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

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 own department for recommendations. Need more help? Check out this guide to landing an internship. 8. Military Tuition Assistance Served in the military? Instead of asking your parents paying for college, let Uncle Sam. Active duty, National Guard or Reserve Component service members are eligible for Military Tuition Assistance, which can pay up to 100% of tuition expenses. Pro Tip Thirteen states offer free college tuition to qualifying veterans. Find out your state’s tuition waiver policy at militarybenefits.info. If your tuition exceeds your active-duty tuition assistance program award, you can potentially use your GI Bill benefits to cover the remaining costs (known as Tuition Assistance Top-Up). Additional tuition assistance benefits are available through StudentAid.gov/military. And check out these additional military benefits that can help you cover costs as you progress toward your degree. It may not be as easy covering college costs without mom and dad helping to foot the bill, but the reward will be a degree you can say you earned on your own. Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Data Journalist Alex Mahadevan contributed to this article. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
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bill.com IPO not the end of its global growth story in B2B invoicing

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bill.com IPO not the end of its global growth story in B2B invoicing
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Up to 65% off Disney Toys, Apparel, and more!

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Up to 65% off Disney Toys, Apparel, and more!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Today only, Amazon is offering up to 65% off Disney Toys, Apparel, and more! Here are some deals you can get… Get this 21-Piece Disney Princess Dress Up Trunk for only $22.41! Get this Disney Ideas Hardcover Book: More than 100 Disney Crafts, Activities, and Games for just $12.36! Get this Melissa & Doug Disney Mickey Mouse Wooden Character Magnets for only $4.75! Get this Fisher-Price Disney Mickey & the Roadster Racers for only $16.67! Get this Sofia the First Royal Family for only $5.36! Get this Lionel Disney’s Frozen Battery-powered Model Train Set for only $34.99 shipped! Get this Toy Story Disney/Pixar Pet Patrol Playset for only $10.49! Shop the Disney sale here. Valid today only, December 11, 2019, while supplies last. Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get guaranteed FREE two-day shipping (and possibly one-day or same-day shipping!). And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon. [...]
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These 14 Strategies Will Help You Save Big on Your Universal Orlando Trip

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

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

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17 Renovations That Are Unlikely to Help Sell Your Home
goodluz / Shutterstock.com We all like to think that making positive changes to a home can make it more attractive to buyers. However, some renovations, while they might make you feel more comfortable, might not actually help you sell your home in the long run. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released its 2019 Remodeling Impact Report, finding that some renovations are less... [...]
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Put Yourself in the Driver’s Seat: 4 Tips to Limit Debt When Buying a Car

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Put Yourself in the Driver’s Seat: 4 Tips to Limit Debt When Buying a Car
Ready for a new (or new-ish) set of wheels? Before you set foot in a dealership or start picking out the trim, you should prepare your bank account for a hit — the average price for a mid-size car was $27,968 in October 2019, according to Kelley Blue Book.  For people who don’t have an extra $30,000 lying around, that means taking on auto loan debt — and plenty of us do. Outstanding debt balances on auto loans rose $18 billion in the third quarter of 2019, ballooning to $1.3 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. For comparison, credit card debt rose $13 billion in the same period to $880 billion.  But just because you need a vehicle doesn’t mean you have to dig a huge financial hole you’ll spend years climbing out of. We’re here with strategies to help you get behind the wheel with the least amount of debt. 4 Ways to Limit Auto Loan Debt Ready to hit the open road? Before you rev your car-shopping engines, put your finances in park and check out these four ways to avoid taking on any more auto loan debt than necessary. (And in return, I promise to stop with the car puns.) FROM THE DEBT FORUM Eliminating Credit Card Debit - Take out personal loan with low interest rate 12/4/19 @ 2:28 PM L Balance transfer credit card 11/27/19 @ 6:39 PM Credit card Debt 11/19/19 @ 3:56 PM Student loans 11/20/19 @ 2:17 PM See more in Debt or ask a money question 1. Set a Budget Here’s the thing about budgeting for a car: You’re not just budgeting for a car (or at least you shouldn’t be). You’re also paying for the tax and title, the gas, the oil changes, the insurance and the inevitable nail-in-a-tire-costs-me-how-much moment. So before you let a dealership lure you in with the promise of a low monthly payment (while glossing over the fact that it’s for a seven-year loan), do your homework.  Set a budget that you can comfortably live with each month for the car payment plus the regular maintenance — the average maintenance and repair costs for a small sedan are 8.53 cents per mile, according to AAA — and other expenses associated with owning a vehicle. Better yet, before you start figuring out how big of a loan you’ll need, consider ways you can save money to buy a car. A bigger down payment — or, gasp, paying for that ride in cash — means you’ll fork over less of your hard-earned money for interest on the loan. 2. Know Your Credit Score Before you drive, you should know where you stand.  Knowing your credit score can help you figure out how much a car loan will cost since. Your credit score is calculated by a number of factors, including whether you pay your bills on time — and thus can be trusted with lower interest rate on a loan.   If you’re a superprime (800s) kind of borrower, you can expect to pay thousands less in interest over the life of the loan than the deep subprime (300 to 500) borrower.  So what if you’re in the less-than-prime territory? Consider ways to improve your credit score before you buy, shop for a more affordable (perhaps used) set of wheels or find a co-signer who has good credit. 3. Get an Auto Loan Preapproval Once you know your credit score and how much car you can afford, it’s time to get a loan. And although the dealership may seem like a convenient place to finance your vehicle, it’s also likely the costliest (dealers often make more money on the finder’s fee for your loan than they do on the car itself). Instead, start shopping online for an auto loan preapproval — a financing offer that includes the maximum loan amount, interest rate and terms of the loan. By shopping online, you can compare offers from multiple lenders without a dealer pressuring you to make a decision on the spot. Pro Tip Just because you can get approved for a loan doesn’t mean you need to take the full amount — stick to what your original budget dictated you can comfortably pay monthly. An auto loan preapproval letter gives you leverage when it comes time to discuss financing — simply present the letter to the dealer and ask them to beat your lender’s offer. Having a preapproved auto loan could end up saving you thousands in interest and gives you the power to search for the best price on the vehicle rather than being shackled to whichever dealer will offer you financing. 4. Break Free of the Underwater Auto Loan  All of these tips are great if you’re starting fresh with an auto loan, but what if you’re still paying for your old car — and you owe more than it’s worth (also known as negative equity)? You have a number of choices for getting out of an underwater auto loan. There are the easy-but-unwise options like rolling over your negative equity, which probably puts you underwater immediately on your new auto loan. Or you can choose the tough-but-sensible options, like holding onto your old hunk of junk until you get your loan back above the waterline. Breaking the cycle of auto loan debt lets you save on the interest you pay and eventually own your wheels outright. Eliminating that extra debt will put you in the driver’s seat to decide where to spend all that extra cash. Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then catch her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Life Update: Pregnancy (week 19), our first foster care placement, plus more!

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Life Update: Pregnancy (week 19), our first foster care placement, plus more!
Welcome to my weekly life update where I share about my pregnancy & give you a peek into our life this past week. If you want to follow a lot more behind-the-scenes and real-time updates every week, be sure to follow my stories and posts on Instagram. 19 weeks!! It feels like the last two weeks have sort of dragged by slower than usual as I anticipated being at the halfway mark. I have a feeling once I hit 20 weeks, then it will feel like it flies by for a bit until I start anticipating 30 weeks and then 40 weeks. HIGHLIGHTS I definitely started looking more pregnant this week. A lot of people noticed it and it’s fun (and weird!) to look down and see a protruding belly! I also broke out my first pair of maternity jeans (see photo above!) which felt pretty monumental! NOTABLE I started taking only one dose of iron daily + one dose of Blood Builder (instead of a double dose of SlowFe). It seems like this combo is working well for my stomach + I seem to have had more energy this week and I have to wonder if the B12 is helping with that?! I’m still nauseous at least part of most every day and running on about 50% the energy that I usually am, but it’s SO much better than the first trimester and I’m so grateful! CRAVINGS Scrambled eggs, avocados, and sourdough toast with butter continue to be my go to’s. I also had this obsession with making a pie mixing yogurt and whipped topping and freezing it in a graham cracker crust (thanks to a suggestion from a follower for how to use up all this plain yogurt I got marked down at a crazy price!) Weight gain: 10 lbs. We bought and decorated a Christmas tree this week! I felt like we were at least a week behind the rest of the world in getting this up, but I guess there are no rules for Christmas, right? The good news is that because we waited, we were able to get the tree for half price! (Psst! If you’ve been around here for awhile, you’ll remember that we ditched having a big Christmas tree last year. But this year, we decided to bring back the tradition and we don’t regret it! Want to hear about more of our Christmas traditions? We all recorded a podcast as a family on that very topic.) Silas had this big wart on his finger that he got burned off this week at the pediatrician’s office. Growing up, I had to get a lot of warts burned off, so I felt so badly for him when he was in pain for the next day as a result. But he really wanted to get it taken off and it was so big that I didn’t think any of the natural remedies would work (I tried a bunch of them growing up, including ACV, duct tape, wart remover ointment, and more and none of them ever worked at all for me!!) Gratefully, the pain only lasted for a day and he’s really happy that it’s healing! Kathrynne had her first basketball games of the season this week. She’s on Varsity this year and has a new coach, so she’s being stretched in good ways. We love getting to cheer her on and try to go to every single game that we can go to. It becomes a fun family activity — and we also get to see new parts of TN as we drive to little towns in different places for her away games! We also had a big Christmas gathering for all of the youth group members from both campuses of our church + the leaders. I laughed so hard and it was such a gift during a very full week. (By the way, Jesse and I have just loved the opportunity to serve as youth group leaders this year. It has brought us so much joy and life to pour into these kids!) Friday afternoon, we got a call about a 3-sibling group in foster care that didn’t have a home for the weekend. They were 13, 11, and 3 and Jesse and I felt strongly we were supposed to say yes. It turned out to be such a wonderful weekend. Tiring, but such a gift to get to open our home up and love on these kids. They had never decorated Christmas cookies before, so we had a fun time baking and decorating cookies together. The 3-year-old gave Kaitlynn a makeover! 🙂 The stay included one night with very little sleep because the 3-year-old had a bad cough and it kept waking her up and then she’d get scared and cry. I finally figured out that if I laid next to her bed, when she woke up, she’d be a lot less scared if I was right there with her. Her cough got worse on Saturday, so I took her into urgent care just to be safe. Gratefully, no ear infection (she’d be complaining of her ears hurting) and just an upper respiratory infection. They suggested honey and a humidifier. We also found Zarbee’s cough syrup that was approved for kids under 6 (we discovered this weekend that almost no meds are approved for kids under 6! I think maybe things have changed since our kids were little?) and we gave her that on Saturday night and she only woke up twice!) We are so thankful we had the opportunity to open up our home this weekend — if only for a short while — to love on and provide a safe place for these kids to stay. I also have quickly realized how many big feelings are going to be involved in this foster care journey we’re on… as I told someone yesterday, it’s both beautiful and brutal. [...]
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7 Places to Find Secondhand Gifts Your Friends and Family Will Adore

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7 Places to Find Secondhand Gifts Your Friends and Family Will Adore
Gifting your friends and family with something they’ll love this holiday season doesn’t require buying something brand new. You can save a considerable amount of money by buying used gifts for Christmas instead. Thrift stores and private sellers price merchandise at a fraction of their original cost — not to mention the treasures you might be able to regift without spending a penny. Before you cringe at the idea, consider this: A recent survey by the selling app Mercari found 60% of people felt comfortable receiving a previously owned gift.  Likewise, Accenture’s annual holiday shopping survey found more than half of respondents said they’d willingly accept secondhand apparel as gifts this holiday season. Of course, you’ve got to consider the gift recipient — and the gift. Your vintage-loving sister would appreciate a good thrift store find, and your 2-year-old nephew won’t realize (or care) if his “new” toy truck used to belong to another kid.  But if your husband has been yearning for a specific tech gadget that just hit the market or your mom wants a 2020 calendar, maybe they aren’t the best candidates to give used gifts for Christmas. When gifting anything used, examine the item’s condition the best you can. Arrange to meet individual sellers in safe, public places. If you’re purchasing online, vet the website to ensure it’s trustworthy and secure. Check out the reviews or ratings of sellers you buy from. Opportunities to find pre-owned presents are widespread. Here are seven places to shop for inexpensive gifts this holiday season. 7 Outlets to Find Used Gifts for Christmas Some places you’ll discover great secondhand gifts (that won’t bust your budget) include: 1. Brick-and-Mortar Thrift Stores and Consignment Shops Thrift store chains like Goodwill and the Salvation Army have a varied assortment of goods. Proceeds from sales go to community programs that support the nonprofits’ missions.  You may find for-profit consignment shops in your area have a particular focus, like children’s clothing or men’s fashion. 2. Online Resale Retailers and Private Sellers Sites like Poshmark, Tradesy and ThredUp are great outlets to find clothing and accessories at a discount.  Other e-commerce websites, like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay and Mercari, have less of an online store interface. On these sites, private sellers post a variety of previously used products for sale, including toys, tech, furniture and home decor. 3. Yard Sales, Estate Sales or Flea Markets Yard sales, estate sales and flea markets can include a great array of options You may even find a table of trinkets the seller is giving away for free.  4. Public Libraries Occasionally libraries will hold fundraisers where they’ll offer a selection of books for sale. You can find titles for only a couple bucks a pop. It’s a good opportunity to get something for the book lover in your life. 5. Pawn Shops Disregard the negative reputation that pawn shops (often unfairly) have. This venue is popular for finding jewelry at low prices. You can also find a great assortment of other merchandise — from DVDs to bikes to musical instruments. 6. Buy Nothing Groups The Buy Nothing community (which connects neighbors via Facebook) provides an opportunity to find a gift that won’t cost you anything. Members of Buy Nothing groups post items they own that they choose to give away for free.  Search Facebook to see if your community has an active group, and join to see what your neighbors are giving away. 7. Your Own Home Regifting gets a bad rap, but it’s honestly no different than giving something from a secondhand retailer. The plus? You incur zero cost.  Consider items you’ve barely or never used, like that waffle maker that’s still in the box from when you got married. Just don’t give someone a present they originally gave to you! 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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Set of 7 Doll Outfits for just $9.75 shipped!! (Fits American Girl and Our Generation Dolls!)

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Set of 7 Doll Outfits for just $9.75 shipped!! (Fits American Girl and Our Generation Dolls!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Whoa! This is SUCH a good deal on doll clothing! Amazon has this Set of 7 Doll Outfits for just $9.75 shipped when you use coupon code VRVXSZOQ at checkout. This is a GREAT price for doll clothing that fits American Girl and Our Generation! Note: This is not Prime eligible, and it currently says the arrival date is between December 12th and 17th. You can also still get this Doll Clothes 28-Piece Set for just $29.95 shipped — also a great deal! Thanks, Hip2Save! [...]
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How to Get a Health Professions Student Loan

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How to Get a Health Professions Student Loan
A health professions student loan is a government loan for students at participating schools who demonstrate financial need. There are four kinds of health profession loans: Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL). Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS). Primary Care Loans (PCL). Nursing School Loans (NSL). Before taking on any loans, make sure to exhaust free aid... Ryan Lane is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: rlane@nerdwallet.com. The article How to Get a Health Professions Student Loan originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Figure Lending Review: Student Loan Refinancing

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Figure Lending Review: Student Loan Refinancing
Bottom line: Best for applying and receiving funds fast. Reviewed loanStudent loan refinancing Interest ratesFixed: 3.49% - 6.99% Variable: 2.21% - 6.21% includes autopay discount of 0.25% Loan terms5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years Loan amounts$5,000 to $250,000 Co-signer release availableNo Can transfer a parent loan to the childNo Check rates at Figure Lending Pros & Cons... Ryan Lane is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: rlane@nerdwallet.com. The article Figure Lending Review: Student Loan Refinancing originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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How to Repay Student Loans When You Don’t Know Where to Start

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How to Repay Student Loans When You Don’t Know Where to Start
If you graduated from college this year, congratulations!  Also, your first student loan payment is due. (Cue sad trombone.) If you borrowed federal student loans to cover your college expenses, you get a six-month grace period from Uncle Sam before he starts pestering you for payment. If it’s any comfort (I know, it isn’t), you’re not the only one who owes. Outstanding student loan debt clocked in at $1.48 trillion in the second quarter of 2019, according to the New York Federal Reserve. It’s easy enough to feel overwhelmed — you just graduated, started that first job (hopefully), moved out of your parents’ place and into your own (maybe).  But besides the obvious benefit — getting out of debt — making on-time student loan payments will reflect well on your credit score, which will follow you long after your dorm life memories have faded.  Ready to tackle that student loan debt? Good, let’s get started. A Guide to Student Loan Repayment  When you’re ready to start repaying your student loans, it’s best to create a plan to avoid wasting time, money and energy. Here’s what you need to do before you make that first payment. 1. Know How Much You Owe and Who You Owe If you’re like most grads, you took out multiple student loans over your multi-year college career — the average borrower has 3.7 student loans, according to a 2017 Experian report.  So it’s best to start organizing by figuring out who you owe, how much you owe and when it’s due. Oh, and interest rate is important, too. Need some help figuring it all out? Then check out this article that explains how to find out how much you owe in student loans. 2. Pay Off Your Interest Before the End of Your Grace Period If you have the cash, pay off at least the accrued interest on your federal student loans before your grace period runs out. It can save you a bundle of money by helping you avoid interest capitalization — when the interest gets lumped in with your principal amount and you start getting charged interest on the total amount. Wondering where to find extra money before the deadline? Consider taking up a side hustle to make some extra cash to throw toward the payment. 3. Come Up With a Plan… a Repayment Plan Didn’t land that six-figure job — or maybe any job? Rather than sticking your head in the sand and avoiding your student loan payments, you need to ask for help. That means getting yourself on an income-driven repayment plan. These plans cap your monthly payment typically somewhere between 10% and 20% of your discretionary income. Contact the loan servicer for your loan to find out which plans you can qualify for. 4. Think About Forgiveness It’s possible that you can get your student loans forgiven. But it’s not easy or fast… or likely (cue the second sad trombone). But if you work in specific fields — like teaching or nursing — you could be eligible for loan forgiveness after a set number of years. There are typically a lot of hoops to jump through — including making sure your loan repayment program and your employer qualify — so be sure you know the requirements of your forgiveness program. FROM THE DEBT FORUM Balance transfer credit card 11/27/19 @ 6:39 PM Credit card Debt 11/19/19 @ 3:56 PM Student loans 11/20/19 @ 2:17 PM Debt collections 11/23/19 @ 5:57 PM See more in Debt or ask a money question 5. Avoid Delinquency and Default Remember that part where I told you not to stick your head in the sand? This is why: If you miss your payment by even one day, your federal loan becomes delinquent. If you’ve missed payments on your Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) or direct student loan for 270 days, your loan is considered to be in default. If you can’t afford your monthly payment due to unemployment or an approved economic hardship, you might qualify for deferment or forbearance. You can also qualify for deferment if you’re enrolled in an approved graduate fellowship program. During deferment, you won’t owe monthly payments on your federal loans and your subsidized loans won’t accrue interest (but all the rest will).  A high or good credit score allows you to qualify for better loans and credit cards with lower interest rates and more favorable terms. A poor credit score may not even qualify you for a loan. If you don’t qualify for deferment, the other option is forbearance, during which your lender allows you to stop making payments or reduces your monthly payments for up to one year. However, during forbearance, interest will continue accruing on all of your loans. Both options are only temporary fixes, and you’ll probably end up owing more money in the end. But at least you won’t wreck your credit score. 6. Consider Life After College (and Student Loans) It can be tough to see beyond that soul-crushing debt, but remembering that there is more to life than student loans is important for your financial future. First, while throwing every available dollar at your student loan might help you feel like you’re making progress in that arena, don’t sacrifice your present financial state by pillaging your emergency fund (you have one, right?). It’s there to cover those unexpected expenses — like a new set of tires or unexpected vet bill — without sending you into credit card debt.  Additionally, you shouldn’t sacrifice your future for today’s debts. Instead of paying every dollar toward student loans, start saving for your retirement now. With plenty of years to go, you’ll be able to build an impressive nest egg future you will thank you for.  Bonus: Socking away your money in a 401(k) or IRA reduces your taxable income. So if you do decide to apply for an income-driven repayment plan, the federal government won’t count the money you’re saving for retirement. Cue the big brass band. You deserve it. Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then catch her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Get 50% off ALL of my courses!

