This Week in Fintech ending 14 February 2020

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This Week in Fintech ending 14 February 2020
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My 9 Goals For This Week

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My 9 Goals For This Week
(All dressed up for Silent Disco Night at camp!) I could look at last week’s goals list and be discouraged at how little it feels like I crossed off. But then, I look at all that actually happened last week and I can remember that maybe it doesn’t look like I got a lot done, but I focused on people versus projects and being present versus being productive… and I realize that it was a really good week. Last week’s goals: Personal Goals 1. Get in 54,000 steps total. (I use the FitBit Ulta HR to track my steps every day.)  2. Finish reading The Path Between Us and Counterfeit Gods. Listen to The Atomic City Girls. (I decided to stop listening to this book because it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. More details on that on my book review post this week.) Home/Family Goals 3. Read 40 more pages of Carry a Big Stick aloud as a family. (I only ended up reading aloud once and we made it through 10 pages. Hey, that’s something, right?) Work/Blog Goals 4. Finish editing chapters 1-3 and finish the rough draft of chapter 4 of my manuscript.(I only got a chance to work on the book a few times last week between my friend’s funeral and being out of town helping at Youth Group camp all weekend. Here’s to hoping I make more progress this week!) 5. Run a book giveaway on Instagram with some books I’ve already read. Word of the Year Goals 6. Pop popcorn and watch another classic movie as a family. (We watched Treasure Island. Review coming later this week!) We have what looks to be a calmer week this week. We are actually home three evenings out of seven — I can’t remember the last time that has happened! And we don’t have any big things happening this week… well, anything that I know of yet! 🙂 So I’m planning 9 goals and we’ll see how it goes! 2020: Week 6 — Goals Personal Goals 1. Get in 54,000 steps total. (I use the FitBit Ulta HR to track my steps every day.)  2. Finish reading Counterfeit Gods. Listen to Eat That Frog! and Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids. 3. Go to bed by 10:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Home/Family Goals 4. Read 30 more pages of Carry a Big Stick aloud as a family. 5. Research strollers, baby carriers, and car seats. Decide what we’re going to purchase. 6. Complete 4-hour Foster Care Training. Work/Blog Goals 7. Finish editing chapters 1-3 and finish the rough draft of chapter 4 of my manuscript. Word of the Year Goals 8. Pop popcorn and watch another classic movie as a family. 9. Go to a movie with Jesse. What are YOUR goals for this week? How did you do on last week’s goals? Tell us in the comments! [...]
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YETI Rambler 18oz Bottle only $22.49, plus more!

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YETI Rambler 18oz Bottle only $22.49, plus more!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Love YETI products? Check out these hot deals on Amazon right now! If you love YETI, don’t miss these RARE discounts!! Amazon has this YETI Rambler 18oz Bottle for just $22.49 right now (regularly $29.99)! Choose from Navy, Black or Stainless. You can also get this YETI Rambler Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Colster for just $18.74 (regularly $29.99)! Choose from Black, Clay, Navy, Peak Purple, River Green, Seafoam or Silver. Or get this YETI Rambler 36 oz Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Bottle for just $37.49 shipped (regularly $49.99)! Choose from Black, Brick Red, Charcoal, Clay, Navy, Peak Purple, River Green, Seafoam, or Stainless Steel. 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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My 6 Goals For This Week

