amount of sudden money, do not change anything for 6 months. If you really need to quit your job, when people ask what you’re doing now, your line is, “I’m doing some consulting.” However, if you were a cashier at 7-11, I’m not sure if people are going to believe you’re a consultant. Anyway, your call. I know most of you won’t follow this advice, so I came up with a list of acceptable things to spend money on: Extra guac at Chipotle Taco Bell Mexican Pizza I also hereby authorize you to buy every product from iwillteachyoutoberich.com/products After 6 months? Just don’t spend it all in one place. If you haven’t won the lottery (yet…) Let’s be real, 99.999999% of you reading this right now have not and will not ever win the lottery. But luckily, winning the lottery isn’t the only way to make a lot of money. If you want to live a rich life, you can build it for yourself — with much better odds than Powerball. My team and I have worked hard to create a guide to help you do just that: The Ultimate Guide to Making Money. In it, I’ve included my best strategies to: Create multiple income streams so you always have a consistent source of revenue. Start your own business and escape the 9-to-5 for good. Increase your income by thousands of dollars a year through side hustles like freelancing. Download a FREE copy of the Ultimate Guide today by entering your name and email below — and start blowing up your net worth today. What to do if you win the lottery is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich. [...]
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9 Ways to Get Cheap or Free Veterinary Care for Your Pet

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9 Ways to Get Cheap or Free Veterinary Care for Your Pet
One day I noticed my puppy was acting strangely. She walked a few steps, stumbled, fell over and slowly got back up, only to fall over again. I realized her tummy was extremely bloated. I rushed her to the vet. The vet examined her for a few minutes and started to chuckle. Then my puppy let out a bellowing burp, and the vet actually started to laugh. When he asked me if I had left dog food out... [...]
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Vogue Magazine Discount

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Vogue Magazine Discount
Today, you can pick up a subscription to  Vogue Magazine at the lowest price we’ve seen in some time! VOGUE SUBSCRIPTION DISCOUNT You can order a subscription to Vogue magazine for just $5.99 per year!  That is a savings of 83% off the cover price.  If you happen to already subscribe, you can renew at this ... Read More about Vogue Magazine Discount The post Vogue Magazine Discount appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Make Your Money Work for You: The Ultimate Guide to Setting Financial Goals

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Make Your Money Work for You: The Ultimate Guide to Setting Financial Goals
Saving money is all well and good in theory. It’s pretty hard to argue having more cash in your pocket could ever be a bad thing. But what are you saving for? After all, money is just a tool. If you don’t have solid financial goals, all those hoarded pennies might end up floating in limbo when they could be put to good use. Figuring out where your money should go might seem daunting, but it’s actually a lot of fun. You get to analyze your own priorities and decide exactly what you think you should do with your hard-earned cash. Talk about adulting, right? But to make the most of your money, follow a few best practices while setting your goals. After all, even if something seems like exactly what you want right now, it might not be in future-you’s best interest. And you’re playing the long game… that’s why they’re called goals! What to Do Before You Start Writing Your Financial Goals To keep yourself from deciding your financial goals are “buy the coolest toys and cars, get deeply into debt and watch my credit score plummet” — all super easy to do — we’ve compiled this guide. It’ll help you set goals and create smart priorities for your money. That way, however you decide to spend your truly discretionary income, you won’t leave the 10-years-from-now version of you in the lurch. First Things First: How Much Money Do You Have? You can’t decide on your short- or long-term financial goals if you don’t know how much money you have or where it’s going. And if you’re operating without a budget, it can be easy to run out of money well before you run out of expenses — even if you know exactly how much is in your paycheck. So sit down and take a good, hard look at all of your financial info. A ton of great digital apps can help you do this — here are our favorite budgeting apps — but it can be as simple as a spreadsheet or even a good, old-fashioned piece of paper. It just takes two steps: Figure out how much money you have. It might be in checking or savings accounts, including long-term accounts like IRAs. Or, it might be wrapped up in investments or physical assets, like your paid-off car. Assess any debts you have. Do you keep a revolving credit card balance? Do you pay a mortgage each month? Are your student loans still hanging around? Take the full amount of money you owe and subtract it from the total amount you have, which you discovered in step one. The difference between the two is your net worth. That’s the total amount of money you have to your name. If it seems like a lot, cool. Hang tight and don’t let it burn a hole in your pocket. We’re not done yet. If it seems like… not a lot, well, you’re about to fix that. Keep reading. Create a Budget Once you’ve learned your net worth, you need to start thinking about a working budget. This will essentially be a document with your total monthly income at the top and a list of all the expenses you need to pay for every month. And I do mean all of the expenses — that $4.99 recurring monthly payment for your student-discounted Spotify account definitely counts. Your expenses probably include rent, electricity, cable or internet, a cell phone plan, various insurance policies, groceries, gas and transportation; and other looser categories like charitable giving, entertainment and travel. Pro Tip Print out the last two or three months of statements from your credit and debit cards and categorize every expense. You can often find ways to save by discovering patterns in your spending habits. It’ll depend on your individual case — for instance, I totally have “wine” as a budget line item. See? It’s all about priorities. Start by listing how much you actually spent in each category last month. Subtract your total expenses from your total income. The difference should be equal to the amount of money left sitting in your bank account at month’s end. It’s also the money you can use toward your long-term financial goals. Want the number to be bigger? Go back through your budget and figure out where you can afford to make cuts. Maybe you can ditch the cable bill and decide between Netflix or Hulu, or replace one takeout lunch with a packed version. You don’t need to abandon the idea of having a life (and enjoying it), but there are ways to make budgetary adjustments that work for you. Set the numbers you’re willing to spend in each category, and stick to them. Congratulations. You’re in control of your money. Now you can figure out exactly what you want to do with it. How to Set Your Financial Goals Before you run off to the cool-expensive-stuff store, hold on a second. Your financial goals should be (mostly) in this order: Build an emergency fund. Pay down debt. Plan for retirement. Set short-term and long-term financial goals. We say “mostly” because it’s ultimately up to you to decide in which order you want to accomplish them. Many experts suggest making sure you have an emergency fund in place before aggressively going after your debt. But if you’re hemorrhaging money on sky-high interest charges, you might not have much expendable cash to put toward savings. That means you’ll pay the interest for a lot longer — and pay a lot more of it — if you wait to pay it down until you have a solid emergency fund saved up. 1. Build an Emergency Fund Finding money to sock away each month can be tough, but just starting with $10 or $25 of each paycheck can help. You can make the process a lot easier by automating your savings. Or you can have money from each paycheck automatically sent to a separate account you won’t touch. You also get to decide the size of your emergency fund, but a good rule of thumb is to accumulate three to six times the total of your monthly living expenses. Good thing your budget’s already set up so you know exactly what that number is, right? You might try to get away with a smaller emergency fund — even $1,000 is a better cushion than nothing. But if you lose your job, you still need to be able to eat and make rent. 2. Pay Down Debt Now, let’s move on to repaying debt. Why’s it so important, anyway? Because you’re hemorrhaging money on interest charges you could be applying toward your goals instead. So even though becoming debt-free seems like a big expense and sacrifice right now, you’re doing yourself a huge financial favor in the long run. There’s lots of great information out there about how to pay off debt, but it’s really a pretty simple operation: You need to put every single penny you can spare toward your debts until they disappear. One method is known as the debt avalanche method, which involves paying off debt with the highest interest rates first, thereby reducing the overall amount you’ll shell out for interest. For example, if you have a $1,500 revolving balance on a credit card with a 20% APR, it gets priority over your $14,000, 5%-interest car loan — even though the second number is so much bigger. Pro Tip If you’re motivated by quick wins, the debt snowball method may be a good fit for you. It involves paying off one loan balance at a time, starting with the smallest balance first. Make a list of your debts and (ideally) don’t spend any of your spare money on anything but paying them off until the number after every account reads “$0.” Trust me, the day when you become debt-free will be well worth the effort. As a bonus, if your credit score could be better, repaying revolving debt will also help you repair it — just in case some of your goals (like buying a home) depend upon your credit report not sucking. 3. Plan for Retirement All right, you’re all set in case of an emergency and you’re living debt-free. Congratulations! We’re almost done with the hard part, I promise. But there’s one more very important long-term financial goal you most definitely want to keep in mind: retirement. Did you know almost half of Americans have abs [...]
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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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55 Ways to Use Up Ripe Bananas

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55 Ways to Use Up Ripe Bananas
Wondering what to do with ripe bananas on your kitchen counter? I love banana recipes, so I decided to put together a HUGE list of 55 things to make with ripe bananas! (Psst! Be sure to check out our family’s very favorite Freezer-Friendly Banana Bread Recipe! We also really love these Homemade Breakfast Cookies!) We love bananas at our house, but occasionally, life happens and it’s easy to let bananas go past their prime. Or, sometimes, I’ll find bananas marked down at the store because they are starting to get too ripe. I’m really weird in that I prefer to eat bananas when they have some black spots on them, but the rest of my family won’t touch them once they are at the “Black Spot” stage. When we have an abundance of over-ripe bananas, I either freeze them to use in smoothies and baking later, or I go ahead and make one of our favorite banana recipes with them. What to Do With Ripe Bananas I thought it might be fun to put together a list of some of my favorite things to make with ripe bananas! The recipes on this list are a mixture of some of my favorite banana recipes right here on this blog, plus some other recipes I gathered from other sites that I hope to try soon. Most of them are fairly healthful (with a few exceptions) and many of them are family favorites. Enjoy!! Breakfasts: Homemade Breakfast Cookies Banana Walnut Oatmeal Fourth of July Toast Healthy Banana Pancakes Brown Sugar Banana French Toast Casserole Pan-Fried Cinnamon Bananas 3-Ingredient Banana Pancakes Peanut Butter & Banana Pancakes Breakfast Banana Split Banana Pancakes Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal Baked Banana Oatmeal Cups Healthy No Bake Banana Bread Breakfast Bars Snacks: Chocolate Banana Roll-Ups Banana Coconut Pudding Breakfast Banana Pops Copycat Trader Joe’s Gone Bananas Baked Banana Chips Banana Chocolate Chip Energy Bites Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Yogurt Pops Nutella Banana Crepes Nutella & Banana Sushi Raspberry Banana Frozen Yogurt Popsicles Banana Ice Cream — 10 Different Flavors Peanut Butter & Banana Quesadilla Chocolate Covered Frozen Bananas Breads: Freezer-Friendly Banana Bread Freezer-Friendly Chocolate Banana Bread Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Gingerbread Banana Bread Honey Cinnamon Banana Bread Scones Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Scones Muffins: Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins Chocolate Banana Muffins Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Muffins Banana Crumb Muffins Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins Whole-Wheat Banana Coconut Muffins Smoothies: Clean Eating Banana-Coconut Smoothie Pick-Me-Up Smoothie Blueberry Banana Green Tea Smoothie Green Monster Spinach Smoothie Cinnamon Roll Smoothie Desserts: Chocolate Bottom Banana Bars Banana Chocolate Chip Snack Cake No Bake Banana Split Cake 4-Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies Double Chocolate Banana Cake Brown Sugar Banana Blondies Whole Wheat Banana Coconut Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Healthy Chocolate Banana Fudge Banana Fritters with Vanilla Caramel Sauce Chocolate Banana Tart What are YOUR favorite ideas for what to do with ripe bananas? Tell us in the comments! #groceryTaglineMobile,#groceryMobileHeading,#groceryMobileHeadingSm {display: none;}#groceryBudgetSignUp { height: 250px; background: url(https://img.moneysavingmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/5days_background.jpg) right bottom no-repeat; background-size: cover; margin: 30px auto; position: relative; font-family: "Open Sans", Helvetica, sans-serif;}#groceryImage { position: absolute; top: 0; left: -20px; width: 290px; height: 250px; background: url(https://img.moneysavingmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/5days_ebook.png) no-repeat; background-size: contain;}#groceryWordingWrap { position: absolute; top: 20px; left: 0; width: 100%; box-sizing: border-box; -moz-box-sizing: border-box; padding-left: 255px; padding-right: 20px;}#groceryHeading { font-size: 36px; font-weight: 300; line-height: 1; letter-spacing: -2px; color: #4d841e; margin-bottom: 9px;}#groceryTagline { font-size: 18px; color: #444; letter-spacing: -.5px; line-height: 1.3;}#groceryBudgetSignUp form { position: absolute; width: 100%; height: 60px; bottom: 0; left: 0; box-sizing: border-box; -moz-box-sizing: border-box; padding: 15px; background: rgba(220, 220, 220, .5);}#groceryBudgetSignUp form { text-align: center;}#groceryBudgetSignUp input { width: 34%; float: left; border-radius: 0;}#groceryBudgetSignUp input[type="text"] { padding: 6px 10px; text-align: center; margin: 0 1.5% 0 0 !important; font-style: italic;}#groceryBudgetSignUp input[type="button"] { background: #61a328; color: #fff; font-weight: bold; text-transform: uppercase; border: none; padding: 6px 10px; font-size: 12px; float: right; width: 29%; position: relative; bottom: -1px; cursor: pointer; transition: all .3s ease;}#groceryBudgetSignUp input[type="button"]:hover { background: #4d841e;}@media screen and (max-width: 1020px) {#groceryBudgetSignUp { height: 230px;}#groceryImage { width: 250px;}#groceryWordingWrap { padding-left: 232px;}#groceryHeading { font-size: 28px;}#groceryTagline { font-size: 15px;}}@media screen and (max-width: 800px) {#groceryImage { width: 290px;}#groceryWordingWrap { padding-left: 255px;}#groceryHeading { font-size: 36px;}}@media screen and (max-width: 700px) {#groceryHeading { font-size: 30px;}}@media screen and (max-width: 600px) {#groceryImage,#groceryWordingWrap { display: none;}#groceryMobileHeading { display: block;}#groceryTaglineMobile { display: block; position: absolute; padding: 0 30px; bottom: 65px; text-align: center; letter-spacing: -.5px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 1.2; color: #444;}#groceryBudgetSignUp { height: 275px;}}@media screen and (max-width: 480px) {#groceryBudgetSignUp { height: 255px;}}@media screen and (max-width: 400px) {#groceryBudgetSignUp { height: 260px;}#groceryMobileHeading { display: none;}#groceryMobileHeadingSm { display: block;}#groceryTaglineMobile { bottom: 70px;}#groceryTaglineMobile { font-size: 15px;}} Need to overhaul your grocery budget? I want to help! Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to my new eBook, 5 Days to a Better Grocery Budget. Sign up now! I want to help! Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to my new eBook, 5 Days to a Better Grocery Budget. Sign up now! function FeedBlitz_534b9b3aef0911e688ea00259077114bi(){var x=document.getElementsByName('FeedBlitz_534b9b3aef0911e688ea00259077114b');for(i=0;i<x.length;i++){x[i].EMAIL.style.display='block'; x[i].action='http://app.feedblitz.com/f/f.Fbz?AddNewUserDirect';}} function FeedBlitz_534b9b3aef0911e688ea00259077114bs(v){v.submit();}FeedBlitz_534b9b3aef0911e688ea00259077114bi(); Want to take better control of your grocery budget? Do you want to take better control of your grocery budget? If so, you’ll want to read my newest eBook, 5 Days to a Better Grocery Budget! This eBook will give you all the tips, tricks, and practical advice you need to create a grocery budget tailored to your family’s needs that you can actually STICK to (because that’s the key!) In this eBook, you’ll learn: How to create a grocery budget that fits your family’s needs and your finances! New systems to help you keep track of what you spend at the store! How to actually stick with your new budget and save money for years to come! Ways to save up to $50 off your grocery bill THIS WEEK by using the 10 simple strategies outlined in this eBook! Ready to get started? Just use the form above to sign up! medianet_width = "600"; medianet_height = "120"; medianet_crid = "568454786"; medianet_versionId = "3111299"; [...]
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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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8 Common and Costly Homebuying Myths

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8 Common and Costly Homebuying Myths
Buying a home is a complicated financial transaction, so it’s no surprise that there are quite a few myths that surround homebuying. Unfortunately, these common beliefs can be costly in the long run. They can cost you money or prevent you from getting a home. Before starting house hunting, make sure you aren’t falling prey to the following misconceptions. You may have heard that you... [...]
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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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10 Purchases You Should Not Put on a Credit Card

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10 Purchases You Should Not Put on a Credit Card
wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com Many credit cards offer a slew of incentives to consumers who use them — from cash back and other rewards to zero liability in case of fraud. But credit cards are not always your best form of payment, especially if you aren’t great with debt. In many cases, you are better off keeping the plastic tucked away. For some readers, this advice comes too late. [...]
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Everything You Need to Know to Become an Airbnb Host in D.C.