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Get 50% off ALL of my courses!
For the many of you who have been asking when we were going to offer a sale on our online courses, I have GREAT news for you! We’ve been hard at work behind the scenes to bring you a BIG Black Friday Sale — and it’s now LIVE! Through Tuesday, December 3, 2019, you can get 13 of my online courses for 50% off! You can order as many as you’d like at this price! These would make a great Christmas gift for yourself, for a friend, or something to help you get off to a great start in 2020! You might even consider buying one for each of your friends and then you could go through them together and keep each other accountable! See all the details of our 2019 Black Friday Sale here. Black Friday Sale Pricing — Our Best Prices of the Year! Here are all of the courses included in the Black Friday sale: Make Over Your Mornings — just $8.50 (regularly $17) — this is our #1 selling product! Slash Your Grocery Bill eBook — just $8.50 (regularly $17) Make Over Your Evenings — just $8.50 (regularly $17) Make Over Your Year — just $8.50 (regularly $17) 15 Days to a Healthier You — just $7.50 (regularly $15) 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life — just $8.50 (regularly $17) Blog Start-Up 101 — just $18.50 (regularly $37) WordPress 101 — just $18.50 (regularly $37) Branding Basics 101 — just $18.50 (regularly $37) Content Creation 101 — just $18.50 (regularly $37) Email List Set-Up 101 — just $18.50 (regularly $37) Build Your List 101 — just $18.50 (regularly $37) Facebook Live Strategies Masterclass— just $8.50 (regularly $17) Monetize Your Blog online course — just $97 (regularly $127) Want to purchase more than one course? Go to this page and you can add multiple courses to your cart at one time. Here are more details on our six best-selling courses: Make Over Your Mornings — a 14-day online course to help you start your days well. This is our #1 best-selling course and it’s regularly $17, but you can get it for just $8.50 through Tuesday at midnight. Purchase it here for just $8.50. Make Over Your Evenings — a successful day begins the night before! Find out how to set up a realistic, workable, and life-impacting evening routine in this 14-day sequel to Make Over Your Mornings. It’s regularly priced at $17, but you can get it for just $8.50 through Tuesday at midnight. Purchase it here for just $8.50. Make Over Your Year — a 4-week goal-setting course to teach you how to set realistic, achievable goals… and then actually follow through with them! This course is a very down-to-earth course that my husband and I filmed live together and it comes with 4 video lessons plus a workbook and projects to help you become a goal-setting rockstar! It’s regularly $17, but you can get it for just $8.50 through Tuesday at midnight. Purchase it here for just $8.50. 15 Days to a Healthier You — This is my holistic health course! Want to feel better, have more energy, and make healthier choices? I’ll teach you how in this 15-day, step-by-step, hands-on course! It’s regularly $15, but you can get it for just $7.50 through Tuesday at midnight. Purchase it here for just $7.50. Blog Start-Up 101 — Have a great idea for a blog but don’t know where to start? In this popular course, I’ll teach you how to set up your first blog — from start to finish! And you don’t have to have any technical experience to do it! Blog Start-Up 101 is regularly $37, but it’s just $18.50 through Tuesday at midnight. Purchase it here for just $18.50. WordPress 101 — Struggling to make sense of WordPress? Let us help you! We’ll walk you through everything you need to know to get started with your WordPress blog and to conquer your fear of WordPress once and for all! This course is regularly $37, but it’s on sale for just $18.50 through Tuesday at midnight. Purchase it here for just $18.50. Want to purchase more than one course? You can add multiple courses to your cart when you go to this link here. Happy Savings! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! P.S. All of these courses come with a money-back guarantee, so if you buy them and decide they just aren’t for you, we’re happy to honor our guarantee — no questions asked! [...]
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6 Easy Ways to Outsmart Porch Pirates and Protect Your Holiday Packages

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6 Easy Ways to Outsmart Porch Pirates and Protect Your Holiday Packages
The porch pirates got me good one holiday season.  I arrived home after a long day at work to find two empty packages on my front stoop. The thermal sweatshirt that was supposed to be a Christmas gift for my dad? Gone. The pricy face cream I bought for myself? Gone. And the townhouse I was living in, which was on a residential street, didn’t have security cameras.  There were plenty of places to tuck the packages out of sight, but the delivery person was either too busy or had done so only to be foiled later by the thieves. That was years ago. Now I can simply install a smart lock on my front door and have Amazon or Walmart deliver items directly to my living room. Thieves can’t steal your packages if there’s nothing on your doormat to yoink. But what if you’re trying to receive packages and deliveries without allowing our e-commerce big brothers to let themselves in on a regular basis?  6 Ways to Stop Porch Pirates Once and for All In a 2017 report, insuranceQuotes estimated that 25.9 million Americans had a holiday package stolen from their front porch or doorstep that year. And across the United States, 36% of consumers have reported having a package stolen at least once, at an average cost of $109.  Don’t want to be a part of that very sad group of people? Try one or more of these methods to deter package thieves when you’re doing your online holiday shopping.  1. Make Delivery Requests Some online ordering systems allow you to make delivery requests, like putting the package in a secure area. Making a request doesn’t guarantee that it will be met, but you may be surprised at how attentive delivery people are when dropping off your goods. “Leave on basement steps” or “upstairs neighbor can sign” are simple instructions that can help ensure your package gets to you. If you happen to run into your regular local USPS, UPS or FedEx carrier, you may be able to make requests in person. But keep in mind that your neighborhood delivery person may have the best intel on which bushes are ideal for concealing packages. 2. Work With a Neighbor If you know your neighbors — come on, go meet your neighbors — you can work together to thwart package theft. If you have alternating or overlapping schedules, swiping a package off their stoop — for good, not evil — means you can make sure it gets into their hands after dinner or whenever they get home.  3. Get Packages Delivered to Your Workplace Not every employer will welcome your holiday shipments with open arms, so check with your office manager to see if they’d mind signing for packages you don’t want to risk having delivered at home.  Hauling items home can be cumbersome later, but if you want eyes on a package ASAP, your workplace may be your best bet. 4. Pay for a Package Receipt Service This isn’t the cheapest option, but it may be the most secure. Some businesses offer to receive packages for customers for a small fee.  I once lived around the corner from a dry cleaner that always had a line at the counter. Why so popular? Not only did it offer quick cleaning services, but you could pick up your dry cleaning and your packages in the same trip — and the hours were convenient, too. 5. Get Your Stuff Delivered to an Amazon Locker It’s not quite as convenient as home delivery or the corner store, but if you’d rather have your Amazon package delivered to a secure location, add an Amazon Locker location to your account.  Amazon will deliver the package to the locker and when it’s ready for pickup, you’ll receive an email with a six-digit code to pick up the package from the self-service kiosk. Lockers are located in stores, apartment buildings and malls across the United States, which offers you convenient times to pick up packages on in the evenings or on weekends. And if you’re a Prime member, you get to use the lockers for free.  6. Watch Your Tracking Info Like a Hawk Ah, the beauty of technology. I can see the exact moment my package went from a warehouse plane to another warehouse and onto a truck. And I can see the moment it finally lands at my home. Tracking services may not prevent you from losing packages to theft, but the available tools can help you stay up to date on its path and estimated arrival so you can plan accordingly.  Frequently, you can sign up for text or email updates on your package’s journey, and if you miss a delivery you need to sign for, you can sometimes have the package rerouted to a shipping service center, like the UPS Store, so the delivery person doesn’t spend three days knocking on your door.  Pro Tip If you have the Ring doorbell camera, sign up for reports on the Neighbors App, where you can share info about package thieves if they hit your area. The postal service even offers Informed Delivery, which sends you images of small pieces of mail that are on their way to your mailbox that day. If you’re willing to make a bigger investment, home security systems like the Ring can also let you monitor your front door — and the police department can use the footage to track down the porch pirates. If the worst-case scenario happens, detailed tracking information and video can help make a case to your credit card company, which may reimburse you for lost or stolen packages, or it could help you get a replacement item from the retailer. Lisa Rowan is a former senior writer and producer 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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Crystal’s 10 Favorite Black Friday Deals

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Crystal’s 10 Favorite Black Friday Deals
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. There were SO many great Black Friday deals today!! You can see ALL of the deals we posted here. I went through all of the deals we posted and picked out 10 deals that are my favorites. Here are my 10 top favorite deals from today… Dick’s Sporting Goods is offering 25% off Hydro Flask Bottles and Tumblers! Zulily has this 101-Piece 3D Magnetic Building Tile Play Set for only $29.99 today! Shipping is $5.99 making this only $35.98 shipped. This is a fantastic price for this set! Cents of Style is running Black Friday Sales on my favorite tee today — both the short-sleeve and long-sleeve versions! Get the Jagger Boyfriend Short-Sleeve Tee for just $10 shipped when you use code STEALDEAL. Or get the Joanna Boyfriend Long-Sleeve Tee for just $12 shipped when you use coupon code STEALDEAL. Amazon has this TaoTronics Essential Oils Diffuser for just $6.99 when you use coupon code GYLWZUQT at checkout. This is the lowest price on record and a really GREAT price on a diffuser! This is perfect if you are just getting started out with essential oils, need an extra diffuser for another room, or want to give a gift idea to someone who loves their essential oils! The HOT Hulu Black Friday Deal is back again this year! When you sign up for a year of Hulu as a new customer, you’ll pay just $1.99 per month! This is a savings of $4 per month, so an annual savings of $48! Note: This deal is only valid on the cheapest version of Hulu that is regularly $5.99/month. It does NOT include commercial-free or live tv options. WooHoo! Love this deal, and it always goes FAST! Grab four free kitchen appliances after Kohl’s Cash and rebates. Here’s how: Buy 4 select Toastmaster small kitchen appliances at $18.99 each Use promo code GIVETHANKS (15% off) Get $15 in Kohl’s Cash for spending $50 Submit for 4 $14 in mail-in-rebates Free after coupon code, Kohl’s cash, and rebates! There are 12 different appliances to choose from at this price: 5-cup coffee maker, plastic kettle, mini blender, mini chopper, immersion blender, 1.5 qt slow cooker, 2-slice toaster, 6-in skillet, mini waffle maker, hand mixer, can opener, electric kettle. Amazon has this Elmer’s Rainbow Slime Starter Kit for just $4.99 right now! This would be a great gift idea. Looking for a great deal on an electric toothbrush? Amazon currently has the Oral-B 7000 SmartSeries Rechargeable Power Electric Toothbrush priced at just $79.94 for Black Friday! This is a HOT deal as it retails for $179 and the lowest price we’ve ever seen it prior to this is $104. Whoa! Amazon price-matched Walmart on this HOT Black Friday deal!! Amazon has these Apple AirPods with Charging Case for just $129 shipped! This is the lowest price ever on record! Amazon has this Instant Pot 6-Quart 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker for only $49.99 shipped! This is the lowest price on record! [...]
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8 Surprising Facts You Didn’t Know About Black Friday

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8 Surprising Facts You Didn’t Know About Black Friday
You may be a veteran Black Friday shopper with the inside scoop on the greatest deals and strategies — but how much do you really know about the day itself?  For example, can you name which generation goes nuts on Black Friday? Or how Black Friday really got its name? Knowledge is power, so we’ve rounded up eight of the most interesting Black Friday facts and shared them below. 1. More Than 50% of Americans Shop on Black Friday Sure, you knew Black Friday was popular, but did you know it was this popular? Last year, 165 million people shopped during Black Friday weekend (which lasts from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday). That’s roughly half of all Americans.  Wondering how to stay sane amidst the hustle and bustle? Think ahead and develop a plan of attack — bonus: Strategizing can also help you avoid holiday debt.  2. Black Friday Can Be Deadly You may have joked about toy rage and trampling before, but the scary, sad fact of the matter is people actually have died shopping on Black Friday.  In the past 12 years, 12 deaths and 117 injuries have been attributed to Black Friday, Black Friday Death Count reports.  If you’re nervous about battling it out in the stores, then Cyber Monday might be more your scene. 3. The Day Owes Its Name to Philly Cops  You probably heard “Black Friday” originated from an accounting term: the day retailers’ profits finally went into the black.  But, the name really came from Philadelphia cops who were frustrated with traffic and smog caused by the mass of shoppers. Retailers didn’t like the negative connotation, so they spread the accounting rumor.  4. The Average Shopper Spends More Than $300 Can you believe it? Shoppers spent an average of $313.29 on their Black Friday shopping last year, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation.  Don’t let your holiday shopping get out of control: Create a holiday budget before doing anything else.  5. Black Friday Might Not Be the Cheapest Day of the Year Eek! You’ll find plenty of bargains on Black Friday, but don’t automatically assume everything is at its lowest price.  The cheapest day of the year may be later in the holiday shopping season. Before you buy, check out our comprehensive guide for the best time to buy just about anything. 6. Millennials are the Biggest Black Friday Shoppers Would you have guessed millennials are the generation most devoted to Black Friday? We wouldn’t have.  Technically, the group that spent the most were older millennials and younger Gen X-ers (35-44 years old), who spent an average of $413.05 last year.  That probably shouldn’t come as too great a surprise, since that’s also prime parenting age for younger children. Consider a new, budget-friendly tradition this holiday season: the four-gift rule. 7. It’s the Busiest Day of the Year for Plumbers It may no longer be the busiest day of the year for retailers, but Black Friday still reigns supreme for another industry: plumbing. “Often, the case is that a house already has partially clogged drains that go unnoticed, until holiday guests arrive and overwhelm the system,” explains Roto Rooter. Want to earn money on Black Friday, instead of spending it? Advertise your handyman services in the weeks leading up to the holiday.  8. Most Shoppers Actually Stay Home If you only go for the bargains — and not for the Black Friday experience — you might as well stay home and shop online.  Last year, 41.4 million shoppers said they bought exclusively online, compared to 34.7 million who said they patronized brick-and-mortar establishments only.   Susan Shain is a contributor to 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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3 Ways to Downsize Your Life to Save Money, Time and Stress

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

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5 Ways to Buy Discounted Gift Cards So You Can Save Big on Black Friday
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners. The concept of buying discounted gift cards is simple enough. You “stack” your savings by combining Black Friday sales with discounted gift cards as payment.  And most retailers let you use their cards in-store or online.  Here are five ways you can buy gift cards for less than face value. 1. Online Gift Card Vendors Sellers that specialize in gift cards normally sell them at face value, but they do have sales.  Typically, quantities are limited and the deals sell out fast, so check often. You can sign up on Doctor of Credit to receive phone notifications of these types of deals. 2. Discounted Gift Card Sites Many websites help you buy discounted gift cards with unused balances. Discounts vary according to demand, and from site to site.  Gift Card Granny currently shows that a Cold Stone Creamery gift is available for 14% off and a 1800Flowers gift card is available for 8% off.   3. Local Store Promotions I once bought gift cards for several retailers at Dollar General for 15% off. To find these deals, check weekly ads online for various stores near you. Gift card promotions are usually on or near the last page.   Gift cards at Sam’s Club (online and in-store) often sell at a discount, but the selection is limited and the best deals are usually for restaurants. You can currently get two $25 cards for Olive Garden, Subway or Starbucks — a total value of $50 — for $39.98 online. 4. Use a 5% Cash-Back Category Reward If you have a credit card that pays 5% cash back on certain categories, you can use it to get 5% back on gift cards for non-category retailers.  For example, Discover’s 5% categories currently include Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target. Discover doubles your cash back after the first year, so you actually get 10% back if you’re a new card holder. Chase Freedom is another card with rotating 5% cash back categories (new ones every three months). Just remember that with both Chase and Discover, you have to activate your 5% bonus online at the beginning of each quarter. 5. Use Amex Offers If you have an American Express card, take advantage of Amex Offers to get discounted gift cards. Just watch for offers at places that sell gift cards. For example, my offers (each account theoretically gets different ones) once included a $10 statement credit for spending $50 at JCPenney. I can go to JCPenney, find their gift card rack, buy a $50 card for some other store, and get $10 back.  American Express says they’ll credit your account within 90 days, but it has never taken more than two weeks for my credit to appear.  You might even get gift cards for free. I used an offer of $10 back for any purchase at Newegg to buy a $10 Home Depot gift card — three times. There was no shipping charge, so I got $30 in Home Depot cards for free.  Get Ready for Black Friday   To prepare for Black Friday, you may have to guess where you’ll spend the most money, and how much, in order to buy the right gift cards in advance.  If you’re uncertain, just buy cards for places where you usually shop. That way, you can easily “liquidate” them after Black Friday if you haven’t used them all. If you wait until the last moment (or are reading this on Black Friday), you can still buy digital gift cards as necessary and print them out at home. Most vendors say it takes up to a day to email you the link to print your “card,” but I’ve always received it within two hours.   If you’re a scientific shopper, you’ll prepare a list of doorbusters and other items you plan to buy, and where. Then you’ll find the necessary gift cards at the best discounts available. You’ll also use… More Advanced Gift Card Strategies Paying for Black Friday purchases with discounted gift cards is a simple way to “stack” your savings.  But you can save even more if you add additional savings tactics, like using the right rewards credit card. Here are some examples of how to really stack up those savings. Example #1 Suppose Gap and Old Navy gift cards are currently on sale for 20% off at Staples. Buy a $50 card with a Chase Ink or American Express Simply Cash Business card (I have both), to get $2 cash back on the $40 purchase (5% back at all office supply stores).  Spend $50 on half-priced gifts on Black Friday, and pay with the gift card for a total net cost of $38 for things that would normally cost $100.  That’s how you stack three savings tactics: a sale, credit card cash back and a discounted gift card. Example #2 You plan to spend $140 on gifts at Michaels, so you do this: Go to Cashback Monitor and enter Raise to see which cash-back portal pays best for shopping at that discount card vendor. At the moment, the best rate is 5% from Mr. Rebates. Go to Mr. Rebates and set up an account, because they offer 5% cash back if you shop at Raise through their link. Use the Mr. Rebates portal link to go to Raise. Search through the many Michaels gift cards. As I write this, a card with a balance of $202.25 is listed for $174.95, a 13.5% discount. Buy the gift card with a credit card that gives you cash back, like Citi Double Cash (2%) or Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard (1.5%). Buy stuff at Michaels for at least 50% off on Black Friday. Here’s the breakdown on what you would save on the first $140 of purchases, if you buy only Black Friday deals that are 50% off: Half-off sale savings: $140.00 Gift card discount: $27.91 Portal cash back: $3.36 Credit card cash back: $2.24 By stacking four savings tactics, you save $173.51, and pay just $106.49 for gifts that would have cost $280 at the regular prices. Example #3 Add a coupon to the last example to use five savings tactics for one purchase. I once a five-level stack recently (not for Black Friday).  I earned portal cash back (1) when I bought a discounted gift card (2) with a cash-back credit card (3), and then I used the gift card and a coupon (4) to buy items already on sale (5) — all just to get cheap cat food at Petco in that case, but the strategy can also work at all of your favorite Black Friday stores. Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far). This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Battleship Game Retro Series 1967 Edition only $8.09!

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Battleship Game Retro Series 1967 Edition only $8.09!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. This is a great price on this Battleship Game Retro Series 1967 Edition! Amazon has this Battleship Game Retro Series 1967 Edition for just $8.09 right now! This would make such a fun gift idea. Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get guaranteed FREE two-day shipping (and possibly one-day or same-day shipping!). And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon. Looking for more Black Friday Deals? You can go here for all of the best online Black Friday Deals as we live blog them all week long! Also, be sure to sign up for our Hot Deals newsletter andjoin our Deal Seekers Facebook groupso that you don’t miss out on any of the hottest, time-sensitive deals as soon as they go live throughout the rest of the holiday season! [...]
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Apple Airpods with Charging Case for just $134 shipped!

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Apple Airpods with Charging Case for just $134 shipped!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. If you’ve been wanting Apple Airpods, don’t miss this Black Friday Deal! Amazon has these Apple Airpods with Charging Case for just $134 shipped! This is just $5 more than the lowest Black Friday price we’ll see at Walmart ($129). So if you want to avoid the rush and just go ahead and grab them now, this is a really nice price! Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get guaranteed FREE two-day shipping (and possibly one-day or same-day shipping!). And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon. Looking for more Black Friday Deals? You can go here for all of the best online Black Friday Deals as we live blog them all week long! Also, be sure to sign up for our Hot Deals newsletter and join our Deal Seekers Facebook group so that you don’t miss out on any of the hottest, time-sensitive deals as soon as they go live throughout the rest of the holiday season! [...]
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Take Care: How to Ask for Work Benefits When You’re an Elder Caregiver

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Take Care: How to Ask for Work Benefits When You’re an Elder Caregiver
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in October 2018. Usha Tewari has two full-time jobs, but she only gets paid for one of them. Tewari works as an administrator for the Orange County Property Appraiser in Orlando, Florida, but she started an unpaid position on Jan. 28, 2017 — the day her mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, moved in with her. Tewari made the decision to move her mom, Mila, in with her after she noticed that the staff at a rehab facility wasn’t making Mila take her medicine or eat her meals.  She discovered that alternative options were limited — caregiving facilities provide varying levels of care, and a dementia diagnosis eliminates many lower-cost choices. “I got very frustrated with the process,” says Tewari, who couldn’t afford memory care facilities that charged thousands of dollars per month to feed and bathe her mom — on top of the base price. “That’s when I realized I can’t depend on other people. I have to figure it out myself.  “I basically had no choice but to learn how to balance my work and taking care of her.” Tewari is among the more than 40 million Americans who provide unpaid eldercare, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number is expected to increase, as older people will outnumber children by 2030, according to the Census Bureau’s Population Projections. And like Tewari, most family caregivers cannot simply quit a job to tend to family members full time.  Although everyone’s caregiving situation is unique, we’ve gathered advice from experts about work benefits and caregiver rights as well as tips from real-life caregivers to help you achieve a work-life balance. Employee Benefits That Work for Caregivers In this tight labor market, more companies are expanding benefits to attract and retain employees. General Mills, for instance, added two weeks of paid leave for family caregivers to its benefits plan in 2018. So review your employer’s policies before you start the conversation. One resource for caregivers is an employee assistance program, a company intervention program.  Benefits within these plans vary greatly, so it pays to investigate what your company offers, advises Chatrane Birbal, the Director of Congressional Affairs for Health Care and Employee Benefits at the Society for Human Resource Management. “EAP benefits can include support groups… and programs for supporting an employee’s economic stability during a crisis,” Birbal says. “The plan can also include a wide array of other services, such as nurse advice telephone access, basic legal assistance… or assistance finding elder care services.”  Additionally, find out your employer’s policies on telecommuting, flextime and compressed work weeks, all of which help when scheduling around your caregiving duties. If your employer doesn’t list specific family care benefits in your employee manual, you can use it as an opportunity to bring up these benefits with your employer. Know Your Caregiver Rights as an Employee Before you start a conversation with your employer about your caregiving duties, it’s best to first research what you’re legally entitled to. If you’ve worked at least a year for a company with 50 or more employees, you can qualify for 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually through the Family Medical Leave Act.  Depending on your state, you may have additional rights to paid leave — eight states and Washington, D.C., have passed legislation that provides for paid family leave.  During your approved leave, employers by law must maintain group health benefits and cannot fill your position. If you don’t live in one of those states, FMLA provides some relief for caregivers, but once you run out of the allotted time, you’re at the mercy of an employer, notes lawyer Amanda Singleton of St. Petersburg, Florida. In 2010, Singleton was working at a law firm when her mom was diagnosed with brain cancer and suddenly required 24-hour care.  Singleton tried to use her time off intermittently that year to care for her mom. But two months before her mom died, the firm’s human resources department informed her that she had used all of her FMLA time.  Singleton was told she could either resign or be fired if she missed any more work. Knowing her mom didn’t have long to live, she chose the latter. “It was a really big kick in the teeth while I was down,” says Singleton. “I was losing my mom, and I was going to lose my profession.” Singleton went on to start her own law firm, Singleton Legal, with a specialty in advocating for caregiver rights. FROM THE ANNOUNCEMENTS FORUM This week in... The Penny Hoarder Community 11/15/19 @ 9:02 PM This week in... The Penny Hoarder Community 11/8/19 @ 2:28 PM Happy November! 11/1/19 @ 5:47 PM This week in... The Penny Hoarder Community 10/25/19 @ 2:18 PM See more in Announcements or ask a money question One Woman’s Story of Balancing Work and Caregiving Tewari says a few factors have allowed her to keep her job while taking on caregiving duties.  The first is location. Tewari can walk to work, which allows her to check on her mom at lunch or rush home if there’s an emergency.  Tewari also chose an apartment complex that has security personnel on duty. “Fortunately, they’re very understanding of my situation, so if my mom does not answer the phone right away, I’ll send security to make sure she hasn’t fallen,” Tewari says. “I’ve had to do that in one or two instances. “Unfortunately, I have to pay a little more rent, but I have that peace of mind rather than living in a house.” Second, Tewari hired a caregiver to bathe her mom and help prepare food. The caregiver charges $14 per hour and comes over twice a week for a total of 10 hours. “That’s all I could afford at this time,” Tewari says. And finally, when she can’t find help elsewhere, Tewari relies on technology. “I have a camera installed,” she says. “I check on my mom via the camera, and I call her to make sure everything is OK.” Tewari also feels lucky to have understanding coworkers and managers. “There’s quite a few of them who are taking care of their own parents,” she notes. Talk to Your Employer About Caregiving Duties Although the timing isn’t always up to you, the earlier you can speak to your employer, the better you’ll be able to negotiate accommodations for your caregiving duties, advises Jana Panarites, author and host of the Agewyz podcast on caregiving and healthy aging. “Talk about your caregiving duties before you reach a crisis situation,” says Panarites, who became a caregiver in 2009 when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. “The last thing you want to do is have to make decisions under duress —  you’re already going to be stressed out.” In retrospect, Singleton wishes that she had negotiated with her employer immediately after her mom’s diagnosis. Pro Tip If it’s tough to prioritize caring for yourself when your budget is tight, check out these inexpensive ways to create a DIY spa day. “Caregivers frequently take a year to start asking for help,” Singleton says. “Ask for help early and often — whether it’s your family member [...]
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Instant Pot 6 Quart 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker for just $35.99 shipped!