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

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SEC Announces Proposed Amendments to the Definitions of “Accredited Investor” and “Qualified Institutional Buyer”
On December 18, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to propose amendments (the Proposal) to the definition of “accredited investor” for purposes of private placements under Regulation D and the definition of “qualified institutional buyer” in Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933. The Proposal is intended to update and improve the definitions of those terms in order to more effectively identify both institutional and individual investors with the sophistication to participate in private capital markets transactions. In the SEC’s press release announcing the Proposal, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton noted that, “The current test for individual accredited investor status takes a binary approach to who does and does not qualify based only [on] a person’s income or net worth. Modernization of this approach is long overdue.” As highlighted in the fact sheet included in the press release, the Proposal would, among other things: add new categories of qualifying natural persons to the definition of accredited investor, including (A) individuals with certain professional certifications and designations (such as Series 7, 65 or 82 licensure or other credentials issued by accredited educational institutions); or (B) individuals who are “knowledgeable employees” (as defined under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the Investment Company Act)) of a hedge fund, venture capital fund or private equity fund for purposes of investing in that fund; add new categories of qualifying entities to the definition of accredited investor, including limited liability companies that meet certain conditions (consistent with existing SEC staff guidance), registered investment advisers and rural business investment companies (RBICs); “family offices” with at least $5 million in assets under management and their “family clients” (as such terms are defined in the Investment Advisers Act of 1940); and, as a so-called “catch-all” category, entities (including Indian tribes) owning in excess of $5 million in “investments” (as such term is defined under the Investment Company Act); permit “spousal equivalents” (in addition to spouses) to pool their finances for purposes of qualifying as accredited investors (as it has not been clear that persons in legally recognized unions, such as domestic partnerships, civil unions and same-sex marriages, would currently be considered spouses for purposes of the accredited investor definition); expressly include limited liability companies and RBICs as entities that are eligible to be considered “qualified institutional buyers” as defined in Rule 144A so long as they meet the $100 million in securities owned and investment threshold in the definition; and permit an institutional accredited investor under Rule 501(a) of Regulation D, of an entity type not already included in the qualified institutional buyer definition, to so qualify if it satisfies the $100 million threshold. The Proposal would not adjust the current net-income or net-worth standards or impose any limit on the amount that a person may invest under those standards. The SEC is soliciting comments on the Proposal for a period of 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The Proposal is available here, and the press release and fact sheet are available here. [...]
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8 Stores Offering Gift Card Freebies Right Now

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8 Stores Offering Gift Card Freebies Right Now
Several retailers — and tons of restaurants — are offering free bonus cash to spend with them when you buy gift cards this holiday season. Following is a list of the stores that are offering holiday gift card promotions this month. It's not the usual blah, blah, blah. Click here to sign up for our free newsletter. The offer: [...]
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Big List of Stocking Stuffers for Men (50 ideas!)

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

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Meet the Nerdlings, NerdWallet’s Interns
This post was written by Kirsten Armstrong, on the People Ops team at NerdWallet. Every summer, NerdWallet welcomes “Nerdlings,” interns from around the country who join us for hands-on experience and career preparation. During their internships, our Nerdlings become integral members of the NerdWallet community, bringing new ideas and fresh perspectives to our work. In turn, we’re...The article Meet the Nerdlings, NerdWallet’s Interns originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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So You’re Ready to Open a Bank Account? Here’s Exactly What You Need