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Everything You Need to Know to Become an Airbnb Host in D.C.
Have you thought about becoming an Airbnb host in D.C.? In a city that’s so expensive, home sharing can be a great way to supplement your income. Thousands of Airbnb hosts list places in the District, according to data from the home sharing platform. “Part of what makes Airbnb so successful for me is the city,” says Snyta Keeling, a 43-year-old Airbnb Superhost. “D.C. is great for home sharing because there’s something going on at every time of year.” Between the cherry blossoms in the spring, the Fourth of July in the summer and the elections in the fall — which draw businesspeople, students, lobbyists, sports fans and activists — there’s certainly a demand for space. How to Create the Best Airbnb Listing in D.C. The first step to becoming an Airbnb host is to list your place. The process itself is simple, but you’ll want to exercise tact, so your space stands out from others. We’ll walk you through the process, plus share some pro tips from Keeling, a federal government employee and attorney who hosts guests in her three-bedroom townhome in Southeast D.C. She quickly rose to Superhost status when she started hosting back in 2015. Answer Some Quick Questions About Your Space/Amenities In this first part of setting up your listing, you’ll answer some basic questions about your space, which could be anything from an apartment, an extra bedroom or house to a campsite, yurt or RV, depending on your local laws. Basic questions in this section include the number of guests your space can accommodate and the included amenities. Pro Tip If you don’t have an entire place, list your spare room. That’s what Keeling, a D.C. Superhost, does. At first she was worried guests would be uninterested, but she’s found they love the hospitality. Set the Scene With Photos Keeling compared Airbnb listings to dating profiles — and she’s so right. If you come across someone who’s posted a bathroom selfie with the flash on, you’ll probably move along — even if they do rescue puppies and own a private jet. The same idea goes for Airbnb; photos are everything. The platform offers some basic photo tips, which include utilizing natural light, avoiding flash and shooting in landscape mode from the corners of rooms, so you add perspective. In addition to internal photos, Keeling emphasizes the importance of external photos as well. “It’s important to do external photos, so you guide a person through how they’ll approach the home and what the surrounding community looks like,” she says. “If you live close to a metro stop, you’ll want to have a picture of that, for example.” Think about what makes your space and your location appealing, and illustrate those elements through photos. In addition to metro stops, you might also include photos of the nearby neighborhood, any tourist attractions (ahem, the National Mall), or even a photo of the closest grocery or convenience store. Write a Description Once you hook people with your photos, continue to lead them through your listing with the description. Here, you’ll be able to highlight what makes your space unique. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at other Airbnb listings in your area to see what other hosts highlight. Keeling has a few tips you can follow when crafting your description: Manage expectations. “You know the idea of putting your best foot forward?” Keeling asks. “No! What you do is put the blemishes out there, so your guests will have set expectations.” Turn negatives into positives. Keeling’s townhome is located in a residential area on the easternmost point of D.C. That means it’s not central; you have to take a metro to get to the closest grocery store, which could be a downside for some guests. However, in her listing, she emphasizes the perks of free parking, which is difficult to come by in D.C. It’s also a quiet retreat after you’ve spent the day in crowds. Add an element of surprise to your space that you don’t mention in your listing. For example, Keeling has a high-end Tuft and Needle mattress with nice pillows. Because she doesn’t mention it in the listing, guests are surprised and are more likely to rave After you host several guests, you’ll get to know your audience, so you can lean into that. For example, Keeling quickly realized she’s not attracting club-goers and partiers; she gets guests who are looking to get away from the bustle of the city and value their sleep. Name Your Listing This might seem like a small task, but naming your listing is just as important as nailing your photos. Airbnb urges hosts to create a title that highlights what’s unique about the space. For Keeling, one of the most appealing aspects of her listing is the free parking — a rarity in D.C. Her space is also green; it’s decked out with solar panels, rain barrels, vegetable gardens and composts. This is a unique draw, so she emphasizes it in her listing title. It also attracts like-minded guests, which is important when you’re sharing your space. Set House Rules Airbnb has a set list of rules you can opt into if you’d like them included in your listing. A few of these include: suitable for pets, smoking allowed, and events or parties allowed. You also have the option to write in additional rules. “Don’t go crazy with the rules, but come up with some core rules that are important for you,” Keeling says. Keeling, for example, maintains a shoeless house. That’s partially cultural, but it also just makes the space easier to clean. She also emphasizes no smoking of any kind, and no eating in the bedrooms. Set up Your Calendar Taking time to set up your calendar is important, because if you cancel on your guests, Airbnb will charge you a penalty fee. A few questions you’ll answer include: How often do you want to have guests? How much notice do you need before a guest arrives? When can guests check in? How far in advance can guests book? How long can guests stay? Pro Tip When starting out, Keeling suggests limiting guests’ length of stay to a couple of nights. That way you can get guests in and out and start racking up reviews, which will build your ratings. Keeling allows for at least one day between bookings, so she can have time to reset the spaces, and she doesn’t let guests book more than three months in advance, in case something comes up. You’ll be able to adjust these settings as you go, so you can find out what works best for you. Price Your Space Airbnb has a Smart Pricing tool, which you can opt into to automatically adjust the price of your listing according to demand. For example, when the demand during the Cherry Blossom Festival or Fourth of July spikes, Airbnb will likely increase the price of your listing automatically. You can set price minimums and maximums, so your listing won’t dip below a certain amount or spike to something unrealistic. Although Airbnb will suggest these amounts when you’re signing up, Keeling urges new hosts to do their own research. Here are a few tips to help you determine these numbers: Consider your expenses, i.e. utilities, cleaning and any maintenance requirements. Be realistic. “People tend to have an inflated view of their place,” Keeling notes. Search other Airbnb listings in your area and price just below those. When you’re starting out, you’ll want to price your place lower, so you can get guests in, accumulate reviews and work your way to that Superhost status, which will help increase bookings in the long run. Note Your Local Laws You’re almost done setting up your listing! Now Airbnb will remind you to familiarize yourself with your local laws. In December 2018, the D.C. Council passed a set of regulations that would limit some kinds of short term rentals. Check with the District if you have questions about current laws or when (and if) the pending regulations will come into force. Also Consider… In addition to hosting laws, you’ll al [...]
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Save on Pond’s Anti-Aging Products at Walmart!

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Save on Pond’s Anti-Aging Products at Walmart!
{This post is sponsored by Mirum. Opinions are 100% my own. Read our disclosure policy here.} One of the things I’ve realized as I’m in my later 30’s is that taking care of your skin is SO important — especially when it comes to moisturizing! If you’re looking for a line of affordable skin products, you might be interested to know that Walmart carries a line of Pond’s products created specifically with anti-aging benefits. Their everyday low price makes it much more affordable than other anti-aging product lines. Plus, you can use the $1.50/1 manufacturer’s coupon from yesterday’s 5/12 insert to save even more! Walmart carries three Pond’s anti-aging skin products: Pond’s Rejuveness Anti-Wrinkle Cream — This anti-wrinkle cream is suitable for daily use and visibly reduces the appearance of fine lines within two weeks. It’s formulated with collagen and vitamin E to help improve skin appearance. Available in 7 oz and 14.1 oz. Instructions for use: After cleansing, apply to face and neck twice daily. For delicate skin, wait 10-15 minutes after cleansing before applying. Pond’s Clarant B3 Normal to Oily Skin Dark Spot Corrector —  This moisturizer has vitamin B3, and it fights uneven skin tone and diminishes dark spots so that skin looks more radiant within four weeks of use. It is specially formulated for those with normal to oily skin types. Instructions for use: Apply daily to face and neck. For best results, apply during the morning (as a base for make-up) and then again at night. Pond’s Clarant B3 Normal to Dry Skin Dark Spot Corrector —  If you suffer from dry skin, this correcting cream moisturizes your skin to fight uneven skin tone and diminish dark spots so that your skin looks more radiant within four weeks of use. It is specially formulated for those with normal to dry skin types, and it also contains vitamin B3. Instructions for use: Apply daily to face and neck. For best results, apply during the morning (as a base for make-up) and then again at night. All of these products have been dermatologist tested, are hypoallergenic, and won’t clog your pores. You can go here to check out the Pond’s anti-aging product line at Walmart, but be sure to grab your coupon from yesterday’s newspaper to save even more in-stores! [...]
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Entrepreneur Magazine | Low Price!

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Entrepreneur Magazine | Low Price!
Great magazine for all you entrepreneurs! ENTREPRENEUR SUBSCRIPTION DISCOUNT Until 6/6/19, subscribe to Entrepreneur Magazine for only $4.95 per year (91% off)! You can order up to 4 years at this price! Just enter coupon code PENNYPINCH when you get to check out. If you already subscribe, you can extend your current subscription at this ... Read More about Entrepreneur Magazine | Low Price! The post Entrepreneur Magazine | Low Price! appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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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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11 Secret Uses for Everyday Items That Will Save You Money

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11 Secret Uses for Everyday Items That Will Save You Money
Odu / Shutterstock.com It was the mayonnaise trick that sold me. I have a grade-school daughter, and let’s just say she’s not always super careful about using coasters on our wooden coffee table. Let’s also say that we don’t have the money to run out and buy another coffee table just because her glasses of ice water left behind some ugly white circles. So, I did the modern thing: [...]
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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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Free Toy Story 4 Movie Ticket when you buy 3 Almond Breeze Products!

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Free Toy Story 4 Movie Ticket when you buy 3 Almond Breeze Products!
Love Blue Diamond Almond Breeze products? Buy three and get a free Toy Story 4 Movie Ticket! Through August 2nd, score a free Toy Story 4 Movie Ticket when you buy 3 Blue Diamond Almond Breeze products! Simply purchase the products in one transaction by August 2nd and then upload your receipt by September 2nd. Thanks, Freebie Shark! [...]
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Verizon Announces Another Dividend Hike

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Verizon Announces Another Dividend Hike
It marks the 12 consecutive year in which the large wireless operator has hiked its dividend. [...]
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Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Train Set

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Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Train Set
Grab this hot deal while it is available! You can get the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Train Set for only $56.99. You will be saving 56% on this purchase because it is usually $129.99. Be sure that you grab this deal soon because the prices can change at any time! The post Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Train Set appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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5 Things You Should NOT Buy at Dollar Tree

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5 Things You Should NOT Buy at Dollar Tree
Since you all loved my list of what NOT to buy at Aldi, I thought it’d be fun to put together a list of what NOT to buy at Dollar Tree! What You Shouldn’t Buy at Dollar Tree Wondering what you shouldn’t buy at Dollar? Well, I’ve got you covered in this post! Now, before you think I’m here to disparage Dollar Tree, let me be clear: Dollar Tree is one of my favorite places to shop at. And I’m thrilled that I passed that love on to my daughter! I mean, what’s not to love about Dollar Tree? Everything in the store is a dollar or less. If you’re wondering what I think you should buy at Dollar Tree, be sure to check out my HUGE list of the best things to buy at Dollar Tree. I go to the Dollar Tree for Valentine’s Day gifts. We have a family Christmas tradition where we all go to Dollar Tree and buy each other stocking stuffers! I even think it’s a great place to save money on groceries! But just like any other store, there are definitely some things I think you should not purchase at Dollar Tree because they aren’t great deals. I put together a list of my top five things below: (Psst! Did you see my list of 5 Things You Should Not Buy at Aldi?) 1. Cheap Plastic Toys Okay, so if you want to buy the cheap plastic toys, you totally can — especially if they will give your kids a lot of enjoyment. (Hey, if a cheap plastic toy for $1 will buy you 30 minutes of peace and quiet, I’m all for that!) And full disclosure, we have totally have bought the games, puzzles, activity books many times over the years (especially for road trips), but we try to be careful that we’re not buying cheap toys that won’t work and are just going to break in a few minutes. 2. Boxes of Cereal While they do have name brand cereals, they are small boxes and the price per ounce isn’t a great deal — especially compared to what you’d pay for cereal at Aldi. 3. Mac & Cheese I’ve told you that my kids are big fans of the boxed Mac & Cheese at Aldi — and it’s less than $0.50 per box! Also, there are often deals on Annie’s Mac & Cheese where you can get it for $1 per box or less! Looking for a really delicious homemade mac & cheese recipe. I highly recommend this one. 4. Chips/Pretzels If you don’t have a Kroger or Aldi, the prices on tortilla chips and pretzels could be a good deal for you. The packages are smaller than a typical bag of chips or pretzels at the grocery store. Aldi has the larger bags for $1.19 and Kroger often has larger bags on sale for $1. 5. Hand towels and wash cloths I had to include these because of all the things you can buy at Dollar Tree these are one of the few things I think you should never buy. Why? Because they are basically scratchy, non-absorbent rags. I mean, if you want to buy them for rags, be my guest. But I think you’d be better off using leaves off your backyard trees to clean up a mess than these “towels”. 🙂 Okay, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but still, just don’t buy these! Wait until Kohl’s has a deal and a coupon code, and then spend $1-2 per hand towel and wash cloth to buy something that actually works! Do you agree with my list? Is there anything you would add to it? I’d love to hear! Related Links: My 25 Favorite Things to Buy at Dollar Tree 21 Valentine’s Day Deals at Dollar Tree 23 Stocking Stuffer Ideas from Dollar Tree My 25 Favorite Things to Buy at Aldi 5 Things You Should NOT Buy at Aldi [...]
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10 Things That Can Ding Your Social Security Benefit

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10 Things That Can Ding Your Social Security Benefit
Halfpoint / Shutterstock.com You’ve worked hard for Social Security retirement benefits, and you probably want every dollar you’re entitled to receive. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that there are reasons why your Social Security payments could decrease. Many are in your control, but some are not. Keep reading to find out how your monthly check could get dinged for everything from... [...]
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IT Consulting Industry Outlook 2019

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IT Consulting Industry Outlook 2019
The post IT Consulting Industry Outlook 2019 appeared first on ONEtoONE Corporate Finance. [...]
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These 8 Strategies Will Help You Pay Down Credit Card Debt When You Retire