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Instant Pot 6 Quart 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker for just $35.99 shipped!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Still in the market for an Instant Pot? Don’t miss this Kohl’s Black Friday Deal! Kohl’s has a GREAT Black Friday Deal on the Instant Pot: Instant Pot 6-Quart 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker — $59.99 (Reg. $99.99) Use code GIVETHANKS to get 15% off Shipping is FREE Get $15 back in Kohl’s Cash Like paying $35.99 shipped after Kohl’s Cash This is an amazing price on an Instant Pot!! Looking for more Black Friday Deals? You can go here for all of the best online Black Friday Deals as we live blog them all week long! Also, be sure to sign up for our Hot Deals newsletter and join our Deal Seekers Facebook group so that you don’t miss out on any of the hottest, time-sensitive deals as soon as they go live throughout the rest of the holiday season! [...]
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Green Kid Crafts Promo Code | Get a box for just $8.99 shipped!

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Green Kid Crafts Promo Code | Get a box for just $8.99 shipped!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. This is a RARE discount on a Green Kid Crafts box! Green Kid Crafts — a monthly subscription box of hands-on science and art activities — is offering a super rare deal to get 70% off your first box! That means you’ll pay just $8.99 shipped for a box! Just use coupon code BLACK70 during checkout to grab this deal. Green Kid Crafts allows kids to explore educational topics like oceans, safaris, space, volcanoes, music, and much more. Each Discovery STEAM Box is themed and comes with 4-8 science, technology, engineering, art, and math kits for kids ages 2-10! This deal is valid through December 1, 2019. {Note: When you sign up for this deal, you’ll have to choose a subscription plan. After your first discounted box, your subscription will continue at the regular monthly price. If you don’t wish to continue, you can cancel at any time after receiving your first box, though!} Go here to get your Discovery STEAM Box for just $8.99. Looking for more Black Friday Deals? You can go here for all of the best online Black Friday Deals as we live blog them all week long! Also, be sure to sign up for our Hot Deals newsletter and join our Deal Seekers Facebook group so that you don’t miss out on any of the hottest, time-sensitive deals as soon as they go live throughout the rest of the holiday season! [...]
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Over 50 and Still Owe on Student Loans? Here’s How to Get Debt Free

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Over 50 and Still Owe on Student Loans? Here’s How to Get Debt Free
Student loan debt isn’t reserved for the young. In fact, it’s becoming a bigger problem for those well beyond the traditional campus quad years. Of the $1.5 trillion student debt Americans owe, people age 50 and older owe 20% of it — $289.5 billion. And borrowers 62 and older held $72.9 billion in outstanding federal student loans, up $10.4 billion from the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Why so much? The majority of the loans are for children’s and grandchildren’s education, although some of it is also for career changers taking out later-in-life loans for their own education. Unfortunately, with the prospect of retirement on the horizon, there’s a lot less time to pay off those student loans, and there can be painful consequences if you don’t — including having your Social Security wages garnished. If you’re among those who are closer to retirement than the legal drinking age, we have solutions for dealing with student loan debt when you’re over 50. Paying Off Student Loan Debt After Age 50 Everyone has their own reasons for staring down student loans when they’re on the verge of retirement. And while we have plenty of strategies for paying off student loans in general, we’re here to address some of the most common scenarios that lead to student loan debt after 50 and offer tips on how to pay them off. 1. You Took Out Federal Student Loans  You may have heard this before: Your kids can borrow for college, but you can’t take out loans to retire. Regardless of whether you took out federal loans for your own education or your kid’s, saving for retirement should still be a priority. In fact, it could potentially save you thousands on student loan repayments.  If you have federal student loans, you can qualify for an income-driven repayment plan, which calculates your monthly student loan payments based on your income. But your contributions to a 401(k) or IRA are pre-tax dollars, which reduce your salary in the eyes of the federal government. And a smaller salary reduces your monthly student loan payment. Depending on the repayment plan, after 20 to 25 years of on-time payments, the remaining balance will be forgiven, although that amount will be counted as taxable income. “If that’s the case, you’re in your 70s — your income traditionally is lower,” said Amy Irvine, a Certified Financial Planner and founder of Rooted Planning Group. “So you may end up paying less income tax on the amount that’s forgiven with the income-driven plan than you would have if you had made the full payment.” Pro Tip If you’re 50 or older in 2020, you can contribute up to $26,000 to your 401(k) and up to $7,000 to your IRAs. Another option for socking away money to lower your taxable income: a Health Savings Account. In 2020, you can contribute up to $3,550 as an individual or $7,100 as family to an HSA if you have a high-deductible health plan. And as a bonus, you’ll probably appreciate the extra money for health care as you continue to get older. “One of the biggest reasons that a financial plan ‘fails’ in retirement is because of medical expenses,” Irvine said. 2. You Took Out (or Co-Signed) Private Student Loans If you have a private student loan staring you down — either ones you took out or that you cosigned for your student — you’ll need to get a little more creative when it comes to paying it back. Because it isn’t a federal loan, you typically do not have the income-driven options that the federal loans offer. However, it doesn’t hurt to call your lender and ask about extended payment plans. Other options: Consider refinancing the loan or taking out a personal loan with a lower interest rate, which can save you money over the life of your loan.  Pro Tip If you’re married and one partner earns significantly more, ask your tax adviser whether filing your taxes as “married filing separately” could help you qualify for an income-driven plan. If you own your home and car, consider using a home equity loan rather than taking out a loan against your vehicle, Irvine advised.  “[Your home] is a more stable asset than a car that’s depreciating,” she said. Regardless of the strategy you choose, the ultimate goal should be to get the payment low enough so the student can take over the payments — and eventually the loan — themselves. 3. You Have Multiple Loans With High Interest If you have federal and private loans, you may be looking for a one-stop solution, like consolidation. However, that could negate some of the benefits you get with federal loans. “Federal loans are dischargeable if the borrower is permanently disabled or dies,” said Joseph Valenti, senior policy advisor with the AARP Public Policy Institute. “Doing the private refinancing means losing some of those rights and options.” However, that doesn’t always mean holding onto high-interest loans for death and disability benefits is the best option financially, Irvine noted. “Let’s say you’re paying 7% on those direct loans, and you can go out and refinance those into a private loan for 3%,” she said. “Then you may want to up your disability policy so that you know you have the money to repay that loan or take out a life insurance policy so that if something happens to you, the loan can be paid off.”  4. You’re Paying Your Child’s Federal Student Loans So there’s the obvious answer to this one: Tell your kid to start footing the bill for their own student loans. But you’re a parent (or grandparent), not some heartless thug. You want to help your kids if they can’t afford those astronomical student loan payments. But your offspring can still do their part to help by getting themselves on an income-driven repayment plan. “Even if the parent or grandparent has to make that minimum payment, it’s still much better than the full payment,” Irvine said. FROM THE DEBT FORUM Debt collections 11/23/19 @ 12:57 PM Student loans 11/20/19 @ 9:17 AM Paid off Debt, however Credit Score stayed the same....Why? 4/23/19 @ 7:10 PM Credit card Debt 11/19/19 @ 10:56 AM See more in Debt or ask a money question 5. Your Kids Are Heading to College and You Still Owe on Your Own Student Loans If your kids have dreams of campus life, but you’re still paying for your own college years, it’s best to come up with a strategy before they start applying. Scholarships and part-time jobs during the school year and summer jobs can help your child put a dent in their debt, giving them a better chance to manage their repayment without your help. But your strategy for paying off loans could also require a little creativity — and working with your kid’s prospective school. “One of my clients had a really high interest rate student loan that they were repaying,” Irvine said. “We actually used the Plus loan to pay off their loan, and then figured out how to do an installment payment to the college to get the student’s tuition covered.”  6. You’re Ignoring the Problem This one is on you. It’s stressful, it’s confusing and sometimes unfair, but ignoring the debt is the worst mistake Irvine said she sees clients make. “They don’t know what th [...]
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Grocery Savings that Come in a Box

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Grocery Savings that Come in a Box
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Do you struggle with the cost of produce for your family? If so, check out this solution for grocery savings that come in a box — delivered to your door! Psst! Looking for more grocery savings? Sign up for my FREE cheat sheet on 10 ways to cut your grocery bill by $50 per week! The following is a guest post by Samantha Hatcher from Inspired By Lucile and Self Care Mama Club. The Cost of Produce Have you ever gotten to the middle of the pay period only to discover you have either run out of produce or what you have has gone bad? That was my problem for years. Produce would go bad because I didn’t get to it fast enough, or we would be scrounging around for any vegetable to put with our main dish. (And with nine people in the house, this is a real problem!) Besides meat, produce is usually the most expensive item for most people. When you are trying to make sure your family has a nice variety of fruits and vegetables, it can start to add up in cost. And when not everything is in season, the prices of out of season imported produce is even higher! My family has their favorite veggies and fruits that I almost always pick up at Aldi, and while they have some of the best prices for organic produce, their out of season produce isn’t very flavorful. Think of a garden-fresh tomato and one from the store. They taste completely different. The Struggle with Buying Produce Buying produce can be overwhelming. Maybe you pick up the same exact produce each shopping trip, despite being sick of eating it. Why? Because you know these tried and true purchases will work for your family. Or perhaps you stand there not knowing what to buy, overwhelmed by the rainbow of produce in front of you. Or maybe you’re the mom who doesn’t have time to go to the store to buy real food between work, errands, and kids’ activities. You don’t care what they eat; you wish it would show up at your door like magic. I have dealt with all these struggles during different seasons of my life. I know the stress and brainpower it takes to plan meals, shop, put it all away, and cook all the meals. And the night of shopping, we usually just end up having pizza. I’ve honestly gone through seasons when even going to the grocery store made me want to consider having my entire family fast. This past year I realized I desperately needed a solution — one that would take care of all these struggles and not break the bank. Enter Misfits Market A few months ago, I discovered Misfits Market through a friend. On a whim, I decided to sign up with her referral link to get 25% off my first box. And I was SO pleased!! Everything was fresh, delivered with several cold packs, and was shipped to my house in two days. The variety of items was overwhelming, but looked like almost all of it was something I would have bought anyway. Things were a bit odd-shaped or sized, but I definitely didn’t mind! I checked out the price and picked the larger box, which says it is for a family of five and is 18-22 pounds. The box is normally $35, but with the 25% discount it brought it down to $26.25 — which is a great price, considering all of it is organic! I was pretty hooked after my first box and knew that I couldn’t get that much produce at the store for that price, especially organic. I decided to give it a try, and knew that we could cancel the subscription if we didn’t like it. Changing Up Our New Favorite Produce I was the mom who bought the same produce over and over without thinking. And when I got tired of it, I just stood there and stared at the produce, hoping it would have some answers for me. When my first Misfits Market box arrived, everything looked like something we would eat, except for eggplant. I have only eaten eggplant a few times in my life. It was slimy and gross, but I was determined to give it a try. I found this great recipe for eggplant fries, and that changed everything! The first night we tried them, we ran out of eggplant fries instead of chicken, and my children were asking for more! We had a hit on our hands. The next box contained swiss chard and more eggplant. We once again made the fries, and we roasted the swiss chard with gnocchi. Yum! Once again, something new was a big hit for our family. When our third box arrives, my six-year-old said, “Oh, goodie, I hope there is an eggplant.” To her disappointment, there wasn’t eggplant, but we discovered how much we loved pomegranates! Grocery Savings that Come in a Box Because of the Misfits Market box, I no longer have to make a mid-paycheck trip to the grocery store, which would cost more than it should. This Misfits Market box not only has saved me from going to the grocery store, but has pushed me to expand my culinary skills and our children’s taste buds. Never did I imagine that any of my children would say they hope we got eggplant. Never did I imagine my kids would be so excited about new foods and finding recipes to try. But here we are! I have cut my grocery bill by $250 each month, my family is trying new things, and my children are learning to like new things that I would never have bought before. Because of all these reasons, I’ve become a faithful Misfits Market subscriber! Samantha is a SAHM of 7 children who has spent 25 years learning how to live on one income. She used the wisdom of her Grandma Lucile, who grew up during the depression, to learn how to get the best bang for her buck. When she isn’t homeschooling her kids, you will find her blogging at Inspired By Lucile or the Self Care Mama Club. [...]
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20+ Gifts for Board Game Lovers Under $30

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20+ Gifts for Board Game Lovers Under $30
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Looking for unique gifts for board gamer lovers this holiday season? We have you covered with this Board Game Gifts Guide — and they’re all under $30 to help you stick to your gift budget! This Holiday Board Game Gifts Guide was thoughtfully put together by Meg on the MoneySavingMom team — who is a lifelong strategy board game player and is always on the hunt for the latest and greatest board games. Are you looking for gifts for board game lovers this Christmas? Check out this list of unique board game gifts for all types of gamers that are sure to be a hit! And the best part about giving a board game is that it’s a gift that provides years of entertainment! Note: Most of these games are usually less than $30, but prices do fluctuate quite a bit on board games. If one is slightly over $30, be sure to check the price history on CamelCamelCamel.com and wait for a better price — especially with Black Friday and holiday sales right around the corner! If it’s on this list, then it’s usually under $30! Strategy Board Game Gifts 1. Castles of Burgundy — This game is like Catan on steroids, and it’s my all-time favorite strategy game. It has multiple levels and layers of strategy, and every single game plays completely differently. This is a great gift idea for an experienced strategy board gamer. 2. Pandemic — This cooperative game is so unique and one of my favorite games to play with friends! I often find that it appeals to people who are typically “non-gamers” for some reason! It’s really unique because of the co-op factor. 3. Carcassonne — This is a fun little tile placing game that has quick game play. You can usually play an entire game in about 30 minutes. This is one of my favorite games to play as a two-player game, and it travels well since the game pieces are simple. 4. Seven Wonders — This is probably my second favorite strategy game. Again, it has multiple layers of strategy and every game plays completely differently. There are two things I love about this game that differ from most complex strategy games: It has really quick play time (30-45 minutes max) and it can be played with up to 7 players. (Most complex strategy games only support up to 4 players.) 5. Splendor — This is another really fun and quick strategy game that plays in under 30 minutes. This is my go-to game on a night when I’m really craving a good strategy board game but don’t have time to invest in an hour or two of game play before bed. I now have the expansions and absolutely love it. I’ve played it over and over again, and it never gets old. 6. Othello — “A minute to learn…a lifetime to master!” The tagline describes it perfectly. It takes just a second to teach someone the basic premise of this game, but there’s a lot more to this game than meets the eye. If you know someone who loves strategy games like Chess where you need to be thinking rounds ahead of time, this is perfect for them. I love this quick two-player strategy game! And you could probably get kids to love this one, too! 7. Azul — This is a game I picked up last year on a whim during a Black Friday sale after reading some of the reviews, and it’s turned out to be loads of fun! This is another one that “non-gaming people” still tend to really love. The tiles are beautiful and it’s a unique game — unlike anything else I have in my game closet. It’s also one that older kids could pick up on pretty easily. 8. Spy Alley — Oh my goodness, the fun memories I have of this unique game! I used to play this game with a group of gaming friends each week, and it was SO much fun!! It’s sort of like Clue but with an international espionage twist. 9. Labyrinth — This is a great strategy game to play with kids or as a family. It’s super simple to learn and involves pretty basic strategy. It’s a fun one, though! I like it when I’m more in the mood for a lighthearted strategy game. 10. Tsuro — This is another great strategy game to play with kids or as a family! It’s SO much fun, really easy to learn, and a quick game play! You can also play with up to 8 players, which is SUPER fun! The more players, the more challenging this game becomes. 11. Photosynthesis — Okay, I’ll admit I’ve never played this game. But it’s one that has been on my list to buy for a really long time. It gets amazing reviews and I’ve heard it’s pretty easy for kids to learn to play, too. I love it for the really unique game concept, and I can’t wait to play this one some day soon! 12. Santorini — This game, based on Greek mythology, plays sort of like 3-dimensional checkers. It’s a really fun and quick strategy game to play with two players! Great for kids, too! Party Board Games 13. Balderdash — This is one of my favorite party games! It requires so much creativity and I love seeing the unique ideas people come up with! If you’re looking for a unique party game that requires quite a bit of original thought and creativity, this is a great option!! This game plays best with about 5-6 players. 14. Ultimate Werewolf — This is a super fun game to play in a crowd, and you can play with up to 10 people! The more, the merrier! Everyone is given a specific role with eyes closed, and everyone has to bluff and figure out who is who. It’s SO fun. This is one of my go-to games when a lot of people are gathered together to hang out. 15. Dixit — If I had to pick the most beautiful board game on the market, this would be it. The artwork in this game is just stunning, and the game play requires a lot of imagination. I always love playing this with people, because it’s so interesting to get a peek into different people’s personalities and how they view the world. It’s super easy game play, can be played with up to 6 players, and is another one that’s great for “non-gaming people.” 16. Farkle — This is another fun one that can pretty much be player with as many people as you have. If you have more than 10 people, you can play in teams! It’s kind of like Yahtzee with a twist (but WAY more fun). Stocking Stuffers for Game Lovers 17. Catan Card Game — This card game is perfect for Catan lovers, because unlike regular Catan, it can be played as a two-player game! 18. Dutch Blitz — This is SUCH a fun card game! It’s fast-paced, competitive, and sure to get just about anyone who loves games hooked immediately. Our family has been playing this for over a decade, and we play it any time we meet up! 19. Collapsible Board Game Bowls — I would LOVE to receive this unique gift for board game lovers! I can’t tell you how often I pull little bowls out of the kitchen cabinet to use for game pieces when playing complex strategy games! These would be so convenient to have, and they’re easy to store since they’re collapsible! 20. Bananagrams — Know someone who loves Scrabble? This is a fun, fast-paced twist! And it travels well. I take this on a lot of vacations to play with friends and family! Bonus Ideas (Over $30) Have a little extra wiggle room in your Christmas budget and willing to spend a bit more? Try one of these gifts for board game lovers: 21. Charterstone — This is the ultimate legacy board game — perfect for a longtime strategy game player who wants something different and unique. Once you enter the world of legacy games, you can’t ever go back. Legacy games are played with the same group of people over several rounds, and the game board and rules change as you play. This game is amazingly creative, innovative, and fun. I can’t sing the praises of it enough. ItR [...]
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Got a Product to Pitch? A Walmart Buying Manager Told Us How to Do It Right