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So You’re Ready to Open a Bank Account? Here’s Exactly What You Need
Regardless of where you are in life, you will likely need to open a bank account at some point.  But what do you need to open a bank account, exactly? Whether you’re a total newbie or just haven’t opened one in a long time, the process of opening an account can be stressful. But it doesn’t have to be. Prepare yourself before you head to the bank, and the process will go much more smoothly. What Do You Need to Open a Bank Account? Usually, you can open an account online or in person at a local bank branch. If you go in person, make sure you collect all your documents ahead of time to avoid delays. (We’ll discuss what you need to bring later on.) No matter how you open your bank account, you’ll need to fill out an application. This will include personal information like your name, address and Social Security number. If you’re applying online, you’ll need to enter your photo ID number so the bank can verify that you are who you claim to be. How to Determine if You’re Eligible to Open a Bank Account Each bank has different eligibility requirements, so it’s a good idea to do some research before choosing a bank. But all banks have certain eligibility requirements mandated by law. First, you need to be at least 18 years old to open a bank account on your own.  If you’re under 18, you may be able to open a joint account with a parent or legal guardian. You might also check with your bank to see if they offer accounts designed for minors.  Opening a bank account at a young age can help you learn how to properly manage your money, making the transition to adulthood an easier one. Many banks will look at your financial history before allowing you to open an account. So if you have a history of overdrafts or have had accounts closed by the bank before, you may be ineligible. Some banks will work with you even if you have a bad history, so it’s worth doing your research if this applies to you. In some circumstances, banks will only allow you to open an account if you’re a U.S. citizen. What to Bring When You Open a Bank Account Once you’ve chosen a financial institution where you want to open a checking or savings account, you’ll need to make sure you show up with the right documents to ensure a smooth process. Here’s what to bring. Photo ID When opening an account for the first time, you will need to bring some form of photo ID. The most common form is a state-issued driver’s license, but a passport will also work.  If you don’t drive and don’t have a passport, you can get a state ID from your local Department of Motor Vehicles office. To get an ID, you’ll need to provide the DMV with your birth certificate and proof of address. Social Security Card You may need to show your Social Security card to open an account, so it’s a good idea to bring it along just in case.  If you don’t have a Social Security number, you will need an Individual Taxpayer Identification number. You can get one by submitting Form W-7 to the IRS. Proof of Address You will need to bring some sort of proof of your address, such as a utility bill or mortgage statement. You can also provide a lease agreement that lists your address. Deposits Most banks require you to make an initial deposit when you open a new account, so make sure you ask what the minimum deposit is and have that amount of money with you when you go to open the account. 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 Happens After You Apply for a Bank Account? Once your application is complete, the bank will review it and check your history with bank accounts, if applicable. If you’re approved for the account, you will receive the account number and routing number so you can begin using it immediately. This is when you will pay your initial deposit.  If you’re opening the account in person, you can use cash, a check or an electronic transfer. If you’re opening the account online, you should be able to use all of the above options, with the exception of cash. After a few days, you’ll receive a checkbook, deposit slips and a debit or ATM card in the mail. The card will include instructions on how to activate it, which you’ll typically do over the phone or online. Make sure you sign the card or it could be considered invalid. Once you have your bank account details, you can set up a direct deposit for your regular monthly income, whether that’s a paycheck, retirement funds or other benefits. Direct deposits make it easy to access your money each month and avoid the extra step of having to cash a check. Next, you can set up online access to your bank account. Make sure you choose a password that you’ll remember but that isn’t too easy to guess. Some banks have different login methods for additional security, so make sure you choose one that won’t be too hard for you to use to access your funds. Opening a bank account, whether for the first or 50th time, can be daunting. But by making sure you have everything you need ahead of time, it can be quick and easy. Catherine Hiles is a writer, mother, runner and avid reader. She enjoys cooking (and eating), good beer and spending time with her husband and two young children. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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What Walmart’s Switch to Capital One Means for Your Credit

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What Walmart’s Switch to Capital One Means for Your Credit
On Oct. 11, 2019, Walmart’s massive credit card portfolio is due to transition from Synchrony to Capital One. And for existing Walmart cardholders, this major switch raises a big question: Will changing issuers affect my credit? The short answer: Probably not, because of credit reporting conventions that issuers follow. “A transition of account ownership does not... Claire Tsosie is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: claire@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ideclaire7. The article What Walmart’s Switch to Capital One Means for Your Credit originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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This crazy journey I’ve been on the last 14 years (and yes, you CAN make money blogging!)

