*HOT* Adventure Academy Annual Subscription for just $3.75 per month!

*HOT* Adventure Academy Annual Subscription for just $3.75 per month!

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*HOT* Adventure Academy Annual Subscription for just $3.75 per month!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Whoa!! Do you have elementary or middle school aged kids who love online gaming? Be sure to check out this HOT deal on an annual subscription to Adventure Academy!! Psst! You can also get HUGE savings on ReadingIQ and ABCmouse right now!! As a special Presidents Day deal, you can currently get an annual subscription to Adventure Academy for just $45 — which is like paying just $3.75 per month! This deal is valid through February 17, 2020. They’ve only offered this low price a couple other times! Regularly priced at $110, so this is a HUGE savings! It’s like getting 5 months for free at the regular price. Adventure Academy is a brand new MMO game created specifically for kids in elementary and middle school. It features thousands of enjoyable learning activities that kids can discover on quests through an interactive virtual world. Developed by the top video gaming designers and crafted by a team of curriculum experts, Adventure Academy is a highly engaging and creative platform that focuses on building critical knowledge and skills in language arts, math, social studies, science, and more! Adventure Academy features thousands of educational learning activities, such as videos, reading experiences, games, quizzes, and many other interactive elements— all within the frameworks of U.S. (and international) curriculum standards. I checked it out and it plays a lot like an adventure game (think Zelda!) but within an educational framework. It’s really cool! Go here to take advantage of this RARE deal on Adventure Academy.
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Stuck at Home? Do This 24-Minute Money Challenge

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Stuck at Home? Do This 24-Minute Money Challenge
At this point, most of us are living within the confines of our home, only venturing out for groceries or exercise. And that’s what we should be doing — what we need to be doing — to flatten this COVID-19 curve. But we get it: We feel a bit stir-crazy, too. After all, there are only so many push-up challenges you can post to your Instagram story before your arms give out. That’s why we created a quick 24-minute money challenge. This is perfect for those of us stuck at home and worried about the uncertain state of our country and our own personal finances. It’s a great way to spend 24 minutes today, and you’ll feel more productive for it. Ready? Once you’re done, pass it along to your friends, so hopefully they’ll stop nominating you for that darn push-up challenge. 1. Stop Overpaying on Your Monthly Bills (2 Minutes) Your monthly bills are non-negotiables, right? They’re just something you’re stuck paying. Wrong. The truth is, you can probably find better deals on a number of your monthly bills, freeing up room in your budget for other necessities during this trying time. The easiest one to start with? Car insurance. Experts suggest shopping your options every six months or so, but let’s be real — when’s the last time any of us have done that? But a free website called The Zebra will do the shopping for you — in just two minutes.  All you have to do is enter basic information about your car and driving history, then The Zebra compares prices from more than 100 companies to find you the best price. In fact, The Zebra says it saves its users up to $670 a year. If you find a policy you like, you can sign up online instantly. After you take two minutes to do this, take a look at some of your other monthly bills, like your cell phone (check out discount providers) and home insurance (compare rates). 2. Ask This Website to Take Care of Your Credit Card Bill (2 Minutes) If you have credit card debt, you know. The anxiety, the interest rates, the fear you’re never going to escape…  And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. It’s just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates. But right now is the perfect time to take action. A website called AmOne wants to help. If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances. The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.99% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster.  AmOne won’t make you stand in line or call your bank, either — you can do this from your couch. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could help you pay off your debt years faster. 3. Grab Yourself a $5 Amazon Gift Card After You Take 5 Surveys (10 Minutes) Since we’re trying to leave the house as little as possible, many of us will likely notice an uptick in our Amazon orders. That’s good — we’re doing this whole social distancing thing correctly — but our wallets might not be too thrilled. If you want to help offset the costs, snag yourself a free $5 Amazon gift card with MyPoints. MyPoints is a research company that’ll pay you to answer questions about different products and services you use. In return, it’ll give you free gift cards. You can even do this from your phone. To date, MyPoints has paid people more than $236 million in gift cards. To get your $5 Amazon gift card, just sign up and complete your first five surveys. Then, next time you’re posted up on the couch watching Netflix, take a few more surveys and keep earning. 4. Finally Check Life Insurance Off Your Perpetual To-Do List (5 Minutes) For many of us, getting life insurance is something we know we need to do. After all, you’ve probably wondered how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone. How will they pay the bills? Send the kids through school? Now that life’s slowed down a little, it’s time to finally check this off your to-do list. With a company called Bestow, this shouldn’t take more than about five minutes, and rates start at $5 a month. You can cancel or change your plan at any time. Plus, the security of knowing your family is taken care of is priceless. If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without a medical exam, pushy sales calls or even getting up from the couch, get a free quote from Bestow. You’ll feel better once you can finally get this done. 5. Check Your Credit Report for Any Errors (3 Minutes) At this point, you understand the importance of your credit score. It will help you make big purchases one day, like a house or a new car. But when’s the last time you checked in on your score? You could have an error on it that’s unknowingly holding you back. (One out of five reports do, according to a study from the FTC.) Now that you’ve got some extra time on your hands, take a look with a free website called Credit Sesame. It’ll show you your credit score and help you detect any errors. If you find one? Credit Sesame will even help you dispute it. Salome Buitureria, a working mom in Louisiana, found a major error on her report this way. Using Credit Sesame, she was able to fix the mistake and take additional steps to raise her credit score from 524 to nearly 700.* Want to check for yourself? It only takes about three minutes to sign up and take a look. 6. Launch an Investing Portfolio With $1 (2 Minutes) It’s no secret the market has had its fair shares of ups and (mostly) downs these past few weeks, but you shouldn’t panic. If you’ve got money you’ve invested, consider riding it out. Markets are unpredictable, and they will always be volatile, which means sometimes they’ll go up, and sometimes they’ll go down — but over time, they tend to go up.  If you haven’t started investing and have some money to spare, you can start small. Investing doesn’t require you throwing thousands of dollars at full shares of stocks. In fact, you can get started with as little as $1.1 We like Stash, because it lets you choose from hundreds of stocks and funds to build your own investment portfolio. But it makes it simple by breaking them down into categories based on your personal goals. Want to invest conservatively right now? Totally get it! Want to dip in with moderate or aggressive risk? Do what you feel. Plus, with Stash, you’re able to invest in fractions of shares, which means you can invest in funds you wouldn’t normally be able to afford. If you sign up now (it takes two minutes), Stash will give you $5 after you add $5 to your invest account. Subscription plans start at $1 a month.2 * Like Buitureria, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days. Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits. 1 For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05. 2 You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian. The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk. This was originally published on The Penny [...]
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Cardinal Mexican Train Domino Game with Aluminum Case only $13.04!

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Cardinal Mexican Train Domino Game with Aluminum Case only $13.04!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. This is a great price for this popular Cardinal Mexican Train Domino Game! Amazon has this Cardinal Mexican Train Domino Game with Aluminum Case for only $13.04 when you clip the $4.35 e-coupon! 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. Thanks, Hip2Save! [...]
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Free One-Month CBS All Access Trial! {HOT}

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Free One-Month CBS All Access Trial! {HOT}
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Whoa! You can currently get a FREE one-month CBS All Access Trial, which is a super rare and HOT deal!! Psst! Looking for more freebies like this? Right now, you can sign up to get a FREE one-month CBS All Access trial when you use the promo code ALL at checkout! This is a rare deal as the free trial usually only lasts seven days! If you love Star Trek, this is an especially great deal because it gives you access to all the latest episodes of Star Trek Discovery and Star Trek Picard! 🙂 Note: After your free trial is up, you’ll be charged at the regular monthly rate. If you don’t wish to continue after your free trial, be sure to cancel before it renews! Valid through April 23, 2020. [...]
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Get my favorite tees for just $10 shipped!!

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Get my favorite tees for just $10 shipped!!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. These tees are SO cozy and soft! Grab one for just $10 shipped right now! Cents of Style has their popular Tees on sale 2 for $20 when you use coupon code FAVTEE at checkout. Included in this sale are my favorite short-sleeve Jagger Tee or long-sleeve Joanna Tee, and you can mix & match. Shipping is FREE, so you’ll pay just $10 each, shipped! These shirts are SUPER soft and really versatile! They can be worn long over leggings, tied in the front for a really cute look, tucked into skinny jeans, or layered with a long cardigan. There are so many cute tees included in this sale! Choose from sizes S through 3XL in tons of different color choices. Valid through March 29, 2020. Go here to grab two Tees for just $10 each, shipped! [...]
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Dear Penny: I’m Retired. What Will Coronavirus Do to My Savings?

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Dear Penny: I’m Retired. What Will Coronavirus Do to My Savings?
Dear B., The truth is that nobody knows. Sure, we’ve survived downturns before. They’ve been painful and scary. But retirement portfolios have bounced back. In all likelihood, that’s what will happen this time. Yet we’ve also never seen a situation like coronavirus in our lifetimes. No one really knows how deep the pain can get or how recovery starts to happen when we’re all being told not to leave our homes for the foreseeable future. That uncertainty is less of a problem for people who have decades left until retirement, but it’s especially scary for people like you, whose working years are behind them. So let’s acknowledge what we don’t know. We have to work with the information we do have about what happened to retirement accounts in past bear markets, even though the situation we’re in is unique in so many ways. I reached out to several financial advisers about the best course of action for retirees dealing with the market fallout. Note that what they told me is general financial advice. You should always consult with a pro before making major financial decisions.  The most important piece of advice is the part that’s hardest to follow, and it applies to retirees and working-age people alike: Do not panic and sell off major assets right now. “One of the worst things a retiree could do in this situation is to sell the stocks after they’ve decreased so much in price,” said Andy Panko, a certified financial planner who owns Tenon Financial LLC in Iselin, New Jersey. “Selling stocks at the current low prices will lock in those losses and leave retirees with less shares left to rebound when the economy and stock prices eventually turn around. This will permanently reduce a retiree’s wealth.” One good thing about your situation is that you aren’t living off your retirement accounts right now. The longer you can avoid making withdrawals, the better. That gives more of your money time to rebound. If you have enough non-retirement savings to live off of in the short term, using that money for your expenses is ideal.  Alternatively, if you have cash value in a life insurance policy or access to a line of credit, these could help you meet your needs in times of temporary market stress, according to Colin B. Exelby, a CFP and president/founder of Celestial Wealth Management. “This provides relief and time for those risk assets to potentially recover,” Exelby said. “The key is, assuming they do that, you then pay back the credit line or permanent insurance policy as the risk assets recover.” But if you don’t have access to a lot of cash and need to start withdrawals sooner, try to withdraw the absolute minimum you need to stay afloat so you have more money invested whenever recovery starts to happen. Getting your mix of assets right when you’re retired or approaching retirement is also essential because you’re kind of at a Catch-22: You want lower-risk investments, but they still need to have enough risk to earn a decent amount. Otherwise, you risk chipping away at your principal balances and outliving your retirement savings. This is important enough that it’s worth the cost of working with a financial planner, even if it’s just for the short term. You don’t say how old you are, but if you haven’t started taking Social Security benefits yet and are eligible to do so, this should be part of the discussion. In an ideal world, you’d wait as long as possible to start taking benefits to get the maximum monthly payment. But that’s in an ideal world — as in, one without coronavirus. In the real world, you have to use the resources that are available. So taking Social Security early to avoid selling investments at bottom prices may be something to consider. These are scary times for everyone right now. The fact that many of us are dealing with this in relative isolation makes it that much harder not to dwell on the uncertainty. If you’re constantly monitoring your retirement accounts… stop it! Log out of your accounts and try FaceTiming with a friend or family member instead.  Just talking about your fears can provide some relief. We’re all experiencing this together — even if we are in quarantine.  Robin Hartill is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder and the voice behind Dear Penny. Send your tricky money questions to AskPenny@thepennyhoarder.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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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 20 March 2020

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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 20 March 2020
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Free Educational Games, Apps, Books, & Programs for Kids During the Quarantine

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Free Educational Games, Apps, Books, & Programs for Kids During the Quarantine
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. If you’re looking for some educational activities for your kids while they’re home from school, don’t miss this round-up of free educational games, apps, magazines, books, and more! {Follow along with all the latest free kids activities, free homeschool curriculum, and educational deals each day!} Due to the COVID-19 quarantine causing schools to be closed across the country, many educational companies are offering amazing freebies and deals to aid parents with at-home education for their kids! Here are some of the top deals we’ve seen so far, but we’ll keep adding to this list as more pop up! Free Educational Activities for Kids All of these freebies require Internet and access to a computer, phone, or tablet. (If you don’t have Internet, check out this deal to get free Internet access!) Also, some of these freebies are limited time trials and you’ll be charged monthly after your trial is up. Just remember to cancel the auto-renewal before your trial is up so that you don’t get charged. It’s super easy! Free ABCmouse 30-Day Trial — This online learning academy specializes in full curriculum for children ages 2-8. This is often one of the top purchased iOS kids education apps! Free Adventures in Odyssey 4-Week Trial — This is a RARE offer to get free access to over 900 episodes of these popular, kid-friendly audio dramas. My kids have loved these over the years, and we’ve listened to thousands of hours of them! And no credit card is required for this free trial. Free ReadingIQ 30-Day Trial — This is an online digital library for kids that offers thousands of books for all reading levels. This app helped Silas fall in love with reading and I can’t sing the praises of this reading app enough! Free BrainPOP Access for Families — This amazing online program offers all sorts of fun content to facilitate learning across many subjects — including math, science, health, music, and more. Free Scholastic Online Education Programs — This site features daily projects to keep kids learning, reading, and thinking. Just choose your grade level and get started! Free Teach Your Monster to Read App — This award-winning iOS app is a phonics and reading game that’s helped millions of children learn to read. It’s regularly $5, so this is a great deal! Free Adventure Academy 30-Day Trial — This educational MMO game features thousands of enjoyable learning activities that elementary and middle school aged kids can discover on quests through an interactive virtual world. Free Monarch Homeschool 30-Day Trial — This is a full online curriculum for at-home learning featuring multiple subjects, automatic grading, and so much more. Use coupon code MON30MSM in the promo code box during the sign-up process to get this deal — no credit card required. Free Ranger Rick Magazine Digital Subscription — This is a perfect freebie for kids who love the outdoors and animals! Each issue is packed with full-color photos of animals and stories of adventure. Step2 Facebook Live Crafts — Step2 is leading craft activities for kids on Facebook Live video every weekday at 3 p.m. ET. Crafts are made from supplies you most likely already have on hand at home. Free Audible Books for Kids and Teens — While schools are closed, Audible will be offering free stories to students. There are some great titles to choose from, including children’s books, classics, modern series, and popular teen titles. Free Homeschool Curriculum & Resources — Be sure to check out our weekly round-up of the best free homeschool curriculum and educational resources! We update this list every Tuesday. Free Thinkster Math One-Month Trial — This online math program offers a free skills assessment, diagnostic report, and personalized math worksheets for your child. And they’re offering one month for free to all students right now — no credit card required. Free Reading Eggs 30-Day Trial — This multi-award winning app helps children become more fluent and proficient readers with just 15 minutes of use each day! And they’re offering a free 30-day trial right now, no credit card required. Looking for even more ideas? These offers aren’t completely free, but they’re still really great deals if you’re looking for some unique ways to keep kids entertained while they’re at home! Annie’s Creative Girls Club Craft Kits for $1.99 Each + Shipping — If you have a creative kid who loves crafts, don’t miss this great deal! I recently received these craft kits in the mail and was SO impressed with everything you get for this discounted price! KiwiCo Box for $11.97 shipped — These themed and educational activities are SO much fun, and my kids have loved them over the years! You can get a great deal on your first box right now. Amazon FreeTime Unlimited 3-Month Trial for $0.99 — This is an all-in-one subscription for kids that offers unlimited access to over 13,000 kid-friendly movies, books, educational apps, TV shows, and games. And this deal for new customers is a $29 savings!! Hooked on Phonics One-Month Trial for $1 — Sign up for this deal to get access to 100 award winning videos, more than 275 interactive games, and 100+ fully illustrated stories! Do you know of any other free educational games, activities, or programs being offered for kids right now? Psst! Are you a parent looking for some activities for yourself? If you love reading, sign up for a free Audible trial or free Kindle Unlimited trial! If you’re looking for workouts, don’t miss this free Daily Burn membership or free Peloton app! Or if you enjoy music, check out the free Amazon Music HD subscription or free Sirius XM Streaming subscription! [...]
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*HOT* Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Shoes only $14.98 shipped, plus more!

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*HOT* Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Shoes only $14.98 shipped, plus more!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Love Converse? You can get some great deals right now! Converse is offering an extra 25% off select shoes right now when you use the promo code MARCH25 at checkout! Even better, get free shipping when you create a Converse.com account (free to join). Check out these deals ideas… Converse x Batman Chuck Taylor All Star – $19.97 (regularly $35) Use coupon code MARCH25 (25% off) Shipping is free for Converse account members $14.98 shipped after code Archive Flames Infant/Toddler Chuck Taylor All Star – $19.97 (regularly $35) Use coupon code MARCH25 (25% off) Shipping is free for Converse account members $14.98 shipped after code Tumbled Leather Chuck Taylor All Star – $25.97 (regularly $45) Use coupon code MARCH25 (25% off) Shipping is free for Converse account members $19.48 shipped after code Iridescent Space Star Girls Chuck Taylor All Star – $25.97 (regularly $40) Use coupon code MARCH25 (25% off) Shipping is free for Converse account members $19.48 shipped after code Converse Women’s Costa Low Top – $32.97 (regularly $45) Use coupon code MARCH25 (25% off) Shipping is free for Converse account members $24.73 shipped after code Mars Unisex Raver Slip Chuck Taylor All Star – $34.97 (regularly $55) Use coupon code MARCH25 (25% off) Shipping is free for Converse account members $26.23 shipped after code Valid through March 23, 2020. Thanks, Hip2Save! [...]
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*HOT* Up to 60% off Preschool and Educational Toys!