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Got a Product to Pitch? A Walmart Buying Manager Told Us How to Do It Right
Every entrepreneur in the world thinks they have a great idea. But how do you convince other people? By delivering a stellar business pitch, of course. A great business pitch is essential to building valuable partnerships and ensuring financial backing that will take your product from conception to the shelves. When it comes to pitching, you’re going to have a short amount of time to get your idea across, so you have to use that time effectively. But it can be easy to get so caught up in the excitement or confidence in your product that you fail to fully express its value to a buyer. We decided to ask a professional for some tips on how to pitch an idea. Here’s the inside scoop. Tips for Pitching a Great Idea We sat down with Kinna Thomas, a senior buying manager for Walmart who also helped create the famous Patti Labelle Sweet Potato Pie. Thomas has a lot of experience listening to product pitches, thanks to Walmart’s annual Open Call event, where hundreds of entrepreneurs turn out with hopes of getting their products on the retail giant’s shelves. Here are the five tips she gave us to better your chances of nailing a pitch. Focus on the Customer You might think your product is the best thing in the world, but it doesn’t really matter what you think — it’s what the customer thinks. And really, customers don’t care about the product itself — they care about what the product can do for them. Maybe it will make their day-to-day life easier or maybe it will save them money. Get the message across that your product is an actual benefit to a consumer and that it’s something the buyer doesn’t already offer. “We want you to make sure that you are definitely locked and loaded on understanding the assortment that we need to carry,” says Thomas. Nail Down Your Product You’ve got this amazing idea! Everyone spills stuff, right? Well, what if when you made a big mess… you could just suck it right up? Genius! A vacuum. You just pitched a vacuum. Unless your vacuum is state-of-the-art and can promise that the user will never have dog hair in their carpet again, your idea is not going to be received well. “The product needs to be exciting, invigorating, innovative and different from what’s out in the market,” says Thomas. Make sure you can explain what you’re selling quickly and efficiently. And while you might be tempted to claim your product has zero competition, that’s most likely not the case. Show that the product or idea deserves to be backed by pointing out what makes it different from competitors. Don’t Forget About the Cost This one really shouldn’t be a surprise: Buyers want to make sure the price is right. Where your product is on the timeline will mean a lot to an investor or buyer. Is it a newly formed idea that hasn’t been tested and sold? Or have you already moved forward with manufacturing and set up a cost model? Proving you can create a product and sell it at a profit — without breaking the consumer’s bank — goes a long way. Go to your pitch with numbers that validate why it would be beneficial for the buyer to back you. Be open and honest about the costs your product will require, as well as the sales numbers and future projections. Think About the Logistics You might think your product is the absolute bee’s knees and everyone in the world will want it, but consider the reality of who will actually buy it. Yeah, your Do-It-Yourself Ice Sculpture Kit is pretty cool (see what I did there?), but try selling that product in a Walmart in South Florida. It just doesn’t work — you’re in the wrong market. This point goes back to knowing your product. Consider where it would sell best and include that in your pitch. “We want to know scalability,” says Thomas. “Whether or not you should be in a hundred stores or thousands of stores.” Be Prepared One thing you shouldn’t lose sight of is that buyers are looking to back not only your product but also you — that is, they are investing in you as much as in the product itself. “Doug McMillon tells us all the time ‘Be prepared,’” says Thomas, referring to Walmart’s CEO. “So that’s exactly what we want for you.” You could have the best idea in the world, but if you walk into a meeting without presenting yourself as a prepared, collected and efficient individual, it could ruin the whole pitch. Think about it from a buyer’s point of view: If you were risking your hard earned money, why would you give it to someone who doesn’t inspire confidence and assure you that they will handle your investment wisely? “Practice makes perfect” is a well-known mantra for a reason. Rehearse your pitch in front of real people beforehand. That way, you can walk into a meeting confident that you can nail your pitch. Kaitlyn Blount is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.  This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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7 Expensive Medical Problems That Strike After Age 50

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7 Expensive Medical Problems That Strike After Age 50
As we age, health issues often creep up that threaten to tarnish our golden years. Treating some of these diseases and conditions can be expensive. Fortunately, there are ways to cut the cost of such care. Following are some health conditions that tend to strike after age 50 — and how to lower the price of care if you are diagnosed with them. Arthritis strikes about 91 million Americans. [...]
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Are You Getting the Best Deal on Amazon? Here’s an Automatic Way to Check

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Are You Getting the Best Deal on Amazon? Here’s an Automatic Way to Check
If you shop on Amazon — and who doesn’t? — we’ve found an incredibly easy way you can automatically save yourself money. It’s called Wikibuy, and it’s available as a browser extension or as an app. Once you click a button to install it, it instantly becomes your own personal heat-seeking missile for savings. That’s why 3.9 million shoppers are using it, and that’s why it’s highly rated in the Chrome Web Store. What is Wikibuy? We Use it to Find The Best Deals When you shop around on Amazon, Wikibuy pops up and becomes an automatic price-comparison tool. If you’re checking out a product like, say, a wireless speaker, Wikibuy searches thousands of other sellers, including Walmart and eBay, looking for a better price. It takes into account shipping, sales tax and availability, including size and color. It also tries coupon codes. If you like what you see, click the “Continue to Wikibuy” button that shows up automatically on Amazon, and place your order. Wikibuy even predicts when your order will be delivered. It Works Even if You’re Not Shopping on Amazon Let’s say you’re not shopping on Amazon. Instead you’re shopping online on a different site, like Best Buy or Target. When it’s time to check out, Wikibuy automatically searches online for any coupons or promo codes or discounts that it can apply to your order. It compiles data it collects from its millions of Wikibuy users. If a promo code worked for another Wikibuy user who bought a product before you, Wikibuy copies that code to save you money. Honestly, This is One of The Easiest Ways to Save If you’re not accustomed to browser plug-ins, then don’t let the term scare you away. It’s easy to download the thing, and it just automatically runs on top of your browser when you’re shopping. Simple. Wikibuy is available on the browsers Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Firefox. It’s also available as an iPhone app. Wikibuy gets good reviews from users, mainly because it’s free, simple and automatic. The browser extension has a 5-star rating from 3.9 million users in the Google Play store. One final thing: You can also earn Wikibuy credits while you shop. You use those credits for gift cards. That’s just one more feature. Wikibuy’s main draw is the automatic savings. After a simple free install, see how it works for you. Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He’s turning into an Amazon guy. Wikibuy compensates us when you install Wikibuy using the links we provided. 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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The Children’s Place: 80% off Clearance = Puffer Jackets only $11.98 shipped!

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The Children’s Place: 80% off Clearance = Puffer Jackets only $11.98 shipped!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. The Children’s Place has some HOT deals going on right now! Right now, The Children’s Place is offering up to 80% off clearance! Plus, shipping is free! There are tons of hot deals included in this sale. As a deal idea, you can score Toddler and Kid’s Puffer Jackets for as low as $11.98 shipped. These are regularly $39.95 so this is a great price. See all the clearance deals here. Thanks, Passionate Penny Pincher! [...]
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6 Alternative Housing Options That Can Help You Save Money

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6 Alternative Housing Options That Can Help You Save Money
The rent is too darn high, and it’s hard to catch a break. The same can be said about paying the mortgage each month. With housing costs eating up about a third of many household budgets, it’s typically the highest single expense Americans face each month. Still, you’ve got to have a roof over your head. Here are six alternative housing options with the potential to significantly cut costs while keeping you comfortably sheltered. 1. Coliving Imagine living with a bunch of strangers for the sake of saving money on housing. Coliving is an alternative housing concept where multiple, unrelated individuals live under the same roof sharing common space like living rooms and kitchens while enjoying private bedrooms … and private bathrooms, if they’re lucky. While the living arrangement is not new, it has gained popularity in recent years among cash-strapped millennials in urban areas. But coliving can also be found outside major metropolitan cores. Jillian Warwick moved into a St. Petersburg, Florida, coliving space this summer. She pays $600 in a city where rent on a studio apartment can exceed $1,200. Her monthly payment includes utilities and high-speed internet, and the home includes free laundry access and is stocked with complimentary coffee and household supplies. 2. Tiny House According to the National Association of Home Builders, a median new single-family home was 2,355 square feet in the beginning of 2019. Tiny homes, in comparison, are typically less than a quarter of that size. Though the living space is smaller, the potential to save is larger. In addition to spending less on the home itself, tiny house dwellers often pay less in utilities, and they buy less things because of the limited space. Andrew and Gabriella Morrison and their two kids cut roughly $300 in monthly expenses (or about $3,600 a year) from their budget by switching to tiny house living. Joel Weber built his own tiny home while in college. After spending between $13,000 and $16,000 for the build, his combined cost to park his home and pay for utilities came to about $300 a month — almost a third of the cost of living in a dorm. 3. RV Experience a nomadic lifestyle by living in an RV. These tiny houses on wheels are a fraction of the size of a typical home but also a fraction of the cost. Cortni Armstrong ended up moving to an RV five years ago. Her living situation was the catalyst to a new career: renovating and flipping RVs. Armstrong has sold remodeled RVs in the $30,000 range — which can sometimes be a mere down payment for a traditional home. Like with tiny house living, don’t forget to factor in the rent at a campground or RV park if you don’t own land to park on. 4. Skoolie Similar to an RV but in a more unique package, a skoolie is a decommissioned school bus that has been converted into a home on wheels. It can also be less expensive than an RV. Phil Risher bought a bus for $5,000 and spent $2,000 transforming it into his living quarters for a 95-day trip around the country. He and his father took on the renovation themselves using a free layout from Pinterest and tips from YouTube videos. 5. Off Grid Ever want to distant yourself from the constructs of modern society? Off-grid living is an alternative housing option that requires you to be self-sustaining. You rely on independent power and water sources rather than municipal services. You grow or hunt your food rather than shopping at a grocery store. Tyler and Ashley Selden and their daughter Sydney maintain an off-grid lifestyle in Alaska. Though it’s a lifestyle choice rather than a financial one, they estimate they save up to $10,000 a year just by growing, fishing or hunting their own food. 6. House Hacking House hacking, in a nutshell, is buying property and recruiting others to help you pay the mortgage. Riley Adams and his girlfriend (now wife) lived in a three-unit residential property in New Orleans cost-free for three years. Their house-hacking arrangement involved renting one unit out and having Airbnb guests in the other, which covered the mortgage. House hacking is also possible without living in a multiunit property. Kristine Dowhan became an Airbnb host, listing three bedrooms of her four-bedroom home to afford her mortgage. She even made a $1,200 profit her first year renting out rooms. Even if you don’t have extra bedrooms in your home, you can get creative with the space you do have. John Potter rented out a tent in his backyard on Airbnb. Talk about thinking outside the box! 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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Veterans Day Freebies 2019

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Veterans Day Freebies 2019
If you’re a part of the military community, don’t miss out on all of these Veterans Day freebies you can score! {Check out this big list of FREEBIES you can also sign up for right now, plus be sure to check out our latest Restaurant Deals and Freebies!} Veterans Day Freebies 2019 Are you a veteran or know someone who is? Don’t miss all of these great Veterans Day freebies and deals that you can score on Monday, November 11th! Tall brewed coffee at Starbucks Entry to U.S. National Parks Chili’s meal California Pizza Kitchen entree Red, White, & Blue Pancakes at IHOP Applebee’s meal Breakfast at Pilot Flying J Dr. Pepper and entree at BJ’s Restaurant Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake dessert or Pumpkin Pie Latte at Cracker Barrel Military Appreciation Dinner at Golden Corral on Monday HOT-N-READY Lunch Combo at Little Caesars Pizza Donut and 12oz coffee at LaMar’s Donuts Coffee & donut at Price Chopper stores All You Care To Eat breakfast at Shoney’s Care care checks and tire installation at Goodyear Auto Service and Just Tire locations Great Clips haircut Sports Clips haircut Military ID is typically required for these Veterans Day Freebies. Valid only on November 11, 2019. Do you know of any other freebies we missed? Let us know in the comments! [...]
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20 Gifts for Boys Under $30

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20 Gifts for Boys Under $30
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Looking for the best gifts for boys this holiday season? We have you covered with this Little Boys Gift Guide — and they’re all under $30 to help you stick to your gift budget! This list includes gifts for 7 year old boys, gifts for 5 year old boys, and gifts for 2 and 3 year old boys! This Holiday Gift Guide was thoughtfully put together by Gretchen on the MoneySavingMom team — a mom to three little boys ages 7, 2, and 1. As a boy mom, her life is full of adventure, dirt, and snacks! She is married to her high school sweetheart and enjoys finding good deals, decorating, coffee, and good books. Have a little boy on your list this year and you’re stumped on what to get them? Here are some great ideas to get you started based on their age. There are a wide variety of items listed here, so you’ll be sure to find something they like! Best Gifts for 7 Year Old Boys 1. Nerf N Strike Elite Strongarm Toy Blaster – My son loves playing with Nerf blasters with his friends and my husband! This one is a great gift for Nerf newbies. 2. Hasbro Guess Who Classic Game – This game is a favorite at our house! My 7 year old and I will often play a game or two after the little ones go to bed. It’s super easy and a lot of fun! 3. Remote Controlled Mini Drone Quadcopter – Someone gifted my son with this and it is the coolest little toy! This Quadcopter can fly forward, backward, up, down, hover, and even do complete flips in the air. 4. Ideal My First Magic Set – This set is a great introduction to magic tricks and includes items to perform 25 different magic tricks. My son has enjoyed performing his magic tricks for all sorts of friends and family using this kit. 5. Kid’s Walkie Talkies – You can’t go wrong with walkie talkies, especially if you have more than one boy. I can’t tell you how much fun kids have with these! Best Gifts for 5 Year Old Boys 6. Magic Tracks Remote Control Turbo Race Cars with Bendable Glow in the Dark Racetrack — This racetrack probably ranks as one of my boys’ favorite gifts they’ve ever received! This track bends and flexes as well as glows in the dark — making it super fun and exciting. 7. Superhero Costume Capes and Masks – Boys like to dress up too — just as long as it’s anything superhero related! These capes and masks are soft and adjustable. 8. Melissa & Doug Wooden Building Blocks Set – These blocks are made from solid wood and they’re perfect for building towers and knocking them over again and again. My boys have even used them to construct roads and towns for their toy cars and mini-figures. 9. LEGO Classic Creative Suitcase Building Kit – Once my boys are a little older, they transition from Duplos to real LEGOs and this is a great first LEGO kit to start them with. I love that it comes with a carrying case to keep them all in one spot. 10. Just Play PJ Masks Collectible Figure Set – If you have a PJ Masks fan, these PJ Masks Figures will be a hit! This set includes Cat boy, Owlette, Gekko, Luna girl, and Romeo. Best Gifts for 2 and 3 Year Old Boys 11. Fisher-Price Nickelodeon Blaze & the Monster Machines – My boys are obsessed with Blaze & the Monster Machines, and these little cars have provided hours of entertainment for them. We’ve had them for several years and they are extremely durable and good quality. 12. Play-Doh Modeling Compound 10-Pack Case of Colors – You can’t go wrong with Play-Doh! Boys love to squish, shape, and mold this stuff into all sorts of interesting creations. 13. First Builders Big Building Bag – Mega Bloks are my boys’ first introduction to LEGOs and they always love them! These are perfect for early development skills as well. 14. Wooden Train Tracks Full Set Bundle – Oh my goodness! I can’t tell you how much little boys love trains and train tracks! We’ve had our set for over 5 years and all three of my boys have spent hours playing with it. This set connects with multiple brands including the Thomas Railway System, Brio, Melissa and Doug, Kidkraft, and more! 15. Safari Animals Figures – I didn’t know boys could have so much fun with animal figures until they got one free in a fast food kids meal. We are continually adding to our collection and now have animal figures all over our house. They sleep with them, play with them in the bath, and always take them on car trips. This set is BPA-free and uses no-toxic paint. Stocking Stuffers for Boys 16. Flying Rubber Chicken Slingshot (16 pack) – These are the silliest little toys but kids absolutely love them! I buy them for every birthday party and throughout the year as surprises. These things provide so much laughter and fun and would be such great stocking stuffers. 17. Mr. Bubble Magic Bath Crackles – Make bath time fun with these magic bath crackles! My boys thought these were the best thing ever! 18. Super Miracle Bubbles – My kids are always up for playing with bubbles! These are an easy stocking stuffer idea that won’t disappoint. 19. Hog Wild Holiday Snowman Popper – This toy has been awarded the “Best Toy” award by Parents Magazine and I would agree! Not only did it provide lots of entertainment and laughter for my boys, it’s also quiet and small — two things that are on my checklist for best toys. 🙂 20. Whoopee Cushion – If you have boys, I can assure you this will be a hit. I found these at my Dollar Tree and put them in their stockings last year. The only problem was that I heard this all day long on Christmas. But hey — they loved them! Bonus Ideas (Over $30) Have a little extra wiggle room in your Christmas budget and willing to spend a bit more? Try one of these bonus recommendations: 21. Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set – This basketball set is has been a big hit with all of my boys (including my husband at times!). It’s small enough to use inside and has been a lifesaver on some of the long winter days to help burn off energy. 22. Little Tikes First Slide – We got this slide a couple of years ago and it has provided hours upon hours of fun. Not only do my kids slide down it, but they race their cars, trucks and basketball down it as well. 23. Foam Bow & Arrow Archery Set – This bow & arrow set is made from durable lightweight, foam tip arrows allowing the arrows to shoot over 100 feet! More Holiday Gift Guides Looking for other budget-friendly holiday gift guides? Don’t miss Gretchen’s Beauty Gift Guide and Olivia’s Gluten-Free Gift Guide! Stay tuned as we roll out several more gift guides over the next couple of weeks — put together by several different MoneySavingMom.com team members! Psst! Be sure to sign up for our hot deals newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any of the hottest deals each day this holiday season! What other ideas do you have for best gifts for boys? Let us know in the comments! [...]
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15+ Gluten-Free Gifts Under $30

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15+ Gluten-Free Gifts Under $30
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Looking for unique gluten-free gifts to give someone with food allergies? We have you covered with this Gluten-Free Gift Guide — and they’re all under $30 to help you stick to your gift budget! This Gluten-Free Gift Guide was thoughtfully put together by Olivia on the MoneySavingMom team. Olivia loves cooking but has had to learn to be creative in the kitchen to avoid her food sensitivities (including gluten). She is happily married to her best friend Michael, who also has food sensitivities. Olivia considers it a fun challenge to make delicious meals that they both can enjoy! Do you know someone who has gluten allergies? You’d be surprised how many items contain gluten — chocolates, personal care items, and more. Check out this gift guide for some really unique gift ideas you can safely give someone who avoids gluten! Gluten-Free Gift Ideas 1. Spiralizer — Spiralizers allow you to turn fresh vegetables into faux pastas, which are a great gluten-free alternative to the traditional wheat noodles. This is a kitchen gadget every gluten-free person should have! 2. Gluten Conversion Chart — This refrigerator magnet would be a beneficial gift for the gluten-free baker! A gluten-free conversion chart is essential to have on hand while converting traditional wheat bread recipes to make them gluten-free. 3. Toaster Bags — Toaster bags are perfect for those who are concerned about cross-contamination. They can be used to cook or heat up all kinds of food in the oven, microwave, toaster, or on the grill and would be a great gift for someone who travels often or shares a kitchen with those who are not gluten-free. 4. Small Cooler — A lunchbox cooler is handy for those on a gluten-free diet as they often need to transport food when gluten-free food options are not available. This cooler not only works to keep foods cold but also warm! 5. Gluten-Free Diet Guide — This practical diet guide would be a great gift for someone who is new to the gluten-free diet. 6. Gluten-Free Labels — These labels would make a great gift for those who are gluten-free and share a kitchen. They guard against cross-contamination and also alert others of what is not gluten-free. 7. Food Storage Containers — Glass food storage containers work well for transporting gluten-free foods or keeping them fresh in the refrigerator. These are some of my favorite — I use them every day! 8. T-Shirt — This “gluten-free” t-shirt would be a fun gift for someone with a sense of humor who doesn’t mind being asked about their diet! 9. Bubble Bath — California Baby bubble bath is completely gluten-free and would make a wonderful gift for a child with very “sensitive skin, eczema, or allergy concerns.” The bubble wand included in the bottle provides more bath-time fun! 10. Natural Soy Cinnamon Rolls Candle — Enjoy the lovely aroma of traditional cinnamon rolls without the risk of coming in contact with gluten! I love products that smell like desserts, especially those desserts I can no longer eat! 11. Gluten-Free Snacks — Enjoy Life products are all gluten-free and incredibly yummy! Any of their cookies, snack bars, or baking mixes would make a great gift! 12. Loaf Pan — This bread pan is ideal for gluten-free loaves which require more support than traditional wheat loaves as they rise. This would make a good gift for a gluten-free baker! 13. Bread Thermometer — An instant-read bread thermometer is another kitchen tool every gluten-free bread maker should have. It can be difficult to know when the bread is cooked, but this thermometer will take out the guesswork! 14. Assorted Chocolates — These gluten-free chocolates would make an excellent gift for those with multiple allergies as they are free of many other common allergens too! Gluten-Free Stocking Stuffers 15. Play Dough — Traditional Play Doh contains wheat, so this is a great alternative for children with a gluten allergy! 16. Lip Balm — Many lip balms contain a small amount of gluten. These Badger lip balms are certified gluten free and would make a great gift for anyone avoiding gluten! 17. Whole Foods Gift Card — You can never go wrong with giving someone a gift card! Whole Foods offers a variety of options for those who are gluten-free. If you don’t have a local Whole Foods, consider giving a gift card to a natural health food store in your area. 18. Gluten-Free Living Magazine — Magazine subscriptions are a fun gift that keeps giving throughout the year! Gluten-Free Living is a magazine full of practical tips for the gluten-free individual! If the first issue doesn’t come in time, print a photo of the magazine cover and roll it up to stick in a stocking with a little personalized note! (Use code MONEYSAVING to get an extra 20% off the listed price!) Psst! Be sure to sign up for our hot deals newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any of the hottest deals each day! More Holiday Gift Guides Looking for other budget-friendly holiday gift guides? Don’t miss Gretchen’s Beauty Gift Guide! Stay tuned as we roll out several more gift guides over the next couple of weeks — put together by several different MoneySavingMom.com team members! [...]
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Senior Citizens Can Go to College for Free or Cheap in All 50 States