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This crazy journey I’ve been on the last 14 years (and yes, you CAN make money blogging!)
Yes, you can make money from blogging! In this post, I share my story — and I tell you how you, too, can start making money from blogging! How I Started to Make Money Blogging In 2005, I started this thing called a “blog” — something that most people in my circle of friends and family had never heard of before. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but I had a big dream: I wanted to find a way to earn enough money from home so I can supplement our meager income to allow me to be able to stay home with our baby girl, Kathrynne. In addition to my big dream, I also had perseverance — something I was going to need in big supply over the next few years. I was very, very determined and that determination drove me not to give up even during the many, many times when I wanted to. That little blog had a few readers. Then a few dozen. I kept blogging, kept commenting on other blogs, kept writing articles for other sites and linking to that blog, and kept networking with other online entrepreneurs. Over the course of many months, that little blog grew a tiny bit and then a tiny bit more. Pretty soon, I woke up one day and realized that I had a few hundred readers. That idea just blew my mind. {My first official professionally done website header — added when I switched from Blogspot to Typepad.} The Income Began With a Little Trickle I started watching what other successful people were doing, read books and blog posts on monetizing a blog, and jumped out and experimented with a number of things. Pretty soon, there was a little trickle of income coming in from that blog. When I say “trickle”, I truly mean it. It started with $10 per month, then $20 per month, then $50 per month. If you would have divided my blogging income by the hours invested in blogging, I was probably making what would amount to a few nickels per hour. However, I was learning, the blog was slowly growing, and I was truly enjoying the process of writing and interacting on a blog. Speaking at my first blogging conference — I was a scared, insecure mess inside and I can see it written all over my face in this picture. Starting to See the Potential to Make Money Blogging As time marched on and I kept plugging away, I found other creative ways to make money blogging — like selling ebooks and then an online course on cutting your grocery bill. I went from making $50 a month to a few hundred dollars per month. I started to see the potential. And I began to believe that it truly would be possible to earn a part-time income from blogging someday. My husband and I began talking about adding a niche blog dedicated to frugal living. There was a lot of interest in the topic, it was something I was passionate about and experienced in, and I was pretty sure I could do some specific things to monetize a frugal living blog that I couldn’t do on the blog I currently had. My second blogging conference — I was still nervous and scared, but I felt more myself and more whole and I can see it in my face here. How MoneySavingMom.com Began It took about a year from the time the initial idea was birthed to when the final product, MoneySavingMom.com actually happened. But in the fall of 2007, I announced the launch of MoneySavingMom.com on the other blog I had. I still remember the post where I let the world know MoneySavingMom.com was official. I said that I was probably going to blog on MoneySavingMom.com “about 3 times per week”. {Yes, 3 times per week. That still cracks me up!} The first version of MoneySavingMom.com was on Blogspot. It was an all white background with capital letters at the top of the page that said MONEY SAVING MOM. {Clearly, I was very into bells and whistles. ;)} I had spent $10 to buy the website URL and that was all I could afford. Later, I paid $25 to have the teen daughter of a mom I knew design a header for me. But those were the very humble beginnings of something that I could have never imagined… My first radio interview — again, this was a completely unnerving experience for shy me. I felt like just going back to my hotel room and crying when it was over because I was sure I had totally bombed it. Rapid Growth Beyond What I Could Imagine Since I’d already put in countless hours to build an online platform over the two previous years, knew how to run a blog, and had a pretty good grasp on what topics people were interested, jumping in with MoneySavingMom.com was much easier than it would have been had I been starting from scratch. I also was at the right place, at the right time, because the economy was beginning to tank, coupons were becoming popular, and the media started to do a lot of coverage of money-saving ideas and frugal living topics. My initial readers told their friends who told their friends, people found me from random searches and stuck around, and within a few months, MoneySavingMom.com had grown to 14,000 to 16,000 pageviews per day. It. was. mind-blowing! I didn’t really know what to do, but I knew that I needed to continue to produce good content and continue to do all I could to help people save money. I also continued to learn all I could about win-win ways to make money blogging. My first book: basically an exercise in how to do everything wrong! I learned so much, and wished I could have done it all over again because there would be so much I would change! Fulfilling My Dream — and Making So Many Mistakes Within a few months, I was making $800 to $1200 from MoneySavingMom.com. And the income just kept increasing. By the end of the first year, I was making the equivalent of a full-time income from blogging. All of a sudden, I woke up and realized that not only was I living my dream, it was a LOT more work than I could have ever imagined — especially as the blog continued to grow! The past 14 years have been a journey… one riddled with many ups and downs. I’ve made many mistakes, let people down, and sometimes posted things before taking time to really think through what I’d written. Over the years, I’ve also been arrogant, said and written hurtful things, and taken on too much and stretched myself too thin. Many times, I’ve had my priorities out of whack and given my family the leftovers instead of my best. Through it all, I’ve grown, matured, been humbled, had to ask forgiveness, and learned a great deal about my own limits. I’ve gone from a very black and white person who thought she had everything figured out and thought she should share her very legalistic, dogmatic views with everyone, to discovering this beautiful thing called “grace” and realizing that there are very few hills worth dying on. My first TV interview — I was a complete nervous wreck. Literally shaking from head to toe! I’ve grown up a lot,  faced a lot of fears, and done things I never thought I was humanly capable of. In addition, I’ve confronted many of my long-held insecurities head on. And I’ve had many opportunities to work through my long-held tendencies to be a people-pleaser. Scared of the Scrutiny from Making Money Blogging You see, as the blog took off and became something more than a little mommy blog, I struggled a lot. Part of me was so excited about the growth and the possibilities. The other part of me wanted nothing more than to just run away from it all and go back to being a stay-at-home mom. As a normally private person, I hated having my life scrutinized by people I didn’t know. I was scared to come out and talk much about the business side of my life — the meetings, the responsibilities, the opportunities — because I knew some people wouldn’t be happy and would criticize the fact that I was making a good income, was running a thriving business, and was no longer just the frugal stay-at-home mom blogger struggling to make ends meet that I had b [...]
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Citi Just Lost a Minor Transfer Partner. Here’s Why It Matters