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*HOT* Up to 60% off Preschool and Educational Toys!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Today only, Amazon is offering up to 60% off preschool and educational toys! Here are some deals you can get… Get this Learning Resources 100 Piece Deluxe Building Set for only $14.45! Get this Learning Resources Botley the Coding Robot Activity Set for only $31.99 shipped! Get this Educational Insights Kanoodle Extreme for just $7.49! Get this Learning Resources Puzzle Globe for only $18.19! Get these Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Kidnoculars for only $10.96! Get this Learning Resources Money Bags Coin Value Game for only $10.79! Get this Learning Resources Beaker Creatures Bubbling Volcano Reactor for only $9.59! Shop the entire preschool and educational toys sale here. Valid today only, March 18, 2020, 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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MyGreenFills Discount: 100 loads of Refillable, Non-Toxic Laundry Soap for just $11.90 shipped!

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MyGreenFills Discount: 100 loads of Refillable, Non-Toxic Laundry Soap for just $11.90 shipped!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. If you’re looking for a great price on non-toxic laundry soap, don’t miss this great MyGreenFills deal! {Psst! Looking for more deals on household essentials? Go HERE.} What is MyGreenFills? Are you looking for an affordable non-toxic laundry soap? If so, be sure to check out MyGreenFills — a subscription service for laundry detergent! MyGreenFills sends you one big refillable container of laundry wash initially and then regular refills when you need them. This helps avoid extra plastic use and makes it super easy to get non-toxic laundry soap shipped directly to your doorstep! You can pause, cancel, or change your subscription at any time to meet your family’s needs. And you can choose between their Signature Scent or an Unscented laundry wash. Save on Your First Shipment! If you want to try MyGreenFills at a discount, just shop through this link to get your first 100 loads of non-toxic laundry soap for $11.90 shipped! Here’s what to do: Go here. Click on the orange “Get your free laundry soap” button. Choose the Starter Pack for $14. This includes one MyGreenFills jug and one refill pack. Choose your scent — Signature or Unscented. You’ll get 15% off your purchase, free shipping, and a bonus refill pack of 50 loads. That means you’ll pay just $11.90 for your first 100 loads of laundry wash (jug, initial refill pack, plus bonus refill pack). You typically pay $14 per month for 50 loads, so this is a HUGE savings! Note: After your first discounted month, your MyGreenFills subscription will auto-charge you monthly at the regular price of $14. You can pause, cancel, or change the frequency of your subscription at any time in your account! If you don’t wish to continue after your first discounted month, simply cancel your subscription before the next month’s charge. Go here to get your first 100 loads of laundry soap for just $11.90 shipped! [...]
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FREE Online Education Programs: ABCmouse, ReadingIQ, or Adventure Academy!

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FREE Online Education Programs: ABCmouse, ReadingIQ, or Adventure Academy!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Looking for some free online educational programs while your kids are at home? Don’t miss these FREE 30-day trials! 1. ReadingIQ ReadingIQ is a recently new online digital library for kids that offers thousands of books for all reading levels. And I can’t sing the praises of this reading app enough! Silas had never been excited about reading until he started using this app last year. This app made him fall in love with reading — something I never thought would be possible after years of his struggle with reading. You can go here to start your free 30-day trial. Or if you’d like to try the program for longer than a month, you can also sign up to get two months for just $5 instead of the free trial! 2. ABCmouse Early Learning Academy This online learning academy specializes in full curriculum for children ages 2-8. This is often one of the top purchased iOS kids education apps! You can go here to start your free 30-day trial. Or if you’d like to try the program for longer than a month, you can also sign up to get two months for just $5 instead of the free trial! 3. Adventure Academy Adventure Academy is a brand new MMO game created specifically for kids in elementary and middle school. It features thousands of enjoyable learning activities that kids can discover on quests through an interactive virtual world. Developed by the top video gaming designers and crafted by a team of curriculum experts, Adventure Academy is a highly engaging and creative platform that focuses on building critical knowledge and skills in language arts, math, social studies, science, and more! Adventure Academy features thousands of educational learning activities, such as videos, reading experiences, games, quizzes, and many other interactive elements— all within the frameworks of U.S. (and international) curriculum standards. It plays a lot like an adventure game (think Zelda!) but within an educational framework. It’s really cool! You can go here to start your free 30-day trial. Or if you’d like to try the program for longer than a month, you can also sign up to get two months for just $5 instead of the free trial! All of these programs can be accessed on a regular computer, tablet, or smart phone. Note: none of these are compatible with Kindles yet. [...]
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Get a free 30-day trial of the ABCmouse.com Early Learning Academy!

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Get a free 30-day trial of the ABCmouse.com Early Learning Academy!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. ABCmouse.com — an online Early Learning Academy that specializes in full online curriculum for children ages 2 to 8 — is offering a free 30-day trial right now! You’ll need to provide a credit card number to take advantage of the free trial. If you wish to continue with the service after a month, you’ll be billed at $9.95 per month. (Or you can take advantage of their annual subscription option at a discount.) If you do not wish to continue with the service, be sure to cancel your subscription before the free trial is up so that you avoid any charges to your credit card. It’s very easy to cancel at any time by logging in and clicking “my account.” Go here to get started with a 30-day free trial of ABCmouse.com. [...]
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Is a Sam’s Club Membership Worth It Just for Gas?

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Is a Sam’s Club Membership Worth It Just for Gas?
From chicken drumsticks to paper towels or even a trampoline, you can find just about anything at warehouse clubs like Sam’s. But what if you don’t have any use for a 10-lb bag of sugar or 32 rolls of paper towels? If you drive a lot, a Sam’s Club membership may make sense just based ... Read More about Is a Sam’s Club Membership Worth It Just for Gas? The post Is a Sam’s Club Membership Worth It Just for Gas? appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Pampers Baby Diaper Wipes (1,152 count) only $22.24 shipped!

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Pampers Baby Diaper Wipes (1,152 count) only $22.24 shipped!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Have a baby on the way? Here’s a great stock up price on baby wipes! Amazon has these Pampers Baby Diaper Wipes (1,152 count) for just $22.24 shipped when you clip the $1.50 off e-coupon and checkout through Subscribe & Save! That’s just $0.01 per wipe shipped which is a great stock up price. Note: Once your order ships, you can go into your Amazon account and cancel your subscription if you don’t want recurring orders. Thanks, Passionate Penny Pincher! [...]
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Store Brand vs. Name Brand: How to Save Money on Everyday Stuff

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Store Brand vs. Name Brand: How to Save Money on Everyday Stuff
What’s in a name? A lot actually. We often default to certain brands when shopping simply because of the name on the package — and the reputation that comes along with it, thanks to clever advertising. We buy Bounty paper towels because they’re the “quicker picker-upper” and Frosted Flakes because “they’re gr-r-reat.” But on the shelves next to those items you can often find a comparable store-brand version that costs less — sometimes significantly less. We often refer to these as generic products. Sometimes these rival versions are even made in the same manufacturing facilities and have little to no noticeable differences. Ultimately, the decision to buy a store-brand product or your favorite name brand is a subjective one. There’s trial and error involved, and in some cases you might land right back on the premium paper towels because you find that they really do pick more up, and quicker. But before your next shopping trip, it’s worth considering how much money you could save if you take a few name brand items off your list. Comparing the Cost of Store Brand Vs. Name Brand I recently visited two stores — Publix (a southeastern grocery store chain) and Walmart — to do a little price comparison. (Note: Prices were sourced on Feb. 19, 2020 at stores located in St. Petersburg, Florida. Sales tax was not factored into this example.)  Product Store Brand at Publix Name Brand at Publix Store Brand at Walmart Name Brand at Walmart Oreos $2.59 $3.89 $1.63 $2.72 Jif peanut butter $2.39 $2.72 $1.58 $2.22 Cheerios $1.93 $4.19 $1.23 $2.82 Kraft cheddar cheese $3.85 $4.19 $2.08 $2.38 Diet Coke, 2-liter $0.75 $2.19 $0.68 $1.74 Dove body wash $3.99 $6.81 $3.47 $5.58 Adult extra-strength Tylenol $6.99 $10.29 $1.98 $9.47 Children's Motrin $4.99 $7.49 $3.94 $5.97 Total $27.48 $41.77 $16.59 $32.90 A shopper at Publix would save $14.29 or about 34% by buying the store-brand version of these eight items over their name-brand alternatives. A shopper at Walmart would save $16.31 or nearly 50%. Consider that I only used eight items in this example. When’s the last time you went to the grocery store and walked away with just eight things?  The greater the grocery haul, the greater the savings by choosing the cheaper alternative. And since you likely go shopping more than once a month, you could see a significant difference in your monthly budget by swapping out name-brand items. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Emergency fund 3/6/20 @ 9:59 AM Looking For Cell Phone Plans 3/8/20 @ 1:02 PM Saving at the Grocery Store 3/4/20 @ 9:43 AM See more in Save Money or ask a money question Store Brand Vs. Name Brand: How to Decide Since store-brand merchandise costs less money than name-brand counterparts, a common perception is that they’re of lesser quality. But that’s not always true. One reason name-brand items are more expensive is because it costs money to market those products to the public. Consumers pay the price for those commercial jingles that stick in our heads. Most store-brand products are made to closely compare to their name-brand products. If you check the ingredients, sometimes you’ll find they’re made of the exact same stuff — though the recipes may differ slightly. What the decision really comes down to is preference. We asked The Penny Hoarder community members about buying store-brand items over name brand. Respondents said they often choose store-brand products to save money but still have name-brand preferences when it comes to certain items, despite any cost savings. “I will use generic for anything but my hair products,” said community member KellyFromKeene.”Otherwise, [with] food, clothes [and] household supplies, I will get the generic if the ingredients are the same.” Community member Jobelle Collie said she’s partial to Dove bar soap, Olay moisturizer and Palmolive green dishwashing liquid but buys generic trash bags, office supplies and kitchen staples like salt, pepper and sugar. Sometimes going with the store brand is a matter of trial and error. “I definitely try to choose store brand, at least initially. Sometimes, I can tell the difference,” said community member Sthom. “For example, I tried my store’s brand of filters for my Brita: I could tell the difference immediately, so I switched back. That happens sometimes. “Recently, I tried my store’s brand of peanut butter,” Sthom continued. “I’m partial to smooth [Jif] but the store’s organic smooth brand was less than $2.00 — around $1.18, unbelievably — and was just as good if not better.” Tips for Weighing Store Brand vs. Name Brand Products When deciding between store brand and name brand, keep these things in mind: Try swapping out the name-brand version of single-ingredient items — like flour, rice, milk and eggs — for the store-brand version. You may find there’s less variation in taste or quality than multi-ingredient items like cookies or soup. Use spices or other ingredients you have at home to dress up a store-brand product — for example, adding basil and garlic to a jar of pasta sauce. All store brands aren’t created equal. You may dislike the taste of store-brand cereal or the quality of store-brand toilet paper at one grocer, but another store’s products could be more on par with the name brands. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires generic medications (over-the-counter and prescription) to have the same active ingredient, strength and dosage form as the name-brand equivalent. Both products should be medically equal. Store sales and coupons can cause name-brand products to cost less than the store version. Store brands aren’t always the cheapest option. This is a great time to indulge in your preferred brand and save money. 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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Parametrics, alternate risk for outbreaks, and a Heartbeat in the Fog

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Parametrics, alternate risk for outbreaks, and a Heartbeat in the Fog
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Annie’s Creative Girls Club Discount: Two Craft Kits for $1.99 Each + Shipping!

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Annie’s Creative Girls Club Discount: Two Craft Kits for $1.99 Each + Shipping!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. If you have a daughter who is really creative or loves craft projects, don’t miss this chance to get an Annie’s Creative Girls Club discount — just $1.99 per craft kit plus shipping costs! {Psst! Check out my other favorite subscription boxes for kids!} Have a daughter who loves crafts? Do you have a daughter who loves all things crafts? If so, you don’t want to miss this fun deal to get 80% off your first craft box from the Creative Girls Club! Annie’s recently sent me a craft box to check out, and I was SO impressed with everything you get for the price. It would be such a perfect gift for a young child in your life who loves to create or do craft activities! What is the Creative Girls Club? Annie’s Creative Girls Club is a monthly subscription program created for girls ages 7-12. Each monthly box comes with two craft kits, which includes easy-to-follow instructions and all the materials needed for each craft. Most of the crafts can be made with very little adult supervision. There is a nice variety of craft kits, including painting, beading, stitching, paper crafting, jewelry making, and much more! Each month comes with new crafts, so it’s a fun surprise for kids to look forward to! Get 80% off your first Annie’s Creative Girls Club Box! If you want to try a box for your daughter, you can currently get an exclusive 80% off when you shop through this link! No promo code required. With this discount, you’ll pay just $3.98 + shipping. Since each box comes with two craft kits, this is like paying just $1.99 per craft kit plus shipping. Shipping adds $5.95, so you’ll pay $9.93 shipped for your first box with two craft kits. The regular price on these craft boxes is $25.93 shipped, so this is a great opportunity to try a box at a much lower price! {Note: After your first discounted box, you’ll be charged at the regular monthly price each month after that. But it’s really easy to pause or cancel your membership at any time after receiving your first box. Simply log in to your account and follow the instructions to cancel.} Go here to get your first two craft kits for $1.99 each, plus shipping! [...]
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Coronavirus Travel Guide: Choose Your Own (Re)Booking Adventure

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Coronavirus Travel Guide: Choose Your Own (Re)Booking Adventure
You pick up the phone, dial the customer service number and ask to speak to a representative. You get put on hold for two hours. Welcome to the world of coronavirus travel. The now-global outbreak has upended the travel industry (airlines are already projected to lose $63 billion to $113 billion in 2020, according to... Sam Kemmis is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: skemmis@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @samsambutdif. The article Coronavirus Travel Guide: Choose Your Own (Re)Booking Adventure originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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*HOT* Kindle Unlimited Trial: Completely FREE 2-Month Subscription ($19.98 Value!!)

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*HOT* Kindle Unlimited Trial: Completely FREE 2-Month Subscription ($19.98 Value!!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. If you’ve been wanting to try Kindle Unlimited, don’t miss this FREE 2-month Kindle Unlimited Trial! It’s a great opportunity to score some fantastic reads for free. This HOT offer has been extended through April 30th! Right now, you can sign up to get a FREE two-month subscription to Kindle Unlimited! And the best part is that you can take advantage of this deal even if you’ve signed up in the past! Since Kindle Unlimited is usually priced at $9.99 per month, this is a RARE savings of $19.98! This is a fantastic deal and we haven’t seen a FREE two-month Kindle Unlimited deal in a while. When you sign up for this deal, you’ll get access to over 700,000 ebooks and thousands of audiobooks — all for free! The available books change pretty often, but right now they have The Day the World Came to Town — a book I read last year and absolutely loved! I highly recommend reading it. Free 2-Month Kindle Unlimited Trial Interested in this deal? Here’s how it works: Sign up for a free 2-month subscription to Kindle Unlimited Click on the Kindle Unlimited tab in your Amazon bar to search for available titles (you can search individually or sort by genre). You’ll be able to add up to 10 titles to your Kindle Unlimited account at a time. Once you’ve finished reading a title, just return it and borrow another. You can read or listen to the titles on any device with the free Kindle app. Be sure to cancel your subscription before your 2 month subscription is up, otherwise, you’ll be charged $9.99 per month. Want some other suggestions of great titles to read that you can possibly read for FREE with your Kindle Unlimited Trial? Here are some other great reads that are currently available: Dear Bob and Sue — I read this book last year and loved it! And it inspired me to want to visit all the National Parks! Beneath a Scarlet Sky — This has been on my to-read list for over a year! Manage Your Day-to-Day — This one had some great inspiration in it. The Miracle Morning — A good title if you struggle with mornings. I’d Rather Be Reading — I enjoyed this short book by Anne Bogel. Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals — I’ve been wanting to read this new book by Michael Hyatt. The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners — If you’re interested in trying a Keto diet, this might be a good resource! It’s the #1 ketogenic cookbook on Amazon. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life — If you have trouble saying “no” as often as you should, this looks like a really great read that has over 4,000 5-star ratings. I’d love to know what other titles you find that you can read on Kindle Unlimited with this great deal! Go here to sign up for your free 2-month subscription! [...]
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COVID 19 – indirect effect coverage gap on steroids

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COVID 19 – indirect effect coverage gap on steroids
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ButcherBox Discount Code | Ground Beef for Life

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ButcherBox Discount Code | Ground Beef for Life
Have you been wanting to give ButcherBox a try? Don’t miss this ButcherBox discount code to help you save big on your first box! {This post is sponsored by ButcherBox and contains affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.} After I did my recent honest ButcherBox review, SO many of you were excited about trying Butcher Box and asked me if there’d be more coupon codes in the future. So when I saw this HOT deal on ground beef, I knew I had to share it with all of you! ButcherBox Discount Code: Ground Beef for LIFE! ButcherBox is running a CRAZY deal right now! When you sign up to try ButcherBox, you’ll get two pounds of 100% grass fed beef for FREE — not just in your first order, but in every single order during the lifetime of your ButcherBox membership! Wow!! Just go HERE and click on the “claim offer” button to get the Butcher Box discount code automatically added to your order. (For more detailed instructions on how to go through the checkout process, see below!) This deal is valid through March 29, 2020, so be sure to take advantage of this before then! How to Sign Up for ButcherBox If you’d like to sign up and take advantage of this deal, but you’re not quite sure how it works or what the pricing will be like, just follow these instructions! When you first sign up with ButcherBox, you can choose between five different types of boxes: A custom box A mixed box (includes chicken, pork, and beef) A beef and pork box A beef and chicken box An all beef box I recommend doing a custom box because it allows you to customize the meat that they send and you are able to get exactly what you know you will use. Once you choose which box you’d like, then you pick your monthly box size. You can choose between a Classic Box ($128-$149/month) or a Big Box ($238-270/month). The price varies depending upon which type of meat box you chose. After you’ve chosen your box size, then you can customize exactly what they will send you. I like that you can see exactly what your options are and you can figure out how to get the best bang for your buck! Then, just input your payment information and you’re done. (Psst! You might wait a bit on the payment page, because an extra offer might pop up to add free bacon to your box — in addition to the free ground beef for life offer!) If you’re still hesitant about signing up with ButcherBox, be sure to read my honest ButcherBox review! It goes into more details, plus you’ll get my honest thoughts on the quality of meat and our overall experience. Go here to get started with ButcherBox and take advantage of this discount code. [...]
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Loan Originations Spike For Listed Australian Online Lender Prospa