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Senior Citizens Can Go to College for Free or Cheap in All 50 States
We’re living longer than ever before, and doing so in better health. So what can you do when you retire and want to keep your mind sharp or need to gain additional skills to stay competitive at work? For many, the answer is to go back to school. But tuition can be prohibitively expensive. At the same time, schools want their classrooms to be full of engaged students, regardless of age. In the interest of continuing education, many colleges and universities offer reduced or free college tuition to senior citizens (typically, adults 60 and up, although the rules vary). In fact, we found at least one option in every state! Free (or Cheap) College for Seniors in Every State  While some institutions only allow senior students to audit classes, many offer the chance to earn credits toward a degree at a reduced — or completely waived — tuition rate. Does your state have a continuing education you can use in your golden years? Find out below! 1. Alabama Alabama seniors can attend any two-year institution within the state tuition-free. Adults 60 and older should contact the financial aid office at any community college for admission and eligibility details. 2. Alaska The University of Alaska waives tuition for senior-citizen residents who receive full social security benefits. Seniors must wait until the first day of classes to enroll to ensure that there’s space remaining; they must also complete a tuition-waiver form. Additional costs such as student activity, health center and lab fees are not covered; the student must pay them directly. 3. Arizona All 10 campuses of Maricopa Community College allow senior citizens to take classes for credit at 50% of the full tuition cost. Students 65 and older must register between the first and second class sessions of the semester to ensure space is available. 4. Arkansas Arkansas waives tuition for anyone 60 and over who wants to work toward an undergraduate or graduate degree at state institutions. Student fees may apply and senior citizens may only register for classes with space available. 5. California   California State University waives all tuition and dramatically reduces campus fees for residents age 60 or older. 6. Colorado Students age 55 and older may attend class on a space-available basis at Colorado State University. There is no tuition fee, but visitors don’t get credit for attending class. At the University of Colorado Denver, persons aged 60 and above may enroll on a no-credit basis to attend up to two classes per semester as auditors when space is available. Courses with a lab component are excluded, along with computer courses. 7. Connecticut Residents 62 and up may attend state colleges, including community colleges, for free on a space-available basis. At Central Connecticut State University, for example, tuition is waived for any resident over the age of 62 who applies for full- or part-time admission for a degree-granting program. Senior students may also take non-credit courses on a space-available basis and have tuition waived. All students must still pay all other fees.  8. Delaware The University of Delaware, Delaware State University, and Delaware Technical and Community College all permit state residents age 60 or older to audit or take classes for credit for free. At the University of Delaware, students wishing to use the program must apply for admission on a space-available basis. Some graduate degrees may be eligible, as well. Participants must pay all related student fees and buy their own textbooks. 9. District of Columbia Senior citizens 65 and up may audit undergraduate courses from Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. These students pay a fee of $50 per course. 10. Florida The Florida college system waives application, tuition and student fees for those age 60 and above, but colleges will award no credit and will grant admission on a space-available basis. Fun fact: Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Society has the largest adult continuing education program in the U.S. It even has its own auditorium on campus to help serve FAU’s 27,000 new registrants each year. 11. Georgia Georgia residents age 62 and above may take classes on a space-available basis for free at the state’s public colleges. Seniors may choose to take classes for credit or continuing education, but they must apply through the regular admissions process at their school of choice. 12. Hawaii The Senior Citizen Visitor Program at the University of Hawaii and state community colleges allows senior residents to attend courses free of charge.  Schools will not award credit nor will they keep permanent records of students’ class history. 13. Idaho Programs in Idaho vary based on institution, but some schools offer good deals. The College of Southern Idaho offers a Gold Card for students age 60 years and older, which allows them to take non-credit classes tuition-free. At Boise State University, Idaho residents who are at least 65 years old can audit classes on a space-available basis for free except for applicable special course fees. 14. Illinois Upon admission, any senior citizen age 65 and up who meet income requirements can attend regular credit courses at Illinois public institutions for free. Lab, student and other fees still apply. 15. Indiana Purdue University and Indiana University each offer programs that allow retired residents age 60 and to take up to nine credit hours per semester and pay just 50% of in-state tuition fees. 16. Iowa Private institution Simpson College in Indianola allows people 65 and older to take one non-credit class for free per semester. Course are open on a space-available basis and do not include lab courses. 17. Kansas Kansas residents 60 and older can audit courses at state institutions on a space-available basis without paying tuition. The registration process varies: The University of Kansas and Wichita State University, for example, both require senior auditors to apply for admission. 18. Kentucky Tuition and fees are waived for students age 65 and older taking classes on a space-available basis. Residents must be admitted to a state-supported school to take advantage of this discount. 19. Louisiana Students age 55 and up attending Louisiana state schools receive free tuition and 50% off books and materials at the campus student bookstore. 20. Maine Senior citizens 65 and up may attend undergraduate classes as degree-seeking or audit students in the University of Maine System for free, subject to space availability. 21. Maryland Any student in the University of Maryland System who’s retired and over the age of 60 may have tuition waived, even for degree-granting programs. 22. Massachusetts Residents age 60 or older can take at least three credits per semester at any state-supported school in Massachusetts and receive free tuition. 23. Michigan Opportunities for seniors in Michigan vary by institution. At Michigan Tech, for example, students 60 and older can have tuition waived for up to two courses per semester. Seniors must apply through the admissions office. Western Michigan University invites seniors 62 and older to register for one class per semester tuition-free. At Wayne State University in Detroit, seniors 60 and up receive a 75% discount on tuition, but must pay registration and related fees. 24. Minnesota Minnesota waives tuition for senior citizens 62 and older, but fees may vary by school. At the University of Minnesota, seniors pay a $10 fee per credit, but can audit for free. 25. Mississippi There’s no statewide benefit in Mississippi, but some schools have programs for seniors.  Mississippi State University provides a waiver to residents age 60 or older for classes offered on the Starkville or Meridian campuses or by the Center for Distance Education. Seniors are limited to six semester hours per semester and a maximum of 18 credit hours per calendar year, where space is available. University of Missis [...]
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Serve Your Country While Tackling Student Loan Debt — Here’s How

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Serve Your Country While Tackling Student Loan Debt — Here’s How
If you’re looking for an easy way out of your student loan debt… this isn’t it. But if you’re ready to make a commitment to protecting and defending your country, you may find relief through a debt forgiveness program.  And you’d have plenty of company in your… company, since approximately 200,000 active duty members owe a collective $2.9 billion in student loan debt.  But as a service member, you have a few more options for wiping out your student loan debt than your civilian counterparts. So pay attention.  Military Student Loan Forgiveness If you’re ready to serve your country after graduating college, you have options for attacking your student loan debt. Although you can also qualify for other programs unrelated to your service, such as teacher student loan forgiveness or nursing school loan forgiveness, we’ll focus on the options that depend on your work in the military. National Defense Student Loan Discharge (aka Perkins Loan Forgiveness) If you served in a hostile fire or imminent danger pay area, you qualify for the National Defense Student Loan Discharge, which is part of the Perkins loan cancelation program (the Perkins loan program ended on Sept. 30, 2017).   Loans are discharged according to the following classifications: Up to 50% for four years for borrowers whose active duty service ended before Aug. 14, 2008. Up to 100% for five years for borrowers whose active duty service includes or began on or after Aug. 14, 2008. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) This is probably the most well-known forgiveness option — although “notorious” might be a better adjective for it. Out of the approximately 76,000 PSLF applications that were processed by March 2019, only 518 applications were approved. For those who didn’t major in math, that’s less than 1%.  Pro Tip If you make too much to qualify for an income-driven repayment plan, don’t bother with PSLF since the standard payment plan will leave you with nothing to forgive after 10 years. And the program that was supposed to fix the problem — Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF)? Yeah, it turns out the acceptance rate for that one nearly matches the original. Be prepared for a long wait — it takes a minimum of 10 years to qualify — and to follow a lot of rules in regards to the type of loan, repayment program and employment eligibility. To help you navigate the process, check out these seven essential questions to ask about Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Total and Permanent Disability Discharge If you become totally and permanently disabled during your service, you’ll automatically have your student loan debt discharged. (Your student loans also get canceled if you die, but let’s not consider that as an option, OK?) Prior to August 2019, you still had to fill out the TPD Discharge application, but now the discharge is automatic for veterans. Veteran Affairs will alert the Federal Student Aid office as to your eligibility. The office will then notify you, at which point you will have 60 days to decide if you want to decline the loan relief.  Pro Tip If you think you may go back to school again some day, understand that accepting the disability discharge could make it more difficult to take out future student loans. Why would you decline? Although the discharge isn’t subject to federal taxes, the discharged amount may still be considered income for state tax purposes.  If you don’t decline, your remaining student loan balance will be discharged and you’ll be reimbursed for any payments made following the date of the discharge. Get more details about the total and permanent disability discharge (TPD) program here. Repayment Programs for Service Members As a service member, you’ll find multiple programs that will repay some of your debts, but none of these programs forgives the loan and interest in its entirety — and all of the forgiven amounts are taxable. Armed Forces Education Loan Repayment Program Following a complete year of active-duty service, you’ll become eligible for benefits available through most branches of the service (sorry, Marines).  Depending on which branch you choose, you’ll see the loan repayment programs referred to as College Loan Repayment Programs (CLRP) or Student Loan Repayment Programs (SLRP). Pro Tip If you’re rehabilitating a student loan in default, you’re allowed an interruption in the consecutive pay period until after your qualified military service is completed. All of the programs repay direct federal loans (subsidized and unsubsidized); other federal loans may be eligible, depending on the specific program. And each come with enlistment and/or testing qualifications, so ask your recruiter about specific requirements for your program: Air Force: Soaring with the Air Force Reserve for up to six years could really pay off. Annual payments will be $500 per each qualifying loan or 15% of the outstanding balance, whichever is greater, for up to $3,500 for each year of satisfactory service. Maximum amount: $20,000. If you’re taking the legal eagle route, the Air Force has a three-year student loan repayment program for you. You can qualify after completing your first year as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer. Maximum amount: $60,000 Army: The Army has multiple loan repayment programs to choose from, depending on your status. For active duty members, the maximum annual benefit is a third of the current principal balance or $1,500, whichever is greater, for each year of service up to three years. Maximum amount: $65,000. Navy: For active duty members, the maximum annual benefit is one-third of the current principal balance or $1,500, whichever is greater, for each year of service up to three years. Applicants must be approved before shipping to RTC, according to Terrina Driscoll with Navy Recruiting Command. Note: To be eligible for the loan repayment program and 100% of your Montgomery GI Bill benefits, you must reenlist for additional three years  or have a 6 year Active contract. Maximum amount: $65,000. Coast Guard: For six years of service, you’ll receive up to $10,000 per year to repay loans at qualified minority-serving institutions. Maximum amount: $60,000. National Guard: You’ll need to enlist for at least six years for annual disbursements through the National Guard repayment program. Maximum amount: $50,000. Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP) If you’re a health professional with student loans to repay, providing your services to the military could help you out of debt.  Both Active and Reserve members of the Army can receive assistance through separate programs. For example, nurses in the Army Reserve are eligible for up to $50,000 toward student loan repayment over three years of service. For the Navy, you must be a commissioned officer enrolled in the final year of an approved residency program leading to specialty qualification in medicine, dentistry or osteopathic medicine. The maximum award is $40,000. And if you’re Air Force, you’ll receive up to $40,000 to cover your health profession education in exchange for at least two years of service. Additional Student Loan Benefits for Service Members Even if you don’t receive forgiveness of your loans, you can deploy these reduced interest and deferment programs as a member of the military. Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Interest Rate Cap: Interest on student loans you took out prior to your military service is capped at 6% during periods of active duty. Military Service Deferment: You can postpone loan repayment during certain periods of active duty and while you prepare to go back to school following your active duty. 0% Interest: If you serve in a qualifying hostile area, you don’t have to pay interest for up to 60 months. HEROES Act Waiver: The Education Department waives many documentation requirements — think: updating your family size and income f [...]
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Spend Too Much on Vacation? These 5 Tips Will Help You Rebuild Your Savings

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

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How To Make Money Creating Printables
Did you know you can make money creating printables and selling them online? This is such a great way to make some extra income from home! Guest post from Bridget of SunshineAndRainyDays.com When my kids were young, I remember putting them to bed and just sobbing. I absolutely LOVED being a stay-at-home mom and didn’t want that to change, but I felt empty. I needed something more — something that would allow me to have my own identity. As the kids got a little older, I poured myself into volunteer work. A friend and I started a MOPS group at our church, and I volunteered in my kids’ classrooms, with the PTA, and at church. At one point, I realized my volunteer hours had become a full time job. Counting Box Tops is no joke! When the kids hit high school, the volunteer opportunities started drying up. I stepped away from my roles at church and decided it was time to pursue something just for me! I followed a few bloggers, took one of Crystal’s blogging courses, and eventually started creating printables. That’s when everything started to click, and I realized I had found what I really, truly enjoy! Printables made excellent opt-ins for my blog, but then I discovered you can also make money selling printables. Yay! What Is A Printable? A printable is a digital file suitable or fit to be printed or published. That’s a stuffy dictionary definition. Are you ready for MY definition of printables? Printables are digital files you can download to your own computer and print at home to make life easier, add fun to your life, keep you organized, or help save you money! Examples Of Printables The best printables to sell are the ones with everyday, practical uses. Think about what printables might make life easier or more fun, help someone stay organized or save money — the possibilities are endless! Here are some examples below of printables I’ve created in the past… Birthday Party In A Box — This one makes your life easier when you want to send a Birthday Surprise to someone you can’t celebrate with in person. You don’t have to come up with your own box decorations because we’ve done it for you! Leprechaun’s Loot — Surprise your co-workers, friends, and family with Leprechaun’s Loot to make St. Patrick’s Day a bit more FUN! Medical Binder — This one is a great example of one way to stay organized with printables. Christmas Trivia Printables — These make Christmas party planning easier, the party more fun, you’ll impress your guests with your organized game, and you’ll save money because it’s a super inexpensive way to entertain! How To Create Printables In the beginning, I created printables using a combination of free programs like Canva, PicMonkey, Numbers, and Pages. Then, I discovered Affinity Designer. I now create all of my printables in Affinity Designer and can make them look just the way I want with this one app. It’s so easy! Here’s how to create a printable: Come up with a printable idea. Make a quick sketch of your design. Set up your page in your design software. Design your printable. Include your URL and copyright symbol. Print your design to try it out. Save as a PDF to share. For more in depth instructions on creating printables, be sure to check out my guest post over at Your Blogging Mentor. Where To Sell Printables Are you excited to create printables, but you aren’t quite sure where to sell them? You actually have quite a few options! Here are just a few ideas: 1. Gumroad — This is a marketplace for creators to sell their products. I like Gumroad because you can start selling printables without a monthly fee — which makes it a great way to test out your new products. At the time I wrote this article, they take $0.30 + 3.5% one-time fee per sale. You only pay the fee if your product sells, so there’s very little risk. And Gumroad collects the money for you and deposits it (minus fees) into your account. You can go here to see an example of a product I have listed on Gumroad. 2. Shopify — While I still have a few sales trickling in from Gumroad, I pretty much have exclusively switched over to a Shopify store. I love Shopify, because it allows me to create an entire store with different printable collections and they offer a great user experience for your customers. There is a monthly fee, so this is only a good option if you’re at a place where you’re selling printables on a regular basis. 3. Etsy — I have not personally ever sold anything on Etsy, but I know plenty of people who do and are very successful with it! The advantage of Etsy is the massive number of people who frequent the site looking for specific item. Buyers may stumble upon your printables in Etsy through a search on the platform. 4. Teachers Pay Teachers — If you plan to create a lot of educational printables, Teachers Pay Teachers is an excellent platform for you to sell on. Your very first product that you list has to be free, and then you can start charging after that. 5. Sell as a virtual assistant — If you aren’t interested in starting a blog or having your own online store, you have other options — one of which is to sell to bloggers! Most bloggers don’t have time to do everything, so they hire virtual assistants to create printables for them. A great way to find work with bloggers is by searching for Facebook groups where you can advertise your printables to bloggers. One example is this VA for Hire Facebook group. Once you make a sale, you can use a PayPal business account to invoice and collect payment. 6. Create printables for people you know — Another option is to create printables for people you know! Showcase your work on social media and get the word out that you are creating printables for others. As you do more and more work, the word will spread! It can be fun to create printables for customers, because you get to experiment with bringing their vision to life! Just be sure to correctly estimate how long the work will take you and decide on a fair hourly rate that’s worth your time. Tip: When you create printables for others, be sure to look at it as a business transaction. They will likely have changes they would like you to make and that’s okay! That’s a part of the process and it’s important to not take it personally. Over time, you will learn the likes and dislikes of your customers. This will make future projects go quicker! It’s nearly impossible to be on every platform, so I recommend that you just pick one to start with and dive in! Learn everything you can about the platform and try it out. How To Advertise Printables Once you’ve created a few printables, you need a way to point buyers to your product — which is where advertising comes into play! If you’re looking for some easy ways to advertise, try one of these: 1. Advertise Through A Blog — The first printables I sold were through blog posts on Sunshine And Rainy Days. I used Gumroad to sell those printables and it worked quite well! (You can see one of my early months of sale from back in 2017 above.) And blog posts continue to be the primary way I advertise printables! 2. Create Pinterest Pins — Pinterest is considered a search engine and many people go to Pinterest to find ideas and solve problems. Create your Pinterest pin, highlight your printable, link it to the product, and pin away! Don’t forget to add keywords and hashtags in the description to help Pinterest users more easily stumble upon your pin in search! 3. Share On Social Media — You can also share your printables on social media with a link to your product. Share on your own page or in Facebook groups. (Just be sure to read group rules to make sure you’re allowed to share in the group.) Printables Have Huge Potential! Last year, the kids wanted to throw a Christmas Party for their friends. I [...]
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This Teacher Earns $3,000 a Month on the Side by Upcycling Furniture on Facebook

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This Teacher Earns $3,000 a Month on the Side by Upcycling Furniture on Facebook
After a long day of teaching Chinese to middle and high schoolers, cooking dinner for her daughter and husband and prepping her spare bedroom for Airbnb guests, Sara Chen likes to call out to her Echo Dot: “Hey, play some soft music.” This is when most people would plop on the coach and let out a deep sigh of exhaustion. Maybe pour a glass of wine and call it a night. But Chen isn’t most people. She’s just getting started. Soft music humming in the background, she heads to her garage and starts sanding, priming and painting furniture – usually mid-century modern dressers – for her side gig, Sara Chen Design. Until earlier this year, Chen, 40, hadn’t found the right outlet for her strong creative streak. It was by chance that she stumbled upon upcycling furniture, work she finds energizing and inspiring. The extra $2,500 to $3,000 a month is just an added benefit. Finding Furniture, Fulfillment With Sara Chen Design When Chen left her HR job in China to move to the U.S. 10 years ago, she felt like she was taking a step down professionally. “All of the advantages I had deteriorated,” Chen said, noting the lack of parallels in hiring practices between Denver and Shanghai. So she pivoted her career circa 2009 and took a job teaching Chinese. It allowed her and husband Justin Herbertson to raise their newborn daughter, Gemma. She’s been a Chinese teacher ever since, and she enjoys the work. It’s stable. It pays the bills. The health insurance is great. And now Gemma attends the same school. But Chen yearns to be creative. Pro Tip Attaching a sense of purpose to a day job is risky. Namely because you can get fired. The Penny Hoarder spoke to well-being experts for our guide to finding fulfillment outside the 9 to 5. In 2015, she learned about Airbnb, and, by extension, the idea of starting her own gig when the family moved from Denver to Charlotte, North Carolina. Chen jokingly calls herself a “control freak,” and listing rooms on Airbnb allows her to flex both creativity and control. While she gets to curate well-manicured rooms for rent, Airbnb doesn’t fully quell her desire to be creative. Then she got her first taste of furniture flipping. On Facebook Marketplace, Chen found “a steal”: a mid-century modern dresser for $200 that would go perfectly in her bedroom. She brought a friend to meet the seller. “So, I went in and found out she actually had two dressers… both mid-century modern style,” Chen said. “I told my friend, ‘You know what? You should buy the other one.’” Her friend said no. “It looks so ugly,” she told Chen. Chen bought both pieces for $400 anyway. The first piece she kept as is. For fun, she decided to paint the second one. She bought sandpaper, tack cloth and a can of white paint – in all, about a $30 investment. Then she set up shop in her garage and got to work. In two or three hours, the dresser was like new — but better. “Then my friend came over and she was like, ‘Is that the dresser you [tried to] convince me to buy? It looks so good! Can I have it now?’” Chen recalled. On the spot, she made a sale: $350. And that gave Chen the courage to start upcycled furniture flipping as a side gig. “That’s what I like about America,” Chen said. “This is a country that really promotes hard work and creativity.” A Perfect First Customer Chen decided to play it safe with the first piece she made available to the public. To find the right piece to flip, she again turned to Facebook Marketplace, investing much less the second time around: $70 for a 1930s dresser from Singapore. “My rationale is that I really like this piece,” Chen said. “And if it doesn’t sell, I’m going to use this for myself.” She chose a dresser because it’s a versatile piece of furniture for flipping. It can double as a baby-changing station or an entertainment stand, if needed. And with a robust teal coat, newly installed cup-pull handles and a simple black-and-white liner for the drawers, Chen transformed the piece from rustic to chic. Her first customer drove more than two hours to pick it up. When the woman arrived, she marveled – and shelled out $420. Including supplies, Chen earned about $300 in profit on her first sale. On her way out, the customer encouraged Chen to create an Instagram account to showcase her work. The woman had a large social media following and said she would give Chen a shout-out.  Chen took that advice to heart. In less than a year, with the help of her happy first customer, she has amassed more than 1,700 followers on Instagram. Pro Tip Social media sites are free and often underutilized tools for budding businesses to attract customers. Use these social media best practices to get your footing, the earlier the better.  But Chen’s luck with her godsent customer didn’t end there. “After she got the green dresser, I noticed she was pregnant,” Chen said. “I got another dresser, also from Facebook Marketplace… and then I painted it pink. I added black handles.” “You’re looking for a dresser for your girl?” Chen texted her. “Well, I might have a piece you want.” Chen photographed the new pink dresser and sent over the pictures. Fingers crossed. “This is exactly what I want!” the woman replied. The second piece, which Chen purchased for about $60, sold for $400.    Sale 1: Teal Dresser Sale 2: Pink Dresser Purchase price: $70 $60 Cost of materials (sandpaper, paint, cloth, etc.): $30 $30 Sales price: $420 $400 Profit: $320 $310 And those price points weren’t one-offs from an enthusiastic buyer. Chen’s instincts were dead on. After researching her competitors on Marketplace, she typically shoots for those profit margins with each project. For tallboys, like the pink dresser, Chen spends $40 to $70 and flips them for $325 to $425 on average. The margins for long dressers are even better – a $60 to $120 purchase price and a $475 to $525 sales price. Depending on the project, that means she regularly sees profit margins between 70% and 90%. “You need to find a sweet spot,” Chen said. “I try to keep it in the median-high level. I feel like that’s the right spot [for me].” Flipping Furniture Is All About the Photos After tallying about 70 pieces of vintage furniture hunted, cleaned, patched, sanded, repatched, primed and painted since early 2019, Chen has her upcycling process down to a science. But when the paint dries, her work is only a little past the halfway mark. Next, she stages the piece for high-quality photos to include in her listings on Marketplace or Instagram. It’s now her favorite part of the process. “It’s also probably the most important part,” Chen said. “It’s gone from a regular piece to a stunning piece, and I want people to see that.” FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM How I'm Making Money on Poshmark 12/31/18 @ 4:47 PM C Side hustle from home 10/25/19 @ 10:13 AM Amazon refund 10/28/19 @ 8:56 PM how to make money? 10/30/19 @ 1:21 PM See more in Make Money or ask a money question The added love really goes a long way. When Chen listed the first teal dresser, she added potted cherry blossoms, a wooden vanity tray and a stool adorned with books [...]
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Columbia Men’s Robinson Mountain Jacket only $39.99 shipped (Reg. $100!)