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These 8 Strategies Will Help You Pay Down Credit Card Debt When You Retire
Ah, retirement. Lazy days in the hammock, bucket list trips to Europe, leisurely drives in your sports car. Wait, you’ve spent more time jettisoning ideas than planning jet-setting excursions? Despite your best savings efforts — and unexpected expenses — those idyllic retirement plans may have run into the stark reality that you didn’t end up with the nest egg you had planned on. In fact, you’re headed toward your golden years with credit card debt. Employee Benefit Research Institute.  In 1992, 53.8% of families with the head of household ages 55 or older had debt. By 2016, that number had climbed to 68%. Unfortunately, it’s a nationwide trend, as families just reaching retirement or those recently retired are more likely to have debt — and higher levels of it — than past generations, according to a study by the Without your former income, you may be starting to worry about making the growing credit card payments on a fixed income, particularly when the average Social Security monthly benefit is $1,461. Putting a dent — permanently — in credit card debt when you’re retired is possible, and we have seven ways to help pay off your debt so you can enjoy that hammock. 8 Ways to Help Pay Down Credit Card Debt in Retirement Retirement offers unique opportunities and challenges when you’re paying off debt. You may have new sources of income, like Social Security or a pension, and new expenses, like increased healthcare costs or fun stuff like travel. So here are eight post-employment strategies that can help you pay down debt. 1. Make a Budget Tackling credit card payment as you approach retirement starts by re-examining your budget. Making changes to your lifestyle and using your free time to save money is a good place to start, according to Joseph Valenti, senior policy advisor with the AARP Public Policy Institute, in Washington, D.C. “One thing we know from studies of retirement is that people have fewer set costs typically compared to when they were working,” he said. “If they have more time, maybe they will be preparing more meals at home.” If you need help creating your budget, check out our step-by-step guide to budgeting or learn the basics in our Budgeting 101 Academy course. Once you know where you stand financially, you can start looking for ways to cut the credit card balance. 2. Negotiate With Credit Card Companies The best way to know where you stand is to look at the numbers — in this case, the interest rate on your cards. It’s easier to pay down a debt if you’re accumulating less interest on top of the original amount (learn more about compound interest in our Credit Cards 101 Academy course). Asking your credit card company for a new rate is one option, particularly if you’re ready to commit to living credit card-free going forward, Valenti said. “In some cases, even if you close that card, they will let you pay it down for little or no interest over a period of time,” Valenti said. “That’s assuming you don’t need the card again.” Pro Tip When you call the credit card company, the first person you talk to may not be able to help you, even if they think they can. Ask to speak with a manager who handles settlement arrangements. Check out this post for more tips on negotiating credit card debt. And if you’re too overwhelmed to deal with the creditors themselves, consider reaching out to a credit counselor, who can help you organize your accounts and may negotiate a lower interest rate for you. 3. Transfer Your Balance to a New Card Loyalty isn’t necessarily rewarding. If you’ve had the same card for years, transferring your balance to a new card could give you a lower interest rate than you current provider can offer. Reap the most benefits by paying down as much debt as you can during the promotional period. When you’re considering which card to go with, compare this information for all offers: Fees (typically at least $5 to $10 or 3% to 5% of the balance) Interest (look for 0%) Duration of the promotional APR (usually 12 to 18 months) Credit score requirements (generally good or excellent) Credit limits (make sure it’s more than your current balance) Here’s what else to consider before transferring a balance. 4. Cut (Former) Work-Related Expenses Still hanging on to that gym membership, even though you only signed up because it was close to your office? By reviewing your monthly, periodic and annual budgets, you may discover work-related expenses that have become so habitual you’ve forgotten about them, according to Valenti, who gave transportation, clothing and cell phone expenses as examples. Cancel subscriptions to professional associations and other automatic billings associated with work (an ink cartridge subscription, for instance) to avoid unwanted surprises at the end of the month. If you have trouble keeping up with recurring payments, try using a subscription tracking tool. And if you still enjoy hitting the gym, cut costs by asking about senior discounts — AARP has many for its members. 5. Set Up Self-Imposed Limits Before retirement, those little expenses that broke your budget one month may have been easier to cushion with your regular paycheck. And remembering them all may have been a little easier a few years ago. To help you track the expenses and avoid unwanted surprises at the end of the month, Valenti suggested setting up alerts from your bank or credit card provider. “It’s one thing to find out instantly through a text that you’ve reached a limit — even if it’s a self-imposed limit — as opposed to a statement that’s going to shock you at the end of a cycle,” Valenti said. 6. Ask for Professional (Financial) Help If you’re overwhelmed by managing your day-to-day finances or fear forgetting to pay bills and sinking further in debt, consider hiring a daily money manager. In addition to tracking bills, daily money managers can help you with balancing your checkbook, collecting tax documents, dealing with medical bills and even avoiding scams. Pro Tip Your bank must protect two months’ worth of Social Security benefits from a credit card collector’s garnishment. If your account has more than that, the bank can garnish or freeze the extra money. Depending on where you live, a daily money manager may charge $75 to $150 an hour. However, the American Association of Daily Money Managers provides a list of state agencies that provide services to low-income and disabled seniors.   7. Make Extra Money on Your Empty Nest Now that the kids have moved out (hopefully), you’re stuck with that big, empty house. One option for making money is to sell it and downsize to a smaller place, then use the profits to pay off credit card debt. But moving still requires an outlay of cash and can add additional stress as you’re adjusting to retired life. If you’re seeking something a little less drastic, think about new ways to use your house — and its contents — to earn some cash today, advises Moira Somers, a wealth psychologist based in Winnipeg, Canada, and the author of “Advice That Sticks: How to Give Financial Advice That People Will Follow.” “Look at the resources you have and say, ‘Could this turn into money somehow?’” she said. “One of the cool things about this period in our life is that there are sometimes ways we can make extra money that wouldn’t have been possible even 10 years ago — the whole AirBnb thing, for example.” If you’re looking to make some money on your extra bedrooms, check out our post about how to become an Airbnb host. And don’t forget about all those buried treasures in the attic. (Did you know that Urban Outfitters sells five-packs of random VHS tapes for $40? Yeah. That’s a thing.) One of the cool things about this period in our life is that there are sometimes ways we can make extra money that wouldn’t have been possible even 10 years ago. Somers notes ta [...]
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Social Security Q&A: Am I Taking My Benefit Too Soon?

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Social Security Q&A: Am I Taking My Benefit Too Soon?
Welcome to “Social Security Q&A.” You ask a Social Security question, and our guest expert provides the answer. You can learn how to ask a question of your own below. And if you would like a personalized report detailing your optimal Social Security claiming strategy, click here. Check it out: It could result in receiving thousands of dollars more in benefits over your lifetime! [...]
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Free Summer Reading Programs 2019

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Free Summer Reading Programs 2019
If you’re looking for summer reading programs for kids, this is our comprehensive list of all the completely FREE programs! {Looking for other fun summer deals? Kids can bowl for free and skate for free at many participating locations this summer! And don’t forget to stop by Sonic after 8 p.m. for half-price ice cream shakes!} Believe it or not, it’s almost that time of year again — when school is out and summer reading programs abound. Yay! (Well, some of you might not be saying “yay!”, but we do because my kids LOVE them some summer reading programs!) Free Summer Reading Programs 2019 Do your kids love to read, too? If so, this is our big list of all the FREE summer reading programs that are available nationally! Amazon — Kids who read any eight books this summer can bring their list of books read to the nearest Amazon Retail Store to receive a Star Reader Certificate and their choice of a free book. Audiobook Sync — SYNC will give away two complete audiobook downloads per week for teens 13+. Sign up to get notifications when the free audiobook downloads are available. Barnes & Noble — Earn a free book through the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program for kids in grades 1-6. Read any eight books this summer and record them in your Summer Reading Journal (English or Español ). Tell them which part of the book is your favorite, and why. Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between August 1st and August 31st, 2019. Choose your free book from the books listed on the back of the reading journal. Books-A-Million — Read any four books from the Summer Reading Adventure section in-store or online and receive a free drawstring backpack (while supplies last). Half Price Books — Kids 14 or younger can read 15 minutes per day to reach a total of at least 300 minutes. After that, they can take their completed reading log to their local store to earn Bookworm Bucks before August 29th. (In addition, they have a summer reading program for teens.) Lifeway Stores –– Read six books over the course of the summer and memorize six Scripture verses. Then, complete your journal and the online form to redeem your prizes (Choose from one of nine books, plus receive a free Bible, while supplies last). This program is geared toward grades 1 through 6 and even toddlers, ages 1 to 5. However, all are welcome to join in the adventure! Scholastic — Kids can enter their summer reading minutes online to unlock digital rewards as they complete weekly reading challenges and access book excerpts, videos, and other summer-exclusive content. Showcase Cinemas — Bookworm Wednesdays entitles kids to free admission to a select children’s film when they present a book report at a participating Cinema de Lux, Showcase, or Multiplex Cinemas box office. Accompanying parents or guardians and children under six years of age receive free admission and do not need to submit a book report. Local Libraries — Above all, don’t forget about your local library! Most of them offer fun summer reading programs with prizes and more. Psst! Don’t forget about the Pizza Hut Book-It Program that runs each school year! Do you know of any other Summer Reading Programs we should add to this list? Let us know in the comments! [...]
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Chase Launches Student Credit Card in Branches Only

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Chase Launches Student Credit Card in Branches Only
If you’re a college student who isn’t ready to throw a graduation cap into the air just yet, take a look at the hat Chase just tossed into the ring. A few months ahead of the new semester, the issuer has launched Chase Freedom Student, a credit card designed for those still in school. As of June 9,... Melissa Lambarena is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: mlambarena@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @LissaLambarena. The article Chase Launches Student Credit Card in Branches Only originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Spinning Treats Mixer

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Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Spinning Treats Mixer
If you have a little one that loves Play-Doh, grab this deal for even more fun! You can get the Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Spinning Treats Mixer for only $11.19. You will be saving 34% on this purchase because it is normally $16.99. Be sure that you grab this deal soon because the prices can change ... Read More about Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Spinning Treats Mixer The post Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Spinning Treats Mixer appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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HELOC: Understanding Home Equity Lines of Credit

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HELOC: Understanding Home Equity Lines of Credit
  A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, is a second mortgage that gives you access to cash based on the value of your home. You can draw from a home equity line of credit and repay all or some of it monthly, somewhat like a credit card. With a HELOC, you borrow against your... The article HELOC: Understanding Home Equity Lines of Credit originally appeared on NerdWallet.   [...]
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*HOT* ReadingIQ Deal: Annual subscription for just $2.49 per month! {Silas loves this app!}

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*HOT* ReadingIQ Deal: Annual subscription for just $2.49 per month! {Silas loves this app!}
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. If you have a child who struggles with reading, I highly, highly recommend this ReadingIQ app! And this is a GREAT discount! ReadingIQ is offering a RARE discount for Memorial Day weekend!! You can get 68% off their annual subscription — which means you’ll pay just $29.99 total for an entire year! That’s like getting eight months for FREE. You’ll pay just $2.49 per month!! ReadingIQ is a brand-new online digital library for kids that offers thousands of books for all reading levels. And I can’t sing the praises of this reading app enough! Silas had never been excited about reading until he started using this app a few months ago. This app has made him fall in love with reading — something I never thought would be possible after years of his struggle with reading. In the first 6 weeks of using it, he logged close to 600 minutes of reading on ReadingIQ… all on his own. And did I mention this was with almost zero coaxing or encouragement from me? When you sign up with ReadingIQ, you get: Unlimited access to thousands of books. Anytime. Anywhere. Accessible on desktops, tablets, and phones Popular titles and characters that children know and love All titles carefully curated for readers 12 and under Book recommendations for every child based on his or her level Ability to monitor your child’s progress Award-winning titles, including Caldecott and Newbery Medal winners Up to 3 children per account Guided Reading and Lexile® levels available for thousands of books Ability to preview the content your child is exploring More than 700 professionally voiced titles This is the first time I’ve seen them offer a discount like this, so definitely take advantage of it! This is a HUGE savings off the regular price of $7.99 per month! Psst! If you’re not sure you’re ready to purchase yet, you can still get a FREE one-month trial instead! After the first month is up, if you decide to continue your subscription, it’ll cost $7.99 per month. Go here to get this rare ReadingIQ discount. [...]
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Ranger Rick Magazine Discount!

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Ranger Rick Magazine Discount!
This was one of my favorite magazines growing up! We’ve found a hot deal on Ranger Rick Magazine. RANGER RICK SUBSCRIPTION DISCOUNT Hurry on over and order a subscription to Ranger Rick magazine for just $14.99 per year!  Enter the coupon code PENNYPINCH at checkout to get the discount. But, you need to hurry as ... Read More about Ranger Rick Magazine Discount! The post Ranger Rick Magazine Discount! appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Making the Most of the Capital One Savor or SavorOne

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Making the Most of the Capital One Savor or SavorOne
The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card and Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card are about food and fun. You earn accelerated rewards on dining in or dining out, and it’s probably your go-to card when paying for entertainment. If you already spend a lot in those areas, you’ll earn rewards pretty effortlessly. But using... Gregory Karp is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: gkarp@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @spendingsmart. The article Making the Most of the Capital One Savor or SavorOne originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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70% of Older Adults Don’t Know This Key Social Security Fact

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70% of Older Adults Don’t Know This Key Social Security Fact
Millions of Americans depend on Social Security as the financial foundation of their retirement. Yet, nearly 70% percent of older people cannot correctly identify the age at which they are eligible for full retirement benefits. That finding — courtesy of a recent survey by the Nationwide Retirement Institute — has profound implications for how well people will live in retirement. [...]
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This Week’s $70 Grocery Budget (+ what we ate)

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This Week’s $70 Grocery Budget (+ what we ate)
Want to see what we bought for this week’s $70 grocery budget? I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.). For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here. Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our disclosure policy here. This Week’s $70 Grocery Budget I told you we were doing a 100 Days of Summer Fun Challenge this summer. We’re currently on Day 10 and it’s been so good. This photo was taken at the top of Fort Negley in Nashville. We went there as a family to have a picnic dinner one night this past week. It was my idea — and well, let’s just say, the kids weren’t as excited about it as I was. (You can read more about our evening there here… and hopefully it helps you remember that we’re far from perfect over here!) I bought some marked down salmon a few weeks ago and it was a fun addition to my daily salads this past week. Yum! On Tuesday evening, I made a big batch of Pizza Hot Pockets. I used the basic idea from Ham & Cheese Pockets, but I used pasta sauce, browned ground beef, and cheddar cheese. I made two pans and it was enough for two nights (plus some extras for lunch) and these were a hit! Kroger Shopping Trip #1 Kroger Half & Half — $1.79 Cupcakes — marked down to $1.99 Appletini Drink Mix — marked down to $0.59 Milk — $2.79 Honey Nut Cheerios — free with coupon Kroger sent me Salad Kit — marked down to $1.49 Spinach — marked down to $0.99 2 bags of peppers — marked down to $0.99 each Baking chocolate — marked down to $0.50 2 loaves of bread — marked down to $1.79 each 2 salad bowls — marked down to $0.50 each Water — $0.89 Quaker Granola Bars — free with coupon Kroger sent me 8-pack Soda — marked down to $1.29 Chocolate Milk — $1.99 Olive Oil Cooking Spray — $2.69 Total with tax: $25.31 I loved the $0.50 salads. The second day, I added some of the cooked salmon to it and it tasted amazing! Did you download your free Sprouts coupons?? Sprouts Shopping Trip I got both of these for just $0.20 out of pocket at Sprouts! Note: I accidentally picked up the non-organic peppers. I realized my mistake at the register when the coupon didn’t come off! I offered to go get the organic peppers so I could exchange them with these and the cashier said, “Oh, don’t worry about it! I’ll just take those off your order!” If you missed my post from last week and you love Dollar Tree, be sure to check out my thoughts on 5 Things You Should Not Buy at Dollar Tree. Dollar Tree Shopping Trip While I was at Dollar Tree taking photos for the above post, I also picked up 4 bottles of lemon juice (for my Gallon of Lemon Water a Day habit) and I picked up some Coconut Oil cooking spray to try out. I asked on Instagram if anyone had tried the coconut oil cooking spray. Some of you said you loved it. Some of you said it didn’t work at all. So I guess I’ll just have to try it for myself and see! 🙂 And of course, we had to stop by Sonic for their $0.50 corn dogs on Thursday! I was so excited about the fun deals at Kroger for Memorial Day weekend! (And the kids were super excited about sweet tea, cookies, and ice cream bars!) Someone told me that they use the Deluxe Grahams for s’mores! We’ll have to try that! These are so great to have on hand for hosting people over the summer! Kroger Shopping Trip #2 5 packages of Keebler cookies — $0.99 each with the Weekend Digital coupon 1 pack of Snapple — $1.99 with the Weekend Digital coupon 5 boxes of ice cream bars — $0.99 each with the Weekend Digital coupon 5 packages of hot dog buns — $1.19 each 4 boxes Cinnamon Frosted Flakes — marked down to $1 each 2 bags of avocados — marked down to $0.99 each 1 package Butterscotch chips — marked down to $1 2 packages turkey — on closeout for $2 each Pickle relish — $0.79 Kroger pickles — $1.59 Mustard — $0.49 Dijon mustard — $1.25 3 salad kits — marked down to $1.49 each Total with tax: $39.79 Practicing Hospitality on a Budget A question I often get is how we can afford to practice hospitality with a $70 grocery budget. We love opening up our home and I love finding creative ways to do it frugally. (See my post here for some ideas for hospitality on a budget.) Some friends from India were in the states and we wanted to have them over along with a few other families. I knew that our Indian friends actually enjoy real American food so I thought a traditional cookout would be fun! We had about 20 packages of beef hot dogs and beef brats in the freezer — that I’ve picked up when they’ve been on great sales over the past 3-6 months. So I invited everyone to come and said we’d provide the hot dogs, brats, buns, and condiments. Everyone else brought a side and/or drink. This made it easy for everyone and also really simple to pull off! It was such a wonderful evening of games, laughter, and good conversation! Headed on a Road Trip! On Saturday morning, we left for a quick family road trip to visit three states we haven’t all visited before (Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa). We brought snacks for the road, some food for some meals, and we are staying at hotels with free breakfasts. We love to splurge on one meal out at a local restaurant each day on our trip. (Follow along on Instagram stories to see what we’re doing, seeing, and eating in these states!) What We Ate On Our $70 Grocery Budget This Past Week Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand. This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate. Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here. Our Menu Plan Breakfasts: Cereal, Pancakes, Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs, Toast Lunches: Ham Sandwiches, Carrots, Oranges, Salads, Leftovers, Cookies (We also got a few $0.50 corn dogs at Sonic in the afternoon.) Snacks: Fruit, Peppers, Popcorn, Cookies, Hard Boiled Eggs, Cereal, Granola Bars, Chocolate Milk Dinners: Sunday — Fend for yourself Monday — Grilled Beef, Twice Baked Potatoes, Hawaiian Rolls, Oranges Tuesday — Homemade Pizza Pockets, Oranges Wednesday — Leftover Pizza Pockets, Peppers, Creme Brulee Thursday — Pancakes Friday — Cookout with five other families at our house (we provided all of the Brats/Hot Dogs — I had these stockpiled in the freezer from recent deals — plus the condiments and buns. Everyone else brought a side/drinks.) Saturday — We stopped at McAlister’s on our way to Madison, WI. $70 Grocery Budget Totals Total spent on groceries: $70.64 Cashback earned this week: 100 points for submitting my receipts to Fetch rewards + $0.75 for submitting my receipt to iBotta rewards and buying snack bars + a snack. [...]
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Capital One Spark Miles for Business Adds Precheck/Global Entry Perk