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Loan Originations Spike For Listed Australian Online Lender Prospa
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How to Trade in a Car With Negative Equity

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How to Trade in a Car With Negative Equity
When you walked into the dealership, you fell in love with your current car. It was so shiny and new.  Five years later, you’ve fallen out of love with your gas-guzzler with the thread-bare tires and are wondering if you could just trade it in for the next beauty. Then you remember you still owe on your current hunk of junk. And that to get monthly payments low enough for you to afford that car, you jumped at the six-year (or seven-year… or eight-year) term the dealer offered. You’re not the first person to fall for a set of wheels that’s beyond reach, especially as car loans have continued to climb. The average loan amount for a passenger vehicle set a new record high in the first quarter of 2019 at $32,187, with average monthly payments ballooning to $554, according to Experian. To offset these costs, more people are lengthening their loan terms to lower their monthly payments. New car loan terms between 85 and 96 months (that’s seven- to eight-year car loans) increased 38% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 2018.  Then consider that new cars lose 20% of the value the moment you drive them off the lot and depreciation accounts for more than a third of the average annual cost to own a car, according to AAA. All of those factors combine to create the scenario where you owe more than your car is worth, which means you have negative equity in your loan — aka, your car loan is upside down or underwater.  Unfortunately, there’s not much use staring in the rearview mirror at this point about what you should have done with your old car’s loan, but you still have options to recover — it’s just a matter of making smart financial decisions. What to Do If You Have an Upside Down Car Loan Before we get ahead of ourselves, are you sure your vehicle is worth less than what you owe? Let’s run the numbers. How to Calculate Your Car’s Equity Here’s how to calculate the equity in your vehicle: Value of your vehicle – loan payoff amount = equity You can find out how much your vehicle is worth by checking National Automobile Dealers Association’s Guide, Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book.  Pro Tip Each of the price guide websites may vary in the estimate for your car’s value, so check with all three and then use the average number for the value of your vehicle. When figuring out how much you owe on the loan, use the loan payoff amount and not the principal, as the payoff amount may include things like fees and taxes you still owe on.  So if your car’s value was $18,000 and your loan payoff was $15,000, you’d have $3,000 in positive equity. Yay! If you want to trade in your car for a newer one, the dealer should apply that $3,000 toward your down payment, thus reducing the overall amount you pay for your next car. Congrats! However, if your car’s value was $18,000 and your loan payoff amount was $20,000, you’d have $2,000 in negative equity — you owe more on your car than it’s worth. Sorry.  But that’s why we’re here, so let’s look at your options and get you on the fast track to financial freedom. How to Trade in a Car With Negative Equity Stuck with an underwater car loan on a vehicle that you need to unload? Then let’s start with the worst idea and work our way up.  1. Roll Over the Amount You Owe Into a New Auto Loan If you’ve heard or seen any dealership ads that promise to pay off your loan and put you into a new car, you may be thinking what a great idea it is. Well… “This is a terrible idea, but it’s an option, and a lot of people take it because it seems easy, but it makes things worse,” said Todd Christensen, AFC and Education Manager at moneyfit.org. “It makes it even harder to get out of debt.” Pro Tip If you get in an accident and the car is totaled, the insurance company will pay for the value of the car, not how much you owe on it. Consider buying gap insurance to cover the difference. That whole promise to pay off your loan isn’t exactly accurate, according to the FTC — the dealership will pay the bank to satisfy what you owe, but they’ll add that amount to your next loan or subtract it from your down payment.  And maybe they’ll tack on a fee, just for good measure.  And because the dealer had to finance the remainder of your old loan plus the new one because you couldn’t pay off the first — thus making the new loan riskier — you can also expect to pay a higher interest rate. And adding your negative equity to your new loan amount probably puts you underwater on the next car loan as soon as you sign the papers. So the vicious cycle continues. It all adds up to a bad idea. But if this is your only option, Chistensen did suggest ways you could minimize your next loan: Downsize to a cheaper car. If you’re currently paying for a half-ton pickup and can rollover your loan into a midsize sedan, you could be looking at a smaller payment even after adding the underwater debt amount into the new loan. Also, skip the premium package. Apply for a shorter loan term. You’ll pay more per month, but if you agree to a five-year loan instead of taking the seven-year term, you’ll pay less in interest in the long run and it helps reduce the chances you’ll end up with another underwater loan. Look for cash-back offers on the next car. If the rebate is large enough, you might be able to use it to pay off the negative equity on your old loan. Get a loan preapproval. Shopping around for a preapproved auto loan for your new loan potentially helps you snag a lower interest rate than the one a dealership would offer. None of these options will absolutely prevent you from starting out underwater on your next car loan, but they can help reduce the time you’ll spend climbing out of the hole. 2. Roll Over Your Loan Into a Lease Although leasing a car means you won’t own the vehicle, you can benefit from the fact that you don’t have to keep paying down negative equity when you reach the end of the lease term. “I rarely recommend leasing a vehicle, but this would often be a better idea than rolling over your negative equity into your next car loan,” Christensen said. “It makes their lease payments larger — that’s obviously a negative — but on the positive side, they don’t have to worry about being underwater with a lease.” 3. Pay Down the Negative Equity Paying down the negative equity on the car as quickly as you can is better than the first two options because you’re actually helping yourself get out of debt financially instead of just passing it through to your next payment.  If you have the cash to pay off the negative equity, that’s an obvious choice, but you can also consider picking up a side job or temporarily cutting personal expenses — you could even get paid to drive your car and let the old hunk of junk earn its keep.  Use every extra dollar you make to pay down the debt and get your car loan back above water before you trade it in for the next vehicle. FROM THE DEBT FORUM Debt consolidation help in Canada 2/27/20 @ 1:10 PM Emergency debt 1/30/20 @ 10:14 AM The Snowball Method for Paying Off Debt 1/11/19 @ 7:58 AM I Need Debt Consolidation Knowledge 2/18/20 @ 1:16 AM See more in Debt or ask a money question [...]
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Keep These Things in Mind So You Won’t Regret Buying a House

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Keep These Things in Mind So You Won’t Regret Buying a House
Your first home purchase is more than a major investment. It’s a rite of passage, right up there with your first job. In addition to checking an adulting box, buying a house means taking on a slew of financial responsibilities that can last for literal decades. It’s a big decision in every sense of the word — and unfortunately, it’s one that many first-time buyers end up regretting.  No Regrets: What to Think (and Re-Think) When House Shopping Some things you really do have to learn the hard way — but ideally not the ones that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you’re in the market for your first home, here are some things to think twice about. Keep Maintenance in Mind Given that few of us ever spend six figures on any other single asset, the base cost of a home is probably already enough to make you woozy. But ask just about any new homeowner and they’ll tell you the mortgage payment is just the beginning.  When you’re an owner (as opposed to a renter), you no longer have the benefit of simply phoning your landlord to come fix your toilet or tinker with your hot water heater. Now, all those little problems are up to you — and they can add up to big costs. In fact, the unexpected high cost of maintenance is often a top reason new homeowners say they regret the purchase of their first home.  So when calculating how much house you can afford, be sure to add in a substantial buffer for the “uh-oh” factor. It’s going to come, so don’t let it catch you off guard. Size Matters It’s important to think carefully about what size house will actually fit your needs.  If you’re a young couple planning on having a child or two, a 2/1 might not cut it for long. Or, if you’re retired and living on a fixed income, downsizing from the 3/2 with the garage and big yard where you raised your family could bring a welcome reduction in expenses. Although life is unpredictable, taking the time to think through these kinds of decisions while home shopping could keep you from having to shop for a home again sooner than you’d like. While it’s easy to be wooed by lots of space, does anybody really need a 3,000-square-foot behemoth? The larger your house, the more you’ll spend on heating, cooling and furnishing it — not to mention the time it takes to keep it clean.  In many metro areas, homes closer to downtown tend to be smaller (and often more expensive), while the suburbs are lined with bigger homes built for families. But keep in mind the potential tradeoffs, like a longer commute that costs you more in time and gasoline. Of course, smaller homes are generally cheaper — and with the nationwide median price of a new house hovering just under $300,000, some buyers may feel they have to go small to make buying accessible at all. Although the tiny house movement and its attendant mindful minimalism are on the rise, you might want to think twice before buying too small. According to Trulia’s 2017 Real Estate Regrets report, 17% of first-time buyers wish they’d chosen something larger—a figure that jumps to 29% among 18-34 year olds. And if you’re willing to do your research (and sink some money into repair work), buying a foreclosed home could mean lots of square footage at a fraction of the cost. Houses are Expensive Yes, this one sounds like a no-brainer. But when you’re caught up in the excitement of it all — and comparison shopping with the McMansion next door — $150,000 can start to look like a bargain. And it may well be. But it’s still $150,000, a sum that would take most of us years and years to save. Unless you’re able to buy the house in cash, you’re also going to be paying interest on that figure, as well as property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and most likely other costs like PMI. So it’s not surprising that almost 10% of buyers say they wish they’d been more financially secure before they made the big decision — or that more than a third of Americans who haven’t purchased a home say the reason is the cost is too darn high.  Although building home equity can be a great financial benefit, sometimes, renting really does make more sense. (Here are some tips on how to tell whether renting or buying makes more sense in your case.) You could also consider alternative housing options, from sailboats to earthships. There are all sorts of ways to live in the world aside from four brick-and-mortar (or drywall-and-plaster) walls. Still Ready to Become a Homeowner? If you’ve given it lots (and lots) of thought and you’re ready to take the big leap into homeownership, don’t worry—we’ve got tons of resources to help you do it as effectively as possible. From buying with bad credit to choosing a mortgage, becoming a homeowner is all about making decisions armed with as much information as possible. 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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Chiengora: How a Woman Makes Extra Money With Upcycled Dog Hair

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Chiengora: How a Woman Makes Extra Money With Upcycled Dog Hair
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2016. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and for Pat Martinek, it’s become a second career. She makes beautiful garments and pieces of artwork out of discarded dog hair. With her unique approach to sourcing supplies and a technique that she has perfected with decades of practice, Martinek’s work is in constant demand from animal lovers looking for special keepsakes — and her side hustle brings in an extra $10,000 a year. A Lifelong Passion for Spinning When Martinek was in high school, she had a unique opportunity to spend 10 days living with a Navajo family on their reservation. While there, she learned traditional weaving and spinning techniques using raw fibers. Martinek loved the process, and ended up taking classes in college. While she spent her working career as a geologist, spinning was a constant passion and hobby. But spinning and knitting can be expensive, and traditional fibers are costly. A spinning wheel can cost up to $800. Just 3.5 ounces of merino wool can cost $17.99 and premium fibers like cashmere down can cost $49.50 for 125 grams, and most spinners will need much more than that to get enough yarn to knit a garment. So Martinek looked for alternative fibers she could get at a low cost or for free. She kept her own angora rabbits, but then friends introduced her to spinning dog hair. “Dog hair — sometimes called chiengora — can make beautiful yarn,” said Martinek. “It is warmer than other fibers, so a scarf or sweater made with chiengora can help you withstand the most brutal temperatures.” By gathering dog hair, buying it on Craigslist or having it donated, Martinek was able to make beautiful items out of an item most people view as a nuisance. Martinek is an advocate for the environment and sustainability, so repurposing dog hair is just another extension of her approach to upcycling. Starting a Business Spinning Dog Hair Martinek quickly realized that there was potential for a business that could help finance her passion. People who love their pets often want to remember their fluffy friends with one-of-a-kind keepsakes, and Martinek’s unique creations filled a niche. She created an online business called The Fyber Café, where she makes money by creating special mementos. For those who prefer to knit their own items, Martinek offers spinning services. Dog owners from all over the world can ship their dogs’ hair to her in Golden, Colorado, and she’ll spin it into yarn. Longer-haired breeds, such as Samoyeds or Great Pyrenees, make excellent yarn, but Martinek says her unique processing allows her to work with even shorter-haired dogs and get good quality yarn that does not fuzz or shed. She charges $18 per finished ounce; depending on the dog’s hair, she may need as much as a trash bag full of raw fur. For those looking for finished materials, she also creates scarves, hats, felted portraits and even dog leashes, ranging in price from $50 for a leash to $120 for a scarf or hat. Her unique felted portraits, where she carefully creates your dog’s picture using its own hair, range from $130 to $330.   How Dog Fur Funds Her Retirement While Martinek is enjoying retirement after decades years as a geologist, her chiengora business helps provide extra income to put towards her hobbies. She loves attending weaving and spinning conferences, trade shows and classes. She brings in over $10,000 a year in extra income from her business, which helps her pay for seminars and travel without dipping into her retirement fund, all while doing an activity she loves. Chiengora Is a Growing Trend Martinek is not alone in capitalizing on this trend. Spinners like her willing to work with chiengora often have extensive waiting lists; many make a full-time income from it. These enthusiasts are working hard to end the assumptions about dog hair. “People expect the yarn to smell,” said Martinek. “But when it’s been properly cleaned and carded, it doesn’t smell at all, even if you’re caught in a rainstorm.” Chiengora’s properties make it desirable to outdoorsy folks. It’s reportedly up to 80% warmer than wool, eliminating the need for multiple heavy layers. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM 4 simple Ideas for side income - the helpful version 2/22/20 @ 7:04 PM Passive Income Strategies 10/17/19 @ 5:00 PM Extra money on the side 1/27/20 @ 1:48 PM S Make money from home 2/2/20 @ 12:47 AM See more in Make Money or ask a money question In fact, many people now buy garments made out of chiengora, regardless of whether they came from their dog or not. The demand for luxurious dog hair is steadily increasing. “While I used to be able to get boxes of dog hair for free, people are now charging,” said Martinek. “Owners of double-coated breeds in particular are selling pounds of dog fur on sites like Craigslist and Etsy.” While Martinek used to be the only chiengora artist in her area, more and more spinners are cropping up using the coveted fibers. “It’s wonderful to see it getting more accepted,” said Martinek. “Instead of throwing it away, people can instead collect dog hair and get something beautiful.” Kat Tretina 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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HGTV magazine subscription for just $12.50/year! (I love this magazine!)

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HGTV magazine subscription for just $12.50/year! (I love this magazine!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Wow! We haven’t seen a deal on an HGTV magazine subscription in a really long time! Right now, you can get a one-year subscription to HGTV magazine for just $12.50! Just use coupon code MONEYSAVING to get this deal! You can order up to 3 years at this annual price.   I completely surprised myself by loving HGTV magazine when someone gifted me a subscription a couple years ago. I honestly didn’t think I’d like it, but ended up falling in love with it! I adore the beautiful pictures, it motivates me to add more beauty to our lives, and it inspires me to be more creative in decorating our home. This would make a great gift for yourself — or for a friend! Valid through February 28, 2020. [...]
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Intex Comfort Plush Elevated Dura-Beam Airbed with Electric Pump only $36.99 shipped (Reg. $75!)

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Intex Comfort Plush Elevated Dura-Beam Airbed with Electric Pump only $36.99 shipped (Reg. $75!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. This Intex Comfort Plush Elevated Dura-Beam Airbed with Electric Pump is perfect for guests and camping! Amazon has this Intex Comfort Plush Elevated Dura-Beam Airbed with Internal Electric Pump for only $36.99 shipped right now – the lowest price on record! 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. Thanks, Midwest Money Saving Mommas! [...]
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My Honest Review of the Master Your Money Super Bundle