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Columbia Men’s Robinson Mountain Jacket only $39.99 shipped (Reg. $100!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Need a new jacket? This is a great deal on this Columbia Men’s Robinson Mountain Jacket for a GREAT price! Right now, Columbia has this Men’s Robinson Mountain Jacket for just $39.99 when you use the promo code SAVEONCOL at checkout (regularly $100)! And shipping is FREE if you’re a Columbia Rewards Member (it’s free to sign up)! Choose from three colors in sizes S through XXL. This is SUCH a great deal for Columbia brand! Thanks, Hip2Save! [...]
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4 Ways to Earn More on Your Savings — Despite Another Fed Rate Cut

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4 Ways to Earn More on Your Savings — Despite Another Fed Rate Cut
The Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark federal funds rate on Wednesday. It’s the Fed’s third rate cut this year — and bad news for your money sitting in the bank. The interest rates that banks pay on interest-bearing accounts like savings accounts rise and fall with the federal funds rate. So, after the latest Fed rate cut, the chances are good that the interest rate your bank... [...]
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Could you use an extra $50? (time sensitive)

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Could you use an extra $50? (time sensitive)
Could you use an extra $50 this week? What about every single week? I believe wholeheartedly that the majority of families in America could make some simple changes in their menu and grocery purchases that could pretty easily reduce their grocery expenses by $50 or more each week! This might seem like a strong statement, but after years of talking to and teaching thousands of families all across America how to lower their grocery bill, I truly stand behind it. Think about it: what could you do with an extra $50 each week? If you could spend an extra 4-8 hours per month and save $200, is that worth it? If so, I strongly encourage you to check out my brand-new ebook called Slash Your Grocery Bill? It’s a comprehensive guide with simple, realistic short-cuts and time-saving tips to lower your grocery bill. It’s for anyone who has ever wished they could figure out the secrets for how to eat well on a small budget. If you follow even some of the tips in it, I can guarantee without a doubt that you WILL lower your grocery bill! Get it for just $7 — through midnight tonight! Slash Your Grocery Bill will usually be priced at $17, but to celebrate the launch, through midnight tonight, you can get it for just $7! Yes, that’s right. Only $7. And I can almost promise you will save twice or three times that much on your very first shopping trip using the techniques I share. So it’s a really fantastic investment that could pay off over and over and over again! Answering Your Questions Now, I know that some of you have written in with questions about the eBook and wondering if it’s really for you. I love how you are carefully evaluating your purchases to make sure you’re not spending money on something that isn’t going to truly work for you or save you money. Let me answer some of the most-asked questions… Is this going to require a lot of time? I believe that you should always see good return on your investment of time. I also know you probably don’t have hours of time to spend chasing deals and clipping coupons. This eBook is for busy women (and men!) who need to cut their grocery bill but don’t have a lot of extra time to do so! We eat all organic. Will your strategies apply to us? Not every strategy in this eBook will work for every family, but many of the strategies in this eBook can be implemented or adapted to work for you — no matter what type of food you eat or stores you shop at! Will I have to clip coupons? Nope! You are welcome to clip coupons if you’d like, but as I’ll show you in this eBook, there are SO many other ways to slash your grocery bill. Are you going to say that we have to eat beans and rice? Full disclosure: I am going to encourage you to consider creative ways to eat less meat or and save on meat costs in one of the chapters, but I promise that this is not just a 99 different ways to eat beans and rice! What if we only have one grocery store in our town? While there are definitely advantages to having more options when it comes to shopping, if you only have one store, I’ll still show you lots of ways you can save. Plus, there are benefits to only having one store: it keeps things simple and streamlined! How long will I have access to this eBook? When you purchase, you’ll have immediate access to the eBook via a link online and a link I’ll send you in your email. And best of all, you will have lifetime access to it! Is there a money-back guarantee? I want you to spend your money wisely and I do not want you to invest money in something that isn’t going to benefit your family and save you money. If you purchase this eBook and discover that you are already doing everything in it, please contact me for a full refund (also, way to go on being such a savvy saver!) What I’ll Teach You… In Slash Your Grocery Bill, you’ll learn: How to strategically plan a menu in just minutes each week Multiple menu-planning methods that have worked well for me How to set up a realistic grocery budget How to determine a grocery budget that actually will work for your family Why you should consider rotating the stores you shop at How practicing the Buy Ahead principle can save you hundreds of dollars each year How to stock your pantry on a limited budget DIY and homemade mix ideas, short-cuts, and time-saving tips Inexpensive and yummy snack ideas Our favorite budget-friendly pantry meal ideas And so much more! Yes! Please Help Me Cut My Grocery Bill! “Slash Your Grocery Bill had something for everyone in their journey to joyful frugality–whether you’re just beginning, or a veteran budgeter. For me, a mom of six who already keeps a steadily low grocery budget, the ‘Aha!’ section was all the ways I could use technology to help. And even though I’ve been doing it on my own for years, Crystal’s printables and other resources are going to make my grocery bill slashing a whole lot easier.” -Faith I promise the strategies in this eBook will work for you! I wrote Slash Your Grocery Bill in the hopes that no matter where you live, who lives at your house, or what kind of food you eat, you will be able to cut your grocery bill. I’ve taught hundreds of thousands of people in a myriad of different seasons and life situations how to save. So I promise that there will be many strategies in this eBook that will work for you. I stand behind my promise – or you get your money back! If you buy the eBook and are already doing every thing it suggests and/or the rest of the ideas won’t work for you, guess what? I will happily offer you your money back! I do not want you to spend money on something that isn’t truly going to save you money and benefit your life! Truly, it’s a no risk purchase! There’s nothing to lose and you just might end up gaining an extra $50 each and every week! What are you waiting for? Go here to grab your copy of Slash Your Grocery Bill for just $7! P.S. This $7 price is only good through tonight! Don’t miss out. After tonight, the price goes up to $17! Hurry and get your copy while it’s this low price! [...]
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7 Debit Cards That’ll Give You Cash Back (and More!) for Swiping

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7 Debit Cards That’ll Give You Cash Back (and More!) for Swiping
Debit cards are popular. Like, really popular. Nearly 43% of adult Americans reported using debit cards as their main form of payment, according to a 2017 LendEDU study. And each year, people make billions (with a big ol’ b) of transactions using one. As a bonus, some debit cards offer rewards, similar to credit cards. So, if you’re one of the many using a debit card — or looking to upgrade yours — keep reading. We’ll explore why you might consider getting one, plus we’ll look at the best cards available today. Why Some Bank Debit Cards Don’t Offer Rewards (Anymore) After the 2008 financial crisis, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law in 2010. The goal was to stabilize and reform the financial industry. Before it passed Congress, lawmakers added the Durbin Amendment — named after Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois — to the act. This amendment was introduced to curb processing fees for debit card purchases. When you use a debit card to make a purchase, the merchant pays an interchange or swipe fee. This fee goes to the bank that issued the debit card. Banks said these fees covered the costs of providing debit cards and monitoring accounts for fraudulent activity. However, retailers argued they were too high. Before the act’s passage, retailers paid up to 44 cents per debit card transaction, according to Reuters, which made it difficult for some businesses to accept them. After Dodd-Frank passed, the cap fee was reduced to 21 cents. (It’s worth noting credit card interchange fees were not affected.) As a result, the financial incentive for banks to offer debit card rewards just isn’t what it used to be. Why You Should Consider a Debit Card That Offers Rewards Just because debit card rewards aren’t flowing like they used to doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your eyes peeled for them. Debit cards that offer rewards are appealing for a few reasons: Your bank may only charge a small — or no — monthly (or annual) fee to use it. They’re good if you want to monitor your spending and find credit cards too tempting. Since it’s money from your account, there’s no monthly balance owed or accumulated interest to worry about. The REWARDS: anything from cash back to points to discounts on qualified purchases. 7 Debit Cards That Offer Rewards (Plus a Bonus!) We picked several options that could work for you. 1. American Express Serve® Cash Back The American Express Serve Cash Back option is a prepaid debit card. (To be clear, it’s not connected to a checking account.) When shopping online or in stores, you can earn unlimited 1% cash back on your purchases. Bonus: The cash back is immediately available to use after you earn it. Other features include free ATM withdrawals at over 30,000 locations, fraud protection and 24/7 customer service. Card price: $0 online or $3.95 in stores Monthly or annual fee: $7.95 a month (no fee in Texas, New York or Vermont) 2. Bank of America BankAmeriDeals® Bank of America has a program called BankAmericaDeals for BoA card holders. Existing customers can log into online banking or use the mobile app to see available deals (for example, 15% cash back at Petco). You’ll earn cash back on these deals when they use an eligible BoA debit or credit card to make a purchase. You can also earn BankAmeriDeals Coins for qualifying purchases to earn more rewards. Other features include 24/7 account monitoring, fee-free BoA ATM usage and the ability to add your debit card to a digital wallet for easier checkout. Card price: $0 Monthly or annual fee: $0 3. Discover® Cashback Debit With Cashback Debit, users can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in purchases per month. So, if you make $500 worth of purchases monthly with your debit card, you’ll earn back $5 a month, or $60 a year. Other features include 24/7 customer service and access to over 60,000 surcharge-free ATMs. Also, if you lose your debit card, Discover will replace it for free. Card price: $0 Monthly or annual fee: $0 4. Axos Bank CashBack Checking Axos offers CashBack Checking for customers who want to earn rewards with a debit card. You can earn up to 1% cash back on signature-based purchases (so, something routine like grocery shopping doesn’t count) and earn up to $2,000 cash back per month. However, you’ll also need to maintain a daily balance of $1,500 to earn the 1% cash back. Other features include reimbursement for over 60,000 ATMs worldwide, and no balance or activity requirements to maintain the account. Card price: $0 Monthly or annual fee: $0 5. PayPal Business Debit Mastercard® Once you activate the cash-back program, PayPal Business Debit Mastercard users can get unlimited 1% cash back on qualifying purchases. The cash back is added to your PayPal account each month. Note that business owners face a $1.50 domestic ATM usage fee, and have a daily limit of $3,000 in purchases and $400 in cash withdrawals. Other features include a free additional card for the account and no liability for unauthorized charges. Card price: $0 Monthly or annual fee: $0 6. Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking CCU offers rewards in the form of annual percentage yield (APY). There are three rewards tiers with varying requirements to earn 3.09% APY, 4.09% APY or even 5.09% APY on account balances up to $10,000. For the first tier, you must make at least 12 debit card purchases that equal $100 or more a month as one of the qualifications, so you’ll need to be organized to reap these rewards. Other features include over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs and no minimum balance requirement. Card price: $0 Monthly or annual fee: $0 7. Empower Empower is an app and bank account. You can get 1% cash back on the first $1,000 you spend per month with your debit card, earn 1.65% APY on your money and even snag cash back when you refer your friends. You’ll have access to over 25,000 fee-free ATMs and even get reimbursed for one out-of-network ATM use per month. You can fund your account in a number of ways, though it does not support cash or check deposits. Other features include no account fees or required minimum balances. Accounts are also FDIC-insured up to $250,000. Card price: $0 Monthly or annual fee: $0 Bonus: Your Local Credit Union Check out your neighborhood credit union for other reward-card options. Many institutions offer debit card rewards in the form of redeemable points or cash back. Some even allow you to support a local charity or cause if you choose to make a donation when you open an account. Contact your local credit union online or in person to see what costs and conditions may apply. Card price: Varies Monthly or annual fee: Varies FROM THE BANKING FORUM Social security Representative Payee bank account 9/26/19 @ 5:16 PM L How to find a checking account that displays scheduled transaction on account activinty view? 9/4/19 @ 2:05 PM ONLINE BANKS 8/26/19 @ 6:54 PM Best bank to use? 7/12/19 @ 2:52 PM See more in Banking or ask a money question What About Credit Card Rewards? When it comes to serious rewards, credit cards typically offer better ones — think, a higher percentage of cash back on purchases or larger sign-up cash bonus — and may provide perks such as price-matching and [...]
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Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Servin’ Up Fun Food Truck only $31.87 (Reg. $70!)

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Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Servin’ Up Fun Food Truck only $31.87 (Reg. $70!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Here’s a great gift idea! This Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Servin’ Up Fun Food Truck is only $31.87 at Target! Target has this Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Servin’ Up Fun Food Truck for just $49.99 right now (regularly $69.99)! Plus, there is a 15% off Target Circle offer available. Even better, you can get 25% off one Toy, Kids Book, or Craft Activity Kit mobile coupon when you text TOY to 827438 – limit one. Check out this deal idea: Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Servin’ Up Fun Food Truck – $49.99 (regularly $69.99) Use the 15% off Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Food Truck Circle offer Use your unique 25% off toy coupon Choose free in-store pickup $31.87 after coupons Thanks, Hip2Save! [...]
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Here’s How to Lower Some of the Costs of Raising School-Aged Kids

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Here’s How to Lower Some of the Costs of Raising School-Aged Kids
The first few years of parenthood can be a sleep-deprived, money-sucking blur. You’re constantly counting down to the next stage of child-rearing when you anticipate expenses to ease up. Like when you’re done with formula and diapers, and you don’t have to buy a new set of clothes every three months. Or when your kid’s in school and you can finally stop paying for full-time child care. But as you reach what you think is the light at the end of the tunnel, you come to realize that raising a school-aged kid doesn’t exactly come cheap either. These 13 money-saving strategies can provide some financial relief when it comes to your children’s expenses. 1. Don’t Overspend During Back-to-School Season According to the National Retail Federation, shopping for school expenses is the second-highest annual consumer event (only falling behind winter holiday spending). Save money by comparing prices, shopping at discount stores, buying in bulk and taking advantage of back-to-school sales tax holidays.  It’s also imperative to budget for back-to-school expenses ahead of time. Take inventory of what you have, make a list of the essentials and price items to establish a spending limit.  Pro Tip Set up a sinking fund to save money over several months. Temporary side gigs, picking up extra shifts or participating in a no-spend challenge can help you pad your savings. 2. Buy Zero-Waste Alternatives for Disposable Goods You Frequently Purchase If you’re buying hundreds of plastic sandwich bags and juice boxes that your kids just throw away at the end of lunch, try going zero-waste. You’ll save money in the long run purchasing reusable products — like a couple of washable containers and a Thermos — once and using them all year. 3. Throw Affordable Birthday Parties Celebrate your child’s birthday on a budget by sending out free electronic invites, choosing a cheap venue like a park and making your own cake and goodies. Streamlining your guest list will also help reduce costs. 4. Save Money on Extracurricular Activities Your kid might want to sign up for piano lessons, gymnastics and basketball, but the cost of after-school activities can take a chunk out of a parent’s budget.  Nail down your child’s interests to one or two activities and see if any local government or nonprofit agencies — like your school system or the Police Athletic League — offer programs at a lower rate than private organizations. See if you can get discounts for enrolling more than one child or referring your neighbors to enroll their kids. Cut travel costs by carpooling and equipment expenses by buying secondhand.  FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Traveling All 50 States On a Budget 10/9/19 @ 8:40 PM Teaching Your Kids to Save: I am a Bit Confused (HELP) 10/10/19 @ 12:24 PM Acorns 8/14/19 @ 6:00 PM See more in Save Money or ask a money question 5. Get Swim Lessons for Less Over 1,000 YMCA locations across the nation offer a program called Safety Around Water, which teaches kids about water safety and basic swimming instruction. Many branches have been able to offer these YMCA swim lessons program for free or reduced cost due to funding from the national organization or community fundraising efforts. Contact your local YMCA branch for more information. 6. DIY Your Kid’s Summer Camp Experience Paying weekly summer camp costs can be brutal. An alternate option? Form your own summer camp co-op.  Gather a bunch of parents together who can take turns playing camp counselor and watching the kids each week. Brainstorm low-cost activities to fill up the day, and collectively chip in for snacks and lunches. 7. Save Money on Your Next Trip to Disney For many parents, Disney is the big vacation mecca, but visiting Mickey and Minnie isn’t cheap. To save money at Disney World or visit Disneyland on a budget, find accommodations not associated with the park, make your own food and arrive at the park at least 30 minutes before gates open to avoid long lines and make the most of your day. Pro Tip Want to score a cheap Disney souvenir? Look for pressed penny machines, which turn your coins into theme-park memorabilia — usually for less than a dollar. 8. Don’t Blow Through Cash Entertaining the Kids The refrain of “I’m bored” grows old fast. This list of 100 free things to do — most of which are family friendly — is clutch when you need to fill time with something fun but don’t want to spend a bunch of money.  Host a game night or put on a talent show. Attend a local festival or pitch a tent at a free campsite. 9. Find Inexpensive Tutoring No one wants their child struggling in school, but tutors that charge upwards of $80 an hour can be tough for families to shoulder financially. Get low-cost or free tutoring online through sites like Khan Academy or by watching educational YouTube channels. Other ways to cut costs are asking your child’s teacher for help, seeing if there’s a peer tutoring program at school, checking for tutoring programs at your library or tapping into your social network for subject matter experts. 10. Eliminate Post-Holiday Gift-Giving Remorse Heed the four-gift rule. It conveniently rhymes so you’ll remember: Get one thing they want, one thing they need, one thing they’ll wear and something to read. Other tips to save money on Christmas shopping are shopping online, using money-saving apps like Stash or Acorns and snagging deals year round. Pro Tip Set up a Christmas savings plan months before Dec. 25. Figure out how much you plan to spend and divide that amount by how many weeks you have left to shop to come up with your weekly savings goal. 11. Learn How to Take Professional-Quality Photos Go the DIY approach to avoid paying for pricy photo packages. Some professional photo tips one photographer (and mom of two) shared with us are to take advantage of the best natural light, find a good outdoor location and get multiple shots.  12. Be Frugal About Buying Clothes Host clothing swaps with other families in your neighborhood, repurpose old clothes as pajamas, shop at consignment stores and borrow one-time-use outfits. You can also ask family and friends to give clothes rather than toys as birthday gifts to save money on kids’ clothing. 13. Just Say No to Your Kids Sometimes you’ve got to lay down the hammer. Maybe after denying their requests a couple dozen times, they’ll stop bugging you to buy candy and toys at the register. According to psychologists, saying no to your kids can actually benefit your children by helping them grow to be better money managers. 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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2 Education Tax Credits That Can Make College More Affordable