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Capital One Spark Miles for Business Adds Precheck/Global Entry Perk
Capital One is enhancing one of its popular business credit cards with a cardholder benefit that pays for federal trusted-traveler programs aimed at helping flyers get through airport security lines quicker. Learn More Starting May 21, 2019, the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business will reimburse cardholders for the cost of applying to TSA Precheck or Global Entry programs, which... Gregory Karp is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: gkarp@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @spendingsmart. The article Capital One Spark Miles for Business Adds Precheck/Global Entry Perk originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Projectables LED Plug-In Night Light

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Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Projectables LED Plug-In Night Light
Night lights are so much fun for kids, and this one looks really awesome! You can get the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Projectables LED Plug-In Night Light for only $8.47. You will be saving 47% on this purchase because it is normally 14.99. This night light provides a soft red glow while projecting a Mickey Mouse ... Read More about Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Projectables LED Plug-In Night Light The post Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Projectables LED Plug-In Night Light appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Walmart Grocery Service: $10 off any $50 purchase

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Walmart Grocery Service: $10 off any $50 purchase
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Planning to do a grocery pick up order at Walmart soon? You can score $10 off a $50 purchase right now! Walmart Grocery Service is currently offering $10 off any $50 purchase when you use the promo code LA9ARAAC at checkout! This is valid for new and existing customers. You can enter your zip code here to see if this service is available at your local Walmart. Valid through December 31, 2019. [...]
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How This Family of 4 Saves $3,600 a Year Living in a 200-Square-Foot Home

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How This Family of 4 Saves $3,600 a Year Living in a 200-Square-Foot Home
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated. Several years ago, Andrew and Gabriella Morrison and their two kids lived in a 2,200-square-foot house in Ashland, Oregon. Andrew describes it as the perfect house on the perfect street in the perfect town — the American dream, really. On the outside, the family appeared to have everything. But on the inside, they were feeling increasingly stressed by their finances. “We started recognizing the financial and energetic cost of living there and how busy we were trying to maintain it,” Andrew says. So, the family of four decided to downsize — in a major way. Discovering Tiny Homes — Long Before HGTV Did The Morrisons’ decision to ditch their seemingly picture-perfect suburban lifestyle happened fast. Andrew describes it as an “aha” moment. In the midst of their frenzied days, Gabriella received an email from someone whose signature line read, “Tiny House Blog.” She’d never even heard of tiny houses before. So naturally, she did a quick internet search. “It was literally like dominoes,” she says. “We went down the rabbit hole and never looked back.” Within 30 minutes of researching the tiny-house lifestyle, Gabriella says everything became clear about why they were having issues and what needed to be done. The Ultimate Purge: Getting Rid of 80% of Their Belongings Gabriella learned the average U.S. household holds something like 300,000 items — everything from paperclips to armoires. That’s a lot. So the family created something they called a “365-day rule.” Each time someone went into a room with a drawer or cabinet, every single item was pulled out. With each item, they asked, “Have we used it in the last year?” If the answer was yes, then they could decide if they wanted to keep it. If the answer was no, it went in an ever-growing pile in their two-car garage. After a couple of months, that pile of cast-off items grew about two feet high. Once an item was in the pile, they decided if they still wanted to keep it or if they wanted to sell or donate it. “The more we did it, the easier it became and the more excited we got,” Gabriella says. When the pile dwindled to heirlooms and childhood tokens, the family took a breather. They put them in a small storage box to return to a few years later. Their inevitable solution for many of those items? Take photos of them or digitize them. For example, they’d transfer old photos to CDs and take photos of old trophies. The more we did it, the easier it became and the more excited we got. Then they’d purge. In the end, the family rid themselves of about 80% of their belongings. Including their home. Although it was their perfect home, the family was excited for their newest adventure: pop-up living on the shores of Mexico. Moving Into a Pop-Up Camper and Testing the Tiny Boundaries After purging material goods, the family decided to test out the tiny lifestyle by living in a pop-up camper for nearly five months on the beaches of Baja, Mexico. The couple continued to operate their business, Straw Bale, which focuses on homes made of straw bales. Their son, Paiute, was off at boarding school, so there was one less body in the newly adopted living space. However, it wasn’t all frolicking in the Sea of Cortez (though that did happen a lot). Gabriella remembers being “shocked and disturbed” during that first month in the camper. The emotional withdrawals from the lack of electronics and material goods were surprisingly intense for Andrew and Gabriella — even for their home-schooled daughter, Terra, who was 11 at the time. “Before, our lifestyles involved a ton of work — 10 hours a day, 7 days a week — and constantly being on screens, returning phone calls, receiving emails,” Gabriella explains. “Then, for our daughter, it was with the social media channels. They start pretty young these days.” At one point, the trio was so uncomfortable, they almost packed up and returned home. But near the 30-day mark of their adventure, Andrew woke up and “some switch went off,” Gabriella says. “He was able to see the incredible paradise we were living in and the incredible opportunity before us.” Gabriella and her daughter soon followed. Today, the Morrisons consider it the best experience they’ve ever had. Returning to Oregon to Put Down Some Tiny Roots After five months, the Morrisons returned to Ashland to scout out the perfect piece of land for a permanent tiny house. Although the ZIP code was expensive, the family resolved to stay where they’d already established a life. But the couple wasn’t willing to go into debt. So they waited. During that time, which ultimately lasted two years, they rented the smallest house they could find. Even then, the space wasn’t small enough. Andrew and Gabriella settled into the walk-in closet — about the size of a queen mattress. “It was our bedroom, it was our library, it was our hanging clothes closet,” Andrew says. “But even that was too big. We couldn’t find anything small enough for us.” Gabriella chimes in: “We weren’t comfortable being in a big space [anymore].” Finally, Andrew and Gabriella found what they were looking for: five acres in the Rogue Valley, amongst the mountains. There was even a creek cutting through the property. Although it posed some problems, like a lack of approval for a septic system and challenging access to the building site, Andrew was a former builder with ample experience, and he accepted the challenge. The Struggles of Constructing a Tiny House in the Dead of Winter Andrew and Gabriella moved back into their pop-up camper to start building their tiny dream home on their newly-acquired land. Rather than commuting from town each day — about a 30-minute haul — they figured they could be more efficient living right on the job site. But it was cold. “I can tell you that living in a pop-tent trailer in the winter in Oregon is not the same as living in a pop-tent trailer on a beach in Mexico,” Andrew says. “It got cold. We had snow. We didn’t have any running water. It was definitely a mistake.” The two returned to town to stay with a friend and resumed construction while Paiute and Terra were off at boarding school. It took about four months for Andrew to complete the 207-square-foot tiny home — plus 110 square feet for a sleeping loft. How Much Money Can You Save Living in a Tiny House? The biggest perk? They’re no longer financially stressed. Gabriella estimates that in about two more years they’ll have paid off their tiny home with the money they’ve saved by not having a mortgage. Utilities have been slashed, too. Heating a 207-square-foot home is a lot less expensive than a 2,200-square-foot home. They’re also technically off the grid, so their solar power is free and the water runs from a well. Their monthly bills have been shaved down to internet, phone and garbage. They pay their propane heating bill twice a year. They’ve also noticed a difference in their grocery bill. By American standards, their refrigerator is about half the size of a “normal” one. But because they don’t have any of those deep, dark corners, items can’t be tucked away and forgotten; every food item is in view and consumed. Andrew and Gabriella have also become more aware of their spending habits. Neither was ever a shopaholic, but impulse buying definitely happened. Now, they just don’t have room for it. They’ve even stopped taking freebies. Andrew shares a story about how he opted out of the “free” counterpart of a BOGO deal for pants. He had to explain to the cashier that he lived in a tiny home; he didn’t have room for another pair of pants. The couple laughs. “It’s taken our mindset to where, even if it’s free, if you don’t need it, cut it,” Andrew says. Gabriella suspects they’ve cut at least $300 from their spending e [...]
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Afternoon Deals: Monday, May. 13

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Afternoon Deals: Monday, May. 13
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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How to Homeschool for Free or Cheap

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How to Homeschool for Free or Cheap
Interested in homeschooling but afraid it might break your family’s budget? Read this post for some really great tips on how to homeschool for free — or very close to free! {Don’t miss our weekly round-up of all the best FREE homeschool curriculum & resources! And you can also check out my Top 10 Favorite Free Homeschool Sites here.} Guest post from Jessica of Where’d My Sanity Go: Yes! It is possible to homeschool for free or cheap! Once you dig into all the homeschool curriculum products available, it can be overwhelming. When you check out the prices on those bad boys, it can get scary. Don’t worry though, there are a lot of ways to give your child a great education at an affordable price. Some of the homeschool lessons and curriculums we use are completely free! So if you’re wondering how to homeschool for free, here are my top tips… Use what you’ve got: Search your home for any books you may have forgotten about. When I started out, I had no idea how I was going to afford all the things I thought I needed. Luckily, my son had a ton of nature and science books already. I used these to build a few of my lessons for him, and we had a set of dictionaries we used for spelling lessons and other subjects. Borrow: If you already know of other homeschool families in your are, ask them if they have any old schoolbooks or homeschooling curriculum books they aren’t using and that you might borrow for a while. If you’re not familiar with any other homeschool families in the area, look on Facebook for local homeschool groups or ask your friends and family, your church, or even your local schools. When I pulled my son out of public school, they were kind enough to give me some information about local homeschool programs. Shop for used books: Check local garage sales, used bookstores, and other local stores for discounted items. Join a few Facebook groups where people are selling their used homeschool books for dirt cheap. I have saved so much money by doing this and hardly ever purchase anything brand new. Before buying anything, I always first search for used homeschool supplies or books. Utilize free homeschool resources There are tons of free online homeschool curriculum options out there. You don’t have to stick with just one either, you can take different lessons from multiple online curriculums to fit your educational outline. A few popular free curriculums: Easy Peasy – All In One Homeschool – 180-day lesson plans for PreK-8th. (this is one of our favorites) Khan Academy – Free online lessons for just about any subject. K12.com – Independent teacher-led courses for homeschoolers. YouTube — there are a ton of educational YouTube channels out there that are perfect for supplementing your homeschool curriculum. You can find different channels that range from preschool to high school subjects. Finding affordable or free homeschool educational materials or curriculum is not as hard as you think! I recommend scouring the internet to find out what’s available. Join local homeschool groups, find local Facebook groups, etc. Several of our local homeschool families often get together for different field trips — many places even offer homeschooling families a discount on tickets! Do you have any other advice on how to homeschool for free? I’d love to hear in the comments! Jessica Fuqua is the owner/editor of Where’d My Sanity Go, where she often writes about family, parenting, and homeschooling. [...]
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CVS: Deals for the week of June 16-22, 2019

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CVS: Deals for the week of June 16-22, 2019
Looking for all the best weekly CVS deals? Check out this list of the hottest deals you’ll find in-store this week! Here are the best deals at CVS this week, with a big thanks to Passionate Penny Pincher for her help in compiling them: Buy 2 Maybelline Eye Brow Liner – $4.99, Get $6 ECBs (Limit 1) Used (2) $3/1 Maybelline Eye Product printable will need to sign up can get 2 coupons when signing up Pay $3.98 out of pocket, Get $6 ECBs Free plus $2.02 moneymaker after coupons and ECBs Buy 1 Colgate Total TS or Max Toothpaste at $3.49, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 2) Use $1/1 printable Pay $2.49 out of pocket, Get $2 ECBs $0.49 after coupon and ECBs Buy 1 Hershey King Size at $1.88, Get $1 ECBs (Limit 1) Pay $1.88 out of pocket, Get $1 ECBs $0.88 after ECBS Buy 1 General Mills Cereal at $2.88, Get $1 ECBs (Limit 1) Pay $2.88 out of pocket, Get $1 ECBs $1.88 after ECBS Buy 1 Physician Formula Make Up Staring at $9.99, Get $7 ECBs Pay $9.99 out of pocket, Get $7 ECBs $2.99 after ECBs Buy 2 Scott Toilet Paper (18 roll) at $7.99, Get $5 ECBs (Limit 1) Use $0.55/1 Scott Bath Tissue printable Pay $14.88 out of pocket, Get $5 ECBs $4.94 each after coupons and ECBs Buy 1 Coppertone Sunscreen at $9.99, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 1) Use $2/1 printable Pay $7.99 out of pocket, Get $2 ECBs $5.99 after coupon and ECBs Buy 1 Finishing Touch Flawless Face or Brow at $19.99, Get $5 ECBs (Limit 1) Pay $19.99 out of pocket, Get $5 ECBs $14.99 after ECBs Spend $20, Get $5 ECBs (Limit 1) *Deal Idea* Buy 2 Charmin Toilet Paper (6 Mega Roll) or Bounty Paper Towels (4 rolls) – $6.99 Buy 1 Tide Pods (12 -16 ct) – $4.94 Buy 1 Dawn Dish Soap – $0.99 Use $2/1 Tide App coupon or $2/1 Tide coupon from the 5/26 P&G insert Pay $17.91 out of pocket, Get $5 ECBs $4.30 each after coupons and ECBs OR Buy 3 Tide Pods (12 -16 ct) – $4.94 Buy 1 Charmin Toilet Paper (6 Mega Roll) or Bounty Paper Towels (4 rolls) – $6.99 Use $2/1 Tide App coupon and (2) $2/1 Tide coupon from the 5/26 P&G insert Pay $15.81 out of pocket, Get $5 ECBs $2.70 each after coupons and ECBs Spend $25, Get $7 ECBs (Limit 1) *Deal Idea* Buy 2 Huggies Diapers at $12.49 (Buy 1, Get 1 50% OFF) Buy 2 Pampers Wipes – $2.99 Use (2) $1/1 printable Use $0.50/1 Pampers Wipes App coupon Pay $22.21 out of pocket, Get $7 ECBs $7.60 each after coupons and ECBs Deals In Ad M&M Candy (9 oz) – $2.50 Use $1/2 coupon from the 6/16 SmartSource insert Use $1/2 CVS coupon from CVS machine $1.50 each after coupons Tide Simply Laundry Detergent (40 oz) – $2.94 Use $1/1 App coupon $1.94 after coupon New to shopping at CVS? Be sure to check out my CVS 101 post that gives you the full scoop on how to get the best bargains at CVS. See the full list of deals at CVS here. [...]
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Crayola Brush Markers, 16 count only $6.99 shipped!