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Citi Just Lost a Minor Transfer Partner. Here’s Why It Matters
The hits just keep on coming with Citi ThankYou points, most recently with the loss of Garuda Indonesia as a ThankYou points transfer partner. This won’t impact most people, but Garuda did provide some interesting niche redemptions, ran irregular (but spectacular) mileage sales and provided access to first class inventory on SkyTeam airlines. Will the... Caroline Lupini is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article Citi Just Lost a Minor Transfer Partner. Here’s Why It Matters originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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ALEX Toys Craft Color and Cuddle Washable Pony

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ALEX Toys Craft Color and Cuddle Washable Pony
This would be a great deal to grab for your little ones. You can get the ALEX Toys Craft Color and Cuddle Washable Pony for only $7.58. That is a savings of 59% because it is normally $18.50. The ALEX Toys Craft Color and Cuddle Washable Pony comes with the Color and Cuddle Pony as ... Read More about ALEX Toys Craft Color and Cuddle Washable Pony The post ALEX Toys Craft Color and Cuddle Washable Pony appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Field & Stream Magazine Subscription Discount

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Field & Stream Magazine Subscription Discount
Snag a great deal on a subscription to Field & Stream Magazine! FIELD & STREAM MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DISCOUNT Now through 8/21/19 (11:59 pm EST), you can score Filed & Stream Magazine for as $4.99 per year!  That is a savings of 85% off the list price! Add a subscription for one, two or three years to ... Read More about Field & Stream Magazine Subscription Discount The post Field & Stream Magazine Subscription Discount appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones

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Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones
If you have been looking for a great deal on earphones, take advantage of this deal! You can get the Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones for only $89.99. You will be saving 55% on this deal because it is usually $199.95. Be sure that you grab this deal soon because the prices can change at any time! The post Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Everything You Need to Know to Become an Airbnb Host in D.C.