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2 Education Tax Credits That Can Make College More Affordable
This just in: College is expensive. And whether you’re a student yourself or supporting your spouse or dependent child through school, any break you can get helps. Fortunately, the IRS offers a couple of education tax credits that can ease the financial burdens of college. In other words, these are incentives specifically for students and their parents that can lower the amount of taxes you owe for the year.  Here’s what you need to know about the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit, as well as how to determine whether you or your family is eligible. What Is the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)? The American Opportunity Tax Credit, or AOTC, is a tax incentive designed to help offset the cost of undergraduate degrees. Qualified students, their spouses or parents who claim their child as a as dependent can earn a maximum annual credit of up to $2,500 per year, per student. Here’s how it breaks down: 100% of the first $2,000 of qualified educational expenses, including tuition and fees as well as books, supplies, and equipment needed to complete courses. Up to 25% of the next $2,000.  That comes out to a total possible credit of $2,500. However, if the credit brings down the total amount of tax you owe the government to $0, you can only have 40% of the remaining credit, or up to $1,000, issued to you as a refund. And it’s only available to those in their first four years of college — sorry, super seniors. To be eligible for the AOTC, the student must: Be pursuing a degree or a credential — that is, auditing classes or taking a few courses for your plain old edification won’t cut it. Be enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period, be it a semester, quarter or even a summer session.  Not yet have finished a four-year degree. Not have claimed the AOTC — or the Hope credit, as it used to be called — for four tax years already. Not have a felony drug conviction. You must also have a valid taxpayer identification number on or before the date of filing, and earn less than the specified modified adjusted gross income limits. For 2019, these limits are: $80,000 or less for single filers to get the full credit. $160,000 or less for those married and filing jointly to get the full credit.  If you earn up to $90,000 or $180,000, respectively, you may still be eligible for a reduced credit. To claim the AOTC, you’ll need to get a Form 1098-T Tuition Statement from your school. You’ll then need to fill out Form 8863 and include it with your return at tax time.  What Is the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC)? Like the AOTC, the Lifetime Learning Credit, or LLC, is a tax credit you can earn to help offset the cost of qualified higher educational expenses. Unlike the AOTC, the Lifetime Learning Credit only covers tuition, fees and other enrollment-related costs; books and supplies are excluded. But this one’s available not only for the first four years of undergrad, but also for graduate and professional degree courses — supporting a lifetime of learning, just as its name implies. There’s no limit to how many years you can file for the credit, which makes it a great option for those considering a midlife career change or taking courses to increase and improve their skills.  That said, this credit can only be claimed once per year per family or individual taxpayer, whereas the AOTC can be claimed per student. (More on that below.) The Lifetime Learning Credit provides eligible students a credit of up to $2,000 per tax return. (Again, the tax-speak specifics: It’s up to 20% of the first $10,000 of qualified educational expenses.)  However, if the Lifetime Learning Credit brings your tax bill to $0, you won’t receive a refund for the remaining amount. Here are the eligibility requirements for the credit: You must be paying for qualified expenses related to higher education, like tuition. Those educational expenses must be paid for a student who’s enrolled at an eligible institution. That student must be you, your spouse or your dependent. The Lifetime Learning Credit is subject to the following income limits in 2019: $58,000 or less for single filers to get the full credit.  $116,000 or less for joint filers to get the full credit.  If you earn between $58,000 an $68,000 as a singleton or up to $136,000 as a married couple, you may qualify for a partial credit. Just as with the AOTC, you’ll need to get a tuition statement from your school and file Form 8863 at tax time.  Am I Eligible for One of These Education Tax Credits — or Both? Still not sure you’re eligible for either of these education tax credits? What if you meet the requirements for both? Unfortunately, you can’t claim both the Lifetime Learning Credit and the AOTC on a single child. Parents can claim the AOTC on multiple children, and you can claim the LLC during the same year, but you can only claim the LLC once — and not on a kid you’ve already claimed the AOTC for. In other words, the AOTC is a per-student tax credit, while the Lifetime Learning Credit is a per-taxpayer tax credit. That said, there’s another, easier way to figure out exactly what you and your family are eligible for. Although it’s not exactly known for its speediness or cutting-edge technological advances, the IRS is slowly but steadily moving into the world of the 21st century — and has created an interactive app to help you determine if you qualify for either of these educational tax credits. It’ll also let you know if you can claim a deduction for tuition and fees. And if you’re paying sky-high tuition bills, it’s well worth sitting down for a few minutes with your paperwork and seeing if you can get a break this April. Just one word to the wise: Make sure you’re actually eligible, or you could get audited and be forced to repay any credit you erroneously received with interest. You might also be banned for claiming the credit for up to a decade. Now, if only they’d come up with an app that could do all your homework for you… Jamie Cattanach’s work has been featured at Fodor’s, Yahoo, SELF, The Huffington Post, The Motley Fool and other outlets. Learn more at www.jamiecattanach.com. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Insurance- not all fun and game theory

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Insurance- not all fun and game theory
Economic game theory has resided at the core of insurance underwriting for some time but might be losing its luster through the advent of price aggregators. ‘Gamification’ through behavioral economics is gaining traction concurrently in the industry, that is, devising schemes to engage insureds more often with their policy than simply at annual renewal.  More […] The post Insurance- not all fun and game theory appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Bruno Marc Men’s Suede Leather Oxford Classic Dress Shoes only $12.80!

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Bruno Marc Men’s Suede Leather Oxford Classic Dress Shoes only $12.80!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Wow! Grab these highly rated Bruno Marc Men’s Suede Leather Oxford Classic Dress Shoes for a GREAT price! Amazon has these Bruno Marc Men’s Suede Leather Oxford Classic Dress Shoes for just $12.80 right now! Please note that the price will not drop until checkout. There are lots of colors and sizes to choose from – but hurry, these are selling quickly. These shoes have amazing reviews. Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get guaranteed FREE two-day shipping (and possibly one-day or same-day shipping!). And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon. [...]
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Rent a Car Without a Credit Card: Use This Trick to Avoid a Big Deposit

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Rent a Car Without a Credit Card: Use This Trick to Avoid a Big Deposit
You may know this frustration: One Christmas, I scraped together money for a flight home and budgeted enough to cover the $80 to rent a car for the weekend. But because I was paying with a debit card, I was charged a $350 deposit. To make that deposit, the company put a hold on my debit card. That meant for the duration of the rental, $350 of my money was unavailable.  Worse, I had to wait about a week and a half after the trip to see the refund available in my bank account. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t usually have the luxury to just give up $350 for a couple weeks! Renting a car is particularly difficult, because the amount of the deposit can be so high compared to the cost of rental. That’s if you’re allowed to pay with a debit card at all. These authorizations are understandable from a business’s point of view: It needs some assurance that it won’t lose money if you cause damage or fail to pay what you owe. When you pay with a credit card, the credit card company ensures you’ll make the payment, and you’re responsible for paying the credit card company. When you pay with a debit card, a business runs the risk that you could take off or cause damage that costs more than what’s available in your bank account.  But most of us are good, honest people. It’s frustrating to face barriers put in place to protect businesses against dishonest jerks. Thankfully, I’ve found a way around the dreaded debit-card authorization. How to Rent a Car Without a Credit Card Instead of handing over my bank debit card to cover the deposit for a rental car, I use my PayPal debit card. With this trick, the deposit never leaves my account. First, you have to have a PayPal Business MasterCard debit card. If you don’t already have one, here’s how to get it: 1. Create a PayPal Account If you don’t already have an account, go to PayPal.com to sign up for free. 2. Upgrade to a Premier or Business Account Set this up when you open your account, or upgrade your existing account to Premier or Business. Be sure to read through the differences between these accounts to know which is best for you. Upgrading to either is free, and they both come with features not available to a personal account. Basically, if you’ll use PayPal for online business or freelance work, upgrade to a Business account. For personal use with the additional features, Premier should have you covered.  3. Apply for a PayPal Business MasterCard Debit Card Plan well in advance if you want to use your debit card for a particular trip! If you’re new to PayPal, you’ll want to apply for the Business MasterCard at least three months in advance.  Even if you’ve had a PayPal account for a while, give yourself at least a month. Note: This is NOT the same as a PayPal Prepaid MasterCard, which is also a physical card you can get from PayPal. The Prepaid card is loaded like a gift card, while the Business debit card works like your bank debit or ATM card. Even outside of this hack, I love having a PayPal debit card because: I can pull cash from my PayPal account at an ATM or use it like any other debit card. That means I can make in-real-life purchases with money I make online. I get instant access to my PayPal funds, which used to take three to four days to transfer to my bank account. I get 1% cash back for every debit purchase that doesn’t require a PIN. 3. Set Up a Backup Funding Source Select a backup funding source for your Business debit card. This is a different process from selecting a backup funding source for your PayPal account, so make sure you attach it specifically to the card. Your backup funding source will be either your checking account or another debit card (or both).  When you pay for something using your PayPal debit card, any funds in your PayPal account are used first. The backup will cover the purchase if the amount exceeds your PayPal balance. Warning: Your backup will cover a purchase that exceeds your PayPal balance, whether or not you have the funds in the backup account. Watch the balance on both accounts to avoid an overdraft fee. Renting a Car With a Debit Card When you travel, use your PayPal debit card to cover your rental car deposit. Here’s how it works: 1. Deposit $1 Into Your PayPal Account A few days before you travel, deposit a small amount into your PayPal account. I always stick with just $1. Depending on your bank, a deposit could take a few days to hit your PayPal account. Mine usually takes two or three days.  If you need it more quickly, you can coordinate with a friend or family member to transfer money directly from another PayPal account, which happens almost instantly. Make sure you keep the balance low. If you already have a higher balance in your PayPal account, withdraw most of it into your bank account. Any available funds in your PayPal account will be held for the deposit, so the less available when the card is swiped, the better. 2. Look for a Hold on the Available Balance When rental car company swipes your card, the deposit will take your available $1. The authorization will be valid, because the charge sees your backup funding and reads that as sufficient funds for the charge, regardless of your checking account’s balance.  But your checking account will not be charged, because the transaction will not be completed.  You can also subsequently receive payments or otherwise deposit money to your PayPal account and have access to it. That won’t be tied up in the hold. 3. Return the Car and Remove the Hold When you return the rental car, you’ll pay the rental fee. You can charge it to the PayPal card on file (and, subsequently, to your backup funding source), or if it’s allowed, pay with a different card or cash.  When you return the car, the hold is removed from your card, and you’ll never be out the money from the deposit. Note that if you rack up any charges beyond the car rental fee, like for smoking in the car or damaging it, your PayPal card and/or backup funding source will be charged. I don’t recommend charging a deposit to your PayPal that’s greater than the balance in your checking account. You’ll risk overdrafting if the charge for the deposit goes through for any reason. Where to Rent a Car Without a Credit Card Renting a car is a tricky process for the, uh, credit-impaired. It’s a big responsibility! Some companies simply don’t allow you to rent without a credit card in your name. Practically no one will rent to you for cash or check anymore.  But many companies do allow you to rent a car with a debit card — with a few additional caveats. Most rental car companies will run a credit check, and many will require additional identification, for renting with a debit card (versus a credit card). Check with your rental car company to ensure you show up with all the required information. You’ll always be required to show a valid driver’s license and your charge card to rent a car. Additional I.D. required for car rental with a debit card might include: A return airline ticket or itinerary U.S. passport or military I.D Current vehicle insurance card A copy of your phone or utility bill or bank statement from within 60 days As of this writing, these companies allow you to rent a car with a debit card: Dollar Thrifty Alamo (return ticket or itinerary required; no credit check at some locations) Avis  Budget  Hertz For most companies, you must be at least 25 years old to rent a car with a debit card. But Dollar allows drivers under 25 to rent with a debit card. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Teaching Your Kids to Save: I am a Bit Confused (HELP) 10/10/19 @ 12:24 PM Traveling All 50 States On a Budget 10/9/19 @ [...]
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BoE Mandates Climate risk stress tests, can Fintechs help?

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BoE Mandates Climate risk stress tests, can Fintechs help?
If you were in London over the last couple of weeks, you wouldn’t have missed the activities of the extinction rebellion. While I don’t condone all their actions, they are making a valid point and it is being heard at the highest and the lowest levels. A week ago, I explained to my five year […] The post BoE Mandates Climate risk stress tests, can Fintechs help? appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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30 Super Easy Ways to Save Money

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30 Super Easy Ways to Save Money
Want some easy ways to save money? Here are 30 easy ways to save money submitted by my Facebook followers. How many of these do you currently do? 30 Super Easy Ways to Save Money 1. Set up auto deposit to a bank that is hard to access. Susan suggested: “Auto deposit to a bank you don’t have easy access to. I use our local credit union that is only open 9-3. While I’m working.” Rachel says: “This is how I saved enough money to buy my first home outright. Lived on one check and sent the next 2 to a bank I didn’t have easy access too. (I had an account at a credit union 3 hours away so it was definitely a job to get the money out.)” Kim says: “I automatically have money transferred into a savings account before I even see it from my check.” 2. Ask some questions before making a purchase. Kelley says: “I ask myself more than once before making a purchase, ‘Do I really need this and will this make me happier a year from now?’ Pretty much stops me in my tracks most of the time!” 3. Take advantage of free family fun! Lacy suggested: “We like to do outdoors activities and nature adventures as a family instead of dining out and shopping as ‘something to do’ as our family time.” 4. Cook and eat at home. Hope says: “Cooking all our meals at home and making my own coffee drinks is enabling me to stay home.” Moni also said: “Cooking homemade food and eating at home saves us a lot of money. My hubby also saves a ton of money each week bringing lunches and eating breakfast before he goes to work in the morning. Also coffee! Brewing our own saves as much as not getting food out!” 5. Shop at thrift stores. Rachel says: “Shop at salvage stores and thrift stores.” 6. Record every purchase. Shannon says: “Recording every purchase (yes, even things like a vending purchase!) in our budget spreadsheets helps us track categorized expenses and make sure we are staying within budget.” 7. Cancel your catalogs and unsubscribe from emails. Jennifer says: “Limiting my exposure to beautiful things by canceling all the pretty catalogs and email blasts from the same stores is an easy way to save money.” 8. Cut your cable. Rachel says: “Cut off your cable! Wish I had done it months ago!” Laura also said: “We just did this, too! It’s saving us $65/month.” 9. Set a goal. Tammy says: “When I have a goal set (usually travel), I can save money very easily. I have no problem not spending unnecessarily. No goal = I buy things I DO NOT need.” 10. Do it yourself! Rachael says: “Easy ways we save money: Making my own DIY face/skin/cleaning products, canning, freezing, gardening, making our own wine, cutting my daughter’s hair, and doing handmade/homemade Christmas/birthday gifts!” 11. Only buy groceries on sale with coupons. Valeria says: “Only buy groceries when on sale, using coupons and app rebates. Plus, purchase enough to get you to the next sale of that item.” 12. Order groceries online. Edith says: “I save money by ordering groceries online. It keeps me out of the store and eliminates impulse shopping. I make my list at home, do the order, and pick it up outside the store.” 13. Stock up when an item is on sale. Keiva says: “I use coupons with sales to buy more than we need at the time so it’s available to us when it’s not on sale. Also, stock up on sale items. This week, our grocery has Mott’s Apple juice 64oz. for $1. I’ll buy 40. With 6 kids, it goes quickly! They also have Peter Pan PB for $1, so I’ll buy about 20. I’ll be set for the next 6 months!” 14. Get rid of expensive habits. Tiffany says: “Get rid of habits that cost money. I gave up coffee and tea a long time ago. Started saving me $15 to $25 a week. I stopped buying books unless they are $1 or less and just reserve books at a library.” 15. Cut your hair at home. Barbie says: “Doing my husband’s and sons’ haircuts myself. My husband and older son only take about 10 minutes a piece. My younger son takes twice as long because he fidgets. I still figure I save on time by not going to a barber shop, and I save $60-ish every round of haircuts. My boys think going to a barber shop is quite the treat!” 16. Don’t buy it if you don’t need it! Tosha says: “Remembering that just because it’s posted on MSM or another blog doesn’t mean I need to buy it! If I don’t need it and I buy it because it’s on sale, I’ve spent money I didn’t need to spend.” 17. Stay out of Target. Sandra says: “Staying out of Target and buying necessities on Amazon is an easy way to save money.” 18. Don’t shop without a list. Oghma: “I don’t go inside a store until I have a list. Also, don’t shop just one item and then feel like you need to buy other things so the trip is ‘worth it’.” 19. Use a wood burning fireplace. Holly says: “We bought a wood burning fireplace insert to save money. We’ve gotten firewood free but when we’ve bought it, the wood was still 1/3 the price of natural gas. Also, when we had a natural gas outage, we had no power but we still had heat.” 20. Use Rakuten to earn cash back. Michele says: “We save money by using eBates when online shopping (now known as Rakuten). In the years I’ve been using it, I’ve gotten almost $1,000 back. They send you a check every three months. I never order anything without checking to see if the website is on eBates first.” 21. Get a 15-year mortgage instead of a 30-year. Melisa says: “We have a 15-year mortgage instead of a 30-year mortgage. Yes, monthly payment is higher, but not double. Plus, it’s going to save us $112,000 in interest on a $290,000 home.” 22. Use your local library. Patricia says: “We utilize every aspect of our local library. DVDs, audiobooks, reading programs with prizes, free events for kids, game night, kid computer games, online library for ebooks, etc.” 23. Pack food before you leave. Bethany says: “We save money by packing lunch/dinner if we go out, bringing coffee along for the ride, and eating before we leave!” 24. Don’t buy beverages! Robin says: “We don’t drink pop and we don’t buy beverages when we are out and about. Bottled water is also a no-no. I can fill a bottle at home real cheap.” 25. Watch the prices as they are scanned. Beverly says: “I watch the prices as items are scanned in at the register. I save often by catching an accidental higher price being scanned in. Also, 2 main stores I shop at offer a price scan policy. If it scans in wrong, you get one free if it’s under $10. Or, you get $10 off if it’s over $10.” 26. Don’t buy things the same day. Betsy says: “I take pictures of things I like at stores like Target and don’t buy them the same day. Sometimes I do this and then find something similar at the thrift stores.” 27. Plan your menu based upon what you already have. Elizabeth says: “When I’m meal planning, I shop my pantry and freezer first and try to utilize what I have and not let things go to waste.” 28. Don’t shop just to kill time. Andrea says: “Don’t go shopping just to fill time. If I go wandering because I’m bored, I will find things to buy. I’m trying to simplify and save money for adventures instead of ‘stuff’ for my little one and me.” 29. Ditch your clothes dryer. Tricia says: “I save money by hanging all my clothes to dry instead of using a dryer.” 30. Don’t buy it just because you want it. Jennifer says: “I’m learning to be an adult and understand that I don’t HAVE TO buy everything I want.” What are some of yo [...]
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2 Ways a CPAP Machine Can Make You Sick

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2 Ways a CPAP Machine Can Make You Sick
A CPAP machine is designed to boost your health. But if you aren’t careful, it could have the opposite effect. These machines are often used to treat obstructive sleep apnea, which causes people to periodically stop breathing while they sleep. By pushing air through a tube, into a mask and down your throat, CPAP machines help keep your airway open throughout the night. (CPAP stands for &# [...]
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Lower Your Home Improvement Budget with These Tips to Save at Lowe’s

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Lower Your Home Improvement Budget with These Tips to Save at Lowe’s
Home improvement projects are never as simple as you initially imagine. Each time you run into a problem, need more supplies or have to outsource labor, the price goes up and up. You need all the savings you can get. Before your next visit to Lowe’s, try one of these 18 tips and tricks to save money. How to Save Money at Lowe’s Lowe’s slogan is, “Do it right for less.” Read these savings strategies before you shop. 1. Be aware of the current sales promotions. Lowe’s has a savings section of its website that shares the latest deals. Flip through the weekly sales ad and make sure to check out what’s on clearance. When you’re in the store, keep your eye out for yellow tags that indicate marked-down prices. 2. Download the Lowe’s app. The app, which is available to download for free on Google Play or the App Store, helps shoppers compare prices, check availability, read product reviews, watch DIY videos and more. 3. Sign up to receive Lowe’s emails. You’ll find exclusive offers and sales promotions in your email, plus the weekly ad, DIY tips and sneak peeks of upcoming in-store events. Register for emails by clicking the link at the bottom right side of Lowe’s homepage. You can also sign up for mobile alerts for savings opportunities. 4. Sign up for a MyLowe’s account. You may not benefit from direct savings from your MyLowe’s account, but you’ll be able to keep track of past purchases with this tool. Having that knowledge comes in handy when you’re shopping for replacement tiles or the same shade of paint you bought two years ago. 5. Use the price match guarantee. If you find another retailer selling the same product for less, Lowe’s will match that price. If you’re comparing prices to an online retailer, you must factor in the cost of shipping and handling. Lowe’s also has a price protection policy, which means if there’s a difference between Lowe’s in-store price and online price, you pay the lesser of the two. 6. Take advantage of free shipping and delivery. Lowe’s offers free shipping on qualifying online orders of $45 or more, or you can choose to have it shipped to your nearest store for self pick-up for free. The retailer also offers free delivery and connection for major appliances (like washers and dryers) as long as you’ve purchased new connectors (like your dryer vent) from Lowe’s. 7. Use Lowe’s Advantage credit card to save 5% off everyday purchases. If you buy something over $299, you may be eligible for six months of no-interest financing. There’s also low-interest financing for orders over $2,000. Lowe’s has a payment calculator so credit card holders can figure out their monthly payments. 8. Take advantage of Lowe’s military discount. Active military personnel and retired veterans can save 10% off eligible purchases every day. Another bonus: Lowe’s has special priority parking spaces for vets. 9. Purchase a discounted gift card. Sites like Raise, CardCookie and Gift Card Granny sell Lowe’s gift cards for slightly less than the card’s value — meaning more savings for you. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Teaching Your Kids to Save: I am a Bit Confused (HELP) 10/10/19 @ 12:24 PM Traveling All 50 States On a Budget 10/9/19 @ 8:40 PM Acorns 8/14/19 @ 6:00 PM See more in Save Money or ask a money question 10. Check for rebate offers. Visit Lowe’s online rebate center to see if a recent purchase or an item you’re considering buying comes with a rebate. You can submit your rebate online and check the status of when you can expect your money to arrive. 11. Use coupons and promo codes from sites like RetailMeNot, CouponCabin or Groupon. Some store managers may accept coupons from competitors like The Home Depot, but that’s not a company-wide policy. You also might find coupons for Lowe’s in the moving package when you change your address at the post office. 12. Know the right time to shop. You’ll find major sales around Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Black Friday and Christmas. Lowe’s also has a big sale in late March or early April called Spring Black Friday. A few times a year, the retailer holds special sidewalk sales where you can find substantial deals. If you’re shopping for a specific item — like tools, a grill or patio furniture — our guide on the best time to buy anything can help. 13. Ask for a lower price for damaged or used goods. Put your haggling skills to use to negotiate deals for a floor model or items that may be slightly damaged or worn. Lowe’s will often discount paint that was returned from another customer or scraps of lumber left over from cutting a piece for someone else. You may also find deals on wilting plants that need a bit of reviving. 14. Exchange dying plants for new ones. Lowe’s has a one-year plant guarantee. You can get a replacement plant if its perennials, shrubs or trees don’t make it through the first year. Just bring in the drooping plant and your receipt for an exchange. 15. Learn DIY skills for free. Check out Lowe’s How-To Library to learn how to tackle small projects so you don’t have to pay a professional for the cost of labor. The store also shares gardening tips if you don’t have room in your budget for a landscaper. You can watch Lowe’s YouTube channel where new DIY videos are regularly posted. 16. Occupy the kids with a free craft project. Children can participate in free crafts projects through Lowe’s Build and Grow program. This program is currently only available at store locations near Charlotte, Nashville and Seattle, but the company plans to expand it nationwide. 17. Buy in bulk. Lowe’s has special deals for contractors who buy materials and supplies in bulk. However, you don’t have to be a licensed professional to benefit. Ask for the bulk-price deal if you’re doing a major home renovation that calls for buying a lot of the same product. 18. Get free design advice. If you need advice for your remodel, get assistance from store technicians at the service desk or use the virtual room designer tool. Bonus Savings Tip: If you’re a Lowe’s employee, you can get up to $2,500 to become certified in a trade (such as carpentry or plumbing) as a part of the company’s Track to the Trades program. 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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How to Save Money on Groceries When You Only Eat Whole Foods