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My Honest Review of the Master Your Money Super Bundle
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Interested in purchasing the Master Your Money Super Bundle? I spent hours going through all of the resources in the bundle and I am sharing my completely honest review with you, including what I liked and what I didn’t like. The popular Master Your Money Super Bundle is back for two days only, through February 20, 2020! We haven’t see this deal in almost a year and this is $10 lower than last year’s price! If you’re curious about the bundle or wondering if it’s worth purchasing, keep reading for my completely honest review of this bundle! Should You Purchase the Master Your Money Bundle? If you have been considering buying the Master Your Money Super Bundle, I am here to provide you with a completely honest and biased review. I say biased because we all have bias. Which means that you are free to agree or disagree with my conclusions. But I want to share this honest review of the Master Your Money Super Bundle for those of you who are on the fence as to whether it is worth purchasing or not. So many of you loved my honest review of The Ultimate Productivity Toolkit and begged me to do honest reviews for each of the bundles from Ultimate Bundles. While it takes a lot of time and effort to go through each and every product in a bundle, because I love to help you spend your money wisely, I am happy to prioritize the time to do so. Why I Am Not a Contributor First off, I need you to know that I did use my affiliate links throughout this post. I am an affiliate for the Ultimate Bundles this time around, not a contributor. A contributor is someone who has included a product of their own in the bundle. As a thank you for the time and effort that you put into creating your product and allowing it to be part of the bundle, Ultimate Bundles pays you 70% of every sale made through your link. They also split a small percentage of the overall sales amongst all contributors. (This is usually a few hundred dollars or less). I have been a contributor to other bundles in the past (and will likely be one in the future!) I love the folks at Ultimate Bundles and love their heart for what they do. However, when they approached me about being one for this bundle, I decided against it because I felt that the price point of $37 was a little on the high side for my audience — especially since this bundle was on the topic of saving and investing money. I am typically only a contributor for a bundle if I feel like it is going to be a really, really good fit for my audience and something that you all will be super excited about. I just felt like many of you would not be excited about a bundle on money that cost $37, so I decided to decline the opportunity. Instead of being a contributor, I am an affiliate, which means I earn 40% of every sale through my link. I just wanted to put that out here in full disclosure. If you click through any of the links in this post and purchase the bundle, I will earn 40% of the sale. My Honest Review of the Master Your Money Super Bundle I spent hours going through every single ebook, video, and course in the bundle in order to bring you the most thorough and honest review that I can. Again, I’m biased, so please know you can wholeheartedly disagree with me. But whether you agree with my assessment of the bundle or not, I hope this is helpful to you as you think through whether purchasing the Master Your Money Super Bundle is worth it for you! The Negatives: Some of the products had an inflated price tag. I will say that I felt like many of the prices on the products in the Master Your Money Super Bundle were very realistic and fair for the value, I felt like most of the videos that had a value of $19 weren’t really a $19 value and about 5 other products in the bundle felt over-priced to me. With this in mind, even though they say the bundle is a $1200 value, I’d say that for the products I would use and felt were worth what they were priced at, to me the value would be more like $350 to $400 maximum. I didn’t like the videos at all. Okay, I sort of said this above, but I’m going to say it again: I just really didn’t like the 11 videos they offered as stand-alone products in this bundle. I know it was something new they were trying and I think it fell flat. In many cases, there was poor audio and the content didn’t seem like it was super valuable — at least for what I was looking for. Honestly, I barely watched any of all of the videos. (I watched a little bit of every single one just to do this review, but I found myself skipping ahead and quickly turning them off because I just wasn’t jiving with them at all. Maybe it was just me.) Some of the products were poorly designed. I know that we don’t always have the highest quality design on things we offer because of various reasons and I know sometimes you just do the best you can do, but I found that at least 30% of the ebooks were poorly designed and hard to read. I know that “content is king”, but if your ebook is hard on my eyes and unprofessional, it makes it a lot harder to really enjoy soaking up the wisdom in the content. There is quite a bit of overlap. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing as we need to hear things more than once and different people are going to resonate with different types of teaching styles, but for some people, the fact that there is quite a bit of overlap — especially in the areas of learning to budget and cutting expenses — could de-value this bundle. The Positives: I loved that there were so many different aspects of money management covered. This bundle covers everything from investing to paying off debt to how to make more money to ways to practically cut expenses to starting a side hustle to retirement. The bundle was very comprehensive and had a lot of valuable resources with actionable tips. Most of the products were more by everyday people instead of professionals. While some people would prefer to only get financial advice from certified professionals, I prefer to learn from people who aren’t just talking in theory, but who have actually lived what they are teaching (not to say that all professionals haven’t experienced some of what they share, but I think you understand what I mean). Instead of a theory on how to pay down debt, I much prefer to hear your story of how you actually did it. There’s a lot of that in the resources in this bundle and it makes it feel very accessible and doable. My bottom line opinion is that this bundle — if you buy it and actually go through the resources and take them to heart — could save you WAY more than the $37 price tag. I had prepared myself to be underwhelmed with the content, especially since I have been blogging and studying money and saving and making money for years. But I learned a lot of new things, loved how so many of the ebooks and courses were presented, and just overall felt that this was worth purchasing, if you will USE it and have the money in your budget to pay for it. (Please, for the love of all that is good and right, do not spend money you don’t have to buy the Master Your Money Super Bundle, okay?) My Favorite Resources Budgeting That Works — I love Caroline’s style of teaching and she breaks everything down step-by-step. She also has a great voice on audio that is interesting to listen to. In this course, she gives you the tools you need to really set up a budget and follow through with it. She comes across as a fun cheerleader. I loved her 30-7-30 rule that she outlines and she has some great printables at the end of the course, including a 160 Ways to Save Cheatsheet which I thought was very valuable. Fancy Serial Numbers For Fun & Profit — I had NO idea that people would pay big bucks for cash bills that had fancy or special or [...]
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12 Money-Saving Tips to Enjoy a Frugal Retirement

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12 Money-Saving Tips to Enjoy a Frugal Retirement
Adjusting to a fixed income in retirement can be a challenge — especially if you’re living off less money. Just because you stopped working doesn’t mean you can stop paying the utility bills and buying groceries. If you’re planning vacations or trips to the golf course — those are extra costs to budget for. “You could easily spend more money [in retirement] because you have more time you want to enjoy,” said Droucelle Ramage, a retiree living in St. Petersburg, Florida. Embracing frugality throughout her life, however, is one of the reasons Ramage was able to leave the workforce in her early 60s. “I used to say it’s against my religion to pay full retail,” she joked. Ramage continues to keep expenses low by shopping at thrift stores, attending free community events and choosing community acupuncture rather than going to a pricey private practice. “It’s $15 instead of $100,” she said. Volunteering at her church and local senior center is another way Ramage stays busy without spending money. When she travels, she’s able to get free flights, a benefit of working for American Airlines for over 20 years. Knowing how to cut costs is key to having a frugal retirement you can enjoy. Here are 12 ways to save money. 1. Get a Roommate or Two Loneliness in retirement can have a negative effect on your health and quality of life. Not only will live-in company help you feel less alone, but you’ll reduce housing costs. If you live alone, try sharing a place with a friend or family member who lives in the same town, or consider coliving with other retirees to save money. 2. Downsize to a Smaller Space Maybe your idea of a frugal retirement doesn’t include sharing your living space. You can cut costs by moving to a smaller home instead.  A small house has several financial benefits. You’ll pay less in rent or mortgage. Your utility bills will go down. You’ll have less home maintenance and repairs to worry about.  And when you downsize, you can sell all that furniture you don’t need for extra cash.  Pro Tip If you’re looking to relocate, here are 11 of the best places to retire. 3. Rent Out Your Kids’ Old Rooms If you don’t want to sell the family home or get long-term roommates, you can make money off your empty nest by turning unused space into short-term rentals. Your kids can get their rooms back when they visit for the holidays — or you could make them pay the daily rate.  This guide on how to become an Airbnb host will get you started. 4. Cut the Cost of Groceries Slashing your grocery spending is a high-impact way to help you have a frugal retirement that saves money every month. Clip coupons, buy generic products, start a garden and shop at stores that boast low prices, like Aldi or Trader Joe’s. For more tips, check out this story about saving money on groceries. Bonus: When you feel like eating out for a change, read up on these 25 ways to save money at restaurants. 5. Be Proactive About Your Health Your health is often intertwined with your wealth. Staying healthy in retirement means you’ll spend less on medical costs. When it comes to preventative care, a balanced diet and regular exercise can lower your chances of developing certain conditions like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. But you don’t have to drain your bank account paying for expensive health food or a pricey gym membership. These 10 ways to save money on organic groceries will help you eat healthy for less. Incorporate one of these gym alternatives into your routine, or build a cheap home gym for under $100.  Pro Tip If you’re 65 or older, enroll in Medicare. While Medicare coverage doesn’t eliminate out-of-pocket costs, you’ll pay less than with private health insurance. 6. Find Low-Cost Entertainment and Ways to Stay Social Keep busy in retirement without emptying your wallet. Fill your social calendar up with events at your local senior center, host potluck dinners with friends or start a murder mystery book club. Check out free offerings at your library, like sign language classes or museum passes.  Turn to this list of 100 free things to do when boredom hits. Volunteering is another way to make good use of your time, and it could come with neat perks, like free entry to a play when you usher at a theater. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Cheap Valentine's Day date 2/15/20 @ 11:15 AM S How I save money on pest control 2/4/20 @ 3:50 PM $4000 trip to Hawaii for $1500 2/13/20 @ 4:11 PM See more in Save Money or ask a money question 7. Save Money on That Bucket List Trip You can have a frugal retirement and travel. It just requires some smart planning and perhaps a bit of compromise — like avoiding the peak tourist season or driving instead of flying. These travel tips will help you keep costs low. 8. Take Advantage of Discounts Don’t be shy about sharing your age when it’ll result in sweet discounts. Dozens of companies — from retailers and restaurants to airlines and hotels — offer lower prices for seniors. Some offer discounts to customers as young as 50. Pro Tip Join AARP to enjoy a slew of discounts at a variety of places. 9. Continue Your Education for Free All across the country, there are opportunities for seniors to take free or reduced-price college courses. Be a life-long learner and take a class in a subject you’ve always wanted to know more about. 10. Shop Secondhand Instead of strolling through the mall for a new outfit or home decor piece, try thrift stores, consignment shops or online sellers to score a lower price. 11. Sell Unused Things You know that china set that’s been collecting dust? Stop telling yourself you’ll pass it down to your kids. Get cash for it instead, along with all the other unused items lying around the house. Organize a garage sale or register as a vendor at a local flea market. If you don’t feel like manning a card table for half a day, sell your stuff online on sites like eBay, OfferUp or Facebook Marketplace. This guide helps you figure out the best time of year to sell all your unwanted stuff. 12. Pay Off Lingering Debt The rewards are twofold when you become debt free sooner rather than later. You’ll pay less in overall interest when you pay off your debt early. You’ll also free up more cash once you no longer have that monthly financial obligation. Paying more than the minimum, negotiating a lower interest rate and making biweekly payments can help you lower your debt load. Here are additional helpful tips on paying off student loans in retirement and eliminating credit card debt in retirement. 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 Turn an Idea Into a Business: A 7-Day Jump-Start

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How to Turn an Idea Into a Business: A 7-Day Jump-Start
Chances are you’ve daydreamed of what it would be like to run a business of your own. Perhaps you’ve thought of an idea that could be a real moneymaker. But you weren’t sure how to act, so those dreams faded to the background as you trudged through your day job(s). To get you back in entrepreneur mode, we’ve created a seven-day bootcamp to turn your idea into a business. We’ve paired each day with a strategy to help you chisel away at your goals. And what’s this? Feb. 15-22, is National Entrepreneurship Week? What timing! Chartered in 2006, the weeklong congressional initiative “encourages the implementation of entrepreneurship education throughout the United States.” Dreams, you’re back. That business you’ve always wanted to start: It’s happening. By the end of the week, if all goes well, your momentum should carry you into a future where every week is entrepreneurship week. Day 1: Brainstorm Ideas Business ideas don’t have to be glamorous. They just need to be realistic. They don’t need to be based on a genius invention, a scientific breakthrough or a Shark Tank-worthy smartphone app (though they certainly could be). At their core, good business ideas identify existing problems and offer solutions. Kathyrn Gratton is the president of the Hagerstown, Maryland, chapter of Score, a free small-business resource network and partner of the federal Small Business Administration. She spoke to The Penny Hoarder about coming up with a winning idea. “Where’s your interest? Where’s your passion?” she said, noting that your ideas need to be more than potential moneymakers: You should also enjoy the work. It’s OK if you can’t think of anything on-the-spot. The Penny Hoarder compiled nine business ideas to get your creativity flowing. Day 2: Choose a Winner Now that you’ve got a long (or not-so-long) list of potential business ideas, you’ve got to decide which one to run with.  Consider your own expertise. Use your insider experience and knowledge to pinpoint what’s original and novel about your idea. Start thinking about the connections you have, and how those people can help you get started. You may realize later that, actually, the idea you picked wasn’t a winner. You need to rethink it, or return to your list. That’s OK too. The point of this weeklong exercise is to make progress. And determining that the idea you’ve been mulling over for a while is unfeasible is progress. Day 3: Get Feedback Feedback is crucial in the early stages of business building. The more the better — and the more critical the better. While you might think you have a brilliant idea, sooner or later, your business is going to need to convince a ton of other people of the same thing. Within the constraints of day three, you’re not going to be able to test any markets or run any focus groups. Simply asking for constructive feedback from your neighbors, friends or family members will be tremendously helpful. Think you’re onto something? Read our comprehensive 10-step guide to starting a business once you’re ready to launch. Gratton recommends asking that one brutally honest friend we all have. You know, the one that’s comfortable with telling you if you’ve gotten fat over the holidays. “They are the best to run things by because you know they will tell you the truth,” she said. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM Is there Really a way to make MONEY ONLINE? 2/14/20 @ 2:34 PM Earn well with little Money? 2/14/20 @ 3:06 PM Financial Fitness February: Day 7 (Big WIN) 2/8/20 @ 12:37 AM Make money from home 2/2/20 @ 12:47 AM See more in Make Money or ask a money question Day 4: Outline a Business Plan Don’t roll your eyes. Business plans are worth it. A 2016 study published in the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal found it indeed pays to plan: Entrepreneurs who wrote formal business plans were 16% more likely to “achieve new venture viability” (aka succeed) than those who didn’t.  While it’s true that you won’t be able to – and probably shouldn’t – draft an entire business plan in one day, you can spend your time creating an outline that will set you up for success. In the article-turned-book “How to Write a Great Business Plan,” Harvard business professor William Sahlman lays out the purpose of a business plan and exactly what to include in it. The People: Who’s running the show? Include yourself and everyone else you’ll need for operations to run smoothly. The Opportunity: Explain your product or service and who might buy it. Start thinking about price points, customer demographics and competitors. The Context: Consider all “factors that inevitably change but cannot be controlled by the entrepreneur,” Sahlman writes. That includes laws, regulations and economic trends that could impact your idea. The Risk and Reward: Describe the worst-case scenario, economically speaking, and how you plan to weather the storm. Use those four sections as a starting point for your outline. As you fill it out, you’re very likely to find some deeper insight into your business – or you may find it’s just not going to work. The sooner you learn from either scenario, the better. Day 5: Craft a Business Pitch You’ve done all the heavy lifting for the week. Hopefully that dream you thought was long dead is starting to come alive. Now it’s time to polish up your findings and start sharing the basic premise of your idea and why it’s destined to be successful. Or at least be ready when the opportunity strikes. To help you know what to include in a killer business pitch, The Penny Hoarder spoke to two former Shark Tank contestants who pitched their businesses in front of millions of viewers – nailed their performance – and now helm multimillion-dollar enterprises: Dawoon Kang, CEO of the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel, and Sara Margulis, CEO of the honeymoon-crowdsourcing website Honeyfund. “Succinctly stating what your business is, why it exists and why it’s better than everyone else is really important,” Margulis said. “Any time you talk about your company, you should be able to convey those things simply.” That succinct part is especially important. Here are Kang and Margulis’ other key nuggets of advice. Know your audience: No matter whom you speak to, your pitch should include the core elements Margulis mentioned, but you’ll need to tailor it slightly to different people. Is it a customer, an investor or a business partner? What does each of them need to hear? Include a call to action: Depending on your audience, the call to action should change. Suggest a clear next step, something more specific than: “Let’s stay in touch!” Practice: Pacing, enthusiasm and data are a lot to juggle. You won’t know what part of your pitch sticks with your listener unless you test it out. Apply feedback: Your business pitch is never truly finished. You may learn that people want to hear more about a detail you thought was unimportant. Hear them out, and make the changes to keep it fresh. “It feels like (I’m pitching) all the time … but what I’m realizing is it’s actually not enough,” Kang said. “There’s a saying: ‘Unless you’ve said it 10 times, you [...]
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Save 25% on filing your taxes with H&R Block!

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Save 25% on filing your taxes with H&R Block!
Want to save money on filing your taxes? Don’t miss this deal to get 25% off with H&R Block this tax season! {This post is sponsored by H&R Block. Read our disclosure policy here.} Save Money & Time on Tax Prep This Year It’s hard to believe, but tax season is already upon us! If this time of year tends to overwhelm you, be sure to check out H&R Block’s online tax services. H&R Block’s goal is to make filing your taxes easier, less time consuming, and more affordable. And you can use their services on a regular computer or even on your smartphone! Not only are H&R Block’s tax services at least $10 less than TurboTax, but they’re also offering an exclusive discount for Money Saving Mom readers to save an extra 25% off any of their services right now! Choose from four of their affordable, easy-to-use tax solutions: H&R Block Free Online (FREE + Free State Filing) — Designed for people with less complex filing situations, including clients who have W-2 income, kids and rent, as well as students and first-time filers. More people can file for free with H&R Block vs. TurboTax, including parents and students. H&R Block Deluxe Online ($29.99 $23.99 with discount) — Designed for homeowners, people who’ve made charitable donations, and those with HSAs. This version includes six years’ access to tax returns, Deduction Pro® to optimize deductions, and chat support for technical questions. H&R Block Premium Online ($49.99 $39.99 with discount) — Designed for freelancers, contractors, investors, and rental property owners. This version includes all Deluxe features as well as the ability to import expenses from popular expense-tracking apps. It also features cost-basis calculation using advanced filing calculators to help determine the cost basis of your home sale, dividend, and gift and inheritance assets. H&R Block Self Employed Online ($79.99 $63.99 with discount) — Designed for self-employed individuals and small business owners with a home office and/or employee. This version includes all Premium features as well as an improved guided Schedule C interview to ensure a better experience for complex clients. With any of these paid versions of H&R Block, you can add on a state filing for an extra $36.99 cost. You can also opt to utilize their H&R Block Online Assist that offers access to highly trained tax experts to provide the level of help you want or need — with an H&R Block tax expert, IRS enrolled agent, or CPA. And one of H&R Block’s highest priorities is transparency — so you’ll always know upfront exactly how much you’ll be paying for your online tax preparation. If your price changes for any reason during the tax preparation process, you’ll immediately be notified. Save On H&R Block Tax Services Want to try H&R Block tax preparation services this year? I’ve got an exclusive discount for you! H&R Block is offering MoneySavingMom.com readers a 25% discount on any of their tax solutions. Just click here to browse the options and find the right fit for you at a discounted price! [...]
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Columbia Men’s Voodoo Falls 590 TurboDown Jacket only $58.98 shipped (Reg. $150!)