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Crayola Brush Markers, 16 count only $6.99 shipped!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. These Crayola Brush Markers are perfect for writing, lettering, sketching, drawing, and adult coloring. Amazon has these Crayola Brush Markers (16 count) for only $6.99 right now – the lowest price ever on record! These are perfect for hand lettering, sketching, journaling, coloring and more! Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get free 2-day shipping. And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon. Thanks, SwagGrabber! [...]
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How to Buy a House: A 9-Step Guide to Your Biggest Purchase Ever

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How to Buy a House: A 9-Step Guide to Your Biggest Purchase Ever
Housing prices are on the rise with no signs of slowing down. Since 2011, single-family home prices have climbed 42%. That means a house that cost $200,000 eight years ago would now cost $284,000. With rising home prices and inflation, growing student loan debt and stagnant wages, the dream of homeownership is becoming more challenging for each generation. But it’s not impossible. How to Buy a House: 9 Steps for First-Time Buyers While the road to buying a house has become more riddled with potholes and speed bumps, it’s still one you can navigate with the right savings plan, a decent credit score and a little professional guidance. Think you’re ready to embark on your homebuying quest? Here’s how to buy a house in nine simple steps. 1. Whip Your Credit Score Into Shape A strong credit score is crucial to securing a low interest rate on your mortgage. Over 30 years, the most common length of a mortgage, paying just 1 percentage point more in interest could cost you big time. For example, if you bought a house with a $200,000 fixed-rate 30-year mortgage at 5% interest, you’d pay an extra $40,000 in interest over 30 years than you would have at 4%. At a minimum, your credit score should be 620. Some mortgage lenders may approve you for a loan if your score is under 620, but prepare for astronomical interest rates and larger down payment requirements. An above-average credit score falls within the 680 to 740 range. Anything above 740 will secure you the best interest rates available. If you have poor credit, don’t rush to buy a house just yet. You can improve your credit score over time by paying off debts (especially credit cards), lowering your credit utilization and diversifying your credit portfolio responsibly. Paying off debt is especially important because lenders look at your debt-to-income ratio, which is your monthly debt obligations (including your estimated future mortgage payment) divided by your pretax monthly income. Lenders look for a debt-to-income ratio of 43% or lower. 2. Save for a Down Payment Saving for a down payment while also paying off debts is challenging, but if you want to be a homebuyer, you’ll need to do both. The age-old wisdom is that you need to save 20% for a down payment. But with the median home sale price at $232,700 as of February 2019, that would make the average 20% down payment $46,540. And in 2019, most first-time homebuyers do not have that kind of cash lying around. In recent years, it has become more common to put as little as 10%, 5% or even 3.5% down. FHA loans, which are popular among first-time buyers (this millennial included), require only 3.5% down when your credit score is above 580. VA loans, reserved for members of the military, veterans and some surviving spouses, require no money down but typically require a funding fee of 2.15%, which can be financed into the loan. There are benefits to putting 20% down, however. When you put 20% down, you usually avoid having to carry private mortgage insurance, or PMI. I currently have the luxury of paying more than $200 a month for PMI, and it is the most useless expense in my entire budget. My lender would, of course, disagree because PMI protects them in the event that I stop making my payments. VA loans do not require PMI even if you put 0% down. A larger down payment can also make your offer more attractive in a competitive market. 3. Figure Out Your Price Range How much house you can afford and how much you should actually spend on a house may be two vastly different numbers. The golden rule: Never set your sights on a house that you could afford — but that will cause you to make other sacrifices you’re not jazzed about, like cutting vacations or ruling out education. Similarly, if you or your significant other (if you’re buying with a partner) both work, but one of you is considering a career change that could result in less income or becoming a stay-at-home parent, you should not budget using your current combined income. Be conservative. Your home shouldn’t cost more than three to five times your annual income, but if any part of you that suspects your income may decrease in the next 10 years, stay closer to three times your income than five. Pro Tip Housing expenses — including your mortgage payment, homeowners insurance and property taxes — generally should not exceed 30% of your monthly income. 4. Get Preapproved for a Mortgage Before shopping for houses, you should shop for a lender. You can compare mortgage rates online and interview prospective lenders to find the best deal. Ask friends, family and your real estate agent (if you already have one) for recommendations and try your own financial institution, but ultimately, go with the lender that will offer you the best interest rate on your home loan. Then ask that lender for a preapproval letter. This is different from being prequalified. Lenders can typically prequalify you with just a few data points that they don’t verify to give you a ballpark range of the loan amount and interest rate they might offer. But a preapproval letter is an official document that says the lender is committed to giving you a loan, assuming nothing changes in your finances. Getting preapproval takes more work, because the lender will send all of your financial documents (W-2s, pay stubs, tax returns, etc.) to an underwriter for verification. A lender may preapprove you for a higher amount than you’ve budgeted for. Remember: Just because they are willing to give you that much does not mean you have to spend that much. 5. Hire a Real Estate Agent The beauty of the homebuying process is that the seller will typically pay your real estate agent fees, so hiring an agent doesn’t cost you a thing, though some sellers may lower the price slightly if you purchase without an agent. Ask family members and friends for recommendations, and always hire a buyer’s agent. These homebuying tips include several recommendations for hiring a good real estate agent who will find you the best deal on your dream home. 6. Shop for Your Dream Home This is the most exciting step. Now you can actually set foot inside of homes and envision your life inside them. Visit open houses and go on private tours with your real estate agent, but also research houses on your own on sites like Zillow and Trulia. But don’t be distracted by fresh paint and that hot tub in the backyard. When you’re house hunting, have a sharp eye for what really matters. If possible, bring along friends or family who know what to look for in a new house. Cosmetic things like ugly carpet and questionable wallpaper can be changed relatively cheaply. The structural components are what you should be most concerned with. Some things to look for when you tour a home: How’s the plumbing? Can you get hot water fast? What’s the water pressure like? Do you notice any leaks or signs of water damage? Does the basement show signs of flooding? Is the foundation solid? Or are there issues that might require costly repairs? How old are the appliances? Will they need to be replaced soon? What about the exterior? When was the roof last done? Is the siding in good shape? Are the windows going to drive up your energy bill? What’s the neighborhood like? Do you feel safe where this house is? Is there a lot of noisy traffic? Is it conveniently located near restaurants, shopping, hospitals and parks? If you have or want children, are there good schools nearby? 7. Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse Once you have found a house that fits your needs and is within your budget, you and your real estate agent will submit an offer. Be prepared to negotiate the purchase price, especially if you envision needing to do some remodeling. Your real estate agent likely has a number of tricks up their sleeves to make your offer more appealing — but then, so does everybody else’s agent. The seller may make a counteroffer. You ca [...]
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21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

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21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
Diego Cervo / Shutterstock.com Dollar stores lure us in with rock-bottom prices. Sometimes you get what you pay for, but often the things they sell are good products at a tremendous discount — a real bargain. Here’s what bargain-shopping experts say are among the best buys at dollar stores. [...]
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Astronomy Magazine Subscription Subscription Discount

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Astronomy Magazine Subscription Subscription Discount
The astronomy enthusiast in your life would love it if you ordered them a subscription to Astronomy Magazine.  And, best of all, you can do so at discount right now! ASTRONOMY MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DISCOUNT Through 5/24/19 (11: 59 pm EST), you can order a subscription to Astronomy Magazine for just $13.99 per year!  Enter the ... Read More about Astronomy Magazine Subscription Subscription Discount The post Astronomy Magazine Subscription Subscription Discount appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Beckham Hotel Collection Sheets

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Beckham Hotel Collection Sheets
If you have been looking for a great deal on sheets, grab this deal! You can get the Beckham Hotel Collection Sheets for only $31.75. You will be saving 68% on this purchase because it is usually $99.99. Be sure that you grab this deal soon because the prices can change at any time! The post Beckham Hotel Collection Sheets appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Give Your Kids the Gift of a Good Credit Score by Adding Them to Your Card

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Give Your Kids the Gift of a Good Credit Score by Adding Them to Your Card
Teaching your kids how to fail is one of those underrated parenting skills. By making mistakes in a controlled, safe environment, kids can learn coping skills before they incur real-world consequences. That’s particularly true when it comes to teaching kids about finance. Those lessons can have an important impact on your child’s future. A Penny Hoarder survey found that one-third of adult respondents did not grow up discussing basic personal finance topics, such as credit scores or debt. The result? For those with no early financial literacy, 40% had no savings at all, compared to 17% for the group that did discuss finances. One important lesson that you can teach your kids is how to use credit responsibly — before they get credit cards of their own.  Wondering if you should get your pride and joy a credit card? Here’s why and how to do it so they can learn how to handle credit responsibly. Should Your Kid Get a Credit Card? Although it might not seem like a priority, getting your child a credit card helps them build credit history. Pro Tip You can help protect your child’s credit score from identity theft by checking their score periodically, or at least by the time they turn 15, when the score may become more relevant. Credit history makes up 15% of your credit score, which will become important to your kids in the future if they want to finance a car, buy a house or possibly even get a job. And unlike other factors — like credit utilization or credit mix— there’s no way to improve your credit history other than with time.  But simply allowing your child to sign up for a credit card presents two problems:  They may not be ready for the responsibility of handling credit and could end up thousands of dollars in debt, thus wrecking the credit score you wanted them to build. They probably can’t qualify for a card … because they don’t have a credit history. That’s where you come in. You can cosign on your child’s credit card or even consider adding your child to your credit card to build credit. Which one should you choose? Should You Be a Cosigner or Make Your Child an Authorized User? Choosing between becoming a cosigner or making your child an authorized user starts with their age — you cannot apply for a credit card until you’re at least 18 years old, so that’s the earliest age you could be their cosigner. But becoming a cosigner on your older teen’s credit card makes you legally responsible for the debt if they miss a payment, according to Todd Christensen, an Accredited Financial Counselor and education manager with MoneyFit.org.  “The problem is, cosigners are not usually 100% involved in the billing process — they do not see, typically, the monthly bill,” he said. “So often, a cosigner will be contacted six to 12 months after a payment is missed, and then be requested to make all the back payments plus fees, and this is in the meantime hurting their credit.” Pro Tip The CARD Act of 2009 made it more difficult for people under 21 to get a credit card. However, there are plenty of cards that are marketed specifically to college students who can prove they can pay. Adding your child as an authorized user means they aren’t receiving the privileges (or reward points) of having their own card — they’re essentially just carrying your card. For most issuers, an authorized user doesn’t even get a separate credit card number. That also means your kids are depending on your credit history to build theirs. If your payment record isn’t so great or you have concerns about your ability to keep up with your credit card balance, you way want to consider the cosigner option when your kids get older. But if you’re ready to teach your kids by showing them what a responsible card holder looks like (that’s you), adding them as an authorized user is the better choice. Here’s why. Adding Your Child to Your Credit Card to Build Credit  By adding your child as an authorized user on your card, they can learn to handle a credit card in a low-risk way.  “It’s a great opportunity to build credit,” Christensen said. “It doesn’t cost [parents] anything. It doesn’t affect their credit at all.” The minimum age for adding your child to your credit card depends on your credit card company — many have no minimum age requirements at all — and some premium cards charge a fee for adding an authorized user, so check your issuer’s terms and conditions before adding your child. Pro Tip Seven years is typically the amount of time needed to establish a good credit history, so adding a very young child as an authorized user won’t do much to help their score. “I typically recommend it especially in the late teens,” Christensen advised. You can track your child’s spending instantaneously by setting up text alert messages for all credit card transactions or less frequently by checking your account activity daily. Still unsure if you can trust your kid with the plastic? You don’t actually need to tell them they’re getting the card.  “I’ve done that with my own kids,” Christensen said. “I had them as an authorized user on my wife’s and my card for several years, and they never knew it until they turned 18.” FROM THE DEBT FORUM Travel Trailer Debt 6/25/19 @ 5:31 PM Suze Orman says CAR LEASES are always a BAD financial move - do you agree? 4/18/19 @ 3:47 PM debt from a scam/fraud 6/18/19 @ 6:57 PM C credit card trouble again 6/24/19 @ 5:20 PM a See more in Debt or ask a money question Even though his daughter wasn’t aware she was building her credit history, Christensen noted that she ended up reaping the benefits of having that credit history. “When my daughter went to apply for a car loan after she moved out, one of the credit ratings had her in the 700s because she was an authorized user on our accounts,” he said. Additionally, if you’re using the card to teach your older kids about handling credit cards responsibly, by allowing them to be authorized users on your card, they can reap the benefits of building credit — and make a mistake without putting your own score in danger. Pro Tip As long as your child uses the card responsibly, don’t remove them as an authorized user until they get their own credit card and have had a few years to build that credit history. “If their credit goes south, it should not make it onto [your] credit rating,” Christensen said. “But even if it did, a simple dispute online will have it removed.” Ready to give your kids the chance to learn but aren’t sure where to start? Check out The Penny Hoarder Academy’s Credit Cards 101 course and this post on how to use a credit card as guides for teaching them about using credit in a responsible way. Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer 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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10 Tips for Having a Successful Garage Sale

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10 Tips for Having a Successful Garage Sale
Planning to have a garage sale soon? I’ve had a number of successful garage sales over the years and these are my top 10 garage sale tips! {Looking for other creative ways to make some extra cash? Check out our big list of income-earning ideas and our favorite legitimate paid online surveys!} Since I’m a minimalist at heart, I’ve always loved to declutter, go through old stuff, and purge what we no longer need. Back in our law school days, I frequently had garage sales to earn a little bit of extra cash — because every little bit helped stretch our really tight budget during those financially lean years! Since I’ve had SO many garage sales over the years, I’ve learned a lot about how to have a successful garage sale. If you’ve been thinking about have a garage sale soon, here are my top 10 garage sale tips! 1. Collect clutter year-round. Always have an ongoing Garage Sale stash you’re adding to. Try to regularly declutter and purge what you don’t need. When you come across something you no longer need or use, stick it in a box! Once that box fills up, start another box! And another. Without much effort at all, by the time your garage sale comes along, you’ll have multiple boxes of stuff you can sell! I used to do this throughout the year and then have an annual garage sale each year. It made things super easy, because I already had everything in one place to sell. I didn’t have to spend days going through items and figuring out what to sell. 2. Have a plan. A successful garage sale does not happen without organization. At least a week before your garage sale, I recommend going through your home top to bottom and clearing out any last-minute clutter that’s not already in the garage sale boxes. At least 2-3 days before the sale, set aside an afternoon to price everything out and organize your items. And then the day before the sale, devote a few hours to final organization — advertising on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, getting some cash together for change, making signs, etc. Do not wait until the last minute to pull off a garage sale. Either it will flop or you’ll run yourself ragged — or both. If you’re in a new location or you’re new to hosting a garage sale, I’d suggest that you start getting organized at least 3-4 weeks in advance. Getting organized for a successful garage sale: :: How are you going to display items? Do you need to borrow or make a clothes-rack? :: Do you have enough table space? If not, check and see if you can borrow tables from friends or put together some makeshift tables out of plywood and boxes. :: What signs will you be using and how many do you need? Where will you be displaying the signs to best direct traffic to your home? Drive the routes people will be using to find your home and decide on locations for your signs ahead of time. :: Who is going to put the signs out the morning of the sale? Designate someone for this ahead of time and let them know specifically where to place the signs. :: How much cash should you have on hand and how will you keep it in a safe location? :: Do you need to purchase a license for running a garage sale in your area? :: Do you have enough help? 3. Team up. One of my top garage sale tips is that you should never do them alone! Find friends or family to team up with. Not only does this arrangement mean you have a larger quantity and variety of items to sell, but it also means you have more help. Divvying up the responsibilities between 3 or 4 people makes a garage sale much more manageable. Plus, it just makes it more fun when you’re doing it with friends and family! 4. Location, location, location! If you want to have a garage sale that flops, pick a location that is off-the-beaten-path and hard to get to. That’s a surefire way to lose a lot of business. Don’t live near a busy intersection? Look for alternative locations like the home of a friend or relative. We always had really successful garage sales at our home in Kansas, because we lived right between two very heavily-trafficked streets. We put up some good signage and the crowds came! 5. Timing is everything (well, just about!). I don’t advise planning a sale in the freezing cold Winter or the blazing hot Summer. Choose a time of the year when the weather will be very pleasant and try to check the weather forecast ahead of time to make sure rain is not expected when you’re planning your sale. In addition, find out what days of the week are best for yard sales to run in your area. Fridays and Saturdays are usually really popular, but you’d be surprised to find that in some areas Thursdays are big days for garage sales! 6. Clearly mark your prices. It’s easy to want to just stick a big sign on a table saying that everything on that table is a quarter, but in the long-run it is much more efficient to go ahead and put price stickers on everything. Instead of having to make up prices on the spot, people will know exactly how much something is. In addition, some people are too shy to ask the price of an item, so you’ll lose a sale if an item isn’t marked. I’ve found it’s worth paying the few dollars it costs to buy pre-priced stickers for most items. It makes things SO simple and fast! I also recommend having a variety in pricing — with plenty of really inexpensive items. Often, when you have a lot of inexpensive items, people are more likely to pick up more items — and it will often help sell some of your larger-ticketed items in the long run! {Tip: If you are running a garage sale with multiple families, just put initials on all the price tags so that you can keep a tally sheet of who sold what. And you can even have two people working the money table — one to keep track of the tally sheet and one to handle all of the money transactions.} 7. Price things to sell. Of all my garage sale tips, this is one of the most important — and something that I have seen people miss the mark on time and time again with garage sales! When people come to a garage sale, they are expecting to pay garage sale prices. Keep this in mind when you price your items. While pricing can vary a bit depending on the area you live in, it’s really important to price things to sell. A good rule of thumb is to price things at what you feel would be a good bargain if you were buying that item at someone else’s garage sale. And it’s better to price something on the low end and have someone actually buy my item, than to have 25 people pick up the item and put it back down on the table because it is too expensive. 8. Advertise well. The marketing of your sale is usually the number one factor in how well your sale does. You can have great items, great prices, and a great location — but if people don’t know how to get to your house or can’t find it on their own, you won’t have a successful garage sale! So put some time and effort into making a number of quality, clearly-readable signs, and put them in conspicuous places that easily lead to your home. The brighter, bolder, and bigger the sign, the better! And don’t forget to advertise on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist! Both are free to advertise, so why not?! And remember — the more details you can put in your ad, the better. Mention specific items, brands, and sizes. Often times people are searching for really specific items on Craigslist or Marketplace, so even if they’re not looking at garage sales, they might see one of your listed items pull up in their search! The more descriptive you can be in the listing and title, the better. And be sure to use proper grammar and spelling, too. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference! 9. Mark items down on the last day. Things are usually pretty picked over by the last day of the sale. That&# [...]
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Afternoon Deals: Sunday, May 26

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Afternoon Deals: Sunday, May 26
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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Calvert Homeschool Giveaway | Enter to win $1,000 in homeschool curriculum and $1,000 in cash!