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How to Save Money on Groceries When You Only Eat Whole Foods
Is it possible to save money on groceries if you only eat whole foods? In this post, I give some of my best tips and encouragement for how to keep your grocery budget low, even if you only eat whole foods. I have been scouring the internet for easy, budget friendly meals for those on a strict diet. Over a year ago my health was a mess and we figured out my body has a sensitivity to toxins in the environment, particularly from plastic, treated water, and also chemicals used on food. I found I feel so much better when eating whole, organic foods and organic meats. However this shot our grocery budget up to a crazy high amount. We live in a sparsely populated area in the midwest, one stoplight in our whole county. Healthy food is not cheap. I am desperate for ideas on how to have a “beans and rice” budget but not sacrifice the progress I have made in my health. I would love to hear insight on this. Thanks and God bless your journey! -Kristy First off, Kristy, I just want to encourage you to know that you are not alone. I have heard from many other women who are in similar situations. And I’ve also seen many women who have found very creative ways to eat very healthfully on a tight budget. One of my local friends, Cheapskate Cook, is a fantastic resource for how to eat healthfully on a budget. She constantly inspires me with her outside-the-box ideas! I also wanted to share some other strategies and suggestions that might help you in your journey: 1. Have a can do attitude. The first step to lowering your budget is believing that you can. If you think you can’t, you probably won’t be able to. But if you believe you can, you’ll likely be motivated to figure out creative ways to make it happen. When there is a will, there is usually a way. 2.  Cut your budget in other areas. Now, that said, I’m not saying you should be unrealistic or put undue pressure on yourself. Don’t compare yourself to other people or other budgets. Also, realize that getting creative could mean choosing to cut back in other budget categories in order to give you more wiggle room in your grocery budget. For instance, maybe your family choose to drive an older car and not go on vacations and live in a smaller home in order to free up extra money for your grocery budget. Everyone has different priorities and it’s okay if your priorities are very different from another family’s priorities. 3. Buy in bulk. Research all of the local farms in your area to see which ones would be willing to sell to the public. Could you drive an hour or two to buy half a cow and save $1 or $2/lb.? Are there any orchards or farms nearby that would be willing to sell you their produce “seconds” for less? Sure, it might not be as pretty as full-priced product, but they will taste just as good! What about stores that are within a 50-mile radius of your home that might offer organic items and would give you a discount if you were to purchase in bulk? Also,  check to see if Azure Standard delivers in your area. If not, could you start a group so that they will come to your area? 4. Grow your own. One of the best ways to save on produce is to grow your own. If you have kids, make it a family affair. Challenge yourself to see how much of what you usually buy at the store can be grown or made yourself! 5. Look into online options. There are so many great online options nowadays that offer great deals on natural and organic products. Grove.co, Amazon, and Vitacost are a few of my favorite sites. But I’m sure if you start looking, there are many others, too! Tip: Type in the price point you want to pay for items you routinely buy from Amazon.com at CamelCamelCamel.com and they’ll send you an alert when the price goes under that amount! What others ideas do the rest of you have for Kristy? I’d love to hear in the comments! More posts to check out: 10 Ways to Afford Organic Foods on a Tight Budget How to Eat Well on a $40 Grocery Budget Going Vegan on a Budget photo credit [...]
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How Teachers, Cops, Firefighters and EMTs Can Buy a Home for 50% Off

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How Teachers, Cops, Firefighters and EMTs Can Buy a Home for 50% Off
If you’re a teacher, firefighter, law enforcement officer or EMT, you definitely know a thing or two about hard work. But as challenging as your position is, hopefully you also consider it rewarding: You’re performing an invaluable public service. It turns out, it’s not entirely impossible to put a monetary value on the work you do. Thanks to the HUD Good Neighbor Next Door program, you could receive a 50% discount off the list price of your next home purchase, provided that you and the property meet several requirements. Here’s what you need to know about this one-of-a-kind opportunity. HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door Program: How Does It Work? Half off the purchase of a home is a big deal, so it’s not surprising that there are some restrictions. Here’s how it works. To qualify for the Good Neighbor Next Door Program, you must be one of the following: A law enforcement officer employed full time by a federal, state, local or tribal government agency. A K-12 teacher employed full time by a state-accredited public or private school serving students who reside in the area where the purchase home is located. A firefighter or emergency medical technician (EMT) employed full time by a fire department or emergency medical services responder unit of the federal, state, local or tribal government serving the area where the home you’re purchasing is located. Once you know that you’re qualified, it’s time to find a qualified home. The property must be a single-family house, condo or townhouse located in one of the program’s designated “revitalization areas,” which are authorized by Congress for the deal based on criteria like level of homeownership, foreclosure rate and householder income. This is where you may be raising your eyebrows, we realize. Exactly what kind of “revitalization” are these areas in need of? In short, is your new home going to be in a place you actually want to live? Anna DeSimone, a long-time industry professional and award-winning housing finance author, suggests consumers save their skepticism. HUD owns “thousands and thousands” of properties, she says, many of which are in very attractive neighborhoods. “You might go and see one house boarded up, but everything else is pristine,” she said.  In other words, while it’s important to check out the property in person and get a professional inspection, this deal can often be a total steal. Eligible homes are owned by HUD and listed for sale exclusively through the program for seven days. You can find them by using this online tool, which works in much the same way other popular real estate search platforms do, displaying photos, details, and the asking price along with the full property address.  Just one thing: Be sure you’re looking in the same geographical location where you’re planning to work, advises DeSimone. Bringing public servants to the area is the whole point of the program — hence the name. FROM THE HOME BUYING FORUM 3rd Kid Coming; Should I buy a bigger home? 10/8/19 @ 8:42 PM 1 to buy or to rent? 9/12/19 @ 7:59 PM O 401k Loan 7/29/19 @ 2:35 PM B Knowledge Is Important When Buying A Home 7/22/19 @ 1:18 PM See more in Home Buying or ask a money question Purchasing a Home Through the Good Neighbor Next Door Program Let’s say you find your dream home available for half off . What comes next? When you purchase a home through the Good Neighbor Next Door program, you’ve got plenty of funding options. You can pay in cash — an often-out-of-reach option the 50% discount may just bring to the table. Otherwise, you can apply for a conventional, FHA loan or VA mortgage, and you can even use down payment assistance funds, as well.  You will, however, be required to put down 1% of the list price as an “earnest money deposit,” which is cash that must come out of pocket. That said, these homes are selling for about $80,000 on average, said DeSimone, so you’re only looking at a cost of about $800 — and no more than $2,000, per the program’s stated rules. (The minimum earnest money deposit for a HUD home is $500.) You’ll also be required to live in the home for three years, and your residency will be confirmed each year by mail. After this three-year period, you’re free to sell the house if you wish, and keep any equity or appreciation you earn in the bargain. One important caveat: As a failsafe for the three-year residency requirement, Good Neighbor Next Door buyers are required to sign a second mortgage in the amount of the discount they receive — which is, in a half-off deal, equivalent to the purchase price of the house. This “silent” second mortgage doesn’t require any payments or accrue any interest, and it’s dissolved so long as you meet the three-year residency requirement. Is the Good Neighbor Next Door Program Worth It? Like any incentive program, the Good Neighbor Next Door program can be immensely helpful for those who qualify… but it’s not for everyone.  That said, there are plenty of other options available to homebuyers of all backgrounds and experience levels.  For instance, many states offer special homebuyer assistance to veterans, target-area buyers and other select demographic groups, often including public servants. (Here’s a great resource to find out what’s available where you live.) And if you’re a first-time buyer, there are even more options out there to help you get set up. (Psst: Here’s a pretty thorough beginner’s guide.) Jamie Cattanach’s work has been featured at Fodor’s, Yahoo, SELF, The Huffington Post, The Motley Fool and other outlets. Learn more at www.jamiecattanach.com. 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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5 Types of Car Insurance Coverage That May Be a Waste of Money

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5 Types of Car Insurance Coverage That May Be a Waste of Money
The cost of owning a car goes well beyond the sticker price at the dealership. There are fuel costs, routine maintenance and, of course, car insurance.  The seemingly endless options for car insurance can be overwhelming, so many drivers end up opting for coverage they don’t actually need. Liability coverage is the most basic form of car insurance and is absolutely necessary. Should you be deemed at fault for an accident, liability coverage will take care of the medical costs for other people injured and costs of repairs for other vehicles — but not yours. Some states require additional types of coverage beyond liability.  However, there are certain types of coverage that you can and potentially should opt out of, depending on the value of your car, your current finances, your health insurance policy and more. So what types of car insurance can you skip?  1. Do I Need Collision Insurance and Comprehensive Coverage? When to Skip Collision insurance covers damage to your car in the event of an accident, whether you were at fault or not.  Comprehensive instead covers damage to your car outside of an accident, like flood damage due to a hurricane, vandalism, theft or fire.  If your car is worth a lot of money, you should absolutely carry these coverages, and if your car is financed, your lender may require you to. But you may be wondering: Do I need collision insurance, especially if my car is old? If your car is old or you paid a small amount of cash for a used car that may only last for a few months, you’d be wasting your money to get collision and comprehensive. “Your reward is diminished greatly once your vehicle has depreciated over the course of time,” said Melanie Musson, insurance writer for CarInsuranceComparison.com. “So, if you’re paying monthly for coverage that’s going to provide you with minimal payment should you total your vehicle, and then you’ll face higher rates after making a claim, it’s just not worth it.” One caveat: Be prepared to pay out of pocket to fix the car or, more likely, to purchase a replacement vehicle. But if your vehicle is only valued at $1,000, it may be better to put money each month into savings for a replacement vehicle than to shell out money for coverage on that low-value vehicle. Chris Tepedino, also of CarInsuranceComparison.com, warns that bundling uninsured motorist and collision is often a mistake.  “Uninsured motorist protects your car if it’s hit by someone who doesn’t have insurance,” he said. “Collision, well, protects your car. Don’t be suckered into thinking you have to buy both. Overlapping generally doesn’t help.” 2. GAP Insurance: It Depends on Your Down Payment Vehicle depreciation can be a major detriment to your finances, especially if you wreck your vehicle shortly after financing it.  Because a car loses about 20% of its value when you drive it off the lot, insurance will only cover 80% of the initial sticker price should you get in an accident on your way home. That means you will be responsible for the other 20%. With the average new vehicle costing $37,401, that could mean you lose out on nearly $7,500. That’s where gap insurance (guaranteed asset protection) comes in, covering the difference between what you paid for a new car and how much your regular insurance is willing to pay for the totaled vehicle. But depending on how much you put down for the car versus how much you financed and how much that car is worth, you might not need gap insurance. “Gap coverage isn’t necessary if you’re able to financially handle the risk of paying the difference between what you owe and what your vehicle is worth when you’re upside down on a vehicle loan,” Musson said. “If you make a 20% or greater down payment, your risk for needing the coverage is greatly lowered, and you may be able to forgo that coverage.” Similarly, you don’t need gap coverage if you’ve paid off your vehicle or if you purchase an old vehicle that won’t depreciate as quickly, Tepedino said. FROM THE INSURANCE FORUM Self Employed Medical Insurance 10/12/19 @ 10:52 AM Car Insurance 9/28/19 @ 7:33 AM Total loss valuation 9/16/19 @ 10:40 AM What happens to my FSA if I leave a job? 8/5/19 @ 9:37 AM I See more in Insurance or ask a money question 3. Rental Car Reimbursement: Probably Not Worth It A luxury option you can add to your policy is rental car reimbursement. If your vehicle is damaged and must be repaired, this coverage gets you a rental car to use while your vehicle is out of commission. However, the cost of paying for this each month would likely exceed the cost of a rental vehicle, unless you crash frequently or need a rental for multiple weeks.  Even then, you may be better off relying on friends and family for temporary transportation, if possible. If you live in a two-vehicle household, consider getting by on one vehicle temporarily instead of opting for this coverage. 4. Roadside Assistance: Check Your Warranty First Similarly, you can opt for roadside assistance for help with jump-starts, flat tires and more serious problems that leave you stranded. However, many new cars come with roadside assistance, often throughout the length of the warranty. “You can skip roadside assistance, as long as you realize you’ll have to pay for a tow out of pocket,” Musson said. “You may even be able to find it cheaper from AAA or a similar service.” If you live paycheck to paycheck, this additional insurance expense is one to avoid. 5. MedPay: Depends on Your Health Insurance Medical payments coverage, also known as MedPay, is an optional coverage that assists with medical expenses after an accident. However, if you have decent health insurance, you can likely skip this coverage. Want to Save Money on Car Insurance? Proceed With Caution The cost of your insurance is proportional to the deductible and coverage limits you choose. The lower your deductible and higher your coverage limits, the more you’ll pay in insurance premiums. “This is a little dangerous, but if someone is wanting to save money, going with lower coverage limits may help,” Tepedino said.  But Tepedino warns that this is a risky way to save money. “The average cost of an accident with property damage alone is $7,500,” he said. “That number obviously jumps with a death or severe injury, so go at your own peril.” Brent Weiss, a certified financial planner and co-founder of Facet Wealth, believes there are some types of coverage you can consider avoiding, but he urges caution when you’re shopping for car insurance. “I am not a fan of simply meeting state minimums,” Weiss said. “It puts too many families at risk of a financial loss they cannot cover. In general, I recommend having liability coverage for bodily injury and personal property, underinsured and uninsured motorists, and collision and comprehensive coverage for most cars. There are some personal injury coverages that may be required, but limits are typically low. The bottom line is that you want to get the right coverage with the right limits and not simply shop for the lowest premium. You often get what you pay for.” Timothy Moore leads a team of editors and graphic designers at a ma [...]
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Own a Home? This One Step Could Get You a $974 Discount on Insurance

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Own a Home? This One Step Could Get You a $974 Discount on Insurance
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners. Homeowners: What if we said you could save $974 on your homeowners and auto insurance this year? Wait! Before you roll your eyes and mutter “Yeah, right,” hear us out. One of the easiest ways to save on insurance is to bundle your homeowners and auto insurance policies. But before you pick up your phone and call your current provider, we have an easier — and more effective — solution: Use a free online service called Gabi, which will automatically find you the best prices. The Best Way to Bundle Your Insurance (It’s Not What You Think) When it comes to bundling, your first inclination might be to pick up the phone and call your current insurance provider — “Hey, tack on my auto insurance, will ya?” But that’s not always the best approach when it comes to saving money. For starters, when’s the last time you explored your insurance options? You might be able to find a better deal if you switch companies. Instead of calling up dozens of companies — or worse, getting quotes online and subsequently wading through an inbox full of spammy emails — you can get a free quote comparison with Gabi. It takes all of two minutes. We’ll walk you through the process really fast: Head over to Gabi's website. Answer some basic questions about yourself, and connect your insurance accounts or upload a PDF of your policy details. By doing this, Gabi can better understand your coverage and give you a true apples-to-apples comparison — without shorting you on coverage. Explore your options. Find something you like? You can easily buy the new policy directly through Gabi.  Here’s another cool part: If Gabi finds that you can actually save the most money by splitting your homeowners and auto insurance between two companies (not bundling), it’ll let you know. Oh, and if you already have the best price? Gabi will tell you that, too. Then it’ll continue to keep an eye on other options and let you know if something better pops up. Using this strategy, Gabi says it’s saved its users an average of $974 each year on auto and home insurance. Think about it: That could potentially cover your mortgage payment for this month. Go ahead and grab your free quote. You have nothing to lose — except potentially hundreds of dollars to your current insurance providers. Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Men: Need to Clean Out Your Closet? Here’s Where You Can Consign Clothes

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Men: Need to Clean Out Your Closet? Here’s Where You Can Consign Clothes
There are plenty of places for women to make a buck off gently used threads, but ever wonder where men can do the same?  Well, we have a list of places for you. Here’s a list of both online and brick-and-mortar men’s consignment stores that we found. Online Men’s Consignment Stores No physical location, no problem. 1. Grailed Named as a nod to the Holy Grail — i.e., something priceless but hard to find — Grailed bills itself as “a curated community” where “each piece is sourced directly from the closets of like-minded fashion-conscious individuals.” If you’re a luxury wearer, the Grailed marketplace is the place for you.  But even if you’re not, you could sell your items in its other sections, which include streetwear, avant garde, vintage, tech wear and minimalist. Grailed offers PayPal buyer and seller protection, as well as its own appeals process for any disputed PayPal claims. It also offers a unique spin on the eBay bid site model: In addition to setting an asking price and accepting offers from buyers, you also have the option to accept multiple offers at once and ship to whoever pays you first.  Grailed takes a 6% cut of any profits after PayPal fees — by far the lowest commission of any other company on this list. That said, you set the price for your items, which may mean they take longer to sell than they would on a site that sets the price for you. 2. The RealReal As its name implies, The RealReal prides itself on authenticity. While all of the sites on this list forbid replicas and knockoffs of brand-name items, The RealReal takes it one step further by employing trained professionals — from gemologists to apparel experts — to ensure every item it offers is the real thing.  Your item must pass a rigorous inspection before the site will list it.  The more you consign with The RealReal, the more you earn: At the VIP level, you’re selling at least $10,000 a year and you’ll get 70% commission.  At the Icon level, you’re selling $1,501-$9,999 a year and getting 60% commission.  At the Insider level, you’re selling $0-$1,500 a year and getting 55% commission.  Learn more about the rewards program commission rates and item commission rates here.   3. Menswear Market Menswear Market touts itself as taking some of the guesswork (and legwork) out of reselling your items by offering services like photography and inventory management. Menswear Market may sell your pieces on its own website or through its selling account on eBay. Menswear Market offers free item pickup in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, or prepaid FedEx shipping for out-of-state sellers. You will receive 50% of the net sale price via a monthly check over your collection’s selling period. 4. Linda’s Stuff Don’t let the name fool you; Linda’s Stuff isn’t just for women’s clothing and accessories. It also has a sizeable men’s section with everything from jeans to shoes to swimwear..  This company strives to sell your luxury items at a price that will net you the most money and interest the most buyers. The team does most of the work itself, from photography, to research, to pricing, to authenticating. The company’s inventory team determines an item’s fair market value based on its age and designer, as well as its style, condition and designer. The company lists items for one year, but if they don’t sell in that time, it is the consignor’s responsibility to initiate the return process. Linda’s Stuff pays sellers monthly and takes a sliding commission based on how much you sell: 20% of sales over $5,000, 25% of sales between $1,000 and $4,999 and 40% of sales under $1,000.  Brick-and-Mortar Men’s Consignment Stores Prefer an in-person experience? Check out these stores. 5. Well Suited From the same people who brought you women’s consignment site My Sister’s Closet and home furnishings consignment site My Sister’s Attic, Well Suited has retail stores in Arizona and California. It also allows shoppers to browse items online and place orders by phone.  You can stop by a store with items you’d like to sell or follow these instructions to ship them to the company. To qualify for resale, your items should meet the “three C’s” My Sister’s Closet originally set forth: Cute (or, one could argue, “handsome” in this case): brand-name designer items, whether classic or trendy, that retail for at least $50 Clean: in like-new, ready-to-wear condition Current: stylish and no more than 4-5 years old You can receive 45% of the item’s sale price in cash or 55% in store credit. 6. Plato’s Closet Plato’s Closet focuses on teen and young adult clothing and accessories — for guys, this means clothing in the 28-40 waist size range in “current styles that are still in the mall.”  Check here to see if there are any locations in your area. If there are, you can stop by with your items and your ID, and a sales associate will review your stuff while you browse the store’s racks. (Plato’s Closet doesn’t have a ship-to-sell option.) Unlike other consignment stores that pay you when your items sell and take a cut as commission, Plato’s Closet buys your items outright and stocks them for resale — so once you receive and accept its quote, you walk out with either cold, hard cash or store credit.  According to consumer reviews, you may only get $2-$5 per accepted item, unless you have high-demand items. But if you’re looking for a quick, easy way to unload your unwanted stuff and get a few bucks, Plato’s Closet is worth checking out. Choosing store credit could get you a little bit more, too. 7. Buffalo Exchange Like Plato’s Closet, Buffalo Exchange buys acceptable items upfront and pays you in cash or store credit. You can either drop your items off at one of its physical locations or send them by prepaid UPS shipping. Buffalo Exchange lists what each location is looking for here, but as a rule, it focuses on “designer items, popular mall brands, athletic war, current trends, everyday staples, vintage, and one-of-a-kind pieces.” You can call ahead to find out what your local store is looking for if you’re selling in person or go here to see its biggest sell-by-mail needs.  Accepted items typically net you 50% of the selling price in store credit or 30% in cash. Kelly Gurnett is a contributor to 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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