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Columbia Men’s Voodoo Falls 590 TurboDown Jacket only $58.98 shipped (Reg. $150!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. This is a fantastic deal on this Columbia Men’s Voodoo Falls 590 TurboDown Jacket! Columbia has this Men’s Voodoo Falls 590 TurboDown Jacket for just $58.98 shipped right now! Be sure you are logged in to your account (it’s free to join) to get this price! This is regularly $150 and has amazing reviews so this is a hot deal. Choose from four color options. [...]
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Own Your Solo Act with These Financial Tips for Singles

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Own Your Solo Act with These Financial Tips for Singles
It’s all on you. When you’re single, you don’t have a spouse helping you pay bills or a partner nagging you to spend less and save more. How much money you make and what you do with that cash is up to you alone … and only you deal with the repercussions of your financial mistakes. To live your best life as captain of your own ship, you’ve got to commit to making the right choices. Here are 11 financial tips for singles to heed. 1. Build an Emergency Fund An emergency fund is your safety net when something goes wrong. It’s especially important to have a robust emergency fund as a single person because you don’t have someone else’s savings or salary to tap into if your car breaks down or you get laid off from your job. The common recommendation for an emergency fund is to have three-to-six months worth of expenses saved, but if you’re starting from scratch, develop a smaller-scale goal and work your way up to that amount. This guide on how to start an emergency fund can help. Pro Tip Prioritize your savings by paying yourself first. Setting money aside in a savings account when you get paid. By not letting it sit in your checking account, you’re less likely to spend that cash. 2. Save for Retirement The downside of being single: You don’t have a partner helping you add to your retirement accounts. The upside: You only need enough savings to support one person in retirement, not two. Regardless of your relationship status, contributing to a 401(k) or IRA early and often can help you build a comfortable nest egg for your golden years. We break down how to save money for retirement at various stages of life. 3. Create a Budget When your money isn’t merged with a significant other, you don’t have to worry about anyone questioning your spending decisions. Want to drop $300 on a pair of new shoes? Who’s going to tell you no? But just because you don’t have to answer to anyone doesn’t mean it’s okay to spend without a plan. That’s where having a budget comes in. Your budget will show you if you have enough funds to buy those pricey shoes or if that purchase would derail paying the bills on time. If you’re among the many, many Americans who aren’t in the practice of budgeting, check out these tips on how to budget as a beginner. While you’re establishing your various budget categories and spending limits, make sure to include room for a little fun money. It’s hard to stick to a budget that’s too restrictive and leaves you feeling deprived. 4. Stop Being Loyal to Service Providers You’re a free agent when it comes to dating whoever you want. Applying a similar mindset when it comes to service providers — like your cell phone company or car insurance provider — can help you save money. You don’t have to stay tied down to who you’re with today. Check rates and offers from competing service providers to see if you can get similar service for less. If you’re under contract with your current provider, ask the competition if they’ll pay the fee for you to jump ship. Another option: If you’re satisfied with, say, your internet service but find another company is offering lower rates, use that as leverage to negotiate a better price with your provider. Some companies will meet a competitor’s rate to avoid losing a good customer. 5. Vet Potential Roommates Carefully Taking on a roommate can be a great way to reduce housing expenses. But if your roommate ends up being a bum who’s always late with the rent, you’re in for a heap of trouble. Save yourself the headache and do your due diligence ahead of time by asking these screening questions for potential roommates. Pro Tip If you want the social and financial benefits of roommates without being on the hook if they’re short on rent, consider getting an individual room in a coliving space, like this woman did. 6. Embrace Meal Planning When you just have to worry about feeding yourself, it’s oh so convenient to order something on Grubhub or UberEats and call it a night. But do that multiple times a week and the expenses add up quick. Cooking at home is a more economical solution. When you meal prep, you can save time and money. Cook multiple servings of staples like chicken, rice or potatoes and wash and chop veggies in advance so you can quickly pull meals together throughout the week. Avoid prepping too far in advance, though, so your food doesn’t spoil. Meal planning also works for snacks too. Buy a bulk bag of your favorite munchies and divvy it into individual portions instead of spending more on a bunch of snack-size packages. 7. Be Mindful of Lifestyle Inflation When you get a big raise or unexpected windfall of cash, it might be tempting to go into treat-yourself mode. A new wardrobe. The latest iPhone. Weekly spa treatments. But you shouldn’t give into lifestyle inflation without being prudent and addressing things like debt and saving for retirement.  Does that mean you have to keep that ratty futon from college instead of buying a real couch because you’re still paying back student loans? Not exactly. It just means budget your extra money so you increase your student loan payments and have cash for that furniture upgrade. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM What gadgets have you purchased that you felt really saved you money? 2/11/20 @ 12:05 PM How I save money on pest control 2/4/20 @ 8:50 PM Financial Fitness February: Day 4 (And a Money Saving Tip) 2/5/20 @ 5:05 AM Extreme Couponing Tips to Add More Money Into Your Wallet 2/4/20 @ 12:20 PM See more in Save Money or ask a money question 8. Get an Accountability Partner for Debt Payoff Motivation Paying down debt can be a tedious process. It can help to have someone on your side, keeping you encouraged and steering you back on course when you struggle. An accountability partner does just that. Choose a friend or family member you can confide in about your goals and challenges. Your accountability buddy should be someone who’s not afraid to give you tough love when you need it but who’ll also be your cheerleader throughout your debt payoff process. 9. Have Multiple Sources of Income Losing your job or having your boss cut your hours can be financially devastating when you’re single. Having additional streams of income can ensure you still have money coming in if something happens to your main job. Consider picking up a side hustle, getting a second job or starting an entrepreneurial pursuit. Looking for a way to make more money? You could work from home. We post new job opportunities every weekday. Though you’ll boost your bank account, it requires a bit of juggling to manage more than one job. This woman shares her advice on balancing a side gig with full-time work. 10. Consider if You Need Life Insurance Being single you might think, why would I need life insurance? To be honest, paying into a life insurance policy may not be a priority for you. But if you have kids or have a loan that someone co-signed, getting a life insurance policy is a smart choice. You might also consider getting a policy if you’re a business owner or want to leave something behind for your loved ones. Here’s a run down of the types of life insurance and the best life in [...]
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How Ignatica is tackling the legacy systems innovation logjam with new technology

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How Ignatica is tackling the legacy systems innovation logjam with new technology
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SEC Proposes Amendments to Financial Disclosure in Regulation S-K and Issues New Guidance

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SEC Proposes Amendments to Financial Disclosure in Regulation S-K and Issues New Guidance
On January 30, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to propose amendments to certain financial disclosure requirements in Regulation S-K, in an effort to modernize and simplify such requirements. The SEC also issued new guidance relating to key performance indicators and metrics. The SEC has proposed the following amendments and guidance to Regulation S-K: Elimination of Items 301 Selected Financial Data and 302 Supplementary Financial Information To simplify disclosure requirements in light of modern technological developments and reduce the repetition of non-material information, the SEC proposed eliminating the requirements that registrants provide 1) five years of selected financial data and 2) two years of selected quarterly financial data. Amendments to Item 303 Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations The SEC proposed various amendments to Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A), including: adding a new Item 303(a) to succinctly state and clarify the principal purposes of MD&A and streamline the instructions; eliminating the specific requirement to discuss the impact of inflation and price changes, though a discussion of such matters would still be required if the trend shows they have had or are reasonably expected to have a material impact on net sales, revenue or income from continuing operations (Item 303(a)(3)(iv) Results of Operations (Inflation and Price Changes)); replacing the requirement that a registrant discuss off-balance sheet arrangements with a requirement to integrate disclosure of off-balance sheet arrangements within the broader context of MD&A (Item 303(a)(4), Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements); eliminating the requirement to provide a contractual obligations table (Item 303(a)(5) Contractual Obligations); permitting registrants to compare the most recently completed quarter to either the corresponding quarter of the prior year, as currently mandated, or to the immediately preceding quarter (Item 303(b) Interim Periods); and requiring disclosure of critical accounting estimates. Other proposed amendments to MD&A would require disclosure of known events reasonably likely to cause a material change in costs and revenues; codify existing interpretive guidance requiring the discussion of reasons underlying material changes in net sales or revenues and require disclosure of material cash requirements (including capital expenditures commitments); and the anticipated source of funds and general purpose of such material cash requirements. Amendments Relating to Foreign Private Issuers The proposed revisions include parallel amendments to Forms 20-F and 40-F relating to foreign private issuers (FPIs), intending that MD&A requirements for FPIs continue to mirror the substantive MD&A requirements in Item 303 of Regulation S-K. Guidance The SEC also issued new guidance providing that, where registrants disclose key performance indicators or metrics, they should also consider the extent to which additional disclosure relating to the metrics is necessary in light of existing MD&A requirements and to ensure that the presentation of the indicators or metrics, in light of the circumstances under which they are presented, is not misleading. The guidance further provides a reminder for registrants to consider whether they have effective controls and procedures in place to process information related to the disclosure of key performance indicators and metrics to ensure consistency and accuracy. Commenters have 60 days following publication in the Federal Register to submit comments to the proposed amendments, which is available here. The guidance is available here. [...]
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12 Things That Are Cheaper in 2020

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12 Things That Are Cheaper in 2020
Dean Drobot / Shutterstock.com What goes up must come down, right? For some prices, yes. Money Talks News analyzed the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest Consumer Price Index data, which is for December 2019, to find out which things actually cost less going into 2020 than they did one year prior. Overall, the price of all things overall rose by 2.3% over the course of 2019... [...]
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*HOT* FREE $10 purchase at Chewy after cash back!!

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*HOT* FREE $10 purchase at Chewy after cash back!!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Calling all pet owners! This is a RARE deal that TopCashBack is offering right now! You’ll get a $10 purchase at Chewy for FREE after rebate! Are you a pet owner? You won’t want to miss this RARE offer from TopCashBack!! TopCashBack is offering $10 cash back on ANY $10 purchase at Chewy, making it FREE! Here’s how to get your FREE $10 Chewy purchase: 1. Head here for the special Chewy offer and sign up for a new Top Cash Back account. 2. Make a purchase valued at $10 or higher. 3. Within 21 days, your TopCashBack account will be credited with $10 — enough to cover your purchase! 4. After you receive the $10 payment in your Top Cash Back account, you can choose to transfer it to your bank account or request a Paypal payment. This is for new Top Cash Back members only. If you are already a member, you are allowed to sign up another adult in your household. This deal is valid through February 27, 2020. [...]
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Security Token news for Week ending 7 February 2020

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Security Token news for Week ending 7 February 2020
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How to Afford Being a Stay At Home Mom

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How to Afford Being a Stay At Home Mom
Want to be a stay at home mom, but worried about the financial implications of transitioning to one income? This post is full of practical advice and helpful encouragement on how to afford being a stay at home mom! Guest post by Kristine of SurvivingMoms.com: Giving up a full-time or part-time salary isn’t easy, but my sisters and I wanted to stay home with our kids. To make it happen we knew we needed to get creative with lowering our monthly expenses. Here are 19 things we did (and still do) to save money: We Cut Hair Ourselves: Even at Walmart a haircut for a child costs $12 — and that doesn’t include tip! Instead of going to the hairdresser, we ordered some nice clippers off Amazon and now we cut everyone’s hair at home as often as we need to. We Use Grocery Pick-Up: We love using grocery pick-up! It is convenient and saves us money as it helps us avoid impulse shopping. We also love that every time we add an item to our cart, we can see the total go up; this allows us to decide if we really need that item this week or if it can wait. We save an average of $20 per week by using pick-up only! We Don’t Eat Out: Eating out can blow a monthly budget really quickly! We plan a weekly or monthly menu for our family and stick to it. We try to cook our meals at home no matter how good take-out sounds. We also try to get the whole family involved by giving each kid a job to do. Dinner tastes so much better when you are proud of what you have made — and that goes for kids, too. Psst! Check these extra tips to help you stop eating out! We Buy Used Clothing: We buy gently used clothes for our children. Shops like Once Upon a Child, Goodwill, Facebook Marketplace, and garage sales are great places to start! See if there is a friend or family member that you can swap clothes with. This has been a huge blessing to our family. We Sell Outgrown Clothing: We sell our outgrown clothes at a local kids’ consignment shop and then get store credit, which usually offers more money to buy the next size up for our kids. We Use the Honey Extension: We installed Honey on our computers and it will alert us when items get marked down and if it’s a good time to buy. You are able to see the price trends and if there are available promo codes you can use. We love using Honey! We Watch for Christmas Deals Year-Round: Rather than shopping for Christmas presents in November and December, we look for deals all year. It is easy to get pulled into impulse buying with all the advertising during the Christmas season. We Buy Used Items off Amazon: When we find an item we want to purchase off Amazon, we check to see if they have the same item “Like New” or “Used, Very Good.” These items were typically opened and returned. We have had great success finding brand new items marked down this way! We Ask Before we Buy: Shopping online is SO easy… maybe a little TOO easy! To reduce impulse purchases, we wait and talk to our spouses before we purchase something. This makes us aware of what we are spending our money on, plus it allows us to say whether or not we think it is the right use of our money. We Make Our Own Baby Food: Baby food is expensive. Pinterest has lots of recipes for making your own healthy baby food at a fraction of the cost of buying it from the store. We Canceled Cable and DirectTV: This is an expensive monthly bill that isn’t necessary. We have used Hulu, Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney Plus instead of cable, so we can still enjoy our favorite shows and movies while paying significantly less. We Switched to an Off-Brand Cell Phone Service: We have our cell phone bill down to $50 a month for two smartphones with 5 GB of data each. Honestly, the service isn’t as good. We do drop calls frequently. We mostly text though, and it was worth the annoyance to lower our monthly bills. {Psst! Looking for an inexpensive option? Twigby has phone plans that start as low as $9 per month!} We Implement Meatless Monday: Meat is one of the biggest expenses in a grocery budget. Having a meal once a week without any meat allows us to lower our grocery budget significantly. If you need some inspiration, try one of these great meatless meal ideas! We Share One Vehicle: When possible, we share a vehicle with our spouse. This cuts down on gas, car insurance, and other car-related expenses. It’s hard at first but worth it when we look at the savings. We Always Look for Free Activities: We take advantage of free classes/activities offered by our local libraries. Hiking, visiting National Parks on free days, and bike trails are other activities we regularly have on our schedules. We Make Coffee at Home: We make coffee at home instead of buying one at the local coffee shop. Even using a Keurig at home only costs 26 cents per cup compared to almost $2 per cup. This adds up when we start each day with six cups a cup of coffee. 😉 We Look for Coupons: We compare ads and use coupons or store apps when grocery shopping. We also plan our menus based around meat that is on sale that week. We Use Groupon: We shop Groupon in advance to buy tickets and get the best deals. We used Groupon to get a great deal on tickets to Sky Zone for the whole family. We Use Cashback Sites: We use cashback sites like Rakuten to stretch our shopping budget by getting money back on online purchases. These are just a few of the many ways we save money every single day. These little (and big) savings all add up to allow my sisters and I to stay home with our children! What are some of your favorite tips on how to afford being a stay at home mom? Katie, Nicole, and Kristine are sister-in-laws with eight kids between them. They now blog at SurvivingMoms.com about mom survival tips, what is helping them get through their days with their kiddos, and how their true hope and encouragement comes from knowing their Savior, Jesus Christ. [...]
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5 Ways to Get a Free Smartphone This Month

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5 Ways to Get a Free Smartphone This Month
This post comes from partner site WhistleOut.com. Get a free phone from your next mobile carrier! Sounds too good to be true, right? But it’s legitimate. One way that major mobile providers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile woo you to their plans is by offering free or discounted phones to customers who switch to them from another carrier. Sometimes existing customers can qualify... [...]
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Buy Now Pay Later Player OpenPay Diversifies Revenue As Regulatory Headwinds Increase For Sector

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Buy Now Pay Later Player OpenPay Diversifies Revenue As Regulatory Headwinds Increase For Sector
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iRobot Roomba 677 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum only $211.99 shipped (Reg. $400!)

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iRobot Roomba 677 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum only $211.99 shipped (Reg. $400!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Wow! This is a great price on this highly rated iRobot Roomba 677 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum! You can get this iRobot Roomba 677 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum for just $211.99 shipped at Kohl’s right now! Here’s how: Buy Roomba 677 Vacuum – $329.99 (Reg. $399.99) Use code HOMEGOALS for $10 off $50 Use code TAKE15 for 15% off Get FREE shipping Pay $271.99 out of pocket, Get back $50 Kohl’s Cash + $10 Yes2You Rewards Like paying $211.99 shipped after codes, cash and rewards Thanks, ChaChingOnAShoestring! [...]
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How to Help Kids Pay for College Without Going Into Debt

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How to Help Kids Pay for College Without Going Into Debt
You’d love to save your kids from student loan debt, but how can you help them pay for college without sinking your own financial ship? After all, the average in-state tuition at four-year public colleges reached $10,440 this year — and that doesn’t include room and board, books or personal expenses. So it’s understandable that you’re not sure how to help your kids pay for college. But of the $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, people age 50 and older owe 20% of it — $289.5 billion. You could end up having to delay your retirement if you’re still paying off your kid’s tuition. Strategizing how to pay for college doesn’t have to be a solo decision, though. Here’s what to discuss with your kids in order to help them pay for college. How to Help Your Kids Pay for College Without Going Into Debt Yourself Parenting isn’t always fun — but if you have a nearly college-age kid, you already knew that, right? So breaking it to them that you won’t be able to completely pay for college may not be the most pleasant conversation you’ve had with them. But surprising them with that news as they’re moving into their dorm room isn’t a suggested alternative.  Pro Tip If you’re getting an early start on covering college costs, we have a whole slew of ways to save money for your kids’ future. By helping them understand what you can contribute, you can both plan accordingly and graduate with as little debt as possible — if any.  1. Be a Realist If you went used car shopping and your kid fell for a Tesla they really wanted to drive to their part-time job bussing tables, would you blow your budget and fork over the extra $40,000? No. The same goes for your child’s choice of school. If your kid dreams of an Ivy League school but you’re just scraping by, it might be time for a reality check. “Don’t go broke to put your kid into a name school,” said Jamie Dickenson, Certified Educational Planner. “Check your ego at the door and get serious about what’s a good fit for your student academically, socially, emotionally and financially.” She related the story of a West Virginia family she counseled when their daughter wanted to go to Clemson University in South Carolina to major in elementary education. “This was a family that made $80,000 a year,” Dickenson said. “Out-of-state tuition at Clemson is nearly $35,000 year — or $140,000 total bill — for a job that starts at $36,000.” Don’t go broke to put your kid into a name school. By starting the college budget discussion early in the search process — like, before junior year of high school — you can help your children develop realistic expectations about school and expenses.  Then help them choose where they can get the best education for the least amount of money.  You might even convince them to consider saving money by starting out closer to home — a community college transfer could save $12,000 or more on a bachelor’s degree. 2. Go on the College Tour With Your Kids Yes, you may have to walk six steps behind them (because, ugh, it’s so embarrassing being seen with your parents), but when your kids are ready to tour colleges, don’t let them go alone. Why? Consider the thought and research you put into major purchases, like a house or car. Your kid could potentially spend that much money on college. Having a second pair of eyes and ears during the college tour can let them focus on what’s important to them without forgetting to ask the practical questions.  Pro Tip Depending on the college, you may need to fill out both the FAFSA and the College Scholarship Service Profile to qualify for financial aid. Here's what you need to know about the CSS Profile. Before you go on a tour, set up an appointment with the financial aid office for the same day so you can connect with a real person and have a contact for follow-ups. Bring along these financial aid questions to the appointment to guide you when asking about scholarships, student loans and living expenses.  When your child receives their acceptance letters and financial aid award packages, they can reach out to that same financial aid officer to ask questions about their specific financial aid award package to help them compare the offers. 3. Avoid Paying Tuition by Investing Early  Instead of taking out loans to pay for your kids’ college, why not invest in their education earlier (when it’s a little cheaper)? Shelling out a few hundred dollars for ACT or SAT preparation courses now could pay off when your kids begin applying for financial assistance. “Look at [your] kid’s grades and test scores because that’s where the majority of money for college comes from these days — merit-based aid,” Dickenson said. If you’re concerned that your kid won’t qualify, call the college financial aid officer and ask what the cutoff is for merit-based scholarships, advised Amy Irvine, a Certified Financial Planner and founder of Rooted Planning Group. “Maybe you’re only three points off from something, and you could re-sit for the SATs,” she said. Another option: Advanced Placement classes. By encouraging your kids to sign up for AP classes in high school, they can take the exam for that subject and potentially receive college credit for it.  Although the AP exam costs $94, it’s a deal compared to the $301.23 sticker price for one credit hour at a four-year institution (including tuition and applicable fees), according to a Penny Hoarder analysis of National Center for Education statistics.   And the fewer courses they need to take, the smaller their tuition bill. FROM THE DEBT FORUM Emergency debt 1/30/20 @ 10:14 AM Low income high debt 1/15/20 @ 9:36 AM Debt relief program 1/30/20 @ 2:16 PM How do I build my credit with a credit card? 1/27/20 @ 8:42 AM See more in Debt or ask a money question 4. Understand How Your Decisions Affect Their Financial Aid When your child fills out the FAFSA, they must include information from your tax statements from the previous year — for the 2020-21 FAFSA, you’d use your 2018 tax returns.  So it’s important for you to consider financial-altering decisions that could decide whether they receive financial aid. That can mean delaying a big life change — Dickenson said she advised a client to delay marrying her wealthy fiance who didn’t want to foot the bill for his stepson’s college — or a one-time income boost — Dickenson suggested you might ask your employer to defer a year-end bonus until the following year. You should also consider how the money you already have is counted toward the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  The majority of the EFC is based on income, but any assets the child owns are counted against them at a higher percentage than the parents’ assets when determining financial aid awards. That means your child is more likely to qualify for financial aid if you keep the money in your name rather than building up a savings account in your child’s name.  Helping your kids strategize ways to cover college — without either of you going into debt — could be your biggest parenting win of all. Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her [...]
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This Week in Fintech 31 January