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Everything You Need to Know to Become an Airbnb Host in D.C.
Have you thought about becoming an Airbnb host in D.C.? In a city that’s so expensive, home sharing can be a great way to supplement your income. Thousands of Airbnb hosts list places in the District, according to data from the home sharing platform. “Part of what makes Airbnb so successful for me is the city,” says Snyta Keeling, a 43-year-old Airbnb Superhost. “D.C. is great for home sharing because there’s something going on at every time of year.” Between the cherry blossoms in the spring, the Fourth of July in the summer and the elections in the fall — which draw businesspeople, students, lobbyists, sports fans and activists — there’s certainly a demand for space. How to Create the Best Airbnb Listing in D.C. The first step to becoming an Airbnb host is to list your place. The process itself is simple, but you’ll want to exercise tact, so your space stands out from others. We’ll walk you through the process, plus share some pro tips from Keeling, a federal government employee and attorney who hosts guests in her three-bedroom townhome in Southeast D.C. She quickly rose to Superhost status when she started hosting back in 2015. Answer Some Quick Questions About Your Space/Amenities In this first part of setting up your listing, you’ll answer some basic questions about your space, which could be anything from an apartment, an extra bedroom or house to a campsite, yurt or RV, depending on your local laws. Basic questions in this section include the number of guests your space can accommodate and the included amenities. Pro Tip If you don’t have an entire place, list your spare room. That’s what Keeling, a D.C. Superhost, does. At first she was worried guests would be uninterested, but she’s found they love the hospitality. Set the Scene With Photos Keeling compared Airbnb listings to dating profiles — and she’s so right. If you come across someone who’s posted a bathroom selfie with the flash on, you’ll probably move along — even if they do rescue puppies and own a private jet. The same idea goes for Airbnb; photos are everything. The platform offers some basic photo tips, which include utilizing natural light, avoiding flash and shooting in landscape mode from the corners of rooms, so you add perspective. In addition to internal photos, Keeling emphasizes the importance of external photos as well. “It’s important to do external photos, so you guide a person through how they’ll approach the home and what the surrounding community looks like,” she says. “If you live close to a metro stop, you’ll want to have a picture of that, for example.” Think about what makes your space and your location appealing, and illustrate those elements through photos. In addition to metro stops, you might also include photos of the nearby neighborhood, any tourist attractions (ahem, the National Mall), or even a photo of the closest grocery or convenience store. Write a Description Once you hook people with your photos, continue to lead them through your listing with the description. Here, you’ll be able to highlight what makes your space unique. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at other Airbnb listings in your area to see what other hosts highlight. Keeling has a few tips you can follow when crafting your description: Manage expectations. “You know the idea of putting your best foot forward?” Keeling asks. “No! What you do is put the blemishes out there, so your guests will have set expectations.” Turn negatives into positives. Keeling’s townhome is located in a residential area on the easternmost point of D.C. That means it’s not central; you have to take a metro to get to the closest grocery store, which could be a downside for some guests. However, in her listing, she emphasizes the perks of free parking, which is difficult to come by in D.C. It’s also a quiet retreat after you’ve spent the day in crowds. Add an element of surprise to your space that you don’t mention in your listing. For example, Keeling has a high-end Tuft and Needle mattress with nice pillows. Because she doesn’t mention it in the listing, guests are surprised and are more likely to rave After you host several guests, you’ll get to know your audience, so you can lean into that. For example, Keeling quickly realized she’s not attracting club-goers and partiers; she gets guests who are looking to get away from the bustle of the city and value their sleep. Name Your Listing This might seem like a small task, but naming your listing is just as important as nailing your photos. Airbnb urges hosts to create a title that highlights what’s unique about the space. For Keeling, one of the most appealing aspects of her listing is the free parking — a rarity in D.C. Her space is also green; it’s decked out with solar panels, rain barrels, vegetable gardens and composts. This is a unique draw, so she emphasizes it in her listing title. It also attracts like-minded guests, which is important when you’re sharing your space. Set House Rules Airbnb has a set list of rules you can opt into if you’d like them included in your listing. A few of these include: suitable for pets, smoking allowed, and events or parties allowed. You also have the option to write in additional rules. “Don’t go crazy with the rules, but come up with some core rules that are important for you,” Keeling says. Keeling, for example, maintains a shoeless house. That’s partially cultural, but it also just makes the space easier to clean. She also emphasizes no smoking of any kind, and no eating in the bedrooms. Set up Your Calendar Taking time to set up your calendar is important, because if you cancel on your guests, Airbnb will charge you a penalty fee. A few questions you’ll answer include: How often do you want to have guests? How much notice do you need before a guest arrives? When can guests check in? How far in advance can guests book? How long can guests stay? Pro Tip When starting out, Keeling suggests limiting guests’ length of stay to a couple of nights. That way you can get guests in and out and start racking up reviews, which will build your ratings. Keeling allows for at least one day between bookings, so she can have time to reset the spaces, and she doesn’t let guests book more than three months in advance, in case something comes up. You’ll be able to adjust these settings as you go, so you can find out what works best for you. Price Your Space Airbnb has a Smart Pricing tool, which you can opt into to automatically adjust the price of your listing according to demand. For example, when the demand during the Cherry Blossom Festival or Fourth of July spikes, Airbnb will likely increase the price of your listing automatically. You can set price minimums and maximums, so your listing won’t dip below a certain amount or spike to something unrealistic. Although Airbnb will suggest these amounts when you’re signing up, Keeling urges new hosts to do their own research. Here are a few tips to help you determine these numbers: Consider your expenses, i.e. utilities, cleaning and any maintenance requirements. Be realistic. “People tend to have an inflated view of their place,” Keeling notes. Search other Airbnb listings in your area and price just below those. When you’re starting out, you’ll want to price your place lower, so you can get guests in, accumulate reviews and work your way to that Superhost status, which will help increase bookings in the long run. Note Your Local Laws You’re almost done setting up your listing! Now Airbnb will remind you to familiarize yourself with your local laws. In December 2018, the D.C. Council passed a set of regulations that would limit some kinds of short term rentals. Check with the District if you have questions about current laws or when (and if) the pending regulations will come into force. Also Consider… In addition to hosting laws, you’ll al [...]
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Afternoon Deals: Monday, May. 13
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