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Calvert Homeschool Giveaway | Enter to win $1,000 in homeschool curriculum and $1,000 in cash!
If you’re a homeschooling family, you don’t want to miss this Calvert Homeschool Giveaway! {This giveaway post is sponsored by Calvert Education. Read our disclosure policy here.} Calling all homeschooling families! Through June 30th, you can head over and enter the HUGE Calvert Homeschool Cash and Curriculum Giveaway for a chance to win $1,000 in homeschool curriculum AND $1,000 in cash!! Calvert Homeschool offers self-paced learning for students and seamlessly integrated teacher manuals for parents. Colorful print curriculum is available for grades K-2, and interactive online courses for grades 3-12 allow parents to customize learning for each child. To celebrate the legacy of Calvert Homeschool and to mark the launch of Calvert’s Curriculum Re-Imagined, Calvert is hosting its biggest giveaway ever! One lucky person will win both $1,000 in Calvert homeschool curriculum PLUS $1,000 in cash!! Go here to enter for your chance to win! [...]
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Low Price on Subscription to Popular Mechanics Magazine!

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Low Price on Subscription to Popular Mechanics Magazine!
Today only, subscribe to Popular Mechanics Magazine for only $6.99 per year (83% off)! You can order up to 4 years at this price! Just enter coupon code PENNYPINCH Popular Mechanics is a magazine devoted to science and technology. Each issue is packed with informative articles on automotives, home electronics, science, technology, outdoors, world news, ... Read More about Low Price on Subscription to Popular Mechanics Magazine! The post Low Price on Subscription to Popular Mechanics Magazine! appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Shopping Around for a Mortgage Could Make You $30K Richer

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Shopping Around for a Mortgage Could Make You $30K Richer
When you purchase a home, the wheeling and dealing typically begins when you put an offer in. But home buyers who think the only opportunity to save big comes during those negotiations may miss a relatively effortless way to pay significantly less. Comparing lenders is something just 50% of home buyers do, according to our... Elizabeth Renter is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: elizabeth@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @elizabethrenter. The article Shopping Around for a Mortgage Could Make You $30K Richer originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Car and Driver Magazine Subscription Discount

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Car and Driver Magazine Subscription Discount
Know a car enthusiast?  Get a subscription to Car and Driver Magazine at a super low price! CAR AND DRIVER SUBSCRIPTION DISCOUNT Now through 6/25/19 (11:59 pm EST), you can save 89% on your Car and Driver Magazine subscription!  Enter the coupon code PENNYPINCH at checkout and drop the price to just $4.95 an issue ... Read More about Car and Driver Magazine Subscription Discount The post Car and Driver Magazine Subscription Discount appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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My Favorite Cute Summer Tops for Women (all from Amazon!)

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My Favorite Cute Summer Tops for Women (all from Amazon!)
Looking for some cute summer tops for women that are inexpensive and durable? Here are 3 of my favorite summer tops from Amazon that I have worn over and over again in the last year! 3 Cute Summer Tops From Amazon As you likely well know, I love finding great clothing deals at great prices on Amazon. And I love sharing those great finds with you all! In today’s post, I want to share 3 summer tops for women I purchased from Amazon and absolutely love! All of these have held up well to multiple washings, are very comfortable, are inexpensively priced, and fit well. This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. 1. Amazon Essentials V-Neck T-Shirt These tees come in a two-pack for $18.50 shipped (Less than $10 each shipped!) and they are some of my favorite v-neck tees! They are soft, fit well, but aren’t too tight. You can wear them tucked in or left out. I prefer to tuck them in and wear them with a belt or to do a half tuck. I got the navy/turquoise set (see the two pictures above). This particular set is currently out of stock, but they have a lot of other colors available in this same style and price. 2. Made By Emma Short Sleeve Chambray Shirt I adore this shirt and usually always wear it at least once a week! It’s lightweight, soft, and so comfortable. You can wear it untucked for a casual look, tucked in for a more tailored look, or with a cardigan or jacket. Many of the reviews on Amazon say that it runs small. I have on a small here and that’s the size I usually wear. It’s possible that some of the larger sizes aren’t as true to size. The only drawback of this shirt is that Amazon doesn’t offer free returns on it and it’s $14.97 + $4.99 shipping.   3. WLLW Crew Neck Sleeveless Shirt This is another shirt that I wear almost weekly! And it’s just $15.99 shipped or less (depending upon what size and pattern you choose). It comes in a number of different patterns and colors. One thing I wanted to mention is that some of you have ordered this and some of you said your shirt was a bit darker than mine was and you felt like the material looked different than mine does. The good news? This shirt has free returns, so if you order it and don’t like it, you can easily return it — completely free (Amazon will email you a shipping label to return it). Note: Many of you asked about the shirt I have on underneath this tank. It’s this halter top bralette and I really love it for halter top tanks! How to Search for Clothes on Amazon Be willing to dig. It’s not always easy to find what you’re looking for at first. Sometimes, you have to put in specific search terms to find exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t give up within a few tries; it’s probably there if you’re willing to dig! Use as specific of search terms as possible. If you know a brand name and specific type of what you’re looking for, be sure to include those details in the search terms. Amazon carries a LOT of brands and you might be surprised what you find and the prices they are offering. Look at the related searches. If you find an item you love, be sure to scroll down on the page to see the “Related Searches” items + the “People Who Bought This Also Bought” selections. In both cases, I’ll often find some great options there that I might not have found just by searching. What To Check For Before Making a Purchase Check if they offer free returns. Many clothing items on Amazon offer free returns. This means that if you don’t like the item for any reason, you can go on Amazon and request to return it. They’ll send you a free shipping label so you can return it and get your money back. Read the reviews. I learn so much by looking at the reviews. You can often also see pictures of the actual item on someone. This is really helpful! Always check the shipping price. Many clothes ship free to Amazon Prime members. Make sure you check the shipping price before falling in love with something — because sometimes it won’t be free and might be as high as $5-$6. Look to see where something is made/ships from. Some of Amazon’s clothing ships from China and takes 4-6 weeks to arrive. Be aware of this when you are looking at items — especially if you are hoping to get them within in a few days. Two other tops that didn’t make it to my top 3 list, but that I also love and wear often are the two above shirts: FOMANSH Color Block Tee (this one looks a tad different than the one I have on above but Amazon says it’s the one I have — it has free returns in case it shows up looking different!) Vemvan Striped Block Tee (comes in a number of different colors and is just $15.99!) Other Places to Get Great Deals on Clothes Your Closet — Don’t run out and get something new because “you have nothing to wear” without first checking your closet. There might be a dozen items in there you’ve not worn for awhile just because you forgot about them! Save yourself a trip to the store plus the money for new clothes by making sure you’re wearing what you already own! Thrift Stores — Thrift stores are a gold mine of deals, if you have the patience to dig and look. Approach it like a treasure hunt, have strict guidelines for what you are looking for, and make sure Swap Meets with Friends — Get your group of girlfriends together and have everyone bring what they no longer love, need, fit into, or wear and swap out clothes. This is a fun way to freshen up your closet — for free! TJ Maxx — I’ve found lots of great deals at TJ Maxx over the years. You never know quite what you’ll find, but it’s a great place to find deals on basics like camis, socks, scarves, and workout clothes. Target — Target often releases great coupons through their cartwheel app that can be paired with items from the Clearance Racks. This can make for great deals! Zulily — This is an online daily deal site that has lots of sales on ladies’ clothing. If you like certain name brands like Under Armor or Tom’s, check out this site for their regular sales. Note: The shipping tends to be high on this site and it takes quite awhile for you to receive your items in the mail. What are YOUR best tips for finding great deals on clothes? I’d love to hear! Other Related Links: How I’ve Simplified My Wardrobe The Outfit Formulas That Changed My Life My Completely Honest Review of Stitch Fix Putting Me Together (no-fuss fashion for moms) Get a FREE Month of Rocksbox Jewelry [...]
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Old Navy Flip Flop Sale 2019

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Old Navy Flip Flop Sale 2019
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Woohoo! The Old Navy Flip Flop Sale is BACK again this year! Get ready to score flip flops for just a buck, plus there are some fun twists this year!! {Looking for more summer flip flop fun? Don’t forget about Tropical Smoothie Flip Flop Day, too!} Old Navy Flip Flop Sale 2019 Mark your calendars! Old Navy will once again be having their incredibly popular $1 Flip Flop Sale this year on Saturday, June 15, 2019. You’ll be able to get select styles of solid color flip flops for just $1 in-stores or online. There’s a limit of 10 pairs when you shop in-store and a limit of 5 pairs when you shop online. If you’re shopping in-stores, I recommend getting there early, because they usually sell out super fast! Free Flip Flops with Purchase But that’s not all! If you make a $24+ purchase before 12 p.m., you’ll get a FREE pair of flip flops! Just make sure you make your purchase before noon local time in-stores and before noon PST online. Find The Golden Flip Flop It looks like they’re adding some extra fun this year for a bit of a twist on their traditional flip flop sale. This year, they’ll be hiding golden flip flops throughout each store and within the pages of their online site. If you find a golden flip flop, you get a 24% off coupon online or a $24 coupon in-stores. You’ll also be entered to win $24,000 in a sweepstakes giveaway. Go here to get some tips on finding the golden flip flops. Will you be grabbing flip flops at Old Navy this year? We’d love to hear in the comments! [...]
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Melissa & Doug Slice & Toss Salad 52 Piece Play Food Set

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Melissa & Doug Slice & Toss Salad 52 Piece Play Food Set
If your little ones love to play with play food, this would be a great deal to grab! You can get Melissa & Doug Slice & Toss Salad 52 Piece Play Food Set for only $18.96. You will be saving 37% on this deal because it is normally $29.99. Be sure that you grab this ... Read More about Melissa & Doug Slice & Toss Salad 52 Piece Play Food Set The post Melissa & Doug Slice & Toss Salad 52 Piece Play Food Set appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Which Fitness Chain Has the Best Gym Membership for Your Budget?

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Which Fitness Chain Has the Best Gym Membership for Your Budget?
Despite years of adding “lose some weight” to my list of New Year’s resolutions, I have yet to join a gym. Not to make excuses (well, let’s be real — everyone who wants to avoid the gym is making excuses), but I’m incredibly indecisive when it comes to spending money on myself. Except when it comes to food. But getting in shape requires making a decision and a commitment to putting in the work. And it takes an investment — in time and often in money. With so many options out there, how do you pick the best gym membership for you? Our Guide to Finding the Cheapest Gym Membership Let me start by saying choosing a gym is a very personal decision. Size might be a significant factor. Location might be also important to you — maybe if you pass the gym along your normal commute, you won’t be going out of your way. Well, to help make your decision a bit easier, we compiled information from six national workout chains so you can compare availability, costs and features. Some gyms provide free trials, so be sure to take advantage of those offers before signing up for a membership. Writer’s note: Individual membership costs are published as listed online as of May 17, 2019, and they are subject to change. Rates may vary based on location and current promotions. 1. Youfit Health Clubs Where: Youfit Health Clubs has more than 100 locations in 15 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. How Much: The base membership fee is $10 a month. The premium tier (known as “Lime Card” access) costs $21.99 a month. When you sign up for the base membership, you’ll also pay for first and last month dues. Initiation fees vary depending on the membership package. What’s Included: Depending on location, these clubs include top-of-the-line equipment, free weights, group fitness sessions, express circuits, personal trainers, tanning beds and childcare. Premium members can also bring a free guest with them for every visit and can visit any YouFit location. Try It: Get a free guest pass for one-time use. 2. Planet Fitness Where: Planet Fitness has over 1,800 locations in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Canada and the Dominican Republic. How Much: Monthly dues are $10 for just one location or $19.99 to use any location. Annual fees are $39.99 and the start-up fee is $1. The $10 membership has no commitment. What’s Included: These gyms include cardio and weight-training equipment, plus fitness training programs for all members. Some locations include massage chairs and tanning services. Many locations are open 24 hours a day. Try It: Find the location nearest you. 3. Crunch Fitness Where: Crunch Fitness has more than 300 locations for its regular gyms and 30 locations for its Signature gyms (which include more classes, upgraded amenities and more). Its gyms are located in 30 states, as well as Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and four Canadian provinces. How Much: A base membership is $9.95 a month, a Peak membership is $21.95 a month and a Peak Results membership is $24.95 a month. Enrollment fees vary from $10 to $49.99 depending on your membership level. The annual fee is $78, prorated at $6.50 a month. What’s Included: Depending on what type of membership you choose, you can take advantage of multiple perks at this gym, including a training orientation with a fitness expert, group fitness classes, online video workouts, tanning and Hydromassage. The Peak and Peak Results memberships can be used at multiple locations. Try It: Try a free one-day trial. 4. LA Fitness Where: LA Fitness has more than 675 locations in 27 states, Washington D.C. and Canada. How Much: Monthly fees start at $24.99 for single-club access or $29.99 for multiple clubs within the same state. Initiation fees are $89. What’s Included: Gyms include state-of-the-art equipment and cardio areas, group fitness classes, indoor heated pools, whirlpool spas and saunas. Some have kids’ clubs, juice bars and basketball and racquetball courts. Try It: Find your local club to request a guest pass online. 5. 24 Hour Fitness Where: 24 Hour Fitness has over 400 locations in 13 states — California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Texas, Hawaii, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, New York and New Jersey. How Much: Monthly fees start at $29.99, but can vary based on location and membership level. Members pay a one-time initiation fee, which starts at $29.99, and there’s also a $49.99 annual fee. What’s Included: Gyms include studio and cycle classes. Most facilities also have an indoor lap pool and a Whirlpool. Members can take advantage of personal and group training. Get access to digital workouts you can complete at home without stepping foot in an actual gym. Parents of children ages 6 months to 11 years can drop their kids off for supervised fun time at nearly every location. Try It: Use this three-day free pass. 6. Anytime Fitness Where: Anytime Fitness has more than 4,000 locations in all 50 states and 36 countries across six continents. (That’ll likely soon change, as the chain recently announced plans to expand to Antarctica.) How Much: Membership starts at $29.99 per month, but prices vary depending on location and current promotions. According to Anytime Fitness’s spokesperson, the average membership is $40 a month. Members also pay one-time initiation and key activation fees, which vary depending on the franchise. What’s Included: Members have access to cardio machines, weights and strength training equipment, as well as classes and wellness programs. Some locations offer tanning and personal training. They are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Try It: You can get a free seven-day pass. Other Alternatives to Popular Chain Gyms If none of these chain gyms suit your fancy, you could always join your local YMCA or set up a home gym to get your workouts in. You could also incorporate fitness into your daily routine by trying one of these nine inexpensive gym alternatives. Running is one of the options on that list; this post on tips and tricks for finding discounted running shoes can help ease your stride. Or you could lace up those shoes and march right into the gym! Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She sympathizes with the struggle of getting in shape.  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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How to Create an Amazing Life on a Single Mom Budget