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This Week in Fintech 31 January
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Make Money During the Super Bowl With These 8 Ideas

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Make Money During the Super Bowl With These 8 Ideas
When I was a kid, I was a big reader. Sorry — I meant to say “nerd.” I was a huge nerd and didn’t care about sports. Still, I watched the Green Bay Packers play every Sunday, because that’s what we did in my house. I just usually had a book open at the same time. Because of that ritual, the sound of a football game on TV is cathartic for me. I’d rather turn on the NFL Network than listen to a white noise app when I want to get work done. That’s why I’ll still tune into Super Bowl LIV. I enjoy the connection to the rest of the nation — while knocking out a blog post and making headway through a novel. If you’re in the same boat, use the day to make some extra money. Just make sure you take a break and tune in for the Halftime Show, so you know what everyone’s talking about on Facebook on Monday. While your family or roommates gather ‘round the TV this weekend, try some of these ways to make extra money. 8 Ways to Make Money During the Super Bowl 1. Drive With Lyft If you haven’t already signed up as a driver with Lyft, now’s a good time to do it. As a driver with Lyft, you can help Super Bowl party goers in your city safely get where they’re going and where they’re coming from. No driving drunk or walking in the cold! Plus, the higher demand before and after the game could mean a busy night and big bucks for you. You keep a portion of everything you earn as a driver, plus 100% of your tips. High Lyft traffic means peak hours, which might mean more money for you. Here’s a link to apply to drive with Lyft. 2. List Your Place or Spare Room Look. We get it. Your home is your sanctuary. Your place to be alone. Some days, you don’t even want to have your own family over — let alone people you don’t know. So, the idea of listing your place on Airbnb is daunting for a lot of folks. Use Airbnb’s price calculator to see how much money you could make in your area. Tonya Peters’ husband, Miles Rugh, was one of those skeptics. She wanted to list their Virginia Village basement apartment in Denver, Colorado, on Airbnb, but he wasn’t keen on welcoming strangers into their place. Finally, though, he agreed to give it a try. Now, three years later, the couple has hosted too many guests to count. And the extra income has been great for them. They plan to use it for some home renovations they’ve been wanting. “He’s definitely changed his tune,” says Peters, now an Airbnb Superhost. “And he loves having the extra income.” (Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.) 3. Take Stock Photos People dressed in their favorite team’s jersey and faces painted in celebration make for great photographs. Take advantage of the crowds of fans in your town to get some candid shots you can sell to stock photo sites. You don’t even have to give up your own fun to fill your stock photo arsenal. You can sell your smartphone photos via Foap, so don’t worry about keeping track of expensive equipment all afternoon. (Just keep your phone out of the toilet.) Note: Building owners or managers reserve the right to ask you not to take photos on their property. Otherwise, snap away, and make sure you understand whether your intended use of the photograph will require a model or property release. 4. Babysit Want to hang out with the nerdy kids like me, who don’t want to pay attention to the game? Offer to take them off their parents’ hands for the day. Make game day easier for family and friends by offering to watch the little ones while they go out. You’ll get to make $20 to $40 and skip the loud parties. Check out a site like Care.com to make yourself easy to find ahead of game day, and check out other tips on how to become a babysitter 5. Take Care of Pets Pick up pet-sitting or dog-walking work to relieve football fans from the need to look after pets during time-outs. If you can’t find pet-sitting gigs in your network, hop on DogVacay to connect with pet owners in your area. 6. Get Ahead on Freelance Work Holidays — even faux holidays — are great for side hustlers. Unless you want to chat with your clients about football, your inbox and social media will probably be quiet on Super Bowl Sunday. Take advantage of the radio silence to get some work done. If you’re a freelance writer, check out these tips on how to land your first bylines. And sign up for this free seven-day mini-course from ProofreadAnywhere.com to learn how to become a professional proofreader. Or, pick a passion project off the back burner. Work on a novel. Put the finishing touches on a painting. Format an ebook. If you’re just kicking off your side hustle in 2020, read our guide to getting started as a freelancer. 7. Get the Best Gigs If you haven’t, create an account with TaskRabbit. Here’s the strategy for earning money: Find gigs you can complete quickly that pay well for the amount of time you put in. With a lot of Taskers likely taking the day off, Super Bowl Sunday could be a great opportunity to get some of the best gigs. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM Looking For Part-Time Job 1/30/20 @ 2:16 PM Q Extra money on the side 1/27/20 @ 1:48 PM S Gig Work Taking Property Photos in the US 1/17/20 @ 1:42 PM I have a question about those cash game apps from Google Play store? 1/14/20 @ 8:16 PM See more in Make Money or ask a money question 8. Get Paid $1,200/Year for Your Screen Time We’ve all been there. Netflix drones in the background as you scroll Instagram. What are you even doing?  But there’s a website that will pay you for all that screen time.  Yep. Swagbucks will pay you in free gift cards for taking surveys and other activities right on your phone.  We know what you’re thinking: You’ll probably just earn a few pennies for your troubles. But we talked to one Swagbucks user in Pennsylvania, 52-year-old Carolinda Hendrickson, who earned $1,200 in a year. And it’s no huge time commitment. Hendrickson takes her surveys in the morning before her full-time job. Even better? You’ll even earn a $5 bonus when you sign up and earn 2,500 points within your first 60 days. Dana Sitar (dana@thepennyhoarder.com) is a former branded content 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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Bloggers: Want to hire a coach?

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Bloggers: Want to hire a coach?
I receive so many emails from bloggers asking for personal coaching and help. While I wish I could take on lots of individual coaching clients, I just don’t have the bandwidth to do that regularly. However, I have a really special opportunity for those of you who would love to hire a blog coach — and it’s super affordable, too! I’m opening back up my wildly popular 4-week Private Blog Coaching Group again for the month of February. This is something so many people have asked for and I’m excited to offer it after months and months of having it closed! What is the 4-Week Blog Coaching Group? The 4-Week Blog Coaching group is a group designed to help you grown and succeed as a blogger. It’s an intensive program where I teach you the lessons I’ve learned from failure and success, share secrets I’ve uncovered for building traffic and monetizing your blog, give you encouragement and motivation for when you’re feeling exhausted and burnt out, and provide accountability and cheerleading to help you live out the purpose for which you were created. This program is for you if you are: A newbie blogger who wants to learn how to monetize your blog, produce consistent and inspiring content, and grow your readership. An intermediate blogger who wants real, actionable advice to help you increase your income and develop a more effective social media strategy, all while having a great work-life balance. Any blogger who is stuck in a blogging rut and paralyzed by the overwhelming noise of advice from “online experts” — who wants clarity and tangible steps to move forward and reach their blogging goals. What Do You Get When You Sign Up? This is NOT another blogging eCourse where you absorb tons of information, but have no way to actually turn the information into real, applicable steps. This is an opportunity to interact with me and a network of like-minded bloggers and get answers to the pressing questions that matter to you and your business. In this coaching group, you’ll… Get direct access to me via our weekly LIVE 1-hour online workshop where you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the topics you are struggling with the most. Interact with me and other bloggers in the daily discussion threads designed to help you set and meet your goals, find accountability, develop friendships, and network with other bloggers. Learn how to increase your income through affiliate marketing, advertising, sponsored posts, brand partnerships, and digital & physical product creation. Develop an intentional social media strategy that boosts your traffic, generates revenue, and builds long-term momentum. Discover proven techniques for planning and writing successful blog posts that are engaging and compelling for your audience. Design an effective overall plan for significant email list growth and long-lasting relationships and trust with your subscriber base. Create a manageable and realistic system for daily blogging tasks and to-do’s that allows you to have sustainable work-life balance. You get all of that for just $97 total — which is much less than the price that most coaches charge for just one hour of their time! Ready to join? Read all about it here. Hurry! Spaces are limited and registration closes on February 4, 2020! P.S. Any questions? Leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll do my best to answer it promptly! [...]
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Independent Contractor Taxes: A Painless Beginner’s Guide

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Independent Contractor Taxes: A Painless Beginner’s Guide
Zero alarm clocks. Working from the couch. A full-time yoga pants wardrobe. Freelancing certainly has its perks. Filing taxes is not one of them. Whether you’re considering making the big leap into the world of freelancing or you’re already in the deep end, your tax situation doesn’t have to be that complicated — we promise!  Here’s what you need to know to keep Uncle Sam happy as you navigate your entrepreneurial venture. How Do You Pay Taxes as an Independent Contractor? The advice below will vary if you’ve chosen a business structure like an S-Corp or an LLC. Since sole proprietorships are the default for most freelancers, we’ll focus on what those taxes look like. First thing’s first: making quarterly payments. Estimated Quarterly Taxes: How Much Do You Need to Set Aside? When you earn money as a freelancer, the transaction is direct: You name a price, you perform the service and your client pays you — without withholding any money to cover taxes or benefits. Of course, the government still wants its cut even if you’re self-employed — which means it’s your responsibility to dole out that portion. A good rule of thumb: Set aside about 30-35% of every paycheck you make to cover your federal taxes.  This will include both federal income tax — which is organized by brackets and will likely run between 10-24%, unless you’re doing exceptionally well — and self-employment tax, an additional tax levied on independent contractors currently totalling 15.3%. Instead of having these taxes withheld from each paycheck, you’ll ship them off on a quarterly basis using Form 1040-ES. Quarterly tax payments are due in January, April, June and September, and they’re super easy to file online. However, you can also pay by phone or snail mail; the address will vary depending on your location. Keep in mind that the 30-35% you set aside may not cover state or local taxes, which vary depending on your location. For example, along with its regular state income tax, New Mexico charges small business owners a gross receipts tax for “the privilege of doing business” here — which ranges from 5.125% to 8.6875% depending on your county.  More on Self-Employment Tax Although often decried among freelancers as punitive, self-employment tax is actually designed to cover independent contractors’ contributions to Social Security and Medicare.  As you may have noticed on your paystubs, however, the percentage withheld for these programs is only 7.65% when you work a traditional job. That’s because your employer is paying the other half.  Independent contractors — so long as they earn more than $400 in freelance income — are required to pay the full 15.3% to cover their full contribution.  Yes, freelancers, it doesn’t just feel like you pay more taxes. You actually do pay more because you don’t have an employer splitting the bill with you. Sorry. The good news is, this percentage is levied against your net income… which means you calculate it after you take out your deductible expenses. (More on that in a minute!) The Dreaded April Tax Return Just like a “normal” worker, you’ll still need to file a tax return if you’ve made at least $400 in freelance income. So long as you’ve kept up with your quarterlies, this shouldn’t be too painful — but if you’ve missed payments or neglected the self-employment tax, you may find yourself owing the IRS.  Your April return should report the sum of your earnings, which is used to calculate your tax bracket and total tax burden. Of course, for freelancers, this means you’ll need to be diligent about recording every single penny you earn.  Calculating Your Total Income Each client who pays you more than $600 in a year’s time must file a form 1099-MISC in your name, which you’ll receive at tax time in place of a W-2. It lists your earned wages but not any withheld taxes — because, again, as an independent contractor, that’s your responsibility.  Pro Tip Even if you earn less than $600 from a client, that income still counts toward your annual total, which means you need to include it on your return. By the way, although it’s tempting to under-report your income in an effort to pay less in taxes, there’s good reason not to — namely, hefty penalties. And seriously, do you really want to go through the hassle of an audit? Save yourself time and money in the long term and just cough up what you owe. Do You Still Get a W-2? Freelancing isn’t exactly renowned for its reliability or, you know, health insurance, so a lot of freelancers work part-time for someone else in addition to their side hustle.  If that’s you, your employer will still need to file a W-2 for you. You’ll receive it sometime in February in anticipation of the big day in April, and you’ll need it to file your return. It displays your earned wages, Social Security contribution, withheld federal income and Medicare taxes, and more.  This will affect your overall tax burden, and may be a good reason to hire professional help. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Subscriptions 1/22/20 @ 9:28 PM Do You Ever Pick up A Stray Penny? 2/7/19 @ 12:27 PM How do you get great deals at Thrift Stores? 1/20/20 @ 9:58 AM going on a holiday 1/22/20 @ 11:02 AM See more in Save Money or ask a money question What Can You Deduct as a Small Business Owner? Now for a tax topic we can all love: deductions! One cool thing about freelancing: as a small business owner, you’re eligible to make certain business-related deductions, which can lower your overall tax burden and help keep your enterprise cost-effective to run.  Pro Tip The IRS language on deductions is pretty open-ended: “To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary.” So you can make an argument for deducting an array of costs. Some of the most common deductions for freelancers include the cost of your home office, office supplies and travel expenses related to work. But you can also deduct meals and entertainment — within reason — that are related to client meetings, as well as professional services, like those of an accountant. Speaking of which…  Should You Hire an Accountant? As soul-sucking as it can be to live in an all-digital world, the internet has made filing taxes a whole lot easier. Even freelancers can take advantage of the sophisticated software from companies like TurboTax or H&R Block, which are both low-cost and easy. But in some cases, hiring professional help is well worth the money. Such as when… 1. You have a W-2 job (or three) alongside your freelance business. Because working a traditional job means you’ve already contributed some of what you owe for Social Security and Medicare, it can complicate your self-employment return substantially — and that’s doubly true if you’re holding down several gigs to make ends meet. (Hey, we’ve all been there.)  An accountant can help you work out exactly how much you actually owe, which can end up saving you money, even after you factor in their charges. 2. You’ve elected a more convoluted business structure, such as an LLC with the S-selection. While most freelancers operate as sole proprietorships, there can [...]
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6 Situations Where a Budget Can Reduce Financial Stress

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6 Situations Where a Budget Can Reduce Financial Stress
Some of the best things in life are… expensive. Milestones like going off to college, buying a house or starting a family can drain your bank account — which can lead to some major financial stress. Advance planning, however, can combat some of that anxiety. Budgeting can help you prepare for the big — and little — things life throws your way. After all, a budget is just a plan for your money. Here are six situations where budgeting now can reduce financial stress for you later. 1. Going Away to College Repeat after me: Student loans are not free money. It’s easy to use your refund check to fund all the hidden costs of college, like extracurriculars and decorating your dorm. But you’ll be kicking yourself when you’re struggling to pay back those student loans 10 years later. Take a step toward adulting and make a budget in college that’ll give you a realistic view of whether you can afford that spring break trip or if you would be better off picking up extra shifts at your part-time job.  2. Moving Into Your First Apartment Moving into a new place takes a lot of upfront cash. There are application fees, security deposits and first and last months’ rent to fork over before you can get a set of keys — and then you’ve got to pay the movers. This guide on saving up for your first apartment lays out what you need to consider before moving out on your own. It’ll help you decide what you really can afford. Pro Tip Having a roommate can help lower your living expenses, but here’s how you should screen potential roommates before signing a lease together. 3. Buying a House Buying a house is not something you just do on a whim. It’s an entire process, part of which involves saving up a large sum of money. Give yourself time to save for a house, setting aside room in your budget to add to your down payment fund each month. And don’t just focus on the money needed to get you in your home. There are a bunch of ongoing homeowner expenses to consider, like maintenance and HOA fees. FROM THE BUDGETING FORUM A reminder NOT to spend. 1/6/20 @ 7:55 PM Changing my eating habits is changing my finances 1/8/20 @ 9:56 AM Pennyhoarders: Do you return Christmas gifts to the store...regift...or make use of it? 12/30/19 @ 11:28 AM M Just sharing some numbers from my 2019 budget 12/27/19 @ 1:58 PM See more in Budgeting or ask a money question 4. Having Kids Oh baby, kids can be expensive. And while it feels awkward putting a price tag on your plans for a family, it’s wise to go into parenthood knowing you have the adequate financial resources. Our guide to budgeting for a baby runs down the many costs you can expect in the first year — from a crib to child care.  As your baby grows up, your expenses will change. You’ll need to adjust your budget to keep up. Turn to these tips to help you save on children’s expenses, especially if you’ve got multiple kids. Pro Tip Help your children avoid taking on mountains of student loan debt by saving for your kids’ college education. 5. Career Changes Having a budget can help you through the ebbs and flows of your professional life.  If you’re dealing with a period of reduced income (like if you lose your job or take time off from the workforce), you’ve got to determine how much money you need to cover the basics. Look to see what unnecessary spending you can cut out of your budget. Conversely, if you get a raise or a new job with a better salary, budgeting that extra money instead of mindlessly blowing it will set you up for a better financial future. 6. Retirement No one wants to get to retirement age only to realize they don’t have enough money saved up to sustain them in their golden years. That’s why it’s crucial to add retirement contributions to your budget now so you’re not worrying about your savings (or lack thereof) when it really matters. Reduce financial stress by getting an early start on retirement planning, so you have more time to let compound interest work to your best advantage. But if you missed your chance at adding to a 401(k) plan in your 20s, don’t fret. This advice about how to save for retirement at every age will get you closer to saying goodbye to your working days with confidence that your money will last. 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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FREE Month of Disney Plus after cash back! {HOT}