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How to Create an Amazing Life on a Single Mom Budget
When Christina Rodriguez divorced four years ago, she had no idea how she was going to make ends meet. After all, during her marriage, she earned $38,000 per year as a visual designer, and even with her husband’s income, the couple lived paycheck-to-paycheck and accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Rodriguez’s share of credit card debt was $10,000.  “Here I was struggling with two incomes, and now I was on one income,” says the 35-year-old mom of two. “It was scary.”  Like so many people, Rodriguez stayed awake at night, worried what she might do should she need to replace her car, especially if her credit were poor because of her debt burden. She spent her energy juggling bills and minimum credit card payments, barely staying afloat.   “I realized, ‘I can’t live like this. My children don’t deserve to live their life like this’,” Rodriguez says. “It was about figuring out how I could get to a place where I would truly feel free.”  Fast-forward four short years, and Rodriguez is debt-free, invested $22,000 in a home purchase and remodel, counts $7,000 in cash savings, and has increased her annual income from $38,000 to $128,000.  Themes of Rodriguez’s success story:  Cut back all extra expenses and focus on paying off debt. At the time of her breakup, Rodriguez had $10,000 in credit card debt. She also had a new, tricked out Chevy Malibu and regularly got her hair and nails done. “That was a huge part of my identity,” she says. “But it wasn’t more important than my kids having food on the table.”  Think big! You can only cut so many costs, but your income potential is infinite. “I realized I was taking on jobs that paid $300 or $400. Why wasn’t I taking on jobs that paid $3,000 or $4,000?” she says. “When I realized my time and skills are valuable — that is when everything changed for me.”  Put a dollar value on your time. Rodriguez’s income ballooned when she stopped taking low-paid side gigs, and started investing without guilt in child care and housekeeping.   Splurge on experiences, not possessions. Christina could easily afford to upgrade her Nissan Rogue, but chooses instead to travel with her kids. “My daughter says: ‘More meetings means more vacations!’” Rodriguez says.   Focus on setting up a life within her control. Rodriguez’s worries included rent increases, job instability, financial instability, depending on her kids’ dad, and a long commute which took her away from her children during the week. “I realized that the kids could only depend on me,” she says. Her focus on home ownership, high earning and self-employed income and a job close to home helped her regain power.   At the time, her budget breakdown was:  Rent $825  Car payment $450  Car insurance $155  Electric $130  Internet $65  Phone $125  Childcare $250 (her half)  Plus food, gas, entertainment etc  Credit card minimum payments $125   Nails and hair $75   Subscription services $8  Cable TV $149 monthly  Private school tuition $480 monthly  Upon her divorce, Rodriguez cut her cable, subscription services, nails and hair, and downgraded to less expensive car.   She then focused on both paying off debt and earning. Rodriguez got a new job where she earned $45,000 per year, and also built up her side business doing freelance graphic design work, carefully selecting jobs that paid a high hourly fee, and helped her reach her goals. “I only work side jobs that meet a specific goal financial goal, because if I was going to dedicate time away from my kids it has to be with purpose,” she says.  A couple years ago, Rodriguez saved up $15,000, quit her full-time job, and focused narrowly on building her design portfolio. Then, a local health care company near her Kissemmee, Fla., reached out via LinkedIn, and offered her a new job. Today, Rodriguez earns $77,000 salary, plus an annual bonus of $5,000, and last year her side business grossed $46,000, bringing her income to $128,000.    One of the biggest changes Rodriguez made with her new financial status is buying a 2,300-square-foot home in a gated community. She also purchased a 20-year, $250,000 term life insurance policy, and focuses on travel. She is looking forward to a trip to Paris soon, and she and her grade-school-aged son and daughter are 5 states into their goal of visiting all 50 before the kids graduate.   Rodriguez also hires a housekeeper twice per month — without any guilt at all.   Today, Rodriguez’s budget:  Mortgage, taxes and insurance $1471  HOA $216  Car payment $311  Car insurance $155  Electric $100  Water $49  Internet and cable $125  Phone $120  Disney annual passes $138  Childcare $340  Life insurance $38  Cleaning service $140  Says Rodriguez: “I’m still really frugal. But living a budgeted life works for me. I know where every penny goes and that allows for more opportunities, to make more memories. It also allows me to spend without buyer’s remorse. I think the best feeling though comes from teaching my kids about smart financial decisions like my parents did with me.” The post How to Create an Amazing Life on a Single Mom Budget appeared first on MintLife Blog. [...]
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How to Build a Backpacking Trip on the Cheap

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How to Build a Backpacking Trip on the Cheap
You might be looking at your belongings in your new backpack and the balance in your bank account with the same question: Is this enough for the weeks- or the monthslong journey ahead? In all likelihood, you overpacked and you’ll ditch half of it at the next hostel. Then, a week into your life-changing trip, you’ll realize... Meghan Coyle is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: mcoyle@nerdwallet.com. The article How to Build a Backpacking Trip on the Cheap originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Summer Movies for Kids | 2019 Discounts and Deals!

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Summer Movies for Kids | 2019 Discounts and Deals!
Looking for some frugal fun for the kiddos this summer? Be sure to check out this round-up of all the best discounts on summer movies for kids! {Looking for other fun summer deals? Don’t miss our round-up of the best Summer Reading Programs! Plus, kids can bowl for free and skate for free at many participating locations this summer! And don’t forget to stop by Sonic after 8 p.m. for half-price ice cream shakes!} Summer Movies for Kids 2019 If you’re looking for a great way to have some frugal fun with your kids this summer, then be sure to check out this list of discounts on kids’ movies! Regal Cinemas — Each Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 a.m., participating Regal Cinemas are offering moviegoers of all ages a selection of G or PG-rated films for just $1! Valid through September 4, 2019. Cinemark Theaters — Participating Cinemark theaters are offering a 10-Week Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse promotion. If you purchase in advance at the Box Office, then you can get up to 10 tickets to select G- or PG-rated movies for just $5 — which makes it just $0.50 per movie! Valid from May 27 – September 8, 2019. AMC Theaters — AMC Theaters will be offering a kid’s movie ticket and AMC KidsPack for just $4 every Wednesday at 10 a.m. over the summer! The KidsPack includes kid’s popcorn, fountain drink, and FrootiTooti fruit snacks. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema — Kids ages 3+ can enjoy family favorite films for just $1, $3, or $5 – your choice! Movies screen daily at 10:30am. Cineplex — Participaint Cineplex Theaters are offering family favorite films each Saturday morning at 11 a.m. for just $2.99 per film! Classic Cinemas — Watch PG-rated films for just $1 at 10 a.m. every Wednesday! Also, be sure to arrive early at 9 a.m. so you can meet some of your favorite characters and join in on the fun games & activities! Valid June 5 – August 7, 2019. Marcus Theaters — View your favorite family flicks for just $3 on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays, June 16 – August 14, 2019. Additionally, popcorn and fountain drinks will be just $2.75 each! Studio Movie Grille — Escape the summer heat and watch $1 screenings of recent, popular, children films through August 30, 2019. Harkins Theaters — Kids can enjoy a movie each week for 10 weeks, for less than $1 per film. Price varies by the theater, but ranges from $5 to $7 for the whole summer. Paragon Theaters — Enjoy free kids movies at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from June 11 – August 8, 2019. Metropolitan Theatres — Summer Kids Film Series will be taking place on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. for just $2 per movie. Paseo Nuevo and Metrolux 14 also have shows on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m., and Camino Real has shows every Thursday. Cobb Theatres — Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 10 a.m. kids can enjoy free movies! Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and tickets are valid for same day only. Megaplex Theatres — Megaplex Theatres is offering young fans and their families a fun summer filled with a movie pass! See 10 movies for just $10. Bowtie Cinemas — Kids can see a free movie on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. from June 25th through August 21st. Phoenix Theatres — See a free movie each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 10 a.m.. Doors open at 9 a.m. and all age groups are welcome. In addition, they will be offering a special Kiddie Meal! Georgia Theatre Company — Participating Georgia Theatre Company locations are offering a Summer Kid Show Series at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday in June and July! Admission is just $1.50! Also, get drinks and popcorn for just $1.50 each! Ultra Star Cinemas –– Kids can see a movie Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m. for just $1 per film! Do you know of any other discounts on summer movies for kids? Let us know if we missed any! Thanks, Hip2Save! [...]
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7 Pharmacist Loan Forgiveness Programs

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7 Pharmacist Loan Forgiveness Programs
Several programs forgive or repay a portion of your pharmacy school loans if you meet the requirements, such as working in the public sector or in an underserved area for a certain amount of time. A pharmacist loan forgiveness program may be the right option if your career plans align with one of these program’s... Teddy Nykiel is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: teddy@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @teddynykiel. The article 7 Pharmacist Loan Forgiveness Programs originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards for Transit Spending

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NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards for Transit Spending
More than three-quarters of Americans commute by car, but millions of people also use public transit and other shared forms of transportation to get to work. Whether it’s bus/train/cab fare, rideshares, tolls or parking, you may spend hundreds of dollars a month just getting around. Thankfully, several credit cards offer bonus rewards specifically on those costs. Even general travel cards that... Sara Rathner is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: srathner@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @sarakrathner. The article NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards for Transit Spending originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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5 Hidden Features of 401(k) Plans That You Should Know About

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5 Hidden Features of 401(k) Plans That You Should Know About
When it comes to 401(k) plans, you may be missing out on benefits that you don’t know about. Your 401(k) plan doesn’t have to offer all the tax-savings provisions that the IRS allows for 401(k) plans. So, not all plans have every possible 401(k) feature, which means there are features you might not realize exist. The only way to find out what options your 401(k) offers is to ask your... [...]
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A Peek Into Our Week (+ Sprouts & Kroger Shopping Trips)

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A Peek Into Our Week (+ Sprouts & Kroger Shopping Trips)
Want to see what we bought for this week’s $70 grocery budget? I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.). For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here. Well, it was another week of travel and adventures — so I didn’t track what we ate in order to share in a post. But I did make it to Kroger twice and Sprouts once and got some great deals. I thought it would be fun to share a little peek into our week + what I bought at the grocery store. For Father’s Day, Jesse wanted to try out this new brunch restaurant in town. It was delicious and we had fun celebrating this man we love so much! We also ran by Kroger and Sprouts to pick up some deals. Sprouts was having their weekend deals and I didn’t want to miss them. Sprouts Shopping Trip Sweet corn — 6 for $1 (weekend deal) 3 dozen cage free eggs — $1.88 per dozen (weekend deal) 1 Coconut Bliss “ice cream” — used free coupon (I got the Peanut Butter Chocolate and it is good!) — I forgot to take this out of the freezer to put in the photo! Total with tax: $7.49 I also wanted to get to grab a few of the Kroger Buy 5, Get $5 off deals on Sunday since I knew I was going to be out of town for the next few days. I especially wanted to get 5 boxes of the $0.99 Quaker Granola bars. Kroger Shopping Trip #1 5 boxes of Quaker Granola Bars — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items 2 bags Jef Puffed Marshmallows — marked down to $0.69 each (I’m going to stick these in the freezer for rice krispy treats.) 3 packages of Hillshire Sausage — $1.88 each with weekend deal Private Selection Barbecue Sauce — used free coupon (no longer available) 1 bag Kroger Pot Roast — marked down to $5.49 5 bags of produce — marked down to $0.99 per bag 2 packages of ground turkey — marked down to $2.69 each Izzio Multigrain Bread — marked down to $1.29 Spinach — marked down to $1.79 5 packages of Goldfish — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items Kroger Private Selection ice cream (not pictured — I forgot to take it out of the freezer for the picture!) — used free coupon (no longer available) Milk — $2.69 Kroger oatmeal — $1.59, used $0.40/1 coupon Kroger mailed to me = $1.09 Total with tax: $42.12 I left on Monday morning to fly to Dallas for my mom to have surgery. My Time in Kansas I rode back to Wichita, KS with my parents on Monday evening after my mom’s surgery and I stayed with them through Wednesday evening. I got to hang out with my mom and help take care of her during the day while my dad went to work. In addition to getting to spend lots of time talking with her, I helped a little with my brother’s eBay business (my Mom and sister are running the business for him while he’s away serving as a counselor at the Wild’s camp in NC), and make yummy food for my mom and me (she’s the one who first inspired me to love salads so much!) Kaitlynn’s Birthday I flew back to TN on Wednesday night — just in time to celebrate Kaitlynn’s birthday on Thursday! Can you believe she is 12? I wrote a letter to her here that shares some of my thoughts on her life and the joy and spark she brings to us. I always take each child out on a birthday date of their choosing. Kaitlynn chose to go to a place that makes rolled ice cream and Bubble Milk Tea. It was my first time to have both of them and we had such a fun outing together! Our Trip to Iceland As many of you know, it’s our family goal to visit all 7 continents and 50 states by the time Kathrynne turns 18. We had planned to visit Europe this summer but prices to places like London and Rome are crazy during June and July. However, I found some cheap tickets to Iceland and jumped on them! So we packed up on Friday morning to head to Iceland… but not before hitting the Friday-Saturday Kroger deals (I couldn’t pass up $0.99 cheese!) Kroger Shopping Trip #2 4 bags of Kettle chips, 1 bag of Snyder’s pretzel’s — $0.99 each with Friday-Saturday deals 5 packages of Kroger cheese — $0.99 each with Friday-Saturday deals 5 bottles of Pace salsa — $0.99 each with Friday-Saturday deals 1 package bacon — $2.99 with Friday-Saturday deals Total with tax: $18.96 Grocery Totals: $68.75 Cashback Earned: 375 points back from Fetch, $0.06 from CoinOut, Want to follow along with our Iceland trip and get tips for how we are doing it on a budget? Be sure to follow my stories on Instagram this week! [...]
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36 Things That Will Soon Be Obsolete

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36 Things That Will Soon Be Obsolete
Aaron Amat / Shutterstock.com When’s the last time you popped in a cassette tape? Rented a movie at a video store? Wrote a check for groceries? Maybe you still do some — or all — of these things. But chances are good you’ve replaced many of what used to be common, everyday activities with more technologically updated trends. It can be tough to believe that many of the... [...]
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5 Things You Should NOT Buy at ALDI

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5 Things You Should NOT Buy at ALDI
Because so many of you loved my list of 25 best things to buy at ALDI, I decided it was time for me to put together a list of what NOT to buy at ALDI! {Psst! Wondering why I love ALDI so much? Read this post on why I think everyone should shop at ALDI to save money!} 5 Things You Should Never Buy at Aldi As you well know, I think you can save a lot of money by shopping at Aldi. However, that doesn’t mean that everything at Aldi is a good deal. One of the most popular posts on my site is my post on 25 of the best things to buy at Aldi. Today, I thought it would be fun to tell you what I think you shouldn’t buy at Aldi. Here’s my list of what I think you should avoid buying… 1. Name Brand Items Don’t buy brand name items! Why? Because not only are these usually over-priced, you can’t use coupons on them to save more money. What to buy instead: The Aldi brand/off brand counterparts for these name brand items. In most cases, you’ll save 40-60% off of what the name brand item is priced! And we’ve found that it usually works or tastes just as good! (See above photos for side by side comparisons.) 2. Aldi Finds When you walk in the store and near the end of the store as you’re going to checkout, Aldi typically has what they call Aldi Finds. These are often name brand items and are typically unique or weird flavor combinations. I don’t know exactly where they get these from, but my theory is that they were some kind of overstock or trial run at mainstream grocery stores that didn’t do well. (Anyone know?) Not only are they usually not a great deal, but they are also probably a sort of risky purchase since they are likely a flavor or item you haven’t tried before. What to buy instead: Stick to the Aldi brand regular deals and pass up the Aldi Finds. 3. Seasonal Items Aldi has a big section of the store (well, big percentage-wise when you compare it to the size of the store!) devoted to Seasonal type deals. Right now, there will be a lot of summer toys and other things that would be geared toward the summer months. While they often do have some good prices, unless you were looking for that specific item and/or saving up for it and you know this price is less than what you’d pay elsewhere, skip this section of the store. Why? Because you’ll just end up spending money on “good deals” that you don’t need and weren’t planning to purchase in the first place. This, in turn, will negate all of the savings you are getting on groceries! What to buy instead: Focus on purchasing the items are already on your grocery list instead of impulse buying. 4. Pre-Packaged Food If you normally buy pre-packaged snacks and frozen foods, then you will save some money by buying them at Aldi. However, please don’t start buying pre-packaged foods just because you think they are “so inexpensive” at Aldi. What to buy instead: Ingredients to make your own homemade snacks and items! 5. Things You Can Get Cheaper at Dollar Tree If you have a Dollar Tree in your area, be sure to peruse the food and household product aisles to price-check the Dollar Tree prices and sizes against the Aldi prices and sizes. While some Aldi prices are the same or less, some items are significantly cheaper at Dollar Tree. For instance, see the lemon juice shown above? It’s regularly $2.49 at Kroger, $2.39 at Aldi, and just one dollar at Dollar Tree! What to buy instead: Nothing! If you can get it cheaper at Dollar Tree, don’t buy it at Aldi! 🙂 Do you agree with my list? What do you think you shouldn’t purchase at Aldi? I’d love to hear! Related Links: My 25 Favorite Things to Purchase at ALDI Kroger vs. ALDI: Which is Cheaper? An Open Letter to ALDI 52 Different Ways to Save $100 per Year: Shop at ALDI [...]
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Roth IRA vs. 401(k): A Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Retire Someday