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

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New Chase DoorDash Subscription: How to Get It and How to Use It
If you have a Chase card branded as Sapphire, Freedom or Slate, you’ll enjoy new card benefits, thanks to Chase’s partnership with DoorDash. Chase announced last week that select cardholders will receive a complimentary DashPass subscription. DoorDash is a popular food delivery service serving dozens of cities in the U.S., Canada and Australia. What is... Ramsey Qubein is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article New Chase DoorDash Subscription: How to Get It and How to Use It originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Jobs With Tips: Here’s How to Find the Best Paying Ones

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Jobs With Tips: Here’s How to Find the Best Paying Ones
Whether you’re looking for full-time income or part-time work, you might want to consider jobs that offer the chance to earn tips.  The minimum wage for tipped positions is $2.13 per hour in more than 17 states. Seven states require that employers pay tipped employees the full state minimum wage before tips. The remaining states require employers to pay tipped employees a minimum cash wage above $2.13 an hour. But more relevant than your local minimum wage is the fact that you can consistently make good money from tips. Not all tipped jobs are lucrative, though, so how do you choose the right job and earn the most tips? Find the Best Jobs for Tips Tipping is expected and common in many jobs, but clearly some will be better than others for total pay. Here’s a partial list of traditionally tipped positions:  Waiter Casino dealer Taxi driver Pizza delivery driver Cruise steward Bartender Room service waiter Golf caddy Busboy Tour guide Hotel room cleaner Ski instructor Naturally, you’ll enjoy and be more qualified for some jobs over others. Use these preferences to help narrow down that list.  Then, look for the positions where you’ll make the most money. If cleaning hotel rooms and waiting tables are both still on your list, go for the restaurant job.  Remember that to earn the most money, you should seek out employment where tips and base wages are above average. Increase Your Base Rate Many employers pay a base rate of minimum wage. If you’re interested in moving, you could go to a state that has a higher minimum wage for tipped employees.  For example, the minimum wage in Idaho is just $3.35 per hour, while next door in Washington it’s $12.00 per hour and in Oregon it’s  $10.75 per hour. Of course, even in a state with a $2.13 minimum wage, some employers will pay a higher base rate. Ask about the pay before applying. Tips are usually what matter most, but making an extra $5 or $6 per hour on your base rate can help a lot. Work at Expensive Venues One of the most important factors affecting tips, especially in the food and beverage industry, is the size of the average bill. Customers tip according to the bill amount more than anything else.  The average tip in U.S. restaurants is now 18.1%, according to a 2018 Zagat survey. So, as a waiter, if you serve a dozen $40 tables in an evening, you’ll average nearly $87 in tips, but if the bills are $90, you’ll take in more than $195. This is true for other tipped positions as well. Ask any bartender who has worked in both a dive bar and a high-end pub. Work for pricy places when possible.  Work in Busy Locations Even a restaurant with expensive meals might not be a great place to work if you wait on just three tables per shift. Serving twice as many customers usually means you earn twice as much in tips. Look for busy businesses. Pick the Right Employer Once you decide what kind of job you want, pick which state you’ll work in, and identify some expensive, busy places, it’s time to investigate specific employers. Start by asking about the base rate, as mentioned.  Tip income varies widely by employer, even those with similar businesses and price levels. One employer might let you keep all of your tips, while another makes employees share them. For example, I once worked at a pizza place where it was policy to split large tips (over $5) with all employees. And it’s common for wait staff to “tip out” busboys and hosts with 10% or more of what they take in. For large employers, you can often find the relevant pay information on Glassdoor. Otherwise, get friendly with employees of prospective employers so you can ask about their wages. Also check with your friends and family members who happen to work as waiters, casino dealers, bartenders and so on.  Ask how tips are handled and how much they usually amount to. Listen carefully to employees, but don’t place much importance on stories about one-time tips or memorable shifts. In fact, ask about the worst days. You might get lucky and discover a job where the worst tip days are still pretty good. You want an average, and most employees don’t bother to calculate that accurately. But if you ask for examples from ordinary shifts and bad shifts, you can put together a relatively safe guesstimate of the tips you’ll make at a given job. Then you can calculate what you’ll make with the base rate included. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM I have a question about those cash game apps from Google Play store? 1/14/20 @ 8:16 PM Selling My Things 1/2/20 @ 8:12 AM I am working part time any suggestions 1/9/20 @ 1:40 PM Being a Match Maker. 1/7/20 @ 12:33 AM See more in Make Money or ask a money question   What If You Lack Experience? If you lack experience, you won’t qualify for the best positions and may not get hired at the best places. In that case use a longer-term strategy. For example, caddy at a slow golf course as a resume builder so you can get hired at a better place.  Use a position as a busboy as a temporary stop on the way to being promoted to waiting tables. Take a job in a restaurant kitchen only if your employer says you can join the wait staff as soon as you prove yourself. There are always opportunities to build your resume or places where you can quickly advance. For example, many bars won’t hire an inexperienced bartender, but will hire you as a bar-back.  Once you have a job where you make good tips, you can move on to part two of your plan: Implementing strategies for making even more tips. 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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Got a New Year’s Debt Resolution? Here Are 5 Tips to Keep It

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

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My Completely Honest Butcher Box Review
Looking for really honest Butcher Box reviews or searching for ways to save money high-quality meat? This is a really comprehensive post on what you can expect from Butcher Box and how to get the best deal when ordering. Note: This post is sponsored by Butcher Box, but all opinions are my own. Read our disclosure policy here. Have you been wanting to try out Butcher Box but are wishing someone would do an honest review for you beforehand. Well, I gotcha covered today! Butcher Box reached out and asked if I’d be willing to try out the service and write an honest review of my experience. As you well know with my honest review posts, I try to do my very best to give you a comprehensive overview of the product and service and my truthful thoughts on whether it is a good deal. For those who might be unfamiliar with Butcher Box, they are a subscription service that sends a box of high quality meat to your door every month. How Butcher Box Works When you first sign up with Butcher Box, you can choose what kind of box you’d like for them to send. We’ve tried out a few different boxes in order to get a good feel for the type and quality of meat they offer. You can choose between five different types of boxes: A custom box A mixed box (includes chicken, pork, and beef) A beef and pork box A beef and chicken box An all beef box I recommend doing a custom box because it allows you to customize the meat that they send and you are able to get exactly what you know you will use. Once you choose which box you’d like, then you pick your monthly box size. You can choose between a Classic Box ($128-$149/month) or a Big Box ($238-270/month). The price varies depending upon which type of meat box you chose. After you’ve chosen your box size, then you can customize exactly what they will send you. I like that you can see exactly what your options are and you can figure out how to get the best bang for your buck! Then, just input your payment information and you’re done. (Psst! You might wait a bit on the payment page, because an offer should pop up to add free bacon to your box if you do!) Is Butcher Box Meat High Quality? Butcher Box is very committed to offering some of highest quality meat on the market. They pride themselves on having some of the highest standards for sourcing, sustainability, and taste. No meat from Butcher Box will ever have added hormones or antibiotics. (Note: Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in pork and the use of hormones or steroids in poultry.) In addition, Butcher Box animals are only humanely raised. Here are some more details on the packaging in our latest box… Is Butcher Box Meat Fresh? I have gotten three different boxes from Butcher Box and, each time, the box has showed up in good condition and the meat is still frozen almost solid when it arrives. As you can see from the box below, Butcher Box sends their meat in very sturdy boxes and it’s packaged well with dry ice. My Overall Thoughts on Butcher Box We really loved the meats we tried out from Butcher Box and were very impressed with our experience. We especially thought that beef seemed exceptionally better than store bought beef. That said, we typically buy our meat at Kroger when it is on a great sale and/or is marked down. And, as you likely know, we currently only spend $70/week on groceries for our family of 5. From this vantage point, the price of Butcher Box is really expensive for us compared to what we typically pay for meat. However, we also usually stick with very inexpensive meat cuts that are definitely nowhere near the quality of Butcher Box meat. While Butcher Box is much more expensive than buying meat when it’s marked down at the grocery store, the overall quality is much higher. If you are looking for a source for quality, humanely-raised meat, Butcher Box might be a good option for you to consider. Is it Easy to Cancel Butcher Box? If you want to cancel your subscription or pause it, you can easily do so at any time. You don’t need to call or email them about it. You can just go into your account and do it — easy-peasy! Is There a Butcher Box Discount Code? Looking for a Butcher Box coupon code? I have a very limited time discount offer for you that you won’t want to miss! Through January 12, 2020 only, if you sign up for Butcher Box through this link, you will automatically get the following meat added to your first box — completely free! One pack of delicious uncured, no-nitrate bacon  2 lbs. of wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon 4+ lbs. of heritage-breed pork butt That’s right,  you’ll get 6+ pounds of bacon, salmon, and pork butt added to your first box at no additional cost. Just order by January 12, 2020 to get this deal. To get this Butcher Box deal, just click on this link, type in your email address, and order your first box. Have you tried out Butcher Box before? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience with it! [...]
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American Eagle: Men & Women’s Parkas and Puffer Jackets only $29.99!

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American Eagle: Men & Women’s Parkas and Puffer Jackets only $29.99!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. If you’re in the market for a new coat, American Eagle has Men’s and Women’s Parks and Puffer Jackets for a great price! American Eagle has Men’s and Women’s Parkas and Puffer Jackets for only $29.99 right now! No promo code needed. Get this AE Women’s Satin Parka for just $29.99 (regularly $149.95)! Get this AE Women’s Shiny Puffer Jacket for just $29.99 (regularly $89.95)! Get this AE Men’s All-Weather Parka for just $29.99 (regularly $149.95)! Get this Men’s AE Elevated Puffer Jacket for just $29.99 (regularly $149.95)! Get this Women’s AE Long Puffer Jacket for just $29.99 (regularly $129.95)! Shop all the jackets here. Get free 2-day shipping on orders of $25+ with ShopRunner (sign up here for free)! Thanks, Hip2Save! [...]
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Ulta: Jumbo Size Hair Care Products as low as $12.49 each (Matrix, Paul Mitchell, Redken, and more!)

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Ulta: Jumbo Size Hair Care Products as low as $12.49 each (Matrix, Paul Mitchell, Redken, and more!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Wow! This is a great time to stock up on hair care products including brands like Matrix, Paul Mitchell, Redken and more! Right now, Ulta is hosting their Jumbo Shampoo & Conditioner Sale Event both in-store and online including brands like Matrix Biolage, Paul Mitchell, Redken and more! Plus, you can save $3.50 off a $15+ order when you use the promo code 713039 at checkout! And for every jumbo hair care item you purchase, you can grab a liter pump for just $1 (regularly $3) – price will automatically adjust at checkout. Limit 4 per transaction. Check out these deal ideas… Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo or Conditioner 33.8 oz – $19.99 (regularly $34) Use promo code 713039 ($3.50 off $15+ purchase) $16.49 after code Or you can get this for $19.99 on Amazon. Paul Mitchell Lemon Sage Thickening Shampoo or Conditioner – $19.99 (regularly $37) Use promo code 713039 ($3.50 off $15+ purchase) $16.49 after code Or you can get this for $19.99 on Amazon. Redken All Soft Shampoo 33.8oz – $19.99 (regularly $36.50) Use promo code 713039 ($3.50 off $15+ purchase) $16.49 after code Redken All Soft Conditioner 33.8oz – $15.99 (regularly $33.50) Use promo code 713039 ($3.50 off $15+ purchase) $12.49 after code Matrix Biolage Volumebloom Shampoo or Conditioner 33.8 oz – $15.99 (regularly $28) Use promo code 713039 ($3.50 off $15+ purchase) $12.49 after code Or you can get this for $15.99 on Amazon. Matrix Biolage Colorlast Shampoo or Conditioner 33.8 oz – $15.99 (regularly $30) Use promo code 713039 ($3.50 off $15+ purchase) $12.49 after code Or you can get this for $15.99 on Amazon. Bedhead Urban Antidotes Recovery Shampoo 50.7oz or Conditioner – $19.99 (regularly $33.99) Use promo code 713039 ($3.50 off $15+ purchase) $16.49 after code Choose free in-store pickup to avoid shipping costs. Thanks, Hip2Save! [...]
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Save an Extra $500 a Month? What That Looks Like In 30 Years

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

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Can industry changes soften a hard property insurance market in California?
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10 Times You’re Right to Be a Cheapskate

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10 Times You’re Right to Be a Cheapskate
FGC / Shutterstock.com Nobody wants to be labeled a cheapskate. But sometimes, it makes good financial sense to purchase a cheaper option if you can. A high price tag doesn’t necessarily make something better. Often, low-cost items will serve your needs just as well. Or, the higher-quality option might not be worth the extra money. Other times, there’s little or no difference in... [...]
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Get interactive 2020 Organizing and Goals Diaries for just $9 total!!

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Get interactive 2020 Organizing and Goals Diaries for just $9 total!!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Get Organized Gal is running a BIG sale on their 2020 Diaries right now! You can get both the Organize in 5 Diary and the Priorities and Goals Diary for just $9 total! That’s a $20 savings!! Both of these diaries are interactive — meaning you can type in them, save them, and print them with your information filled out. The Organize In 5 Diary is an interactive diary with a 5-minute decluttering, simplifying, or organizing task for every day of the year. Each day, you read your Organize In 5 task. The action is described in simple steps — easy and achievable. The daily tasks cover home, work, closet, computer, health, finances, time management, relationships, family, and even relaxation. Next, set the timer and go. Just 5 minutes and you’re done! The Goals & Priorities Diary is a structured diary for advancing your goals and getting your most important tasks done every day. Each day you’re guided to focus on the things that matter most — freeing you from overwhelm while allowing you to make progress on goals. The structure leads you to set yearly and monthly goals, then to translate those goals into daily tasks. Every day you’re prompted to identify your top three priorities and do these first. It’s a systematic, stress-free way to advance your goals. Go here to get both diaries for just $9 total! [...]
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This Money-Saving Challenge Starts With Just a Single Penny

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This Money-Saving Challenge Starts With Just a Single Penny
What difference can saving your pennies make? A lot, it turns out, if you’re doing the penny challenge. This money-saving challenge helps you put aside $667.95 in a year — or $671.61 in a leap year. To participate in the challenge, follow these steps: Start by saving one penny on the first day. Each day that follows, add one cent to the amount you saved the day before. For example, on day two, you’d add $0.02 to your savings. On day three, you’d add $0.03 and so on. Continue this pattern every day for an entire year. Now, please note: You’re not simply saving one penny a day. If you did that, you’d wind up with only $3.65 in savings at the end of the year (or $3.66 in a leap year). Pretty pointless. The key to growing your savings with this challenge is adding an additional penny to what you’re depositing each day, not to your total savings. So on day two, your total will be $0.03 because you’re adding $0.02 to the penny from the first day. On day three, you’ll have a total of $0.06 after making your daily savings deposit. Here’s how much you’d deposit each day — along with your savings balance — for the first week of the penny challenge: Day Daily Savings Balance 1 $0.01 $0.01 2 $0.02 $0.03 3 $0.03 $0.06 4 $0.04 $0.10 5 $0.05 $0.15 6 $0.06 $0.21 7 $0.07 $0.28 You’re starting out with super small amounts, but your money will grow over the course of the year. And because the daily saving amounts are nominal, you don’t have to stress about needing a bunch of money to build your savings.  On day 365 of the challenge, your daily deposit will be $3.65, but you’ll end up with a total of $667.95. (Trust us, we did the math.) That’s $667.95 you could add to your emergency fund or use to pay down debt. It’s money you could put toward a vacation or a shopping spree. Having a plan for how you’d like to use your savings can be a great motivation for sticking with this challenge all year long. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Super Easy Tips for Saving $1000 or More in 2020 12/31/19 @ 5:14 AM What kind of store bought pizza is almost or as good as pizza chains? 12/27/19 @ 9:06 PM M Saving for and with grandchildren 12/23/19 @ 6:52 PM M What has been your money epiphany? 2/22/19 @ 10:59 AM See more in Save Money or ask a money question Tackling the Penny Challenge by the Week While it’s easy to find enough spare change to get this challenge started, it gets progressively difficult as the days and weeks pass — especially if most of your financial transactions are cashless. Grouping your daily savings into weeks and transferring them from your checking account to your savings account can help streamline things.  Here’s how much you’d need to add to your savings each week, along with a running total of your balance’s growth: Week Weekly Savings Balance 1 $0.28 $0.28 2 $0.77 $1.05 3 $1.26 $2.31 4 $1.75 $4.06 5 $2.24 $6.30 6 $2.73 $9.03 7 $3.22 $12.25 8 $3.71 $15.96 9 $4.20 $20.16 10 $4.69 $24.85 11 $5.18 $30.03 12 $5.67 $35.70 13 $6.16 $41.86 14 $6.65 $48.51 15 $7.14 $55.65 16 $7.63 $63.28 17 $8.12 $71.40 18 $8.61 $80.01 19 $9.10 $89.11 20 $9.59 $98.70 21 $10.08 $108.78 22 $10.57 $119.35 23 $11.06 $130.41 24 $11.55 $141.96 25 $12.04 $154.00 26 $12.53 $166.53 27 $13.02 $179.55 28 $13.51 $193.06 29 $14.00 $207.06 30 $14.49 $221.55 31 $14.98 $236.53 32 $15.47 $252.00 33 $15.96 $267.96 34 $16.45 $284.41 35 $16.94 $301.35 36 $17.43 $318.78 37 $17.92 $336.70 38 $18.41 $355.11 39 $18.90 $374.01 40 $19.39 $393.40 41 $19.88 $413.28 42 $20.37 $433.65 43 $20.86 $454.51 44 $21.35 $475.86 45 $21.84 $497.70 46 $22.33 $520.03 47 $22.82 $542.85 48 $23.31 $566.16 49 $23.80 $589.96 50 $24.29 $614.25 51 $24.78 $639.03 52 $28.92 $667.95 If you’re doing this challenge in a leap year (hint: 2020 is one), add an additional $3.66 to your savings in the last week to end up with a total of $671.61 for the year. Using weekly balance transfers makes this challenge a more realistic feat than trying to find the right amount of spare change each day. Schedule automatic transfers from your checking to your savings account to make it even simpler to save.  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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Make Owning a Car a Little Less Expensive With These Tips

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Make Owning a Car a Little Less Expensive With These Tips
When it comes to wants and needs, having a car falls solidly in the needs category for most people. You need to get to work. You need to go to the grocery store. You need to chauffeur your kids everywhere. But just because your car’s a necessity doesn’t mean you have to accept high monthly payments that bust your budget. It doesn’t mean you have to fall deeper into debt each time you take it to the shop. Here are several ways to save on cars so you’re not broke — or broke down. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM What kind of store bought pizza is almost or as good as pizza chains? 12/27/19 @ 9:06 PM M Saving for and with grandchildren 12/23/19 @ 6:52 PM M What has been your money epiphany? 2/22/19 @ 10:59 AM Saving money 2/8/19 @ 6:59 AM M See more in Save Money or ask a money question Save on Cars — New or Used According to the valuation analysts at Kelley Blue Book, the average cost of a new car was $38,393 in November 2019. Talk about sticker shock! That doesn’t mean you can’t save money if your heart is stuck on something new. These tips on cutting costs on a model-year vehicle will have you basking in that new-car smell. Or if you choose to lease instead of buy, here are 12 tips to help you negotiate your car lease. But you’ll almost always snag a better deal if you  purchase a used car instead of a brand new one. Our guide to buying a used car runs down the best time to buy and where you should shop — as well as what you should look out for when deciding which car is right for you. When shopping around, don’t just check traditional dealerships. You might be able to snag a good deal from a car-buying website like Carvana or Vroom or at an auto auction. Save on Cars by Saving Up Give yourself time to save up for a car before your current vehicle is on its last legs. Figure out what you can comfortably afford, and put aside money each month in order to have a solid down payment — or enough to pay for the vehicle in full. Pro Tip Set up a sinking fund, a pool of money you contribute to over time, specifically to save up for your car purchase. If you’re financing your car, limit your auto loan debt by taking steps like improving your credit score and getting an auto loan preapproval.  Slash Regular Auto-Related Expenses Owning a car involves a bunch of expenses aside from the purchase price. There’s gas, insurance, repairs and maintenance just to name a few. Finding ways to reduce these costs will give you more money to spend on the stuff you actually want to buy. Joining a fuel rewards program, using a rewards credit card and filling up early in the week are just three of our 20 ways to save money on gas. Read the entire list to find out how changes to your driving habits and your car’s condition can lower how much you spend on fuel. Having adequate car insurance is a must. Learn how to shop around for the best deal in this guide to buying car insurance. If you plan to have your car for more than a year or two, chances are you’ll run into the need for repairs. At the very least, your car requires regular maintenance, like oil changes, to keep it running in good shape.  Do minor auto maintenance jobs yourself to avoid paying a mechanic’s labor costs. If you lack vehicle know-how, DIY auto repair videos and a repair manual specific to your car’s make and model can help. Of course, there will still be work you’ll want to leave up to the professionals. Budgeting and saving up for future maintenance and repairs will keep you from swiping your credit card at the auto shop — and paying more in interest over time.  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 I Earned 112 Swagbucks Today (in just a few minutes!)

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How I Earned 112 Swagbucks Today (in just a few minutes!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Want to earn some free gift cards to cover some of your Christmas expenses? I highly recommend signing up for Swagbucks. Swagbucks is one of my favorite ways to earn free gift cards to Amazon, Walmart, Target, and more! There are lots of ways to earn — printing coupons, watching videos, signing up for offers, taking surveys, and more. Go sign up for Swagbucks here and then check out my extensive post here on how to earn more Swagbucks fast. I earned 112 SBs (these are points you can redeem for free gift cards) + a daily bonus today in just a few minutes. I earned most of these by clicking on the Earn 2 SBs offer at the bottom of the Swagbucks homepage, letting the video/ad run, and then clicking on it. I usually do this on my laptop while I’m in the middle of something else. I just go click every minute or so and earn 2 more SBs. Today, I did this while I was getting ready for the day and doing some work on my phone. This is such a simple way to earn points to cash in for free gift cards! And you always know exactly how much you going to earn! 2 SBs might not seem like much, but it adds up quickly and it requires almost zero extra work. How many SBs did you earn today? What are your favorite ways to earn SBs? Looking for more ways to earn free gift cards? You can earn free gift cards from Shopkick and Fetch Rewards. And here are 15 More Ways to Earn Extra Money. [...]
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Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon (32 count) only $6.83 shipped!

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

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Why I created this blog
Editor’s Note: this is the second post on Daily Fintech (way back in 2014).  To give our authors a break over the holidays, we are re-posting from our archive of over 1,000 articles. Rather than pick favourites we elected to simply  repost the first 8 articles (as that was over 5 years ago you may have missed them; we were pretty unknown then).  As we close out 2019, make a resolution to be smarter about Fintech in 2020 by subscribing for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day). You will get all our fresh daily insights and participate in our forum. You can also read our archives with over 1,000 articles, an example of which you are reading from over 5 years ago. We look forward to welcoming you to the Daily Fintech membership community today! I sold a lot of software to banks, but that Traditional Fintech game got old. Emergent Fintech makes it fun again. Media likes to talk about “disruptive fintech”, but I preferto think of this more simply as “Fintech for the rest of us”: Customers don’t care about disruption. Customers care about good service at the right price. Banks will be partners with born-digital ventures. This is different from Banks as our only source of financial services. For all the talk of disruption and battles (good for page views and conferences) the more usual change is evolutionary and driven by partnerships. I started this blog because I could not find anything that covered this patch/space/beat/territory the way that I wanted. Most blogs monetize through advertising, so there are lots posts that riff off a hot news story. I want more background analysis, which you cannot monetize through advertising. I am an entrepreneur. I blog in order to get my thoughts straight and to connect with people who are fishing in the same waters. Many blogs that do cover Fintech miss the big disruption coming from people outside the current financial system. This is because most blogs are written by people who are over-banked. For example, few blogs cover the huge opportunity among the 70% of the global population that have no bank account at all (the “unbanked”). I won the genetic lottery, I was born in the developed world, but I have lived and worked for enough time in the developing world to have some appreciation of the needs of the unbanked. It is not just the unbanked in the developing world. There are plenty of people in the West who have been left in the cold by the current financial system. Consider the 25% of Americans who have no FICO score and so find it hard to borrow. Or ask a small business owner how much they like using Factoring or pledging their home as collateral in order to get working capital. Or ask any consumer or small business how much they love paying a lot of money to change currency. Daily Fintech is about making money by empowering people, not just papering over the cracks of the existing system. All I want to do is learn more and connect with others who also want to learn more. The monetisation opportunities will flow from those conversations; the Emergent Fintech opportunity is so massive that there will be plenty of monetization opportunities.   As we close out 2019, make a resolution to be smarter about Fintech in 2020 by subscribing for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day). You will get all our fresh daily insights and participate in our forum. You can also read our archives with over 1,000 articles, an example of which you are reading from over 5 years ago. We look forward to welcoming you to the Daily Fintech membership community today! The post Why I created this blog appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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*HOT* Get $10 worth of e.l.f. beauty products for FREE after rebate!

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

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Lost Bag? Overbooked Flight? 3 Air Passenger Rights You Didn’t Know You Had
Domestic and foreign air travel in the U.S. has reached an all-time high. That means airports are more crowded, and flights are frequently delayed or overbooked. And the worst part? Not knowing what to do when your reservation is affected.  You feel like the airline should compensate you for your delayed flight, but the gate agent is saying it won’t. Who’s correct?  Airline passenger rights are complicated, and even frequent travelers don’t know all of them. (I sure learned a few things while researching this article!) Don’t wait until you’re at the airport, fuming, frustrated and running out of options. Learn your rights now and know what you’re entitled to when — er, if — the airline screws up your holiday travel.  Airline Passenger Rights You May Not Know About Having a problem with your flights?  Per the rules and regulations listed in the Department of Transportation’s Fly Rights, here’s what to do when…  Your Flight Is Delayed or Canceled Unfortunately, the federal government doesn’t require the airline to do anything for domestic delays or cancellations. If you’re traveling internationally, you may be able to file for reimbursement under Article 19 of the Montreal Convention.  Still, many airlines will offer some form of compensation in the name of good customer service. If the delay is caused by weather, they usually won’t give you anything — but if it’s a mechanical or scheduling issue, they might.  Here’s what to ask for:  Vouchers: If you’re stuck at the airport for a few hours, be sure to request food vouchers so you can eat at the airport restaurants. If you’re delayed overnight, ask for hotel and/or taxi vouchers.  Airline miles: If you have a frequent flyer account with the airline, ask for extra miles for the inconvenience. I’ve successfully done this on a few occasions. Lounge passes: If you have to be at the airport for several hours, ask the agent for a lounge pass. I don’t know if this works, but it’s worth a shot! In addition to the airline, look at your credit cards for compensation, too.  Pro Tip Some hotels jack up prices as soon as they find out about travel troubles. The moment you know you’re going to be stuck overnight, book a room to snag better rates. If your flight is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, and you paid for at least a portion of it with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card, for example, Chase will reimburse you up to $500 per ticket for reasonable expenses like food and lodging. To avoid delays and cancellations in the first place, book flights leaving early in the day, and look for direct routes. If you must have a connection, stay away from airports that are really busy or notorious for weather delays (e.g. Chicago O’Hare).  Your Flight Is Overbooked Airlines regularly overbook (sell more tickets than there are seats) flights to make up for no-show passengers. Though this isn’t illegal, it can cause problems if more people show up than expected.  When this happens, airlines ask for volunteers, offering incentives like vouchers and upgrades to entice passengers to give up their seats. If not enough people volunteer, airlines are forced to bump some passengers against their will.  Though it’s a huge bummer to get involuntarily bumped, keep cool and remember your rights; you could end up with a pretty nice chunk of change.  Here’s what you’re owed if you arrive…   Within an hour of your scheduled time: $0 One to two hours late: Double the price of your ticket, up to $675 More than two hours late: Quadruple the price of your ticket, up to $1,350  Some airlines may try to take advantage of you and offer airline credit in exchange for the inconvenience. Don’t accept this offer. And don’t sign any paperwork, as it could remove your right to further compensation.  Stand your ground and, if necessary, cite this Department of Transportation page.  Want to reduce the likelihood of being bumped before you even get to the airport? Check in to your flight early (you can do so 24 hours before your scheduled departure) and add your frequent flyer number to the reservation. The airline is less likely to bump loyal travelers. Your Baggage Gets Lost Standing at baggage claim and never having your bags show up is not fun.  Your first stop should be your airline’s baggage office. Sometimes luggage comes in on an earlier flight or is accidentally placed in the oversize luggage area.  Still not there? Time to ask for compensation.  Airlines are required to compensate passengers for reasonable expenses for loss, damage or delay in the carriage of passenger baggage, according to DOT rules. Pro Tip To help prevent lost luggage, put an address label in your bag’s clear external pocket and attach a luggage tag. Each airline interprets this differently, but in general, expect a stipend of at least $50 per day to spend on necessities like toiletries and clothing. Just be sure to keep your receipts so the airline can reimburse you later.  Also, if you paid for your ticket or fees with a credit card, check its benefits. The Chase Sapphire Preferred, for example, offers a stipend of up to $100 per day for clothing, toiletries and charging cables when your baggage is delayed by six hours or more.  If your luggage gets lost permanently, then you’ll need to file a second claim. The airline must compensate you for the value of your luggage, up to $3,500.  Something’s Gone Wrong, and You’ve Hit a Dead End The first thing I do when I’m not getting the help I need? Jump on social media. I use Twitter to explain my situation — and @mention the airline — and often the company will address it right away.  You can also call the airline’s customer service line from the airport. Sometimes its phone reps will give you a different answer than the gate agents, which gives you leverage when resolving your issue.  And please, as difficult as it can be sometimes, always treat the gate agents with respect and patience. Airline mishaps usually aren’t their fault, and they have to deal with a lot of cranky people. Not only that, but you’d be surprised how far they’ll go to reward someone who’s nice.  Pro Tip To find the quickest way to speak to a live agent, simply Google “gethuman” plus the airline’s name. If you do receive great service, don’t forget to return the favor by submitting a comment form on the airline’s website. Alternatively, you can submit complaints about rude or unhelpful agents. I’ve actually complimented and complained about different agents in the same message!  Be sure to write down information — agent names, dates and flight numbers — while it’s fresh in your mind. You can refer back to this if you need to contact the airline later; providing details always strengthens your case.  If your trip is over and your complaint hasn’t been resolved, try AirHelp, a company that lobbies airlines on behalf of passengers who were involuntarily bumped. Or check out Service, a company that helps resolve customer service issues at no cost to the customer.  Whatever you do, don’t let this holiday travel season get the best of you. Stay calm, remember your rights and seek the compensation you deserve!  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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Add Student Loan Payments to Your Holiday Wish List Through This App

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Add Student Loan Payments to Your Holiday Wish List Through This App
Is your grandmother still asking you what you need for Christmas? How about the gift of freedom from student loan debt — available for the low, low price of $30K? Just kidding (sort of). Student loan management app Pillar has launched a new feature, a gifting platform called Boost, which allows friends and family to make contributions directly into your student loan accounts. (This is particularly helpful if the $25 Nana usually gives “disappears” into pizza night.) It’s probably for the best that the money goes directly to an account anyway — Grams probably doesn’t have a box big enough to contain outstanding student loan debt, which stood at $1.48 trillion in the second quarter of 2019. If you go the gifting route, you’ll need to set up a free account on Pillar, where you’ll add all of your student loan account and bank info. The app also recommends student loan repayment plans based on your income and spending info. Then you’ll need to set up a Boost profile page with your photo, bio and the amount received so far — it looks similar to the donation pages for those fundraiser walks, except here the fundraiser is you. FROM THE DEBT FORUM Eliminating Credit Card Debit - Take out personal loan with low interest rate 12/4/19 @ 9:28 AM L Balance transfer credit card 11/27/19 @ 1:39 PM Credit card Debt 11/19/19 @ 10:56 AM Student loans 11/20/19 @ 9:17 AM See more in Debt or ask a money question But you’ll have to set up your profile in a hurry — the gift platform only lasts from Dec. 17 through January 7. And through Dec. 23, PIllar will give some users special holiday surprises of additional payments ranging from $25 to $250, which could make your holidays even happier. Don’t feel like setting up a crowdfunding page but are still facing a pile of student loans? Check out our tops ways to pay off student loan debt. After all, debt-free living is the gift that keeps on giving. Memaw would agree. 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 two months of Adventure Academy for just $5!

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Get two months of Adventure Academy for just $5!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Do you have elementary or middle school aged kids who love online gaming? You might want to check out Adventure Academy!! Adventure Academy — a new educational MMO game created specifically for kids in elementary and middle school — is currently running a limited time special! You can get two months for just $5 right now — which is a savings of 74% off the regular monthly price! Developed by the top video gaming designers and crafted by a team of curriculum experts, Adventure Academy is a highly engaging and creative platform that focuses on building critical knowledge and skills in language arts, math, social studies, science, and more! Adventure Academy features thousands of educational learning activities, such as videos, reading experiences, games, quizzes, and many other interactive elements— all within the frameworks of U.S. (and international) curriculum standards. I checked it out and it plays a lot like an adventure game (think Zelda!) but within an educational framework. It’s really cool! If you wish to continue with the service after two months, you’ll be billed at $9.99 per month. If you do not wish to continue with the service, be sure to cancel your subscription before the first two months ends so that you avoid any future charges to your credit card. It’s very easy to cancel at any time by logging in and clicking “my account.” {If you’d rather try it for free, you can still sign up for a free 30-day trial here. You just won’t be able to take advantage of this introductory two month offer. You’ll be billed $9.99 per month after the free trial, if you wish to continue.} Go here to sign up for two months of Adventure Academy for just $5. [...]
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*HOT* $10 off any $25 Purchase of Sharpie, Papermate, EXPO and more!

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*HOT* $10 off any $25 Purchase of Sharpie, Papermate, EXPO and more!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. If you need new markers and pencils or pens, this is HOT deal! Right now, Amazon is offering $10 off when you purchase $25 in select Sharpie, Papermate, EXPO and more products! This is HOT deal and a great time to grab some stocking stuffers for cheap or stock up on pens and markers. Here are a couple of great deal ideas… Prismacolor Soft Core Colored Pencils 48-Pack – $25.99 (regularly $28.99) Less $10 instant savings at checkout $15.99 shipped after deal Dymo Label Maker with 3 Bonus Labeling Tapes – $29.58 Less $10 instant savings at checkout $19.58 shipped after deal 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. Thanks, Hip2Save! [...]
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Spend One Minute Doing This to Earn 5 Cents/Gallon in Points to Save on Gas

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