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Roth IRA vs. 401(k): A Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Retire Someday
When you’re trying to decide between a Roth IRA vs. 401(k), the personal finance gods often have an easy answer for you: Do both, they decree. Well, that’s easy if you’re swimming in so much cash that you can go on a retirement savings binge — yet don’t earn enough to disqualify you from contributing to a Roth IRA. In 2019, someone under age 50 would need to contribute $25,000 to reach the limits for both retirement accounts. Mere chump change, right? We get it: Most of us don’t have the resources to max out both a Roth IRA and a 401(k). So when you decide how to allocate your retirement dollars, you have to make tough choices. What Is a Roth IRA? A Roth IRA is a type of individual retirement account. That means you, Dear Reader, as an individual, open the account — whether it’s a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA — and decide how to allocate your investments. What makes a Roth IRA unique compared with traditional IRAs and most 401(k)s is that you fund it with money you’ve already paid taxes on. That means that when you withdraw it, typically once you’ve reached age 59 ½ and have had the account for at least five years, the money is yours tax-free. Another sweet feature of Roth IRAs: While you generally have to wait to access your earnings, your contributions are yours to take at any time. While we’d never recommend taking money out of a retirement account unless absolutely necessary — and no, a dream wedding or vacation doesn’t count — your Roth IRA contributions can be a source you tap in an emergency. What Is a 401(k)? A 401(k) is a retirement account that’s sponsored by an employer. You can’t open a 401(k) on your own. Unlike a Roth IRA, a traditional 401(k) is tax-deferred. That means you invest part of your paycheck before you’ve paid taxes on it and then pay taxes when you withdraw money in retirement. A growing number of companies are now offering a Roth 401(k) option, which shares most of the same rules as a traditional 401(k) but is funded like a Roth IRA, with money that’s already been taxed. What makes a 401(k) — either kind — especially attractive is that many employers will match your contributions — in whole or in part  — up to a certain percentage of your earnings. Whatever the amount, it’s basically free money to pad your retirement savings. Roth IRA vs. 401(k): The Ultimate Showdown At this point, the Roth IRA vs. 401(k) question is probably sounding complicated, because they both have some pretty sweet features. Now let’s see how they compare across six categories. 1. Who’s Eligible? While anyone can open a regular old investment account, not everyone can open a Roth IRA or 401(k). Here are the requirements. Roth IRA You don’t need a traditional job to contribute to any type of IRA, but you do need taxable income. A salary, wages, tips, bonuses, and freelance and self-employment income all count. If you’re married but don’t work, your spouse can also set up a spousal Roth IRA for you. While you can fund a traditional IRA no matter how much you earn, a Roth IRA has income limits. (We’ll get to the contribution limits next.) For single people, or if you’re head of household or married filing separately: If your income is under $122,000, you can contribute the maximum amount. If your income is between $122,000 and $136,999, you can contribute an amount that becomes gradually less the higher your income. If your income is $137,000 or higher, you’re not eligible. If you’re married filing jointly: If your combined income is under $193,000, you can contribute the maximum amount. If your combined income is between $193,000 and $202,999, you can contribute an amount that becomes gradually less the higher your income. If your income is $203,000 or higher, you’re not eligible. 401(k) To contribute to a 401(k), you have to work for an employer that offers a 401(k). However, your employer can exclude you from participating in its 401(k) for certain reasons, such as if you’re under 21 or have worked for the company for less than a year. Unlike a Roth IRA, a 401(k) has no income limits. 2. How Much Can You Contribute? Both a Roth IRA and a 401(k) have limits on how much you can contribute — but the limits are much higher for a 401(k). Roth IRA The maximum contribution for 2019 is $6,000 if you’re under age 50, or $7,000 if you’re 50 or older. The limits are the same for traditional IRAs. Note that if you have both a Roth and traditional IRA, your total contributions to both accounts can’t be higher than $6,000, or $7,000 if you’re over 50. 401(k) You can contribute up to $19,000 to your 401(k) if you’re under 50, or $25,000 if you’re 50 or older. Your employer can contribute up to $37,000 or 100% of your salary, whichever is less. But hold up, money bags: The most common employer match is 50% of your contributions up to 6% of your salary. Your employer may also make you wait to access the money it’s putting in your account, which is known as vesting. The money you contribute will always be yours, but if you leave your job before the vesting period is up, you may not be able to take the money your employer matched with you. 3. How Do the Tax Breaks Compare? Taxes are a major factor when you’re considering a Roth IRA vs. 401(k). Here are some key differences in how the accounts are taxed. Roth IRA If you were hoping to beef up your tax refund, a Roth IRA will leave you disappointed. But remember: Once you withdraw that money at age 59 ½, as long as you’ve had the account for at least five years, it’s all yours tax-free. 401(k) Suppose you earn $50,000 and contribute $5,000 to a traditional 401(k). Your taxable income for the year is now $45,000. Because you get the tax break upfront with most 401(k)s, you’ll pay taxes when you withdraw your money. Because you fund a Roth 401(k) with after-tax dollars, it won’t change your taxable income, but you can withdraw your money tax-free when you retire. Pro Tip If you expect to pay taxes in a higher bracket once you reach age 59 ½ or if you think tax rates in general will increase, maxing out your Roth IRA is smart because you lock in a lower tax rate. 4. How Do You Invest? A Roth IRA will give you more flexibility to choose your own investments, but a 401(k) gets points for convenience. Roth IRA You can open a Roth IRA through a brokerage firm or a robo-advising service. You could set it up in person if you opt for a brokerage with a brick-and-mortar location or by applying online. You can invest your Roth IRA money however you want — in mutual funds, individual stocks, bonds and annuities. If you prefer to choose your own investments, you’ll want to open a brokerage account. Consult with a financial adviser if you aren’t sure what investments to choose. If you prefer a set-it-and-forget-it approach, you’ll probably prefer a robo-adviser, which uses super-smart software, instead of humans, to manage your investments. You can set up automatic transfers from your bank to make investing more convenient. 401(k) If your employer offers a 401(k), you may have to sign up for it or you may be automatically enrolled. Most companies let you enroll when you’re hired, though some smaller companies will make you wait as much as a year. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll have to decide how much to invest and what you want to invest in. Your investment options will be limited compared with your options for a Roth IRA, but you can usually choose from several categories of mutual funds. You can change the amount you’re contributing and your investment allocations at any time. Pro Tip Find lower-cost mutual fund options by checking the fee disclosure statement, which your 401(k) plan is required to send you every year. 5. When Can You Withdraw Your Money? Your retirement accounts aren’t supposed to be a source of quick cash, so the rules around withdrawing money can get complicated. In general, the [...]
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8 Things Private Equity Firms Look for in Companies

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8 Things Private Equity Firms Look for in Companies
The post 8 Things Private Equity Firms Look for in Companies appeared first on ONEtoONE Corporate Finance. [...]
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*HOT* Free $5 Starbucks Gift Card with $25 Gift Card Purchase

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*HOT* Free $5 Starbucks Gift Card with $25 Gift Card Purchase
Love Starbucks? Get a free $5 gift card when you purchase a $25 Starbucks gift card. Today only, you can score a free $5 Starbucks Bonus eGift Card when you purchase ANY Starbucks eGift Card worth $25 or more in the Starbucks mobile app! Just log in to the mobile app and check your inbox to find this offer. If it’s still available, you can click on the “buy now” button to get this deal. This is only available for the first 150,000. Limit of one per account. Psst! You should also check and see if you got the limit access Starbucks deal on Groupon today!! Thanks, Freebie Shark! [...]
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Citi to End Price Rewind, Multiple Side Perks Across All Cards

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Citi to End Price Rewind, Multiple Side Perks Across All Cards
Say it isn’t so, Citibank! The issuer is the latest to announce that it’s eliminating a variety of credit card benefits. Perks being discontinued across its lineup of Citi credit cards include Citi Price Rewind, as well as trip cancellation and interruption protection. Depending on what Citi card you have, you could be losing a lot more, too.  The... Robin Saks Frankel is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: rfrankel@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @robinsaks. The article Citi to End Price Rewind, Multiple Side Perks Across All Cards originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Don’t Want to Owe Taxes After You Die? Avoid These 17 States

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Don’t Want to Owe Taxes After You Die? Avoid These 17 States
Have you gotten to retirement with a fat nest egg? Congratulations! All those years of toil and saving have paid off. If you are exceedingly fortunate and plan to pass on a big inheritance to your children or a charity, you still have one big retirement-planning mission remaining: Protecting your wealth from disappearing into the coffers of state and federal governments. Depending on where you... [...]
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Here’s How to See If Your Old Pokemon Cards Are Worth Something

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Here’s How to See If Your Old Pokemon Cards Are Worth Something
The resurgence of Pokemon — thanks to a new movie and video game set for release soon  — has young adults rummaging through their closets in hopes of finding their old collection of trading cards. And, if they’re lucky, a rare card that could make them a fortune. The 1997 Japanese anime-turned-trading-card-game-turned-video-game series holds a special place in the hearts of ‘90s kids, who cherished the furry creatures with elemental powers that could be traded and battled and hoarded for years to come. For Scott Pratte, a Pokemon enthusiast and card-trading expert, the hobby never dimmed. Pratte, 31, collects and sells some of the most treasured Pokemon cards in the world. “I’ve done 7-figure deals,” Pratte says. “That’s just one deal, not even my lifetime” earnings. Due to nondisclosure agreements, he can’t say exactly which cards have made him the most money, but he says that his trophy cards, aka the rarest Pokemon cards on the market, easily rake in upwards of $1 million. Only a select few people hold these trophy cards, usually those who won Pokemon tournaments in the early 2000s and were awarded ultra limited edition cards. But there are a fair amount of more common Pokemon cards that could sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Pokemon Cards Worth Selling The two biggest value factors to consider about old Pokemon cards are their rarity and condition. In terms of rarity, “base-set” cards are where the money is for most collectors, and these cards are the most traded ones in the hobby. Set cards are “any card you can pull from a pack” bought from the store, says Pratte. The base set comprises the original 102 cards printed in 1999 and includes classic Pokemon like Pikachu, Blastoise, Charizard and Venusaur. A complete first-edition base set in mint condition sold for $100,000 in December 2017. If you have a base-set card in your collection, there are a few visual indicators of its worth. Holographic cards: These are the most discernable at first glance. The background of the Pokemon illustration is shiny and reflective — not the whole card, only the picture of the monster. They’re typically referred to as “holo” cards, and only 16 of the original 102 are holo. First-edition cards: Directly next to the left corner of the illustration appears the “edition 1” logo. These cards were bought up shortly after initial release and remain some of the rarest and most sought-after cards. Shadowless cards: This version is almost identical to the first-edition prints but exclude the first-edition logo. If you don’t have a newer card for comparison, this is particularly hard to notice: the illustration box appears 2D. On newer cards, the picture box has a shadow along the right border to give it a 3D appearance. Unlimited cards: These cards are still old and rare, but they do not include the first-edition symbol and have an added shadow behind the illustration to give the picture box a 3D effect. To check if your card is part of the base set, look at the bottom right corner of the picture box. If you do not see one of the many later-added set symbols, then you have a base-set, Unlimited card. The second important factor in a card’s value is the condition. If you do happen to have a first-edition, holographic base-set Charizard, you’re not guaranteed thousands of dollars. The price it fetches depends on how well the card has been taken care of. If you have a card that you expect is worth more than $100, Pratte recommends getting it graded by Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA). Despite its name, the PSA grades all kinds of trading cards, including non-sports cards like Pokemon. PSA’s 10-point grading scale is accepted as the industry standard, and the company also publishes price guides to help determine a card’s worth. According to its current valuations, first-edition cards in perfect condition are valued at a minimum of $40. Those aren’t rarer, holographic cards either. A first-edition holo in mint condition can rake in between $1,000 and $24,000. So why Pratte’s $100 limit? Well, the number isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, but the card-grading services offered by PSA will cost $20 or more per card, meaning a lower-value card doesn’t always merit the cost to get it authenticated. “It’s a process,” says PSA spokesperson Terry Melia. “But it’s something that could reap big rewards in the end.” In addition to grading the condition of the card, PSA ensures the card isn’t a forgery by using high-powered lights and magnifying equipment to check for tampering. “There are a lot of forgeries and bogus merchandise out there,” says Melia. Especially so online. Where to Sell Pokemon Cards After you’ve done some homework — checking the type of card, estimating its value and sending it in for authentication, if needed — you’re finally ready to sell. “The main marketplace is for sure going to be eBay,” Pratte says. “Even if you’re someone who just stumbled upon your childhood collection, it’s really easy to take a couple of pictures [and] make a decent listing.” The PSA’s grading system and authentication make selling online much easier. This process allays fears that the card is a fake and curbs arguments over its true condition. Each authenticated card comes in a protective case with the grade and barcode clearly visible at the top. As Pokemon re-enters mainstream culture with the release of new video games and movies, expect to see an uptick in buying and selling activity of old cards. But interest doesn’t pick up overnight. “It’s not binary in that sense,” Pratte says. Instead, it’s a more gradual process where each new Pokemon-related release reminds twenty- and thirty-somethings of their childhood: the crinkling sound of ripping open a new pack of cards followed by a strong whiff of ink as they shuffle through the set, hoping to find something rare. Pratte offers this caution about getting rich overnight: “Be realistic.” “If you put in little or no effort back in the day,” he says, “you probably don’t have the homerun card.” But as you rummage through your collection, remember that there’s no rush to purge now. Spend some time with your cards. See if they’re valuable. Consider getting them authenticated. Then decide if they’re worth selling. After two decades, Pokemon — and its card-collecting hobbyists — aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He specializes in ways to make money that don’t involve stuffy corporate offices. Read his ​latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism. 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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Clean Eating Magazine Discount

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Clean Eating Magazine Discount
We found a great deal for you on Clean Eating Magazine! CLEAN EATING SUBSCRIPTION DISCOUNT You can subscribe for only $7.99 per year (up to 2 years). Use our coupon code PENNYPINCH and save! Hurry though as this offer is valid through 5/22/19 at 11: 59 pm EST! ABOUT CLEAN EATING MAGAZINE Clean Eating is ... Read More about Clean Eating Magazine Discount The post Clean Eating Magazine Discount appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Lufthansa En Route to Dynamic Award Pricing

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Lufthansa En Route to Dynamic Award Pricing
The way you spend travel rewards on airlines will be changing soon. Lufthansa, one of Europe’s largest air carriers, announced earlier this spring that it is looking into shifting its Miles & More rewards program to a dynamic pricing method. This means that the value of your rewards miles can change depending on a variety of... Curtis Sprung is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article Lufthansa En Route to Dynamic Award Pricing originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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How to Pay for Law School

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How to Pay for Law School
If you’re planning to go to law school, plan on going into debt: 75% of law students take out student loans, according to Law School Transparency, a nonprofit organization. Borrowing may be necessary for law school, but your first choice should be financial aid you don’t have to repay. Here are the types of aid available... Ryan Lane is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: rlane@nerdwallet.com. The article How to Pay for Law School originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Allowance Not Going Well? 3 Ways to Turn Your Kid Allowance System Around

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Allowance Not Going Well? 3 Ways to Turn Your Kid Allowance System Around
Are you one of the thousands of households that started an allowance at some point in the last few years and it just kind of…fizzled out?   You’re not alone. Many parents have told me that they started an allowance that, just like Downton Abbey, ended for one reason or another. Sometimes they don’t even ... Read More about Allowance Not Going Well? 3 Ways to Turn Your Kid Allowance System Around The post Allowance Not Going Well? 3 Ways to Turn Your Kid Allowance System Around appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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5 Books I Finished in April

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5 Books I Finished in April
Want to know what books I finished in April? In 2019, I’m sharing the books I read each month and what my honest thoughts were on those books. If you love books, you don’t want to miss this post! (You can see all of my book reviews for this year here.) 5 Books I Finished in April I set a goal to finish 80 books in 2019 and a second goal that 40 of those books will be books I already own. (You can see which books I picked to read from those I already own here). By the way, I’m truly loving using GoodReads to track my reading. You all were right! It is really motivational to see my progress! And I’ve been ahead on my goal for the last month! I finished 5 books in April — yay! Here’s what I read + my honest thoughts on each of the books: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. 1. Troublemaker This book had been highly recommended multiple times. When I found it available on Libby, I “checked it out” and started listening to it. Honestly, I almost didn’t keep listening because she has such a strong and brash personality. But I’m glad I stuck with it because her story was fascinating and sad… but worth listening to/reading. I really had no understanding of what Scientology was before this book and while I know that this is just one person’s story, it was shocking to hear of her experiences in the Church of Scientology, what she was required to do, how she was mistreated, and how much money she paid into the Church as a member. Note: There is strong and crass language in this book. Verdict: 3 stars 2. The Glass Castle After I read Hillbilly Elegy, multiple people said I had to read The Glass Castle. Again, I found it was available on Libby, so I checked it out. It’s one of those stories that I don’t know how to describe. It was engaging and thought-provoking, but also incredibly sad and haunting